Pixel Scroll 10/16 Callahan’s Scrolltime Saloon

(1) Anne and Jared at Pornokitsch advise air travelers about the 5 Best Airport Snacks. Anne trends toward the practical and healthy. Jared picks stuff I would eat….

Anne says:

  1. Edamame. Honestly, you’ll probably find somewhere that does sushi. Skip the fish and treat yourself to a carton of these beauties.

Jared says:

  1. Jerky. Jerky is cow gum! A bag of it can last for at least a flight, and probably outlast your jaws’ ability to chew it. Whatever that cheap brand is that comes in perfectly cut squares? Avoid that. Oh, another jerky thing – the first time you open the bag, it will belch forth the fetid odor of desiccated cow, like the breath of a zombie dragon. Probably best to do that before boarding.

(2) Wil Wheaton’s fame as a homebrewer was yesterday’s Scroll topic. Wheaton’s also willing to offer opinions about wine.

William Shatner had him as a guest on Bill’s show Brown Bag Wine Tasting. You may not have known Wil and Bill were “old friends” but it says so right here on the internet.

Old friends Wil Wheaton and William Shatner have more in common than their Star Trek past. Join them for a conversation about home brewing beer, the outer limits of space, video games, and some great wine tasting.

Shatner told how his show was created in an interview by Food & Wine:

What was your inspiration for Brown Bag Wine Tasting? It’s an offbeat idea to have nonexperts like a Real Housewife discuss wine.? I was talking to Mike Horn, a friend of mine, one day, and I just thought, Brown-bag wine tasting. Mike’s a radio producer and has a vast interest in wine, too, and when I mentioned ?it, he loved the idea. I’d already been doing an interview show for three years on the Biography Channel, and combining ?the two just sort of happened in my brain.

How do you get people who don’t know much about wine to describe one?? Here’s an example: We had Dave Koz, the saxophone player, on the show. I told him to bring his instrument. Then, when we tasted the wine, I said, “Don’t talk. Play what it’s like on your sax.” And he played this 45-second jazz run of what the wine tasted like. It was great. …

Just for fun, what sort of wine do you think Captain Kirk would drink? Or Denny Crane from Boston Legal? Or the Priceline Negotiator?? It’s well known that the Klingon vineyards produce the best wine. Denny Crane would drink single malt Scotch. And the Priceline Negotiator would tell you—but only for a fee.

(3) Shatner earlier had a lot to say about a show young Wheaton appeared in. William Shatner Presents: Chaos On The Bridge is a documentary covering the “tumultuous early years of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as told by the writers and producers who worked on it.” It wouldn’t be surprising if the two actors needed a bottle of wine to break the ice!

Den of Geek interviewed Shatner about his documentary.

[Shatner] Now, when [Gene Roddenberry] came about later onto The Next Generation, he had evolved. He was much more the gregarious, political producer, and was able to handle people in an acceptable way. Except then he began to get sick, and his illness made it difficult for him to reach out to people. He was once again in conflict, and it was that conflict which I began to understand when I made the film.

It does seem like The Next Generation had a lot of conflict around its beginnings, not just with Gene and those around him, but at virtually every level of its production. I came away from the documentary wondering whether it’s typical, at least in your experience, for TV shows to be born out of such turmoil?

No, no, not at all. It’s normally the exact opposite, in that every moment you waste is money lost, so everybody in the production is geared up towards getting everything done exactly on time. On the Star Trek I was on, in the third year we weren’t allowed to go over. We had to quit at 6:12 every day. Not 6:11, or 6:13. At 6:12 they pulled the plug, no matter where we were. It’s that level of organization that you expect in television. So what we saw on The Next Generation – the chaos, the time-wasting, the people in conflict with each other – it just can’t take place. It’s supposed to be eradicated, and the fact that it wasn’t made the situation worthy of study.

(4) Halloween draws nigh…

(5) The Alex Film Society will host a showing of Son of Frankenstein at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA on October 29. Some special guests will be on hand —

Sara Karloff and Bela Lugosi Jr. are scheduled to join us onstage at the Alex Theatre to discuss their fathers’ careers and the horror films that made them famous…

Son of Frankenstein is also blessed with perhaps the greatest horror film cast ever. Karloff gives his farewell performance as the creature and Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Ygor is creepy, roguish, even pitiable and one is reminded of what a fine actor he could be with a role worthy of his talent. Presiding over all of this is the solid presence of Basil Rathbone as Baron Wolf Frankenstein. Watch for scene-stealer Lionel Atwill, who delivers his definitive screen role as the one arm Inspector Krogh.

This first rate production gave a whole new meaning to Baron von Frankenstein’s famous shout out: “It’s alive!”


Basil Rathbone in "Son of Frankenstein"

Basil Rathbone in “Son of Frankenstein”

(6) Here’s sales “velocity” to envy. On preorders alone, Subterranean Press has SOLD OUT its forthcoming Harlan Ellison collection Can & Can’tankerous.

Can & Can’tankerous gathers ten previously uncollected tales from the fifth and sixth decades of Harlan Ellison’s professional writing career: a written-in-the-window endeavor that invites re-reading from the start before you’ve even finished it; a second entry in his (now) ongoing abcedarian sequence; a “lost” pulp tale re-cast as a retro-fable; a melancholy meditation for departed friend and fellow legend, Ray Bradbury; a 2001 revision of a 1956 original; an absurdist ascent toward enlightenment (or its gluten-free substitute); a 200-word exercise in not following the directions as written (with a special introduction by Neil Gaiman that weighs in at four times the word count of its subject); a fantastical lament for a bottom-line world; the 2011 Nebula Award-winning short story; and Ellison’s most recent offering, a fusion of fact and fiction that calls to mind Russ’s frustration and Moorcock’s metaphor while offering a solution to the story’s enigma in plain view.

Strokes be damned! Ellison’s still here! HE’s still writing! And with more new books published in the last ten years than any preceding decade of his career, his third act is proving to be the kind other living legends envy.

(7) And speaking of velocity of sales, congratulations to Ann Leckie –

(8) Neil Gaiman declares his bias – in favor of libraries – an an op-ed for the Guardian.

It’s important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members’ interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

And I am biased, obviously and enormously: I’m an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living though my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.

So I’m biased as a writer. But I am much, much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen.

(9) Here’s somebody else that has sold a few books. ”21 Bone-Chilling Secrets About R.L. Stine” at Mental Floss.

  1. All I ever wanted to be was a writer. I started when I was 9. I’d be in my room writing little joke magazines, and I would bring them to school. I was a shy, fearful kid, and it was my way of getting attention. People always ask, “Did you have any teachers who encouraged you?” and the right answer is, “Yes, I did.” But I didn’t. They begged me to stop!

(10) A collection of Lord Dunsany items will soon go on the block at Heritage Auctions.

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, [1878-1957], known more popularly as Lord Dunsany, was an Irish writer of fantasies and one of the great “world builders” of the early twentieth century. He was the Eighteenth Baron of Dunsany, a poet, a playwright, a novelist, a sharp shooter and chess champion, a hunter, a soldier, and a world traveler. He inspired a generation of authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ursula K. Le Guin; and although not as currently well-known, he was in his time a social and literary sensation. With his distinctive cut quill pen and his larger than life personality, he remains a figure of fascination to this day.

In our upcoming Rare Books Auction #6148, Heritage is pleased to present this remarkable collection of over 418 Dunsany books, letters, and other related ephemera.Featuring a core of 232 volumes (comprised of ninety-six titles written by Lord Dunsany in a variety of editions), there are many special copies which bear inscriptions, tipped-in letters, and wax seals. This lot includes several of Dunsany’s limited first editions, such as the beautifully printed G.P. Putnam large format editions of Time and the Gods, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, and two inscribed copies of The Chronicles of Rodriguez. These four volumes, uniformly bound in quarter vellum and orange cloth (three in their original illustrated dust jackets), are each signed by both Dunsany and his illustrator Sidney Sime.

And, of course, no discussion of the works and worlds of Lord Dunsany would be complete without a nod to his illustrator and kindred spirit Sidney Sime [1867-1941]. Sime’s early life, partly spent scratching images of fantastic creatures on the walls while working in the Yorkshire coal mines, stands in stark contrast to that of Lord Dunsany’s, born to both title and wealth. However, their mutual love of the fantastic brought them together and resulted in several striking literary and artistic collaborations.

(11) Astronomer Edwin Hubble was also a successful high school basketball coach (for at least one year) in New Albany, Indiana.

But Hubble is finally getting recognition in New Albany, where the legendary astronomer taught Spanish and physics for a year and took the boy’s basketball team to state.

New Albany High School will soon reveal an art piece memorializing Hubble — the only notice of his stay in the region — for the time he spent as a teacher at the old school

Here is a photo of the commemorative plaque.

(12) James H. Burns has a post about the Mets playoff win on the New York CBS station’s local website. Jim says, “I wanted the title to be ‘A New York Mets Reverie.’”

(13) “A neural network tries to identify objects in ST:TNG intro”

Experiment by Ville-Matias Heikkilä applies deep learning recognition to the Star Trek: Next Generation opening titles … and doesn’t really do a good job of it …


[Thanks to Will R., Andrew Porter, Joel Zakem, James H. Burns, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

83 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/16 Callahan’s Scrolltime Saloon

  1. New York Times Bestselling Author Ann Leckie

    I can’t wait to see the Puppy explanation for how Orbit “bought” this for Leckie.

  2. 4. Crimson Marsupial, that’s a great picture. Though now I wonder what causes a ghost dog to need the cone of shame.

    1. I’m with Jared on airport food. It’s in transit, it doesn’t count as calories, so why go healthy? Particularly, why go healthy when you’re going to be standing in lines and cooped up in a metal tube with a bunch of other unhappy people? Do SOMETHING that will unshrivel your soul. Cinnabon in the airport are also guaranteed not to have calories. It’s scientific fact. I can’t eat jerky any more with my TMJ, but I can still gum a Cinnabon. Also, even mediocre cheese is good, and if you’re going to/through Chicago and you’re eating fruit and edamame, you are doing life very very wrong.

  3. @lurkertype: “now I wonder what causes a ghost dog to need the cone of shame.”

    It kept trying to bury itself.

  4. When I travel by train in coach (which is most of the time, unless I have enough Amtrak guest rewards points to pay for sleeper), both jerky *and* something like the edamame go into the lunch sack. My goal is to avoid the lounge car’s snack counter as much as possible, visiting it only for my morning coffee. So I try to take a good combination of proteins and veg and carbs, and also a nice bit of aged gouda.

    I am faintly self-conscious about that dessicated cow belch, I must admit. Pretty sure the scent wafts out every time I open the jerky bag, not just the first.

  5. 8. I’m fully with Neil Gaiman on this one. Being brought up on a small farm in Wales with next to no money, the library was a window on the world. I got my library tickets just before I turned 10 in 1968 and discovered that the county library HQ, four miles from home, had a surprisingly good range of SF and other stuff. One of my uncles drove the mobile library truck around all the villages in Denbighshire. I remember spending hours in Ruthin library on market day reading magazines like the New Scientist and Scientific American (“Price: One Dollar” was hugely exotic to me, and at the then exchange rate was a lot of money that I didn’t have to spend!).

  6. Rev. Bob: heh. I thought maybe it was chewing on the ghost of its gonads. Either one works.

    Nicole JLL: yes, but that’s a train, which takes much longer to get places than an airplane does except over routes of <100 miles. You have to lay in supplies, plus they aren't weighing your bags.

  7. Note that Ctein can also be referred to as a “New York Times Best Selling Author”; The Saturn Run debuted at #13, #12, and #10 of, respectively, Hardcover Fiction, Print and E-Books Fiction, and E-Books Fiction.

  8. snowcrash on October 16, 2015 at 11:18 pm said:

    @JJ short answer: A whole lot of special pleading. For the long answer, read the linked post and comments, and marvel at the consistency therein. Aristotle!

    Back in the age of legends. In those days the trolls were giant sized VD-sized trolls.
    Now we have cuddly plush-toy style trolls.

  9. on travel snacks…

    I recently had cause to travel by high-speed train in China and at the start of the journey passengers in business class (yeah!) get given a gift bag full of snacks. I don’t know what they were but they were tasty. The best was a kind of biscuit/wafer/sandwich thing – a very thin sort of white biscuit (almost like a communion wafer) with a sort of slightly chewy jelly in between. I don’t know what it was but it was a high point of rushing throw China at 300 km/h.

  10. @lurkertype:

    I figured I’d change things up by going for the more family-friendly option. It’s good practice; this is about the time of year when kids see me in the store and start wondering if they’ve been good enough to get on my Nice list.

    (This has already happened once this month.)

  11. Rev. Bob on October 17, 2015 at 1:02 am said:


    I figured I’d change things up by going for the more family-friendly option. It’s good practice; this is about the time of year when kids see me in the store and start wondering if they’ve been good enough to get on my Nice list

    I can see there will be stiff competition as to who gets to be Santa at the File 770 Christmas Party. Presumably though it will have both Santa *and* Hogfather (and Father Christmas for the Brits).

  12. @Rev Bob

    It kept trying to bury itself

    Great, now it’s not just Bloom County I have to remember not drink coffee while reading…

  13. The neural network “aircraft carrier” at the side view of the ship is not a bad guess.

  14. @Camestros:

    Before I had quite so much white in my hair, I kept wanting to put a white suit with red fur trim together and go out for Halloween as the Anti-Claus. I just thought it’d work on so many levels…


    Neither is “CD player” for the front view, or “velvet” or “window” for the starfield. Just don’t ask me to defend “chocolate syrup.”

  15. “complete gastric failure at 30,000 feet”.

    Hmm, Jared isn’t selling me on his list.

  16. New York Times Bestselling Author Ann Leckie has an article in the October 16 online Publishers Weekly (not sure if it’s in a print edition) listing her 10 favorite sf books. The headline reads “The 10 Best Science Fiction Books,” which gets a lot of flak in the comments, but the headline is not her fault. Anyway, any list that includes Jack Vance and Leigh Brackett is all right by me.

  17. Edamame is lovely, but what it isn’t is healthy to eat in any significant quantity. Unfermented soybeans aren’t dealt with all too well by human digestion. That being said, I rarely get to have them so any time it is readily available I’m right in there!

    Edamame and nice jerky (there’s some great indie producers in the UK these days) and a couple of other bits and bobs – probably including peanuts, for the salt – sounds pretty good to me. I usually have to carry something sweet with me in order to get a quick boost occasionally, too – (English) flapjack works well but of course you have to plan ahead and bake it and have suitable packaging (for train station flapjack is an abomination).

  18. Camestros

    What happened to the good, old fashioned slow boat to China? They had food! Real food!

    Food wot foreigners hadn’t done things to; food wot came from recognisable things wot were grown the good old fashioned way! It’s madness, I tell you, downright madness!

    In other news, Roboteer is definitely worth a read; even after a hundred pages in I can certainly understand why he got a three book contract. We are still in dystopia territory but this one opens out towards the Galaxy; The Ship is terrestrial.

    I’m not sure whether it’s space opera or MilSF; the publishers call it a hard SF space opera, but I suspect there’s enough stuff about weaponry to cheer those who like such things, and a hefty chunk of politics to explain why human beings are fighting other human beings, also to cheer those who like such things. However, Lamb does it without info dumps, and it doesn’t clog the storyline; it’s even got a likeable primary protagonist, who is genetically engineered to interface with robots, hence the title.

    All in all, definitely worth a whirl and well within the qualifying date for Worldcon16..

  19. Good on New York Times Bestselling Author Ann Leckie and congratulations to her! I’m glad to see more readers are finding her books.

    I don’t fly much but my strategy is to take low volume, high calorie, no mess snacks as much as possible (m&ms, dried fruit, trail mix), and a sandwich for real food. A water bottle can go through security as long as it is empty, and usually there is a drinking fountain on the other side to fill it up. Airport food is expensive.

  20. I could eat edamame for days. Amazing stuff. Absolutely essential whenever visiting an izakaya or any place that serves it, really.

    Re: plane food. Today I ended up having to buy a coffee and a chocolate brownie on my flight as I was going through some minor caffeine withdrawal (it seems almost impossible to find good black coffee in Kuala Lumpur) and needed some cheering up after spending several days in a place I don’t like very much, even if it does have an amazing book shop.

  21. My favorite travel drink trick is to pack a collapsible half-liter water bottle (with carabiner clip) and an assortment of sugar-free drink mixes in a backpack or carry-on. This was a life saver the last time I went to DragonCon.

    There’s cold water – either iced in pitchers or refrigerated in dispensers or fountains – in easy reach of most places at the convention, including but not limited to the function rooms. Add a little water to the bottle, add the mix, shake well, loosen up the plastic so it’ll fill completely, and you’re good to go. Or, if you’re my size in that heat, you guzzle the first one right down and make a second batch. 🙂

    I used to buy a 20oz Coke at the con and drag the bottle around for the rest of the day for the same purpose, but being able to roll the bottle up and stash it is more significant than you might think. Plus, you only pay for the container once, and not at inflated hotel prices. I’ve still got a big bag of drink mixes, come to think of it; I stocked up after running low one year and wound up skipping the next con for financial reasons…

    Solid food’s a different story, but I don’t tend to do much snacking at a real con. I usually eat Real Food (or a close approximation) in the room at the beginning and end of the day. As such, I don’t usually carry edibles with me. I usually stock up on easily-microwaved room-temperature meals (that is, stuff I don’t have to keep cold) in advance – it’s quick and cheap, if not impressive, and I can take any leftover packs home. The trash also compacts better than, say, canned stuff.

  22. @Joe H.

    Indeed, Nytbaal is – and if she is not Dlique in a week, we cans her whether or not Ancillary spending more than a week is further sign of her publisher’s perfidy.

  23. Edamame, yay!
    Ghost dog with cone of shame, hilarious!
    New York Times Bestselling Author Ann Leckie! Multiple yays!
    Dunsany collection, wow! If I a) didn’t have so many of his books already, and b) had money like that to spend, I would bid on that. OK, really it’s just b) holding me up. Oh well.

  24. TYP

    I care not how many weeks; my personal favourite laugh out loud bit was the riff on The Princess Bride and, whilst I am dutifully reading 2015 novels with very good reviews to do my duty on the nominations front, not to mention placing money in the hands of authors, I would be astonished if anyone touches a sweeter spot than Mercy.

    I am also exceedingly grateful to be able to reread parts of it when I am elsewhere in deep noir territory; Antonia Honeywell’s The Ship is remarkably compelling, but I can’t stay there too long without becoming pretty grim myself. Extricating myself is uphill work, and thus I am indebted to an amazing New York Time’s best selling author for a metaphorical helping hand.

    Oddly enough, china marks an important step in The Ship as well…

  25. Re: (9): Is R.R.Stine the long-lost sibling of R.L.Stine, the well-known author?

    (it’s not my fault, my wife was a copy editor for many many years)

  26. Does anyone know the exact word count of Cherie Priest’s Jacaranda? The cover and ISFDB list it as a “novella”, but my attempt to count the words in the hard copy estimated about 44,000.

  27. Cheers for both edamame and NYTBSAAL. Can’t wait to read Mercy.

    I won’t even click the link to the Dunsany sale; why tantalize myself when I have old hardback copies of my favourite Dunsany novels?

    Trying to do my 2015 reading but must thank Kyra’s Brackets of Doom and many advocates here for pushing me to read Curse of Chalion: not just a thrill to read but a great technical achievement, and Kushner’s Privilege of the Sword. I got a beautiful hardback edition of the latter that’s almost (almost!) as beautiful to look at as to read. Yes, my TBR pile is tottering, bit it’s also very pretty. Thanks, people.

  28. Vasha

    I expect that the Subterranean Press could give you the exact word count; I got my ePub copy as part of a charity fundraiser, but I don’t know if it’s possible to do a word count, let alone how.

    I’d be interested in the answer since I’m looking for novella noms and I was impressed by Jacaranda.

    Penric’s Demon is an obvious contender, and I will be nominating the first novella of the four which make up Scalzi’s The End of All Things since I found it remarkably powerful.

  29. So the 34th District Republicans up here in Washington state endorsed Goodspaceguy, a perennial candidate for local office who claims to be from one of the moons of Saturn and frequently runs on a platform of orbital space colonization. Because America.

  30. The other Nigel:

    (it’s not my fault, my wife was a copy editor for many many years)

    You can count on getting plenty of work here!

  31. Bob Roehm on October 17, 2015 at 5:15 am said:

    New York Times Bestselling Author Ann Leckie has an article in the October 16 online Publishers Weekly (not sure if it’s in a print edition) listing her 10 favorite sf books. The headline reads “The 10 Best Science Fiction Books,” which gets a lot of flak in the comments, but the headline is not her fault. Anyway, any list that includes Jack Vance and Leigh Brackett is all right by me.

    It is an interesting list.
    I note at least three of the books involve ambassadors/translators – so hopefully that implies we will have more fish sauce antics in future.

  32. I can only stare in envy and admiration at those of you who can safely eat a high-fiber food like edamame while traveling. Stare, and possibly avoiding sitting next to you …

  33. The only novella that truly impressed me so far this year was Witches of Lychford, and, to a lesser extent, “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls”. Penric’s Demon is bland and lackluster, alas.

  34. Thank you, Meredith. And I note that I’m going to close the bracket in about 3 hours.

  35. Paul McAuley’s Something Coming Through is still available at £1.99 on Amazon UK, and if you’ve got £1.99 then I think it’s well worth it; a book which gets rave reviews from both Pat Cadigan and the Financial Times is unprecedented in my experience…

  36. @JJ short answer: A whole lot of special pleading. For the long answer, read the linked post and comments, and marvel at the consistency therein. Aristotle!

    VD doesn’t understand how the bestseller lists work. Both NY Times and USA Today count all of a book’s preorders toward its first-week sales totals. So if Tor lists a new Scalzi book with a nine-month preorder, and it racks up 20,000 sales before its release date, then voila, Scalzi’s a NY Times bestseller.

    The week after a book goes live, it obviously doesn’t have any new preorders to count toward its sales. So unless it’s selling a tremendous number of copies at that point (about 2000/day for NYT, 1000/day for USAT, excluding several weeks before and after Christmas when volume is way up), that book drops off the bestseller list after a single week.

    That’s also why Scalzi’s post-launch Amazon rankings are meaningless. He had enough sales banked in preorders that he could sell zero copies his first week and still hit NYT. Tor’s not manipulating anything. This is how it works for every single publisher out there.

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