Pixel Scroll 10/8/21 Foundation And Vampire

(1) TRYING TO CROSS THE MIGHTY AMAZON. Kindle Direct Publishing has been yanking Mark Lawrence’s chain: “My attempts to get sense from KDP”.

KDP is what authors use to self-publish books and short stories. A self-published author will use just KDP. A traditionally published author may use KDP to publish additional material. I used it for Road Brothers, the Book of the Ancestor story Bound, and my short story During the Dance….

…The ‘crime’ they’re accusing me of concerns – if you follow the link – ‘willfully misleading metadata’. More on that later. …

…Without acknowledging the stupidity of their request they unblocked my account. But since the only item they had complained about was still ‘in review’ and you can’t alter anything on a book in review, I had to email them again. I’m telling them that I think they’re complaining about me referencing books I didn’t write & I’m telling them that I did write those books…

(2) INKLINGS WATERING HOLE TO REOPEN. A historic pub frequented by authors including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis will open its doors again reports the Oxford Mail: “Historic Oxford pub Lamb & Flag to reopen in time for Christmas”.

The pub in St Giles, popular with students and real ale drinkers, has been serving since 1566, and switched to its current site in 1613.

St John’s announced its closure in January, citing tough conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the hospitality sector.

But following an outcry, the Inklings Group – named in honour of the pub’s former literary patrons JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis – has signed a long-term lease to relaunch the pub.

The modern Inklings is a group of fans of the pub from ‘town and gown’. It is described by St John’s as a ‘diverse and eclectic mix of Oxford people, past and present’ which includes scientists and entrepreneurs, writers and artists, as well as local businesses and suppliers.

Kate O’Brien, chairman of the Inklings Group, said: “Several hundred people, brought together by a love of Oxford and the Lamb & Flag pub, have established the Inklings Group to secure the future of this well-loved pub….

I knew of the Inklings’ association with Oxford’s Eagle and Child pub but this other place was news to me. I checked with Inklings scholar Diana Glyer who explained, “From time to time, the Eagle and Child ran out of beer, so the Inklings walked across the street to the Lamb & Flag. And then when the Bird & Baby remodeled in 1962, they permanently switched to the Lamb & Flag.”

(3) LEARNING THE GAME. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Behind a paywall in the Financial Times, Tom Faber discusses “tutorials,” the part of a video game where players learn the rules of the game.

There is an adage in game design that players enjoy learning but not being taught. Some games get tutorials right by following this maxim.  The undisputed pinnacle is ‘World 1-1’ in 1985’s SUPER MARIO BROS., which shows how expert environmental design can teach wordlessly.  Players learn how Mario moves and jumps intuitively, while the designers employ ‘affordances,’ cues that draw on players’ existing knowledge.  So we run away from one guy because he has angry eyebrows and we put the key in the lock because that’s where keys go,  The reason Mario collects coins is because the developers needed to think of something that anyone would want to pick up off the ground — what else but money?”…

…Other titles dare to be creative.  In HORIZON ZERO DOWN, hero Aloy grows from child to adult as the player learns abilities.  FALLOUT 3 gamifies childhood by showing the player/character being born, taking their first steps and learning to shoot with a BB gun.  These are excellent tutorials because they leave the player with the knowledge they need, excited to get into the game proper and with a sense that the game has respected their time and intelligence. We should applaud these games that have mastered the art of teaching, but the majority of the industry still has much to learn.

(4) KEEP THEM DOGGIES ROLLING. Jon Del Arroz and Vox Day steal the hubcaps off the wheels of Comicsgate in “Debarkle Chapter 66: The Rise and Self Destruction of Comicsgate” at Camestros Felapton.

…Inevitably tying the culture war to crowdfunding comic books was a step that somebody was going to take.

Although it was not obvious in March 2017, the shine was coming off Vox Day’s Castalia House publishing project. When the Rabid Puppies campaigns finally ran out of steam, Day’s enthusiasm for publishing new science fiction novels would also wane sharply. Provoked by an article in The Federalist by Jon Del Arroz jumping on the trend of attacking diversity in comics, Day asked his followers if they’d be interested in crowd funding a line of comics from Castalia….

(5) THESE LOOK FAMILIAR. Literary Hub’s Emily Temple defends her choices for “The 25 Most Iconic Book Covers in History”.  Almost a third of them are genre.

First things first. What makes a book cover iconic? There are no hard and fast rules, of course—like anything else, you know it when you see it. But in order to compile this list, I looked for recognizability, ubiquity, and reproduction—that is, if there are a million Etsy stores selling t-shirts/buttons/posters/tote bags with the book cover, or if someone you know has ever dressed up as it for Halloween, or has a tattoo of it, it probably counts as iconic….

(6) WHAT YOU SEE WHEN YOU KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. “11 Scary Space Facts That’ll Make You Appreciate the Earth We’re Destroying” – a slideshow at Lifehacker.

We need to get rid of outer space—it’s too dark and too terrifying, and everything out there wants to kill us. Yet some of our most popular billionaires seem convinced that rocketing humanity off into the stars is a more viable longterm survival strategy than simply trying a little less hard to ruin the one planet we’ve already got.

Perhaps they should review the following strange and horrifying space facts, which will definitely make you thankful you were born on good old Earth…..

First on the list:

Something we cannot see may be tilting the entire universe

There is something in the space between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela that is pulling groups of galaxies toward it. This mystery thing is too far away for us to see, but we can observe that galaxy clusters are moving toward the whatever-it-is at extraordinary speed. Scientists surmise that The Thing could be so big it’s essentially tilting the universe. Vibes: bad.

(7) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1974 – Forty-seven years ago on NBC (where else would it be?), Star Trek: The Animated Series first aired. The first spin-off from Star Trek, it had the entire voice cast of the original series save Walter Koenig (who did write one episode). Show writers David Gerrold and D. C. Fontana considered it to be a fourth season of the first series. Its second season won an Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment in a Children’s Series. It lasted but two seasons consisting of a total of twenty-two episodes. “The Slaver Weapon” episode was adapted from “The Soft Weapon” by Larry Niven who the episode. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an outstanding rating of ninety-four percent. And yes, I remember the series fondly. 

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 8, 1920 Frank Herbert. Dune, of course, which won a Hugo at Tricon. (I’ve read it myriad times.) I’ll admit I only like the series through Dune Messiah. The BBC full cast audio version of Dune is quite amazing. I’m also fond of Under Pressure.  (Died 1986.)
  • Born October 8, 1928 John Bennett. A very long involvement in genre fiction starting with The Curse of the Werewolf in the early Sixties and ending forty years later with a role on the Minority Report series. Being a Brit, naturally he appeared on Doctor Who in the prime role of Li H’sen Chang as part of a Fourth Doctor story, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”. He had roles in Blake’s 7, Watership DownTales of The Unexpected, The Plague DogsDark MythSherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (as Dr. Sigmund Freud!), Merlin of The Crystal Cave and The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells. (Died 2005.)
  • Born October 8, 1949 Sigourney Weaver, 72. I’m picking her greatest genre role as being the dual roles of Gwen DeMarco and  lieutenant Tawny Madison in Galaxy Quest. Chicon 2000 did give the film Best Dramatic Presentation Award after all and it is a loving homage to all that is good in the genre. And yes, I know Conspiracy ‘87 gave Aliens a Best Dramatic Presentation Award as well but I’m really not a fan of that franchise. 
  • Born October 8, 1949 Richard Hescox, 72. Illustrator who between the years of 1976 and 1993 illustrated over 135 covers for genre books but now works mostly in the games industry and for private commissions. Also notable for producing advertising art for such movies as Escape from New YorkTime BanditsSwamp ThingThe Dark Crystal, The Neverending Story and Conan the Barbarian.  Some of his work is collected in The Deceiving Eye: The Art of Richard Hescox (2004) with text by Randy Dannenfelser. 
  • Born October 8, 1951 Terry Hayes, 70. Screenwriter of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior which he co-wrote with George Miller and Brian Hannant, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome with Miller, and From Hell (from the Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell novel) which he co-wrote with Rafael Yglesias. He’s also His the writer of an unused screenplay, Return of the Apes.
  • Born October 8, 1954 Stephen Furst. Stephen is dead, damn it all. The saddest part of doing these birthdays is discovering how many folks have died that I reasonably expected were still living. Babylon 5 has had far too many deaths among its cast with Mira Furlan being the latest. Furst died of complications from diabetes at a far too young age. You know him most likely as Centauri diplomatic attaché Vir Cotto on Babylon 5, a decent being way over his head in a job he was ill prepared for. He also directed three low-budget movies for the Sci Fi Channel: Dragon StormPath of Destruction, and Basilisk: The Serpent King; he additionally co-starred in the last two films. And he produced Atomic Shark which aired during Sharknado Week on Syfy. 
  • Born October 8, 1974 Lynne M. Thomas, 47. Librarian, podcaster and award-winning editor. She has won nine Hugo Awards for, among other things, one of many involved in SF Squeecast fan cast and editing Uncanny magazine with and husband Michael Damian Thomas. She and her husband are fanatical Whovians, so it’s no surprise that with Tara O’Shea, she edited the superb Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It
  • Born October 8, 1993 Molly C. Quinn, 28. Fey / Intern Molly / Melony on the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and Pemily Stallwark on the sort of related Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast. She’s Jenny in the Authurian Avalon High series, and showed up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Howard’s date.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) CROWD-PLEASERS. Gothamist’s “The Best Cosplay From Comic Con 2021’s Subdued Opening Day” has 72 photos.

… Capacity restrictions made the usually jam-packed aisles and atria feel almost empty at times. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for the under-12 set are required for entry, and masks are mandatory inside. But after a lost year, devoted cosplayers and their oglers were not going to let pandemic protocols spoil the party. 

“I love it!” said Michelle Ford, who came as Mira from Aquaman in an astonishing jellyfish dress that took two months to make. “I come to Comic Con every year, it’s literally the highlight of my year, and I like to hit it hard. Last year I took my 2019 costume and did a cosplay transformation video from home, but this is WAY better. I love the people and the interaction, it’s priceless.”…

(11) LOVECRAFT OR BUST. At Heritage Auctions there are two days left to bid on the Gahan Wilson-designed Lovecraft bust World Fantasy Award presented to Glen Lord in 1978. The top bid as of this writing is $410.

Gahan Wilson (Designer) H.P. Lovecraft Bust World Fantasy Award Sculpture for Publisher Glenn Lord Memorabilia Science Fiction (World Fantasy Convention, 1978). Cartoonist Wilson’s passion for horror fiction shaped his dark-humor cartoons for Playboy magazine, but it was in his homages to author H.P. Lovecraft that Wilson really let his freak-flag fly. This foot-tall bust of Lovecraft is a dimensional interpretation of a Wilson design, complete with Wilson’s google-eyed facial details. It was manufactured during 1975-2015 for presentation to recipients of the World Fantasy Award, recognizing a year’s best bizarre fiction. This near-pristine specimen went to publisher Lord (1931-2011) – best known for his career-spanning representation of the estate of Robert E. Howard, originator of the Conan the Cimmerian cycle of stories…. 

(12) CANUCKSPLOITATION NO MORE. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Well, this sounds promising; a well-reviewed Canuck sci-fi movie. Hope it lives up to the hype. “Review: Chilling sci-fi thriller Night Raiders sets fire to Canadian history” in the Globe and Mail.

“A thoughtful and invigorating sci-fi thriller quite unlike anything else this country has produced, Night Raiders takes a hard look at Canada’s past and sets an oil-slick fire to the idea of our safe, nice and boring nation.”

(13) PLAGUE YEAR IN COMICS. The New York Times’ Ed Park analyzes “How Comics Responded to Our Locked-Down, Anxious Covid Lives”.

…At the outset of last year, [Tasmanian-born cartoonist Simon Hanselmann] was riding high from recent successes, and (as he muses in the endnotes) “2020 was set to be another banger!” — international travel, nonstop partying, following up his great 2019 book “Bad Gateway.” But, as we know, the coronavirus had other plans, locking down artists and audiences at home. Hanselmann pivoted to create what he calls that “repulsive thing,” a free serial webcomic, and figured the world would return to normal in a month. Instead Covid kept getting worse, and from March 13 to Dec. 22, Hanselmann kept putting his stable of timeworn miscreants through the wringer. This book emerged from that agonizing year.

It begins with Megg, Mogg and Owl at home as the outbreak grows more worrisome. Megg’s chief concern is that her Animal Crossing preorder will now be delayed: a perfect snapshot of early-pandemic cluelessness. Soon, the house is packed with uninvited (if masked) houseguests: Werewolf Jones and his two feral kids (bearing toilet paper), the green-scaled trans woman Booger, and the chill, mustached Mike (a Harry Potter fan). To uptight Owl’s dismay, Jones starts performing sex acts on camera for money. (“I lost my warehouse gig,” Jones says. “I don’t have a foofy ‘work from home’ type job like you.”) But when Owl himself gets axed — unbeknown to him, his work laptop has been capturing scenes of domestic depravity — he demands a cut of Jones’s new gig and dictates content….

(14) STILL LOST. Netflix dropped a teaser trailer for the third and final season of the Lost in Space reboot.

(15) CALTECH READY FOR HALLOWEEN. Gizmodo introduces us to the “Creepy New Drone That Walks and Flies Is a Robopocalypse Nightmare Come True”. They’re working on it at Sheldon Cooper’s alma mater (if you follow the biographical breadcrumbs dropped at Big Bang Theory rather than those at Young Sheldon).

Introducing LEONARDO, or LEO for short. The name is an acronym for LEgs ONboARD drone, which nicely but insufficiently describes this robot. The Caltech engineers who built LEO didn’t just slap a pair of robotic legs onto an aerial drone—they had to design the bot with both walking and flying in mind and develop specialized software to integrates its various components.

LEO is still a prototype—a kind of proof-of-concept to see if a bipedal flying robot can perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for ground robots or aerial drones to accomplish on their own. In the future, a full-fledged version could be tasked with difficult or dangerous jobs, such as inspecting and repairing damaged infrastructure, installing new equipment in hard-to-reach places, or attending to natural disasters and industrial accidents. Eventually, a LEO-like robot could even transport delicate equipment to the surface of a celestial body, such as Mars or Saturn’s moon Titan. More ominously, the agile bipedal flier could be used in defense or warfare….

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Olav Rokne, Michael J. Walsh, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, James Davis Nicoll, Michael Damian Thomas, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/8/21 Foundation And Vampire

  1. First!

    I still like Dune as I re-read, well, re-listened to it a few years back and the Suck Fairy had been unusually kind to it. I was, I admit, surprised.

  2. (8) Stephen Furst

    I loved Vir on B5. He was a ordinary person, way over his head, trying to behave in a somewhat moral fashion in a time and place where that was confusing and difficult. (Like is always is, right?). When the story came to the scene where he told off Morden I want to stand up and shout YES, a reaction that had never happened before and never has since. God rest his soul.

  3. I’ve read and re-read Dune several times, and the original book is pretty decent as far as the Suck Fairy goes. There are still some things not great (c.f. The Baron and the treatment of his sexual preferences)

    In re TAS, I managed to not see it until I was an adult–it never came on reruns anytime I could see it.

  4. Ben Bird Person says i keep hoping TAS will get the Sealab 2021 treatment but then i still need to see Lower Decks?

    I do hope that you like it a lot better than I did. I couldn’t even get through the pilot episode before throwing it against the wall metaphorically speaking. I just found it really, really annoying.

    Now listening to Simon R. Green’s An Ishmael Jones Mystery: Buried Memories

  5. 3) Breath of the Wild’s tutorial has insufficient rails and I apparently managed to miss about half of it, including the part where you learn to use your bow.

    @Nancy Sauer: I know, Vir was awesome. And probably the only person in the higher Centauri government with a functional moral compass.

  6. (8) – According to her IMDb profile, Molly C. Quinn was born in 1993, not 1983, making her 28. (You threw me because I thought, “Wait, didn’t she play Castle’s daughter? Surely the show isn’t that old…”)

  7. HBO Max which I subscribe to has Babylon 5 as one of its offerings so I’m planning a full rewatch of it this Winter. Oddly HBO Max doesn’t have any of the movies nor the spin-off series, Crusade.

  8. 1) The problem trying to get ahold of a human being and not receiving canned responses when you have issues with KDP is well known. I hope Mark Lawrence is able to get it resolved.

  9. @Andrew (not Werdna)

    (7) ST:TAS introduced the holodeck to ST, btw

    See the entry for holodeck at sfdictionary.

    (8) Stephen Furst — For me, best remembered as Flounder in Animal House (not genre) and as Dr. Axelrod in St. Elsewhere (maybe genre?)

  10. The saddest part of doing these birthdays is discovering how many folks have died that I reasonably expected were still living. Babylon 5 has had far too many deaths among its cast with Mira Furlan being the latest.

    I recently rewatched Sleeping in the Light, and the hardest part is seeing so many actors playing “old” in that episode (Jerry Doyle, Richard Biggs, Mira Furlan, Stephen Furst, Zack Conaway) who never got to actually be old.

  11. Stephen Furst was a nice guy. A barrel of energy at cons. He did a VHS tape (yes, that long ago) about diabetes where he parodied a lot of pop culture, especially Terminator, while putting in info about the disease.

    And the little wave at the head on a stick is still one of the great images of SF.

    Sigourney Weaver: I like no mention of (barf) A**aa, but what about Ghostbusters?

    Still stuck in 702.

  12. I liked ST:TAS because they took advantage of the fact that they were animated to do things that wouldn’t have been possible in live-action TV series at the time — Lt. Arex and M’Ress, of course, but also some impressive big ships and alien vistas &c.

    (I’m still surprised we haven’t seen Arex, or one of his race, in one of the recent incarnations, unless I’ve missed something.)

  13. 3) As always, I need to hold Portal up as one of the most complete examples of “the tutorial” in video games. I’d say fully ninety percent of the game is teaching you, bit by bit by bit, the principles that you need for the end of the game, with the first half of the game making that teaching explicit within the context of the story itself.

    It’s not quite World 1-1, but it’s still a tour de force that still deserves recognition.

  14. @Joe H.: It looks like an Edosian (Lt. Arex’s species) was in an episode in the first season of ST: Lower Decks. There’s also a Caitian (M’Ress’s species) main character named Dr. T’Ana as well.

  15. lurkertype says Sigourney Weaver: I like no mention of (barf) A**aa, but what about Ghostbusters?

    Check my wording. I said her greatest genre role. I was not trying to all-inclusive here. Yes, her role as Dana Barrett was most delicious.

  16. (13) I read ‘Crisis Zone’ as it was being serialized and man that was one heck of a ride.

    Note that I am not, by any means, actually recommending that people here read it or any of the regular MM&O strips (Crisis Zone is sort of an AU). Honestly I’m not even sure I ‘like’ it, but it sure is something.

  17. @David H. — I haven’t gotten around to Lower Decks yet, but that’s good to know. I’d still like to see either or both of them show up in a live-action series, though.

  18. @Joe H

    I think Lower Decks has gotten much better this season. They’ve rolled back on the “Mariner has to do and solve everything” conceit and turned it into much more of an ensemble. In fact, I think the last episode, “wej Duj” (the title was shown in Klingon script, but that’s what it translates into according to IMDB) is the best yet. It’s definitely going on my BDP-Short longlist.

  19. Bonnie McDaniel days I think Lower Decks has gotten much better this season. They’ve rolled back on the “Mariner has to do and solve everything” conceit and turned it into much more of an ensemble. In fact, I think the last episode, “wej Duj” (the title was shown in Klingon script, but that’s what it translates into according to IMDB) is the best yet. It’s definitely going on my BDP-Short longlist.

    Ok I’ll give it another go. The concept was fine, it was the execution that sucked when I watched the pilot episode with the humor I thought being handed far too heavy handed.

    Now listening to Simon Green’s An Ishmael Jones Mystery: Buried Memories

  20. 5
    That’s random. Not Berry’s cover for Neuromancer? Not Godel Escher Bach? Not the bare black leather of the Bible, not the bare blue of the Book of Mormon? Not the Winnie the Pooh covers?

    Ah well, #notmyicons

    6
    Yep, and keep watching with ever keener eyes. Plenty of existential menace in the stars. We are, after all, only property.

    I consider Dune Messiah the best part of Dune. If I were reprinting Dune, I’d bind it with Messiah. Kinda one very long novel, sorta. Seriously, skip the rest. You deserve some kindness.

  21. (5) Though these covers are familiar, the overwhelming majority are clunky and amateur-ish, at least to my eye. Jurassic Park and Jaws, yes. The rest are just meh, any impact comes purely from nostalgia.

    And what the devil are they talking about – the second “S” in Slaughter-House Five is not upside down. It’s set in an arc but in context it is correctly oriented.A foolish and erroneous list.

  22. Brown Robin notes correctly that I consider Dune Messiah the best part of Dune. If I were reprinting Dune, I’d bind it with Messiah. Kinda one very long novel, sorta. Seriously, skip the rest. You deserve some kindness.

    Oh quite. And really speaking, Dune wraps up nicely at the end of Dune Messiah. I need to give the latter book a listen soon as it’s been quite a while since I’ve experienced it. I seriously doubt that the Suck Fairy will have gotten Her Claws into it. And yes I think the rest are horrid beyond belief though I know they have their defenders here.

  23. Regarding Dune: Yes, it does wrap up with Dune Messiah. If you think of the four following books as set in an alternate universe, they hang together also, but aren’t as good. As for the rest, the ones by Brian H & al, nope.

  24. @Bonnie McDaniel: Yeah, this season of “Lower Decks” has been lots of fun, with many elements of TAS drawn in (Kzinti, Pandroians, etc.)

  25. I’m glad to hear other people assessing Dune Messiah as the best of the seres. I’ve seen enough people disagree that I wondered if I liked it because I read it before the others.

  26. Paul King says I’m glad to hear other people assessing Dune Messiah as the best of the seres. I’ve seen enough people disagree that I wondered if I liked it because I read it before the others.

    I actually think that Dune Messiah is better written as a story than Duneis. Part of that is that the story is far more focused than Dune is.

  27. @bibulb re: Portal

    I agree! Not only great tutuorial design but great design in signaling where players should go/what the challenge is. Very organic.

  28. @Miles Carter — To my eyes the second S is upside-down. They look identical as oriented, but being on opposite sides of the arc, they shouldn’t. (Is this one of the stupidest things ever to argue about?)

  29. (6) The iconic fantasy cover that comes to my mind is the 1960s-era Ballantine paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings. There were even posters available. Though Tolkien himself didn’t think much of them.

  30. @Jeff Smith
    Yes, the second “S” is upside down. The lower curve sticks out past the top end of the “S” on the first one, and on the second one it’s the top curve that sticks out past the lower end.

  31. @Daniel Dern & @Mike Glyer: Great Pixel Scroll title! 😀

    Happy Birthday, @Mike Glyer’s Mom!

    @Various: I liked Children of Dune a lot and God Emperor of Dune was pretty good, but then I couldn’t really get into the next two (dare I say “the last two”? yes, I dare). Re. the focus, Dune itself could’ve been split into two books.

    . . . . .

    (5) THESE LOOK FAMILIAR. I initially misread this as “ironic book covers.” 😉 Ugh, iconic or not, far too many are just so-so typography with little-to-nothing else on the cover than words. Iconic if you grew up with them, I suppose, but I know some of those books by other covers.

    (6) WHAT YOU SEE WHEN YOU KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. Eek, I suspect reading this will keep me up late at night, fearing the universe’s doom! ::click:: Okay, not quite as bad as I thought, and I followed a couple of links to pages with links to other interesting questions over at “Ask an Astronomer.” So: groovy!

    (7) MEMORY LANE. I remember the Niven episode and (better) the Known Space short story version. The animation for the Kzinti wasn’t great and ISTR the voices used were very grating.

    Huh, a couple of minor/background characters in “Lower Decks” are Kzinti, too.

    (8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. Happy Birthday to all, especially Frank Herbert (DUNE!), Sigourney Weaver (Mike Garrigan song here, which I love), and Stephen Furst (whom I remember most fondly from “St. Elsewhere,” since I rarely saw “Babylon 5”).

    (10) CROWD-PLEASERS. Some awesome costumes/outfits! Some great work integrating masks in some of them, too. I don’t know who most of the anime ones are, but they’re still cool looking. 😀

  32. @P J Evans: I think what’s going on with that S is a somewhat clumsy attempt to address a common problem with setting type on a curved path: with a typeface that’s designed for a pleasing balance of space between letters in a normal horizontal position, the same letters on a curve can look too jammed together on the inside end and too far apart on the outside end. It happens to not look too bad with the E on the opposite side of the arch, but I believe if you flipped that S the regular way round you’d see what I mean. Other options would have been 1. rethink the choice of typeface, 2. rethink the curve, or 3. reshape the letters (easy now, but pre-digital it would mean hand-drawing it all). They chose the shortcut of using the type as-is and just flipping that one letter.

  33. @Eli
    I was wondering if whoever did the cover accidentally got the S upside down. It would have been easy to do. I could only tell by looking closely at the shape. (I spent a lot of time at work looking closely at shapes. At one point I was looking for 0.01-inch overruns/underruns on lines. I called them “frog fur”.)

  34. @P J Evans: I mean, I have no way of knowing, but I think it’s very unlikely to have been accidental. Book designers are people who spend a lot of time looking closely at shapes too, and arranging type like that by hand (probably with either cut-out film or press-on transfers) takes deliberate effort. And the fact that you don’t notice it unless you look closely is pretty much the point of that kind of minor cheating: it’s meant to look balanced to a casual observer from medium distance, whereas putting the S the right way round, while typographically correct, would create an imbalance of space and line weights that a casual observer might be a little more likely to notice at least subliminally. I shouldn’t have called it “somewhat clumsy” earlier— it’s a fairly clever shortcut, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul Bacon kind of liked the idea that someone might do a double-take on closer inspection.

    (By the way, the full article in fact makes a point of the upside-down S, and it links to another article that makes the same guess that I did: “to counteract the extra white space that results from fanning letters out in this way”.)

  35. @Kendall: Dune itself could’ve been split into two books
    In fact it was originally, wasn’t it? Serialized in Analog as “Dune World” and “Prophet of Dune”.

  36. @David Goldfarb: Ah! I probably knew that and forgot. (I read it in book form, as a mammoth tome, or so it seemed compared to most books I read at the time.)

  37. I started reading Analog with the January 1965 issue, with “The Prophet of Dune, Part 1.” When I bought the novel (from the Science Fiction Book Club), I intended to just read “Dune World” (part one of the novel), but couldn’t stop there and read “The Prophet of Dune” (parts two and three) again.

  38. My birth father mentioned to me that he’d read Dune when it was serialized, and that his father (who I met a couple of times before his death) had been an Analog subscriber. “Why didn’t you tell me your father read SF?” I asked. His answer boiled down to, “You never asked.” Sheesh.

  39. “Prophet of Dune” was a five-part serial. “Dune World” (the first part of the novel) was three parts.
    Yes, I did read them when I was a kid. 8th and 9th grade.

  40. I remember at a Star Trek convention in Seattle in the 1970s, David Gerrold was taking a question (it was really more of a comment, but it was from a small child so that was okay) from a four-or-five-year-old who said “I like two [holds up two fingers] kinds of Star Trek, regular Star Trek and cartoon Star Trek,” and DG laughed and said, “What other kinds of Star Trek are there?”

    So many kinds. So. Many.

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