Pixel Scroll 1/28/19 Untitled Pixel Scroll Reboot

(1) FROM BOOKER TO GENRE. This week’s New Yorker article “Why Marlon James Decided to Write an African ‘Game of Thrones’” tells about Marlon James, who won the Booker prize and then decided to write “an African Game of Thrones.”   

A couple of weeks before we met for coffee, I went to hear James speak on a panel about diversity in sci-fi and fantasy, at New York Comic Con, a convention that annually converts the Javits Center into a maelstrom of geekery and cosplay. The audience for the panel was a mixture of black, white, and brown faces; a few rows from me, a Harley Quinn in hijab took furious notes. After a fellow-panelist, Tochi Onyebuchi, the author of a young-adult fantasy series influenced by Nigerian myth, urged the crowd to read Jemisin’s books, James joked that Jemisin would be coming for the Booker next. (He told the crowd they should also read Nalo Hopkinson, a Jamaican-born Canadian writer whose début, “Brown Girl in the Ring,” from 1998, is a dystopian horror-fantasy story animated by the West African spirit-magic tradition of Obeah.) Even as condescension toward genre fiction has gone out of style, the universes of literary and speculative fiction remain distinct, with their own awards, their own publishers, and their own separate, albeit overlapping, communities of readers. “There are a lot of literary-fiction authors whose heads are super stuck up their asses,” James said, telling the attendees that writers ought to read widely across genres.

(2) BETTER WORLDS STORY #5. The magic number! Here’s the latest Better Worlds short story from Rivers Solomon: “St. Juju”. Video by Allen Laseter.

Andrew Liptak did a Q&A with the author: “Rivers Solomon on colonialism, the apocalypse, and fascinating fungus”.

Rivers Solomon

What was the inspiration for this story, and what about fungus attracted you to this world, in particular?

Lately, I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of the end of the world — how it’s never really real, though it may feel like it is to us living in the midst of climate change as we are. Except on the scale of billions of years, according to the kind of timeline where suns birth and die and so on, worlds are quite adaptive creatures. Earth has had five or so ice ages. Dinosaurs have come and gone, many dying, others living on as birds. Mass extinction is par for the planet’s course.

(3) ATWOOD MASTER CLASS. Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing is a 23-lesson video course from Masterclass. Cost, $90.

Called the “Prophet of Dystopia,” Margaret Atwood is one of the most influential literary voices of our generation. In her first-ever online class, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale teaches how she crafts compelling stories—from historical to speculative fiction—that remain timeless and relevant. Explore Margaret’s creative process for developing ideas into novels with strong structures and nuanced characters.

(4) PLUNK THOSE SILVER STRINGS. The Haffner Press will publish a very ambitious Manly Wade Wellman collection this year — The Complete John the Balladeer. The book will be released at the 2019 World Fantasy Convention in Los Angeles.

John, whose last name is never revealed, is a wandering singer who carries a guitar strung with strings of pure silver. He is a veteran of the Korean War and served in the U.S. Army as a sharpshooter (in the novel After Dark, he mentions that his highest rank was PFC). In his travels, he frequently encounters creatures and superstitions from the folk tales and superstitions of the mountain people. Though John has no formal education, he is self-taught, highly intelligent and widely read; it is implied that his knowledge of occult and folk legendarium is of Ph.D level. This knowledge has granted him competent use of white magic, which he has used on occasion to overcome enemies or obstacles, but it is primarily his courage, wit and essential goodness that always enables him to triumph over supernatural evils (although the silver strings of his guitar and his possession of a copy of The Long Lost Friend are also powerful tools in fighting evil magic), while basic Army training allows him to physically deal with human foes.

Stories:
“O Ugly Bird!”
“The Desrick on Yandro”
“Vandy, Vandy”
“One Other”
“Call Me from the Valley”
“The Little Black Train”
“Shiver in the Pines”
“Walk Like a Mountain”
“On the Hills and Everywhere”
“Old Devlins Was A-Waiting”
“Nine Yards of Other Cloth”
“Then I Wasn’t Alone”
“You Know the Tale of Hoph”
“Blue Monkey”
“The Stars Down There”
“Find the Place Yourself”
“I Can’t Claim That”
“Who Else Could I Count On”
“John’s My Name”
“Why They’re Named That”
“None Wiser for the Trip”
“Nary Spell”
“Trill Coster’s Burden”
“The Spring”
“Owls Hoot in the Daytime”
“Can These Bones Live?”
“Nobody Ever Goes There”
“Where Did She Wander?”

Novels
The Old Gods Waken (1979)
After Dark (1980)
The Lost and the Lurking (1981)
The Hanging Stones (1982)
The Voice of the Mountain (1984)

(5) BO PEEP. Disney’s new trailer for Toy Story 4.

(6) MEMORIAL. NASA Watch “Remembering” is a wrap-up of several memorials to lost astronauts and cosmonauts posted the day before the anniversary of the Challenger shuttle disaster. Mike Kennedy sent the link with a note: “In my long-time home of Huntsville AL, we name schools after these people. I live just a few blocks from Roger B. Chaffee Elementary School and maybe 2-3 miles from Virgil I. Grissom High School. The former Ed White Middle School name was sadly lost when it and another school were combined a few years ago. Those were, of course, the astronauts who died in the Apollo 1 fire. We also have Challenger Elementary/Middle school and Columbia High School. These wounds run deep around here, even after all the intervening years.”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 28, 1929 Parke Godwin. I’ve read a number of his novels and I fondly remember in particular Sherwood and Robin and the King. If you’ve not read his excellent Firelord series, I do recommend you do so. So who has read his Beowulf series? (Died 2013.)
  • Born January 28, 1969 Kathryn Morris, 50. First played in Sleepstalker, a horror I’ll be gobsmacked if any of you have heard of. She has a small role as a teenage honey (IMDb description, not mine) in A.I. Artificial Intelligence. After that she was Lara Anderton in Minority Report. She played Najara on several episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess and was in Poltergeist: The Legacy series as Laura Davis in the “Silent Partner” episode.
  • Born January 28, 1973 Carrie Vaughn, 46. Author of the Kitty Norville series. She’s also been writing extensively in the Wild Cards as well. And she’s she’s got a new SF series, The Bannerless Saga which has two novels so far, Bannerless and The Wild Dead. Sounds interesting. 
  • Born January 28, 1981 Elijah Wood, 38. His first genre role was Video-Game Boy #2 in Back to the Future Part II. He next shows up as Nat Cooper in Forever Young followed by playing Leo Biederman In Deep Impact. Up next was his performance as Frodo Baggins In The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit films. Confession time: I watched the the very first of these. Wasn’t impressed. He’s done some other genre work as well including playing Todd Brotzman in the Beeb superb production of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
  • Born January 28, 1985 Tom Hopper, 34. His principal genre role was on the BBC Merlin series as Sir Percival. He also shows up in Doctor Who playing Jeff during the “The Eleventh Hour” episode which would be during the time of the Eleventh Doctor. He’s been cast as Luther Hargreeves in the forthcoming The Umbrella Academy which is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. Yes I’m looking forward to seeing this! 
  • Born January 28, 1993 Will Poulter, 26. First genre role was as Eustace Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He later appeared as Gally in The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Death Cure. He plays Colin Ritman In Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Series wise, he’s been in The Fades, a BBC supernatural drama,playing Mac.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • This Get Fuzzy posits the best book ever: Harry da Vinci’s Rings.

(9) FUTURE TENSE. This month’s entry in the Future Tense Fiction series is “Thoughts and Prayers” by Ken Liu, which looks at how much worse trolling could get.

It was published along with a response essay by digital culture researcher Adrienne Massanari, “What’s in It for the Trolls?”

Ken Liu’s “Thoughts and Prayers” shows how the cruelest of online harassers convince themselves they’re doing the right thing….

When reading Liu’s piece, I was reminded again that the terms troll and trolling are maddeningly overused in popular culture. Trolling has come to mean everything from merely derailing a conversation with a purposefully nonsensical or impolite comment to actively harassing women with death and rape threats on Twitter. It’s a kind of linguistic shield that creates an easy way for abusers and harassers to dismiss their toxic behavior as “just trolling.”

(10) DOLLARS MISTER RICO, MILLIONS OF ‘EM! TVWeb says “Starship Troopers TV Show with Original Movie Cast Is Being Planned”.  

The Starship Troopers TV series would more than likely be pretty big, especially with the original cast and Ed Neumeier on board. One could easily see Netflix or Hulu jumping at the chance to put that out. However, it seems that they are in the early stages of talking about the project, and as Neumeier says, we don’t want to “jinx” it either. So for now, we’ll just think positive thoughts about the project actually happening.

Of course, you might have thoughts of your own about it.

(11) WIZARD OF OZ SETS RECORD. Cousin Judy’s film is still bringing ‘em into the theater — Variety: “Film News Roundup: ‘Wizard of Oz’ Sets Single-Day Record for Fathom”.

Fathom Events’ 80th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” took in $1.2 million at 408 North American sites on Sunday, setting a new Fathom record as the highest-grossing single-day classic film release.

“The Wizard of Oz” also had the highest per-screen average of any film in wide release on Sunday. The 1939 release is part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series, which will include “My Fair Lady,” “Field of Dreams,” “Glory,” “Alien” and “Lawrence of Arabia” this year.

(12) BAUM’S AWAY. Coming to Oakland in February, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair poster has an Oz theme.

(13) LET’S GET ROVING. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] A trio of articles give different impressions on the fate of the Opportunity rover on Mars—silent since the planetwide dust storm several months ago—at least according to the headlines. At Futurism, they say, “NASA’s Opportunity Rover Feared Dead: ‘An Honorable Death’,” which sounds decidedly pessimistic. Over on Gizmodo, they say, “Wake Up, Oppy! NASA Sends New Commands to Mars Opportunity Rover,” a somewhat more optimistic take. Meanwhile, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory itself simply says, “Rover Team Beaming New Commands to Opportunity on Mars.” That article doubtless gives the clearest story, coming as it does straight from NASA.

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have begun transmitting a new set of commands to the Opportunity rover in an attempt to compel the 15-year-old Martian explorer to contact Earth. The new commands, which will be beamed to the rover during the next several weeks, address low-likelihood events that could have occurred aboard Opportunity, preventing it from transmitting. 

[…] “We have and will continue to use multiple techniques in our attempts to contact the rover,” said John Callas, project manager for Opportunity at JPL. “These new command strategies are in addition to the ‘sweep and beep’ commands we have been transmitting up to the rover since September.” With “sweep and beep,” instead of just listening for Opportunity, the project sends commands to the rover to respond back with a beep. 

[…] “Over the past seven months we have attempted to contact Opportunity over 600 times,” said Callas. “While we have not heard back from the rover and the probability that we ever will is decreasing each day, we plan to continue to pursue every logical solution that could put us back in touch.”

Time is of the essence for the Opportunity team. The “dust-clearing season” – the time of year on Mars when increased winds could clear the rover’s solar panels of dust that might be preventing it from charging its batteries – is drawing to a close. Meanwhile, Mars is heading into southern winter, which brings with it extremely low temperatures that are likely to cause irreparable harm to an unpowered rover’s batteries, internal wiring and/or computer systems. 

If either these additional transmission strategies or “sweep and beep” generates a response from the rover, engineers could attempt a recovery. If Opportunity does not respond, the project team would again consult with the Mars Program Office at JPL and NASA Headquarters to determine the path forward.

(14) MARGOT ROBBIE. Miss me? That’s what Margo Robbie’s asks while dressed as her DC alter ego in an Instagram post. Gizmodo/io9 has that story together with a short video clip showing off costumes for Quinn and several other Birds of Prey characters (“Harley Quinn Brings Fantabulous Fashion to Birds of Prey Video Introducing Black Canary, Black Mask, Huntress & More”).

While Warner Bros. upcoming Birds of Prey movie will introduce a number of DC’s formidable heroines like Huntress and Black Canary to the DCEU for the first time, it’ll also feature the return of one Harley Quinn who, judging from the film’s title, might embark upon some sort of redemptive arc. New year, new movie, new Harley—and Margot Robbie’s just revealed our first look at her.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, JJ, Lisa Goldstein, John King Tarpinian, Joey Eschrich, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/28/19 Untitled Pixel Scroll Reboot

  1. (10) DOLLARS MISTER RICO, MILLIONS OF ‘EM!

    There are a lot of things this world needs. This is not one of them. 🙄

  2. I’d assume they’d need the permission of the Heinlein literary estate unless they got really screwed on the right. I can’t image they’d get it.

  3. There have already been 5 Starship Troopers movies, an animé series and 35 animated episodes, I think the purists ship has sailed.

  4. Niall McAuley: There have already been 5 Starship Troopers movies, an animé series and 35 animated episodes, I think the purists ship has sailed.

    For me, it’s not about being a purist, it’s that the original movie was crap in a lot of ways, so bringing the cast back for a reunion is sort of a… double-dog meh. (I do love Dina Meyer. Casper Van Dien is a dick, though.)

  5. Fifth! Co-incidentally, that is (I think) 3 more than the number of Starship Troopers movies I’ve seen.

    There are elements of the original movie I’m not 100% disappointed with, but on the whole I suspect it could’ve been better (but, perhaps, not from Hollywood).,

  6. 4) Really hoping for a UK edition, here – I have all the short stories (I think – must check that list!), but only one of the novels, which are hard to find in these parts.

  7. [9] Ow. Damn, that’s painful. I read the essay first, and that might have helped me harden against what I was going to read, just somewhat. This comes a day after reading someone on Twitter talking about how it will be, and it dovetails with this enough that I wonder if it was prompted by the story or if they’re both simply prompted by the festering combination of tech and human toxicity we’re already living through.

  8. 10) If there’s two things I would happily never see getting another damn movie/TV/Whatever adaptation, it’s Starship Troopers and Dune. It’s kind of annoying how people have fixated on those two stories when they’re so much other good stuff from the past 50 years out there.

    And PK Dick as well. There were OTHER New Age writers, people!

  9. @7: I haven’t read Godwin’s Beowulf novels; I do remember his take on Robin Hood being both original (particularly in moving the story to William I’s time) and readable, but my favorites remain the Snake Oil books. (Yes, one of them shares a flaw with The Gate to Women’s Country. No, I don’t consider that disqualifying — especially in view of what the books get right.)

    also @7: I was underimpressed by the novelette and first novel of Bannerless. Too much of the story is ax-grinding — like Laurie King’s one attempt at SF but with massively implausible tech in service of the grinding; a society that has lost that much other tech is not going to have pharmaceuticals at the levels needed to make the stories work at all.

    also also @7: Wood’s role in the Hobbit trilogy is ~insignificant. I thought his voice work as the title character in 9 (the animated movie, not the musical) was good.

    also^3 @7 / @OGH: I suspect the series Hopper was in is named “Merlin”.

    @8: at its best, Harry da Vinci’s Rings won’t be a patch on John M. Ford’s Harry of Five Points.

    @9: sounds interesting, but not something I want to try to deal with right now.

    @Ingvar: you admit to seeing 2 Starship Troopers movies? Brave.

  10. Oh, and I have a question for the various people who were speaking well some months ago of An Egg, a Key, an Unfortunate Remark: have any of you read other work by Harry Connolly, and if so is this nothing like them? I’ve just finished Game of Cages because it sounded interesting from one of those Tor Five Books That Do This Thing lists; my capsule review is that it has levels of pointless ultraviolence and snobbish stupidity that would make (respectively) Alex-the-droog and a Buffyverse Watcher curl up and whimper.

  11. @Chip: I have not, but I agree that “An Egg, a Key, an Unfortunate Remark” was kind of awful.

  12. @Chip Hitchcock have any of you read other work by Harry Connolly, and if so is this nothing like them?

    I think Key/Egg fails because he was trying to write the opposite of the Twenty Palaces books and couldn’t quite get comfortable with shift in tone, so… I guess it’s different but not quite different enough? But I enjoyed Game of Cages quite a lot, so my judgement may not be calibrated in way that’s useful to you.

  13. @ Chip Hancock

    I’ve read Game of Cages and agree with you. To me, it tried for grimdark urban fantasy and missed the mark.

  14. 4) I think I know what my early b-day/Xmas present to myself will be this year. I better start saving now!

  15. I have a theoretical question about the Hugos. One of my nominees for Dramatic Work this year will probably be Rise of the Phoenixes (available on netflix.) This is a Chinese show subtitled in English. So the question is, if Netflix later releases a version dubbed in English, which they have done for other shows, would it be eligible again? Or do the subtitles count for English publication? Just wondering.

  16. Bookworm1398 –

    Here is what the WSFS Constitution says:

    3.4.1: A work originally appearing in a language other than English shall also be eligible for the year in which it is first issued in English translation.

    3.4.2: Works originally published outside the United States of America and first published in the United States of America in the previous calendar year shall also be eligible for Hugo Awards.

    So I don’t think it’s clear for Dramatic Presentations since “English translation” isn’t defined–is it subtitles or is it dubbing? Regardless of which is first, is the work re-eligible when it’s released with the other (dubbing to subtitles or subtitles to dubbing)? Or, since it was release with English subtitles or dubbing the first time, is it not re-eligible when re-released with the other method?

    Until the Business Meeting decides (or doesn’t) to clarify, it’d be up to the Hugo Administrators and I guess I’d recommend nominating it again if you have space on your ballot.

  17. I think I’ll order the Manly Wade Wellman. Liked those stories. Didn’t know there was a double fistful of stories and novels I’d never encountered.

    I think they ought to take all the clips and outtakes and films of both DUNE and the STARSHIP TROOPERS and edit them all together. Maybe’d there’s be a half way decent adaptation of of those two respective titles lurking around in the compiled film salad.Maybe not. Not many are pleased now.Fewer later?

    It’s still not like reading the books involved.

    Why do books need to be made into movies?

  18. Yay title credit!
    (1) I look foward to reading it. a brief history was quite a read!

    Starship troopers- I guess you can do a lot with the setting. It could be a decent series even, but if it really materializes…?

  19. Unlike a few folks here, I was a big fan of Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, but it seemed like a fairly complete statement on its own and I never particularly felt the need to see any of the dubious sequels and I feel similarly about the potential TV series. I’d like to see a radically different vision of the novel, probably one more faithful to Heinlein’s vision if we are going to get another take on the novel.

  20. (9): I’m not sure anyone has put it better than Paul La Farge did in The Night Ocean – a book which is, in part, about a book supposedly written by H.P. Lovecraft that turns out to be a hoax, and the aftermath of that hoax:

    “Very soon, I had the impression that what I was reading was no longer the transcription of human speech or human thought, but just a barking from the bottom of a pit, faceless creatures calling for food.”

  21. 9) I read the story first (a few days ago), then the essay, which I thought didn’t live up to the story. The story itself is rich and full. It was interesting to contrast what happens when someone wrong who has a point goes up against someone without the strength to defend themselves, as opposed to how it worked out with Killmonger.

  22. You know SF/F continues to infiltrate society when New York Magazine announces an actor might be playing “Leto Atreides I” in the upcoming Denis Viilenueve version of Dune.

  23. Rob Thornton on January 29, 2019 at 3:10 pm said:
    You know SF/F continues to infiltrate society

    I noticed back in the 80s, when an article talked about “changes coming at warp speed” and didn’t explain the phrase.

  24. Indeed. I was surprised that the New York Magazine writer qualified the actor’s role as Leto I, which implies that they knew about Leto II from later on in the series.

  25. Ugh, BookRiot has published a clickbait article “How to Vote in the 2019 Hugo Awards” which is just wrong in so many ways. I guess I should stop being frustrated by people who write articles without doing any research first. 🙄

  26. Mike Glyer: What’s an example of something wrong with the post?

    It doesn’t mention that you can’t nominate if you join now, you had to be a member of Dublin 2019, or Worldcon 76, before December 31, 2018 in order to be able to nominate.

    “a white supremacist gamergate faction calling themselves the sad puppies”

    If the post had said “a group of far-right writers and fans calling themselves the Sad Puppies who were mainly interested in getting Hugo nominations for themselves, whose leaders then invited the participation of white supremacist and gamergate factions”, it’d have been a lot closer to the truth.

    “and voted the racists out”

    Let’s go with “and voted the cheaters below No Award”.

    “it costs approximately $45 to vote”

    It costs $50 or 40€ to buy a Supporting Membership, and one of the privileges of membership is participating in the Hugo Awards. There is no fee for nominating and voting in the Hugo Awards.

    “This will include your voting packet, right to vote and nominate, and a ticket to Worldcon.”

    Again with the nominating caveat, and Worldcon doesn’t sell tickets.

    “Worldcon administrators ask nominees and publishers for rights to their work.”

    No. They ask if the creators and publishers are willing to provide a copy of their nominated work for the packet.

    “Your Hugo voter packet for the final round will contain all the top five nominees in each category, for the most part (in my experience it doesn’t include film and TV but pretty much everything else is there).”

    “Publishers and/or authors must grant the Hugo administration the right to publish the nominated work for it to be included in the voter packet, but typically all of them do.”

    No, no, no, and no.

  27. @Chip
    I would say that was the point of the Twenty Palaces books. The world was full of pointless horror and willful stupidity even from the “good”( more accurately the people who wanted to keep the world the way it was because that was were they kept all their stuff) guys. And just when there was a little light at the end of the tunnel that was not an oncoming train the series was canceled.

  28. Yes, I was deliberately refraining from linking to it because it is just so wrong in so many ways, and I don’t want to give it any more bandwidth.

  29. @JJ: Sorry about that. If Mike chooses to edit my comment to remove the link, I’ll have no objection.

  30. No worries, I should have specified that was why I wasn’t linking to it. I gave people enough info to Google it if they really felt compelled to read it.

  31. @Robert Whitaker Sirignano: “Why do books need to be made into movies?”

    They don’t need to. Books don’t need to be written, either. Movies don’t need to be made. Books don’t need to be made into plays. Novellas don’t need to be made into books. Poems don’t need to be made into songs. Thoughts don’t need to be made into blog comments.

    People have been adapting things into other things ever since any art forms existed.

  32. Andrew: No harm done. It’s not like all of us didn’t run off and Google it anyway….

  33. @Magewolf: I sort of figured — but I thought I remembered some people who I wouldn’t have expected to go for that kind of bleak recommending aEaKaUR and wanted to see whether anyone spoke up — since AFAICT it’s not possible to search comments.

  34. @ Robert Wood:

    Oh, I have a… coplicated relationship to the film. I like it a lot, as long as I forcibly ignore that it’s supposed to be a Starship Trooper film. And that is something that intrudes every few minutes. And I think it would’ve been better for NOT being a ,i>Starship Trooper film, but I think it wouldn’t’ve been made if it wasn’t.

    And many of the things that would make it closer to a film of hte book, would not work with Hollywood-as-was, and probably won’t work with Hollywood-as-is. But we did get a Judge Dredd film where Dredd keeps his helmet on, so who knows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.