Pixel Scroll 11/26/20 A Hard Pixel’s Gonna Scroll

(1) WHOSE TABLE DO YOU WANT TO SIT AT? [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Writing for SYFY Wire, Brian Silliman runs down a dozen genre families (loosely defined) you might like to visit at Thanksgiving. The surviving members of LotR’s Fellowship (supplemented a bit) is included as is the Devil himself. What family not included in Silliman’s list would you pick? “The 12 genre families we’d most want to spend Thanksgiving with”.

… In the world of genre storytelling, there are countless examples of families, tribes, clans, and groups who only manage to keep hope alive because they have each other. Some of these families have seriously been through it, and many losses have happened. They get through it, and if you have nowhere else to turn this holiday season, you may be inspired by their example. You may be comforted by spending some imaginary time with them. In some instances, you may just want to have a little fun. Remember fun? It’s a thing. It’ll be back. Bet on it, bet on it, bet on it, bet on it. 

The Fam (Doctor Who)

Any chance to go aboard the TARDIS is an instant yes, as is any chance to meet any Doctor that this show has featured. We’re currently skipping along with 13, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz, though… also known as “the fam.” They’re the ones with which our giving of thanks will be done with. 

This foursome would give fun and kindhearted good cheer to anyone, and we know that the TARDIS can use its time circuits to cook a turkey. The issue here is that we’d turn into the holiday guests who never leave — once we’re in that box, we’re there for life. Deal with it, Timeless Child! You already have three companions, what’s one more? We may even fall in love, but let’s not label anything right now. Pass those carrots, Yaz! 

(2) MALIK Q&A. Lightspeed Magazine features the Pakistani author in “Interview: Usman T. Malik”.

Nine Pakistani artists and designers were commissioned to illustrate your collection. Tell us a little about why you wanted to have each story illustrated.

When I was a child, some of my favorite books were illustrated editions of Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle. Sketch art and color plates by Arthur Rackham, Harry Clarke, Edward Gorey, and Gustave Doré would send my imagination soaring. This was much before I realized I was a colonial experiment—a middle-class mule with dreams and riches dangled before him as he trots along with a hundred million others. The mule’s been trained to dream a certain way, to crave the carrot and thrill at the whiplash until he thinks those are things he wants. Perhaps—or sometimes—we grow up and realize we want subversion but on our terms, not on the terms of masters past or present.

I wanted those stories illustrated my way. I wanted the Old and New Worlds to meet but at a crossroads of my choosing, at the terms of my people. That is also one reason I opted to bring out my debut collection in Pakistan rather than elsewhere.

(3) DUE DILIGENCE. Camestros Felapton is mulling over ways to decide what he should vote for in the Best Video Game Hugo category in 2021. Today he followed his opening salvo, “Video Game Hugo”, with more deep thoughts in “What is it like to be in a world”.

…Certainly a book or a film can have characters do the same but a video game is obliged to have a consistent behaviour for how this departure from reality works and also forces the player to get to grips with what it would be like to be in a world where such a thing was possible.

Given that, I should really consider the non-narrative SFF elements of a game. Doing so would mean that games without narrative elements should be considered potentially strong contenders….

(4) CHANGING GATE. Congratulations to Black Gate on a successful site migration – a lot of stuff they had to make work: Black Gate is Moving!”

…This wasn’t exactly an easy process (not according to the exhausted late-night calls we got from Support at our new service provider, anyway). It involved moving over 211,000 files, uncounted gigs of images, sound files (who uploaded sound files?), and strange databases apparently created by DAW Books in the 1970s. Our offices look like a Marvel Studios sound stage after a wrap party.

(5) READ SCIENCE FICTION COMMENTARY. Bruce Gillespie has produced another issue of his epic sercon fanzine Science Fiction Commentary – download issue #104 here at eFanzines.

A wide variety of material includes personal stuff (including lockdown pleasures) by Bruce Gillespie; a tribute to Phil Ware by Lync; and Edwina Harvey and Robert Day’s reports on the 2019 and 2020 Worldcons. William Breiding wanders the high cold deserts of USA. Jennifer Bryce, Robert Lichtman, and Guy Salvidge tell of past incidents and accidents in their lives. Michael Bishop, Jenny Blackford, and Tim Train contribute poems. And the ‘Criticanto’ section includes review-articles by Paul Di Filippo, Cy Chauvin, Henry Gasko, Murray MacLachlan, Ian Mond, and Michelle Worthington.

(6) BLACK FRIDAY. Tomorrow Blows Against The Empire: 50th Anniversary will be a SpecialRelease at Record Store Day. John A Arkansawyer sent the link with a comment, “I want it pretty bad. I’ve got the original cover (which this is) and the redo (which moves the title to the top for ease in finding in the bin). I’m hoping for a nice reprint of the booklet to go along with it all.”  The album was a Hugo nominee in 1971.

With most of the members of Jefferson Airplane missing in action, Paul Kantner and Grace Slick holed up in a San Francisco studio in 1970 alongside a cast of West Coast rock ‘n’ roll legends including Jerry Garcia, David Crosby and Mickey Hart to cut what would become Kantner’s finest solo work, his rock space-opera, Blows Against The Empire. This 180g 50th anniversary edition LP is pressed on green marble vinyl for RSD Black Friday.

Side A: “Mau Mau (Amerikon)”, “The Baby Tree”, “Let’s Go Together”, “A Child Is Coming”
Side B: “Sunrise,” “Hijack”, “Home”, “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”, “X-M”, “Starship”

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • November 26, 1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home premiered. It was directed by Leonard Nimoy who wrote it with Harve Bennett. It was produced by Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Nicholas Meyer and Harve Bennett. It starred the entire original original Trek cast. It would lose out to Aliens at Conspiracy ’87. The film’s less than serious attitude and rather unconventional story were well liked by critics and fans of the original series along with the general public. It was also a box office success. And it has an exemplary eighty-three percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. (CE)

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born November 26, 1909 – Berkeley Livingston.  One novel, five dozen shorter stories for Amazing and Fantastic under his own name and others, called fast-paced, imaginative, tightly-plotted, or parody that unfairly gave him a reputation as an author of bad work – you pay your money and you take your choice.  (Died 1975) [JH]
  • Born November 26, 1910 Cyril Cusack. Fireman Captain Beatty on the classic version of Fahrenheit 451. He’s Mr. Charrington, the shopkeeper in Nineteen Eighty-four, and several roles on Tales of the Unexpected rounds out his genre acting. Well and what looks like an absolutely awful Tam-Lin… (Died 1993.) (CE)
  • Born November 26, 1919 Frederik Pohl. Writer, editor, and fan who was active for more seventy five years from his first published work, the 1937 poem “Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna” to his final novel All the Lives He Led. That he was great and that he was honoured for being great is beyond doubt — If I’m counting correctly, He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards, and his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-off category Science Fiction. SWFA madr him its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998. Ok, setting aside Awards which are fucking impressive, there’s the matter of him editing Galaxy Science Fiction and (and its UK sister edition), IfStar Science Fiction Magazine (which I’ve never heard of), Super Science Stories and well let’s just say the list goes on. I’m sure I’ve not listed something that y’all like here. As writer, he was amazing. My favorite was the Heechee series though I confess some novels were far better than others. Gateway won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1978 Locus Award for Best Novel, the 1977 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1978 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Very impressive. Man Plus I think is phenomenal, the sequel less so. Your opinion of course will no doubt vary. The Space Merchants co-written with Cyril M. Kornbluth in 1952 is, I think, damn fun. He wrote a lot of short fiction, some I think brilliant and some not not but that was true of most SF writers of the time.  (Died 2014.) (CE)
  • Born November 26, 1939 Tina Turner, 81. She gets noted here if only for being the oh so over the top Aunty Entity in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome but let’s not forget her as The Acid Queen in Tommy as well and for appearing as The Mayor in The Last Action Hero which is at least genre adjacent. (CE) 
  • Born November 26, 1939 – Gaelyn Gordon.  Eight novels, as many shorter stories.  Quit teaching, went to writing, because “the people I teach … [I] often have a fairly good idea of what sort of adults they’ll be; I haven’t the faintest idea what the story I’m writing [will] turn out to be.”  At her death the New Zealand Children’s Literature Foundation established an award in her name for children’s books unheralded at the time of publication which stayed in print and proved popular with children.  In Several Things are Alive and Well and Living in Alfred Brown’s Head AB’s brain is taken over by aliens.  (Died 1997) [JH]
  • Born November 26, 1945 Daniel Davis, 75. I’m singling him out for Birthday Honors for having his two excellent appearances as Professor Moriarty on Next Gen. He has one-offs on MacGyverGotham and Elementary. He played The Judge in The Prestige film. He also voiced several characters on the animated Men in Black series. (CE) 
  • Born November 26, 1949 – Victoria Poyser-Lisi, 71.  Two Hugos as Best Fanartist; also pro work.  Eighty covers, fifty interiors for us; more elsewhere (e.g. here is a plein air watercolor).  Guest of Honor at Windycon X; Kubla Khan 14 with Frank R. Paul Award.  Guest Artist at the 11th World Fantasy Con.  Here is The Harper Hall of Pern.   Here is Masters of Glass.  Here is The Eyes of the Overworld.   Here is the Sep 91 SF Chronicle.  [JH]
  • Born November 26, 1951 Van Ikin, 69. Australian editor and writer best known for his editorship of the long-running critical journal Science Fiction. He also edited Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature, and has reviewed genre fiction for the The Sydney Morning Herald since 1984. It’s unfortunate that his twenty-year-old Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction hasn’t been updated. He also edited a number of genre anthologies sometime back. (CE) 
  • Born November 26, 1955 – Tracy Hickman, 65.  Fifty novels with Margaret Weis, ten with T’s wife Laura Hickman, ten more.  Role-playing games.  Funded the Parsec Awards with Mur Lafferty and Michael Mennenga.  Guest of Honor at MisCon I, StellarCon XI, LepreCon 22,  CONduit 14.  T & L Toastmasters at 46th World Fantasy Con.  [JH]
  • Born November 26, 1973 – Peter Facinelli, 47.  Actor, director, producer, including SF e.g. SupergirlSupernovaTwilight & sequels.  One novel (with Robert DeFranco & Barry Lyga). [JH]
  • Born November 26, 1986 – Sarah Doebereiner, 34.  Five short stories for us, several others. “The work should speak for itself.  The author is just a conduit.”  [JH]
  • Born November 26, 1988 — Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, 32. He played Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane on the Game of Thrones for five seasons. That’s it for his genre acting, but he co-founded Icelandic Mountain Vodka whose primary product is a seven-time distilled Icelandic vodka. Surely something Filers can appreciate! (CE) 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) TWO WILD AND CRAZY GUYS. In the Washington Post, Donald Liebenson interviews Steve Martin, whose new book A Wealth Of Pigeons consists of over 130 cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss with Steve Martin providing the captions. “’A Wealth of Pigeons,’ by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss Q&A”.

Q: Cartoonists don’t have the luxury stand-up comedians have of honing a bit in front of an audience. One of the cartoons in the book shows Steve trying out a cartoon on his wife, his young daughter and, finally, his cat. How do you two know a cartoon is ready to go out into the world?

Martin: This is a medium where there is barely feedback. For the first time in my life, I’m going with, “Well, I think it’s funny.” Because when I do stand-up and I think it’s funny and the audience doesn’t, it’s out the next day. In a strange way, this is more fun, because you just kind of believe in it. Some days I go back to cartoons we’ve written, and I go, “I don’t get it anymore,” and some of them grow in their humor.

Bliss: Every Sunday is my syndicate deadline, so I have to come up with six cartoons, which isn’t a big deal, because outside of raking the leaves and piling firewood, there’s not much else I do. I think it’s instinctual. If something makes me laugh and then I send it to Steve and we both think it’s funny, it’s a go.

(11) TRAILER TIME. The technology that makes it easy to do promotional trailers intrigues me. I should do a File 770 trailer. Meanwhile —

Titan Comics and Guerrilla Games are proud to announce an all-new graphic novel set after the events of the critically acclaimed, award-winning video game Horizon Zero Dawn.

(12) TWO CHAIRS. In Episode 41 of the Two Chairs Talking podcast, titled “A series of perfect murders”, Perry Middlemiss discusses The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan, and David Grigg talks about The Survivors by Jane Harper, and he also raves about the work of Tana French plus several other books in the crime and mystery genres.

(13) A GLOWING SPOT. “A Boston Dynamics robot dog is going to Chernobyl” – and Mashable is following the story (at a safe distance.) Video at the link.

The four-legged robot ‘Spot’ is being pegged as a replacement for humans, who carry out routine, yet risky, measurements around the contaminated Chernobyl site. The long-term goal is to have the robots help take Chernobyl apart and have it safely decommissioned. 

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Stanley Kubrick:  A Life in Pictures” on YouTube is a 2001 documentary, narrated by Tom Cruise and directed by Jan Harlan, that gives a comprehensive overview of Kubrick’s life and career, including extensive segments about Dr Strangelove, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining.  The film includes about five minutes of Arthur C. Clarke talking about 2001 and one brief interview of Brian W. Aldiss talking about A.I., which Steven Spielberg took over after Kubrick’s death.

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

19 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/26/20 A Hard Pixel’s Gonna Scroll

  1. (8) I heard Pohl read “Day Million” (at Bucconeer, I think) – a terrific story, and very well read. Hard to say what my favorite novel of his is: maybe “Jem”

    “Paul Atreides, Mallworld Cop”

  2. (1) One group I’d love to have dinner with is the good guys from “That Hideous Strength.” This includes Mark Studdock, who is redeemed in the end. Exceptions: I would not want to sit at table with Mr. or Mrs. Bultitude, as their table manners are unbearable.

    (5) “Hide, witch, hide! The good folk come to burn thee! Their keen enjoyment hid behind a gothic mask of duty.” I bought that album within a week of its release. I was in college, busily helping to found my school’s radio station (“KWCW, the Stereo Giant of the Walla Walla empire!”). I often played the entire “Blows Against the Empire” album on my radio show, which I first called “The Million Year Picnic,” and later “Starship Troupers.” I was the station’s sci-fi buff and expert on the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and other San Francisco groups. If I’d had filk tapes (those weren’t invented yet), I’d have played those, too.

    (8) Frederik Pohl was born in 1919 (I’m sure 1929 was a typo). My favorite editor from my youth–I cut my SF magazine teeth on his IF, and I still consider him to be a better editor than either John W. Campbell or Horace L. Gold–his only equal (to me) was Anthony Boucher, who was gone from the scene by the time I discovered the prozines.

  3. Hope everyone had a great day.

    I gave Dora a chicken neck. It took her a while to be sure another dog wasn’t going to appear and challenge her for it, but then she settled down to enjoy it.

  4. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson says Frederik Pohl was born in 1919 (I’m sure 1929 was a typo). My favorite editor from my youth–I cut my SF magazine teeth on his IF, and I still consider him to be a better editor than either John W. Campbell or Horace L. Gold–his only equal (to me) was Anthony Boucher, who was gone from the scene by the time I discovered the prozines.

    Yes that was my bad I asume.

    I wouldn’t disagree of that assessment of his Editing. I too think he was a far better editor than Campbell was, and as you say, Boucher being her equal. Certainly both were more decent beings than Campbell was by far.

  5. (8) The Pohl-edited Star Science Fiction wasn’t a magazine; it was a series of six 1950s Ballantine anthologies (reissued as paperbacks in the early 1970s) consisting of all original stories, so in that sense it was magazine-like. Highlights of volume 2, for example, were the first publications of Bester’s “Disappearing Act” and Bixby’s “It’s a Good Life,” as well as a lesser-known story that resonates more as I get older, Robert Crane’s “The Purple Fields.”

    Pohl also did a fine job editing The Best of C. M. Kornbluth (Ballantine) in the ’70s, and his foreword and story introductions are of interest too, particularly his anecdote about “The Remoresful” (which had first appeared in one of the Star volumes). Shouldn’t have left out “That Share of Glory,” however.

  6. The Pohl birthyear might be my typo, and in any event, it should have occurred to me that he wasn’t 10 years old at the first Worldcon….

  7. Happy Thanksgiving! The Big Kahuna and I had a lovely five hour nap and now I’m just trying to select a videogame.

    Regarding (3) and videogames … I loathe and despise narrative video games. I write-read-enjoy books so it’s not a narrative allergy. I recall some space pilot game I was hooked on briefly in the ’90s — actually I can’t remember the game at all, but I do remember the creepy NPC pilot trainer that kept referring to me as “kid” when I was playing as a middle-aged lady squid-faced alien. I’d have a lovely time blowing things up in space, then I’d go to the trainer and get reminded I was “supposed” to have the mindset of an exuberant Luke Skywalker type.

    When I was a raid addict in WoW, there was a whole subculture of us that took pride in never reading quest text and hitting escape to bypass all the cut scenes. I feel like it’s all right if a movie wants to drag me into someone else’s head for a couple hours, that’s what I expect from a movie experience. With a game, though, I’m busy participating in the world. Having someone direct my flow into the same guided daydream all the other consumers are having is infuriating.

    Speaking of which, I just played the Sims 4 expansion themed around Star Wars, which is a copy of the Star Wars area at Disneyland/world. It took me right back to the summer-before-Covid, when I spent my birthday there. I really appreciate simulated video game vacations during quarantine. I thought Sims 4 did it right because there was minimal story arc. Make up any kind of character you want, equip them with a lightsaber and send them to the cantina, where they can either participate in the quest chain and unlock movie skins or just get drunk and seduce Twi’leks and cheat at Sabaac and wander off on their own. I think that’s a great game. If you want to be a green-skinned nonbinary mermaid lawyer jedi that has a baby with Kylo Ren, or just want that option available, you’ll be pleased. I’m not sure if that’s the sort of game Hugo voters will want, but I enjoyed it far more than the current Star Wars MMO where you have AI companions that follow you around to make sure you’re not playing in an overly original fashion.

    I’m also working my way through Ready Player Two. It’s a … suboptimal experience.

  8. 8) Get to the pixels, use them any way you can. I know you won’t break the scrolls because there aren’t any.

    @Bonnie McDaniel: so emphatically agreed. That color scheme is actively reader-hostile.

  9. Pohl also bought The Short-Timers which was filmed as “Full Metal Jacket”

    by Gustav Hasford as I should have said.

  10. James Nicoll: I call ours actual conventions, I call the others “shows” or “media shows”.

  11. (1) I think visiting most of these for Thanksgiving would prove to be a disappointment as it’s something they wouldn’t celebrate.

  12. @James Davis Nicoll, I say “fan-run” and “for-profit” to distinguish between WorldCon and local conventions where guests of honor wander around and interact freely with fen, and SDCC.and CreationCons and the like where guests of honor are carefully corralled and the only way you see them is by paying to get their autograph.

  13. Fans of the Young Wizards series (and a certain owl) will be interested in the latest news from Diane Duane.

  14. supergee says Pohl: You left out the Frederik Pohl Selections he edited for Bantam, including Dhalgren and The Female Man

    Well I certainly couldn’t include everything he did in a long and exemplty life. I figured that y’all would add anything that was definitely noting.

    Now playing: Kate Griffin’s The Midnight Mayor

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