Pixel Scroll 12/11/20 In And Around The Scroll, Pixels Come Out Of The File And They Stand There

(1) HUGO VOTING REQUIREMENT. You can nominate and vote in the 2021 Hugo Awards if you hold a supporting or attending membership in DisCon III by December 31st, 2020. Membership information is here.

(2) AVALANCHE AT THE MOUSE HOUSE. During Disney’s massive investor day presentation on Thursday, innumerable new projects were unveiled (see The Hollywood Reporter’s “Disney+ Plans 10 ‘Star Wars’ and 10 Marvel Series Over Next Few Years” for a bunch of them.)

Shaun Lyon let me run this summary of his notes:

This is a huge list of Star Wars stuff that’s just been announced this afternoon, all coming from Lucasfilm for both Disney films & Disney+:

  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, the next film, set for release Christmas 2023, and directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman); this is probably set during the Rebellion (Jenkins filmed a teaser video about wanting to make the greatest “fighter pilot film” of all time)
  • Untitled Star Wars film reportedly due in sometime around 2025, directed by Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit director & Mandalorian VO actor)
  • Andor, the live action series with Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk playing Cassian Andor & K2SO from Rogue One, set before that film; this is filming now and will be the next live action property to be released, sometime in early 2022 after the next season of Mandalorian (the cast features Stellan Skarsgard, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Kyle Soller, and Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma; showrunner is Mandalorian director Deborah Chow)
  • Obi Wan Kenobi, a live action miniseries with Ewan MacGregor (Kenobi) and Hayden Christensen (Vader), set ten years after Revenge of the Sith; this starts filming in the first quarter of 2021. And yes, Obi Wan faced off against Vader again between Sith & A New Hope!
  • Ahsoka, a live action spinoff miniseries featuring Ahsoka Tano from The Clone Wars & Rebels (and played by Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian); this could potentially be the continuation of the story from the end of Rebels, though not confirmed
  • Rangers of the New Republic, a live action series from Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni, set during the same period as The Mandalorian
  • The Acolyte, a live action series set during the ‘high Republic’ era (the upcoming Star Wars tie-in era, a thousand years before the films) created by Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland
  • Lando, a live action miniseries created by Dear White People’s Justin Simien; was announced without a lead actor, but ABC’s Good Morning America on 12/11 stated that Donald Glover was reprising his role as Lando Calrissian
  • The Bad Batch, the previously announced Clone Wars animated spinoff series, currently in production, set after that show with some of the clone troopers from that show who “take on daring mercenary missions as they struggle to stay afloat and find new purpose”
  • Star Wars Visions, an anime-style anthology miniseries with “10 fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios”
  • A Droid Story, an animated film: this “epic journey will introduce us to a new hero, guided by legendary duo R2-D2 and C-3PO”
  • Plus the long-teased “Willow” series and another “Indiana Jones” movie.

None of that includes the other properties they announced including all the Marvel stuff and the “Alien” spinoff TV series.

The Marvel Studios segment had its own long list which you can read at Yahoo! – “Marvel drops bombshell announcement of Fantastic Four movie, War Machine and Nick Fury series, and more”.

The price of Disney+ will be going up – the subscriber response so exceeded predictions they figure the traffic will bear a bit more.

Disney also announced that the service’s monthly fee in the US will be going up by $1 in March to $7.99. Strong demand for Disney+ led to the company to boost its long-term subscriber estimates.

(3) LOOK AT LOKI. While we’re on the subject, Disney + dropped a trailer for their new series Loki.

(4) VIEWING WANDA. And there’s a new trailer for Marvel Studios’ WandaVision which starts streaming January 15 on Disney +.

(5) TRUE GRIT. Denis Villeneuve has a statement in Variety, “Dune Director Denis Villeneuve Blasts Warner Bros. Streaming Decision” where he bashed AT&T for its decision to show Warner movies next year in theatres and HBO Max simultaneously.

I learned in the news that Warner Bros. has decided to release “Dune” on HBO Max at the same time as our theatrical release, using prominent images from our movie to promote their streaming service. With this decision AT&T has hijacked one of the most respectable and important studios in film history. There is absolutely no love for cinema, nor for the audience here. It is all about the survival of a telecom mammoth, one that is currently bearing an astronomical debt of more than $150 billion. Therefore, even though “Dune” is about cinema and audiences, AT&T is about its own survival on Wall Street. With HBO Max’s launch a failure thus far, AT&T decided to sacrifice Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 slate in a desperate attempt to grab the audience’s attention.

…“Dune” is by far the best movie I’ve ever made. My team and I devoted more than three years of our lives to make it a unique big screen experience. Our movie’s image and sound were meticulously designed to be seen in theaters.

I’m speaking on my own behalf, though I stand in solidarity with the sixteen other filmmakers who now face the same fate. Please know I am with you and that together we are strong. The artists are the ones who create movies and series.

I strongly believe the future of cinema will be on the big screen, no matter what any Wall Street dilettante says. Since the dawn of time, humans have deeply needed communal storytelling experiences. Cinema on the big screen is more than a business, it is an art form that brings people together, celebrating humanity, enhancing our empathy for one another — it’s one of the very last artistic, in-person collective experiences we share as human beings.

Once the pandemic is over, theaters will be filled again with film lovers.

That is my strong belief.  Not because the movie industry needs it, but because we humans need cinema, as a collective experience….

(6) GHASTLY OVERSIGHT? Alexander Larman, in “A warning to the curious” on The Critic, explains why there is not going to be an adaptation of an M.R. James story and gives background on James and his work.  A link reveals a crowdfunded project to publish a collection of James’s letters.

…Like many great writers of the supernatural, James wrote according to strict rules. He suggested that his technique was a relatively simple one, saying in 1924 that, “Two ingredients most valuable in the concocting of a ghost story are, to me, the atmosphere and the nicely managed crescendo”, and that the reader should be “introduced to the actors in a placid way; let us see them going about their ordinary business, undisturbed by forebodings, pleased with their surroundings; and into this calm environment let the ominous thing put out its head, unobtrusively at first, and then more insistently, until it holds the stage.”

The spirits were invariably vengeful and terrifying ones (“amiable and helpful apparitions are all very well in fairy tales or in local legends, but I have no use for them in a fictitious ghost story”).

…It is hoped that a crowd-funded collection of James’s lettersCasting the Runes, reaches its target soon and that it will offer greater insight into the strange and brilliant man who wrote some of the most chilling ghost stories in the English language. 

(7) PAY THE ARTIST. At Literary Hub, William Deresiewicz contends “We Need to Treat Artists as Workers, Not Decorations” – a statelier approach to what Harlan Ellison ranted about in “Pay the Writer”.

Art and money: the great taboo. Art, we’ve been taught to believe, has nothing to do with money, must have nothing to do with money, is defiled by contact with money, is degraded by the very thought of money.

Those ideas, articles of faith today, are actually of relatively recent birth. In the Renaissance, when artists were still regarded as artisans, no one thought twice about exchanging art for cash. It was only in modernity that the notion arose that art and commerce were mutually exclusive.

As traditional beliefs broke down across the 18th and 19th centuries, art inherited the role of faith, becoming a kind of secular creed for the progressive classes. Like religion before it, art was now regarded as superior to worldly things, and you cannot serve both God and mammon.

As with art, so with artists, the new priests and prophets. It was modernity that gave us the bohemian, the starving artist, and the solitary genius, images respectively of blissful unconventionality, monkish devotion, and spiritual election. Artistic poverty was seen as glamorous, an outward sign of inner purity.

To these ideas, the 20th century added an overtly political and specifically anti-capitalist dimension. Art did not just stand outside the market; it was meant to oppose it: to join, if not to lead, the social revolution, which first of all would be a revolution of consciousness. To seek acceptance in the market was to be “co-opted”; to chase material rewards, to be a “sellout.”

Such ideas are as fervently held among laypeople as they are among artists—if anything, more so. We don’t want the artists we love to think about money, and we don’t want to think about them thinking about it.

…The number of the people I interviewed told me about having suffered, early on, because they had swallowed the myths about starving artists who never think about money and would rather die than compromise their vision for the suits. And because writers and other artists do create for non-material reasons, I was told by Mark Coker, the founder of the e-book distribution platform Smashwords, “these people are ripe for being exploited.”

That exploitation can take many forms: from outright theft, to self-sabotage, to the monetization of digital content without appropriate compensation, to the underpayment by arts organizations, including nonprofits, of the artists who work for them. But at its root is the perception that artists shouldn’t ask for money in the first place—that, as another of my subjects put it, “art should just be art.”

(8) THREE DAYS AGO’S DAY

December 8 — PRETEND TO BE A TIME TRAVELER DAY. The National Day Calendar offers these suggestions:

HOW TO OBSERVE #PretendToBeATimeTravelerDay

Act like a time traveler.  Choose your time period and decide whether you are traveling to the past or the future. Be overly shocked when someone says, “I’d kill for a double mocha latte right now,” or “That car is the bomb.” Misuse technology. When someone offers you earbuds to listen to a new song, sniff them to see if they smell good.

Do you need inspiration for your time traveling antics? We have 9 Books to Unleash the Time Traveler in You. Some of them are mentioned above, but this list will give you some insight to the stories and help you take the deep dive into the world time traveling for the true enthusiast.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.

December 11, 1929  — On this date in 1929, American fandom has its beginnings in New York City with the first meeting of the Scienceers who were the first local sf club in the United States. (Science Correspondence Club in Montgomery, Alabama is claimed by others as starting earlier.) It is worth noting that the first president of that Club was Warren Fitzgerald who was Black, a rarity in the early days of fandom, and they met at his apartment in Harlem. The group formed as a result of their correspondence in Science Wonder Stories which was edited by Hugo Gernsback. Timebinders has a history of that Club here as it appeared in Joe Christoff’s Sphere fanzine. “History of the Scienceers, the First New York City Science Fiction Club, 1929 – by Allen Glasser”.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born December 11, 1803 – Hector Berlioz. Graduated from medical school but never practiced; instead famed as a composer (and, during his life, conductor); also substantial author of music criticism, theory, memoirs.  Prix de Rome.  Legion of Honor.  Here for the Symphonie fantastiqueDamnation de FaustLe Troyens.  Star-rated Wikipedia entry.  Website.  (Died 1869) [JH]
  • Born December 11, 1904 – Marge.  Although M.H. Buell created Little Lulu, made LL such a national figure that LL was adopted as the Kleenex mascot, and retained artistic control during M’s life, in fairness to John Stanley the fantasy elements of LL, like Witch Hazel and Sammi the Martian, are JS’ work.  Here is M’s cover for King Kojo.  Here is The Wizard of Way-Up.  (Died 1993) [JH]
  • Born December 11, 1921 – Bill Terry.  A dozen covers for Imagination, three hundred interiors for Imagination and Imaginative Tales.  Here is the Jan 52 Imagination.  Here is the Aug 54.  Here is the Aug 55. Here is an interior for “The Voyage of Vanishing Men”.  Here is an interior for “The War of Nerves”.  (Died 1992) [JH]
  • Born December 11, 1922 Maila Nurmi. A Finnish-American actress and television personality who was the campy Fifties title character on Vampira. She hosted her own series, The Vampira Show for a year on KABC-TV and later in Vampira Returns. She’d show up in Plan 9 from Outer Space, and in The Magic Sword as The Hag / Sorceress. She played Vampira once more in the Horror Kung-Fu Theatre series. (Died 2008.) (CE) 
  • Born December 11, 1926 Dick Tufeld. His best known role, or at least best recognized, Is as the voice of the Robot on Lost in Space, a role he reprises for the feature film. The first words heard on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea are spoken by him: “This is the Seaview, the most extraordinary submarine in all the seven seas.” He’s been the opening announcer on Spider-Man and His Amazing FriendsSpider-WomanThundarr the BarbarianFantastic Four and the Time Tunnel. (Died 2012.) (CE) 
  • Born December 11, 1940 – Fred Patten. This amazing astounding fan had an issue of his zine ¡Rábanos Radiactivos! in every distribution (weekly!) of APA-L from its beginning to APA-L 2280 – more than forty years.  Developing an interest in animé he co-founded the Cartoon Fantasy Organization; he became a scholar of anthropomorphic graphic art.  He edited his local club’s fanzine Shangri L’Affaires when it was a Hugo finalist; chaired Loscon XIV and Westercon 27; was Fan Guest of Honor at DeepSouthCon 9 and Loscon 33 (some use Roman numerals, some don’t).  My appreciation is here.  (Died 2018) [JH]
  • Born December 11, 1957 William Joyce, 62. Author of the YA series Guardians of Childhood which is currently at twelve books and growing. Now I’ve no interest in reading them but Joyce and Guillermo del Toro turned them into in a rather splendid Rise of the Guardians film which I enjoyed quite a bit. The antagonist in it reminds me somewhat of a villain later on In Willingham’s Fables series called Mr. Dark.  Michael Toman in an email says that “I’ve been watching for his books since reading Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo back in 1988.” (CE) 
  • Born December 11, 1959 M. Rickert, 61. Short story writer par excellence. She’s got three collections to date, Map of DreamsHoliday and You Have Never Been Here. I’ve not read her novel The Memory Garden, and would like your opinions on it. She has won two World Fantasy Awards, one for her short story, “Journey Into the Kingdom”, and one for her short story collection, “Map of Dreams”. The Little Witch is the only work available from the usual digital suspects.  (CE) 
  • Born December 11, 1962 Ben Browder, 58. Actor of course best known for his roles as John Crichton in Farscape and Cameron Mitchell in Stargate SG-1.  One of my favorite roles by him was his voicing of Bartholomew Aloysius “Bat” Lash in Justice League Unlimited called “The Once and Future Thing, Part 1”.  He’d have an appearance in the Eleventh Doctor story, “A Town Called Mercy,” a Weird Western of sorts. (CE) 
  • Born December 11, 1965 Sherrilyn Kenyon, 55. Best for her Dark Hunter series which runs to around thirty volumes now. I confess I’ve not read any, so I’m curious as to how they are. Opinions? (Of course you do. Silly me. How could you not have them.)  She’s got The League series as well which appears to be paranormal romance, and a Lords of Avalon series too under the pen name of Kinley MacGregor.  (CE) 
  • Born December 11, 1971 – Laini Taylor, age 49.  Seven novels, five shorter stories.  Printz Honor, Bradshaw Award.  I heard she’d read Leviathan, but it proved not to be Hobbes’, it was Scott Westerfeld’s, so we don’t have that in common after all.  Days of Blood and Starlight was a NY Times Best-Seller.  [JH]
  • Born December 11, 1981 – Natasha Larry, age 39.  Three novels, two shorter stories.  Of herself she says “She has an M.A. in American History, making her a professional cynic…. curses too much….  DC comics fangirl, or fanatic.”  [JH]

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Sally Forth has a friend who’s having no luck looking for a portal.

(12) SPOT FINDS A NEW HOME. “Hyundai takes control of Boston Dynamics in $1.1B deal”The Verge has the story.

Hyundai is officially purchasing a controlling stake in robot maker Boston Dynamics from SoftBank in a deal that values the company at $1.1 billion, the company announced today. The deal has been in the works for a while, according to recent a report from Bloomberg, and marks a major step into consumer robotics for Hyundai. Hyundai is taking approximately an 80 percent stake in the company while its previous owner, Softbank, will retain around 20 percent through an affiliate.

… Boston Dynamics started as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company has created robots using DARPA funding, like BigDog, but is best known for the viral fame its robots have found online. Its two main stars have been Atlas, a humanoid bipedal robot that can run and do backflips, and Spot, a smaller quadrupedal “dog” that’s been tested in a variety of scenarios, from sheep herding to assisting health care workers during the pandemic

(13) BATWOMAN CONTINUES. The CW dropped a trailer for Batwoman season 2. Premieres Sunday, January 17.

(14) FIVE BOOKS. Elle collected “Alice Hoffman’s Book Recommendations”. Hoffman’s latest book is Magic Lessons, the prequel to Practical Magic.

…The book that…

…shaped my worldview:

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Every 12- or 13-year-old should read it. It’s magic.

…fills me with hope:

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. If you think you know what fate has in store for you, read this book.

(15) DEAR SANTA. Helen Thomas dispenses “Tips and Tricks When Writing to St. Nick” illustrated by plenty of classic clippings from the Library of Congress.

How do you get what you want for Christmas? Write a letter to Santa, of course! Combing through “Dear Santa” letters published in historical newspapers, you can glean tips and tricks on how to write a letter of your own.

A close examination of hundreds of “Dear Santa” letters suggests there are several approaches to writing Jolly Old St. Nick:

(16) EVERYBODY NEDS A HOBBY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] A video on YouTube called “Meet The Record Breakers: Rob Hull — Owner of the Largest Collection of Daleks” from the 2012 edition of the Guinness Book Of World Records, is about someone who is officially certified as owning more Daleks than anyone else – 571. There was a reference to this guy in the Financial Times and, as you say, it was news to me!

(17) BE THE MUSIC OF THE SEASON. Jingle Jangle is a holiday-themed fantasy on Netflix. You’re invited to sing along with the cast in this video.

Welcome to the Jingle Jangle Christmas Journey Global Sing Along. The cast, special guests, and fans alike to come together for this truly magical event. Get ready to hear some of your favorite songs like you have never heard them before featuring the stars of the film, some of the best singers on Broadway, choir singers from across the country, Tik Tok stars, and most importantly…YOU!

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

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/11/20 In And Around The Scroll, Pixels Come Out Of The File And They Stand There

  1. (4) I’m looking forward to WandaVision – it looks like the kind of strange thing I’d like…

  2. (9) THANK YOU!! for the note on the Scienceers, and the link to Glasser’s article. It is most interesting (and much to early fandom’s credit) that Warren Fitzgerald, a black, was not just a member, but the club’s first president (and meeting host).

    In the interest of promoting interest in our roots, I hope someone is keeping such books as Harry Warner’s “All Our Yesterdays” and “A Wealth of Fable” in print, as well as Sam Moskowitz’s “The Immortal Storm.” The last-named book has its faults, but it remains a valuable source of information on fandom in the 1930s.

  3. Gotta love a YES quote

    5) I am not sure its realistic for a movie production company to just let the film sit for another year until opening Theaters is a realistic money making possibility, to show it.

  4. Paul Weimer says I am not sure its realistic for a movie production company to just let the film sit for another year until opening Theaters is a realistic money making possibility, to show it.

    Movie production companies don’t give a rats ass where a film is shown as long as they can make a more than decemt profit off their product. And the Dune Director is being extreme hypocritical in that the revenues from streaming, DVD sales and so forth figure into how he gets paid.

  5. Martin Morse Wooster: Somebody has to make a mistake, and send that mistake to an editor who’s a moron.

  6. 5) One of the big reasons I don’t like going to cinemas much is that isn’t a communal experience. You have to be still and quiet. You can’t clap at a great scene, sing along to the music or make remarks on the clothes. It’s dark so you can’t see anyone else’s expression or reaction.
    Certainly the video quality is better than what you can get at home but overall I think it’s possible that I’ll never go to a cinema again.

  7. 5) I can tell you that when I can go to theaters with only a minimal chance of catching a fatal disease, I expect I’ll be doing my best to make up for lost time. (Ditto concerts and bars and restaurants.) But in the meantime, seeing films from the comfort of my couch (for a slight fee) seems like a vastly superior option to not seeing them at all.

    (Also: Yay! Title!)

  8. Joe H. says I can tell you that when I can go to theaters with only a minimal chance of catching a fatal disease, I expect I’ll be doing my best to make up for lost time. (Ditto concerts and bars and restaurants.) But in the meantime, seeing films from the comfort of my couch (for a slight fee) seems like a vastly superior option to not seeing them at all.

    Visitors to my apartment look around and ask where the TV set as everyone has one, don’t they? I have to explain that I gave it away nearly three years ago because the head trauma that killed me repeatedly left me with an inability to watch traditional video technology as the flicker associated with it causes seizures. (I have to be careful around certain forms of lighting as well.) So I now watch everything on the iPad. Which means I won’t be returning to the theater.

  9. This from the Sherrilyn Kenyon birthday note belongs to the M. Rickert birthday note.

    “She has won two World Fantasy Awards, one for her short story, “Journey Into the Kingdom”, and one for her short story collection, “Map of Dreams”. “

  10. (9) You can make a case either way (black or white) about Warren Fitzgerald’s race. People that knew him thought of him as black, and in the only photograph I’ve seen of him (a family photo), he and one of his brothers have what could be thought of as African-American features (albeit with fairly light-colored skin) — but his parents are Pat Boone-level caucasian. OTOH, the 1930 census lists him as white, while his wife Gertrude and everyone else in the Harlem building he lives in are listed as black. Also the 1900,1910, 1920 and 1940 censuses all list him as white. He was a Marine right after WWI, and the Marines did not accept blacks at that time. His WW2 draft registration card lists him as white. He married a second time in 1952, and both he and his bride are listed as white on the license application. (Much of this information was developed a decade ago by commenters on Bill Higgins’s Livejournal; some of it from further, personal research).

    So, it could be that he was, in fact, black, and spent much of his life “passing”, and doing it so well that government officials (marriage and draft registrars) would sign official documents confirming that he was white. Or, he was white, but had ambiguous features, and when a bunch of white teenagers went uptown to Harlem and saw this guy who kinda looked black and had a black wife and lived in a black neighborhood, they just assumed he was black, and no one ever corrected them. I mostly lean towards the latter, but am not 100%.

  11. Michael J. Walsh says correctly
    This from the Sherrilyn Kenyon birthday note belongs to the M. Rickert birthday note.

    “She has won two World Fantasy Awards, one for her short story, “Journey Into the Kingdom”, and one for her short story collection, “Map of Dreams”. “

    My bad. It’s been a day of my three year long headache being even worse than usual and I didn’t notice I’d done that goof. Mike, please fix.

  12. bill: This whole effort is very discouraging to read. Allan Glasser, who met Warren Fitzgerald in 1929 and saw him repeatedly at Scienceer meetings for the next several months says, “He was a light-skinned Negro — amiable, cultured, and a fine gentleman in every sense of that word. With his gracious, darker-hued wife, Warren made our young members welcome to use his Harlem home for our meetings — an offer we gratefully accepted.”

    You never met Warren Fitzgerald. Bill Higgins never met him. Here is a very rare instance of a person of color in early fandom and both of you are for some reason all invested in making what was once clear about that a complete morass.

  13. FYI: I’ve decided to take Saturday off from writing Pixel Scroll. Maybe some of my brain cells will go back to doing a better job given a change of pace.

  14. Mike — I’m sorry that what I’ve posted discourages you. In general, I’ve always found File770 to be a place that welcomed facts, even when they might overturn long-held opinions. I was careful to cite only things I could document.

    Second, it’s not fair to Bill Higgins to say that he’s invested in making a morass of this, especially since, as far as I know, he wrote about this once, 10 years ago, and hasn’t publicly mentioned it since.

  15. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson: THE IMMORTAL STORM is a collection of a series of pieces Moskowitz wrote for FANTASY COMMENTATOR. When the latter resumed publication, many years later, SaM continued that series. I would hope that any new edition incorporated these too.

    Mike Glyer: In re Warren Fitzgerald, the investigation into him a decade ago was because we wanted to find out more about this mysterious figure. What we found came as a great surprise, but government documents are government documents. Having seen the recently discovered photo he certainly looks black to me and I’m inclined to accept the eye-witness accounts of Glasser and Moskowitz. In which case the only explanation for the government documents would be that he was ‘passing’. There was never any intention on anyone’s part to muddy what we thought we knew about him – quite the opposite – only a genuine desire to find out more.

  16. @Rob,

    There are two copies of “Immortal Storm” which I have seen and read. One was a hardcover edition I read when I was a neofan (1973). The other I was able to purchase new (also HC) from the NESFA table at Denvention II (2008). It was not the same edition I read in 1973, but a Hyperion Press reprint from 1988 (Hyperion also reprinted it in 1974). I still have that one. I only hope NESFA or someone else has managed to keep it and the Warner books in print (which I also have). I also have an electronic facsimile of Jack Speer’s “Up To Now.” Most of the material in Speer is also covered in Moskowitz, unsurprisingly. I’m also fond of Damon Knight’s “The Futurians” and Frederik Pohl’s autobiography, “The Way the Future Was.”

  17. Rob Hansen: When I worked with the Heinlein information in the 1940 census, I read the instruction manual for census-takers because I wondered why it had apparently been easy to get all their misinformation accepted on the form. The instructions essentially were to ask the questions and write down the answers. I guess good faith was assumed.

  18. bill: I’ve always found File770 to be a place that welcomed facts, even when they might overturn long-held opinions. I was careful to cite only things I could document.

    Facts don’t exist in a vacuum and you’re not offering them at random. The thrust of contradicting an eyewitness account of Warren Fitzgerald’s appearance with claims based on census reports is that you’re working to erase a person of color from fanhistory. Why should people give more weight to your census reports than to Allan Glasser’s eyewitness description? A census report is a record of what somebody told a census-taker, it is not the product of a government investigation.

  19. @Mike–Rest is good.

    Others– Passing was a thing sufficiently light-skinned blacks often did, for fairly obvious reasons. The US Census is mainly intended to count people, and does not involve anything that could be called a background investigation. Eyewitness accounts of people who knew Warren Fitzgerald are considerably more relevant to the question of his race and how he identified.

  20. Lis Carey says Others– Passing was a thing sufficiently light-skinned blacks often did, for fairly obvious reasons. The US Census is mainly intended to count people, and does not involve anything that could be called a background investigation. Eyewitness accounts of people who knew Warren Fitzgerald are considerably more relevant to the question of his race and how he identified.

    It’s also worth stressing that he lived in Harlem which was the center of the Black community in New York City in that time period. I’ve no doubt that he was Black and the attempt by bill to suggest that he wasn’t is disgusting in the extreme.

  21. @Rob,

    Thanks for the link, although it didn’t quite work. I found my way to your website anyway, and located your listing. According to my browser, the link is:

    http://www.fiawol.org.uk/fanstuff/then%20archive/Reference/ref01.htm

    I’m posting this for the use of anyone interested, and I’ll be bookmarking it in my browser.

    As far as Fitzgerald goes, I think the main points are that Glasser and others (1) perceived him as a person of color, and (2) didn’t care, anymore than they cared later on that such fen as Sam Moskowitz, Cyril Kornbluth, or Isaac Asimov were Jewish (there was a lot of antisemitism in mundania in those days). It’s clear to me that the important thing about Fitzgerald, to his fellow Scienceers, was that he loved science fiction.

  22. @Mike
    Yes, they took whatever they were given (sometimes by neighbors, I think), and put that down. (And people did lie…one of my grandfather’s sisters took a decade off her actual age in 1920. And some of the inlaws were Indian until they left Oklahoma, and they’ve been white ever since.)

  23. 5) Synchronicity? Last night on TCM we watched “Going Attractions,” a documentary on movie palaces that repeatedly emphasized the communal nature of movie viewing in houses of up to 5000 seats. We’re not fans of that experience, but then we’re in the minority on such matters. (We’ve long preferred to attend at the slackest times.)

    I’m not big on crowds, but I do love a big screen, which is one reason to hope that streaming doesn’t damage the theatre biz. I remember how disappointing it was when full-size movie theatres started being cut up into badly-done multi-screen houses. And even modern purpose-built multiplexes often lack the peripheral-vision-stretching screens on which we saw the first run of Alien and re-releases of Ben-Hur and Lawrence of Arabia. (Though to be fair, that last was at the Cooper in St. Louis Park, a superb Cinerama house, now demolished.)

  24. @Jeanne —

    As far as Fitzgerald goes, I think the main points are that Glasser and others (1) perceived him as a person of color, and (2) didn’t care, anymore than they cared later on that such fen as Sam Moskowitz, Cyril Kornbluth, or Isaac Asimov were Jewish (there was a lot of antisemitism in mundania in those days). It’s clear to me that the important thing about Fitzgerald, to his fellow Scienceers, was that he loved science fiction.

    What Jeanne said.

    I think the facts presented by Bill are quite interesting — it’s only his interpretation of those facts that bothers me. I mean, I’m quite sure that Bill has heard of Occam’s razor — and since we constantly hear cases of people passing in a wide range of life situations, that seems a much simpler explanation here than some dreamed-up scenario about a whole group of Fitzgerald’s actual friends deluding themselves about his race.

    But I do thank Bill for bringing up those factual details. It’s interesting to see how passing could work back then, and the situations in which it could be a determining factor (like serving in the Marines) or ignored (like in a fan club).

  25. Cat Eldridge wrote: “And the Dune Director is being extreme hypocritical in that the revenues from streaming, DVD sales and so forth figure into how he gets paid.”

    That is true, but the amounts involved are likely to be much lower that those anticipated at the box office, plus he would have expected to get any cut of the former in addition to that from the latter, not in replacement. You could argue Villeneuve’s defence of the cinematic experience is disingenuous and his real concern is the impact upon his wallet, but I don’t see any hypocrisy here.

  26. The discussion regarding Warren Fitzgerald and his race brings to mind two Facebook postings by Samuel Delany.

    “my paternal grandfather, Henry Beard Delany (1858—1928) was born a slave in this country. ” https://www.facebook.com/samuel.delany/posts/10225533054261036

    And this snippet from a longer posting:

    "In 1904, when the Jim Crow laws became explicit in North Carolina ("separate but equal"), there was a town meeting (the population was perhaps 300 at the time) in which the mayor said they must officially decide who was black and who was white. He said that there would be no way to do it just by looks. Too many dark complected people considered thmselves white and too many fare-skinned and light haired people--such as Ameza's family--considered themselves black. Thus, he said, would everyone who wants to be white get on that side of the room and everyone who wants to be "colored" or "Negro" get on the other. He would send somebody around to take down the names. "

    https://www.facebook.com/samuel.delany/posts/10215732670657571

    “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” — William Faulkner

  27. I really should let this go, but my motives have been called into question and it’s “disgusting” for me to challenge the accepted wisdom, so . . .
    All I have attempted to do is bring forward information that was otherwise little-known, and is highly relevant to the early days of fandom. It was offered in the same spirit as the PDK letter here, or the 1956 convention news coverage here. It was interesting, I thought, and I had no idea that folks are so invested in the idea that there was a black SF fan in 1929 that it would be received with such vituperation.

    My original post did not attempt to tell anyone that they were wrong for believing that Fitzgerald was black, and whether anyone does so is of little matter to me. I didn’t deny the possibility of him being black, just doubted it. But my presumption is that most people are rational and logical, and prefer to base their opinions on the best evidence available. Perhaps, in reference to some Filers, that presumption is not warranted.

    the eye-witness accounts of Glasser and Moskowitz

    Moskowitz was nine years old when Fitzgerald was active. He refers to Fitzgerald with the wrong first name (“James” instead of “Warren”); he was no eye-witness. Glasser is the only person who claimed from first-hand knowledge that Fitzgerald was black; every other statement I’m aware of is second-hand (and probably quoting Glasser). This, in reference to a guy he spent a few hours with 25-30 years prior. (And how would he know? Did Fitzgerald have a Black ID card that he showed around? The most obvious answer is, as I said above, he assumed it from circumstances, just as we all do when we meet someone.)

    The thrust of contradicting an eyewitness account of Warren Fitzgerald’s appearance with claims based on census reports is that you’re working to erase a person of color from fanhistory.

    If he wasn’t black, then it’s not erasure. He still occupies the same place in history, and the things he did as a proto-fan count just as much.

    Why should people give more weight to your census reports than to Allan Glasser’s eyewitness description?

    Because there were five of them, operating over a 40-year span in near real time, and part of their job was to record the race of those they were enumerating. As opposed to Glasser, who was one guy recalling events from a quarter-century later.
    If there was a single census listing of “W” next to Fitzgerald’s name, I could easily buy the idea that it was simply wrong. As others have said, sometimes the census takers were sloppy or lazy. But it wasn’t just the census takers. Fitzgerald served in the Marines, that legally were required to be white. When he mustered in, multiple people had to agree that he was white. When he applied for a marriage license in 1952, he said he was white under oath. In 1942, his WW2 Draft Registrar confirmed his race: “I certify . . . that I have witnessed his signature or mark and that all of his answers of which I have knowledge are true”

    Is the photo available for viewing?

    It’s online at Ancestry.com, a subscription genealogy service. It’s behind a paywall, but many public libraries provide access. Search for “Warren Scott Fitzgerald” and look under “Family Trees”. The photo will be found there.

    It’s also worth stressing that he lived in Harlem which was the center of the Black community in New York City in that time period.

    It will come as a revelation to the ghost of Harry Houdini that living in Harlem in the 1920s means you are black. Cause that’s where he lived.
    True, a lot of blacks lived on Fitzgerald’s block. He’s the only person marked as “W” in his building (211 W 122nd St) – the head of the building, Fitzgerald’s wife and the five other tenants were all black (which calls into question under what circumstances a census taker would mark him as white by mistake – the obvious lazy answer is to assume that he’s black like everyone else). But living two doors down (215) was an interracial couple (black husband, white wife), and three doors down (217) was a white family. So the address did not by any means confirm blackness.

    I’m quite sure that Bill has heard of Occam’s razor

    I can’t think of any other situation where so much contemporary documentary evidence does not trump the memories of someone who knew him casually 25-30 years earlier. Occam said “use the simplest explanation which fits the facts we have”. Either Glasser was wrong, or multiple people, several of whom had a professional obligation to be careful about such things, were wrong, in many different circumstances and over a long period of time. Clearly the simplest explanation is that Glasser was the mistaken party. Most likely, he met someone in a black neighborhood with ambiguous features and a black wife, and assumed he was black. And since Fitzgerald gafiated early, there was never any reason for Glasser to critically examine this assumption. But most of his life, Fitzgerald did not live in a black neighborhood, nor did he have a black wife. For all of his life his immediate biological family was white. His brother, Vernet, with similarly ambiguous features, also was consistently identified as white (and was a career Marine). Occam leads to Fitzgerald = white.
    One more thing: The reason that Fitzgerald draws so much interest is the possibility that he was a black man in an otherwise lily-white environment. That’s quite remarkable. Wouldn’t it be just as remarkable when he moved from fandom into the early rocket societies? (He was a very early member of the American Interplanetary Society/American Rocket Society). And yet none of the histories of this group confirm his blackness. When the other founding members were interviewed for a history (including a couple of the Scienceers) (Frank Winter Prelude to the space age: the rocket societies, 1924-1940), none of them mention a black guy being a member. You’d think that would have stood out.

  28. bill:

    >> to challenge the accepted wisdom

    There is no “accepted wisdom” involved, there is a decision to give more weight to the description provided by someone who personally knew Warren Fitzgerald.

    >> My original post did not attempt to tell anyone that they were wrong for believing that Fitzgerald was black

    It’s not a faith issue, and since you are belittling that conclusion it would be better if you owned what you’re doing.

    >> But my presumption is that most people are rational and logical, and prefer to base their opinions on the best evidence available. Perhaps, in reference to some Filers, that presumption is not warranted.

    Claims of being solely reliant on rationality and logic are more effective when not immediately followed by an ad hominem attack.

    >>Glasser …This, in reference to a guy he spent a few hours with 25-30 years prior. (And how would he know? Did Fitzgerald have a Black ID card that he showed around? The most obvious answer is, as I said above, he assumed it from circumstances, just as we all do when we meet someone.)

    Glasser’s statement deserves to be given weight (not ridicule) because he personally met Fitzgerald at Scienceer meetings and has a credible descriptive basis for his opinion. Your effort to make his statement appear absurd (“a Black ID card”) isn’t the hallmark of someone who is impartially considering the evidence.

    >>” Why should people give more weight to your census reports than to Allan Glasser’s eyewitness description?” Because there were five of them, operating over a 40-year span in near real time, and part of their job was to record the race of those they were enumerating. As opposed to Glasser, who was one guy recalling events from a quarter-century later. If there was a single census listing of “W” next to Fitzgerald’s name, I could easily buy the idea that it was simply wrong. As others have said, sometimes the census takers were sloppy or lazy.

    I ended up doing quite a bit of research about census procedures for What the Heinleins Told the 1940 Census because I was interested how their record could possibly contain such an astonishing amount of misinformation (which it does). The key thing is that the census is not a government investigation, it is a recording of what people answer. If they don’t answer in good faith, how likely is the census taker to know?

    The 1940 instruction manual’s entry under race is quite emphatic that “A person of mixed white and Negro blood should be returned as Negro, no matter how small the percentage of Negro blood. Both black and mulatto persons are to be returned as Negroes, without distinction.” Let us suppose the same rule was applied in earlier censuses. Each time, Warren Fitzgerald tells the census-taker he’s white. Seeing the guy who’s in that photo you referenced, does the census-taker give him an argument, or just write down the answer? Warren Fitzgerald ought to know better than anyone else what his race is. On the other hand this is also a country with a history of racial discrimination, where some individuals who could plausibly do so did not identify as black. Certainly we should pay attention to Fitzgerald’s statements about himself. But are they dispositive in the face of Glasser’s description? We can only decide which we find more convincing.

    >> Either Glasser was wrong, or multiple people, several of whom had a professional obligation to be careful about such things, were wrong, in many different circumstances and over a long period of time. Clearly the simplest explanation is that Glasser was the mistaken party. Most likely, he met someone in a black neighborhood with ambiguous features and a black wife, and assumed he was black.

    While you think this analysis strengthens your case, it is just bias stacking, with the appeal to authority (“has a professional obligation to be careful about such things”, although they were not investigators who verified what they were told), and your attempt to substitute your conclusions for Glasser’s actual testimony, which is a description of Fitzgerald, not of his wife or neighborhood.

  29. Jeffrey Jones: I see race, along with a lot of other things, as a persistent widespread delusion.

    And what’s your technique for overcoming that delusion?

  30. Thank you for asking, Mike!
    My technique–and there may be others–for overcoming any delusion is to chant the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra with the intent of both overcoming my own delusions and helping others do the same. We are all in the same metaphorical burning house. I am beginning to recognize delusions and not be attached to them.
    This one is especially difficult, since it’s connected with other persistent delusions, some of which are very harmful.
    I’m not sure if this clarifies, so please keep asking, and I’ll do my best to answer.

  31. Jeffrey Jones: I’m not sure if this clarifies, so please keep asking, and I’ll do my best to answer.

    Sounds like you’ve got a program working for you. Thanks for the answer.

  32. 5) I think we can take Villeneuve at his word. His movies are always visually arresting and I’m sure he’s disappointed that this one won’t be presented at its best to the majority of its audience. That being said, it’s going to be a long time before I myself set foot in a cinema again.

  33. it’s not a a faith issue

    Obviously not, but when there is evidence on both sides of an issue, “belief” seems to be a resonable word to describe which side one accepts.

    it would be better if you owned what you’re doing.

    At the time of my first post on the subject, I was probably 60-40 that Fitzgerald was white. After the strong negative reaction here to that post, I looked at the matter further and then I realized that all of those “people who knew” Fitzgerald and that he was black, was really just one guy — Glasser, speaking long after the events in question. That, and Fitzgerald’s service as a Marine pushed me to something more like 90-10. So I will own the fact that I’m laying out the case that Fitzgerald was white. Whether you or anyone else buys that is your business, but if I am attacked personally for doing so (see Cat’s “disgusting” comment), I’ll react back hard.

    followed by an ad hominem attack.

    Maybe that was over the top and out of line. But I’ll note that I was not the one who moved the discussion from the argument itself, to comments about those making the argument (see “invested in making things a morass”, above).

    effort to make his statement appear absurd

    This was a comment on how we know what we “know”. Is this person black? If all you know is what he looks like at an isolated moment in time, it’s hard to be sure about W.E.B. duBois. We make assumptions about things like this, and sometimes they are wrong (I was surprised when I found out that Mariah Carey is what most 1929 people would say is black, having a black-Venezualan father; likewise Rashida Jones). Glasser’s description is a single opinion which doesn’t “exist in a vacuum”. It was expressed at a time when fandom had a strong smug and self-congratulatory streak (“Fans are Slans”), and some discussions of Fitzgerald’s race even today smack of tokenism (“We had a black fan in 1929, look at how progressive fandom is.”) Glasser was, to an extent, advancing his own interests by saying that Fitzgerald was black, and it should be evaluated in that context.

    Certainly we should pay attention to Fitzgerald’s statements about himself. But are they dispositive

    Every single time the record has a place for Fitzgerald to describe himself, he says “white”. Yes, we should pay attention to that. (And I’d love to see you or the others who’ve challenged how Fitzgerald identified himself apply the same standards to, for example, Elliot/Ellen Page).

    bias stacking

    And focussing on errors in census records, while ignoring military and marriage records and the fact that Fitzgerald had white parents and white sibings, is also bias stacking.

    Here is the family photo of Fitzgerald. It came from the granddaughter of his sister Frances. From an email from a family member “When [the granddaughter] asked me to help research her family tree, she had this picture. We noticed the brothers with the African facial characteristics, ([the granddaughter] and her father are white). Out of curiousity, [the granddaughter] and her father had their DNA done — and they show no African ethnicity. It is all Western European.”

    To the family’s knowledge, Warren has no living descendants (an infant son died in 1952). His brother Vernet, who is older but otherwise looks like he could be a twin, did have children but they are not in contact with them. (BTW, Vernet also identified as white.)

    Here is a LoC that Fitzgerald wrote before he left fandom.

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