Pixel Scroll 10/9/17 Orwell That Ends Well

Your host is on the road back from New Mexico where he celebrated his mother’s 91st birthday.

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

(1) SUPERHERO HOMETOWNS. Watch Mojo says these are the 10 best —

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/9/17 Orwell That Ends Well

  1. The #1 entry in that city list is, of course, really the only possible choice. Metropolis for me just doesn’t have personality, and really any large city can be Metropolis. Gotham, though, Gotham has a sense of place to it.

    –this may be why I like Batman Begins in many respects more than the sequels. Gotham is not “Chicago in dress” as it is in those two movies, it has a geography and layout all of its own.

  2. Got tea. Got hot, buttered rolls. Got use of a couch to sit and read on for the afternoon. It’s all much more civilized, here in 7568.

  3. Astronaut Peggy Whitson, on being told she’d never go to space (video)

    How the search for a ‘death ray’ led to radar

    Obit of one of the first spacesuit techs. (NYTimes, but loaded free for me.)

    Mr. Schmitt put Alan Shepard into his Freedom 7 capsule for America’s first spaceflight in May 1961, and he was still suiting up astronauts more than 20 years later, making sure everything was sealed and connected properly. Before any flight, he would spend long hours in the testing laboratory with the astronauts, getting them accustomed to their suits and troubleshooting problems.

  4. @Paul

    The #1 entry in that city list is, of course, really the only possible choice. Metropolis for me just doesn’t have personality, and really any large city can be Metropolis. Gotham, though, Gotham has a sense of place to it.

    –this may be why I like Batman Begins in many respects more than the sequels. Gotham is not “Chicago in dress” as it is in those two movies, it has a geography and layout all of its own.

    Gotham City is pretty much a character in itself, a stunning gothic Art Deco nightmare of a city. Gotham City is what you always thought New York City was like, even though it no longer is, if it ever was.

    The Tim Burton movies get Gotham right and for all their many flaws, so do the Schumacher movies. In fact, you could say that the look of Gotham is the only thing that the Schumacher movies got right. Compared to that, the Gotham of Batman Begins was a step back, but still had sufficient Art Deco touches. The other two as well as Batman vs. Superman turn Gotham into a generic US big city.

    The Gotham of the eponymous TV show works, plus they use those bits of the actual New York City that look like Gotham, while somehow managing to remove any incongruous buildings from the frame.

  5. Chip Hitchcock on October 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm said:
    Which reminds me that on the way home from my CT/PET scans this morning, the bus made a stop at DeSoto and Osborn, almost right in front of the local Saturn-V engine, and close enough to it to appreciate the size of the thing. (It’s in front of Aerojet Rocketdyne, as a parking-lot decoration.)

  6. Boing boing reports that some researchers tested the IQ of Google’s AI and decided it
    was 50 while Siri was 34. There wasn’t much detail about how this test was carried out, would love to know more about that.

  7. Scrolling is the hardest part.
    Every day you stalk one more god.
    You take it on the fifth, you take it to the pod, but
    Scrolling is the Hardest Part.

  8. I was having Worldcon in Spokane flashbacks last night, when the air over San Francisco became unbearably smoky due to massive conflagration in the North Bay – Santa Rosa, Napa, Sonoma, Petaluma, Calistoga, that whole area. I spent the day in a daze from sleep deprivation because my brain refuses to relax and go to sleep when it smells like the house is on fire — although I do appreciate the fact it came equipped with this feature. Hope any Filer friends/family in the conflagration area are safe and unsinged.

  9. Cora on October 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm said:

    Gotham City is pretty much a character in itself, a stunning gothic Art Deco nightmare of a city. Gotham City is what you always thought New York City was like, even though it no longer is, if it ever was

    1. first all: yay, title credit!
    2. I binged watched Season 1 Gotham on your recommendation Cora, and yeah it was kind of really quite good and also a good depiction of “Gotham” as a fictional place with its own character. Still kind of freaked out by how much Sean Pertwee looks like his dad though.

  10. Someone on Twitter congratulates Red Wombat for “her WSFS win over the weekend.”

    I am not quite sure what WSFS is in this context, the tweet is 23 hours old, but the Hugos (for which we also congratulate her) was not over the weekend.

  11. NickPheas: I am not quite sure what WSFS is in this context

    It’s WSFA, the Washington Science Fiction Association, which gave its WSFA Small Press Award out at Capclave this past weekend.

  12. @Camestros
    My headcanon is that the Third Doctor spent a few years during his exile on Earth posing as Alfred Pennyworth and mentoring a young Bruce Wayne.

  13. Cora on October 9, 2017 at 6:58 pm said:

    Gotham City is pretty much a character in itself, a stunning gothic Art Deco nightmare of a city. Gotham City is what you always thought New York City was like, even though it no longer is, if it ever was.

    I once read that Metropolis is New York City in the daytime, and Gotham is New York City at night.

    And now I’m wondering: how much of our perception of Gotham as a ‘gothic Art Deco nightmare’ (and that’s a perfect description, Cora) comes from the Burton movies and Batman: TAS? How was Gotham portrayed before then, like in the O’Neal and Adams Batman comics from the ’70s? I remember more of a grimy lower Manhattan kind of setting, but those are 30-to-40-year-old memories.

  14. I didn’t read Batman in the 1980s and before, so I don’t know how they portrayed Gotham, though it would be interesting to know. Though I remember that the first time I visited New York City in 1994, I was disappointed that it didn’t look like Gotham with a few exceptions.

  15. Today’s other Meredith Moment:

    Not really genre, but interesting pop science Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, 99p in the UK.

    Ok, it’s probably wrong, but it’s at least a kind of wrong that makes you think.

  16. And now I’m wondering: how much of our perception of Gotham as a ‘gothic Art Deco nightmare’ (and that’s a perfect description, Cora) comes from the Burton movies and Batman: TAS?

    A fair bit of that derives from The Dark Knight Returns.

  17. I was extremely happy when I visited New York the first time and could see that the water tanks from Spider-Man existed for real. Visiting Spider-Man places everywhere was great. And I was totally surprised that the smoke coming up from the manhole covers was something real and not a special effect from movies.

    Other highlights I remember was the fire station from Ghostbusters, going to Coney Island like The Warriors and seeing the HQ from Men in Black. And of course visiting the house of Edgar Allan Poe.

  18. Barry Hughart’s Eight Skilled Gentlemen is on sale today for $1.99.
    I’ve got a more than passing fondness for the series, warts and all.
    Please, go give it some love.

  19. @ James

    I have had that happen in the past. Check and see if it is switching versions on you.

  20. @Cora Buhlert: I remember that the first time I visited New York City in 1994, I was disappointed that it didn’t look like Gotham with a few exceptions. NYC had been cleaning itself up for decades by the time you visited; e.g., 42nd St. was no longer a porn center (one feature of Gotham that IIRC is barely touched on in the grimy versions of Gotham, but in the 1960’s and 70’s there was a porn shop elsewhere called Times Square Bookstore). And some of the improvements had more obvious costs; Bratton’s support of the “broken windows” theory was … disruptive.

    I grew up visiting NYC regularly, but not so much recently, and I’ve never looked for media sights. OTOH, I spent a couple of afternoons visiting War for the Oaks locations (Loring Park, Minnehaha Falls, Como Conserveratory), which I could see begged for a story.

  21. I’m having difficulty typing this because one of the SJW credentials has discovered the game of fetch, and is meowing sadly at me whenever I fail to immediately toss the hair tie she’s brought me. Also, there’s something insanely adorable about a cat delicately carrying a hair tie to you and dropping it at your feet.

    We started watching Gotham a while back, and dug it quite a bit. Good acting, interesting plotting, and yeah, the city feels right. I don’t think we ever even finished season 1, though, because we just fell off for some reason. We’re currently in the middle of Schitt’s Creek (hilarious show – no sfnal content, but amazing acting and writing) and Ozark (creepy, smart show – no sfnal content).

    Reading-wise, I finished Bound in Blood (book 5 in the Kencyrath series). Hodgell’s novels are often slow to take off, but I love her pacing once she gets going. The final quarter or third of every novel just keeps gaining speed and momentum until the finale.

    Now reading Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. A horrible story told with anger and dry humor. I’m trying to read one non-fiction book and one novel at a time, because the non-fiction is interesting and educational and the fiction keeps me from falling into despair at what I’m learning. Haven’t started the next novel yet, though. There are several possibilities.

  22. Pixels, but as a social construct.

    Guns, germs and steel is a recommended read imho. Yes, the underlying theory is a simplification, but its still an interesting theory. More important imho is the rest, like the development of crops.
    Its much better than his second book (about falling civilizations) were the theory was less sound.

    Im half way through a fire upon the deep and I feel Im reading the first six book of a 20 book series. Im not sure how long my interest in the aliens and the big bad will still hold.

  23. @Rob Thornton
    Oh look, a remake of Empire Strikes Back. I’ve let them off for A New Hope, as they were establishing a new trilogy, but repeating the same “trick” for the second movie is lazy and cynical. Maybe the spin offs will be more original, I thought Rogue One was great.

    >Look up
    > A scroll falls on your head

  24. @kathodus

    Eichmann in Jerusalem is fascinating and horrifying and well worth the read. I’m very slowly working my way through Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble”, which is a difficult book made mostly of commentary on other difficult books, but well worth the effort. And I’m reading light SF novels to rest and recuperate between each attempt… I’ve got through all the Penric & Desdemona novellas (I like the characters but I think the religion is a bit odd – it’s polytheism filtered through a Protestant worldview, which doesn’t quite work for me) and the new Ann Leckie (good and often very funny, in the manner of the last Ancillary novel). Oh, and The Grand Sophie, which is my favourite Georgette Heyer’s and a regular comfort read – but not, of course, SF 😉

  25. @Ghostbird – I’m three behind in the Penric novellas. I kind of like how the religion works. It’s very familiar in its Christian base, but does not inspire my usual knee-jerk reaction to Christian-type worldviews in my fun reading.

    Hmm, might be good to catch up on Penric while reading Arendt. I’ve got at least one of them queued up on my Kindle.

    Still haven’t read Georgette Heyer, though Filers inspired her to toss me up onto Mt. Tsundoku.

  26. Relating to a previous file post, this Wall Street Journal Article seems relevant:

    Apple Strikes Deal With Spielberg’s Amblin for ‘Amazing Stories’ Reboot

    Director’s Amblin Television, NBCUniversal TV production unit to make new episodes of sci-fi series from the 1980s

    By Joe Flint and Tripp Mickle
    Updated Oct. 10, 2017 1:49 p.m. ET
    4 COMMENTS

    Apple Inc. AAPL -0.03% is betting on acclaimed director and producer Steven Spielberg for its first major foray into creating original video content.

    The tech giant has struck a deal with Mr. Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA -0.54% NBCUniversal television production unit to make new episodes of “Amazing Stories,” a science fiction and horror anthology series that ran on NBC in the 1980s, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The agreement between Apple, Amblin and NBCUniversal calls for 10 episodes of “Amazing Stories.” Mr. Spielberg will likely be an executive producer for new the version of the show, which he created, the people said.

    The budget for “Amazing Stories” will be more than $5 million an episode, according to an executive involved in the project.

    [ … ]

    Write to Joe Flint at joe.flint@wsj.com and Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com

  27. What could be more fannish than fanzines and APAs? The National Fantasy Fan Federation (includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, occult, and similar themes, founded 1941) publishes five of them: The National Fantasy Fan (newszine, now in volume 76). Tightbeam (reviews and letters). Ionisphere (fan-pro interactions). Eldritch Science(fiction) . N’APA (since 1959). We also are often willing to distribute your own fanzines electronically to our members, gratis.

    We have a short story contest (no entrance fees, cash prizes, tales up to 8500 words) http://n3f.org/short-story-contest/ . We have an all-fiction magazine Eldritch Science (7500 words up to novel); contact me phillies@4liberty.net for details and perhaps samples. To join: http://N3F.org/join

  28. I’ve recommended Guns, Germs and Steel as a book for fantasy writers. It helps one think about how an imaginary world should be put together, with attention paid to how environment, geology, etc., would affect civilizations arising in those areas.It can also help avoid that bad-fantasy trope of wildly differing civilizations directly across arbitrary borders.

  29. I’m trying to help out a fb friend in tracking down a 1970s horror fanzine that she had some work published in. That is, she tracked down a set of the zine that someone was selling for collector’s prices, but what she wants is simply a reference copy for her files. The zine is “Moonbroth” — someone else found an entry for it at zinewiki.com but that site turns up an “under new management” page for me. The gist is: first published in 1971 by Dale Donaldson, continued publishing through issue 30 in 1977, a number of recognizable names as contributors (I spot Phyllis Ann Karr and Jessica Amanda Salmonson among the contributors list).

    At any rate, what I suggested to her was that there may be a fannish archive somewhere that would have copies (which she might be able to get scanned/photocopied for her files), but I have no idea what the next step on that search would be. Any ideas?

  30. Heather, the last issue of Moonbroth was published posthumously after Dale Donaldson’s death, by his widow Jane Breiding Donaldson and by Bill Breiding. (Related, I assume. Siblings?) Either might have or know someone who has copies of Moonbroth.

    Don’t know how to contact Jane Donaldson, and haven’t heard from Bill in years. But a little Googling found a (fairly current, I think) phone # and addresses in West Virginia and in Tucson. URL, ROT-13’d: uggcf://jjj.juvgrcntrf.pbz/anzr/Jvyyvnz-Oervqvat/Zbetnagbja-JI/1p70cg0

  31. Christian Brunschen on October 10, 2017 at 12:10 pm said:

    Relating to a previous file post, this Wall Street Journal Article seems relevant:

    Apple Strikes Deal With Spielberg’s Amblin for ‘Amazing Stories’ Reboot

    Saw that as well, hope they worked it out with Steve Davidson, but I’m guessing they’re just steamrolling him which sucks. Apple buying a show from Spielberg’s Amblin via NBC that the latter don’t have the rights to and have been trying to screw over the guy who does is pretty messed up and also shows how much they’ve been lying to him. Damn.

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