Pixel Scroll 2/9/18 Pixel, Pixel, Scrolling Bright, On The Servers Through The Night

(1) THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE. Evil Mad Scientist has released downloadable “Evil Mad Scientist Valentines: 2018”.

This year’s set features parallel lines, friction, and activation energy:

What could be more romantic than telling someone that the second derivative of your potential energy is at its minimum when you’re around them?

Evil Mad Scientist has been doing this for awhile:

You can download the full set here, which includes all 36 designs from all six years (a 1.6 MB PDF document).

(2) WHERE APES HAVE GONE BEFORE. There will be a “50 Years of Planet of the Apes Exhibit and Film Retrospective” at the University of Southern California in LA through May 13.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts has partnered with 20th Century Fox Film to host an exclusive exhibit and retrospective celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Planet of the Apes franchise titled 50 Years of Planet of the Apes.

A vast collection of props, costumes, photos, posters and artwork from across all iterations of the longstanding franchise will be on display in the Hugh Hefner Exhibition Hall at USC this spring. The exhibit will be available to visit as a work-in-progress from January 26th – February 8th and all final displays will be open from February 9th through May 13th, 2018. A series of panels and screenings will complement the exhibit, including all feature films from the Planet of the Apes universe.

The exhibit is in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the 1968 release of the first Planet of the Apes film, the original installment of the still expanding franchise that now includes four sequels, a TV series, an animated series, comic books, merchandise, and 20th Century Fox Film’s highly successful prequel film series Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes.

There is a schedule of associated film screenings at the link.

(3) ROOSTING. Watch the two Falcon Heavy boosters come booming back to Earth in this video at digg: “Seriously Cool Amateur Footage Of The Simultaneous Falcon Heavy Booster Landing”.

(4) ROASTING. Falcon Heavy’s third booster didn’t make it home intact: “SpaceX confirms it lost the center core of the Falcon Heavy”.

What’s more, it landed the two flanking boosters in perfect synchronized formation. But the fate of the core booster was unclear; now it appears that the center booster, which was supposed to land on a drone ship, was lost.

Elon Musk said on a conference call with reporters that the launch “seems to have gone as well as one could have hoped with the exception of center core. The center core obviously didn’t land on the drone ship” and he said that “we’re looking at the issue.” Musk says that the core ran out of propellant, which kept the core from being able to slow down as much as it needed for landing. Because of that, the core apparently hit the water at 300MPH, and it was about 100 meters from the ship. “It was enough to take out two thrusters and shower the deck with shrapnel,” Musk said. That should be worth seeing on video: “We have the video,” Musk confirmed, “it sounds like some pretty fun footage… if the cameras didn’t get blown up as well.”

(5) SFWA AUCTION. Steven H Silver tells about a SFWA fundraiser:

Did you miss our charity auctions in December? Good news! SFWA will be auctioning off five new items every month on Ebay. Available items in February include an autographed uncorrected proof copy of Fevre Dream by George RR Martin, uncorrected proof  13th Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (signed by Ellen Datlow), and a rare signed copy of This Island Earth by Raymond F. Jones.

The bidding began on February 5th and will run through February 12: Ebay.com/usr/sfwa65

All auction proceeds will be earmarked for the SFWA Givers Fund which is used to disperse grants to deserving applicants, along with bolstering the existing Emergency Medical (EMF) and Legal Funds.

For more information about our funds and what they support, please visit sfwa.org/donate. If you have items you would like to donate for future SFWA Charity Auction fundraisers, please contact Steven H Silver at steven.silver@sfwa.org for more information.

Use this search to find items.

(6) BOSKONE PROGRAM. Look forward to the panels and participants discussing “Black Science Fiction at Boskone”, February 16-18 in Boston.

This year Boskone features a program with a strong selection of panels and discussions dedicated to black science fiction authors, publishers, and fans. Our program includes everything from black publishers and Afrofuturism to works by authors such as Octavia Butler, science panels that include the future of medicine, writing discussions that tackle young adult fiction, and much, much more!

Here’s a quick list of some of our program items with an emphasis on black science fiction and the authors who will be joining us from across the country. For the full set of program items, view the Boskone 55 program….

(7) VOLCANO IN TOWSON. Scott Edelman’s Eating the Fantastic podcast visits with Norman Prentiss to sample the volcano shrimp at a Chinese restaurant in Towson, MD.

And who is this episode’s guest? Why, it’s Norman Prentiss, who won the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction for Invisible Fences, and the 2009 Stoker for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction for “In the Porches of My Ears.” His powerful, personal fiction has been reprinted in both Best Horror of the Year and The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, and his poetry has appeared in Writer Online, Southern Poetry Review, and A Sea of Alone: Poems for Alfred Hitchcock.


Norman Prentiss

We discussed the day he wowed the other kids on his school playground by reading them Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the movies a Catholic Church newsletter’s warnings made him want to see even more, the supernatural superhero comic that led to a lawsuit against Harlan Ellison, the upside and (surprising) downside of having won a $35,000 college writing prize, how the freebies he got at a Horrorfind convention goosed him to start writing fiction again, why he wrote the last part of his novel Odd Adventures with Your Other Father first, how he’s been able to collaborate with other authors without killing them, what can be taught about writing and what can only be learned, why he ended up writing horror instead of science fiction, and much, much more.

(8) WONDER ANNUAL POWERS, ACTIVATE! Rich Horton announced the contents of
The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition so Jason went to work at Featured Futures and finished his “Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!)”

Last year, I collated and linked to the webzine stories picked by Clarke, Dozois, Horton, and Strahan for their annuals. This year, I’ve collated all the selections. (I’ve also noted whether I’ve read them and, if so, whether they got an honorable mention, a recommendation, or were recommendations which made my Web’s Best Science Fiction or Web’s Best Fantasy.)


  • Born February 9, 1960 – Laura Frankos

(10) FRANKOS. Steven H Silver celebrated Frankos at Black Gate with “Birthday Reviews: Laura Frankos’s ‘A Late Symmer Night’s Battle’”.

… When a follow-up attack of reremice occur, the fairies must question what they are fighting for and what makes a race worthwhile. While Frankos could have told the story with tremendous amounts of gravitas, the venue for its publication was looking for more lighthearted fare and she managed to deliver, sprinkling her tale with wonderful puns….

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY UNIVERSE. The BBC has the snapshot: “Marvel Cinematic Universe celebrates its 10th birthday with an epic cast photo”.

Over the past decade Marvel has brought us 18 films, starting with Iron Man in 2008 and including Thor, The Avengers and Captain America.

The class photo of 76 actors appeared on Twitter on Thursday.

It includes major players in the films like Robert Downey Jr, Vin Diesel, Scarlett Johansson and Letitia Wright.

The picture was shortly followed by a behind the scenes video.

It begins with Thor’s Chris Hemsworth saying: “It was sort of like being at the Academy Awards or something, every person had been in one or all of my favourite films.”



  • Mike Kennedy asks, “Is Gumby genre? Perhaps so…” — The Flying McCoys.
  • And Mike learned from  Basic Instructions, “If you wish to be an evil Emperor, do not waste time taunting your nemesis. Especially in falsetto.”
  • Cath found another cat/book/humor connection in today’s Breaking Cat News.
  • Cath also knows I need proofreading advice —

(13) YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW. Is the work of comic book colorists inherently apolitical?

(14) MORE ON ACKERMAN. Adam-Troy Castro heard about Forrest J Ackerman’s behavior in 1997:

Yes, I knew about Forry Ackerman twenty years ago.

I was part of the committee that gave him the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award. I need you to know that I was outvoted. We were giving two awards that year and the Ackerman partisans were given what they wanted in order for those who were against the citation to be given what they wanted. Even so, the hell that went on behind the scenes was intense and lasted for months after the official announcement was made. But yes, one of the things that came up during the hellish brouhaha that followed was that he had, quote, “a house full of child pornography.”

The months of invective that went on, back and forth, behind the scenes, amounted to the worst period of my writing career….

(15) WET WORK. Beneath the waters of the Gulf: “Long-Buried Ice Age Forest Offers Climate Change Clues”.

Scientists say it’s a remarkable discovery.

“The underwater forest is like the Garden of Eden underwater,” says Christine DeLong, a paleo-climatologist at Louisiana State University. She says tests date the forest to be between 50,000 and 70,000 years old.

“It’s a huge deal,” DeLong says. “Because here we have this like perfectly preserved time capsule of an ice age forest.”

(16) LIGHTEN UP. Thanks to French scientists and a NASA probe, “Secrets of solar flares are unlocked”.

Flares can occur on their own, or be accompanied by powerful eruptions of plasma (charged gas) from the Sun.

If charged particles from these eruptions reach Earth, they can create havoc with infrastructure, such as satellite systems and power grids.

Now, researchers in France say the interaction of distinct magnetic structures controls these outbursts from our star.

Generally speaking, solar eruptions are caused by a sudden, violent rearrangement of the Sun’s magnetic field.

At a deeper level, the process is controlled by two types of structures that form in the magnetic field of the Sun: ropes and cages.

The rope is confined within the magnetic cage. If the cage is strong, it can contain the rope’s contortions, but when the cage is weak, an eruption can take place.

(17) WATER SIGN. Sydney has a unique solution to trucks trying to get into tunnels they’re too tall for: a water wall as a screen for a giant projected STOP sign. (Video at the link.) “That will stop them in their tracks! Virtual barrier made from curtain of water halts lorries from driving through too small tunnels”.

They had tried flashing signs, neon signs and staggered signs.

But when lorry drivers continued to keep on driving their over-sized trucks though low tunnels, Australian authorities took the extreme measure of warning drivers with water signs.

Drivers are greeted with a curtain of water falling from the entrance of tunnels with a huge ‘stop’ sign projected on to them….

Laservision said that the Sydney Harbour Tunnel has experienced more than 10,000 incidents of vehicles hitting the structure since it opened.

The damage caused by too large vehicles crashing into the overhead of the tunnel affected up to 12,000 motorists at peak time, the company said.

There’s also this TV clip of the sign in action –

And the manufacturer’s writeup: “Activated 8 times in 8 weeks, with 100% success!”

(18) BUGEYED. “What Scientists Learned From Putting 3-D Glasses on Praying Mantises”: The Atlantic has the story.

One might assume that any animal with two forward-facing eyes would automatically have stereopsis, but that’s not true. It’s a sophisticated skill that requires a lot of processing power and a complex network of neurons—one that not every animal can afford to build. Indeed, after stereopsis was first confirmed in humans in 1838, it took 132 years for scientists to show that other species had the same ability. Macaque monkeys were the first confirmed member of the stereopsis club, but they were soon joined by cats, horses, sheep, owls, falcons, toads—and praying mantises. In the 1980s, Samuel Rossel placed prisms in front of these insects to show that they do triangulate the images from both eyes to catch their prey.

When Jenny Read, from Newcastle University, first read about this, she was amazed. How could an insect pull off such a complicated trick with a brain that contains just 1 million neurons? (For comparison, our brains have 100,000 times that number.) To find out, she and Nityananda set up their mantis 3-D cinemas….

They presented the insects with screens full of black and white dots, with a slightly different pattern projected to each eye. Against these backgrounds, a small circle of dots—a target—would slowly spiral inward from the outside. “It’s meant to be like a little beetle moving against a background,” says Read.

By tweaking the dots, the team could change how far away this target would appear to the watching mantises. And they found that the insects would start to attack the target when it seemed to get within striking distance. Clearly, the insects have stereopsis.

But their stereopsis is not our stereopsis. We use brightness as a cue to align and compare the images that are perceived by our two eyes. Scientists can confirm this by presenting one eye with an image that’s a negative of the other—that has black dots where the other has white ones, and vice versa. “For us, that’s incredibly disruptive. We really can’t match up the images anymore, so our stereopsis falls apart,” says Read. “But the mantises are completely unfazed.” Brightness clearly doesn’t matter to them.

(19) THUMBRUNNERS. I’m not sure “parts is parts” when they’re human — “Special Report: U.S. body brokers supply world with torsos, limbs and heads”.

Demand for body parts from America — torsos, knees and heads — is high in countries where religious traditions or laws prohibit the dissection of the dead. Unlike many developed nations, the United States largely does not regulate the sale of donated body parts, allowing entrepreneurs such as MedCure to expand exports rapidly during the last decade.

No other nation has an industry that can provide as convenient and reliable a supply of body parts.

(Larry Niven once said he preferred Alexei Panshin’s “thumbrunners,” but having been beaten to the term, he’d come up with his alternative, “organleggers.”)

(20) SPACE MOUNTAIN. You get a glimpse inside the illusion created by a popular Disneyland attraction in this Orange County Register piece: “Space Mountain fan gets the roller coaster’s 87-year-old designer to ride it one last time at Disneyland”

How fast do you think you’re traveling when you’re in the rockets on Space Mountain?

Think of the speed of a car on the freeway. Is Space Mountain faster than that? Slower? Is it 100 miles per hour, like Bill Watkins has heard people telling each other?

Watkins contemplated the speed question for years in the early- to mid-1970s. He built his first Space Mountain at Walt Disney World in Florida. But it was bigger – a 300-ft. circle on two tracks. When the Disneyland Space Mountain opened in 1977, Watkins had completed what he always saw as a giant math problem.

Space Mountain is a gravity coaster. Unlike the Matterhorn, which relies on thrusters to help move its vehicles forward, Space Mountain simply starts up and goes down. Technically, it’s 75 seconds of free fall.

At its maximum speed (which can vary slightly depending on the combined weight of the riders) the car you’re riding in Space Mountain is traveling about 40 feet per second.

That’s 27.27 miles per hour.

That seems really slow.

But Watkins somehow made it just right. More than 250 million people have ridden Space Mountain since it opened. And while it’s unclear if it’s the best – Disneyland’s public relations department would only say that Space Mountain is, according to guests, “a top 10 attraction” – how many are better?

It is certainly arguable that Bill Watkins created the most popular roller coaster of all time.

“I seldom meet anyone who hasn’t ridden it,” he said.

(21) BEST PRO ARTIST RESOURCE. Rocket Stack Rank’s  “2018 Professional Artists” page is designed —

To help people make nominations for the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist, we have set up a “lightbox” system to let fans quickly flip through the works of over 113 artists listed below and to set aside the ones they particularly liked.

Greg Hullender says —

This is aimed at helping people pick artists to nominate, based on covers for magazines and for books containing original novels or anthologies. We don’t have pictures for reprints.

Where possible, we have links to the artists’ portfolios, so readers can get a broader idea of any particular artist’s work. To simplify that a bit, for eligible artists who had just a few works published in 2017 we’ve padded their list of pictures with their art from earlier years. (They’re marked by date for the benefit of those who only want to see works published in 2017.)

(22) ROBOTECH RETURNS. Titan Comics will publish a new graphic novel based on the classic Robotech saga.

A mysterious ship crashes on a remote island… 10 years later, the ship’s ‘Robotechnology’ has helped humanity advance its own tech. But danger looms from the skies and an epic adventure is set to begin…

The world-famous, fan-favorite animated epic returns to comics with a classic transforming-jetfighters-versus-giant-aliens adventure! Written by Brian Wood (Star Wars, Briggs Land, X-Men), with art from Marco Turini (Assassin’s Creed) and colorist Marco Lesko! Return to the fan-favorite Macross Saga that began the classic Robotech franchise, as hotshot Veritech pilot Roy Fokker and skilled rookie Rick Hunter are pulled into an intergalactic war when the Earth is invaded by the insidious Zentraedi! Whether you’ve seen the classic cartoon to the point you can quote every episode, or whether you’ve never experienced Robotech before, this graphic novel collection is for you!


[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Scott Edelman, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Cath, Andrew Porter, Will R., David K.M. Klaus, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day evilrooster.]

59 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/9/18 Pixel, Pixel, Scrolling Bright, On The Servers Through The Night

  1. (20) It doesn’t matter if you’re going nowhere, as long as you’re going nowhere – at 27.27 mph?!?!

  2. 11) That is a lot of actors!

    20) Sadly and tragically with my nausea, Space Mountain is not for me…

  3. Paul Weimer on February 9, 2018 at 6:53 pm said:

    I understand most coaster fans consider it really tame. It’s about my level of excitement, though.

  4. I don’t do roller coasters. Back when I was a Girl Scout leader my co-leader and I had a system: when visiting amusement parks she would take the roller-coaster-loving girls to get their rides and I would take the non-roller-coaster girls to some other ride. It made everyone (especially me) happy.


    A set of galleries, which includes only 2017 works and includes novels (which RSR does not cover) for some Pro Artists who published a significant number of works last year can be seen here:

    Hugo Nominees 2018 Wiki: Best Professional Artist

    If anyone feels strongly about an artist who is not on that list but has at least 3 pro-published works published for the first time last year, let me know, and I’ll be happy to add a gallery for them. (Of course, fans can also add listings to the Wiki themselves.)

  6. I’ve never ridden it, either. Amusement parks are seriously not my thing. Swings are about as exciting as I get.

  7. I am most decidedly not a roller coaster person and I have done Space Mountain without too much distress. I didn’t enjoy it all that much or anything but I didn’t barf or even get grumpy as far as I can recall. Caveat: I am not your normal Disney or theme park person. My favorite thing at Disney World was Mickey’s little house with his tuxedos in the closet and tomatoes and pumpkins with mouse ears outside in the yard.

    (19) Footleggers? Or is that redundant?

  8. That booster landing is sci-fi made real. From there, fell into the entire half-hour feed of the launch from SpaceX, all the way through to the fairing blowing off to reveal a bright red sports car floating over the earth with Bowie playing in the background … well, if you had made that up, you’d have been accused of camp. Love the audacity. Thanks for sharing that.

  9. (20) Back when I was … 12? we went to Disneyland — one of the first groups of people to get unlimited ride wrist bands rather than the old ticket system. Space Mountain was a definite highlight — it may not be all that fast, relatively speaking, but it’s all about the presentation — an entirely-enclosed ride, so that all you can see is the points of light they’re projecting onto the framework. Also, even standing in line wasn’t so bad because you were walking through a very “futuristic” kind of space station setting.

    About 10 years ago I went to Disney World and rode Space Mountain there. I don’t know if it’s a different design, or if it’s by contrast because I’ve ridden more roller coasters over the years, or if I’m just old, or all of the above, but while I did enjoy it, I noticed that the actual ride seemed a lot … jerkier than I’m used to these days — you’d kind of get thrown around on the corners.

    Still, if I get back to either park, it’ll be one of the first things I ride.

  10. Heh. Years ago, I was at Disneyland when they had, for baffling reasons, replaced the standard Space Mountain setting with a tribute to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Not great, lots of weird red light, whatever.

    The side-effect of all this was that you could actually SEE THE DAMN THING. Including how low some of the clearances are. My frayed nerves. Let me show you them.

  11. (20) I used to love roller coasters, before I sustained a compression fracture at the base of my spine. Which healed well, but now that I’ve got one less shock absorber, bumps and slams are more jarring. I’ll sometimes make an exception for Space Mountain though, it’s comparatively gentle. In fact, all the Disney coasters are relatively kind to my rapidly aging bones — the Matterhorn at Land, the one at World that plays Aerosmith music. They really know how to use movie tricks to extend the scariness of their rides.

    (17) In fact, the first time I ever saw a water sign was at Disney, and it kind of makes me happy to see an amusement park effect doing something practical.

  12. (20) SPACE MOUNTAIN. Space Mountain in Florida scarred me almost for life, as a child. I rode it and it scared the ever-loving crap outta me, so I didn’t ride another roller coaster for decades. I finally found (though they still scare me*), years later, that I could ride and somewhat enjoy them. “Enjoy” as in, I’m constantly repeating “ohcrapohcrapohcrap” until they’re over. 😉 But in a fun way, if that makes sense?

    * Not that I’m afraid of an accident or anything; just the fight-or-flight type of fear that makes me want to get off the coaster NOWNOWNOWNOWNOWOMGNOW! 😉

    One of my fave roller coasters shot the train out like a shotgun, but then it wasn’t super fast; but it was super, super twisty, like a lot of tight twists in a small amount of space. I think it was called the Joker (as in the Batman villain). One of the ones I used to like occasionally was a hanging one. I’ve never done a standing one and probably wouldn’t. In general, I have to take a good look at a coaster to figure out if I believe I will “enjoy” it.

    Sadly, being chunky, coasters just are not built well for my body type. I haven’t been to an amusement park quite some time, but I remember a few where they locked the seat contraption so tight that I could barely breathe. So a “scary but fun” ride, turned into just sheer agony as I tried to breath carefully and just wait for it to be over. (I need to lose weight, clearly, if I want to try another coaster!)

    But my favorite ride (at theme parks that have them) is the one with swings that go up in the air and round and round. Swing ride/chair swing ride/whatever you call it. 😀

    ETA: I also like some of what an old friend calls “spinny barfy rides.”

    @Joe H.: Jerky rides give me a headache or neck ache sometimes. 🙁

  13. 17) I’ve never been on Space Mountain, because my sole visit to Disney World was when I was five and my parents decided that Space Mountain was too much for me. And knowing my parents, it certainly would have been too much for them. Hell, I wasn’t allowed to go on the cup and saucer ride in Disneyland, because such rides make my Mom sick, though I love variations of that ride such as the Kraken or the Breakdancer/Happy Traveller.

    However, I used to love rollercoasters and other rougher fairground rides until well into my mid to late thirties and always rode the Wild Mouse, the Himalaya or Alpina coaster, the Kraken, the Frisbee, the Magic Carpet, the Rainbow, the Breakdancer/Happy Traveller and the Pirate Ship/Old Love, when they made their way to the local fairground, and even braved the infamous Ranger once (a lot more harmless than it looks – honestly, I’m glad I tried it). I’m sad that I never got to try the Enterprise/Starlab, because the 1981 accident in Hamburg (which wasn’t even the Starlab ride’s fault) effectively killed the ride in Germany. But I did get to ride the rare Schwarzkopf Zeppelin ride (only two in existence, both long gone) as a young girl. Besides, I was a teen in the 1980s, when the local fairground ride manufacturers pumped out a new ride every single year and they always premiered at the local autumn fair, because one of the main German fairground ride manufacturers was based in our city. Ah, good times.

    But eventually, my spine decided that certain fairground rides, even those that I loved, were too hard on it. And the Frisbee, which was always smooth and didn’t bother your spine at all, was sold off in favour of some Italian ride that isn’t half as good. So now I merely enjoy fairground rides from the outside.

  14. @Kendall

    But my favorite ride (at theme parks that have them) is the one with swings that go up in the air and round and round. Swing ride/chair swing ride/whatever you call it.

    That would probably be the Pirate Ship (love it and rode it for half an hour in a row once) or maybe the Top-Spin (not a fan, but I know one of the people who designed it). Coincidentally, the British TV series Coasting, which features a very young James Purefroy as well as family of fairground ride operators in North England, features a wonderful funeral by Pirate Ship, when the ashes of former owner are scattered to the winds via opening the urn during a ride of the Pirate Ship. Ever since I saw this, I’ve always said that this is the funeral I want, in Blackpool, if need be, though I’d prefer the Bremen Freimarkt.

    As fo rollarcoaster and other rides not being built for chubbier people, I still remember a night at the Bremen autumn fair, when the restraints at the Frisbee (which are tight, even if you are skinny and I no longer am) simply would not close, because two passengers simply were too chubby. So the operators checked the restraints, found the problem and escorted the two ladies in question off board to refund their fare. And once the two ladies were gone, the entire Frisbee (which had approx. 30 passengers and was always full) broke out laughing. So maybe I should be glad that the Frisbee was gone before I grew too chubby to ride it.

  15. 17) The local equivalent has always been drivers ignoring “Closed to high sided vehicles” signs on the Forth Bridge approach and getting blown over. Last one closed the bridge for nearly a day after the trailer landed on the central structure and they had to wait for the wind to drop below 40mph to get a crane out to it.

    Fortunately the new bridge has wind deflecting screens and should remain usable in much higher wind speeds.

    20) One of my colleagues of the time lost a Nokia 9000 Communicator part way through the Paris Space Mountain while on a company jolly.

  16. I can still (well, it’s been a few years since I put this into practice) do roller coasters, but last time I went to an amusement park I came to the conclusion that spinny rides are no longer my friend.

  17. Space Mountain at Disney World caused me to never want to ride another roller coaster. Because I had to take my glasses off I couldn’t see anything. Then when the ride started, at the first big lurch I was thrown forward and my seatbelt loosened A LOT. I spent the entire ride on the floor of the coaster, clinging with both arms and legs to my dad’s left leg, unable to see anything, screaming my head off, convinced I was going to be thrown from the coaster and die. And all the while I could hear my dad having the time of his life saying “whooo!”

  18. @Cora: OMG the Frisbee looks scary as hell! Oh and sorry, I didn’t describe my favorite ride well; I should’ve included a link like this one. Not really like the Pirate Ship or Top-Spin, both of which kinda scare me, actually. I’m trying to remember if I’ve done the ship one – maybe once. I don’t think I’d do the Top-Spin. (shudder) 😉

    @Cathy: Oh, that sounds awful! 🙁

  19. I have never been to the US, but Ive been to Disneyland Hongkong and I have ridden a rollercoaster there. I forgot the name, but since it was a Mountain and had a space layout, I presume it eas space mountain (I honestly dont know)

    “Space mountain of madness” would be the Lovecraft version…

  20. @20: I’m not surprised Space Mountain isn’t very fast — it doesn’t look like it has the height — but this is a great story. I’d love to see more detail on how the cars are kept separate when launched so close together. I used to be something of a coaster fan, but haven’t ridden at all in most of a decade — the closest has been a tamed Wild Mouse on which the seating compartment could rotate after you got past the serious bits.

    @Ken Richards: those are all impressive, and seem to not have side effects (although I wonder how many passengers in the yellow fancy-bus were killed or injured). In Boston one of the September effects is all the new students trying to take moving vans under low bridges (I saw one stop just in time and called the police to help them back out of the approach), but the most spectacular picture I’ve seen is a truckload of apples that tried to go under one of just two bridges on the non-Boston side of the Charles; my conductor of the time was beside it, and had to crawl out a passenger window because the driver’s side was 8 feet deep in loose apples.

    @Kendall/@Cora: there used to be something like a human-powered, non-inverting Top Spin at some amusement parks; the attendant gave the cage a starting push, then the riders “pumped” (as on a simple swing); great sense of triumph if you actually got it to go in a full circle rather than an arc, even if it sort of spoiled the point of letting something else do the work. My sister persuaded me to try this at Marshal Hall on my last summer in DC, not long before the park closed. (I’ve been to at least 5 parks that have since closed; I don’t think I’m a jinx….)

  21. I’m not so into the roller coasters. I think my favorite ride is the Octopus. It has the mix of movement, g-forces and worry of collision I love.

    However, the only ride I’ve ever been injured on was the Teacup ride at Disneyland.

    No, seriously. The woman I went on the ride with was tall, and had spent the previous year chopping and hauling monkey chow at the zoo. We got on, and she started turning the wheel as fast as she could, and after a while the G forces kept me plastered to the side of the cup with my head hanging out- I was seriously unable to lift my head up. . From that I got a bad crick in my neck that lasted a couple months. I’ve avoided that ride since then.

  22. Count me as a rollercoaster fan.

    Cedar Point in Ohio is fabulous!

    TANSTAAFL/TINSTAAFL/TNSTAAFL – Truth no matter how you slice it.

  23. The last time I went to Disney World the lights came on in Space Mountain. I took a photo of this from the People Mover.

    We live in Florida and season passes for many years. I must have ridden that 80 times by now. It’s still a thrill. I can remember being 8 in elementary school in Texas and discussing the ride with friends in Texas after it launched. Space Mountain was a legend even then.

  24. @JJ


    A set of galleries, which includes only 2017 works and includes novels (which RSR does not cover)

    We don’t review novels, but for the Pro Artist page, we do include covers from hundreds of novels.

  25. Greg Hullender: We don’t review novels, but for the Pro Artist page, we do include covers from hundreds of novels.

    I count 15 covers from Novels published in 2017 on the RSR artist page linked in scroll item #21 — plus 3 more for which no artist is specified.

    Of the artworks listed thus far on the Best Professional Artist page in the Hugo Nominees 2018 Wiki, only about 25% of them appear on the RSR page. The majority of the artworks on the RSR page are not actually eligible works for this year.

  26. (20) I was on Space Mountain about four weeks ago on my honeymoon. (long story involving the premature deaths of my wife’s parents but for Reasons we spent part of our honeymoon in Disneyworld.) I am not a fan of unsupported heights. Top of the CN looking out the window, I just enjoy the view without a twinge of fear. On the top of a 4ft ladder, I’m literally white-knuckled.

    Anyhow, we did most of the rides, including all the roller coasters. Roller coasters normally don’t scare me, per say, but the violent movements and speeds aren’t really something I enjoy. However, with the darkness of Space Mountain and the fact that you can sense how sharp some of the clearances are, I found it really difficult to even try to enjoy it. For the most part, I was disoriented and forced to brace inside the car using my bad leg in order to stay anchored and not get jerked around against the braces.

    I’m comfortable leaving it to others from now on.

  27. JJ, I think you said you wanted possible additions for the Best Professional Artist page. I was wondering if Tran Nguyen was a possibility. She did the January cover for Uncanny, which is not professional and is 2018, after all, but it’s so beautiful it made me look her up to see if she had 2017 work, and I found covers for Miranda and Caliban by Jaqueline Carey and The Book of Esther by Emily Barton. She’s on my personal list of possibilities so I thought I would mention it.

    In the Fan Art category, I also found Kirbi Fagan, who did the July issue of Uncanny, that wonderful cover with the astronaut with kitty ears on her helmet. I’m kind of in love with that cover.

    And I apologize in advance if this is not the right place for this…

  28. @Kendall
    Oh, now I know what you mean. We call those rides chain carousels and the most common type is called “Wellenflug”. Interestingly enough I have never been a big fan of those. When I was younger, those chains simply didn’t look very sturdy or safe to me (though I can’t recall a single incident involving this type of ride) and as I grew older, any ride that leaves my feet suspended tends to wreck havoc on my blood pressure (which is why I hate the trend towards suspensed rides).

    The Frisbee, at least the mobile version, is actually a lot less scary than it looks, because it’s computer-controlled and programmed, so it won’t make people sick. At maximum power, it can make 5G or so, but it’s only tuned up to full power for one swing back and forth. The Ranger, which was the ultimate test of courage when I was a teen, is also less scary than it looks from the outside BTW.

    Huss Maschinenfabrik, one of the main manufacturers of fairground rides, is based in my hometown, so our autumn fair always got the latest and newest rides (and not just by Huss, because the competition wanted to show off their rides, too). Sadly, they stopped developing new mobile rides and focus only on amusement parks by now.

    @Chip Hitchcock
    I think you mean this ride. Still a fixture at the local autumn fair, even though it’s more than fifty years old by now.

    @Rose Embolism
    The Octopus is known as The Kraken over here, though the official name of the most common model of Schwarzkopf Monster III. I used to be a huge fan and probably rode it every year from approx. age 7 on for more than 30 years until the motion became too hard for my spine and neck. The Kraken is still a favourite at the local fair, even though we had an accident with nine people injured a few years ago.

    Our annual autumn fair, the Bremen Freimarkt, is the oldest (held annually since 1035 – this year will be number 983) and one of the three largest in Germany BTW.

  29. @Cora: I’m probably unusual, but after the initial startup, I find the chain carousel/swing ride almost relaxing. I close my eyes part of the time – not in fear (unlike sometimes with coasters), but more of a relaxation thing.

    @Rose Embolism & @Cora: I believe I’ve only done the Octopus/Kraken once or twice, but I’m pretty sure I liked it okay.

  30. Huge fan of rollercoasters still myself, though I do have a preference for a smooth ride over the jerky, bang-you-around type. So, modern rollercoasters, not the old-fashioned wooden ones which sway and jerk.

    I used to live within walking distance of Great America, and soon found myself addicted to going and riding the coasters to unwind after a day at work. (I had a season pass, of course.) A lot easier on the liver than alcohol… 😀

  31. BigelowT, thanks for those! I’ll see what I can find. I’m trying to put more entries in for likely fan artist candidates, as well.

  32. @Chip Hitchcock
    Fortunately there were no fatalities in the Montague Street bus crash. Twelve people were injured though, and I’d guess all passengers would be in future nervous over bus/bridge interfaces, no matter the height of the bridge. The bus company and driver did face court, and consequences of their carelessness.

  33. Late, but thanks for the editor credit!

    (17) The recently-refurbished Coentunnel in Amsterdam doesn’t mess around with signs – if a too-tall vehicle approaches the tunnel they close the road with barriers and lead the truck off on a slip road. Causes traffic to back up, but less than a truck damaging the tunnel would.

    (20) In the Netherlands, there’s a theme park called de Efteling. In it is a ride known as Villa Volta, which uses a swinging inner chamber of seats plus a rotating outer barrel to give a really good illusion of being turned all the way over. It’s not a velocity or G-force ride, just finessing and psychology. Wikipedia tells me the design’s been copied elsewhere since – if you get a chance to try one of them I’d really recommend it.

  34. I rode the wooden coaster at Elitch’s in Denver one time, and didn’t care for being banged around in a crate on tracks all that much. Some time later, I had the chance to ride coasters at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and found that I wasn’t the scaredy cat I thought I might be. I rode all the ones they had, but Apollo’s Chariot was just an exercise in being spun for no good reason, and actually made me a bit queasy. I got my equilibrium back by riding the Big Bad Wolf, a too-short hanging coaster that plunges toward the water (and squirts you when you’re close to it). Other than the ones like Apollo’s, I’ve always enjoyed modern coasters.

    So many amusement parks have gone away. Just after we moved to Massachusetts, I discovered that the rocket ride from Palisades Park had gone to Whalom Park and started making plans to go see it. I looked at the park on Google Maps and didn’t even realize I was looking at a ghost footprint until I found links to news stories about the park’s closing, and the efforts of locals to fund its reopening, and the mysterious fire that put paid to that idea. There had been a trolley park not far from where we were living in West Springfield, and that had closed as well. I went and roamed the remains of the place, which were pretty minimal by that time. The carousel is still running, though, in its own building by the Children’s Museum in Holyoke, and its last operator is still around and has a web page on it. He also wrote the Images of America book on the park, which had a run of just about a century.

  35. Second Dann’s comment about Cedar Point. “Top Thrill Dragster” is a seriously terrifying 17-second rollercoaster ride. It goes up. It comes down. It has a half-twist. Doesn’t sound scary, does it? But it goes 120 MPH and over 400 feet straight up… and you’re secured in your seat by a simple lap belt.

    I like roller coasters. I *hate* fast spinny-rides. Especially the kind where they pin you to the side with centrifugal force and the bottom drops out. My inner ears can’t take it; I get very ill. (I also get carsick in the back seat. Alas, I would never have been able to be an astronaut.)

    The scariest part of a roller-coaster is the clank-clank-clank initial slow climb to the first drop….


  36. @Cora: that’s the type — although the ones I knew (from more than 50 years ago) were not streamlined, let alone brightly lit. (Possibly because they were way old — bright lights and streamlining were standard for rides as far back as I can remember.) I suspect most of us find most rides less amusing as we get older, but the chain swing has a stfnal connection; it shows up in the writer-surrogate character’s imagination in IIRC Lieber’s “The Winter Flies”, in which the chains do part but the chairs continue rising instead of arcing.

    @Kip W: Whalom and Mountain are two of the parks I got to before they closed. (You may have gotten to Mt. Tom before the ski area also closed; I have fond memories of its Alpine Slide((tm)?), and will get to the one in northern NH one of these days.) Paragon Park (coastal, south of Boston) was another; I’m sure other people have done this, but I’m the only person I know to have ridden the same roller coaster (not the same design, the same coaster) in two locations, as the Paragon coaster was moved to Wild World (now Six Flags America) back when Disclave was on that side of DC. I was viciously amused when the Paragon condos were one of the first Reagan Bubble developments to go bust when the bubble burst, because I was not happy over the park’s closing; it left Riverside (which I assume you knew as it was right next door to you — now Six Flags New England), two hours away, as the closest major surviving park.

    @Cassy: that’s the scariest part of most coasters; sitting with a giant eye staring at you, then doing what felt like a descending 540 in the darkness, on a coaster in Goteborg, made the chain feel almost a relief. I don’t know whether it’s standard, but the only two coasters I’ve ridden in Europe (other was at Tivoli) were entangled with buildings, which meant the trains kept diving at walls and veering off at the last moment.

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