Pixel Scroll 1/20/18 Where All The Pixels Are Strong, All The Files Are Good Looking, And The Scrolls Are Above Average

(1) EPPS HELD BACK. BBC reports U.S. astronaut Jeanette Epps, who was a guest at the 2015 Worldcon, has been taken off her assigned mission to the ISS: “Nasa removes US astronaut from ISS mission”

The US astronaut Jeanette Epps has been removed from her upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS) just months before launch.

Dr Epps was to have been the first African-American astronaut assigned to the space station crew.

She would have flown aboard a Russian Soyuz flight in June but is being replaced by another astronaut.

Nasa has not given a reason for withdrawing her but says she will be considered for future missions.

(2) BYUTV SERIES EXTINCT NOW IS. BYUtv has cancelled its pioneering series Extinct, the post-apocalyptic SF show directed by Ryan Little and written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. It ran ten episodes since it premiered on October 1, 2017 and was BYUtv’s only second scripted show, (the first being its science-fiction-y Granite Flats).

(3) FORREST J ACKERMAN IN 1996. Fanac.org has posted a recording of a one hour interview of Forry Ackerman, conducted by Rich Lynch.

Forry Ackerman, winner of the first fan Hugo Award, tells the stories behind his creation of the long running magazine “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, Vampirella, and the science fiction service award, the “Big Heart”. Here’s your chance to find out how Yvette Mimieux, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson and George Pal had a bit part in Forry’s creation of Vampirella. In this 1996 interview by Richard Lynch, conducted at LACon3, Forry talks about his movie career (over 50 cameos!), and tells anecdotes about the fans and professionals he knew during his long and productive career. Includes great anecdotes about Dr. David Keller, Bela Lugosi and E. Everett Evans. The audio recording is enhanced with more than 50 images.


(4) JOELCRAFT. At Birth. Movies, Death., in “Someone Realized An HP Lovecraft Poem Maps Perfectly to Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’”, see four different versions!

To repeat, this individual discovered that this 100-year-old poem by HP Lovecraft tracks almost perfectly to “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Just reading it, you can almost hear it.

But we at BMD wanted to actually hear it. We saw this tweet yesterday morning and immediately begged a musically talented friend of ours to do the right thing here. He of course agreed. But in the time it took him to arrange, record, and send the song to us, SOMEONE ELSE HAD ALREADY DONE IT. Ladies and gentlemen, the talented and expedient Julian Velard, appearing here as “HP Joelcraft”:


More videos at the link.

(5) CARLTON OBIT. Bob Carlton, who created Return to the Forbidden Planet, has died.

The writer and director created the jukebox rock and roll musical, which is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in the mid-1980s. It later transferred to the West End and won the Olivier award for best new musical in 1990.

Carlton was also artistic director of the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch for 17 years, stepping down in 2014.

(6) SHEARMUR OBIT. The Hollywood Reporter says producer Allison Shearmur has died.

Allison Shearmur, who produced the Hunger Games films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, died unexpectedly Friday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with lung cancer. She was 54.

Shearmur was an executive at Paramount and Lionsgate before making a transition to a producer role, becoming involved in some of the biggest movies in recent years.

She was an executive producer on 2017’s Power Rangers and was casting Disney’s The One and Only Ivan, which she was producing with Angelina Jolie.


  • Can it be Shelob has captured Charlie Brown? See Lio.

SUPERMAN NO LONGER GOING COMMANDO. Or so says John King Tarpinian. Inverse has the story: “Superman Puts On His Red Trunks Again in Landmark ‘Action Comics’ #1000”.

But the costume! This is more than just a special outfit for a special cover of a special issue. It will be Superman’s new outfit going forward, marking yet another change in Superman’s wardrobe within the last few years.

Back in 2011, in an effort to modernize Superman (as well as the rest of the DC Universe), many DC heroes got big costume changes as part of the hard reset, dubbed the New 52. Decked out in armor instead of spandex, Superman also ditched his red trunks in favor of a plain red belt. He also had a turtleneck. Superman went through another change in 2016, during Rebirth, and in early 2017 had a few more tweaks that included the return of his long red boots. Now, an older version of Superman is back, but no matter what Clark Kent is still just a farm boy from Kansas who is now raising his own family.

By the way, Superman never wore “underwear.” As confirmed in an issue of Action Comics #967 in 2016, the red “undies” (as Jon Kent put it) were just a “decorative element.” The suit was all one piece.

(9) ANOTHER COMPANY READIES FOR SPACE COMMERCE. The second test flight of the Electron rocket has succeeded in placing 3 small sats in orbit — “Rocket Lab Electron reaches orbit on second launch”. The plan is for frequent launches (approximately weekly), enabled by the sparse air traffic.

The Electron lifted off from the company’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 8:43 p.m. Eastern (2:43 p.m. local time Jan. 21) on the second day of a nine-day launch window for the mission….

As the second stage shut down, launch controllers declared that the vehicle was in orbit. The stage subsequently released its three payloads, a Dove cubesat for Planet and two Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire. Planet later confirmed that its cubesat was in orbit and communicating following the launch.

…The launch was the first for the Electron after the vehicle’s inaugural flight in May 2017 failed to reach orbit. The company said that the rocket worked as planned on that mission, but a telemetry problem triggered range safety systems about four minutes after liftoff, ending the mission.

In an interview earlier this month, Beck said that if the second launch was successful, the company would move ahead into commercial service with the rocket. Beck said in the post-launch interview that was still the case, but didn’t set a date for the next mission beyond rolling the vehicle out at the launch pad “in the coming months.” The customer for that launch, if it is a commercial mission, has not been announced.

(10) A TEACHING MOMENT. Yahoo! News tells that the “ISS astronauts will complete Challenger teacher’s science lessons”.

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during liftoff. Onboard were seven astronauts, one of which was teacher Christa McAuliffe. She was selected from over 11,000 applicants for the position of NASA’s Teacher in Space. McAuliffe had plans to conduct lessons from Challenger; now those lessons will finally take place from the International Space Station.

Over the next few months, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold will conduct four of McAuliffe’s six planned lessons, focusing on liquids, effervescence, chromatography and Newton’s laws. They will be filmed and then posted online by The Challenger Center, which focuses on outreach to students about STEM topics in memory of the Shuttle and her crew.

[Thanks to Dave Doering, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Bonnie McDaniel, Errol Cavit, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

138 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/20/18 Where All The Pixels Are Strong, All The Files Are Good Looking, And The Scrolls Are Above Average

  1. @Kurt

    There were two Trek/X-Men crossovers, one with classic Trek, one with Next Generation Trek.

    Yep. As I mentioned above, the classic Trek crossover made reference to the fact that there was a Doctor Leonard McCoy and a Doctor Hank McCoy. Presumably, the TNG crossover referenced the resemblance between Picard and Xavier.

  2. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Jasper Fforde. Miss Haversham vs her rival the Red Queen, Rochester saving the protagonist….

  3. One of the Spiderman TV cartoons had an episode with various versions of Spiderman meeting – including one who was just an actor in a Spiderman costume (from some benighted universe in which there was (gasp!) no Spiderman at all).

  4. Batman/Elmer Fudd really was amazing. It is strange that such an unlikely crossover should have so much love poured into it. Just the art by itself is a wonder to behold that makes it a joy to pore over every panel and the story is just as good.

  5. I didn’t expect to love Batman/Elmer Fudd but I sure did.

    It was very cool. I kept wanting to rewrite the twanswittewation of Elmer’s dialogue, but that was about my only complaint. And beautiful artwork.

    The bar in that story turned up in this year’s Batman Annual, by the same creative team.

  6. @Kurt Busiek: “The bar in that story turned up in this year’s Batman Annual, by the same creative team.”

    I had literally just read that again in the last half hour and had that same thought. So much detail in that panel. Maybe a dozen recognizable figures? I haven’t been keeping up with comics like I should have, but to the extent I know what I’m talking about, they’re my favorite Batman since Miller/Mazzucchelli.

  7. Re: Hambly’s Ishmael, the Wikipedia entry for the book lists a number of other minor cameos from assorted other media properties.

    As I seem to recall, one of the outcomes of the belated recognition of rights issues was that the book never had a second printing. Which makes me wonder idly what the street value of a copy would be … (Why yes, I happen to have one.)

  8. George Alec Effinger’s Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson series crossed over all sorts of old, pulpy SF. Burroughs, Lovecraft, Asimov, and more. And while it was far from Effinger’s best work, it was reasonably fun, for throwaway parody.

  9. Andrew on January 21, 2018 at 6:33 pm said:
    Also Kobo, and presumably Nook.
    [Joining you in the snickering – it really is a lot of fun]

  10. Ishmael was one of my favorites, when I was but a wee marsupial devouring my father’s Trek novels. Along with Three-Minute Universe, Uhura’s Song, HMFJTP?, and anything by Diane Duane.

    I haven’t picked one up in a dog’s age. Any good ones recently? I used to love them.

  11. RedWombat on January 21, 2018 at 7:32 pm said:
    I’ll have to look up Three Minute Universe – I hadn’t heard of it.
    Seconding the other recs (and of course, there’s The Final Reflection).

    I just read the first of the “Discovery” tie-ins. It works well enough for me – I haven’t seen any of that series.

  12. I gave a copy of ISHMAEL to a friend who has no interest in STR TREK, but is a big HERE COME THE BRIDES fan.

    He loved it.

  13. Almost completely off topic: I feel the need to speak to someone about anti-gravity theory. I’ve been re-reading Cities in Flight by James Blish and I am pretty sure there has to be a more modern way of thinking about this (and a lot of other things, but I think I can handle those), but my physics is way out of date and also I was much happier with Newtonian than modern physics in the first place.

    Anybody want to teach me something about anti-gravity?

    Also maybe something about faster than light travel, because they do that too, all with the spindizzies. Also I have questions about the way light works with the spindizzies, and the forcefield they seem to create.

  14. Used paperback copies of Ishmael abound in the $2-4 range.

    Joanna Russ had Alyx encounter Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser (just in passing) in one story.

  15. Mike, adding my good wishes to you and your mother.

    For slightly-hidden crossovers, has any one but me run across John Lescroart’s Son of Holmes? And the sequel, which I just discovered, titled Rasputin’s Revenge? It starts out as a perfectly standard Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and then, about 30 or 40 pages in, morphs into . . . something else. (I’ll give you a clue, so as not to spoil the mystery completely: the detective’s name is Auguste Lupa.) It’s been years since I read even the first book of the two, but I remember getting a kick out of it.

  16. Thanks, JJ. I’ve been around–especially taking advantage of the book and story recommendations–just busy, and I generally try not to comment unless I have something to say (and time to say it).

  17. Three-Minute Universe was nicely alien fun, with one of the greatest “several beloved characters stuck in a box” dialogue sequences I have ever read. I also liked Chain of Attack back in the day, though the sequel was only so-so.

    None of the new tie-ins ever held up to Classic Trek for me, but I’ll chalk that up to the warm fuzzies of nostalgia rather than any given quality of the books.

    Ack! And hope your Mom is doing ok, Mike!

  18. I have a whole Anothology of stories that mix Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft: Shadow over Baker Street. I am suprised that no one has mentioned it, since one story in there won a Hugo.

  19. @StefanB: Of course! Gaiman’s story was the standout in that anthology, but the other stories were pretty good too. Also that reminds me of the Samurai Cat books in which Miaowara Tomokato explores various universes, meeting folks from Middle-Earth, Norse mythology and more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai_Cat

  20. Mike, hope things get better for your family.

    The first crossover novel that I ever read was The Holmes Dracula File by Fred Saberhagen. It’s been years but I really enjoyed it at the time.

  21. There were several fan-written stories (and at least one zine existed) that mixed Holmes with Trek.

  22. @Kip W: did Cerebus really meet the Punisher, or a variant just different enough that Sim couldn’t be sued? He did that a lot, with both fictional characters (Elric of Melnibone) and real people (Jagger & Richard).

    @Heather Rose Jones: Which makes me wonder idly what the street value of a copy [of Ishmael would be… Probably not much; I picked one up to reread and have no certainty what I paid for it, but I don’t pay much for reading copies of used books (unless I desperately want someone else to read them). IIRC, first printings of ST books were large, so unless you have a mint copy you should enjoy it for yourself.

    several: thanks for all the interesting info about Ishmael, including the correction of the legalities — and the fact that Lenard played his own wife’s ancestor. Is it relative incest if executing it requires two media?

  23. ps: Elrod wasn’t just Elric. He was a parody character who (if memory etc) talked like Foghorn Leghorn. Sim wasn’t just borrowing someone else’s work by any stretch.

  24. @Kip Elrod wasn’t just Elric. He was a parody character who (if memory etc) talked like Foghorn Leghorn. Sim wasn’t just borrowing someone else’s work by any stretch.

    Foghorn Leghorn was based on Senator Claghorn, who was somewhat less based on Senator Bloat. It’s parodies all the way down.

  25. Was Bloat a real senator? My grandfather was still offended by Claghorn in the 70s, for insulting someone he saw as a patriot. Whoever it was would have had to have been pretty far to the right for him to feel like that.

  26. @Lucy Kemnitzer:

    I don’t have the physics, but your question made me wonder if the spindizzy was based off of the Dean Drive. I found that Wikipedia has a short article on the spindizzy, and it claims that the actual source of the claimed physics was P. M. S. Blackett, “The magnetic field of massive rotating bodies”, Nature, 1947 (doi: 10.1038/159658a0). So . . . that’s somewhere to look?

  27. In honor of Joelcraft:

    So File a post of a Pixel Scroll
    File a post tonight
    We’re all in the mood for 770
    And you’ve got us feelin’ all right

    [Wait. Does anyone else pronounce “770” as “seven-seventy”? (although I suppose for the meter to work, it should more properly be “sev’n-seventy”)]

  28. Owlmirror: Wait. Does anyone else pronounce “770” as “seven-seventy”

    I do! 🙂

  29. Me three (or is that four?). It hadn’t occurred to me that there was another way to pronounce it (though of course there are, now that I think about the question). But I always pronounce my street address as “Two seventy,” not “two hundred seventy,” unless I’m worried someone will write it down wrong, in which case I spell out “two seven zero.” (And even with care, sometimes a pizza delivery goes to 370 instead of 270–I can’t stop the pizza place from hiring staff who can’t read each others’ handwriting.)

  30. @Kurt Busiek:

    Star Trek has also had comics meetings with […] the Legion of Super-Heroes

    And there’s one double-page spread in there which had cameos of dozens of different fictional time travel vehicles from everybody else who had run into the disturbance in question.

    Actually, one other fictional cross-over I saw not too long ago was a stage play called ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol’. Yes, A Christmas Carol with Sherlock Holmes in the place of Ebeneezer Scrooge, and with Moriarty taking the place of Marley. It worked disturbingly well, not the least of which was because Holmes was rather misanthropic anyway; this took place just post-Reichenbach Falls. And it was heavily implied that one of the other characters in the play, I believe the father of Watson’s late wife, was actually Tiny Tim from the original story.

  31. I say seven-seventy, too.

    It occurs to me that that kind of shortcut pronunciation is not always taught in language classes. English classes would probably teach “seven hundred and seventy”. Probably depends on the classes, though. It does make me realize that I need to do a lot more outside reading in Spanish, which, frankly, I already knew, from trying to read a couple of blog entries and some poetry in that language. Also, of course, actually attempt to speak with someone. The final frontier….

  32. @Lenore —

    “It does make me realize that I need to do a lot more outside reading in Spanish, which, frankly, I already knew, from trying to read a couple of blog entries and some poetry in that language. Also, of course, actually attempt to speak with someone. The final frontier….”

    For a while, many many moons ago, I was very good at *reading* Spansih. Took four years of it in high school, and we read novels and poetry and such. But even then I was no good at SPEAKING it — I just couldn’t stop myself from thinking too much while I was trying to talk. Didn’t work out well. 😉

  33. A squadron of the RAF (and RAAF RNZAF etc) is said eg “Six One Seven squadron”, while for those in the USAF (and previously USAAF) it’s “Four (Hundred and) Twenty Seventh squadron”. Just one of those things. At least you have a chance of noticing it in writing, unlike the ‘right’ way to say eg the F-111 aircraft (F-One-Eleven).

  34. Lenore Jones / jonesnori on January 22, 2018 at 3:26 pm said:
    Mine taught us to not use “and” in numbers.
    For me this is “File seven-seventy”.

  35. This is seven-seventy. Our street address though is one-two-three and when people say one-twenty-three I have to stop and think.

  36. @Lenora —

    Speaking of street addresses — for some reason, I **still** have to stop and think every time someone asks me my street address — and I’ve lived here for ten years now! I think I was spoiled by living on street corners — almost 30 years divided between two street-corner addresses (2300 at one address, 2400 at another). Now that I live in the middle of a long road, the “odd” number just refuses to come easily to the front of my brain.

  37. @P J Evans, interesting about the “and”. Are you in the UK, by chance? I wonder if it’s just me, or if that might be another cross-pond difference.

    The pronunciation of our emergency number here, nine-one-one, is different than we would usually say that number, intentionally, I think. These days nine-eleven means the airplane attacks in NYC and Washington DC, but it didn’t then; I think they just wanted people to “dial” without having to interpret the numbers.

  38. I’m in Los Angeles. It’s just what they taught us – not without difficulty – many years ago.
    Eight-one-one (811) – the number you call to have the locations of utilities marked before you accidentally break them with a backhoe. (Or, like the guy down the street in East Pasadena, before you try pulling a stump with a gas line running through it.)

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