Pixel Scroll 12/10/20 LSMFP – Lucky Scrolls Mean Filed Pipeweed

(1) TAG TEAM. YouTuber Morganeua, a fourth year PhD student in Theatre and Performance Studies, uses Stephen King and Toni Morrison to beat Isaac Asimov into the ground in “Asimov’s Adverbs.” (Think of it as a homage to “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses.”)

I just finished reading “Foundation and Empire” by Isaac Asimov and it was GREAT but I noticed THIS about his writing. What do you think about excessive -ly adverb use in novels?

(2) SEAT FLYERS. Cat Rambo shares her “Principles for Pantsers – The 20 Minute Edition” on her YouTube channel.

Some people outline their novel before they start. Others don’t, but just plunge right and start. There’s plenty of advice on how to do the former, but those who practice the latter sometimes feel that they’re floundering, and no one’s providing any guidance. Working with my own process as well as that of students, clients, and mentees, I’ve come up with twelve principles for writing that you can apply, pre and post-pantsing, in order to start moving from chaos to order.

(3) LITERARY AFTERLIFE. Andrew Nette, in “The Long, Dark Legacy of William Hjortsberg’s Supernatural Neo-Noirs” on CrimeReads, uses the publication of Hjortsberg’s Angel’s Descent to discuss his novels that fused the detective and supernatural, most notably Angel’s Heart (made into a Mickey Rourke film).

…A posthumously published book can be tricky property, given the inevitable question of whether the author was able to finalize the manuscript to the degree they wanted, were they alive. Although Angel’s Inferno does not feel incomplete, it lacks the economy and flow of Falling Angel. It is also far darker, more debauched and violent. When you’ve made a pact to sell your soul to Satan, in terms of what you’re prepared to do, the sky, or in Angel’s case, the depths are the limit.

(4) KOWAL’S VISION FOR SERIES. Mary Robinette Kowal’s talk for the 2020 National Book Festival about her “Lady Astronaut” series is online.

…My first moment where I’m really, really conscious of the space program aside from just like, oh, yeah, people go into space, is when Sally Ride goes up. And looking back at the history of this and thinking about how long it took us to send someone up, it bothered me. It especially bothers me now that this is a problem that we still have ongoing. And so, I wanted to see what it would have been like if we had actually centered women. I sometimes say that this is Apollo era science fiction that’s women-centered. I wanted to read Ray Bradbury, but with 100% more women and people of color. That’s what I wanted. I wanted that sense of Golden Age adventure, but I wanted to be there. And so, I created this world.

(5) CORBEN OBIT. Artist Richard Corben (1940-2020) died December 2 following heart surgery. He was a winner of the Spectrum Grand Master Award (2009) and the Grand Prix at Angoulême (2018), and an inductee to the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame (2012). Dona Corben announced his passing on Facebook.

Corben started in underground comics, then gained increasing fame over the years working in the French magazine Métal Hurlant, and at Marvel, DC and Dark Horse Comics. His name will ring a bell with Harlan Ellison fans as the artist on the three-story graphic novel Vic and Blood: The Chronicles of a Boy and His Dog (1988).

See examples of his work in Corben’s Lambiek Comiclopedia entry and at the Corben Studios website corbencomicart.com.

(6) ING OBIT. Author Dean Ing, whose story “The Devil You Don’t Know” was a Hugo and Nebula finalist in 1979, died July 21 according toLocus, whichhas a complete profile: Dean Ing (1931-2020).

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz]

  • Born December 10, 1815 Ada Lovelace. Lovelace was the only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron and his wife Lady Byron. She was an English mathematician and writer, principally known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Genre usage includes Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, Stirling’s The Peshawar Lancers and Crowley’s Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land. (Died 1852.) (CE)
  • Born December 10, 1830 – Emily Dickinson.  She set on paper 1,800 poems, less than a dozen published during her lifetime – too unconventional.  “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” got into a 2014 Everyman’s Library volume.  She has a poem on a schoolhouse in the Hague, in English and Dutch.  You could do worse than look at her Wikipedia entry.  (Died 1886) [JH]
  • Born December 10, 1824 George MacDonald. His writings have been cited as a major literary influence by many notable authors Including Tolkien and Lewis, Gaiman and L’Engle, Beagle and Twain to name but a few that I’d single out. The Princess and The Goblin and Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women as particularly fine reading.  The Waterboys titled their Room to Roam album after a passage in Phantastes. Not surprisingly, he’s well represented at the usual digital suspects with one publication an offering fifteen pages of reading for a dollar including eight novels. (Died 1905.) (CE) 
  • Born December 10, 1879 – E.H. Shepard.   Earned the Military Cross.  Lead cartoonist for Punch.  Of particular interest to us for illustrating The Wind in the Willows and Milne’s four Winnie the Pooh books; see too The Reluctant Dragon.  He did much else.  (Died 1976) [JH]
  • Born December 10, 1903 Mary Norton. Author of The Borrowers which won the 1952 Carnegie Medal from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals recognizing the novel as the year’s outstanding children’s book by a British author. She would continue to write these novels for three decades with Hallmark turning it into a film in the early seventies. Her novels The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons and Bonfires and Broomsticks would be adapted into the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks in the same period. (Died 1992.) (CE) 
  • Born December 10, 1920 – Dan Spiegle.  In a career of BlackhawkMaverickSpin and Marty, he also drew Space Family Robinson and The Black Hole.  For this Roger Elwood book he did interiors too.  Of his work on Mickey Mouse with Paul Murry, Scott Shaw said “none of the ‘real’ human characters seem to notice anything remotely unusual about [working] with a three-foot-tall talking cartoon mouse”; to quote KC and the Sunshine Band, that’s the way I like it.  Inkpot Award.  (Died 2017) [JH]
  • Born December 10, 1928 John Colicos. You’ll first recognize him as being the first Klingon ever seen on classic Trek, Commander Kor in “Errand of Mercy” episode. (He’d reprised that role as the 140-year-old Kor in three episodes of Deep Space Nine.) He’ll next show up as Count Baltar in the original Battlestar Galactica continuity throughout the series and film. He’ll even show up as the governor of Umakran in the Starlost episode “The Goddess Calabra”. (Died 2000.) (CE)
  • Born December 10, 1960 Kenneth Branagh, 60. Oh, Branagh, I feel obligated to start with your worst film, Wild Wild West, which, well, had you no shame? Fortunately there’s much better genre work from you as an actor including as Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As a Director, I’m only seeing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Thor — Anyone know of anything else genre related? Is Hercule Poirot genre adjacent? (CE)
  • Born December 10, 1969 – Jon Hansen, age 51.  Born in Athens – Georgia.  A score of short stories, a score of poems, in Albedo OneElectric Velocipede, Realms of FantasyStrange HorizonsA Field Guide to Surreal Botany (his story is “Dream Melons”, where else should he have published it?)  [JH]
  • Born December 10, 1984 – Helen Oyeyemi, F.R.S.L.,age 36.  Six novels, ten shorter stories.  Somerset Maugham Award.  PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) Open Book Award.  Fellow of the Royal Soc. Literature (she’s Nigerian, lives in Prague).  Here is a NY Times review of HO’s collection What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours (winner of that PEN award) which I don’t think is behind a paywall – I could see it, anyhow.  [JH]
  • Born December 10, 1985 – Celeste Trinidad, M.D., age 35.  A dozen short stories from this busy Filipina pathologist.  Don Carlos Palanca Award.  “Finding Those Who Are Lost” is in the Typhoon Yolanda Relief anthology Outpouring.  [JH]

(8) YOU ASKED FOR IT. There’s no hiding from the truth. PronounceNames.com cites this authority for “How to say or pronounce Jekyll”:

Letter to the Times, Nov. 28, 1980:

Sir,

Mr Roger Lancelyn Green (25 November) asks whether it is known how Robert Louis Stevenson intended the name of Dr Jekyll should be pronounced. Fortunately a reporter from the San Francisco Examiner, who interviewed Stevenson in his hotel bedroom in San Francisco on 7 June 1888, asked him that very question:

‘There has been considerable discussion, Mr Stevenson, as to the pronunciation or Dr Jekyll’s name. Which do you consider to be correct?’

Stevenson (described as propped up in bed ‘wearing a white woollen nightdress and a tired look’) replied: ‘By all means let the name be pronounced as though it spelt “Jee-kill”, not “Jek-ill”. Jekyll is a very good family name in England, and over there it is pronounced in the manner stated.’

Yours faithfully, Ernest Mehew

(9) CSI ARIZONA. [Item by Joey Eschrich.] Two new videos from Center for Science and the Imagination events are of interest to fans.  

First, the latest episode of CSI Skill Tree, our series on video games, worldbuilding, and futures thinking, features the classic science fiction strategy game Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, with special guests Arkady Martine, author of the Hugo Award–winning novel A Memory Called Empire, as well as a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a climate and energy policy expert, and Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, a science fiction scholar at the University of Oslo and principal investigator of the European Research Council Project CoFUTURES.

Second, the latest in our Science Fiction TV Dinner series (which we don’t usually record), featuring Ellipse, a short science fiction film about the search for life in the cosmos, with special guests Ilana Rein, the film’s director and writer, and Sara Walker, an astrobiologist and theoretical physicist and the deputy director of Arizona State University’s Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.

(10) FREE READ. Publisher’s Pick’s Free Ebook of the Month is Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow.

One of the original novels of post-nuclear-holocaust America, The Long Tomorrow is considered by many to be one of the finest science fiction novels ever written on the subject. The story has inspired generations of new writers and is still as mesmerizing today as when it was originally written.

(11) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. “Foodie Find: Own a Vintage Clifton’s Cafeteria Tray”NBC Los Angeles says you can get one for $75.

…But procuring a vintage tray, from one of the most celebrated and historic Southern California establishments, is an experience that’s as exciting as finding the last tempting dish of red Jell-O wobbling in your favorite cafeteria’s dessert section.

That’s just what will happen for some fans of Clifton’s Cafeteria.

The destination, which first opened in 1931, is well-known for its woodsy theme, its various levels, its small chapel, and its many decades of feeding Angelenos seeking a solid and affordable meal.

It closed for renovations for about a half decade, then reopened in 2015 with a number of new bars, including, eventually, the tiki-themed Pacific Seas on its upper level.

…Author Ray Bradbury enjoyed his 89th birthday at Clifton’s Cafeteria, a place dear to his heart. The Science Fiction Club met at the Broadway restaurant for many years back in the 1930s and ’40s, and Mr. Bradbury was a devoted regular.

To show gratitude to the author for being a longtime friend to Clifton’s, the cafeteria presented a tray, cheerfully wrapped in colorful birthday paper, to the acclaimed writer, a nostalgic and meaningful gift.

If a decades-old Clifton’s tray might hold that same meaning for you, or someone in your family or life, purchase yours here, sending support to the history-famous destination during the closure….

(12) ALL ABOARD. Which will be under your Christmas tree?

The Lionel Train store is selling the “Hogwarts Express LionChief® Set with Dementors Coach”.

…This new Hogwarts Express LionChief Set now features two passenger cars and one Dementors Coach with sounds!

What sounds those are they don’t say, but I can guess.

And the Bradford Exchange is hustling a Star Trek Express Train Collection with the one and only “Science Officer Spock – Live Long and Prosper dome car” which just amuses the heck out of me.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, James Davis Nicoll, Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Joey Eschrich, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/10/20 LSMFP – Lucky Scrolls Mean Filed Pipeweed

  1. bill says Branagh — “Dead Again” has time travel and/or ghosts, kind of. Maybe.

    I thought of that one. And decided that I couldn’t decide.

    Now playing: Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz” which is surely genre.

  2. Even if it (“Dead Again”) doesn’t, for much of the movie it is presented as if it does. Works for me. (It’s more genre than some of what else gets cited as such around here [see: Robin Hood, Northern Exposure])

  3. bill: Is this a good place for one of those famous social media equivalency arguments — if Dead Again is your idea of genre because “for much of the movie it is presented as if it does”, by the same token can we argue that The Sixth Sense isn’t a ghost movie because for most of it we’re tricked into thinking Bruce Willis’ character is alive?

  4. John A Arkansawyer: Don’t tell bill, but the structure of my argument is a logical fallacy. That’s why you have a problem with it.

  5. bill, Mike, John — Either way, it’s a spoiler.

    8) That’s the piece I read about the pronunciation. So if it’s an item here tonight, I guess I didn’t read it here earlier then, eh? I wonder where I did.

    3) There’s a definite problem with posthumous works in not having the author available. There were three Tiptree stories I could have used a little guidance on. But as a reader you almost never know if what you’re reading is the author’s preferred text, whether they’re dead or alive. Did the publisher make unauthorized changes? Did a couple paragraphs get lost somewhere along the way? Did the author run up against a deadline, and have to turn the manuscript in before they were done with it?

    And what about when a writer keeps tinkering with a book after it’s published? Is the last revision necessarily the best version?

  6. Jeff Smith: bill, Mike, John — Either way, it’s a spoiler.

    Well, that’s what makes running this blog worthwhile, the opportunity to be shamed for discussing the ending of a movie that came out over 20 years ago.

    8) That’s the piece I read about the pronunciation. So if it’s an item here tonight, I guess I didn’t read it here earlier then, eh? I wonder where I did.

    That’d be another one of those logical fallacy arguments, too, but a different one.

  7. [12] The club in question is LASFS, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (that’s how old it is, youngsters: “science fantasy”). They met at Clifton’s for a while during the Great Depression, and some of the more impecunious fans (according to Forry Ackerman) guzzled the free lime and lemon juice because they didn’t have a nickel for anything more.

  8. You’ll should keep in mind that the answer to why a film, series or book is not included in a given Birthday is really simple. More often than than I compose these from memory of what I remember being especially interesting. So if I’ve not encountered something like Dead Again in a way that it stays in my memory as being particularly worthy, it ain’t likely to make the list when I check my sources on what a person has done.

    Same thing holds true for series like Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. It might be good but I DNFed the first novel so it won’t show up in her Birthday note. In the end, these are my personal notes.

  9. 8) I think this is going to join Terry Brooks’ Shannara on the list of words I pronounce differently than the author.

  10. 7) Branagh — He also directed Artemis Fowl (wait, what? Really?) and several Shakespeare adaptations, if we’re allowing those.

  11. Joe H. says Branagh — He also directed Artemis Fowl (wait, what? Really?) and several Shakespeare adaptations, if we’re allowing those.

    That depends on which Shakespearean work that we’re referring to. Some are definitely genre, some most decidedly not. His musical adaption of Love’s Labour Lost is definitely not genre and a not a very good film. Unless you count Hamlet as genre, none of his Shakespearean work is genre. Though I though love his Much Ado About Nothing

    Now listening to Joe Lansdale’s Deadman’s Road

  12. @Mike

    bill: Is this a good place for one of those famous social media equivalency arguments

    Probably not.
    @Cat Eldridge

    Unless you count Hamlet as genre, none of his Shakespearean work is genre.

    He played MacBeth. It had witches and a ghost.

  13. (6) Ing obit: Anyone have any idea why his death is being announced half a year after it happened?

  14. bill says He played MacBeth. It had witches and a ghost.

    I didn’t see that one but then I was looking at the films that he done. One sec… ahhh, he did it at the National Theatre. Impressive.

  15. Mike:

    Well, that’s what makes running this blog worthwhile, the opportunity to be shamed for discussing the ending of a movie that came out over 20 years ago.

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear that I wasn’t talking about any specific movie, or any specific comment, but the general notion that saying any book/movie looks genre/non-genre through most of its length but by the end turns out to be non-genre/genre, pretty much spoils the ending. (Originally typed “soils.” Almost left it.) It was an exercise in stating the obvious.

  16. David Goldfarb asks Ing obit: Anyone have any idea why his death is being announced half a year after it happened?

    No idea as his obituary was published just five days after his death. He’s not an author I’m well versed in though I did think Soft Targets thought provoking given its subject matter. And I enjoyed his Kzinti stories as well.

  17. Great title Andrew (not Werdna), yay for me I got both references, of course I worked for a Tobacco distributor for 22 years and wore my Lord Of The Rings belt buckle every day.

  18. As for the JEE-kul item, Mike, yes, I wasn’t considering the possibility that it could be a reprint from an earlier Scroll. I mentioned the pronunciation, asked if I had learned it here or elsewhere, and you responded by running the original story about how we knew the correct pronunciation. Since you didn’t say, “yes, this piece ran here before,” I assumed it hadn’t. Wrong assumption, apparently.

  19. Not all of Dean Ing’s books were straight SF or techno-thrillers. His 2015 book IT’S UP TO CHARLIE HARDIN is an entertaining adventure tale of young boys’ adventures in WW2-era Austin, Texas. (Given the time period, of course it’s a given that there are Nazi spies involved, though as I recall they appeared fairly late in the story..) Definite elements of homage to books like TOM SAWYER or PENROD, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s at least partially autobiographical. I quite enjoyed it.

  20. Concerning Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest” are indisputably fantasies. Macbeth should count, because the witches’ prophesies are central to its plot. I suppose the ghost in Hamlet sets things in motion, so that is slightly a fantasy. Does any other Shakespeare count as fantasy? Of course, a production can always add fantastical or science-fictional elements.

    Concerning Branagh, of those four, the only film he did was Hamlet. Looking at his filmography on Wikipedia, I also see director credits for the 2015 Cinderella., which I don’t think has been mentioned yet.

  21. Meredith Moment: The ebook version of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, a collection of Dick’s writings edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, is on sale for $2.99 at the Usual Suspects.

  22. @BGrandrath: Glad you liked it. I’ve been listening to episodes of Jack Benny’s radio show, which gave me the idea.

    @Jeff Smith: There was a story in Analog decades ago (name to follow if I remember it) about an English professor who went back in time to determine if an author had intended the word “wet” or “set” in a particular sentence at the climax of his story.

  23. Meredith Moment 2: DO Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a UK Kindle deal of the day. 99p. Must be PKD day.

  24. David Shallcross says Concerning Branagh, of those four, the only film he did was Hamlet. Looking at his filmography on Wikipedia, I also see director credits for the 2015 Cinderella., which I don’t think has been mentioned yet.

    His live work as Macbeth in Macbeth at the National Theatre was filmed and is available on DVD.

  25. For me the ultimate genre credit for John Colicos is Mikkos Cassadine on General Hospital, who attempted world domination by using his weather machine to freeze Port Charles but was foiled when Luke Spencer guessed his password.

  26. rcade says For me the ultimate genre credit for John Colicos is Mikkos Cassadine on General Hospital, who attempted world domination by using his weather machine to freeze Port Charles but was foiled when Luke Spencer guessed his password.

    Cute, very cute.

  27. David Shallcross on December 11, 2020 at 4:52 am said:

    Concerning Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest” are indisputably fantasies. Macbeth should count, because the witches’ prophesies are central to its plot. I suppose the ghost in Hamlet sets things in motion, so that is slightly a fantasy. Does any other Shakespeare count as fantasy? Of course, a production can always add fantastical or science-fictional elements.

    Several are set in semi-fictional places (eg Illyria in Twelfth Night) which pushes them toward fantasy even if there’s no magical elements

  28. Camestros Felapton: Several are set in semi-fictional places (eg Illyria in Twelfth Night) which pushes them toward fantasy even if there’s no magical elements

    And even if Henry V is a historical play, I’m fond of the narrator’s call on us to visualize “the vasty fields of France.”

  29. @Cat Eldridge: His live work as Macbeth in Macbeth at the National Theatre was filmed and is available on DVD.
    I will look for that. I would love Branagh to do a film of Macbeth.

  30. @PatrickMorrisMiller: The weather control device was called the Ice Princess. To activate it, you typed in the word “Ice.” To turn it off, well, you typed in “Princess.”

  31. I wrote:

    @Jeff Smith: There was a story in Analog decades ago (name to follow if I remember it) about an English professor who went back in time to determine if an author had intended the word “wet” or “set” in a particular sentence at the climax of his story.

    Found it – it was by Lawrence Watt-Evans, called “Remembrance of Things to Come”

  32. Hmm, two items: I was introduced to “Northern Exposure” when one of my students called excitedly to tell me about a show where one of the characters kept company with a dead guy, and nobody in the town had any trouble with that, including serving the ghost at the bar when he came in with the kid. The ghost can only been seen by the kid, but that doesn’t bother anybody. It’s one of many touches I think definitely moves the show toward genre.

    Hamlet is a play totally propelled by a ghost’s manipulation of his son for revenge against the brother who murdered him. All the profound character stuff comes from the boy’s concern about whether or not he is being manipulated by his father’s ghost, whether it is really a ghost or a demon leading him toward his doom, and how much of what he tries to understand may or may not be true or false. It’s very, very, Phillip K. Dick that way.

    I was once in a production of Hamlet where the social strata (such as would have been very clear to Elizabethan audiences) were clarified for the modern audience by the device of making them all of different species and from different planets. In her review of the production Margot Skinner noted it was the only time in her life that Ophelia’s entrance (with a blaster) had frightened her out of her wits.

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