Pixel Scroll 10/19/19 Scrollgar, Do We Have Pixel Sign?

(1) GALAXY QUEST. See the trailer for Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary, which will be distributed through Fathom Events.

By all accounts, it was a movie that beat all odds: Surviving a set fire, the loss of a powerful director, and a studio that didn’t understand what it had, “Galaxy Quest” turned into a pop-culture phenomenon that would “never give up, never surrender.” As the cult classic nears its 20th anniversary – premiering on December 25, 1999 – “Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary” explores how the science-fiction comedy became an enduring fan favorite, a movie that helped launch the sci-fi- and fantasy-driven movie and TV industry that dominates global entertainment today.

(2) WILL THIS THREAT ACTUALLY WORK? It would be interesting to know the terms of the original gift, and whether a Weisinger descendant can revoke it: “University may lose Superman papers over Liz Cheney comments”.

The University of Wyoming could lose the papers of a longtime “Superman” comic book editor after his son took offense to comments by Congresswoman Liz Cheney.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Hank Weisinger contacted the university’s American Heritage Center Tuesday demanding the return of the collected papers of Mort Weisinger.

The elder Weisinger spent three decades as the story editor of the “Superman” series published by DC Comics Inc.

Hank Weisinger says his action was prompted by comments the Wyoming Republican representative made Monday placing blame for Turkey’s Oct. 9 invasion of Syria on presidential impeachment proceedings by Democrats.

Weisinger says he does not want his father’s papers at a university represented by a member of Congress he perceives as opposing Superman’s values of “truth, justice and the American way.”

The University of Wyoming’s Comic Book Industry holdings include the Mort Weisinger Papers which cover his work on Superman and other publications:

Collection contains materials relating to Weisinger’s work as a writer and editor from 1928-1978. Collection includes correspondence (1932-1978) mostly regarding his work as a writer and editor for “This Week” and other magazines and with companies who were included in “1001 Valuable Things”; the galleys and manuscripts for “The Contest,” “The Complete Alibi Handbook” and “1001 Valuable Things”; the manuscript for an unpublished novel about a U.S. President (ca. 1975); legal agreements between Weisinger and “This Week” and Bantam Books (1954-1978); and photographs of Weisinger, the Weisinger family and various celebrities.

(3) WATCHMEN IN TIME. NPR’s Eric Deggans asks and answers: “Who Watches This ‘Watchmen?’ I Will, And You Should”.

The classic graphic novel Watchmen – an explicit, realistic take on what the world might be like if people actually put on costumes and masks to fight crime — tackled many social and political issues: American imperialism. Nuclear tensions with the Soviet Union. The corruption of a President Nixon who stayed in office for five terms.

But there’s one subject the book — hailed by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the last century – didn’t really approach.

Race.

So it makes a certain kind of sense that, when superstar TV producer Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) decided to build an HBO series around a modern continuation of the 1980s-era novel – okay, comic book — racial tension would be the first thing he tackled.

The result is a visually stunning, energetically complex series that digs into the hottest social issue of our time. But it’s done in a way that may leave viewers unsure exactly what Lindelof is saying about it all.

(4) COMICS IN SCHOOL. “‘Comic Book Libraries’ for Ypsilanti students blows past fundraising goal”MLive’s story covers the successful initiative.

A program led by two Eastern Michigan University alums aims to encourage area students to read by giving them access to “Comic Book Libraries” at community schools.

And a recent GoFundMe campaign to help expand the program has blown past its fundraising goal twice in a week.

The GoFundMe appeal “Providing Comic Book Libraries for local students!” has raised over $3,000.

Comic Book Libraries is a Hero Nation initiative that seeks to improve youth literacy by providing high-interest reading material to classrooms throughout our community.

We currently have educators at five different schools throughout our community hosting Comic Book Libraries and checking books out to eager students.

Graphic novels and comic books are excellent resources that help engage students with literature and art. From phenomenal fantasy adventures, to riveting retellings of historical events, there’s a graphic novel for everyone! 

(5) MUSH! NPR’s Scott Simon interviews the author and asks the obligatory question in “George R.R. Martin Really Does Know You Want Him To Write Faster”.

On whether it’s difficult to have millions of people waiting for The Winds of Winter, the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire

Yes, especially because a certain portion of them are really impatient and snarky about it. You know, you can get one person who posts 150 messages in three days, all of which is “Where is Winds of Winter?” If any of you go home and post on your Twitter account, “Hey I was just at the Chicago Public Library Sandburg Award dinner and George R.R. Martin was there,” you know by the third message someone will say, well, “What the hell is he doing there? Where is Winds of Winter?” So at this point, it is what it is. And, you know, I should probably leave right now and go back [to] writing Winds of Winter.

It’s very important me to finish A Song of Ice and Fire. I want to finish it. I still have two more books to do, and I want to finish it strong. So people look at it and say, you know, this entire thing is an important work, not a half-finished or broken work. I know some of the more cynical people out there don’t believe that, but it is true.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • October 19, 1979 Meteor premiered. Starring Natalie Wood, Sean Connery, and Karl Malden, it was inspired by the 1967 Project Icarus from MIT. The film was a box office failure and received a 12% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. 
  • October 19, 2010 — The BBC’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The First Men In The Moon was first aired. Written by Mark Gatiss, it also stars Gatiss as Cavor and Rory Kinnear as Bedford. 

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 19, 1903 Tor Johnson. He acted in a lot of really bad films starting with Bride of the Monster and  The Unearthly with the next being Plan 9 from Outer Space followed by The Beast of Yucca Flats and finishing with The Night of The Ghouls. Three of these are directed by Ed Wood. He appears on in genre tv just once as Naboro in the “Inferno in Space” episode of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. (Died 1971.)
  • Born October 19, 1909 Robert Beatty. He’s best known for being in 2001: A Space Odyssey as Dr. Ralph Halvorsen. He played General Cutler in “The Tenth Planet”, a First Doctor story, and was General Halstead in The Martian Chronicles. He was in Superman III and Superman IV, respectively playing a tanker captain and the U.S. President. (Died 1992.)
  • Born October 19, 1921 George Nader. In 1953, he was Roy, the leading man in Robot Monster (a.k.a. Monster from Mars and Monsters from the Moon) acknowledged by him and others to be the one of the worst SF films ever made. He showed up in some decidedly low budget other SF films such as The Human Duplicators, Beyond Atlantis  and The Great Space Adventure. (Died 2002.)
  • Born October 19, 1940 Michael Gambon, 79. He’s best known for playing Dumbledore in the final six Potter films after the death of Richard Harris who had previously played the role. He also shows up in the 2010 Christmas Special of Doctor Who, “A Christmas Carol”, an Eleventh Doctor story, playing Kazran/Elliot Sardick.
  • Born October 19, 1945 John Lithgow, 74. He enters SF fame as Dr. Emilio Lizardo / Lord John Whorfin in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. He’ll later be in Santa Claus: The MovieHarry and the Hendersons, ShrekRise of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar and the remake of Pet Sematary. Oh and he voiced The White Rabbit on the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland series! 
  • Born October 19, 1946 ?Philip Pullman, 73. I’ll confess that I like his Sally Lockhart mysteries far more than I enjoy the Dark Materials series as there’s a freshness and imagination at work there I don’t see in the latter. Oh, some of the latter is quite good — I quite enjoyed Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in The North.
  • Born October 19, 1969 Vanessa Marshall, 50. Voice actress who’s Hera Syndulla on Star Wars: Rebels, a series I’ve been enjoying immensely. She’s gave voice to myriad characters from Poison Ivy to Black Widow. 
  • Born October 19, 1990 ?Ciara Renée, 29. She was Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl in Legends of Tomorrow in the Arrowverse which means she showed up on Arrow and The Flash as well.

(8) SOMETIMES IN SPITE OF POPULAR DEMAND. Trae Dorn of Nerd & Tie discusses why reporting issue-focused fan news is a hazardous occupation. Thread starts here.

(9) RIIIGHT. It’s all a misunderstanding, you see: “Nobel Literature Prize judges defend controversial award for Peter Handke”.

Nobel Prize for Literature panel members have defended their decision to give this year’s award to controversial Austrian author Peter Handke.

The choice has been criticised because of Handke’s vocal support for the Serbs during the 1990s Yugoslav war.

Nobel committee member Henrik Petersen said Handke was “radically unpolitical” in his writing and that his support for the Serbs had been misunderstood.

(10) THEY’RE GOING AT NIGHT. (Yeah, I know, but I’ve always loved that joke.) BBC says probe will watch the Sun: “European SolO probe ready to take on audacious mission”. (Embedded video is just audio, but adds info about connection to US solar satellite.)

The European spacecraft that aims to take the closest ever pictures of the Sun is built and ready for launch.

The Solar Orbiter, or SolO, probe will put itself inside the orbit of Planet Mercury to train its telescopes on the surface of our star.

Other instruments will sense the constant outflow of particles and their embedded magnetic fields.

Scientists hope the detailed observations can help them understand better what drives the Sun’s activity.

This goes up and down on an 11-year cycle. It’s sure to be a fascinating endeavour but it’s one that has direct relevance to everyone on Earth.

The energetic outbursts from our star have the ability to damage satellites, harm astronauts, degrade radio communications, and even knock power grids offline.

“We’re doing this not just for the sake of increasing our knowledge but also for being able to take precautions, for example by putting satellites in safe mode when we know big solar storms are coming or letting astronauts not leave the space station on these days,” said Daniel Müller, the European Space Agency (Esa) project scientist on SolO.

(11) DAWN OF FANDOM. John L. Coker III, President of First Fandom, introduced members to David Ritter’s First Fandom Experience project late last year:

…David is seeking material for an ambitious project: the First Fandom Experience (FFE).  The purpose of the FFE is to “honor, preserve and bring to life the experience of the first fans – the pioneering fans who were instrumental in defining, driving, growing and supporting science fiction and fantasy in the 1930s and beyond.”

David’s primary initial focus for FFE will be to “publish fan-created content from the SF and fantasy fields dating from the 1930s, in facsimile form, from the rarest to the most prominent fanzines of the period.  FFE will also seek to find and republish other related ephemera of the period, especially content relating to the fan club activities and conventions held through the 1930s.  In addition, FFE will publish new content authored by current fans and historians reflecting on their experience and knowledge of the genres in the 1930s.” 

Two recent posts from Ritter’s First Fandom Experience site are:

“They’re Grand, But… “ is the story of a late-night adventure in 1938, and its consequences, scanned from Sam Moskowitz’ fanzine.

In some ways, early science fiction fandom was like a family. Think Leave It To Beaver meets Jersey Shore. The love and hate in the complex web of relationships often played out both in person and in fanzines. A shining example: a 1938 late-night road trip worthy of Scorsese’s After Hours.

In February 1938, Samuel A. Moskowitz penned a saccharin homage to his brothers and occasional sister in the fan community. “They’re Grand” appeared in The Science Fiction Fan (v2n6).

“Dessert of the Day: The Science Fiction Special” documents an eofannish obsession with ice cream, with a recipe by Frederik Pohl in the The International Observer (v2n7, January 1937), later refined by Donald A. Wollheim and John B. Michel in The Science Fiction Bugle, May 1937. (Scans of both items at the link.)

(12) NO TIPS, PLEASE. “LEONARDO Bipedal Robot With Thrusters” on YouTube is a robot developed at Caltech with a really good sense of balance.

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

37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/19/19 Scrollgar, Do We Have Pixel Sign?

  1. If I remember what I learned from Kerbal Space Program correctly, it’s actually better to launch missions to the Sun at night, because if you launch with the rotation of the Earth you lose orbital speed so your perihelion is lowered for free

  2. I would think you’d want to go at almost ninety degrees from the sun, backwards along Earth’s orbit, since your first and most important objective must be to overcome the orbital velocity imparted by the Earth. But I’m sure that’s an oversimplification–I’m pretty sure I remember hearing about at least one mission which ended up using Jupiter for braking before heading in towards Mercury, because it was so much easier to head out towards Jupiter than directly in towards the sun. (They obviously weren’t in a big hurry.)

  3. Since I didn’t see it mentioned, I wanted to announce here that Adri (Arifel) is now an editor at Nerds of a Feather.

    Well, she has been for a month, but we’re slow at making public announcements.

  4. 2) I don’t quite understand this story- the article makes it sound like the son objected that the university existed in the same state as Cheney? Not that it had some special relationship with her.

    5) Personally I don’t care if he finishes or not. He’s already introduced me to some great memorable characters and that’s the important thing.

  5. bookworm1398: I don’t quite understand this story- the article makes it sound like the son objected that the university existed in the same state as Cheney? Not that it had some special relationship with her.

    The university is technically run by the State of Colorado and was created by its legislature.

    But yeah, I thought it was a big stretch, too.

  6. I thought it was a big stretch, too.

    The biggest stretch is the idea that Mort Weisinger, one of the nastiest guys in comics, was somehow representative of truth, justice and the American Way.

    More than one artist who worked for him has told me that his funeral was so well attended because everyone really wanted to be sure…

  7. 7) George Nader may not have left much of a mark of SFF, but after he was driven out of Hollywood for being gay, he went to (West) Germany and starred in a series of eight movies featuring the popular German pulp hero G-Man Jerry Cotton. The Jerry Cotton movies are very enjoyable, particularly the early black and white ones.

    When George Nader died, all the big newspapers and TV stations in Germany ran obituaries for him. I still remember how outraged I was that the In Memoriam segment at the Oscars omitted him, for how could they omit Jerry Cotton?

  8. 8) The problem is “the instinct to avoid any sort of public turbulence” in the first tweet, but then in the fourth tweet they chose to “quietly blacklist” a person because that was “what we could do” ?Perfectly illustrated by their own actions.

    Myself, I think we also have the problem with the opposite. The tendency to turn every thing a con does into a public turbulence that sucks life and energy from organizers. Every persons actions should be documented to never be forgotten.

    I’m starting to think of social media more as “social surveillance”.

  9. Thanks for the title credit – and @Soon Lee, well played!

    Speaking of playing, The Return of the Obra Dinn just came out for the console I have (it’s been out on Real Computers™ for a while now), and I’ve been spending time with it lately. You know those logic puzzles where you’re told that Dr. X plays golf with the nephew of the person he’s sitting across from etc, and you have to figure out everyone’s name/job/position or whatnot? Return is like that… implemented in a first-person-shooter engine… with low resolution 1 bit graphics. Yes, 1 bit. Think 80s era Macintosh games, with dithered images.

    Despite the 1PS DNA, this is not any kind of reaction time game and you do not shoot at, or run from, anything. Your role is an insurance inspector for the East India Company, sent aboard a ghost ship to determine what happened to its crew; you do this with a magic pocket watch that lets you hear the moments before a person’s death, and walk through a freeze-frame of their expiration. There is audio of some awful things (one person is rngra ol n xenxra juvyr gnxvat n qhzc, for example) and a certain amount of grue, but again, no video and very low definition grafix. Recommended to all to whom this sounds like a recommendation.

  10. We have Scrollsign the likes of which GOD has never seen.

    In other news, if Filers were curious where I was, I was in Nepal for a few weeks. If you go to twitter and search the hashtag #NePaul2019, you can see some of what I was up to. I have thousands of more photos to process.

  11. Meredith Moment UK: Forty books from Gollancz are on sale for £.99 and up, including Emma Newman’s Planetfall, Ian McDonald’s Luna: New Moon, Alastair Reynolds’ Revenger, and Sam Peters’ From Darkest Skies, all of which I thought were really good.

  12. (7) John Lithgow also spent six years as an alien professor on Earth in 3rd Rock from the Sun.

  13. valoise says: John Lithgow also spent six years as an alien professor on Earth in 3rd Rock from the Sun.

    Figured someone else would note that role. I admit I do go for the more obscure roles more often than not.

  14. one mission which ended up using Jupiter for braking before heading in towards Mercury

    Ulysses, the ESA half of the international Solar Polar Mission (Supposed to be two nearly identical craft but the USA cancelled their half) that actually flew. As hinted at by the name it flew over the poles of the sun which involved a 90 degree plane change as well as getting close to the sun. The only practical way to manage that was to use Jupiter to twist the course out of the ecliptic.

  15. #2: Potentially it might make sense for Mort Weisinger’s son to want to withdraw his father’s papers if the president of the university said something offensive, or maybe even the governor, but not a member of the House of Representatives. Liz Cheney is a federal officeholder, not a state officeholder. She has no direct involvement with oversight of the University of Wyoming.

  16. (7) The Tenth planet is a First Doctor story, not a Third Doctor one. It is particularly notable as it was the last of the Hartnell era and introduces both the concept of regeneration and the Cybermen for the first time.

  17. Lithgow also voiced Yoda in the NPR Star Wars adaptations! Here in the Mollmann household, we’re also fans of his children’s picture book (with accompanying song) I’m a Manatee.

  18. Joe Sherry: Adri (Arifel) is now an editor at Nerds of a Feather.

    Congratulations, Arifel! I’ve always found your book assessments and recommendations helpful, so I know you will be a huge asset to the fanzine. 🙂

  19. @Edmund Schluessel: directly backwards along Earth’s orbit means launching at sunset, not during night.

  20. @Chip: Maybe I’m picturing it wrong, but isn’t a sunset launch aimed directly at the sun, and not counter to the Earth’s orbit? In my mind’s eye, a launch at midnight would be the most effective at cancelling out some of the Earth’s orbital motion (but I freely admit that it’s late and I might have it wrong).

  21. Andrew on October 20, 2019 at 7:18 pm said:

    isn’t a sunset launch aimed directly at the sun?

    Rockets go up, right? If you look straight up at sunset, are you looking directly at the sun?

    I’m less sure whether you want dawn or sunset. I’m pretty sure the direction of the Earth’s rotation is the same as that of its orbit, so I think you want sunset, when you’re turning away from the sun in both senses, but I could well be confuzzled about that part.

  22. @Xtifr

    Andrew on October 20, 2019 at 7:18 pm said:

    isn’t a sunset launch aimed directly at the sun?

    Rockets go up, right? If you look straight up at sunset, are you looking directly at the sun?

    A rocket launched at sunset is initially going straight up, but (unless it is a retrograde launch, which would be massively inefficient and dumb) its orbit is towards the Sun, taking advantage of the Earth’s rotational momentum. So in that sense, yes, it is aimed at the Sun.

    But launch time doesn’t really make much difference as to whether you have an advantage in going towards the Sun, or towards the outer solar system. It’s the direction you are headed when you leave the Earth’s gravity well that is important.

    If the Kerbal space mission Edmund referred to is straight from Earth’s surface to final (relative to the Sun) orbit, without intervening Earth orbits, then launch time and direction matter;.

  23. Ah, right. At noon, you’re at the closest approach to the sun, and traveling in the opposite direction from the Earth’s orbit (since the Earth’s rotation and orbit are both in the same direction). So, yeah, a launch at noon (or sometime between noon and sunset) would seem to be ideal if you want to shed the Earth’s orbital velocity around the sun–as opposed to its rotational velocity, which we’re now trying to take advantage of.

    But noon is also not at night…am I still missing something? Am I wrong about the Earth’s rotation and orbit sharing a direction?

    (I’m sure there’s a reason NASA/ESA haven’t hired me to plan their launches.)

  24. Yes, the earth both rotates and revolves in the same direction, which is why the sidereal day is slightly shorter than the solar day.

  25. (2) I think this demonstrates why libraries, archives, and universities do not want any conditionals around donated materials. I know that this was an important point when the Swedish Royal Library received a donation of the largest collection of sf fanzines in Sweden.

    (5) I wish some people understood that the wellsprings of creativity needs to be replenished, seldom works in isolation, and can do well with lying fallow from time to time.

    (8) This is a really tricky subject, and while I agree with Hampus’s concerns, I think we also need to be aware that the previous way of handling harassment and sexual assault hurt a lot of people. The difference is that now we know there is a systemic problem. I’m not sure we have good tools for handling it yet, but not dealing with this stuff is worse.

    I’m also of the opinion that large public eruptions are fundamentally unsafe for everyone involved. There is a value in dealing with things discreetly which is different from sweeping things under the rug.

    (9) Historically, the Swedish Academy has attempted to build a reputation for being independent and unorthodox in their Nobel Prize selections, by choosing laureates that are wholly outside of the expected. Dario Fo and Bob Dylan are two such examples. Viewed in that light, and given the turbulence in the academy over the last years, I think Hendke’s political opinions were a plus for some of the academy members. Not in the sense that he held those specific opinions, but that he held controversial opinions.

    I see it as a signal from the academy that they don’t care what their detractors say.

  26. (9) The one book of Handke’s that I have read, Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter was bad enough to inspire me not to try any of his again.

    It’s a very special kind of “unpolitical” to be a speaker at Slobodan Milosevic’s funeral.

  27. 9) Well, awarding Handke is still less controversial than when they gave the price to racist colonialist abuser misogynist VS Naipaul.

  28. That’s debatable; did as many people describe Naipaul’s work itself as crap that pandered to academicians? (I haven’t read it myself; I’m going by what I’ve seen here and elsewhere.)

  29. (9) I’m not going to—and can’t—compare the prospective shittiness and controversiality for Naipaul and Handke. What has changed, however, are two things. First is the assumption that the academy has moral and aesthetic authority. That has been severely weakened. Second is that art is open to political and moral criticism today in a way that it wasn’t twenty years ago, and it is likely to continue in that direction in the next few years. The sf field appears to be the canary in the mine here.

    @Chip: I think it’s a bad assumption to say that Handke’s work panders to academics. He seems to be a rather popular author, though his popularity seems to be more pronounced among middle-aged men. He is definitely not a popular author like Dylan (heh) or Atwood (who is often mentioned as a possible winner), but as I understand it by no means considered difficult or opaque.

  30. @Xtifr: Yeah, noon, not midnight. I got it backwards (typical!). Earth rotational velocity is pretty small compared to its orbital velocity but every little bit helps, I suppose.

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