Pixel Scroll 12/24/20 Is That A Scroll of Coal in My File?

Still celebrating the holidays at my brother’s. Took my laptop along to worjk on today but it got fried en route somehow, won’t turn on but gets as hot as an iron. So a big placeholder today, and will resume tomorrow on my backup.

Meantime, roll your own pixels in the comments!

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

Mark Millar, born 1969, age fifty one years Comic book write whose resume is long at both house so I’ll like of his work. The Millar/Quitely era on The Authority was politically edged and often got censored by DC as it commented on the Iraq War — well worth your reading. His run on Swamp Thing from issues 142 to 171 has a lot of other writers including Morrison. He wrote the Ultimates at Marvels and a lot of that superb series ended in the Avengers film. Finally his excellent Civil War was the basis of the Captain America: Civil War film and his not to missed Old Man Logan was the inspiration for Fox’s Logan film. (CE)

Diedrich Bader, born 1966, age fifty four years I know him best as the voice of Batman on The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. No, he’s not Kevin Conroy but his Batman is quite enjoyable and interesting in his own right. He’s best cast as Batman / Bruce Wayne in the new Harley Quinn series on the DC Universe service in the process. (CE)

Mark Valley, born 1964, age fifty six years He made my Birthday list first by being the lead, Christopher Chance, in Human Target, a short lived series created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino for DC, that was weirdly well done. He was also John Scott In Fringe as a regular cast member early on. He voiced Clark Kent / Superman in the second part of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. (CE) 

Nicholas Meyer, born 1945, age seventy five years Superb and funny novel, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is.  Much better than the film I think. Now his Time After Time film is spot on. And let’s not forget his work on the Trek films,  The Wrath of Khan (much of which went uncredited), The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country.  (CE) 

Fritz Leiber, 1910 – 1992 I can say that my fav work by him is The Big Time which I either read or listen to every year. And yes I’ve read the Change War Stories too, difficult to find as they were. Yes I know it won a Hugo — much, much deserved!  I’m also fond of Gather, Darkness!  and Conjure Wife, but otherwise I prefer his short fiction such as the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series to his novels. (CE) 

VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “All I Want For Christmas…” on YouTube, John C. Worsley says that Jean-Luc Picard and Q wish you a Merry Christmas.

38 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/24/20 Is That A Scroll of Coal in My File?

  1. One Scroll, Furnished in Early Pixelry.

    I liked “The Big Time” too, and want to put in a good word for “You’re All Alone” and “The Creature from the Cleveland Depths”

  2. @OGH, sorry to hear that your laptop is fried; I hope Santa brings you a new one.

    (And a Merry Christmas to all Filers who celebrate it!)

  3. It sounds like your laptop may be turning itself off due to overheating. The fans need to be inspected and cleaned or replaced. Don’t keep it on in that non-functional state.

  4. He made my Birthday list first by being the lead, Christopher Chance, in Human Target, a short lived series created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino for DC, that was weirdly well done.

    That was an entertaining show. Valley brought a lot of humor and charm to the title character.

    It also had fantastic opening credits.

  5. A merry Christmas to all, and a hope that things improve soon!

    Don’t call it coal, call it a DIY diamond!

  6. Don’t call it coal, call it a DIY diamond!

    A few years ago I listened to a series of lectures about geology and the professor delighted me by referring to George Reeves’ trick (as Superman in the series that defined the role for me) of creating diamonds by crushing coal in his hands.

  7. If anybody else is looking for the Change War stories, there is a collection, “Snakes & Spiders: the Definitive Change War Collection.” Nook edition but no kindle. PB available at both places. Also available at Scribd which is my source.

  8. I was today years old when I learned my nephew not only recognized Fritz Leiber’s name… but remembered reading one of his books about a big warrior his smaller companion.

    And apparently, I gave him the book. (So that’s where it went!) I trained him well…

  9. Stephen Fritter says If anybody else is looking for the Change War stories, there is a collection, “Snakes & Spiders: the Definitive Change War Collection.” Nook edition but no kindle. PB available at both places. Also available at Scribd which is my source.

    I was quite surprised to discover that there were only seven Change War stories besides The Big Time novella as I thought thy were more of them. Oh and despite the editors here claiming this is the first time that all the stories have been published together, it’s not as the Changewar collection did so.

  10. For the Festivus grievance / Bah Humbug filers amongst us, may i re-post for you The Darth Vader Yule Log fire:

  11. re: Snakes & Spiders

    I notice that the description refers to the original magazine versions of the stories, so these may be only the stories that are out of copyright. I haven’t done the legwork on this, but there might be later versions or even whole stories that are still in copyright.

    Leiber had so much range as a writer that it’s hard to summarize him. As a horror writer he excelled at building tension slowly using the smallest of details. In Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness ir’s remarkable how little happens that anyone outside of the story would notice. The satires, A Specter is Haunting Texas or The Silver Eggheads, have not aged well but I still find them entertaining reads. And many of the stories are still delightful.

    It wasn’t until the pixel turned up in his bathtub that Simon Grue seriously began to wonder what the filers were doing on the roof next door….

  12. Here in Germany, Christmas Eve is the main event anyway, so Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all who celebrate.

    @Anne Marble

    I was today years old when I learned my nephew not only recognized Fritz Leiber’s name… but remembered reading one of his books about a big warrior his smaller companion.

    And apparently, I gave him the book. (So that’s where it went!) I trained him well…

    Indeed, you did.

    The Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories are still my favourite works among Fritz Leiber’s many works (and IMO “Ill Met in Lankhmar” is the best ever Hugo winner for best novella), though I also love The Change War, Gather Darkness and Our Lady of Darkness.

  13. Stephen Fritter: If anybody else is looking for the Change War stories, there is a collection, “Snakes & Spiders: the Definitive Change War Collection.” Nook edition but no kindle.

    I suspect that there’s no Kindle edition because it was DMCA’ed. Some of those stories are probably still in copyright, and I’m rather doubtful that this “publisher” had the rights to them.

  14. JJ says I suspect that there’s no Kindle edition because it was DMCA’ed. Some of those stories are probably still in copyright, and I’m rather doubtful that this “publisher” had the rights to them.

    I’ve no doubt at all that it’s pirated edition. The last legal edition was Ace Science Fiction Books in 1983 as a mass market publication and Gregg Press the same year in a much more limited edition release. I know I’ve owned both at some point in time.

    Now listening to Joel Shepherd’s Qalea Drop, Book Seven of the Spiral War series. A most excellent space opera series which doesn’t get nearly the love some other such series do.

  15. Merry Christmas, fellow filers!

    It’s very unlike Christmas as regards the weather here as we’re near sixty with pouring rain and really high winds. Fortunately it’s supposed to stay above freezing so it won’t get icy for travellers.

    Now playing: Aaron Copland’s “Simple Gifts”

  16. The first Leiber story I read was “A Pail of Air”. It is still a vivid memory. My favorite Leiber short now would be “Midnight by the Morphy Watch”. But there are so many great Leiber short stories, and all types.

  17. @Tom Becker: Given the number of times “A Pail of Air” was collected, it was probably first Leiber for a lot of folks (as it was for me).

  18. Tom Becker says The first Leiber story I read was “A Pail of Air”. It is still a vivid memory. My favorite Leiber short now would be “Midnight by the Morphy Watch”. But there are so many great Leiber short stories, and all types.

    My first stories were those of the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. And then the ChangeWar material followed. Grand stuff indeed.

  19. “A pail of air” really impressed me too, at a youngish age and made me fan of SF for the rest of my life. I’m seventy two, by the way.

  20. I keep thinking that I’ve heard a recording of Bloch’s “A Hell-Bound Train” but I’m unable to find any indication that one exists. So have any of you fellow Filers heard it? I suspect it was on one of the radio series of the Fifties but none of my series searches indicate that is so.

  21. Like many others here, “A Pail Of Air” is the first SF story that I ever read that put my socks firmly into orbit and made me an SF fan for life. I was… I dunno, maybe eight years old….

    That story made me go back and look at the title and author. And I’ve retained that information for nearly fifty years, although I couldn’t tell you the title of the anthology I read it in.

  22. Cat, Wikipedia lists two audio recordings of (correct title) “That Hell-Bound Train”. (Though it’s been published as “The Hell-Bound Train” a number of times.)

    One read by Bloch himself, GRAVELY, ROBERT BLOCH, LP, 1976, from Alternate World Recordings. Apparently recorded at a convention. IIRC, Alternate World Recordings did this at cons for a number of authors reading their own stories. I think I have one or two of their old LPs.

    Second, THRILLOGY, read by Roger Zelazny, cassette 1993, Sunset Productions.

  23. @Andrew (not Werdna), I’m pretty sure that’s it! Which would have made me ten years old at the time. Thank you for finding this.

  24. No problem. It’s got a lot of great stories in it (The Accountant, the Wayward Cravat, Star, Bright (which lodged firmly in my head), etc.).

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