Pixel Scroll 12/29/2018 Scroll-Covered Three-Pixeled Family Credential

(1) SFF IN TRANSLATION. Rachel S. Cordasco has launched the first Science Fiction in Translation Poll:

Welcome to the first annual SFT Poll, where you can vote for your favorite translated novels, short stories, anthologies & collections, translators, and publishers!

Eligible for the 2018 poll are any translated texts published from January 1 – December 31, 2018. All possible answers are supplied- just click on your favorite in each category!

The poll is open until March 1, and results will be announced on March 10, 2019.

The poll has five categories:

  • Favorite Short Story
  • Favorite Novel
  • Favorite Anthology/Collection
  • Favorite Translator
  • Favorite Publisher/Journal/Magazine

(2) TIME TO CHECK ASIMOV’S ANSWERS. The Toronto Star has reprinted Isaac Asimov’s preview of the year 2019 — how accurate was he? (And the editors remember, “He was a very gracious man and charged $1 a word.”) — “35 years ago, Isaac Asimov was asked by the Star to predict the world of 2019. Here is what he wrote”.  

…Let us, therefore, assume there will be no nuclear war — not necessarily a safe assumption — and carry on from there.

Computerization will undoubtedly continue onward inevitably. Computers have already made themselves essential to the governments of the industrial nations, and to world industry: and it is now beginning to make itself comfortable in the home.

An essential side product, the mobile computerized object, or robot, is already flooding into industry and will, in the course of the next generation, penetrate the home.

There is bound to be resistance to the march of the computers, but barring a successful Luddite revolution, which does not seem in the cards, the march will continue.

The growing complexity of society will make it impossible to do without them, except by courting chaos; and those parts of the world that fall behind in this respect will suffer so obviously as a result that their ruling bodies will clamour for computerization as they now clamour for weapons….

(3) BIRD BOX A SMASH. Mashable says Netflix’s new sci-fi thriller is drawing a huge audience: “Netflix releases viewership numbers for ‘Bird Box’ and holy crap”.

According to Netflix, this is the best debut week for any of its films ever. It’s worth pointing out that the 45 million number refers to accounts, not views or streams. So the figure isn’t even taking into consideration how many of us share Netflix or watched it with one or more viewing companions.

To put that number into perspective, if each of those accounts had paid $14 to see Bird Box — less than the price of a movie ticket in cities like New York — the Netflix thriller would have surpassed Aquaman‘s current global box office haul of $629 million.

The rare look at Netflix numbers reminds us how ubiquitous the streaming platform is, particularly with its international scope. 

(4) WHITFIELD OBIT. Dame June Whitfield who died December 28, was famous for her work on Terry and June, the Carry On movies and Absolutely Fabulous. However, in her long career she worked often, and occasionally took genre roles, as in Doctor Who’s 2010 episode ”The End of Time Part II.”

I’m intrigued that one of her earliest credits was Yes, It’s The Cathode-Ray Tube Hour. Which is a very campy title, but I don’t think they were doing camp yet in 1957. Or were they?


December 29, 1967 The Mary Sue wants us to know December 29 marks what they believe is an important anniversary (“Things We Saw Today: It’s The 51st Anniversary Of ‘The Trouble With Tribbles’”):

As we celebrate other anniversaries and holidays, now is the day to celebrate a seminal moment in Star Trek history: the release of ‘The Trouble With Tribbles.’ As Captain Kirk navigates some Klingon troubles, he also must contend with the small, furry invaders who are eating everything and multiplying like bunnies all over his ship. It contains some great dialogue such as McCoy asking what happens when you feed a tribble too much and Kirk replying “a fat tribble?” and a great action scene in which Scotty fights some Klingons because they dared insult the Enterprise.

‘Tribbles’ is not necessarily an Emmy-worthy episode, but it’s a fun episode. It showcases the lighter, funnier side of Star TrekStar Trek is about our humanity striving to overcome present biases to find a utopian future. ‘Tribbles’ embraces the weirdness of it all, while still depicting a non-violent solution to a dispute in which the problem is solved through diplomacy (and some Tribble trickery) rather than by shooting our way out.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 29, 1972 Jude Law, 46. I think his first SF role was as Jerome Eugene Morrow In Gattaca followed by playing Gigolo Joe in A.I. with my fav role for him being the title role in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. He was Lemony Snicket In Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Tony in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dr. John Watson in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Remy in Repo Man and he voiced Pitch Black in one of my favorite animated films, Rise of the Guardians. 

(7) SHOULD AULD FICTION BE FORGOT? At Featured Futures, Jason’s compiled another list of the month’s memorable fiction in “Summation: December”.

December closes the year with little to fully recommend but with several good stories to note, mostly from unusual sources. These half-dozen tales were drawn from the month’s reading of 42 stories of 169K words (plus four November stories of 10K in December’s first review of the weeklies). Aside from the recommended stories, the most interesting items posted this month were probably (hopefully) this site’s “Year’s Best” and the start of the “Collated Contents” of the real “Year’s Bests” (linked in the News section at the end of this post).

(8) THE END OF GOTHAM. How will Gotham end? The TV show, that is, not the title city (The Hollywood Reporter: “DC TV Watch: How ‘Gotham’s’ Final Season Sets Up Batman’s Beginning”). And apparently the answer is at a breakneck pace.

Five years of comic book-inspired villains, noir gang power struggles and vigilante hero training has all led to this: the final season of Gotham.

With only 12 episodes of the series remaining […] Fox’s Batman prequel has a lot of loose ends to tie up before the young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) can wear the cape and cowl for which he’s destined. And with the season four cliffhanger of Jeremiah (Cameron Monaghan) blowing up all the bridges and cutting Gotham off from the rest of the world, bringing the “No Man’s Land” arc from the comics to life, the series couldn’t be any further from that end goal. […]

With so much ground to cover in a limited amount of time, executive producer John Stephens tells The Hollywood Reporter that viewers should expect “a velocity to the story that we’ve never had before.”

(9) APPRECIATION OVERDUE. Alex Dueben of Comicsbeat calls it “The Obituary Marie Severin Should Have Received”:

…In 2016 controversy erupted before the annual Angouleme Festival International de la Bande Desinée over the festival’s lack of any women on the longlist to be awarded the festival’s Grand Prix de la ville d’Angouleme. The prize, given to a cartoonist for their body of work, had given to only a single woman in the festival’s history. Many creators originally up for the prize boycotted and withdrew their names from consideration. The committee ultimately awarded that year’s prize to Ms. Severin.

Only the fifth American to receive the award – after Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman and Bill Watterson – the decision to award it to Severin was at the time controversial. Since then it has come out that a number of men were put forward, but people were unable to come to a consensus. When Severin’s name was put forward, the vote was unanimous.

Severin was chosen for her body of work. For her connection to EC Comics, to Mad, to Silver Age superhero comics. Her work represents the ways that comics managed to penetrate the counterculture and transform it and society at large. She represented the ways that the medium has its connections to illustration and design through the work she and her contemporaries had been doing in recent decades, but also through the influence of her father, who was an illustrator, and that early tradition of illustration that so influenced early comics….

(10) NIGHTFLYERS REVIEW. Matthew Kadish gives his rundown on Nightflyers in a thread that starts here.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge. He was on time – I’m the one who fell behind!]

  • Born December 27, 1922 Stan Lee. Summarizing his career is quite beyond my abilities. He created and popularized Marvel Comics in a way that company is thought to be the creation of Stan Lee in way that DC is not. He co-created the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk,  Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man, an impressive list by any measure.I see he’s won Eisner and Kirby Awards but no sign of a Hugo. Is that correct? (Died 2018.)
  • Born December 27, 1932 Nichelle Nicols, 86. Uruhu on the original Trek. She reprised her character in Star Trek: The Motion PictureStar Trek II: The Wrath of KhanStar Trek III: The Search for SpockStar Trek IV: The Voyage HomeStar Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Other film SF roles included Ruana in Tarzan’s Deadly Silence with Ron Ely as Tarzan, High Priestess of Pangea in The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space, Oman in Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes and Mystic Woman in American Nightmares. Series appearances have been as Lieutenant Uhura and additional voices in the animated Trek, archive footage of herself in the “Trials and Tribble-ations” DS9 episode and Captain Nyota Uhura In Star Trek: Of Gods and Men which may or may not be canon.
  • Born December 27, 1973 Wilson Cruz, 45. His first SF role was as Benj Sotomejor in Supernova, a film disowned by damn everyone involved with it. His second credit was a minor role as Sid Tango in the Pushing Daisies series. His third was is damn good — he’s Dr. Hugh Culber on Star Trek: Discovery, a series that for all the whining for it bring on a premium station should be one that you go and watch — it’s that’s good. 
  • Born December 27, 1977 Sinead Keenan, 41. Best known for playing the role of the werewolf Nina Pickering in Being Human, she would show up in Doctor Who in the “The End of Time” episode as Addams. For those of you interested in Awards, she was in the The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot as a fan, the show being a comedy spoof and homage to Doctor Who that featured a lot of the actors who’d played The Doctor and damn near anyone else involved in it down the years. It was nominated for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form.)
  • Born December 28, 1983Olivia Cooke, 25. For a youngster, she’s  impressive genre creds starting off with The Quiet Ones, a British a supernatural horror film followed by a SF thrilled titled The Signal. From there she went on to The Limehouse Golem based on a Peter Ackroyd novel, and was in Ready Player One. Series wise, she was in The Secret of Crickley Hall before getting the main role of Emma Decody In Bates Motel.  I’d be absolutely remiss not to note she voiced the Loch Ness Monster in the animated Axe Cop series.
  • Born December 27, 1995 Timothy Chalamet, 23. First SF role was as Young Tom Cooper in the well received Interstellar. To date, his only other genre role has been as Zac in One & Two but I’m strongly intrigued that he’s set to play Paul Atreides In Director Denis Villeneuve forthcoming Dune. Villeneuve is doing it as a set of films instead of just one film.  
  • Born December 28, 1934Maggie Smith, 84. First genre role was as Theis in Clash of the Titans with Minerva McGonagall In the Harry Potter films being her best known role. She also played Linnet Oldknow in From Time to Time  and voiced Miss Shepherd, I kid you not, in two animated Gnomes films. 
  • Born December 28, 1979Noomi Rapace, 39. She played Madame Simza Heron in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, had  the lead role of Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus, Renee in Rapture, played all the seven lead roles in What Happened to Monday and was in Bright as Leilah.

(12) YOUR BIGGERAGE MAY VARY. No doubt a lot will depend on what you’re expecting — Closer: “Carrie Fisher’s Brother Says Her Part In The Next ‘Star Wars’ Will Be Bigger Than Anyone Expected”.

The death of Carrie Fisher two years ago was a shock to a great many people, not the least of whom were Star Wars fans. She had a prominent role in the last film, The Last Jedi, as Leia Organa, and was supposed to play a major part in Star Wars Episode IX, which is currently being shot by The Force Awakens’ J.J. Abrams. The big question was how she would be written out of the series.

There had been rumors — quickly debunked by Lucasfilm — that a digital version of Carrie would be created to wrap up her character arc. After all, one had previously been created for the conclusion of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which was designed as a prequel to 1977’s Episode IV: A New Hope and which concluded with the moments leading up to that film, including Carrie’s Princess Leia recording a message into the R2D2 droid. The next rumor was that outtakes from both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi featuring the actress would be featured. Now comes word from her brother, Todd Fisher, that it could be considerably more than that.

(13) BEST AND WORST TREK EPISODES RANKED (CONFUSINGLY!) [Item by Mike Kennedy.] At the end of each year we are besieged by too many lists of the best of this or the worst of that for the year. The subject here isn’t one of those, but rather an attempt to rank the best & worst all time Star Trek episodes across the various series as an entity (ScreenRant: “Star Trek: The 10 All Time Best (And 10 Worst) Episodes, Officially Ranked”). In a side note, it is hereby acknowledged that columnist Joseph Walter should be sentenced to 40 lashes with a wet noodle—if not indeed more—for using the rather officious term “Officially Ranked” in the title.

Star Trek, throughout many moments of its many seasons, has been a prime example of superior science-fiction television, and has had a tremendous effect on not only fans of the genre, but curious outsiders who found themselves drawn into the well-developed world of our space-faring future, complete with wonderfully multi-dimensional characters, harrowing plots, and impactful commentary on any number of current day issues through the gaze of fiction.

[…] Unfortunately, for every tremendous success in that particular realm, there are often some Picard-styled face-palming failures. Trek has given us some of the greatest science-fiction episodes of all time, along with some of the worst, and we’ve dug through both sides of the spectrum and compiled a list that’ll set the record straight on the many ups and downs the franchise has produced.

The list interleaves the best and worst, counting down from the 10th best (at item #20) to the very worst (at item #1). Walter provides his reasoning for each choice, but herewith the list itself:

20 Best: The Trouble With Tribbles (TOS)

19 Worst: These Are the Voyages… (ENT)

18 Best: Year of Hell (VOY)

17 Worst: The Fight (VOY)

16 Best: Trials and Tribble-Ations (DS9)

15 Worst: The Omega Glory (TOS)

14 Best: Measure of a Man (TNG)

13 Worst: A Night in Sickbay (ENT)

12 Best: In the Pale Moonlight (DS9)

11 Worst: The Way to Eden (TOS)

10 Best: The Best of Both Worlds (TNG)

9 Worst: The Savage Curtain (TOS)

8 Best: Far Beyond the Stars (DS9)

7 Worst: Threshold (VOY)

6 Best: The City On the Edge of Forever (TOS)

5 Worst: Shades of Gray (TNG)

4 Best: The Visitor (DS9)

3 Worst: Spock’s Brain (TOS)

2 Best: All Good Things… (TNG)

1 Worst: Code of Honor (TNG)

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Xerox’s Paradox” on Vimeo, John Butler imagines what sort of high-tech clothes we will wear to keep our competitive edge.

[Thanks to Alan Baumler, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, John A Arkansawyer, Jason, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

56 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/29/2018 Scroll-Covered Three-Pixeled Family Credential

  1. 2) The death of schools continues to be frequently predicted but shows no signs of happening. Possibly because people forget that schools provide childcare as well as education, they can’t be alone at home.
    I’m impressed that he has materials mined on the moon used only for space industry not shipped back to Earth, given some thought to how the economics of that would work.
    Was there some technical reason people at that time envisioned solar panels in space beaming energy to Earth rather than solar panels on Earth? Seems to be an unnecessarily complicated system, but I’ve seen it several times.
    He was right about the most important prediction anyway- no nuclear war.

  2. Elseweb, I know a lot of people who were very unhappy about Voyager killing Hugh Culber.
    And yet, Wilson Cruz isn’t one of them.

  3. @PJ

    Voyager? You mean Disco, don’t you?

    The season was very uneven, but it did grow on me. Great waste of Jason Isaacs, however.

  4. Bonnie McDaniel on December 29, 2018 at 7:45 pm said:

    The season was very uneven, but it did grow on me. Great waste of Jason Isaacs, however.

    Speaking of Jason Issac, have you seen Death of Stalin? Not sfnal obviously but it has a great part for Issac playing General Zhukov as a kind of extra belligerent Sean Bean.

  5. @bookworm1398: I suspect that like a lot of people at the time (including me), he was operating under heavy influence from The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space by Gerard K. O’Neill, which really put the concept of solar power satellites on the map.

    Addendum: The Wikipedia article on Space-based solar power credits Asimov with originating the idea of solar power satellites back in 1941. So that may have been a factor as well. 🙂

  6. Scroll-Covered Three-Pixeled Family Crendential

    Yeah, I’ll just appertain myself a nice caffeine-free diet Coke….. 🙂

  7. 11) More appertainment: Maggie Smith, in Clash of the Titans (one of my top three Harryhausen films; and I’m glad they never made an entirely unnecessary CGI-overstuffed remake or an even more unnecessary sequel to the remake), played Thetis, not Theis.

  8. “Crendential”?

    Yeah, it’s possible to get ninja’d when you forget and leave your comment in a window for several hours. Well, I’ll at least appertain myself a glass of water for the stray “q” after the scroll title credit.

  9. @2: That crazy Isaac — what an optimist!

    @bookworm1389: solar-from-orbit seemed like a huge win when people thought space travel would become cheap (and/or panels in orbit could be assembled from mines in the Moon’s much weaker gravity well). Having power ~24/7 seems much better than the weak cycling I get in Boston (3-4 hrs/day at peak in clear weather in the months near the summer solstice). Xtifr may be right about Asimov swallowing O’Neill’s line, or Asimov may just not have realized we’d never get cheap-to-orbit launches (witness his other claims about living in space). I note that Wikipedia credits Asimov with publishing the idea, but I wonder where it originated — Asimov, a chemist, may have run with some blue-sky notion of Campbell’s. Asimov may also not have expected solar cells to become as efficient as they now are, and thought there wouldn’t be room to collect enough energy except in space.

  10. Joe H. says correctly More appertainment: Maggie Smith, in Clash of the Titans (one of my top three Harryhausen films; and I’m glad they never made an entirely unnecessary CGI-overstuffed remake or an even more unnecessary sequel to the remake), played Thetis, not Theis.

    Yep, damn spellchecker corrected it to that. Than,s for catching it.

  11. Extra birthday for the 29th, Bernard Cribbins, born 1928. Played Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble’s grandad, in Doctor Who for several episodes in the David Tennant era and also Tom Campbell, accompanying Peter Cushing in the film “Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.” for possibly the largest spread across roles. Also appeared in “The Mouse in the Moon”, episodes of “The Avengers”, “Space 1999” and many others.

  12. Meredith Moment:

    How Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories by N. K. Jemisin is part of the KDD at Amazon US for $4.99.

  13. Olivia Cooke’s age is correct (25) but birthdate is a decade off — should be 1993!

    Wilson Cruz’s most famous role (probably) is non SF, as the gay sidekick character in My So-Called Life. A prominent character in a teen series who is also gay (and not just there and gone as the topic of a Very Special Episode that probably ends tragically) was pretty revolutionary for the time, and always the first thing I think of when I see his name. He’s kind of frozen in 1993 in my mental picture so seeing that he is 45 was a bit of a shock. Of course, my mental age is frozen sometime around 33, so the daily realization that I’m actually 20 years older continues to be a bit of a shock as well…

    I haven’t seen Bird Box yet, and really need to before the spoilers reach me. Waiting for my wife and her girlfriend (we really need to invent a good term for the realtionship between the non-romantic partners in a committed long term poly relationship where all parties are considering themselves a family — “my wife’s girlfriend” worked when we all lived separately but there should be a better word for it now that we not only live together but bought the most recent house together. “Co-mortgagee” doesn’t really get it either)…. um, anyway, waiting for them to get home from Florida trip so we can watch that and Dumplin’.

    I wouldn’t mind going on a trip but took the pass on Florida because both their moms were also along AND I had a paid dogsitting gig for most of the days that I didn’t want to cancel on. So I’ve been puttering and taking care of a menagerie of pets including our dogs, the girlfriend’s cats, the stray dog we feed (these were taken over by a friend who came to stay at our house when I went off to the dogsitting/housesitting gig), the dog who lives across the street from the dogsit who only needed 2x a day drop-ins to let outside and top up kibble and water, and the two terroristic terriers who I stay with about once a month as their event-planner mamas travel. Oh, and the 90-year-old grandmother of one of the event planners who lives in an apartment upstairs and is largely independent but not in good enough shape to keep up with the dogs.

    You know, I’ve been feeling a little unproductive this week but when I spell out all that, I see that I’ve actually been pretty damn busy!

    I’ve also been recording Librivox stuff (nothing F/SF at the moment), wrote my 4th Public Domain installment, got horribly sick with a 24-hour gastro bug, doing a “24 hours before 2019” readathon, watching episodes of DS9 (a series I never watched the first time around), and finally built the LEGO TARDIS set I received for my 50th birthday. Whew!

    I had had big plans to go see Aquaman and maybe Into the Spider-Verse again, but that didn’t happen this week. Maybe next week…

    I hope all of you have had lovely holidays of whatever sort your celebrate, and/or just enjoyed the quiet if everyone else is doing a holiday thing in your bit of the world. And a happy 2019 if I don’t check back in before then!

  14. (6): Very minor correction: Law was Remy in Repo Men, not the vastly better Emilio Estevez/Harry Dean Stanton vehicle Repo Man from 1984.

  15. Meredith moment: e-book of Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Green Earth” ( the ‘Science in the Capital’ trilogy, as a set) is on sale for $1.99 at the Usual Suspects.

  16. 4) June Whitfield was a very fine comic actor, which in my book means she was a fine actor, period.

    As for Yes, It’s The Cathode-Ray Tube Hour, I don’t know about camp (which in the UK means something different from what it does in the US), but the first thing the title reminded me of was The Goon Show, and sure enough, Wikipedia lists two of the Goons (Sellers and Bentine) in the cast.

  17. Thanks for the heads up on the deals — picked up the Jemisin and the Robinson! Amazon has been wall-to-wall Kindle deals this week — I guess to lure in all those sweet gift cards and recent gift recipients of a Kindle/Fire/other device with a Kindle app. No complaints here, but Mt. Tsundoku can now be measured in multiple GBs…

  18. The SF in Translation poll is missing a whole chunk of novels. The largest publisher of Japanese SF in English only has one work listed, and the second largest has none. Most of them are YA books, but the poll includes Nekomonogatari (White), which is likewise YA (and strangely leaves off the other books in the Monogatari series, even though it lists three volumes of Legend of the Galactic Heroes). There were a couple hundred of these YA novels published in 2018, so this is a huge blindspot.

  19. Sean: There were a couple hundred of these YA novels published in 2018, so this is a huge blindspot.

    The other problem with the way this poll is set up is that a certain percentage of respondents — possibly a significant percentage of them — will go through and vote for some things based on name recognition simply because they’re listed there, rather than writing in things that they’ve genuinely read and loved.

    Yes, simply asking people to write in their nominations in a blank form is likely to get a much lower response rate — but the responses also going to be much more genuinely-read-and-loved nominations, unskewed by name recognition box-ticking.

  20. @cmm

    we really need to invent a good term for the realtionship between the non-romantic partners in a committed long term poly relationship

    I think some people use “metamour” for that.

  21. JJ: …will go through and vote for some things based on name recognition simply because they’re listed there….

    I know I was tempted to do that when I read the lists, simply from the experience of relief at occasionally recognizing anything on it, never mind something I’d read. At that point I had to admit I wasn’t well-enough read to be making any choices at all.

    However, that leads to the other problem in poll construction of deterring from participating people who have read and loved SOMETHING and might have voted for it.

    I did think “Wow! What a great deal of research Rachel Cordasco has done for everyone!” and I’m sure she was aiming to avoid a third problem, of people who might participate if only they could remember which works they read were translated.

  22. @Meredith: I’ve heard of that term and I guess I’ll end up using it if nothing better happens along, but it doesn’t speak to me. Mentally/emotionally I’m stuck somewhere between “my wife’s girlfriend” and “family of choice”. Either way, I’m happy, we’re happy, it’s a nice and minor problem to have. I’d rather have an unusual but happy relationship that’s hard to describe than a standard but unsatisfying one…

  23. PhilRM notes correctly that Very minor correction: Law was Remy in Repo Men, not the vastly better Emilio Estevez/Harry Dean Stanton vehicle Repo Man from 1984.

    Good catch. I should’ve caught that but didn’t. My bad.

  24. Cliff on December 30, 2018 at 6:18 am said:

    3) I watched Bird Box last night and really enjoyed it. Anyone else?

    Yes – I watched it last night also. I’d avoided it initially because it sounds too much like somebody trying to do a permutation of A Quiet Place. There’s some commonality of genre and around themes around motherhood but otherwise quite different films.

    More Lovecraftian monsters than the sci-fi monsters of A Quiet Place, so a much stronger horror element and more gore. Also more John Malkovich than I expected (I didn’t know he was in it)

  25. @ Camestros – there was a particularly negative Guardian review (which initially really put me off) that drew the Quiet Place comparison, as well as with Colverfield. I didn’t think it was amazing, but way better than The Guardian led me to expect.

    In my opinion, it’s difficult to imagine having too much John Malkovich :).

  26. @Cliff @Camestros
    The Guardian review of Bird Box was terrible and called it a bird-brained mess, but reviews in other places were more positive and viewers seem to like it.

    No, I haven’t seen it. Don’t have Netflix.

  27. (13) I can easily think of third-season Star Trek episodes that are worse than the three on that list (“Spock’s Brain,” “The Way to Eden,” “The Savage Curtain”). Each of those had redeeming qualities (the music written specifically for the first two; the portrayals of Lincoln and Surak in the latter). I’m astonished that anyone could judge these to be worse than, for instance, “And the Children Shall Lead,” “The Lights of Zetar,” or “The Mark of Gideon.”

  28. gottacook: (13) I can easily think of third-season Star Trek episodes that are worse than the three on that list

    You say “redeeming qualities tomayto”, I say “no music can be that redeeming tomahto”. 😉

  29. @gottacook
    “Spock’s Brain” is really really not good. As in, it wasn’t good the first time it was shown. (I was a freshman in college that season, and believe me, there were a lot of fans of that show; we knew crap when we were seeing it.)

  30. JJ: I agree that a good original musical score alone shouldn’t be the sole criterion for judging an episode “not among the worst”; “And the Children Shall Lead” also has one.

    P J: Kindly take into account that (i) “Spock’s Brain” was the very first episode I ever saw on NBC; (ii) I had just turned 12; (iii) I only had Lost in Space (and other Irwin Allen shows) to compare it to. Whether it was “good the first time it was shown” depends on who you were and what experiences you’d had as of September 1968.

    I still find “Spock’s Brain” (despite the regrettable title – couldn’t they have come up with something more subtle?) entertaining, unlike the real stinkers. I’m not saying it’s objectively good, but there are so many worse ones.

  31. @cmm Thinking about it, II’m used to hearing “metamour” as a general term, but less often to someone saying something like “my metamour,” and thinking about it now, it’s not a term I tend to use myself: I’ll either use names or something like “A’s other partner” or “my partner’s wife.” I don’t know whether that would be different if three of us lived together.

    I’ve also known people to use “co-husband” and “wife-in-law” to refer to their specific relationships.

    Like you, I’m glad to have my unusual but happy relationship(s), even if the terminology is imperfect.

  32. @Rich Horton: I would call Harness obsessed rather than weird; material I’ve read suggests that the older-brother character you note in the links was also from his own life — he may never have gotten over being star-struck. I read The Rose when I was just starting the academic path to being a chemist and thought his dichotomy was beyond bull and into offensiveness. (I understand there are many who disagree with this assessment; IIRC, Hartwell was a great fan of this work.) I didn’t pick up on his appalling attitude toward women then, but “The New Reality” has more than a hint of Time Slave about it, and The Venetian Court is downright repulsive on top of its utter implausibility.
    As for weird — Aldiss and much of the New Wave could give Harness cards and spades and still be weirder, IMO. Oh well, everyone has the gout….

  33. @Chip Hitchcock — the older brother character was definitely based on Harness’ own brother, who died young. (I thought I had mentioned that.)

    Agree that Aldiss could be effectively weird, and could write better than Harness. Much of the rest of the New Wave wasn’t, to my taste, usefully weird — or obsessed, if you insist (fair enough) — in the way that Harness was. Barrington Bayley (not exactly a New Wave writer, IMO) was pretty similar in some ways, though.

  34. Cora Buhlert on December 30, 2018 at 5:32 pm said:

    @Cliff @Camestros
    The Guardian review of Bird Box was terrible and called it a bird-brained mess, but reviews in other places were more positive and viewers seem to like it.

    I just went and read that review – it’s harsh! It’s not inaccurate I guess but the film is a lot tighter and the dialogue is better than the review implies. I mean, I wouldn’t nominate it for a Hugo but it kept me sufficiently entertained for the time it was on.

    Oh, and I hadn’t realised it was scripted by the same guy who scripted Arrival. Which is kind of weird because the monsters sort of reminded me of evil versions of Arrival (not that we see them but then we don’t really see the nice aliens in Arrival)

    jayn on December 30, 2018 at 7:50 pm said:


    In my opinion, it’s difficult to imagine having too much John Malkovich :).

    Does this clip make it easier? ?


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