Pixel Scroll 1/14/20 Who Is Pixel Scroll? You Are File 770

(1) I’M WALKIN’ HERE. “Facebook: Star Wars’ Mark Hamill deletes account over political ads” – BBC has the story.

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has deleted his Facebook account, lambasting the company’s political ads policy.

In a tweet, the celebrity accused the firm’s chief Mark Zuckerberg of having valued profit over truthfulness.

It followed its decision to let politicians run adverts that contain lies on the social network.

The firm has said that it does not believe decisions about which political ads run should be left to private companies.

(2) MEAT SUIT. It’s only the second week in January and Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn has already written the headline of the year: “Meat Loaf Suing Horror Convention Texas Frightmare Weekend”. Oh, I suppose you want the story, too….

Michael Lee Aday, better known by his stage name “Meat Loaf,” is currently suing horror convention Texas Frightmare Weekend and its venue the Hyatt Regency DFW in Tarrant County, Texas. According to NBC 10:

(3) READ ALL ABOUT IT. SF2 Concatenation’s spring edition is now up. Principal contents include:

Interesting to compare this last with this season’s news page’s SF publishing news.

Plus there are many standalone SF/FH book and non-fiction SF & science book reviews.

Full details at SF2 Concatenation’s What’s New page.

(4) YOU GO, JOHN. A Whatever pop quiz: “Hey, Guess Who Will Be Going to Dragon Con This Year?”

Answer:

Next quiz question: What Dragon Awards category will he be presenting?

(5) TWEETS OF FLAME. “Stephen King slammed for ‘ignorant’ tweet about not considering ‘diversity’ when voting for the Oscars”Yahoo! Entertainment has a roundup of King’s tweet and the reactions.

Famed writer Stephen King has stirred up controversy after admitting he “would never consider diversity in matters of art,” a remark made in reference to his status as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) voting on Oscar contenders. His remarks come a day after the 2020 Oscar nominations were announced, prompting complaints that women and people of color were largely overlooked. Many critics bemoaned the exclusion of women like Greta Gerwig from the Best Director category, while Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo spoke out about being the only person of color to be nominated across four acting categories.

(6) SIX-PACK. Nerds of a Feather’s Paul Weimer discusses “6 Books with Gareth Hanrahan”.

4. How about a book you’ve changed your mind about – either positively or negatively?

Jeff Vandermeer’s Shriek: An Afterword. I loved the first Ambergris book, City of Saints and Madmen. I picked up Shriek next, and found it utterly incomprehensible and dull. Years later, I got the third book in the sequence, Finch, and loved it. I then gave Shriek another try, and it felt like a completely different book. I was astounded at myself for hating it the first time, and I’ve no idea why I bounced off it so hard. 

(7) CAROL SERLING OBIT. Carol Serling, widow of Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling and mother of author Anne Serling died January 9 reports the Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin.

After the death of her husband, due to complications after heart surgery, Carol worked to keep Rod’s legacy alive.

In 1981, she launched the monthly “The Twilight Zone Magazine” and served as the publication’s editor from 1981 through 1989. She held the legal rights to Serling’s name and likeness. CBS owns the rights to the television series.

In 1994, two new episodes of the sci-fi television series were aired on CBS based on material found by Carol after Rod’s death and then sold to CBS. They aired in a two-hour special titled “Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics.”

That same year, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror theme park ride opened at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios (then MGM Studio Theme Park) in Orlando, Florida, and Binghamton High School dedicated its arts program as the Rod Serling School of Fine Arts.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • January 14, 1954 Riders To The Stars premiered. It was directed by Richard Carlson (who also stars) and Herbert L. Strock (who is uncredited for unknown reasons) and has the additional cast of  William Lundigan, Martha Hyer, and Herbert Marshall. Riders to the Stars is the second film in Ivan Tors’ Office of Scientific Investigation trilogy, which was preceded by The Magnetic Monster and followed by Gog. All in all, reviewers considered it a quite unremarkable film. It has no rating at Rotten Tomatoes though Amazon reviewers were kind to it. Fortunately you can judge for yourself as the film is here to watch.
  • January 14, 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth premiered.
  • January 14, 1976 The Bionic Woman aired its first episode. A spin-off from The Six Million Dollar Man, it starred Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks. It run just three seasons, half of what the parent show ran. It on ABC, NBC and finally on CBS. 
  • January 14, 1981 Scanners premiered. Directed by David Cronenberg and produced by Claude Héroux, it starred Jennifer O’Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane and Michael Ironside. Reviewers, with the exception of Ebert, generally liked it, and reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a healthy 64% rating.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 14, 1924 Guy Williams. Most remembered as Professor John Robinson on Lost in Space though some of you may remember him as Don Diego de la Vega and his masked alter ego Zorro in the earlier Zorro series.  (Is it genre? You decide.) He filmed two European genre films, Il tiranno di Siracusa (Damon and Pythias) and Captain Sinbad as well. (Died 1989.)
  • Born January 14, 1943 Beverly Zuk. Ardent fan of Trek: TOS who wrote three Trek fanfics, two of them on specific characters: The Honorable Sacrifice (McCoy) and The Third Verdict (Scotty). Let’s just say that based on her artwork that I found I’d not say these are anything less than R rated in places. She was a founding member of the Trek Mafia though I’m not sure what that was. (Died 2009.)
  • Born January 14, 1948 Carl Weathers, 72. Most likely best remembered among genre fans as Al Dillon in Predator, but he has some other SFF creds as well. He was a MP officer in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, General Skyler in Alien Siege, Dr. Artimus Snodgrass in the very silly comedy The Sasquatch Gang and he voiced Combat Carl in Toy Story 4. And no, I’m not forgetting he’s currently playing Greef Karga on The Mandalorian series. I still think his best role ever was Adam Beaudreaux on Street Justice but that’s very not SFF.
  • Born January 14, 1949 Lawrence Kasdan, 71. Director, screenwriter, and producer. He’s best known early on as co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. He also wrote The Art of Return of the Jedi with George Lucas. He’s also one of the writers lately of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Born January 14, 1957 Suzanne Danielle, 63. A Whovian as she showed up as Agella in “The Destiny if The Daleks,“ a Fourth Doctor story. She was on the Hammer House of Horror series in the Carpathian Eagle” episode, and she’s also in Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected multiple times in different roles. To my knowledge, her only other SFF appearance was on the Eighties Flash Gordon film.
  • Born January 14, 1962 Jemma Redgrave, 58. Her first genre role was as Violette Charbonneau in the “A Time to Die” episode of Tales of the Unexpected which was also her first acting role. Later genre roles are scant but include a memorable turn as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart on Doctor Who. 
  • Born January 14, 1963 Steven Soderbergh,  57. Though largely not a SFF person, he’s ventured into our ‘verse on occasion by directing such films as Solaris (which he also wrote), Nightwatch which he was the writer of,  Contagion which he directed and The Hunger Games for which he was Second Unit Director. I’m tempted to call Kafka for which he was Director at least genre adjacent…
  • Born January 14, 1964 Mark Addy, 56. He got a long history in genre films showing up first as Mac MacArthur in Jack Frost  followed by by the lead in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (why did anyone make this?), Roland in A Knight’s Tale (now that’s a film), Friar Tuck In Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (has anyone seen this?) and voicing Clyde the Horse in the just released Mary Poppins Returns. Television work includes Robert Baratheon on Games of Thornes, Paltraki on a episode on Doctor Who, “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos”, and he was Hercules on a UK series called Atlantis. 
  • Born January 14, 1990 Grant Gustin, 30. The actor, known as Barry Allen aka the Flash in the Arrowverse. I’ve got him as a boyfriend on an episode on A Haunting, one of those ghost hunter shows early in his career. Later on, well the Arrowverse has kept him rather busy.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bliss knows what makes zombies laugh.
  • These folks at Close to Home sound like true introverts to me.

(11) RARE BOOK THIEVES PLEAD. “Men plead guilty in thefts of rare books from Carnegie Library” reports Pittsburgh’s TribLIVE.

The two men accused of stealing and reselling more than $500,000 worth of rare books, maps and other artifacts from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh reached a plea deal Monday with prosecutors who agreed to drop most of the charges they faced.

…Gregory Priore, 63, of Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood, was the archivist and manager of the library’s William R. Oliver Special Collections Room from 1992 until April 2017.

The room held a collection of rare books, maps and other items worth millions. Priore was accused of stealing the items from the library and selling them to John Schulman, 56, of Squirrel Hill, who owns the Caliban Bookshop in Oakland.

Among the items that were stolen was a 400-year-old Bible printed in London. It was recovered in April 2019 in the Netherlands as part of the criminal investigation.

(12) ATTENTION, FLORIDA MAN. Destiny is calling.

(13) ALIEN DISCOVERY CENTER. [Item by Cliff Ramshaw.] This is giving me a bad case of the VanderMeers…. “Scientists use stem cells from frogs to build first living robots” in The Guardian.

Researchers in the US have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that move around under their own steam.

One of the most successful creations has two stumpy legs that propel it along on its “chest”. Another has a hole in the middle that researchers turned into a pouch so it could shimmy around with miniature payloads.

“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”

(14) ELECTION RESULTS. Cosplayer Lai Pin-yu has been elected to the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan. “Taiwanese cosplay candidate, Sunflower Movement activist wins legislative seat”.

When Lai was certain of her win on Saturday, she took to Facebook at 8 p.m. to write: ” Hello friends, I am Lai Pinyu, lawmaker of New Taipei City’s 12th District. Please give me your feedback over the next four years.” In her post, Lai included a photo of herself dressed as Sailor Mars from the “Sailor Moon” Japanese manga series, gaining her 30,000 likes, 2,800 comments, and 2,200 shares within 12 hours.

(15) BACKSTORY. If you think you’ve heard of this book before, there’s a reason why. But now it’s in print and Adri Joy reviews it for Nerds of a Feather: “Microreview [Book]: Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao”.

I don’t want to talk about Blood Heir without acknowledging the route this book took to publication. Originally scheduled for release the beginning of 2019, the book was delayed after numerous ARC readers identified significant sensitivity issues with an aspect of the plot and characters. Blood Heir deals in some depth with the concept of indenture, with marginalised characters in the place where the book is set at high risk of being forced to sign work contracts which leave them effectively in slavery. In original ARCs, the story’s depictions of race provoked strong concerns about how the story came across in the context of historic Black slavery in the USA. In response, author Amélie Wen Zhao delayed the book, revisited in the context of her original intent – to explore concepts of indenture with real-world parallels in Asian countries – and has now released the book, as of late November, satisfied that it did so. Having never read the original ARC, I don’t know how much changed before publication, and I should be clear that I’m white and, as a non-American, less likely to pick up cues that would read “chattel slavery” to US audiences – so I’m not going make claims about whether Blood Heir is now “fixed”, other than to note I didn’t pick up anything other than the author’s intended parallels in my own reading. However, from where I stand it feels like Blood Heir’s delayed, revised publication is an example of sensitivity reading going right, albeit late in the process and therefore more loudly and messily than might have occurred if concerns had been raised earlier. People were right to raise concerns. Zhao was right to listen and use those concerns to revisit her intended, ownvoices, message. I hope and suspect the book is stronger for it.

(16) YOUTH MOVEMENT. Victoria Silverwolf shares a discovery with Galactic Journey readers: “[January 14, 1965] The Big Picture (March 1965 Worlds of Tomorrow]”.

Science fiction writers often have to deal with things on a very large scale. Whether they take readers across vast reaches of space, or into unimaginably far futures, they frequently look at time and the universe through giant telescopes of imagination, enhancing their vision beyond ordinary concerns of here and now.

(This is not to say anything against more intimate kinds of imaginative fiction, in which the everyday world reveals something extraordinary. A microscope can be a useful tool for examining dreams as well.)

A fine example of the kind of tale that paints a portrait of an enormous universe, with a chronology reaching back for eons, appears in the latest issue of Worlds of Tomorrow, from the pen of a new, young writer.

Can you remember when Larry Niven was a “new, young writer”?

(17) OVER THE COUNTER. “The New York Public Library Has Calculated Its Most Checked-Out Books Of All Time” – there are assorted genre items on the list.

The New York Public Library has been loaning books for a long time — the institution turns 125 this year.

To celebrate, the library dug into its records and calculated a list of the 10 books that have been checked out the most in its history.

The most-wanted book? The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The Caldecott Medal-winning tale of a young boy’s encounter with snow has been checked out 485,583 times from the NYPL since it was published in 1962.

It shares qualities with many of the other most-borrowed titles: The beautifully illustrated book has been around a long time, it’s well-known and well-loved, and it’s available in numerous languages.

(18) HELLO BOOMER. BBC says “Oldest material on Earth discovered”.

Scientists analysing a meteorite have discovered the oldest material known to exist on Earth.

They found dust grains within the space rock – which fell to Earth in the 1960s – that are as much as 7.5 billion years old.

The oldest of the dust grains were formed in stars that roared to life long before our Solar System was born.

A team of researchers has described the result in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When stars die, particles formed within them are flung out into space. These “pre-solar grains” then get incorporated into new stars, planets, moons and meteorites.

“They’re solid samples of stars, real stardust,” said lead author Philipp Heck, a curator at Chicago’s Field Museum and associate professor at the University of Chicago.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “I Have A Secret:  Another Bite” on Vimeo, Michael Sime introduces us to a guy who DOES have room for dessert in a restaurant.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Cliff Ramshaw, Mike Kennedy, Alan Baumler, Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day BGrandrath.]

81 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/14/20 Who Is Pixel Scroll? You Are File 770

  1. First!

    I’m not going to be the guy who pulls the knife from the head of the alligator. You should do it and take all the credit.

  2. (16) I first ran across Niven in 1968-1969, with the Neutron Star collection.

    (5) He managed to make a lot of writers unhappy, including several of the already-unhappy romance writers.

  3. I really, really don’t want to be King of Florida. Or Queen of Florida. Or Governor.

    In fact, to be absolutely clear: I’ve been to Florida. I didn’t like it. I don’t want to go back.

    YOU CANNOT TEMPT ME WITH CLAIMS THAT’S AN EXCALIBUR-LIKE SWORD IN THAT ALLIGATOR’S HEAD.

  4. (4) Well that will upset a specific group of Dragon Con attendees who regard the con as their personal territory, otherwise a sensible and appropriate choice of guest.

  5. (16) My introduction to Niven was Ringworld – a coverless Ballantine paperback, then about a year old. (It wasn’t until some years later that I learned that its first chapter differed from all subsequent editions.) Soon after that, I came across various stories in (also coverless) paperback anthologies of the late 1960s and early ’70s, such as the very early “The Coldest Place” in the Silverberg-edited Voyagers in Time and the novella “The Fourth Profession” in Delany & Hacker’s Quark 4.

    (Still have them all…)

  6. gottacook: Did you have to buy all those coverless paperbacks? (I still have a few coverless paperbacks left from when I worked in a bookstore, but I had bought all the ones I really wanted before it was time to strip them.)

  7. Jeff S.: No, I didn’t have to buy them – a friend of my dad’s had a warehouse full of assorted stuff that he bought and sold, and for some reason this included trays full of recent, coverless paperbacks; I was welcome to take anything I wanted. (I understand that with paperbacks, at least in that era, only the covers of unsold books had to be returned to publishers, whereas with hardcovers the whole book was returned and remaindered.) Later, around the early 1980s, I would sometimes see coverless paperbacks offered for sale at unscrupulous used bookstores.

  8. I saw the trainer for Scanners at an inappropriately young age. It gave me nightmares for weeks and I still remember it vividly. Later when working in a movie theater I learned about “red band” trailers for R-rated films, which are only supposed to be shown with films of the same rating. Someone screwed up and put it on a PG-rated film along with a few others that were also inappropriate but not as terrifying.

  9. @8 (The Bionic Woman): I wasn’t following TV by then; was its short run ended with graybeards nodding and saying sagely that the sci-fi geeks wouldn’t watch shows with female leads?

    @9:

    Mark Addy, 56. He got a long history in genre films showing up first as Mac MacArthur in Jack Frost followed by by the lead in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (why did anyone make this?)

    Because somebody believed too hard in Mencken’s maxim?

    @16: Can you remember when Larry Niven was a “new, young writer”? Unfortunately, yes, thanks to reading Dangerous Visions when it was a few months from new; I was in a backwater for the next few years and saw most of his early work some time after it came out.

    @Lis Carey: with you; my immediate thought was “But who would want to be king of Florida?” (And I’m less unacclimatized to Florida than you, as I grew up mostly near DC.) Seems like a too-literal case of “Après moi, le déluge” — and that only if one is lucky and global warming runs slow…

    @Kaboobie: I remember finding a sneak preview of Scanners a little much — but were red-band trailers a thing then? Maybe I was seeing too many mild movies (the only R-rated ones I remember are the Deadpool pair), but I don’t remember knowing of red-band trailers that far back. I \am/ remembering that US raters commonly graded more harshly for sex than for violence, but this didn’t blow up until a few years later, when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was cited as showing the need for a rating between PG and R for films that were gross but not sexy.
    I also remember thinking “That’s odd — McGoohan normally plays rebels rather than statists” — which shows how much I knew of his career, even before (e.g.) Pack of Lies and Braveheart.

  10. @9 (Soderbergh): my first thought was “How did he end up writing a Russian film?”. Then I poked around and realized I was confusing Nightwatch (which has a low Rotten Tomatoes rating — frequent IME with US remakes of foreign films) with Night Watch (which has a good rating and I found interestingly strange)

  11. (4) a logical and worthy choice. I hope to see him there!

    (5) A bold and brave move on King’s part. Reads like he’s voting on the substance of the art itself and not the color of the skin of the artist. Bringing MLK’s dream a little closer to fruition.

    (13) Turns out that, like Moody’s trunk, Pandora’s Box contains a lot more than immediately meets the eye.

    It’s the phrase “miniature payloads” that really sends a chill down the old spine.

  12. (5) TWEETS OF FLAME. Stephen King: I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality.

    It’s amazing how many white men say things like this, and then you look at their “best of” lists, preferences, or books read this year, which “surprisingly” turn out to be stacked with 100% works by white men… with nary a smidgeon of self-awareness anywhere in sight. 🙄

  13. @Miles Carter–(5) Two hours and a few thousand replies after that initial tweet, he posted two more tweets, acknowledging the need for inclusion in the real competition, and that you can’t win awards if you’re blocked from getting in the game.

    What this suggests to me is that he read some chunk of those replies, and thought about them.

  14. (16) My first Niven was a green-ish paperback copy of Tales of Known Space, made from that kind of high acid cheap paper that smells like a cat’s peed on it.

    What was my last? Perhaps Mote in Gods Eye II. Though I did pick up a second hand copy of Crashlander last year and have not yet read the new story therein.

  15. I listened to and really enjoyed the World series wihich was I think largely written by Edward Lerner as the style didn’t feel like Niven. The last series he wrote that he wrote solo I read would be the Ringworld World series which I thought was uneven but overall worth reading even the latter novels.

    Pretty much everything else he’s written in the last thirty years isn’t entertaining. And that is why I read fiction.

    Nick, I found Gods Eye II very disappointing after its predecessor. And Jerry’s daughter wrote a third novel in the series as she sent a digital galley some while back.

  16. 7) A minor correction of the Binghampton paper’s obit of Carol Serling: The first editor of Twilight Zone Magazine was T E D Klein. Carol Serling, as owner of rights to the title, might have been on the masthead as publisher (I can’t get to my copies to check), but it was Klein who ran the magazine.

  17. 1: I’m always amused by people blasting facebook for its problems from twitter. And vice versa. Having been a user of both… I really think which one is the worse trashfire is mostly a matter of personal taste. They both have the same issues where too much of the moderation is done by algorithm, and the rules when it is brought to a human’s attention are often arbitrary, ignore the real world contexts of who has power and who kills people, and even seem to explicitly favour advocates of violence. Both of them need careful curation to get anything like a sane healthy experience.

    12: Add me to the list of people with no great wish to rule Florida. In my case, while I’ve heard about the 4-inch flying roaches, and the gators, and all that, it’s the allergens I personally experienced that really made it clear this was not for me. I was almost over a nasty cold with cough when we went there and the pollen and etc in the air brought the coughing back in full force. (I was also 8 months pregnant. This … does not play well with a cough.) I enjoyed most everything else; it was February, and warm enough (25 Celsius) for a Canuck to happily go to a waterpark on a few days, and not have to fight crowds… and yes all the theme parks.

  18. Didn’t trailers used to be rated like movies? There would be a blue screen before the trailer that said this preview has been approved by the MPAA for all audiences or audiences over a particular age and then a G,GP/PG*, or R rating? So if you were about to see an R movie, the trailers they showed before might be similarly rated.

    But Scanners definitely was one of those movies where the trailer was probably more impressive than the actual movie. They could have just made and shown the trailer.

    (* PG started out as GP and PG-13 came later.)

    (12) Remember that Florida has term limits so you’d only get to rule in Florida for two terms.

    This Pixel has been approved for scrolling before all audiences

  19. Chip Hitchcock: Because somebody believed too hard in Mencken’s maxim?

    You need to remind me what that is. The only Mencken maxim I have committed to memory more or less says: The only thing that makes sense is to sit in a brewery drinking beer, but sometimes I can’t help running outside to break a bottle over somebody’s head.

  20. #17:
    One of the things I’ve seen elsewhere about the New York Public Library list is the fact that Goodnight Moon isn’t on it… because the librarian responsible for children’s books (despite officially being retired when the book was published) disliked it so strongly that the Library wouldn’t actually own a copy for 25 years after the original publication.

    https://slate.com/culture/2020/01/goodnight-moon-nypl-10-most-checked-out-books.html

  21. @Mike Glyer–Mencken’s maxim: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    Though, honestly, your remembered Mencken maxim sounds very similar in tone and attitude. 😀

  22. @OGH:
    The Mencken maxim in question is presumably ‘nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people’.

    (Which, according to Wiktionary, isn’t a direct quote, though probably a paraphrase of an actual direct quote: ‘No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.’)

  23. Lis and Jenora: Mencken’s maxim: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    I forgot that was his. Thanks!

  24. The first Niven I read was probably “Wrong Way Street” in the Ninth Galaxy Reader – my local library had those collections, and I read a lot of them.

    Speaking of scary movies, I got scared a couple of times as a kid when my parents were driving me at night past drive-in theatres while the monster was on the screen.

    5) I’m reminded of this story from the GoodmathBadmtath blog

    http://www.goodmath.org/blog/2014/04/29/the-horror-the-horror-how-dare-we-discriminate-against-men-by-listening-to-women/

    “My department was one of the smaller ones. We were allocated 5 slots for summer students. The day we started allowing people to request students, all 5 were gone within a couple of hours. The next day, the guy across the hall from me came to my office with a resume for a student he wanted to hire. Of course, it was a guy.

    I told him that we couldn’t hire him – our budget was gone. But if he could find a woman, we didn’t need budget to hire her.

    He threw a fit. It was the angriest I ever saw him. (Most of the time, he was a really nice, mellow guy, so he was really upset about his!) It was discrimination! Sexism! Unfair! He carefully went through the resume database looking for the best candidate, not the best male candidate. We were refusing to hire the most qualified candidate! On, and on, and on. I finally got rid of him, after pointing out at least a dozen times that I was just a lowly junior engineer, not someone who made the policy.

    The next day, he was back in my office. He was practically bouncing off the walls: he’d gone back to the resume database, and he’d found a woman who was even better than the guy he’d wanted to hire.”

  25. @Russell Letson: Thanks for the correction re The Twilight Zone Magazine. Reading the obituary, I thought “I didn’t realize she was the editor.” So when you said it was T.E.D. Klein, that made my memory cells happy.
    I really enjoyed that magazine; it had an impressive number of good stories.

  26. @Jack Lint: I’m not aware of trailers in the U.S. ever having been rated on the same G/PG/etc. scale as full movies were.

    If I remember correctly, in the U.K., on the other hand, trailers are subject to the same rating system as full movies are.

  27. Jack Lint says that I’m not aware of trailers in the U.S. ever having been rated on the same G/PG/etc. scale as full movies were.

    Oh I clearly remembers trailers saying this trailer is rated “G” for General Audiences, so they were rated at one time. I’m not sure when they dropped this statement though.

  28. Ringworld was my first Niven book (surprise). The short stories followed after along with The Mote In God’s Eye and quick serial rejections of the other Niven-Pournelle novels. And then the rest.

  29. I found my copy of the first issue of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone Magazine (April 1981) and the first page consists of a personal message from Carol, with photo; she’s called “Associate Publisher” there. On the masthead, she’s listed as “Associate Publisher and Consulting Editor”. As noted above, T. E. D. Klein is Editor. (There are also two “Contributing Editors”: Gahan Wilson and Theodore Sturgeon, who handled movie and book reviews, respectively.)

    I’m not sure why I never bought another copy.

    [Correction: The early Niven story I first read in the anthology Voyagers in Time was “Wrong Way Street,” not “The Coldest Place.”]

  30. Rob Thornton says Ringworld was my first Niven book (surprise). The short stories followed after along with The Mote In God’s Eye and quick serial rejections of the other Niven-Pournelle novels. And then the rest.

    I’m reasonably sure Ringworld was also my first Niven read. The Mote In God’s Eye and the Known Space fiction followed. It remains my favorite Niven novel, the one I feel to be a true popcorn literature read.

    I tried reading the other Niven-Pournelle novels — all were awful in different ways, but awful none-the-less. Much of it that the politics there is Sad Puppy in nature and quite annoying.

    I’m hoping the someone does a new Ringworld audiowork as the existing one is technically awful and I’d like to give it a listen.

  31. Speaking of Pournelle, who here has read his novelisation of The Escape from the Planet of the Apes film? It’s his only work for Hollywood, isn’t it?

  32. Scanners was 1981. I’ve seen print references in newspapers to red band trailers as far back as 1971.

    Gentlemen, you can’t scroll in here — this is the pixel room!

  33. I’ve seen red band trailers recently, although generally on YouTube rather than in a theater. IIRC, the difference between a red band trailer and a general audience trailer is that the red band trailer can contain some of the actual R-rated content from the film (naughty words; naked people; etc.) and so would only be shown in front of another R-rated film, whereas you can have a general audiences trailer for an R-rated film that just doesn’t include those explicit bits, so you could IN THEORY run a general audiences trailer for Scanners or Alien before a screening of The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh; it just might not be reaching the intended target audience.

    As for Niven, my first would’ve been either Ringworld, World Out of Time (still a personal favorite) or maybe his collection A Hole in Space. And/or Mote in God’s Eye. (It was a long time ago and details are … fuzzy.)

    I did enjoy his stuff and read pretty much the entire Known Space series multiple times, at least when Ringworld Engineers was the newest book in the series. I wasn’t as happy with the later couple of Ringworld novels because he kept trying to kind of backfill more modern concepts (nanotech, e.g.) into what had essentially been an early 70s-era hard SF setting, and it just wasn’t a good fit, IMO.

  34. I read and enjoyed early Niven, but disliked Ringworld, didn’t finish it, and stopped reading him entirely.

  35. I wonder if anyone writes a blog where it would be possible for me to share my enjoyment of a given writer’s stories? I’m reminded for the umpteenth time this is not a place where I can do that.

  36. Geez, Mike, what blog are you reading? The one I’m reading has people talking about the stories they liked, and the ones they didn’t. You seem to be reading one where everyone is going pfui.

  37. If I went to the expense and trouble of hosting a popular blog, and expressed a thought about how, maybe, the blog wasn’t fulfilling what I wanted out of it, and was then told by someone that, no, your feelings are wrong, I would not be happy. But that’s just me.

  38. I read my high school library’s copy of Ringworld with great enjoyment right up to the point when I discovered that the last three chapters were missing. I was out of luck until I got to college and had access to a decent bookstore

  39. @Mike Glyer: Nobody reads my blog, so if you comment there about the works you like, there shouldn’t be any negative response 🙂 Of course it wouldn’t fit the topic well.

  40. Hey, I’m great at writing things that don’t fit the topic well. I’ll be right over.

  41. In my youth (1960s-70s) I don’t recall that the trailers were rated, just that the movie had been rated G or whatever. I could remember wrong.

    First Niven I ever read was one of the “Gil the Arm” stories, which knocked me out. Much later I read “The Mote in God’s Eye,” which also knocked me out. At some point I read “Footfall,” which I liked, but I vaguely remember having problems with the ending, which seemed at the time to have a political message I was uncomfortable with, even though I hadn’t yet quite sorted out my politics. (In my 20s at the time).

    Niven came to my college once and gave a great talk. while a bunch of friends went to see Cesar Chavez at the same time. Niven talked about space elevators and skyhooks, both new concepts to me at the time. And also how his wife actually sympathized with the monster in “Alien”—”He must have been so scared!” IIRC.

  42. @Andrew: When I was in high school, we read To Kill a Mockingbird. My copy was missing the last 16 or 32 pages, and what I had ended at the end of a sentence; I had no idea it was not the end of the novel. What an unsatisfactory ending! I read my last few pages again, looking for closure that wasn’t there. I loved the book, and had read ahead of where the class was, so in class we were discussing a much earlier portion. I finally had to go up to my teacher — we despised each other — and admit to her that I, a smart reader, didn’t understand the end of the novel. In the ensuing discussion, she talked about things I knew nothing about, making me feel even stupider. Finally she took my copy of the book, looked at the end, threw it away, and got me another copy.

  43. @Joe H. The trailer I saw for Scanners showed people’s eyes rolling back in their heads and the veins popping out of their arms, and that was enough for me. I’ve never watched the movie to this day.

    I think we also saw a trailer for Altered States. The movie we were there to see was The Incredible Shrinking Woman with Lily Tomlin. Wikipedia tells me it was released later in January 1981, and Altered States was December 1980.

  44. There’s sort of a quick history of the red band trailer here. They’ve been around, but you rarely saw them. You can find the red MPAA screens for restricted trailers on YouTube.

    The article says that between 2000-2006 the red band trailers almost disappeared completely because theatres promised not to promote R-rated movies to audiences who were there to see G, PG, and PG-13 movies and that somehow also caused them to drop red band trailers.

    Then watching red band trailers became a thing on the internets which is where we’re at now.

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