Pixel Scroll 11/5/19 The Void Pixel’s Tale

(1) 2019 WORLD FANTASY AWARDS PHOTO. Lee Whiteside took this picture of the winners and accepters at Sunday’s World Fantasy Awards ceremony.

Left to right: Kathleen Jennings (accepting for Best Novella winner Kij Johnson), Emma Törzs (Best Short Fiction co-winner as well as accepting for co-winner Mel Kassel), C. L. Polk (Best Novel), Tobias S. Buckell (Best Collection with Paolo Bacigalupi), Reiko Murakami (accepting for Best Artist winner Rovina Cai), Irene Gallo (Best Anthology) and Rajan Khanna (accepting for Scott H. Andrews, Special Award – Nonprofessional)

(2) WATCHMEN PODCAST. ScienceFiction.com alerts listeners when “HBO Launches ‘The Official Watchmen Podcast’”.

The Official Watchmen Podcast launches after the third episode of the series airs on November 3rd. Over three episodes, host Craig Mazin (HBO and Sky’s Chernobyl) discusses Watchmen with its Executive Producer and Writer, Damon Lindelof. Join Mazin and Lindelof as they divulge narrative choices, explore the show’s connection with the groundbreaking graphic novel, and how it reflects our modern times. Make sure to watch episodes one through three of Watchmen before listening. The Official Watchmen Podcast is produced by HBO in conjunction with Pineapple Street Studios.

(3) MAKE ROOM. If Marie Kondo didn’t get you started decluttering, maybe this post by Wil Wheaton will do it: “The Purge”. This excerpt is followed by a moving account of the emotional work he went through in the process.

…As I was cleaning up my emotional baggage, working on strategies to protect myself from my abusers, and practicing mindfulness daily, I realized that I had a ton of STUFF just sitting around my house, cluttering up my physical living space the way my emotional trauma and pain was cluttering up my emotional space. So I made a call, and hired a professional organizer to come to my house, go through all my bullshit with me, and help me get rid of all the things I didn’t need any more.

This process was, in many ways, a metaphor.

We spent several days going through my closets, my game room, my storage spaces in my attic and shed, and eventually ended up with FIVE TRUCKLOADS of stuff I didn’t need. Most of it was clothes and books and things that we donated to shelters, which was really easy to unload. I acquire T-shirts so much, I regularly go through my wardrobe and unload half of what I have, so it’s easy to get rid of stuff without any emotional attachments.

But there were some things that were more difficult to get rid of, things that represented opportunities I once had but didn’t pursue, things that represented ideas that I was really into for a minute, but didn’t see through to completion, things that seemed like a good idea at the time but didn’t really fit into my life, etc….

(4) AO3 TO THE RESCUE. Yahoo! will be closing downYahoo! Groups – at least as people are used to it — for good on December 14, by which point all uploaded content will be lost: “Yahoo is shuttering Yahoo Groups. Fandom will never be the same”.

The death of Yahoo Groups is a particular blow to text-based fan communities, which thrived on the platform in the 2000s. Yahoo message boards and email lists were crucial to the early days of fandom, both as a publishing platform and as a semi-private meeting place in the days before social media sites like Tumblr, Twitter, and Reddit. Yahoo Groups were particularly integral to Harry Potter and English-language anime fandoms, overlapping with the rise of Livejournal in the early 2000s. These fannish mailing lists were home to reams of fanfiction and in-depth commentary on pop culture, and spawned lifelong friendships (and, OK, the occasional deathly feud) within their communities.

AO3 has offered sanctuary to fanworks that are at risk because of the Yahoo Groups shutdown:

We have two processes in place — one to move fanworks from Yahoo Groups onto the Archive Of Our Own, and one to download and preserve messages and other content from Yahoo Groups in file systems so moderators and Yahoo Groups users have more than nine weeks to figure out how to preserve and possibly share that content.

Open Doors can only import fanworks archived in Yahoo Groups onto the Archive of Our Own with the consent of the moderator(s). If you are a moderator and would like to import fanworks from your Yahoo Group(s) to AO3, you are welcome to contact Open Doors via our contact form.

…If you’re a moderator who’d like to potentially import your group to the AO3, contact Open Doors and we’ll talk to you about options. For more updates on what’s happening, see announcements or check back on this page.

If you’d like to directly help rescue teams and you want to save only fandom groups, you can use this form to nominate fandom groups OR you can go directly to the public spreadsheet to find nominated groups that still need downloading. (General downloading instructions are here.) If you want to help save fandom groups and many other non-fandom groups, see Archive Team’s chrome extension. Both are worthy efforts and both face a hard deadline of Dec 14.

(5) CONZEALAND MINORS POLICY. Here are some features of CoNZealand’s “Minors Onsite Policy” for the 2020 Wordcon,

A minor is anyone under the age of 18. In New Zealand, the law requires that no minor under the age of 14 be left unattended. …

Overall Policy 

All Kid-in-tow and Child memberships must be tied to an adult membership. All minors under 16 should have a sticker on the back of their badge detailing up to two adults (over 18) who are responsible for them.  

Due to the nature of licensing and regulation in regards to child care in New Zealand, it will not be possible for us to provide child care at CoNZealand. Please refer to the links to nanny and babysitting services at the end of this document.

Memberships

There are three types of memberships for minors at CoNZealand:

  1. Kid-in-tow (no charge)—born in or after 2015 (generally 5 and under)
  2. Child ($105)—born in or after 2005 (generally 5-15)
  3. Young Adult ($250)—born in or after 2000 (generally 15-20)

These age groups do not exactly align with the differing expectations for supervision of minors. New Zealand law requires that no child under the age of 14 be left unattended. 

(6) ABOUT THE CAMPBELL AWARD. If you didn’t read it in August on Boing Boing, Locus Online has reposted Cory Doctorow’s opinion piece, “Jeannette Ng Was Right: John W. Campbell Was a Fascist”.

At the Hugo Awards ceremony at this summer’s Dublin Worldcon, Jeannette Ng was presented with the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Ng gave an outstanding and brave acceptance speech in which she called Campbell – the award’s namesake and one of the field’s most influential editors – a “fascist” and expressed solidarity with the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.

I am a past recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (2000) as well as a recipient of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (2009). I believe I’m the only person to have won both of the Campbells, which, I think, gives me unique license to comment on Ng’s remarks, which have been met with a mixed reception from the field.

I think she was right – and seemly – to make her re­marks….

(7) SOMETHING IN COMMON. BBC explains an award and poses a question: “Staunch Book Prize: Should writers ditch female victims?”

From the escapades of an intern-turned-spy in Turkey’s capital to the tale of a priest in 15th Century Somerset, there might not be an obvious connection between the novels shortlisted for this year’s Staunch Book Prize.

But they have one thing in common: none of them involve physical or sexual violence towards women.

The prize, which is in its second year, recognises thrillers in which “no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered”.

But while some commend it for challenging stereotypes, others accuse it of ignoring social realities.

Speaking to the BBC, shortlisted authors and other writers share their views on why female characters are so often the victims of violence – and whether that needs to change.

(8) GENTLEMEN, BE OBLITERATED. The Space Review’s article “Nuking the site from orbit: when the Air Force wanted a base on the Moon” mentions Heinlein’s 1940s vision of a moon base with atomic weaponry.

…The concept of the Moon as a strategic base apparently dates at least back to 1948 and an article by Robert S. Richardson titled “Rocket Blitz From the Moon” in the mass-market Collier’s magazine. The article was beautifully illustrated by famed space artist Chesley Bonestell. In one Bonestell painting a bullet-shaped rocket (illogically equipped with large aerodynamic fins) is blasting off from a lunar crater. Another rocket stands prepped in the background and a lunar base is tucked into the side of a mountain. In the next illustration—probably Bonestell’s most dramatic painting ever—Manhattan has been blasted with at least three atomic bombs.

Richardson’s article focused primarily on the physics of the Moon: the low gravity, the lack of air, the trajectory and velocity calculations for firing rockets at the Earth. Rather than advocate that the United States should build a lunar rocket base, Richardson warned that another country could undertake a secret project to develop a lunar base and achieve strategic surprise against the United States. He did not clearly explain why the Moon would be a good place for basing missiles other than its presumed safety from Earth observation, and he noted that it would take at least a day for a rocket to reach Earth with its warhead. Considering that there were other means of basing long-range strategic weapons that did not involve the massive cost of a space program and a lunar base, Richardson’s idea was fanciful at best. But Collier’s was a large circulation magazine, not a science fiction pulp, and this short article certainly reached a big audience and probably fired some imaginations.

Richardson was not the only person writing about the possibilities of using space as a platform for attacking Earth. Robert Heinlein co-wrote a non-fiction article in August 1947, also for Collier’s, called “Flight into the Future.” Heinlein and his co-author, US Navy Captain Caleb Laning, suggested basing atomic weapons in orbit, and Heinlein later used this idea in his book Space Cadet. The 1950 movie Destination Moon, which Heinlein co-wrote, also echoed a similar theme (see “Heinlein’s ghost (part 1)”, The Space Review, April 9, 2007). One of the characters in the movie explains why a lunar base is necessary: “There is absolutely no way to stop an attack from outer space. The first country that can use the Moon for the launching of missiles will control the Earth. That, gentlemen, is the most important military fact of this century.”…

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 5, 1938 Jim Steranko, 81. His breakthough series  was the Sixties “Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” feature in Marvel Comics’ Strange Tales and in the subsequent debut series. His design sensibility is widespread within and without the comics industry effecting even Raiders of the Lost Ark and Bram Stoker’s Dracula as he created the conceptual art and character designs for them. He was inducted into the comic-book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.
  • Born November 5, 1942 Frank Gasperik. Tuckerized in as a character in several novels including Lucifer’s Hammer as Mark Czescu, and into Footfall as Harry Reddington aka Hairy Red,  and in Fallen Angels, all by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. He was a close friend of both and assisted Pournelle on his Byte column. To my knowledge, he has but two writing credits which are he co-wrote a story, “Janesfort War”, with Leslie Fish that was published in Pournelle’s War World collection, CoDominium: Revolt on War World, and “To Win the Peace” co-written with Leslie Fish which was published in John F. Carr’s War World: Takeover. He was a filk singer including here doing “The Green Hills of Earth”. (Died 2007.)
  • Born November 5, 1944 Carol Anne Douglas, 75. Although she has two inarguably genre series In the  Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator and the Sword and Circlet novels, I’m here to pitch to you her Social Justice Warrior credential series instead (and dissenters can now go elsewhere) in the form of her Midnight Louie series.  Each novel is told in part from the point of view of Midnight Louie, the cat himself in a style some say is like that of a Damon Runyon character.
  • Born November 5, 1949 Armin Shimerman, 70. Quark on Deep Space Nine. And Principal Snyder on Buffy the Vampire Slayer who if I remember correctly came to a very bad end.  He had the recurring role of Pascal on Beauty and the Beast. He also played Professor George Edward Challenger in the later Nineties Lost World film.
  • Born November 5, 1960 ?Tilda Swinton, 59. Her take as Rosetta/Ruby/Marinne/Olive in Teknolust might be the most weird genre role she’s done but I like her take as The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as her best role to date. Mind you her Gabriel in Constantine was frelling strange…
  • Born November 5, 1961 Sam Rockwell, 58. First in our area of interest as the Head Thug in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve got him next being Francis Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, not a role I knew. Ahhh, Guy Fleegman on Galaxy Quest. And lastly, he was Zaphod Beeblebroxin The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 
  • Born November 5, 1964 Famke Janssen, 55. Her first genre role was Xenia Onatopp in the Bond film GoldenEye and her longest running genre role was as Jean Grey / Phoenix (Dark Phoenix) in the X-Men film series. Counting horror which I do, she’s got a number of genre appearance including Lord of IllusionsThe WolverineHouse on Haunted HillDeep Rising and Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Born November 5, 1970 Tamzin Outhwaite, 49. She was Detective Inspector Rebecca Flint on Paradox, a SF police series that ran for just five episodes and received really harsh reviews. Her only other SF role was as the Captain in an Eleventh Doctor story, “Nightmare in Silver” which was scripted by Neil Gaiman. 

(10) BE FREE! ABC news reports “Chicago book returns surge 240% after city eliminates fines”.

“Just by word of mouth and also on the library’s social media pages like Facebook, we saw a lot of patrons say, ‘Oh my God. This is so great. I’m gonna bring back my books. I’ve been hesitant to come back to the library because I owe these fines,'” Telli said.

Chicago became the nation’s first major city to forgo overdue fines, which went into effect Oct. 1 and erased all outstanding fees. Mayor Lori Lightfoot framed the policy change as her latest attempt to remove barriers that deter youth and low-income patrons.

Lightfoot is also making an effort to open libraries on Sundays. The mayor’s 2020 budget includes an $18 million property tax increase to honor her promise to establish Sunday hours at Chicago’s 81 libraries. Currently, the Harold Washington central library and three regional libraries are open 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

(11) NEVER? WELL, HARDLY EVER. Even Book View Café’s  Madeleine E. Robins will sometimes “RTFM*”.

I am, by nature, a dive-in-and-figure-it-out sort of technology user. This may come from my early days as a computer user, when my then room-mate and sometime business partner dropped a box on my desk and said “we’re doing a user’s manual for X Corp. Can you learn this” — this being PageMaker, the forerunner of InDesign, a page layout program–“by next week? I should have copy for you then.”

Reader, I did not rise up and slay him; I learned the program, eventually well enough that I taught classes in it. I still use those skills:  one of the things I do at my day job is to use InDesign to produce the posters, ads, and other marketing materials that the museum I work at needs for promotion….

(* Read the Fucking Manual.)

(12) PERFECTLY CLEAR. Will this New York Times opinion piece make it all better? Next question! “Martin Scorsese: I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain.”

…In the past 20 years, as we all know, the movie business has changed on all fronts. But the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk. Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist. Because, of course, the individual artist is the riskiest factor of all.

I’m certainly not implying that movies should be a subsidized art form, or that they ever were. When the Hollywood studio system was still alive and well, the tension between the artists and the people who ran the business was constant and intense, but it was a productive tension that gave us some of the greatest films ever made — in the words of Bob Dylan, the best of them were “heroic and visionary.”

Today, that tension is gone, and there are some in the business with absolute indifference to the very question of art and an attitude toward the history of cinema that is both dismissive and proprietary — a lethal combination. The situation, sadly, is that we now have two separate fields: There’s worldwide audiovisual entertainment, and there’s cinema. They still overlap from time to time, but that’s becoming increasingly rare. And I fear that the financial dominance of one is being used to marginalize and even belittle the existence of the other….

(13) ELRIC MEETS DUNGEON SYNTH. A Moorcock-obsessed United Kingdom musician who goes by the name Elric is working in the “dungeon synth” genre (an eerie combination of goth, classical, and folk tunes played on 80s synths). The releases are on Bandcamp and are named “Antihero”, “Stormbringer”, and “Elric of Melnibone”. They are all “name your price.” As Bandcamp said about one of the releases:

It’s safe to say that fantasy literature and role-playing games (the tabletop and the video variety) loom large in the world of Dungeon Synth, and Elric expertly combines both of them. Inspired by the chiptune soundtracks of games like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana as well as (obviously) the fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock, Elric’s music is the perfect soundtrack to crawling through (16-bit) alcoves, searching for abandoned potions and treasure while trying to avoid the hungry ghouls hidden in the shadows.”

(14) DO ME A SOLID. “Searching For Solid Ice As Scientists Freeze In To Study A Warming Arctic” – BBC delivers lots of meaty detail and pictures.

High up in the Arctic Ocean close to the North Pole, a solitary ship floats in darkness, moored to an expansive piece of ice.

If all goes according to plan the ship will remain with that ice for an entire year, so that scientists on board can study the Arctic system and how it’s responding to climate change.

It’s a project called the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC). But finding a piece of ice thick and stable enough to host the mission’s science and logistics is not easy, and there may be challenges for the ice and the scientists in the months ahead.

…The MOSAiC expedition – about a decade in the planning – is an international collaboration involving hundreds of scientists and almost 20 countries. Their goal is to better understand the changing Arctic and improve how it’s represented in climate models.

“We need this information because the Arctic is changing so rapidly, and it’s a place that we have not observed very well in the past,” says Matthew Shupe, an atmospheric scientist with the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a co-coordinator for MOSAiC.

The last time scientists looked at the Arctic Ocean system so comprehensively was more than 20 years ago. But the Arctic has been warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, and the picture there has changed dramatically.

That’s why these researchers want a year out in the ice: to get an updated look at how the physics, the chemistry, and the biology of this area work during all four seasons.

(15) BIG HOOCH. NPR finds “Climate Change Is Disrupting Centuries-Old Methods Of Winemaking In France”.

In France, climate change is already impacting one of the country’s most emblematic industries — winemaking. French vintners say heat, drought and erratic weather is altering the landscape and their centuries-old way of working.

Brothers Remi and Gregoire Couppé are fourth generation winemakers who craft a top vintage, grand cru St Emilion. In the last few years they’ve been confronted with some new challenges. Forty-four-year-old Remi Couppé says there’s no denying the weather is getting hotter and drier.

“Because of the grapes. They show us the change,” he says. “Especially in alcohol. The alcohol level has been getting higher in the last five years.” These days, the alcohol content by volume can reach 15%, he says; when he was a boy, “it was maximum 12 [% ABV]. It’s causing me some problems when I start the vinification process, because I have to use new yeast to avoid too much alcohol. It’s really new for me.”

The higher alcohol levels come from increased sugar in the grapes due to more sun and heat. What’s also new are some of the plants sprouting up between the vines. Couppé picks a flowery-looking weed, holding it up to the blazing sun. “This plant is from the south of Europe and I never saw it here in my life before four years ago.”

Couppé says you have to be careful when using the mechanized harvester now, because such plants can get mixed in and ad a taste to the grapes.

The brothers say in the past three years they’ve completely stopped a process called “stripping,” where most of the vine leaves are removed just before the harvest. Now they need the leaves’ shade to keep the grapes from burning on the vine. Couppé points to a shriveled, sun-exposed cluster of grapes next to the dark, plump ones still shaded by the leaves.

(16) OUTSIDE OPINION. BBC tells how “Voyagers shed light on Solar System’s structure”.

Data sent back by the two Voyager spacecraft have shed new light on the structure of the Solar System.

Forty-two years after they were launched, the spacecraft are still going strong and exploring the outer reaches of our cosmic neighbourhood.

By analysing data sent back by the probes, scientists have worked out the shape of the vast magnetic bubble that surrounds the Sun.

The two spacecraft are now more than 10 billion miles from Earth.

Researchers detail their findings in six separate studies published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“We had no good quantitative idea how big this bubble is that the Sun creates around itself with its solar wind – ionised plasma that’s speeding away from the Sun radially in all directions,” said Ed Stone, the longstanding project scientist for the missions.

[Thanks to Daniel Dern, Lee Whiteside, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Rob Thornton, Cora Buhlert, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

46 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/5/19 The Void Pixel’s Tale

  1. (4) Cheers to AO3 for this effort!

    (9) Thank you for mentioning Frank in the birthday list – I still miss him.

  2. If you (or your group) have a Yahoo group and want to keep it going in that format, take a look at groups.io. I’m aware of it because the Editorial Freelancers Association was using Yahoo Groups and is now at groups.io.

    Note that they do charge for groups above a certain size, and (at least for the first year) for any group being moved from Yahoo. Unlike Yahoo, there are no ads.

    Do check the restrictions before signing up: they won’t host “pornography, adult content, and nudity.” That definitely rules out at least some fanfic.

    They also exclude “groups dedicated to the promotion of extreme, hateful, or exclusionary ideas, including but not limited to, the alt-right. Groups dedicated to the promotion of conspiracy theories, including, but not limited to: Gamergate, Pizzagate, and Qanon. [and] Groups dedicated to the promotion of anti-vaccination ideologies.”

    The EFA’s move from Yahoo groups was painless for members (I don’t know how much work was required behind the scenes). It was recent enough that my review has to be “so far so good” rather than “excellent, you’ll love it there.”

  3. 9) Carole Nelson Douglas wrote an SF duology called Probe and Counterprobe in the 1980s, which I enjoyed a lot at the time. I also read the Delilah Street book, though I haven’t read Midnight Louie yet.

    14) When she’s not floating through the Arctic attached to ice floats, the research vessel Polarstern is headquartered in Bremerhaven approx. 75 kilometres from where I live. As a result, the progress of the MOSAIC mission was headline news in my region.

    I’ve seen the Polarstern in port a couple of times, though I’ve never been on board, though I have been on board of one of the other German research vessels. The Polarstern is getting on in years (built in 1982) and is due to be replaced soon, which is probably why she was chosen for this particular mission.

  4. (9) That rendition of “The Green Hills of Earth” was somewhat jarring — I’ve always mentally set the words to the tune “The Happy Wanderer”, and the tune he used was so different.

  5. bill: That’s a better choice than the version earwormed into my brain — “The Green Hills of Earth” done to the tune of “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing”, which originated as a Coca-Cola commercial.

  6. (9) Then there’s “Cool Green Hills of Earth” by Southwind, from 1970 (

    ), on Blue Thumb Records, which put out the first National Lampoon LP, Radio Dinner, two years later. I have a copy of the single – it was a giveaway at a dance for preteens that I was made to attend – and as the image of the label at YouTube shows (21:08), it’s credited solely to Heinlein, although it’s anyone’s guess whether he actually composed the music. Besides, I don’t know whether he would have chosen to omit the “All hands, stand by, free falling” part.

  7. 4) I understand what they’re saying, but I still have to love “Yahoo message boards and email lists were crucial to the early days of fandom.” Not my early days, and I wasn’t even there for THE early days.

    9) I’ve understood “tuckerizing” as using someone’s name in a novel, not basing a character under a different name on someone. No idea what that one’s called, though.

  8. Jeff Smith: You make a good point. I think the technical term for what they did is “basing a character on someone”….

  9. 8) Military bases on the moon are a plot point of For All Mankind so far: Nixon is convinced the Commies are planning one and by damn he’ll get one first.

    11) First thing I do on any new Unix account is make rtfm an alias for man.

  10. As a fan i feel obligated to opine that Sam Rockwell’s best genre roll is in Duncan Jones’ 2009 film “Moon”. Although not genre, George Clooney’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” features Rockwell doing a scarily accurate imitation of The Gong Show’s Chuck Barris.

    OddStalk!

  11. @JeffWarner: I suspect Moon was deliberately left out to give us something to complain about. While Iron Man 2 was probably left out so we wouldn’t complain. 🙂 The one I’m curious about, though, and still haven’t seen, is Cowboys vs. Aliens.

    Rockwell was also good in Picadilly Jim, which was based on the Wodehouse novel, but actually edges into being genre because of the explosive MacGuffin. Not a great movie, overall, but that’s not Rockwell’s fault.

  12. @Xtifr

    I don’t remember Cowboys & Aliens very clearly but my recollection is that it wasn’t bad. Not a film to change anyone’s life, but not one you’ll regret watching either.

  13. @Jeff Smith…. From the article’s context it’s clear that the entire subject is internet fandom, not fandom as a whole. Perhaps adding “online” or “internet” to that sentence as an adjective would have been a good idea just for 100 percent clarity.

  14. Genre art in Boston:

    I strongly recommend the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts of original watercolors by Danish artist Kay Nielsen (1886-1957), known for his gorgeous fairy tale illustrations; he also worked on Fantasia. The originals have all kinds of intricate detail that just doesn’t come through in the books even when they are well printed.

    https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/kay-nielsens-enchanted-vision

    I’m convinced that Colleen Doran’s cover for her new book with Neil Gaiman is a Nielsen hommage, although the interior is more her own style:

    https://www.amazon.com/Neil-Gaimans-Snow-Glass-Apples/dp/1506709796/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=colleen+doran&qid=1573041268&sr=8-1

    In the gallery next to the Nielsen exhibit is a photography exhibit called “Make Believe,” with some wonderful surreal images achieved by either manipulation of the photo or, in other cases, careful posing. My favorite was one of the latter type, showing a woman sitting in a chair and leaning forward so that her long hair hangs down to the floor and makes her look rather like Cousin It.

    The big special exhibition at the MFA, “Ancient Nubia Now,” also has genre associations, especially for anyone who, like me, learned about the ancient Nubian kingdom of Meroe from Andre Norton. In her 1976 book Wraiths of Time, Norton sent a present-day African-American heroine back to that era. (I’m sorry to say that my paperback edition features a white woman on the cover. Harrumph. But typical of the time, and certainly not Norton’s fault.)

    As it turns out, Norton was not the first writer to think of a similar idea. The MFA exhibition includes a video interview with a professor at Northeastern who talks about a 1903 novel that I would definitely consider genre, Of One Blood by Pauline Hopkins, a Harlem Renaissance writer. The American protagonist is a light-skinned black medical student who has no interest in African culture until he becomes involved with an archaeological dig in Ethiopia. He goes through a pyramid and finds himself in a Wakanda-like African utopia, where he himself is the long-lost prince.

  15. @Xtifr: Cowboys and Aliens gets dumped on a lot, but it has cowboys and it has aliens, so I didn’t complain. (It also has ejective consonants and some scenes that were obviously filmed in the general area of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, so some of my personal interests were represented.)

  16. 11) Dies laughing. You see, my mother says this a lot. And by all appearances she’s a silver haired southern matriarch. She also swears its our family super power – well, at least some members of the family…

  17. I have a comment awaiting moderation, apparently. Not sure what I did to trigger that!

  18. (9): I have to disagree: Tilda Swinton’s best role to date was as “Tilda”, head of the Vampiric Council, in the “The Trial” episode of What We Do in the Shadows.

    @Xtifr: adding my two cents, Cowboys and Aliens is not great but not terrible, either; it has an excellent cast who mostly should have been put to better use.

  19. Recreating my comment:

    I recently read The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, a novella by Saad Z Hossain. It was delightful. It knocked my socks off. It is one of those books that leads you down the garden path and you end up in a completely different place than you thought. Even if it doesn’t sound like your thing, I highly recommend it. I don’t want to say to much because of spoilers. It will go on my hugo ballot unless six other things knock it off.

  20. Those are some … interesting … renditions of “The Green Hills of Earth”; I never thought of it as being in a minor key, possibly because I first heard it sung by Anne Passovoy at MAC 1. (I don’t find a clear cite for this version; the tune may have been by Mark Bernstein, but it’s definitely a bit of a show-for-voice such as Anne excelled at.)

    @Dana Lynne: even if the sourcing is limited to Internet fandom, ISTM that Yahoo! was a latecomer and less significant than other accesses; I was on the mainframe-based Usenet but remember a number of other forms being discussed at a 1985 panel, which Wikipedia tells me is 10 years before Y was founded.

    @Estee: I’ll have to look up those Nielsen works — I’m going to the MFA soon for their music-all-over evening.

    @BravoLimaPoppa: you mean she doesn’t even have a softer-edge alias like “Bless your heart!” for it?

  21. Sylvia Sotomayor: You signed in using a middle initial in your name, which caused the comment to go into moderation as a first comment.

    When you repeated the comment using the name already in storage it went through. The earlier one is now a duplicate so I’ll set that aside.

  22. @Paul Weimer: Recommended indeed. The landscape is truly otherworldly – and if you take the trail all the way to the top of the cliff (safe but slightly strenuous and you’ll want sturdy shoes) the view is incredible.

    (I should go back. The one time I’ve been there was eight years ago, back before phones could take panoramic pictures.)

  23. (7) didn’t Tilda Swinton play Orlando, in the eponymous movie? That’s my favorite of her work.

  24. Chip Hitchcock: That depends. Folks that don’t know her well? She’ll soften it. Family and close friends? Oh no. We get the straight dope.

  25. “the early days of fandom”
    spittake

    Dana Lynne: After mailing lists, BBSes, IRC, Usenet, PHPboards, various walled garden online information services…

    Really, the only thing that distinguished Yahoo was their bad account security.

  26. To be fair, the time between BBSes/Usenet/etc., and Yahoo is much shorter than the time between either of those and now…

    (I’ve been using the handle “xtifr” since the days when email addresses used exclamation points instead of at-signs: …apple!darkside!xtifr was how people on the proto-internet reached me. Which I can still remember, unlike whatever random number it was that Fido assigned me.)

  27. Xtifr: email addresses used ‘@’ before they used ‘!’; I’ve read that ‘@’ dates back to the beginning of email, possibly over 50 years ago (memory is weak). I think bang paths were more generally available than absolutes for a while after Usenet built up, but they didn’t predate.

  28. IIRC, bang paths and @-addresses were used on different systems. But @ definitely goes back to 1980 if not earlier.

  29. Iirc bang paths are the origin for one of transformative works fandom’s tag forms. For example (and to use one that I, er, don’t like very much): BAMF!Hobbits, to denote a particular, usually canon-divergent, characterisation – in this case, hobbits who are Good At Violence (and therefore Worthy Of Respect (sigh)). Or, say, Female!Bilbo (self-explanatory alteration to canon, that one). Squib!Harry Potter, Witch!Petunia Evans, etc.. They’re generally (but not exclusively) in fics that explore what else might change if you just alter that one thing.

    Yahoo Groups was indeed a major centre of early internet transformative works fandom, which is what the AO3 is referring to when they say “fandom”. Just as people here don’t generally specify “sf/f lit fandom” or “traditional convention fandom” but just use fandom. 🙂

  30. Re: Scorsese, I find it difficult to believe that all speculative funding for his, and others of his note, has dried up. Generally speaking, the films they do are not remotely as expensive as the Marvel blockbusters. Look at Wes Anderson. He seems to have zero difficulties in getting funding for his films AND he has a line of Gold Star talent clamoring to work with him. The credits for a Wes Anderson film generally read like a Who’s Who of the filmworld.

    Beyond that, it strikes me that the enormous profits turned by the Marvel movies (and movies in the same vein) may very well allow funding of other more speculative works.

  31. BAMF!Hobbits, to denote a particular, usually canon-divergent, characterisation

    Though BAMF!Nightcrawler is just what happens when he teleports.

  32. @rochrist: “Re: Scorsese, I find it difficult to believe that all speculative funding for his, and others of his note, has dried up.”

    Which is find if you’re already Scorsese, but not so great if you aren’t.

    “Beyond that, it strikes me that the enormous profits turned by the Marvel movies (and movies in the same vein) may very well allow funding of other more speculative works.”

    That’s a pleasant thought. I wonder if it’ll come to pass? Or if the profits will just flow up and out.

  33. @rochrist: “Re: Scorsese, I find it difficult to believe that all speculative funding for his, and others of his note, has dried up.”

    I’m reading that his latest, “The Irishman”, cost $159 million.

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