Pixel Scroll 10/10/19 We’ve Secretly Replaced The Pixels In Mike’s Scroll With (Qvqa’g Jr Whfg Gryy Lbh, Vg’f N *FRPERG*?)

(1) THE GAME OF THE NAME. John D. Berry renders his verdict about their usefulness and design in “A tale of three nametags”.

In the course of less than a month this summer, I attended three major events, each of which had a nametag that attendees were supposed to wear. The first, in Dublin, was this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, which was being held in Ireland for the first time. The second, a week later in Belfast, was the Eurocon, or European Science Fiction Convention, which moves around among European countries and was hosted by the organizers of Titancon, an annual Belfast science fiction convention; holding it in Northern Ireland the week after the worldcon made it easy for people visiting from other countries to attend both conventions on their trip. The third event was ATypI 2019, the annual conference of the Association Typographique Internationale, in Tokyo – ATypI’s second time in Asia, as it happens….

(2) WBAI STAFF STILL FIGHTING. The Brooklyn Eagle heard it from Jim Freund, host of a sff radio show at the station: “WBAI radio staffers, still barred from air, ramp up fight”.

“It ain’t over,” radio host Jim Freund told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday.

Freund, 65, hosts a science fiction and fantasy talk show called “Hour of the Wolf” on 99.5 WBAI FM — the decades-old, listener-sponsored radio station currently taking its parent nonprofit, the Pacifica Foundation, to court.

On Monday, Pacifica — which owns a slate of other independently operated radio stations — abruptly shut down local programming at WBAI and shuttered its Atlantic Avenue workspace, citing millions of dollars of debt and the desire to rebuild the station around national, syndicated content.

By Tuesday morning, the staff — which consists largely of unpaid volunteers — was granted a temporary restraining order by the Manhattan Supreme Court, barring Pacifica from terminating any WBAI employees or impeding on its local programming in any way until Oct. 18, when both parties must appear in court.

But as of Wednesday, producers said local programming was still being kept off the air.

“This isn’t the first time something like this has happened,” said Freund, who has hosted “Hour of the Wolf” on WBAI for nearly half a century. “In 1977, there was an incident so huge that Pacifica took us off the air for three months. There was static.”…

(3) DON’T CALL HIM LATE FOR DINNER. Columbia News caught up with Jeremy Dauber, the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, to chat about his first children’s book Mayhem and Madness: Chronicles of a Teenaged Supervillain, what he read as a child and whom he would invite to a dinner party — “Releasing His Inner Teenager”

Q. You’re organizing a dinner party. Which three scholars or academics, dead or alive, do you invite?

A. The first guest would have to be Tolkien, Oxford’s Merton Professor of English Language and Literature. Then Gregory Benford, the noted science fiction writer and the University of California at Irvine’s Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy. There have always been rumors that Elena Ferrante is actually an Italian professor; if whoever it was accepted the invitation, we’d find out for sure!

(4) NEW SYSTEMS. Nature advance posts a look back nearly a quarter of a century to the detection of the “First exoplanet found around a Sun-like star”.

Anyone over the age of 35 will remember growing up in a world in which only one planetary system was known — our own. We remember proudly reciting the names of the nine planets (eight before Pluto’s discovery in 1930, and again today with its reclassification as a dwarf planet in 2006) and wondering what other planets might exist around the stars in the night sky. Contemplating life beyond the Solar System was relegated to science fiction. This all changed in 1995 when Mayor and Queloz1 reported the detection of the first exoplanet around a Sun-like star…

(5) FLOP OR ‘FLIX? Is this the new market reality? “Studio Dilemma: Risk a Box Office Flop, or Sell to Netflix?” – seek the answer along withThe Hollywood Reporter.

…Call it Tom’s Choice. Like all the major studios, Sony Pictures is questing for new franchises — and after years of development, it might have one with the He-Man movie Masters of the Universe.

But while the picture is on the calendar for release in March 2021, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that studio chairman Tom Rothman is exploring the prospect of getting risk-free cash for the pricey project by making it for Netflix instead. A studio source says talks are preliminary, but such a deal would make Sony the next studio after Paramount to start making movies belonging exclusively or almost exclusively to the streamer.

So there’s the dilemma: seek a studio or financier to partner on the project, holding on to various rights and territories, or make the safe deal with Netflix (which would not seem quite so safe if the film were a huge hit and it already was sold).

(6) LESSING CENTENNIAL. Nature looks at Doris Lessing’s science fiction in what would have been her 100th year. “Doris Lessing at 100: roving time and space”

Her lifelong interest in science and societal upheaval is embodied in fascinating ways in Canopus in Argos, a series of five books published from 1979 to 1983. (She came up with the title a few weeks after seeing, and loving, George Lucas’s film Star Wars, in 1978. The inspiration might have been the ‘crawl text’ at the film’s start.)…

 Novelist Anthony Burgess, author of the dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange (1962), complained of her “fanciful cosmic viewpoint”. Although science-fiction doyenne Ursula K. Le Guin praised some character sketches in Shikasta as “immortal diamond”, she found the whole at times “little more than a pulp-Galactic Empire with the Goodies fighting the Baddies”. Undeterred, Lessing worked her way through the series, declaring bloodymindedly that “space fiction, with science fiction, makes up the most original branch of literature now”. She had friends among sci­fi authors, including Brian Aldiss, and happily attended meetings of the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. She championed the genre as influential in mainstream literature, whose pundits nevertheless “are much to blame for patronising or ignoring it”. 

(7) THE FACTS OF SFF LIFE. Andrew Liptak, in “Two New Books Examine the Lost History of Speculative Fiction”, gives readers of the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog persuasive reasons to read two works of genre history.

Science fiction, fantasy, and horror are genres with a long history behind them, and historians and writers have spilled plenty of ink covering the authors, events, franchises, and works that form their bedrock. Recently, two books have hit stores that are well worth picking up if you’re a fan of genre history: Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror & Speculative Fiction, by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson, and Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Desirina Boskovich. Both offer excellent examinations of the genres while shedding a bit of light on parts of their history that aren’t often illuminated.

(8) THE MAGIC NUMBER. Nick Kolakowski picks “5 Classics of Cyberpunk Noir” at CrimeReads.

From its inception, cyberpunk has shared quite a bit of DNA with crime fiction. Your archetypical (some might say stereotypical) cyberpunk anti-hero, hacking into the mainframe of a highly militarized mega-corporation, could easily trade some tips about life on the street with a grizzled safecracker from a Richard Stark novel or Michael Mann film. Both cyberpunk and crime fiction often focus on those who live on the edge of society, trying to scratch out a living while wrestling with some degree of existential ennui.


  • October 10, 2008 City of Ember enjoyed its theatrical release.  The film starred Saoirse Ronan and Toby Jones, currently The Librarian in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. It’s based on the series by Jeanne DuPrau. Rotten Tomatoes gave it rating of 53%. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 10, 1924 Edward Wood Jr. Though known for Plan 9 from Outer Space, he did a lot of bad genre films including Night of the Monster and Bride of The Ghouls. (Died 1978.)
  • Born October 10, 1927 Dana Elcar. Most of you will remember him as Peter Thornton on MacGyver, but he has a long genre history including Russ in Condorman which was inspired by Robert Sheckley’s The Game of X. He also played Sheriff George Paterson in Dark Shadows, and showed up in 2010 as Dimitri Moisevitch. (Died 2005.)
  • Born October 10, 1929 Robin Hardy. Wicker Man is the film he’s known for though he followed that up with The Wicker Tree, an adaptation of his Cowboys for Christ novel. Anyone seen it? (Died 2016.)
  • Born October 10, 1931 Victor Pemberton. Writer of the script for the the “Fury from the Deep”, a Second Doctor story in which he created the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. He had appeared as an actor in the series, in a non-speaking role as a scientist in “The Moonbase” story. In 1976, he wrote the BBC audio drama Doctor Who and the Pescatons which I remember hearing. Quite good it was. (Died 2007.)
  • Born October 10, 1931 Jack Jardine. A long-time L.A. fan who was present at many West Coast cons and who shared the dais on panels with some of the major names in SF. He attended his last convention, in a wheelchair, assisted by his daughter Sabra, after a debilitating stroke at the age of 70. His health continued to get worse until he died from heart failure. File 770 has more here. (Died 2009.)
  • Born October 10, 1941 Peter Coyote, 78. He actually did two genre films in 1982 with the first being Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann in which he appeared as Porter Reese and  the second being E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which he’s Keys, the Agent hunting E.T. down. Sphere in which he’s Captain Harold C. Barnes is his next SF outing followed by The 4400 and FlashForward series being his next major genre involvements.
  • Born October 10, 1947 Laura Brodian Freas Beraha, 72. While married to Kelly Freas, she wrote Frank Kelly Freas: As He Sees It with him along with quite a few essays such as “ On the Painting of Beautiful Women or Ayesha, She Who Must Be Obeyed” and “ Some of My Best Critics are Friends – or Vice Versa“. She’s credited solely for the cover art for the 1993 Easton Press interior art for The Left Hand of Darkness according to ISFDB. 
  • Born October 10, 1966 Bai Ling, 53. She’s Miss West in Wild West West and the Mysterious Woman in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, she has a major role as  Guanyin in The Monkey King which aired on Syfy.


(12) PRANK. The Hollywood Reporter has the story: “‘Joker’: Student Banned From AMC Theaters for ‘No Singles Policy’ Prank”.  

Given the mild cultural panic surrounding the Oct. 4 release of Todd Phillips’ Joker, it’s fair to speculate that theater security and guest services departments have had a rough couple weeks and were on edge going into last weekend. A student at Cal State Long Beach decided to test their patience anyhow, and got hit with a lifetime ban for his efforts.

On the night of Oct. 3, Twitter user @jinpayn — who declined to share his first name with The Hollywood Reporter but whose last name is Payne — posted a photo of a flyer taped to a ticket kiosk outside the AMC Orange 30 cinema in Orange, California, that read, “Please note: We are enforcing a strict NO SINGLES POLICY for tonight’s showings of JOKER due to safety precautions. We will not be admitting anyone without an additional partner.” “Great, I can’t see @jokermovie because I’m here alone. Wtf @amctheaters?” he tweeted

(13) COSPLAY FINALIST OUSTED FROM COMPETTION. “Comic Con bans cosplay champion’s ‘blackface’ entry” and the organizers say they are reviewing all their terms and conditions to prevent this from happening again.

French cosplay champion Alice Livanart has been removed from the EuroCosplay finals by organisers after she was accused of “blackface.”

The EuroCosplay Championships, to be held at MCM Comic Con in London later this month, pit together the winners of individual competitions in 25 European countries.

Alice Livanart won the France Cosplay Cup in September 2019 with her cosplay of League of Legends character Pyke.

However, she has now been banned from the European finals after allegations on social media that her costume was insensitive.

(14) ACCIO, TREASURE! BBC reveals which “Harry Potter first edition sells for £46,000 at auction”.

A rare copy of the first Harry Potter book has sold for £46,000 at auction after it was kept in a briefcase for safekeeping for more than 20 years.

The Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hardback edition was given to a Lancashire family who planned to keep it as an heirloom.

They decided to sell it after hearing about another book fetching £28,500.

The 1997 edition is the “Holy Grail” for collectors, a spokesman for the auction house said.

…Only 500 copies were published in the book’s first print run, with 300 of those sent to libraries.

(15) GRAPHIC EXAMPLES. You’ve heard of the comics censorship that happened in the Fifties, and after you read the examples CrimeReads offers in “A History of EC Comics in 7 Tales of Murder & Horror” you’ll know what it was about.

“Split Personality”—The Vault of Horror 29

Ed King is one of EC’s long line a smooth-talking, pencil-mustached con men. He sees dollar signs after learning of rich twin-sister agoraphobes. Both sisters fall for the oily eel, but if he marries only one of them, he’ll only get half their fortune. So the snake decides to play his own twin. It only makes sense, right? Eventually the dames catch on, and with EC’s classic I’ve-gone-mad signifiers (Little Orphan Annie eyes, frozen grins, sweat beads), the sisters split Ed down the middle so they can each enjoy half. As our host, the Vault-Keeper says, Ed made “a BIGAMISTake!” (Note: Another tale, “How Green Was My Alley” is the same story, but with the addition of bowling/golf, and the two-timer getting his head/eye used as balls.)

(16) UNEXPECTEDLY PLANNING AHEAD. “Israel cave bones: Early humans ‘conserved food to eat later'”.

Scientists in Israel say they have found evidence that early humans deliberately stored bones from animals to eat the fatty marrow later.

It is the earliest evidence that humans living between 200,000 and 420,000 years ago had the foresight to anticipate future needs, they say.

Early humans had not previously been thought capable of such dietary planning.

Researchers analysed bone specimens at Qesem cave near Tel Aviv.

They identified cut marks on most of the bone surfaces – consistent with preservation and delayed consumption.

(17) DOING WHAT A NINJA’S GOTTA DO. BBC tells why “Japan ninja student gets top marks for writing essay in invisible ink”.

A Japanese student of ninja history who handed in a blank paper was given top marks – after her professor realised the essay was written in invisible ink.

Eimi Haga followed the ninja technique of “aburidashi”, spending hours soaking and crushing soybeans to make the ink.

The words appeared when her professor heated the paper over his gas stove.

“It is something I learned through a book when I was little,” Ms Haga told the BBC. “I just hoped that no-one would come up with the same idea.”

…”When the professor said in class that he would give a high mark for creativity, I decided that I would make my essay stand out from others,” she said.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

64 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/10/19 We’ve Secretly Replaced The Pixels In Mike’s Scroll With (Qvqa’g Jr Whfg Gryy Lbh, Vg’f N *FRPERG*?)

  1. 10) I admire the restraint in not writing ‘a lot of other bad genre films’.

    10bis) Not genre, but Coyote narrates a lot of documentaries, and with his voice it’s no surprise. He just did the Ken Burns doc on country music, which I liked – as well as The Commune, about Black Bear Ranch, where Coyote was himself once a resident,

  2. 12) And that’s what you get for going back to the prank to draw attention to it.

    Seems a somewhat arsehole prank TBH. I guess there are probably people who do want to see the film, and the cinema doesn’t deserve to lose business.

  3. 10) At the memorial for Bill Harrison, who wrote “Roller Ball Murder” and then the screenplay for Rollerball, Peter Coyote read (not in person) Bill’s autobiographical story “Thirteen Beds”, a sweet final story about Bill and Merlee’s long, eventful marriage, of which Daryl Gregory’s “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” reminded me structurally.

    12) Surveillance culture chills free expression. News at eleven. Maybe.

  4. nickpheas: AMC is a multi-billion dollar company with hundreds of outlets in the US alone, I think they can handle a little bit of lost business at a particular 30-plex.

  5. @1: Is it possible that Berry’s summary of the purpose of a nametag is incorrect? e.g., ISTM that some Worldcon attendees regard them as souvenirs (hence the large artwork). I’m a bit surprised at the tiny font of the Titancon badge — it seems they could have used more space — but neither of us knows whether they chose a font to fit the longest name they had to deal with (“Matthew Woodring Stover”? “Patrick Nielsen Hayden”?) or one that they guessed would certainly fit any name. I’ve done font fitting for tent cards, by ~hand; mechanisms to automate fitting and/or folding should have happened in the 20 years since, but I don’t know whether they’re generally available.

    @10 typo: “cover at”.

    @13: we’ve seen plenty of examples of unrealistic/disrespectful darkface costumes. (Trudeau’s “Aladdin” is the latest news I’ve heard, although it happened in 2001 so I’m sure there have been cases since.) This doesn’t sound like the ado over Maui costumes (which were ~generalizing ~personalized tattoos); I’m wondering whether it is unacceptable for a white person to cosplay a black character at all, or whether there was something off about this portrayal that isn’t covered in the story.

  6. Meredith Moment: Voila! Amazon is selling the ebook versions of Frank Herbert’s Whipping Star and Dragon In The Sea for $2.99 each.

  7. @Rob Thornton: Looks like, at least right now, all the Frank Herbert ebooks from Tor are $3 on iBooks.

  8. Here’s the info on Herbert ebooks on sale at Amazon beyond my previous post:

    $2.99 for Collected Stories, Dosadi Experiment, White Plague, Santaroga Barrier, Hellstrom’s Hive

    $4.99 for Soul Catcher, Godmakers, Destination: Void, Jesus Incident (Pandora 1), Direct Descent

    $5.99 for Lazarus Factor (Pandora 2), Ascension Factor (Pandora 3), Heaven Makers

    $9.99 for all three Pandora books (Pandora Sequence)

  9. Not the Dune books, sadly, but a bunch of Herbert’s other stuff is $2.99 on Amazon.

    Or for $9.99 you can get The Frank Herbert Classics Boxed Set [sic], which contains

    A Game of Authors, Angels’ Fall, Destination: Void, Direct Descent, The Godmakers, The Heaven Makers, High-Opp, Soul Catcher, A Thorn in the Bush, and Frank Herbert: Unpublished Stories.

  10. Is it just me? I re-read Dune a few years ago, and was… underwhelmed. I’d remembered it as an Amazing Book, so maybe it just suffered in comparison with my memory… but it had a high level of tell-not-show and a general low-level of misogyny. I can forgive the latter to some extent for being Of Its Time, but not so much the former…

    It’s still a good book. But I no longer consider it a Great Book.

  11. @Cassy B.
    It’s close to 60 years old, so I expect a little creakiness.
    (It’s probably easier for me to read, as I think in sounds and pictures, but newer authors are spoiling me.)

  12. I suspect a lot of my continuing admiration of Dune et seq stems from a) Kathy Mar’s song “Shai-Hulud” and b) The Dune Encyclopedia. (As far as I’m concerned, the Encyclopedia is every bit as much canon as the six Dune books – even the parts that contradict each other. (And there are only six Dune books.))

  13. @Cassy B: I think the show-don’t-tell rule wasn’t much taught then, especially in-genre; ISTM that readers (especially of ASF) were expecting clear exposition rather than having to pick up threads as they went. See-my-work (cf “show your work” on math tests) is also easier on the author; I think standards of authorial work in general have gone up a lot since Dune came out. It’s possible this makes the book popular among people who don’t read much SF; Samuel Delany wrote a couple of decades back about people who “can’t read SF” not having the ability to pick up the whole from what’s shown. (He spoke of it as innate, but all the examples he gave seemed to me a matter of acquired knowledge of tropes that don’t have to be spelled out — the analogy I like is a contemporary reader knowing what it means when a Thorne Smith lead stops at a drugstore, which involves a largely-vanished array of social context.)

  14. Patrick Morris Miller says I suspect a lot of my continuing admiration of Dune et seq stems from a) Kathy Mar’s song “Shai-Hulud” and b) The Dune Encyclopedia. (As far as I’m concerned, the Encyclopedia is every bit as much canon as the six Dune books – even the parts that contradict each other. (And there are only six Dune books.))

    Six is a reasonable number of Dune books. Certainly the ones written in recent years don’t count. Was the Encyclopaedia considered official? I’ve seen PDF bootlegs floating around the net for decades now.

  15. About reading SF and reading protocols in general: Long before I came across the Delany essays, I recognized that the way I read had been strongly affected by my early encounters with SF and mysteries. And maybe mysteries had the earlier effect–I recall the old Ellery Queen “Challenge to the Reader” in (I think) The Dutch Shoe Mystery (which I read around age 12), where the author(s) insert a page stating that all the clues necessary to solving the crime have now been presented. So one way to read a mystery was to pay close attention to the data and the way it was presented and watch for sleight of hand. Not long after, I noted a flavor of SF that I later called “guess my world,” in which the nature and causes of the setting were puzzles that the reader was supposed to figure out. Either Aldiss’s Starship/Non-Stop or Galouye’s Dark Universe were the exemplary texts.

    The reading habits encouraged by this kind of story are not far from those required for the close reading of literary texts–the analytical approach that ruled when I got to college and grad school. Since those days, I’ve watched not only for the expository information itself but for the ways writers manage it–everything from clumsy “As you know, Bob” passages to Vancean footnotes and chapter epigraphs to cunning (and demanding) contextual embedding that echoes the Ellery Queen challenge.

  16. @Cat Eldridge: Herbert didn’t hesitate to contradict the Encyclopedia in the last two books, but he was quite complimentary in the foreword he contributed to it:

    I must confess that I found it fascinating to re-enter here some of the sources on which the Chronicles are built. As the first “Dune fan,” I give this encyclopedia my delighted approval, although I hold my own counsel on some of the issues still to be explored as the Chronicles unfold.

    I wish I knew where my copy was.

  17. (6) Jonny Mnemonics German dubbing had the quirk of constantly confusing silicon with silicone. Didn’t help with immersion…
    (The German terms are much more distinct than the English)

  18. I still read enough older SF that the old-fashioned exposition styles don’t bother me that much. Other things, yes, but that, not so much. Though I admit I found it jarring when reading a relatively new book that started with a brief-but-unrelieved info-dump; it did leave me wondering if the author actually read much SF.

    On the other hand, I would like to assure you folks that there are only three Dune books. And the middle one only exists because it forms a necessary bridge between the first and third–otherwise, it too would merely be a shared delusion. 🙂

  19. @Xtifr
    IMO, there are only two Dune books. The rest are all add-ons to make money. (Srsly, the first two are in the same universe. After that, they’re in some other one. In the first two, the change from the spice gets you the memories of the people before you in that change, as a chain of memories. In the rest, you get the memories of your genetic ancestors instead.)

  20. It used to be common wisdom that there were only two Dune novels (the first two). Interesting to see that idea evolving.

  21. Well, God Emperor of Dune -has- to exist, because the Encyclopedia is explicitly stolen from Leto II Atreides’ archives.

    Heretics and Chapterhouse did get really weird, though.

  22. Interesting. The idea that Dune Messiah was just not-so-good filler necessary to get you to the good stuff in Children was fairly common back when there were literally only three books. (I actually read Children in serial form, as it came out.) I guess it just shows that different clusters of fandom could have different views, even back then. 🙂

  23. Xtifr, I read that one as a serial too, and had trouble with it then. (I read the first one as serials, also. As a kid (12-15 at the time), I was very impressed.)

  24. My belief is that God emperor of Dune („God pixeler of Doom“?)is a logical conclusion of the Dune series. Everything that came after that is just money grab.

  25. I’m still sad that we’ll never know what Frank Herbert actually had planned for the seventh book.

    And if nothing else, God-Emperor of Dune was responsible for a fine episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.

  26. I thought the last published Frank Herbert book (Chapterhouse) was higher quality than the previous two and was looking forward to seeing what would happen in book 7.

    Dune: Encyclopedia was a lot of fun (I still have my copy)

  27. @P J Evans: Children wasn’t as good as the first book, but before it came out, most people I knew were saying “don’t bother with the sequel.” I, unfortunately, did bother, and regretted doing so until Children came out, which seemed like at least a partial return to form.

    I honestly think that Dune Messiah is the worst of the Dune books I’ve actually managed to finish (the first five), so there’s no way I would ever suggest just reading the first two. Either stop at one, or go on to at least three, are the only suggestions I’ll ever make. IMO, Messiah’s only saving graces are 1. it’s mercifully short, and 2. it sets you up for Children.

    @Peer: I could actually go along with that. My main complaint about God Emperor was that it didn’t really seem to do anything new. It was just logical extrapolations of ideas presented in the earlier books. But I guess I wouldn’t actually call it bad. Underwhelming, but not bad.

  28. @ Joe H

    And if nothing else, God-Emperor of Dune was responsible for a fine episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.

    Indeed it was. I was stunned as I watched that show!

  29. I read the article about the cosplayer. I’m not familiar with the character Pyke, so there’s that.

    However, I do have some questions about the ‘rules of cosplay’ if you will.

    In the last decade or so, we have been demanding more inclusion and more diversity in characters in the media we consume, and we seem to have gotten that.

    Black Panther was a roaring success. Are we saying that no one can cosplay any of the characters in Black Panther unless they themselves are black? That seems a HUGE disconnect to me.
    What about Lando Calrissian? In the Star Wars Canon, he is a black man. Does that rule him out for cosplay by anyone who is not a black man?

    Unless there is something else at play here, this seems like political correctness run amok, and I don’t say that lightly.

    Are the new rules such that only if you are the same color and ethnicity as the character are you allowed to cosplay that character? That seems completely counter to the culture of diversity and inclusion we are trying to create.

  30. @P J Evans–

    Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov has died, age 85.

    The first person to spacewalk.

    I personally think it is self-evident that only two Dune books exist. Everything after the first two is just a mass delusion.

    @Techgrrl1972–The history of blackface leaves an especially nasty taste, so, yeah, what might otherwise might be seen as respectful homage is just not going to be.

    Despite wondering if I was going to remain upright long enough to get out the door, I have successfully completed a shopping expedition and returned home.

  31. Camestros Felapton says I can confirm that AT LEAST one Dune book exists. We shouldn’t jump to any strong conclusions beyond that.

    I’m convinced that somewhere there’s a definitive edition of Dune In a hardcover edition that is a merging of Dune and Dune Messiah which truly are really one novel that Herbert just forgot to stitch together. Everything else that followed doesn’t really matter.

  32. Cat Eldridge on October 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton says I can confirm that AT LEAST one Dune book exists. We shouldn’t jump to any strong conclusions beyond that.

    I’m convinced that somewhere there’s a definitive edition of Dune In a hardcover edition that is a merging of Dune and Dune Messiah which truly are really one novel that Herbert just forgot to stitch together. Everything else that followed doesn’t really matter.

    I think there’s sufficient evidence that Analog magazine published a serialised novel of the name “Dune” but the rest of the claims about the book sound apocryphal. Published by a car manual company? Turned into a glossy film by David Lynch of all people? None of that sounds plausible.

    Obviously, I keep an open mind about all these other sightings of ‘sequels’ and ‘tv miniseries’ and ‘Sting in his underpants’ but I suspect this is an all an urban legend.

  33. I can’t take credit (or blame) for this: I heard it from an acquaintance, who credited it to his brother.

    Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune: notice the number of words in the title increments by one with each sequel, to match its order in the sequence.

    After the fourth, it starts decrementing by one each time: Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse Dune.

    So clearly there was going to be a seventh and final book to finish the series, and that book was going to be titled: Done.

  34. Camestros Felapton: Obviously, I keep an open mind about all these other sightings of ‘sequels’ and ‘tv miniseries’ and ‘Sting in his underpants’ but I suspect this is an all an urban legend.

    No flies on you! “Sting in his underpants” is not the cause of global warming, no matter what they say.

  35. (6) I was surprised that that article didn’t mention Briefing for a Descent into Hell, the only Lessing novel I’ve read and in my opinion well within the bounds of SF/F (although it’s one of those things where you can dismiss the fantastic element as allegory or delusion if you want). I didn’t like it much, but it did get shortlisted for the Booker.

  36. Regarding the exposition style of Dune, it certainly does tell you a lot of stuff but I would argue that it’s not in the tradition of what Xtifr called “old-fashioned exposition styles”. You almost never get a sentence like “the ____ was a weapon that did ____” or “the role of political group ____ in the galaxy was ____” within the narrative. The narrative is close-third-person via the characters and it mostly assumes that you already know whatever they know; in that way, it’s using a relatively modern style. But then he adds in all these epigrams at the top of every section, excerpts from fictional encyclopedias and biographies and propaganda pieces, which are a combination of exposition and foreshadowing but they’re not very straightforward— sometimes they explain a thing that there wasn’t an opportunity to address in any one scene, but other times they’re just helping to build atmosphere and give you the feeling that you’re embedded in a massive future history (which Herbert will really never describe in as much detail as you might expect) and that the stuff you’re reading about now will become political mythology in the further future.

    I think that a lot of this is really “showing” more than “telling”, in the same sense that the sidebars in Gateway with the interviews and classified ads and so on are a way to dramatize the exposition instead of just spelling it out. But it still comes across as very tell-y because the tone is so dry, and the people in the epigrams are so serious and portentous.

  37. Techgrrl1972, my understanding is that it’s fine to do cross-gender or cross-race cosplay, as long as you don’t pretend to be another race by changing the color of your skin. As Lis says, doing that unfortunately resonates with a painful history of racial mockery.

  38. Lenore Jones / jonesnori on October 11, 2019 at 8:10 pm said:

    Techgrrl1972, my understanding is that it’s fine to do cross-gender or cross-race cosplay, as long as you don’t pretend to be another race by changing the color of your skin. As Lis says, doing that unfortunately resonates with a painful history of racial mockery.

    So if a white man cosplays Black Panther, he has to stay with white skin? What about Worf from Star Trek? He’s an alien, but for some reason the Klingon race is presented as black.

    I’m sorry, that’s insane.

    Like I said, this looks like political correctness run amok, and opens up ‘woke’ culture to ridicule.

    And normally, I consider accusations of ‘politically correct!’ to be excuses for people to ignore rules of polite respect for other people and use the n-slur to be ‘cool’

    This is simply bizarre.

  39. Techgrrl1972, I think it’s best to take people at their word when they say something is offensive to them. Without all the history, this might not be such an issue. But the history is there. It’s not only the minstrel shows – the use of white actors for black, Asian and American Indian characters has a long history also, and it still happens, though less than it used to.

    You must do as you think right, of course. But I would never do it.

  40. @Xtifr

    could actually go along with that. My main complaint about God Emperor was that it didn’t really seem to do anything new. It was just logical extrapolations of ideas presented in the earlier books. But I guess I wouldn’t actually call it bad. Underwhelming, but not bad.

    I absolutly agree. I found it interesting, but somewhat repetitve. But its the logical endpoint of the threads started in earlier books, the transformation in a giant worm being the most obvious.

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