Pixel Scroll 12/14/19 Gort Pixel Barada Nikscroll

(1) ONE QUESTION. The Hollywood Reporter is there when “‘Rise of Skywalker’ Cast Answers Questions About Final Film, Baby Yoda on ‘The Late Show'”.

 “Hey Daisy, how did you figure out how to do alien accent?” another staffer asked.

“You mean this British accent?” Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, responded.

After a staffer asked what he would do with the Force, Billy Dee Williams (who plays Lando Calrissian) mimicked a choking action like the one used by Darth Vader in the Skywalker saga. The staffer then pretended to be choked.

(2) ANOTHER SECRET THEY KEPT. Entertainment Weekly checks in with Lawrence Kasdan in “‘I am your father’: The Empire Strikes Back writer looks back on iconic twist”.

Filming the scene was made even more challenging by the use of loud wind machines. Hamill not only couldn’t hear Vader body actor David Prowse say his lines, but couldn’t even hear himself and had to go off visual cues of Prowse moving in his suit. In fact, Hamill says that one of the biggest Star Wars original trilogy secrets is that more than half the dialogue was recorded in post-production due to all the intrusive noises from smoke and wind machines, prop effects, and even clunking robots. “C-3PO doesn’t sound like metal, he sounds like fiberglass,” Hamill notes.

After filming the scene, the fake twist — that Obi-Wan killed Luke’s father — leaked to a British tabloid. “These newspapers were offering 20,000 notes for anybody that got a good Star Wars leak,” Hamill says. “We couldn’t even keep that [the fake twist] a secret for a week. I was secretly delighted.”

(3) CUBISM. Learn “How ‘Missing Link’ Filmmakers Blew Up an Ice Bridge in Stop-Motion Animation” in The Hollywood Reporter.

…The sequence starts with an encounter on the bridge that was shot mostly in camera with puppets and full-scale components of the bridge built on a soundstage (one of roughly 110 miniature sets, including a full miniature bridge, that were constructed for the movie). The bridge was built of clear casting urethane resin in order to achieve the look of the ice without its turning yellow, explains production designer Nelson Lowry.

As the pursuit heats up, the bridge collapses. There were 64 individually rigged ice blocks that could be independently controlled for the shot in which the bridge begins to break. The actual destruction of the bridge was digitally created in the computer, and the puppets were composited into the action. Before it’s over, some are dangling from a rope, trying to gain safe footing. Butler says this was one of the toughest scenes Laika has ever tackled, and the artistry and heart-racing story have garnered Laika a slew of nominations, including multiple Annie Awards and a Golden Globe.

(4) WATTS ASSEMBLAGE. Tachyon Publications offers “The complete PETER WATTS IS AN ANGRY SENTIENT TUMOR previews”, from a collection of the author’s blog posts. The previews include:

(5) DECADE’S TOP SFF PICTURES. The Daily Dot picked only one Marvel production for its list of “The 10 most important sci-fi films of the 2010s”, leaving plenty of room for less obvious selections like this one –

6) High Life (2018)

Want to feel disturbed and alarmed? Well, High Life is the film for you. Acclaimed French indie director Claire Denis ventured into sci-fi territory for her English language debut, casting Robert Pattinson as the lead in a gut-churning thriller about a group of convicts in a claustrophobic spaceship. Pattinson plays the convict Monte, co-starring with Juliette Binoche as the ship’s creepy and sexually aggressive doctor, along with an ensemble cast including Andre 3000, Mia Goth, and a baby. Although if you sign up for this film based on the posters showing Robert Pattinson hanging out with an adorable toddler, you’ll be in for a nasty surprise. This gripping drama features sporadic but intense violence, explicit sex, and a dread-inducing descent into certain death. Both a commentary on incarceration and a straightforward space thriller, High Life riffs on the tropes of other trapped-in-a-spaceship movies like Alien and Event Horizon, while still feeling thoroughly memorable in its own right.

(6) #ET TOO. At CrimeReads, Damien Angelica Walters explored “How Women Authors Are Reshaping the Horror Genre” — “The boogeyman in the closet isn’t an amorphous shape in the dark—It’s someone we know and trust.”

The Monsters We Pass on the Street

I mentioned earlier that more than half the women killed in 2017 were murdered by their intimate partners or family members. Not a day goes by where I don’t see an article about a woman being abused, assaulted, or killed. It’s terrifying and what’s even more frightening is how commonplace it is. Violence against women by men is the backdrop to countless books, television shows, both fictional and not, and movies.

In My Sister, The Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite turns this on its head, creating feminist catharsis with her unexpected reversal. Korede’s younger sister, Ayoola, is beautiful and charming. She also has a penchant for killing her boyfriends, relying on Korede to help her clean up the mess. Korede doesn’t have to fear Ayoola, but she protects her. Until the doctor Korede works with and is secretly in love with meets and falls for Ayoola, forcing Korede to make a choice: do you stand by the monsters when they’re one of your own?


Shoot, this was a big day for sff in 1984!

  • December 14, 1984 1984 premiered in limited released in the art house circuit. It would get a general circulation release the next year. Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton  and Cyril Cusack, critics loved it with Ebert calling saying Hurt was “the perfect Winston Smith”.  It currently has a 71% rating among reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 
  • December 14, 1984 Runaway premiered. Starring Tom Selleck, Cynthia Rhodes and Gene Simmons, it faired quite poorly as it was up against The Terminator, The Search for Spock, and 2010: The Year We Make Contact. It got not so great reviews from critics and garnered a 44% rating from reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 
  • December 14, 1984 Dune premiered. Directed by David Lynch of later Twin Peaks fame, starring Francesca Annis, Linda Hunt, Sting, Kyle MacLachlan and a cast of thousands, it did poorly at the box office and was treated badly by critics. Reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes however give a 66% rating. It would place in fourth in AussieCon Two voting with 2010: Odyssey Two winning that year.
  • December 14, 1984 — John Carpenter’s Starman premiered. Starring Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, it did very well at the box office and critics loved it as well.  Bridges earned was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, making this the only film by Carpenter to receive an Academy Award nomination.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge *yay*]

  • Born December 14, 1916 Shirley Jackson. First gained public attention for her short story “The Lottery, or, The Adventures of James Harris” but it was her The Haunting of Hill House novel which has been made her legendary as a horror novelist as it’s truly a chilling ghost story.  I see that’s she wrote quite a bit of genre short fiction — has anyone here read it? (Died 1965.)
  • Born December 14, 1920 Rosemary Sutcliff. English novelist whose best known for children’s books, particularly her historical fiction which involved retellings of myths and legends, Arthurian and otherwise. Digging into my memory, I remember reading The Chronicles of Robin Hood which was her first published novel and rather good; The Eagle of the Ninth is set in Roman Britain and was an equally fine read. (Died 1992.)
  • Born December 14, 1929 Christopher Plummer, 90. Let’s see… Does Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King count? If not, The Return of the Pink Panther does. That was followed by Starcrash, a space opera I suspect hardly no one saw which was also the case with Somewhere in Time.  Now Dreamscape was fun and well received.   Skipping now to General Chang in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. Opinions everyone? I know I’ve mixed feelings on Chang.  I see he’s in Twelve Monkeys which I’m not a fan of and I’ve not seen The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus yet. 
  • Born December 14, 1960 Don Franklin, 59. He’s best known for his roles in seaQuest DSV as Commander Jonathan Ford, Seven Days as Captain Craig Donovan, and as one of The Young Riders  as Noah Dixon. No, the last isn’t remotely genre but it was a great role.
  • Born December 14, 1964 Rebecca Gibney, 55. She was in Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, and was also in King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes mini-series. She also had one-offs in Time Trax, Farscape and The Lost World, all of which were produced either in Australia or New Zealand, convenient as she’s New Zealand born and resident.
  • Born December 14, 1965 Theodore Raimi, 54. Though he’s known for being in whatever his brother Sam Raimi has done including a fake Shemp in The Evil Dead, a possessed Henrietta in Evil Dead II, and Ted Hoffman in the Spider-Man film franchise, I remember rather him from him being Joxer on Hercules and Xena, a role I wasn’t that fond of. 
  • Born December 14, 1966 Sarah Zettel, 53. Her first novel, Reclamation, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 1996, and in 1997 tied for the Locus Award for the Best First Novel. Writing under the alias of C. L. Anderson, her novel Bitter Angels won the 2010 Philip K. Dick award for best paperback original novel. If you’ve not read her, I’d recommend her YA American Fairy Trilogy as a good place to start. 


  • Tom Gauld goes Christmas shopping with a bookworm at The Guardian.

(10) SEQUELS. Mental Floss challenges “Can You Match the Classic Book to Its Not-So-Classic Sequel?”. I hit only 8 out of 14 of these. You’ll do much better.

(11) WALL TO WALL BOOKS. Brick bookshelves, but not the kind you may have had in your first apartment.“LEGO unveils its latest Creator Expert set, a 2,500-piece modular bookshop” – get the lowdown from 9to5toys.

While in the most recent few years LEGO has strayed from the theme’s roots with unique garage and diner builds, this year the company is going back to the basics for a delightful multistory bookstore. Comprised of 2,504 bricks, this model was inspired by houses in Amsterdam, bringing the European aesthetic into brick-built form in a distinct way.

Doubling down on the modular nature, this set features to independent buildings that can be rearranged throughout your city. Fittingly for this LEGO kit’s namesake, the bookstore is the larger of the two Creator Expert models. It sports a brick-like brown facade complemented by stonework accenting.

(12) GROOVE TUBE. “The London Underground’s logo gets an inspired redesign”FastCompany has photos.

London’s underground transit system, known as “The London Underground” or “The Tube,” started running in 1863. Its iconic symbol, a patriotically colored bar-and-circle roundel, was first plastered on the city’s subterranean walls in 1908 and has gone through several iterations since. Until now, each new draft of the logo has been a variation on the same theme—all solidly red and blue, with only slight changes to the proportions and weight of the letters. Recently, however, British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong has reimagined the traditional transit symbol to reflect the rich and diverse African diaspora that makes up roughly 44% of London’s population.

This large-scale logo redesign is a public commission from Art on the Underground, a visual arts showcase funded by Transport for London, which “seeks to consider the possibilities of alternate histories,” according to a statement. “Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance” exists as a part of the showcase’s 2019 program “On Edge,” which encourages artists to create works that explore themes of unity, utopia, and belonging, inspired by the United Kingdom’s likely departure from the European Union…

(13) TRUE GRIT. Where else would you look for science fiction news than Men’sHealth? — “Oscar Isaac Says Denis Villeneuve’s Dune Movie Will Be ‘Shocking’ and ‘Nightmarish'”.

…Dune takes place on a desert planet called Arrakis, one of many feudal worlds ruled over by galactic stewards, and the only natural source of a highly valuable substance known as “spice.” Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) will also star as Isaac’s on-screen son Paul Atreides, while Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Fallout) will play his concubine Lady Jessica. The wider ensemble cast will include Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Josh Brolin (Endgame), Zendaya (Euphoria) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman).

“There are some things that are — for lack of a better word — nightmarish about what you see,” Isaac continued. “There’s just this kind of brutalist element to it. It’s shocking. It’s scary. It’s very visceral… And I know that definitely between Denis and myself and Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson as the family unit, we really searched for the emotion of it. I’m beyond myself with excitement. I think it’s good to feel cool, unique, and special.”

(14) HO HO HO. “Longleat Safari Park chipmunks sent hundreds of socks” – BBC explains why.

A wildlife park has been inundated after putting out an appeal for “chipmunk worthy socks” to help keep the rodents warm over Christmas.

The family of chipmunks at Longleat Safari Park, in Wiltshire, use the socks to nest in during the winter.

Following an appeal on Facebook, the park has received hundreds of pairs from as far afield as New Zealand.

Longleat’s Alexa Maultby said: “There’s now a sock mountain and we’re looking for other uses for them.”

(15) TOHO DID IT BETTER. — But they used effects: “Octopus and eagle square off at Canadian fish farm” (BBC video).

The duelling animals were found floating in the waters off Quatsino, British Columbia. Crews freed the bird from the clutches of the sea creature.

(16) FEAR ITSELF. FastCompany shares a flashback to the computer Armageddon writers warned about: “The weird, wonderful world of Y2K survival guides: A look back”.

For a brief period in the late 1990s, it was one of the busiest categories in book publishing.

As the decade wound down, more and more people became agitated about the Y2K bug—also known as the millennium bug and the year 2000 problem–which stemmed from programmers having conserved precious bytes by storing years as two digits. (For instance, “80” instead of “1980.”) When 1999 turned into 2000, aging software reliant on such space-saving dates wouldn’t be able to tell the new year from 1900. And that raised the specter of much of the code that ran the world failing—possibly, the theory went, in disastrous ways. Power grids might be knocked out. Banks could fail. Food shortages and mass unemployment might lead to riots. Any semblance of normalcy could take years to return.

Enter a profusion of books dedicated to helping people plan for this techno-doomsday….

(17) CLASSIC COVERS. See “The Avon Fantasy Reader Covers – A Gallery” at Darkworlds Quarterly.

The Avon Fantasy Reader was an important Pulp reprint anthology (taking its contents from Weird Tales, Thrilling Wonder, The Blue Book, Adventure and Wonder Stories) that ran for eighteen issues from 1946 to 1952. It had a Science Fiction companion that ran for three issues before both were combined into The Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader for two more final issues. Edited by Donald A. Wolheim, it featured many Sword & Sorcery tales by Robert E. Howard and others. It also ran Cthulhu Mythos Horror and Space Opera style Science Fiction. For Complete Contents.

The covers for the series were also important, as they were some of the best Fantasy art to appear besides the original Pulps….

(18) BEHIND THE GOLD MASK. Bill Bradley, in “Anthony Daniels On That NSFW ‘Star Wars’ Image And Why He Wanted C-3PO To Die” on Huffington Post, has an interview with Daniels, who gives his thoughts on Baby Yoda, the naughty C-3PO trading card, and how he’s satisfied but of course can’t explain what happens to his character in Star Wars:  The Rise of Skywalker.

Since you were around when Yoda was originally created, what are your thoughts on Baby Yoda?

Ah, Baby Yoda. It had to happen. It had to happen just before Christmas. Baby Yoda is the thing, maybe the toy of the month, the year, whatever. Yoda is such an adored character created by Frank Oz, and obviously now we are looking back at origins.

Do we need a smaller wookiee? I don’t know. I love the inventiveness with “Star Wars,” the creative inventiveness that “Star Wars” has fostered over the years, whether it’s with the technicians or with fans. And of course, some of the fans now work on the movies because their abilities are so great. Baby Yoda is cute, gorgeous, but I would warn the public that Baby Yoda is not just for Christmas. It’s a responsibility.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Santa Claus” is an episode of Good Bad Flicks where they revist the 1959 classic Mexican film where Santa lives in a castle in outer space, has Merlin as his sidekick, and beats Satan by shooting him in the butt with a dart from a blow gun.

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

68 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/14/19 Gort Pixel Barada Nikscroll

  1. (8) “One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts” is sometimes described as genre- I’ve read that one (my favorite story by her is the non-genre “Charles”).

    (16) There was a book called “88 Reasons Why the Rapture will occur in 1988” – it did not sell well in 1989.


    High Life was an appallingly-awful film. Whoever thought that it belonged on this list is seriously whacked in the head. 🙄

  3. (16) FEAR ITSELF.

    It’s nice to see an article about Y2K which recognizes the importance of the remediation efforts and does not dismiss them as a hoax-driven cash grab by software companies and programmers.

  4. I’ve seen a fair amount of positive buzz for High Life from film bloggers and journalists, so I imagine whoever put the list together either likes the film or is including it because of the buzz. Or both.

  5. OGH says Mental Floss challenges “Can You Match the Classic Book to Its Not-So-Classic Sequel?”. I hit only 8 out of 14 of these. You’ll do much better.

    Oh sir you are an optimist on that statement. I scored just three correct choices even though I knew most of these once upon a time, The Shining and Watership Down being the only ones I’m certain I wasn’t guessing on.

  6. 8)

    I have read Shirley Jackson’s wry, witty, humorous essays about being a suburban housewife and mother, in which she practically invents the genre that Erma Bombeck and others later capitalized on.

    … But it just occurred to me that’s not what you meant by genre …

  7. 8) I strongly consider “One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts” to be genre.
    A lighter Shirley Jackson genre story is “Strangers in Town”, which I have on my shelf in “Alfred Hitchcock’s Witch’s Brew”, one of the better anthologies that I own. Both of these stories are collected in Jackson’s Just an Ordinary Day collection.

  8. Meredith: I’ve seen a fair amount of positive buzz for High Life from film bloggers and journalists, so I imagine whoever put the list together either likes the film or is including it because of the buzz. Or both.

    I would classify it as the sort of film that would be considered a good science-fiction film by someone who reads little or no science-fiction.

    (content warning for graphic violence, self-mutilation, rape, murder, and suicide, all on-screen)

  9. @10: nope, I got only 7 — although at least I recognized all of the originals, and in at least one case went against my gut incorrectly.

    @Andrew, re @8: that’s the first thing that comes to my mind — and the next several, as I haven’t much of a taste for horror and so haven’t read much Jackson. The story was first published in F&SF and has been reprinted in many genre anthologies (per ISFDB), so I’m not inclined to dispute its genre cred.

  10. 7) I remember being SO EXCITED to go see the Dune movie on opening night. And, because it was December in Minnesota, it was incredibly cold, to the point that my parents would not let me walk the mile or so to the theater that night.

    I did see it at some point shortly afterwards in the theater and I was … I think that was the first movie I saw in the theater that I remember actually being disappointed by. The cast is great and I love the set design and costumes &c., but the liberties Lynch took with the story were a bridge to far for me

  11. @JJ

    I got the impression that it was appealing on the “weird and difficult indie cinema” level rather than the “science fiction” level, really.

    (I have not seen it, and therefore have no opinion.)

  12. Meredith: I got the impression that it was appealing on the “weird and difficult indie cinema” level rather than the “science fiction” level, really.

    It’s definitely the first. It’s like Cronenberg’s Crash dialled up to 11. It’s basically a violent horror movie showing just how awful human beings can be, set in space.

  13. John Hertz replies by carrier pigeon:

    Shirley Jackson’s “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts” (1955) first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction while Anthony Boucher was Editor.

    It’s been translated into French, German, and Italian.

    Immaterial for our purposes, it was in the 1956 Best American Short Stories.

    Boucher picked it for The Best from “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction”, Fifth Series and Judith Merril picked it for The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy (i.e. both 1956).

    Merril then picked it for SF: the Best of the Best (1968). Damon Knight picked it for A Science Fiction Argosy(1973). Ed Ferman picked it for “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction”, a 30-year retrospective (1980) and Great Tales of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1991). Gordon Van Gelder picked it for The Very Best of “Fantasy & Science Fiction”, 60th Anniversary Anthology (2009).

    Great editors’ thinking it’s SF over fifty years doesn’t make it so, but has some weight. I think it’s SF (and superb) myself – and without a single gadget technological or magical.

    The Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base has four dozen SF entries for her (note that a crate of previously unpublished stories was found three dozen years after her death, hence posthumous entries), plus many, many, outside our field.

  14. Meredith: it has its audience, clearly. It just isn’t for Us.

    Yes, I am really weary of the fact that the vast majority of “science fiction” films which get released are just horror movies set in space. Whatever issues they may have, at least Gravity, The Martian, Interstellar, and Arrival are actually science fiction films.

  15. I definitely consider “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts” to be genre — but I’d say that it’s pure fantasy. I just re-read it, and I don’t see anything that can really be called science fiction.

  16. @Bonnie
    You mean it isn’t either “The Postgraduate” or “Plastics”? (Those were the two I immediately discarded as “too obvious”, but I don’t know the correct answer.)

  17. 5) I hated High Life with a fierce passion I reserve for few movies. It is appallingly dull, nonsensical, and ugly.

    Why does Robert Patterson insist on taking pretentious art house scripts that involve him pleasuring himself on screen? Between High Life and Lighthouse, it’s difficult to avoid the word “onanistic.”

  18. 5) I may be in the minority, but I actually like High Life, though it’s less science fiction than people being awful and then there’s a cute baby in space.

    7) I liked all of those movies, even Dune, but then I saw the 1984 movie before I read the book. And Runaways is grossly underrrated IMO, even if it’s one of several examples of Tom Selleck trying to be Harrison Ford in the 1980s

    10) I got six, one of them simply by guessing correctly.

    16) I remember translating several “Don’t worry, we’re taking all necessary measures to prevent any Y2K problems occurring” form letters for a small company that was the subsidiary of the subsidiary of what was then Germany’s fourth largest corporation. I assumed that the letters were intended only for the customers of that small company. Later I learned that they had actually gone out to every international customer of the parent corporation. I really should have asked for more money for those translations. Though those stupid letters may have been the most read text i have ever written.

    Otherwise, I remember that people around me got a lot calmer, once New Zealand and Australia had entered the 21st century without the lights going out around noon on New Year’s Eve our time and calmed down even more once East and South East Asia crossed over a couple of hours later. By the time Moscow and Warsaw had crossed over at ten and eleven PM respectively, we weren’t particularly worried, though I still turned on every computer in the house once the fireworks were done, just to be sure.

  19. 7) Tom Selleck was almost cast as Indiana Jones, but had to drop out for contractual reasons, because Magnum PI was delayed because of some kind of strike. And so Tom Selleck spent several years in the early 1980s trying to be Harrison Ford, before he was satisfied with being Tom Selleck. There was one film, the name of which I have forgotten, which was basically an Indiana Jones rip-off starring Tom Selleck (there were quite a few Indiana Jones rip-offs in the 1980s, most of them long forgotten. Some of them were even pretty good, though Selleck’s wasn’t).. And then there was Runaways, which was Tom Selleck trying to do Blade Runner. It’s not Blade Runner, but actually a pretty good film. And now I want to watch it again.

  20. (10) @Bonnie — I was pleased with my 12, but you beat me. I missed Forrest Gump and 101 Dalmatians.

  21. 10/14 on the Mental Floss quiz. I knew 101 Dalmatians. I feel like I should have gotten Rosemary’s Baby. I got Forrest Gump right but it was more of an educated guess.

  22. Cora Buhlert: There was one film, the name of which I have forgotten, which was basically an Indiana Jones rip-off starring Tom Selleck

    High Road to China, with Bess Armstrong. I love that movie. It was actually way better than Temple of Doom.

  23. (8) I really liked The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Plummer was great in it. Wonderful how this last phase of his working life is so brilliant.

    @ JJ, quite right about High Road to China, in which Bess Armstrong was really good. Better writing than Temple of Doom accounts for some of this.

  24. A contributing editorship for two days in a row (even though I screwed up the quote . . . )? Cool!

    (7) Starman was partially filmed in southeast Tennessee, near where my mom grew up. That diner where Starman sees a hunter’s car with a dead deer, and goes out and brings it back to life? I’ve eaten in it.

    (8) When I did that list of birthdays yesterday (which, btw, was more work than I would have guessed, so commendations for Cat’s efforts), I found Christopher Plummer to have been born on December 13, not 14. But if you maintain that he is so tall it took two days for his birth, I suppose that explains it.

  25. I know I’ve read Fool’s War by Sarah Zettel. I remember liking it, but I don’t remember a lot of details. I might have read some others, but that one I’m sure of.

    I think Starman is probably my favorite of those 1984 movies. “Red light, stop. Green light, go. Yellow light, go very fast.” 🙂

  26. 16)

    Otherwise, I remember that people around me got a lot calmer, once New Zealand and Australia had entered the 21st century without the lights going out

    In contrast, my mate project managing the Auckland Regional Council Y2K programme was a bit more stressed! It was fairly smooth, although the dress rehearsal a week earlier exposed a couple of fixable issues.

  27. @JJ

    Yeah, if anything, there’s more horror with science fiction worldbuilding/elements as far as the film industry goes then there is science fiction by itself. Some of them are classics, of course, but it would be nice if there was more straight-up science fiction. Same for fantasy. It’s much easier to find horror with fantasy elements than it is fantasy by itself. It’s like they think sf/f can’t be low (enough) budget without some horror mixed in.

  28. 12) Nice design. Although that particular station’s not far from my sister’s place it looks like it’ll disappear before I get the chance to see it, which is a shame. One comment on the article, though – the 44% figure looks about right for London’s non-white or mixed population as a whole, but wouldn’t reflect just African heritage unless we consider that Africa includes India.

  29. 5) I think I would have gone with Under The Skin for my indie-darling pick, Guardians of the Galaxy for my Marvel pick and put Arrival and The Martian somewhere on there.

    The author’s byline makes me dwell on a PS title I’ve been mulling over how to work out for a while now;

    “When I scroll the phrase ‘Geek Culture’, that’s when I reach for my Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.”

  30. Sci-fi equals horror is a grand old Hollywood tradition, which used to be even more common than it is now. Even the exceptions tended to be horror-adjacent. Flash Gordon was an invasion tale, even if it wasn’t strictly horror, and The Day the Earth Stood Still made not being horror its clever twist. (The poster for TDtESS tried as hard as possible to hide this twist.)

    So, while I would also like to see more non-horror SF movies, I can’t fault Hollywood for looking to its own history and traditions for inspiration. Fortunately, that history and tradition is, slowly but surely, starting to include more non-horror SF.

  31. @Xtifr: Yeah; the pop-culture joke SF movie title back in the 1960s was something on the order of “The Avocado that Ate Cleveland.”

  32. John Hertz adds by carrier pigeon:

    Here’s a Y2K story which may amuse.

    I was at a New Year’s Eve party on the night when December 31, 1999, ticked into January 1, 2000.

    It was not the end of the millennium – that would be a year later – but it was the beginning of the year two thousand, the year TWO THOUSAND as Fredric Brown had a character exult in The Lights in the Sky Are Stars (1953).

    At the dramatic moment we were watching some celebration or other on big-screen television.

    The moment occurred. The tick tocked. The new year had come.

    There was a pause in the room. It went on. It became a Moment of Silence. In fact, as I’ll get to, it was a Moment of Science (wish I’d made up that joke myself), but hold that thought.

    Anyway it was quiet. An air of disappointment even began to rise.

    Someone said “Nothing happened!”

    That crystallized the supersaturated emotion.

    There was a buzz.

    I spoke.

    “And how many of you,” I cried, “have worked how hard, for how many hours, to make sure nothing would happen?”

    That did it.

  33. The Jan/Feb 2020 Analog is out, celebrating 90 years (including a reprint of the award-winning “Astronaut from Wyoming” – kicking off one reprint a month, from the 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s and 40s (the post-2000 decade is too close and the 1930s too far, I guess)). The cover looks like a really old issue (deliberately and strikingly).

  34. @P J Evans, re @10: the problem is that a lot of the books are very distant sequels, similarly to one of the ones they didn’t have (probably because it was too easy): The Widows of Eastwick, set enough decades after Updike’s original to be accurate. That makes it difficult to guess what the subject will be.

    @Jeff Smith — and the Dalmatians sequel was one of only six that I got. Entropy carries on….


    High Road to China, with Bess Armstrong. I love that movie. It was actually way better than Temple of Doom.

    That could be said about a lot of movies, even ones that the director didn’t like in retrospect.

    @Xtifr: I remember Fools War being fun, but IMO her upper fantasies linking an Eastern Europe that never was to its immigrants’ settling areas in the US were very good.

    @Patrick Morris Miller: I loved Knives Out, especially since it let Plummer open up a bit more than he often does. I also loved that the entire theater staff of a 16-plex were wearing promo T-shirts with the logo on the front and on the back the text “This Thanksgiving[newline]carve out a little family time”

    @Graham: TFTI — I thought 44% seemed high.

  35. I got 6 of them,too. And speaking of sequels…

    I’ve been worried about my recent inability to pick up and devour books new to me. It’s worried me a lot, though I still pick up cheap items in junk stores that appeal to me.

    One such item was Rainbows End, which I picked up earlier today to look at. Now I’ve finished it and gosh it’s excellent!

    Does anyone know–does Vinge still plan on writing a sequel? Because I’d love to read it!

  36. I knew one and was pretty sure about two others, but didn’t bother taking the actual test, because anything else would have been a pure guess.

    @John A Arkansawyer: I’m not aware of any plans for a sequel to Rainbows End. We’re currently waiting on a sequel to Children of the Sky, which was a bit of a cliffhanger, so I suspect that’ll be his first priority. But, yeah, I loved Rainbows End too. A lot of people grumbled about it because it wasn’t far-future interstellar weirdness like his Zones of Thought books, but I thought it was outstanding.

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