Pixel Scroll 10/6/17 You Are In The Village. There Is A Rover There.

Your host is on the road to New Mexico where he will celebrate his mother’s 91st birthday.

So it’s up to you, Dear Reader, to add your wisdom in the comments, along with the links to what should have been in the Scroll.

(1) PKD MOVIES BY THE NUMBERS. Ross Johnson gives us “Every Philip K. Dick Film Adaptation, Ranked” at the B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog. At the bottom of the barrel:

  1. Paycheck, directed by John Woo. Based on: The 1952 short story of the same name.

The early, pulpy Dick story focuses on a man named Jennings, an employee of a corporation with a unique non-disclosure agreement: after two years, they’ll erase his memory, but he’ll walk away with a hefty paycheck. He awakens to discover that, not only is he the target of a massive police chase, but he apparently decided to forego cash payment for his services and instead accept a pile of seemingly useless tchotchkes, though he has no memory of why. Spoiler for a really effective twist you might see coming anyway: ultimately, he learns the work involved a project to peer into the future, and the bag of seemingly useless knickknacks are what will keep him alive as he escapes his pursuers. That’s a decent enough hook for a short story, but can’t sustain a two-hour film. The movie adds in a love story and a lot of surprisingly leaden action, considering the director is John Woo. Affleck won a Razzie for his efforts, but presumably collected a nice paycheck.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

69 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/6/17 You Are In The Village. There Is A Rover There.

  1. @Rob Thornton

    I’m not reading any more M John Harrison until I’ve worked out what the f*** Light was about.

  2. I’m going to take advantage of OGH’s absence to rant about something that’s been on my mind.

    The Chronicles of the Kencyrath is amazing, up there with Discworld kind of amazing. I’m on Bound in Blood (book 5) at this point, and it’s keeping up with the impetus of the previous books. God Stalk was a very fun mid-80s fantasy romp – highly imaginative, aware of but not bound to the fantasy that came before it. The story does not sound all that interesting in outline – a young woman, possibly a royal heir, has lost a decade of her life in some “dark” otherworld, and is attempting to regain her life. The bulk of the story is a highly enjoyable, picaresque tale of thievery, god-stalking, and occult dancing.

    I hit the second book and was immediately disappointed. Yes, we’d heard of her brother in the previous book, but as a PoV character? I spent a good chunk of the book rolling my eyes, hunching my shoulders, and sighing loudly. Then the ending came and blew me away.

    After that, I trusted Hodgell’s storytelling and have just been enjoying the ride. Her imagination is spectacular, beautiful, and amazing. The humor throughout every book, even though the world is dark and twisted, is inspiring. The world and universe in which she writes is lush and deep. I find myself wanting to just tear through every book without stopping, but I force myself, at the end of each, to read two or three unrelated books, at a minimum, before continuing. The story is epic, and ever-expanding, and I love it.

    The problem for me is, the same as with Discworld, that a vanishingly tiny percentage of my friends would be able to get into the series far enough to even see any of this. So I have to rant at you people, some of who will agree, some who won’t care, and some who would be able to communicate what I’m trying to get across much better than I ever could. But I just need to rant at someone about how much I love this series.

    So there. I did. Thank you for your attention (assuming you paid it).

  3. Kathodus, I only bought Godstalker because of the recommendations of Filers. I felt the same way about book two. I’ve only read through book four to date.

    Heather Rose Jones, just finished The Mystic Marriage. I particularly enjoyed that the ending was not the one I expected, but far more satisfying. Have just added Mother of Souls to Mount TBR.


    Is there another author who has had such a range of adaption quality, from classics to absolute duds?
    The list puts the Total Recall remake below Screamers, which is great trolling.
    (The list is also missing the Screamers sequel, which I haven’t seen but doubt I’m missing much)

  5. Request: PyxelQueste Version Beta0.03 is now available

    But currently it is a shallow husk of a game. There are 100 locations to be filled with descriptions of a Pixel Scrolly nature! Some have already been suggested, others yet to come!

    I need two things for a location description:
    What the place is. It must start with “You are in a” but anything can follow so long as it is either funny, weird, Zorkish or 770 related or arguably all of those or none of them. It should be two to three sentences long (e.g. “You are in an argument about peas. You are winning the argument but maybe it isn’t about peas.”)

    What objects are in this place. These need to be things to be picked up and put in the player inventory. Only one rule NOT BOOKS. I’m planning to do something different with books. OK, maybe a second rule – not real people in case that gets weird in a not nice way. OK to have monsters or events but I’m also going to try and do a random encounter thing.

    The current game accepts a few commands. You can navigate through the existing locations but there is no maze pattern currently. More enhancements to come.

  6. You are in an atom. You suspect there might be an electron missing, but then again you’re not positive.

    There’s a D20 here with all the odd numbers scratched off.


    You are in a bathtub. It is lined with streaks of slime, and torn pages of what appears to be a German phrasebook.

    There is a Shoggoth wearing a pair of reading glasses.

  7. Mark-In answer to your perhaps rhetorical question concerning PKD adaptations “range”: Stephen King.

  8. You are in front of a mountain. It seems to be growing.
    There is a sign here.

    Read sign

  9. Amazon UK ebook sales:

    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

    Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

    Spellwright, by Blake Charlton
    Nicodemus Weal is a cacographer, unable to reproduce even simple magical texts without ‘misspelling’ – a mistake which can have deadly consequences. There are some factions who believe a cacographer such as Nicodemus could hold great power – power that might be used as easily for evil as for good.

    The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd
    London, 1894. Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.

    The Peripheral, by William Gibson
    Flynne Fisher lives in rural near-future America. Wilf Netherton lives in London, seventy-some years later. Flynne and Wilf are about to meet one another. Her world will be altered utterly, and Wilf’s, for all its decadence and power, will learn that some of these third-world types from the distant past can be real badass.

    Earth Strike, by Ian Douglas
    There is a milestone in the evolution of every sentient race, a Tech Singularity Event, when the species achieves transcendence through its technological advances. But an armed threat is approaching from deepest space, determined to prevent humankind from crossing over that boundary—by total annihilation if necessary.

    Red Queen, by Christina Henry
    The land outside of the Old City was supposed to be green, lush, hopeful. But the verdant fields are nothing but ash—and hope is nowhere to be found. Still, Alice and Hatcher are on a mission to find his daughter: a quest that may take them deep into the clutches of the mad White Queen or into the realm of the twisted and cruel Black King.

    Menagerie, by Rachel Vincent
    When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name.

  10. More hot air? Elon Musk says he can rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid with solar. This would be great if it worked, but considering how far off his predictions for his Tesla factory were, I wouldn’t bet on this getting up in reasonable time; for one thing, he’ll have to deal with the same impassable roads that are slowing all other relief.

    But how will he pay for it? US VP Mike Pence wants to see astronauts return to the Moon

    But neither speech nor the newspaper article mentioned timelines or funding numbers.

    Followon to the anniversary: Sputnik 1 came down a long time ago, but “the grapefruit with the toothpicks” is still in orbit.

    @kathodus: have you read the short works published before the first novel? In “Child of Darkness” Jamethiel is a student at an Earth college; I asked Hodgell about this once, and got an answer that spoils the series (and doesn’t seem especially plausible with the way the series has gone since then).

  11. “You are in a snow-covered street, outside a tavern. A person is laying in the snow. You don’t know which pronoun to use for the person.”

    > Enter tavern

    “Database error”

    > Refresh

    “You are in a comments section. Some of the comments are surprisingly thoughtful and well written. Unfortunately, most of the text is completely unreadable. Lbh ner va n pbzzragf frpgvba. Fbzr bs gur pbzzragf ner fhecevfvatyl gubhtugshy naq jryy jevggra. Hasbeghangryl, zbfg bs gur grkg vf pbzcyrgryl haernqnoyr.
    There is a link to an ebook sale here. ”

    >follow link

    “You buy 15 new books you will never have time to read.”

    >read book

    “You don’t have time for that.”

    >read book

    “Really, you don’t have time for that. You refresh the comments page instead. There are several new comments to read.”

    >Go up

    “You are in a lavishly decorated room on a space station. A group of several identical-looking persons are having a discussion with herself.
    There is a teacup here.”

    >Go down

    “You are standing on an outcrop of igneous rocks. A man and a woman wearing black jackets are standing nearby. The ground is shaking lightly.”

    >Go down

    “You are slammed in the butt by a grue.”

  12. @Steve Leavell

    Good suggestion – there are some awful stinkers with King’s name attached, and several classics to contrast them with.

    A couple of scrollish items

    Anna and the Apocalypse is the Christmas High School Musical Zombie movie we didn’t know we needed. (Click through for a trailer)

    Doris Sutherland on very early Space Opera, particularly Skylark of Space. (h/t Cora Buhlert on twitter for this one). I’d heard the tale about Smith getting a woman to write the girly romance bits for him, but didn’t realise this was the book that it came from.

    Just been to see Blade Runner 2049. It’s quite exceptionally pretty, provided you like gloom. A lot of the design is quite exceptional – they’ve managed to keep the ascetic of the original really well. I’ll not say much about the story for fear of spoilers, but in some ways I think it’s a better adaption of the theme of PKDs story than the first one was.
    Unfortunately, it’s like someone who has dressed impeccably for dinner, but forgotten to put on his trousers: the entire effect is spoiled by how they deploy the cast. It’s impossible not to notice who gets to lead and who gets to be an extra, and who gets to keep their clothes on and who doesn’t. It’s a bit of the 80s movie ascetic they needed to leave behind.

    You are in 5046. You still don’t have flying cars.

    The F770 time machine is here.

  13. @mark & @ Steve Leavell: There’s always Richard Matheson, whose sheer quantity of adaptations & originals for film and TV pretty much speaks for itself: 87 credits so far.

  14. Mark on October 7, 2017 at 7:52 am said:

    Lemme nitpick: I think you mean aesthetic, not ascetic. Not at all the same thing, even here in 8299.

    SFGate’s review of Bladerunner 2049 is that it’s a little close to the present, especially after last weekend.

  15. “You see a calendar. It is heretical.”

    “You see a calendar; the year at the top is flickering, now 2017, now 8282, now 1939”

    “You see a copy of ‘Last Dangerous Vision'”
    “Reach for the book”
    “It moves out of reach”
    “Try again”
    “It moves further out of reach”

  16. Chip Hitchcock

    have you read the short works published before the first novel? In “Child of Darkness” Jamethiel is a student at an Earth college; I asked Hodgell about this once, and got an answer that spoils the series (and doesn’t seem especially plausible with the way the series has gone since then).

    No, but I am both repelled and intrigued. Repelled because it sounds like it may be an early, now non-canonical work, and young Kathodus was never able to handle that kind of messiness; intrigued because, well, obviously… I’ll see if I can hunt some of that material down.


    Can I get away with blaming that one on autocorrect? Probably not….

    I’d buy it.

    Also on the subject of Kencyrath… I had wanted to write a much longer rant, going into more detail about each book, but I ran out of spoons. An example maybe metal fans out there will get – I’m reminded of Slayer’s

    Reign in Blood

    , an album known for being very short (22 minutes) with most songs clocking in under 3 minutes (a sharp change from their previous album). Some of the most classic riffs in metal came from that album, and many of them happen only once or twice then are never heard again. Hodgell does something similar in The Kencyrath Chronicles, where you never know what wondrous insanity you’re about to encounter, in one scene that somehow takes place hundreds of miles from the rest of the action, and that you don’t hear from again in that volume. Unlike Slayer, though, Hodgell often comes back to that strange and interesting idea, maybe in the next book, or the next one after that. It’s just a fantastic amount of fun.

  17. +1 to GiantPanda

    +10 to Johan P

    On another front, I recently finished The Red Knight by Miles Cameron which is the first book of The Traitor Son Cycle. As most of the series that I have been following ended (or will end) this year, I believe this will be a nice, fresh start for me.

    The book features protagonists whose behaviors are condemned by The Church. They end up fighting and sacrificing to save people educated by The Church that would ordinarily kill them if those same, Church-educated people knew who/what they were. One of the protagonists is a serious agnostic.

    Looking for a fun story? Here you go. Looking for something with meatier plot elements about social pressures and blind adherence to religion? Here you go. Looking for morally compromised characters that are trying to be something better? Here you go. Looking to question moral codes? Here you go.

    It has fun sword/sorcery elements. It has dragons. It has fae. It has miracles. But does it have a God and a Satan? You gotta read to find out.


  18. Oops. Reign in Blood was supposed to be bold, not quoted. That’s silly. Ran out of time in the edit window.

  19. @Kathodus — “Child of Darkness” is included (along with a number of other Kencyrath stories and maybe one or two unrelated) in Hodgell’s collection Blood & Ivory. I read it many years ago, but TBH I don’t have any specific memories.

    I really need to do some Godstalking myself — I read the first two books in (used) mass-market paperbacks back in the 1990s and was thrilled to discover that there was actually a third book available in hardcover from a small press called Hypatia; and then I picked up the Meisha Merlin installments, and now the newer ones from Baen, but I still haven’t actually read beyond those first three books and the collection.

  20. @ Mark; Some genre titans have extremely lengthy and varied histories of adaptation; Verne (an impressive 149 credits based on 29 works), Shelley (85 movies derived from 3 stories… so, 83 Frankenstein flicks), Poe, Baum, etc. But I’m-a gonna go with H.G. Wells. The man had three adaptations of wildly varying quality of one work (The War of the Worlds) in one year (2005)! In total Wells had 30 titles adapted to 85 films. A few great, many not.

  21. kathodus: When an author starts with possibly the greatest fantasy novel ever, it’s a tough act for her to follow herself. I am glad to hear you are enjoying the whole series so much. I think I shall re-read them, starting from the beginning.

  22. <i.Mark on October 7, 2017 at 8:20 am said:
    Why not? it’s close enough for jazz, or what passes for jazz in 1602.

  23. kathodus —

    Re: The Chronicles of the Kencyrath



    (I consider God Stalk and To Ride A Rathorn to be the best of the series so far, but I also think Dark of the Moon, Honor’s Paradox, and The Sea of Time are standouts that would be highwater marks in most other series. Seeker’s Mask, Bound in Blood, and The Gates of Tagmeth are the ones I consider “merely very very good”.)

  24. @Camestros: No problem.

    “You see an Edifice.”
    “Go to Edifice”
    “The Edifice is on a book cover”

    “You see an eldritch horror.”
    “Is it rugose?”
    “Is it squamous?”

  25. “You are in a swamp. You see a nameless horror.”
    “I name the horror ‘Snuffles'”

  26. “You see a sevagram. Think in a non-Aristotelian manner: Y/N?”
    “You now rule the sevagram.”

  27. You are in a pickle. Or is it a jam? Possibly a chutney of some sort, hard to tell from within.

    There is a spoon in here.

    You are in orbit around Jupiter. A few million klicks away, the Sol jump gate is barely visible as a bright green light among the stars. If only you could reach it before the star spiders caught up with you!

    There is a warp pilot and a pack of unappetising space nutrients.



    > go forth
    You cannot go forth. You are currently fifth.

    >Go forth
    You take sacrificial forth. Timothy triumphantly claims fifth.

  28. “You see a contentious argument break out nearby.”

    “Look around for popcorn.”

    “There is a large bag of popcorn near the contenders.”

    “Pick up popcorn, share with party, and listen with enjoyment to argument while consuming popcorn.”

  29. You are in a chapter. There are four others ahead of you and an identical one behind.

    There is a pawprint here.

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