Pixel Scroll 2/26/20 The Scroll Goes Ever On And On, Down From The Pixel Where It Began

(1) AT LONG LAST. “‘Last and First Men’ Exclusive Trailer: Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Gorgeous First and Last Directorial Feature”

One the most emotional world premieres at the upcoming 2020 Berlin International Film Festival is bound to be “Last and First Men,” the directorial feature debut of the late Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. The musician died in February 2018 at the age of 48 amid an acclaimed career that saw him score back-to-back Oscar nominations for Best Original Score in 2015 and 2016 thanks to his work on “The Theory of Everything” and “Sicario.” The latter was one of several collaborations between Jóhannsson and Denis Villeneuve. Jóhannsson’s other score credits include Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” and “Arrival,” plus “Mandy” and “The Mercy.” Jóhannsson served as a mentor to Hildur Guðnádottir, who recently won the Oscar for her “Joker” original score.

Jóhannsson’s only directorial feature, “Last and First Men” is an adaptation of his touring multimedia project of the same name. The movie — shot on 16mm black-and-white film with “Victoria” and “Rams” cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen — played in concert halls, accompanied by Jóhannsson’s score with a live orchestra. The feature film playing at Berlin includes the composer’s original score and narration from Tilda Swinton….

The Hollywood Reporter’s review of the film has this to say — 

Long considered one of the most unfilmable classics of science fiction, Last And First Men has been adapted to the screen by Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson. The results are being lauded as “dazzling” and “visionary. This might be one of the films I’m most anticipating this year. 

“Halfway between fiction and documentary, Last and First Men is a visionary work about the final days of humankind that stretches the audience’s ability to imagine not only an immense time frame reaching over billions of years, but huge steps in human evolution.”

(2) SOCIAL MEDIA NEVER FAILS TO GET WORSE. A Twitter thread contends Bronys (My Little Pony fandom) has been co-opted by white nationalists. Wootmaster’s thread starts here. Warning about the images, which is why the tweets are not fully reproduced here.

For many years the pony fandom has been a decidedly neutral, “apolitical” one. Even with its origins on 4chan, there was a sort of innocence and naivete that pervaded the fandom, and even the internet as a whole. Hell, even the 4chan of 2010 hardly resembled the 4chan of today….

Then in 2016 something happened that would transform both 4chan and the fandom forever, even if most bronies wouldn’t realize it for years. The polarization of politics reached its peak with the election of Donald Trump. Right-wing populism entered its heyday, with 4chan in tow….

Only a year later another event happened, almost in tandem with the first. For April Fool’s 2017 4chan’s then admin moot thought it’d be hilarious to combine several boards together. As a cheap joke, he combined My Little Pony and the political board into one entity. /mlpol/…

It was supposed to be a joke. The two communities should have hated each other. A fandom of full of guys who idolized a girl’s cartoon show, and community of far-right fascists LARPers who idolized hitler and wanted to massacre jews. But a strange thing happened. They got along.

(3) BRADBURY POSTERS. Three poster sets are being published by the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum (RBEM) through an Illinois Humanities grant. The poster sets are free for schools, libraries, and other public display.

Poster Set 1 currently available now: “How did I get from Waukegan to Red Planet Mars?” highlights places named for Ray Bradbury in Waukegan, Hollywood, on the Moon and, yes, even on Mars. Click here for full information.  Sets 2 and 3 will be available this spring.

How To Obtain   Download Poster Set 1 below! Limited additional poster sets are available. For more information, contact us or email terry@rbemuseum.org.

(4) MOOSE & SQUIRREL BACK IN TOWN. The City of West Hollywood will celebrate the permanent installation of the “Rocky & Bullwinkle” statue on the Sunset Strip at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Holloway Drive on March 28 at 10:00 a.m. “Rocky & Bullwinkle” Statue Unveiling.  Los Angeles Magazine traced the history of the icon last August: “WeHo Has Strong Feelings About a Rotating Moose Returning to the Sunset Strip”

He’s 14 feet tall, 700 pounds and, some would say, a bit of an icon.

A beloved spinning statue of Bullwinkle holding his friend Rocky was first installed outside Jay Ward Productions’ animations studios on the Sunset Strip in 1961, across the street from the Chateau Marmont. Meant to parody a twirling showgirl advertising the Sahara Hotel, Bullwinkle’s outfit would change colors whenever hers did, injecting a dose of silliness and whimsy into the Strip’s capitalist jousting.

The statue was hoisted away in 2013 to the lament of neighbors and fans, many of whom made their voices heard at a recent, bizarre West Hollywood city council meeting. The night’s agenda? Re-anointing the moose on a traffic island where Holloway and Sunset meet….

(5) CUSSLER OBIT. Dirk Pitt’s creator author Clive Cussler, who also funded searches for historic wrecks, died February 24. The New York Times traces his career: “Clive Cussler, Best-Selling Author and Adventurer, Is Dead at 88”.  (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has an entry about his work here.)

… Despite an improbable plot and negative reviews, “Raise the Titanic!” sold 150,000 copies, was a Times best seller for six months and became a 1980 film starring Richard Jordan and Jason Robards Jr.

While Dirk Pitt books appeared throughout his career, Mr. Cussler also wrote other series: “The NUMA Files,” featuring the hero Kurt Austin and written with Graham Brown or Paul Kemprecos; “The Fargo Adventures,” about husband-and-wife treasure hunters, written with Grant Blackwood or Thomas Perry; “The Oregon Files,” set on a high-tech spy ship disguised as a freighter, written with Jack DuBrul or Mr. Dirgo; and “The Isaac Bell Adventures,” about an early-20th-century detective, written with Justin Scott.

…With Mr. Cussler leading expeditions and joining dives, the organization eventually located some 60 wrecks. Among them were the Cunard steamship Carpathia, first to reach survivors of the lost Titanic on April 15, 1912, then itself sunk by German torpedoes off Ireland in 1918; Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt’s coastal steamer Lexington, which caught fire and went down in Long Island Sound in 1840; and Manassas, the Confederacy’s first Civil War ironclad, sunk in battle in the Lower Mississippi in 1862.

(6) TODAY’S DAY.

What were once oral histories, myths, and legends retold around the fire or by traveling storytellers, have been written down and become known the world over as fairy tales.

The origins of most fairy tales were unseemly and would not be approved or rated as appropriate for children by the Association of Fairy Tales by today’s standards. Most were told as a way to make children behave, teach a lesson or pass the time much like ghost stories around a campfire today.

Many of the stories have some basis in truth. For example, some believe the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is inspired by the real-life of Margarete von Waldeck, the daughter of the 16th century Count of Waldeck. The area of Germany where the family lived was known for mining. Some of the tunnels were so tight they had to use children – or small people such as dwarfs – to work the mines.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • February 26, 1988 The Alien From L.A. premiered. directed by Albert Pyun. It was produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus from a story written  by Regina Davis,  Albert Pyun and Debra Ricci.  It starred Kathy Ireland in what was supposed to be a break-out role for her. William Mose and Richard Haines also had lead roles with the latter playing Arnold Saknussemm, a reference to Arne Saknussemm in Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. How it was received is best judged by it being featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Band the audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes is 4%.  You can see it here.
  • February 26, 1977 Doctor Who’s “The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Part 1” first aired. It featured Tom Baker, one of the most liked of all the actors who’ve played The Doctor, and Leela, the archetypal savage that British Empire both adored and despised, played by Louise Jameson. The villain was most likely a not accidental take-off of Fu Manchu. You can see the first part here with links to the rest of the story there as well. 

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born February 26, 1921 Bill Evans. First Fandom member who wrote a number of important works, With Bob Pavlat, Evans edited/published the Evans-Pavlat Fanzine Index during the Fifties which he followed up with Index of Science Fiction Magazines 1926 – 1948 that Bob Petersen co-wrote. With Francis T. Laney, Evans published Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937): A Tentative Bibliography. His final work was with Ron Ellik, The Universes of E. E. Smith. (Died 1985.)
  • Born February 26, 1918 Theodore Sturgeon. Damn, I hadn’t realized that he’d only written six novels! More Than Human is brilliant and I assumed that he’d written a lot more long form fiction but it was short form where he excelled with more than two hundred such stories. I did read over the years a number of his reviews — he was quite good at it. (Died 1985.) 
  • Born February 26, 1945 Marta Kristen, 75. Kristen is best known for her role as Judy Robinson, one of Professor John and Maureen Robinson’s daughters, in Lost in Space. And yes, I watched the entire series. Good stuff it was. She has a cameo in the Lost in Space film as Reporter Number One. None of her other genre credits are really that interesting, just the standard stuff you’d expect such as an appearance on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Alfred Hitchcock Presents
  • Born February 26, 1948 Sharyn McCrumb, 72. ISFDB lists all of her Ballad novels as genre but that’s a wee bit deceptive as how genre strong they are depends upon the novel. Oh, Nora Bonesteel, she who sees Death, is in every novel but only some novels such as the Ghost Riders explicitly contain fantasy elements.  If you like mysteries, all of them are highly recommended.  Now the Jay Omega novels, Bimbos of the Death Sun and Zombies of the Gene Pool are genre, are great fun and well worth reading. They are in print which is interesting as I know she took out of print for awhile.
  • Born February 26, 1957 John Jude Palencar, 63. Illustrator whose artwork graces over a hundred genre covers. In my collection, he’s on the covers of de Lint’s The Onion Girl and Forests of the Heart (one of my top ten novels of SFF), Priest’s Four & Twenty Blackbirds and Le Guin’s Tehanu: The Last Book of EarthseaOrigins: The Art of John Jude Palencar is a perfect look at his work and marvelous eye candy as well. 
  • Born February 26, 1963 Chase Masterson, 57. Fans are fond of saying that she spent five years portraying the Bajoran Dabo entertainer Leeta on Deep Space Nine which means she was in the background of Quark’s bar a lot though she hardly had lines. Her post-DS9 genre career is pretty much non-existent save one-off appearances on Sliders, the current incarnation of The Flash and Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, a very unofficial Tim Russ project. She has done some voice work for Big Finish Productions as of late. The series features as Vienna Salvatori, an “impossibly glamorous bounty hunter” as the publicity material puts it. 
  • Born February 26, 1965 Liz Williams, 55. For my money, her best writing by far is her Detective Inspector Chen series about the futuristic Chinese city Singapore Three, its favourite paranormal police officer Chen and his squabbles with Heaven and Hell. I’ve read most of them and recommend them highly. I’m curious to see what else y’all have read of her and suggest that I read.
  • Born February 26, 1977 Ingrid Oliver, 43. She’s played the rare secondary character in the Who verse who had a recurring presence as she was around for quite awhile and I’m going to let Doctor Who Online tell her tale: “She appeared in the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who, ‘The Day of The Doctor’, as Osgood. She was seen wearing the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf. In November 2014 she appeared again as Osgood in the series finale of Peter Capaldi’s first series, dressed as The Doctor, this time mimicking Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor (shirt and red bow tie) as well as David Tennant’s 10th Doctor (blue trousers and red Converse shoes) as they faced the Cybermen, where she is vaporized by Missy.” 

(9) SCALING UP. George R.R. Martin is delighted by this news about “Real Life Prehistoric Dragons”.

This is really too cool.

A new genus of pteradon has been discovered, and named after the dragons of House Targaryen.

https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/soaring-dragonlike-dinosaur-named-for-game-of-thrones-house-targaryen/

I am delighted, needless to say.   Especially by the kind words of the discoverer, paleontologist Rodrigo Pegas, who is solidly on my side about dragons having two legs, not four, and pfui on those medieval heralds with their wyvern talk.

(10) ACQUISITION NEWS. Riverdale Avenue Books has acquired the assets of sff publisher Circlet Press, which specializes in science fiction erotica. They will continue to publish Circlet’s over 170-title catalog under a new Circlet imprint. Founder Cecilia Tan will remain on staff to edit upcoming titles.

Cecilia Tan. Photo by and © Andrew Porter

(11) NOT-SO-HIDDEN FIGURE. “This NASA Engineer Is Bringing Math And Science To Hip Hop” — transcript of NPR’s interview.

… DAJAE WILLIAMS: Mmm hmm. So I get to get in the cleanroom every day and do a lot of inspections on how tight a screw is being tight or how – are we keeping this hardware clean so that we don’t get our germs into space? We make sure this thing actually works once it is launched.

NADIA SOFIA, HOST: She loves her job, but it didn’t start that way. When Dajae got to NASA in 2018, just out of college…

WILLIAMS: It was very exciting, a little bit overwhelming. I suffered from a little bit of imposter syndrome, for sure – and a bit confusing, I will be honest.

SOFIA: What do you mean by a bit confusing?

WILLIAMS: There’s no women in my group. There are only a few African Americans in my group or people of color, for that matter. So nobody looks like me. No one acted like me. So it was definitely different, and I did not fit in.

SOFIA: That feeling of not fitting in at a place like NASA is something that Dajae is working to change. And she’s doing it in kind of an awesome way, a way that helped her fall in love with math and science when she was a teenager.

WILLIAMS: (Singing) Energy of force, mathematics, studying the Big Bang. I’m observing something, and it may be nothing. A hypothesis could change the game, OK.

(12) SURGIN’ VIRGIN. We’re not quite at the stage of “Requiem”, the Heinlein story in which people can take short rocket rides at county fairs, but “Virgin Galactic sees demand for space travel surge”.

Virgin Galactic has said it will release more tickets for flights into space amid surging demand.

Sir Richard Branson’s firm, which completed its first sub-orbital test flight in 2018, said it had received almost 8,000 registrations of interest for future commercial flights.

That is more than double the amount it recorded at the end of September 2019.

The firm has so far sold 600 tickets for its inaugural flights, scheduled for later this year.

(13) NOSTALGIA. They’re obsolete but coming back — “Solari boards: The disappearing sound of airports”?

As day turns to night in Singapore’s Changi Airport, a queue of people wait patiently for a picture with an old star.

They leave their bags by a bench, turn their cameras on themselves, and pose for a photo.

Some smile; some jump like starfish; one even dances. As they upload to Instagram, the old star watches on, unmoved.

And then – a noise. The moment they’ve been waiting for. The travellers turn their cameras round, and the star begins one last turn.

In a blur of rotation, Kuala Lumpur becomes Colombo; Brunei turns into Tokyo; and a dozen other cities whirr into somewhere else.

Two people taking photos, Eileen Lim and Nicole Lee, aren’t even flying. They have come especially to see the departures board.

“It’s therapeutic to see the names turn round,” says Eileen, a teacher in Singapore. “And that sound – I love it.”

Every time she comes to Terminal 2, Eileen takes a photo with the board. But now, she is saying goodbye.

In less than three hours, the hoardings will come up, and the sign will come down. Changi Airport, like hundreds of others already, will whirr, spin, and flap for the final time.

…Solari di Udine, as it is now known, was founded in 1725 – more than 250 years before Changi Airport opened – in a small town in northern Italy. It specialised in clocks for towers.

After World War Two, the company began working with designer Gino Valle. He and Remigio Solari developed a sign with four flaps, each containing ten digits – perfect for telling the time.

The now-familiar design, with white numbers on black flaps, won the prestigious Compasso D’Oro award in 1956. In the same year, Solari sold its first moving sign to Liege railway station in Belgium.

…In 2013, six engineers who worked together at Drexel University, Philadelphia, formed Oat Foundry – a company that built “cool mechanical things for brands and companies”.

Three years later, they were approached by a “fast-casual” restaurant who wanted to display orders in a “non-digital way…without guests bathing in that blue light glow”.

The client suggested “an old-school train departure board”, and, after four months of research, they had a prototype.

The product was a mixture of old – they tested a number of materials “to get that iconic sound of 1960s airports and stations” – and new: it was integrated with an iPad point of sales system.

[Thanks to Rob Thornton, Olav Rokne, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

34 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/26/20 The Scroll Goes Ever On And On, Down From The Pixel Where It Began

  1. 1) When I found out that someone had adapted an Olaf Stapledon novel for the screen, I was frankly stunned. But who would have ever thought that Hollywood could successfully adapt Ted Chiang’s “Story Of Your Life”? So I am cautiously hopeful.

    8) I really enjoyed Liz Williams’ The Poison Master, which seems to be a Jack Vance pastiche (I think) and it is very charming.

  2. (5) I remember reading the newspaper comic serialized version of Titanic in the 1970s.

    (8) “More than Human” isn’t really a novel – it started as “Baby is Three” and then Sturgeon added the Lone story as a prequel and the “Gremlins degaussed your fuzes” story as a conclusion.

  3. I hope it’s OK for me to reply to an item from over 3 weeks ago: on Feb 4., Cat’s birthday post about Russell Hoban asked whether anyone had read his non-Riddley Walker genre novels, and I wrote this up and meant to post it but forgot. So, if anyone is still interested…

    Hoban is one of my favorite novelists; I’ve done some obsessive fan stuff, I’ve read nearly all of his adult works, and I knew him slightly late in his life. He was more or less resigned to the fact that people only ever want to talk about Riddley, and I have to say that my favorites are still that and a few of his pre-1990 works (including the wonderful non-genre novel Turtle Diary), but he did do other kinds of things. I would break down his genre works roughly like this:

    (1) Satirical urban fantasy-ish things where there aren’t really any rules other than what’s metaphorically appropriate to how the characters feel. The very funny Kleinzeit (1974) and The Medusa Frequency (1987) are on the more antic end of this set; they’re respectively about people being persecuted by semi-divine forces like the spirit of Hospital or a half-remembered phrase, and a biofeedback procedure that causes people to be haunted by the head of Orpheus. They don’t really resemble anything else I can think of except (very slightly) Lafferty. More somber and first-novely, but still with vivid characters, is The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973).

    (2) Urban fantasy novels that are somewhat more grounded in tone and that often have a romance element, told by alternating narrators (which also describes many of his later non-genre novels). Amaryllis Night and Day (2001), somewhat lighter than the rest, is about people sharing dreams; Linger Awhile (2006), which for some reason I haven’t read, deals with a film idol being conjured back to life as sort of a vampire; his final adult novel Angelica Lost and Found (2010) finds the idea of the hippogriff from Orlando Furioso stalking the spirit of Angelica in the modern day by possessing random men.

    (3) Young-adult fantasy dealing with interior worlds. The Trokeville Way (1996) is sort of a portal fantasy; Soonchild (2012), his last book, is a dreamlike shamanic odyssey based on Inuit mythology.

    (4) The outliers. Fremder (1996), the only one that I’d really call SF more than fantasy, is a very odd horror-tinged space travel mystery about teleportation and trauma. Far more successful IMO is Pilgermann (1983), a brutal but not un-funny historical fantasy about the Crusades from the point of view of a European pogrom survivor. And his first novel The Mouse and His Child (1967), though it’s for younger readers and is only fantasy in the sense that all childrens’ stories about talking animals and living toys are fantasy, is a very moving variation on those themes that shares a surprising amount of the somber philosophical content of his other work.

    So there you go. For me, the essential ones are probably The Mouse and His Child, Pilgermann, Kleinzeit, The Medusa Frequency, and Soonchild. Amaryllis is the most mainstream-ish of the later ones and it’s pretty enjoyable; Angelica is all over the place (I’m still not sure why he decided to set it in San Francisco, which put me in the weird position of being his research person on the ground there) but it’s memorably weird and energetic.

    There’s a whole lot of related material on Dave Awl’s fan site The Head of Orpheus.

  4. @Andrew:

    “More than Human” isn’t really a novel – it started as “Baby is Three” and then Sturgeon added the Lone story as a prequel

    If you’re going to argue that fix-up novels aren’t really novels, you may have a bone to pick with a lot of SF readers; there’s a long tradition of stories being retrofitted in that way, and it was especially common in the ’50s. Whether it works well as a novel is open to question, but regardless of how it started out, More than Human is presented as a single book-length fictional work with several interconnected plotlines and POV characters, which is a perfectly OK structure for a novel to have.

  5. @Eli: Fair enough; I withdraw the suggestion that “More than Human” isn’t really a novel (it’s more of a novel than “Foundation” is, certainly). Cat seemed to be implying though that the existence of “More than Human” reflected Sturgeon’s interest/skill in long-form SF – and the origin of that particular work as a novella supplemented into a novel by later works makes that implication pretty weak. Sturgeon shows his novel chops with “The Dreaming Jewels”

  6. (8) Sturgeon was born in 1918, not 1928. As amazing as his early story “Microcosmic God” was when it appeared in April 1941, it would have been even more amazing if written by a 13-year-old.

    A noteworthy fact relevant to the above discussion: The two-volume SF Hall of Fame collection of novellas selected by SFWA members in the early 1970s included Sturgeon’s “Baby Is Three” as an independent work, many years after More than Human appeared.

  7. @8 (Sturgeon): ISTM that most of his “novels” are quite short even by today’s standards; I wonder what the word count on The Cosmic Rape or Godbody is, even if they were published as independent books. Others came in crammed-together pieces — damfino why he couldn’t sustain a continuous novel — and More Than Human is the only example I know of an infixup (i.e., the middle part came out first, then got wrapped to make a book) — can anyone suggest others? But a brilliant writer in shorter forms — mostly subtle, but “To Here and the Easel” is a great example of how he could dazzle with words when he chose.

    @8 (McCrumb): at one point she declared everything (your examples, the lawyer books, and maybe even Saint Dale) to be juvenilia before her recreations of history — which to me went on far too long; a passion for the area/era may be necessary. Is a novel purely about fandom with nothing un-natural (unlike, e.g., Now You See It/Him/Them) really genre? (I thought Bimbos was a little mean-spirited even for early McCrumb, but Zombies suggested she’d read about relatively early fandom.)

    @8 (Williams): I also liked the Inspector Chen books; my very brief notes suggest that Empire of Bones, The Ghost Sister, and Nine Layers of Sky were all interesting, but for very different reasons.

    @9: recognition is cool.

    @Andrew: extending what @Eli said, consider Simak’s City, not to mention the 3 first-published Foundation books. As discussed above, it depends on how much you require that the story observe the unities; The Dreaming Jewels certainly sprawls temporally for such a short book.

    The original of “Baby Is Three” is rather different from the middle third of More Than Human; does anyone know whether he reshaped it to fit the larger story or reverted to the version he liked but a magazine editor didn’t?

  8. 1) Sadly, I didn’t yet see anything at all about First and Last Man in the regular Berlin film festival coverage. I will let you know when something crops up.

  9. Chip H.: Yes, I can think of one other example of an “infixup” (although the infix is a longish short story and not a novella): The third chapter of Alfred Bester’s unfortunate 1980 novel Golem100 was the same as his Hugo-nominated 1974 story “The Four-Hour Fugue” (although with the main character’s surname changed).

  10. Thanks for the shout-out, Mike! I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Riverdale-Circlet acquisition so thought I’d clarify: yes, it’s the acquisition is the best possible outcome for me and for Circlet’s authors. Ever since Amazon found a way to corner all the profit in the erotic ebook boom (via Kindle Unlimited), income has been flat. For the past few years, Circlet has cost about the same amount to run as it would earn — and that’s if I didn’t pay myself. By making Circlet part of a larger company that already turns a profit, the catalog becomes profitable again. Riverdale has better sales, distribution, and publicity than Circlet did, which should be to the benefit of Circlet’s authors, both in the backlist and the books still forthcoming. I’ve been running Circlet Press for 28 years: it’ll be great to take all the time I used to spend on design, production, marketing, publicity, social media, administration, etc etc and devote it to actually editing for Circlet and to my own writing!

  11. It’s good to know Stapledon’s work is still of more than historical interest to some folks yet. (One of my short stories, currently shortlisted and waiting for final decision at an online magazine, is kind of “What if Samuel Beckett and Olaf Stapledon had collaborated?”)

  12. “What if Samuel Beckett and Olaf Stapledon had collaborated?”

    Nothing happens, over the course of several billion years.

  13. Bruce Arthurs: What if Samuel Beckett and Olaf Stapledon had collaborated?

    James Moar: Nothing happens, over the course of several billion years.

    I was thinking that they’d find themselves trapped in the past, leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that their next leap will be the leap home.

  14. Re: fix-ups written out of order— a few more that jumped out at me when looking at Wikipedia’s list of fix-ups were Benford’s In the Ocean of Night (and Across the Sea of Suns, which isn’t on the list but I believe was expanded backward from “Swarmer, Skimmer”), and Martin’s Tuf Voyaging.

  15. @Eli

    …and “Swarmer, Skimmer” was expanded from “And The Sea Like Mirrors”, to further complicate things. (I thought the shortest, earliest version was the best – but that’s because I enjoy implication.)

    Van Vogt’s “The War Against the Rull” was written out of order but it’s more of a themed anthology than a fixup, even though it’s considered a novel. Ditto “Voyage of the Space Beagle”. (And almost certainly others, given the way Van Vogt worked.)

  16. @Matthew: Fortunately, that’s not how it works, just as nobody is giving birth to .73 of a child even though the US birthrate averages to 1.73 per woman. (One character in The Phantom Tollbooth is a .54 (IIRC) child, who notes that this is better than when he was a .43 child.

    At least, I think it’s fortunate that there are plenty of books that are less than 90% crap, though it might be nice if even the worst of books had a worthwhile 10% lurking inside.

    (Yes, I may be getting too literal before breakfast.)

  17. @Vicki Rosenzweig: that quote provoked me enough that I had to check; the kid does say being .42 was “terribly inconvenient” compared to .58 now — but there’s no explanation, any more than he explains how .58 of a person can drive .3 of a car. (My favorite factoid: the Whether Man is Feiffer’s caricature of Juster.) But writing .6 of a good book is certainly possible; haven’t you run into cases of a promising beginning and a crap ending?

    @Matthew Johnson: notwithstanding the above, if you’re going to play games with statistics I answer that Sturgeon’s 6 books are too small a sample of “everything” (or even “science fiction”) to be considered representative, and are therefore free to be as good as he could make them.
    And yes, you can argue that this is far too much attention to one smart-ass remark; speak to geeky people, get geeky answers.

  18. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was released on February 26, 1920. One hundred years of Cesare. Roger Ebert thought it was the first true horror film.

    Tex Avery was also born on February 26th. Do any of his cartoons pass as genre? Does a talking rabbit count? Certainly did a lot of shorts that now can’t be shown in their entirety, if at all, because of the racial stereotypes.

    “I know this defies the law of pixel scrolling, but I never studied law”

  19. An adaptation of Olaf Stapledon’s LAST AND FIRST MEN is going to be like the adaptation of VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS: A lot is going to be left

  20. bill on February 27, 2020 at 10:50 am said:

    And did those Filers in ancient times Scroll upon Glyer’s Pixels green?

    And was the corny cry of ‘fifth’ on the File’s pleasant comments seen?

  21. Jack Lint asks Tex Avery was also born on February 26th. Do any of his cartoons pass as genre? Does a talking rabbit count? Certainly did a lot of shorts that now can’t be shown in their entirety, if at all, because of the racial stereotypes.

    Yes he does. I need to add a history of cartoons and animation to my Birthday sources.

  22. Tex Avery was also born on February 26th. Do any of his cartoons pass as genre? Does a talking rabbit count? Certainly did a lot of shorts that now can’t be shown in their entirety, if at all, because of the racial stereotypes.

    Well, in my book classic animated cartoons featuring anthropomorphic animals do as genre, unless there really are talking rabbits and ducks in the world somewhere.

    And Tex Avery made some cartoons with definite genre elements such as Swingshift Cinderella and Red Hot Riding Hood.

    Some of the so-called “censored eleven” had already been pulled from general circulation, when I was a kid, though others were still around, including some Tex Avery cartoons featuring problematic racial stereotypes. And many years ago, I also went to see a Tex Avery compilation at a local arthouse cinema, which had all of his cartoons, even the ones that were no longer in general circulation.

  23. Like several others, I’m boggled by the very idea of an adaptation of Last and First Men. Although it certainly could be good–plenty of entertainment value in the source material, alongside all those grand, sweeping notions. Got my fingers crossed.

    Re: title credit. First, thanks, Mike. Second, wow, I almost forgot I suggested that, it’s been so long. All the other times Mike has used a suggestion of mine, it’s been within a day or two of posting it, and I had no idea older suggestions could pop up to haunt me like that! 😀

    Birthdays:
    Sturgeon is one of my favorites of the era. Top three, IMO. (Along with Norton and Bradbury.) And yes, his reputation mostly comes from his short work, but that’s fine, because that short work is so bloody good! (For the era.)

    Chase Masterson was in the genreish no-budget surrealist/noir film Yesterday Was a Lie, which dabbles in alternate universe theory. While I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, I did find it entertaining, and well worth the time I spent watching.

    Masterson was also a regular at Baycon in Silicon Valley, which always surprised me, since I’m pretty sure the con didn’t have a budget to pay Star Trek actors (even minor ones) what they’d normally expect from a convention appearance. So I suspect she just enjoyed the con. She seemed nice.

  24. 8) Apparently Sturgeon’s “When You Care, When You Love” (F&SF September 1962 — the Theodore Sturgeon special issue) was intended to be the opening section of a novel, if I read Blish’s comments on Sturgeon right.

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