Pixel Scroll 3/1/20 Sometime Ups Outnumber The Downs, But Not In Pixlingsham

(1) UNREAL/UNFIT/UNFINISHED. Yoon Ha Lee observed that Unreal / Unfit magazine, which aroused the ire of writers by listing and scoring their rejected submissions, continues to respond defensively (or offensively) to complaints. Thread starts here.

David Steffen of Diabolical Plots tweeted another observation: “Convenient that comments posted on thinkerbeat from writers who dont like the practice mysteriously disappeared!”

(2) FURRY AWARD LOSES LEADER. Mary E. Lowd resigned as chair of the Cóyotl Awards in January. The awards are given for excellence in anthropomorphic literature.

After a great deal of soul searching, I must regretfully step down from chairing the Cóyotl Awards. I apologize for the awkwardness of this timing with awards season at hand. Unfortunately, until the season arrived, I didn’t realize how much the newer commitments in my life (among others, editing the furry e-zine Zooscape and a 3-book deal for a space opera trilogy) had conspired to take up every last minute of my time for the foreseeable future, extending into the next few years.

The Cóyotl Awards have survived awkward transitions before. The year when I took over, we held voting for two years’ worth of awards at once and hosted a double awards ceremony to cover the previous year that had been missed. So, even if this transition is rocky, it is survivable.

(3) THE HISTORIC RECORDS. Fanac.org has posted video of Dave Kyle being interviewed by Joe Siclari in 2012.

Dave Kyle was an enthusiastic and productive science fiction fan and professional, with an 80+ year tenure. 

In this 2012 interview conducted at Philcon 2012, Dave talks about how fandom started, the first Worldcon, fandom in the 1930s (and 40s and 50s and …), the Science Fiction League, decades of controversies, Gnome Press, chairing his Worldcon and much, much more. 

The interviewer, Joe Siclari, is an able and knowledgeable fan historian, and asks all the right questions. 

Thanks to Philcon 2012 and Syd Weinstein for providing the video. 

(4) AN AMAZING EDITOR. At First Fandom Experience, wonderful artwork illustrates “Palmer’s Ascension: A True Story From Early Fandom”.

Raymond A. Palmer began his pioneering work in science fiction fandom in 1928 at age 18. In 1938, his amateur accomplishments as a club organizer, fanzine publisher, author, editor and promoter of science fiction launched his professional career when he became editor of the iconic pulp magazine Amazing Stories. This is his story, an excerpt from The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom, Volume One: The 1930s.

(5) SKY HIGH LID. Alasdair Stuart’s “The Full Lid for 28th February 2020” is all about the high frontier.

In New Model Astronauts we take a look at how Hollywood’s perception of the astronaut as mythical figure has changed and continues to do so. Our other main story, Boldly Going, takes a look at how what we remember something as being and what it was changes over time and what that means for us as viewers in a modern age. 

This week’s Women in Horror Month spotlights directors, including Karyn Kusama, Chelsea Stardust, Julia DeCourneau and Issa Lopez. 

This week’s Signal Boost includes  Zinequest 2 by Kickstarter. You can find them here. Also this excellent piece by Dave Jeffrey from the always-great Ginger Nuts of Horror on the way horror fiction deals, or too often fails to deal, with mental illness. We’ve also got Better Than IRL, a collection of writing about what it’s like to find your chosen family online. and TG Shepherd going through the John Wick movie fight scenes 30 seconds at a time. Then there’s Dominion: An Anthology of Black Speculative Fiction, and the Princess World RPG and live plays and podcasts from Haggis and Dragons.We also have John Miereau‘s Serving Worlds and an excellent new Magnus Archives fan project.  lilnan’s work is amazing and this is going to be something special.

Finally, the brilliant Tim Niederriter has work in a StoryBundle right now. Do check it out and fellow Word Make Gooder, Kat Fowler is part of a really fun D&D livestream you should check out. They’re on Twitch and YouTube..

(6) AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS. Darcy Coates knows her readers because she knows herself: “Don’t Go Into the Basement! (Let’s Be Honest, We’re Going Into the Basement)” at CrimeReads.

…Inadvisable behavior is a well-known trope in horror films and fiction, whether it’s investigating strange noises in the basement, or splitting up, or ignoring enormous neon warning signs.

But how do real humans react in those situations? How would I, someone who writes horror fiction for a living and who is in possession of a long list of rational and irrational fears, react?

Not much differently, as it turns out….

(7) NEGATORY, GOOD BUDDY. Snopes is called upon to answer the question “Is the ‘Umbrella Corporation’ Logo Oddly Similar to a Wuhan Biotech Lab’s?”

Claim

The fictional “Umbrella Corporation” from the game “Resident Evil” shares a logo with a biotech lab in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China, where a new coronavirus is believed to have originated….

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • March 1, 1978 — The Crime Traveller series premiered on BBC. It was produced by Carnival Films for the BBC. The premise being of time travel for the purpose of solving crimes. It was created by Anthony Horowitz, and starred Michael and Chloë Annett. It would last but eight episodes being caught in the change of guard in the BBC Head of Drama position. You can watch the first episode here.
  • March 1, 1991 Abraxas, Guardian Of The Universe premiered. directed by Damian Lee and starring Jesse Ventura and Sven-Ole Thorsen, with a cameo by James Belushi. premiered. It directed by Damian Lee. It starred Jesse Ventura and Sven-Ole Thorsen, with a cameo by James Belushi.  Critics used the words “cheesy, low budget, shoddy effects and dreadful acting” to describe it. The audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes reflects that at 19%. You can see it here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 1, 1885 Lionel Atwill. He had the lead roles in Thirties horror films Doctor X, The Vampire Bat, Murders in the Zoo and Mystery of the Wax Museum but his most remembered role was the one-armed Inspector Krogh in Son of Frankenstein which Kenneth Mars parodied in Young Frankenstein. He would appear in four subsequent Universal Frankenstein films. (Died 1946.)
  • Born March 1, 1915 Wyman Guin. Ok, occasionally doing these Birthdays results in me being puzzled and this is one of those times. In 2013, he was named as recipient for the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award at ReaderCon 24. When I look him up, I find that he wrote a single novel and seven stories according to the folks at ISFDB. I’ve not read him. So, was he that good? Should I seek out his novel, The Standing Joy,and add it to my reading list? His short stories are available at the usual digital publishers but the novel isn’t. (Died 1989.)
  • Born March 1, 1918 Roger Delgado. The first Master in the Doctor Who series. He would appear only with the Third Doctor as he died in car crash in Spain. Other genre appearances were Quatermass II, Danger Man, The Mummy’s Shroud and First Man into Space. (Died 1973.)
  • Born March 1, 1923 Andrew Faulds. He’s best remembered as Phalerus in Jason and the Argonauts in which he was in the skeleton fight scene that featured model work by Ray Harryhausen. He appeared in a number of other genre films including The Trollenberg Terror, The Flesh and the Fiends and Blood of the Vampire. He had one-offs on Danger Man and One Step Beyond. Oh, and his first acting gig was as Lysander in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. (Died 2000.)
  • Born March 1, 1938 Michael Kurland, 82. The Unicorn Girl which he pennedis the middle volume of the Greenwich Village trilogy by three different authors, the other two being by Chester Anderson and T.A. Waters. Kurland has also written other genre novels including Ten Little Wizards and A Study in Sorcery, set in the world of Garrett’s Lord Darcy. His other genre novels are Ten Years to Doomsday (written with Chester Anderson), Tomorrow Knight, Pluribus and Perchance.
  • Born March 1, 1941 Martin Greenberg. Founder of Gnome Press who’s not to be confused with Martin H Greenberg. My research for this Birthday note shows that he’s definitely not on Asimov’s list of favorite people despite being the first publisher of the Foundation series. Not paying authors is a bad idea. (Died 2011.)
  • Born March 1, 1946 Lana Wood, 74. She’s best remembered as Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds Are Forever. She was in The Wild Wild West as Vixen O’Shaughnessy in “The Night of the Firebrand” and Averi Trent in “The Night of the Plague” episodes. She was in both up the CBS televised Captain America films playing Yolanda, and she was still active in the genre as little three years ago playing a character named Implicit in Subconscious Reality. It’s very suspicious that all the Amazon reviews of the latter are five stars. 
  • Born March 1, 1954 Ron Howard, 66. Director of Cocoon and Willow. Also responsible for the truly awful thing that is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And opinions are I believe are definitely divided on Solo: A Star Wars Story. As a producer only, he’s responsible for Cowboys & Aliens and The Dark Tower.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • The way Rich Horton sees it, “Olivia Jaimes takes a bit of a swipe at epic fantasy/cyberpunk in today’s Nancy. (Perhaps it’s affectionate, but I confess I took a bit umbrage.)” But he adds, “That said, Sluggo’s strategy for reading at school seems like a good one!”

(11) BAKED BOOKMARK. Does Cambridge make library users take an oath, like the Bodleian does? If so, I guess they better add a prohibition about snacks: “Librarians stunned after opening 500-year-old Tudor manuscript and finding a half-eaten 50-year-old biscuit” reports The Sun.

LIBRARIANS opened a rare Tudor manuscript yesterday — and found a half-eaten biscuit stuck between pages.

The find stunned staff and academics at Cambridge University.

It is believed a clumsy schoolboy dropped what appears to be a chocolate chip cookie while leafing through the book more than 50 years ago.

The manuscript — which dates back almost 500 years — was given to the university by a grammar school in 1970.

The 1529 volume from the complete works of St Augustine is stored inside the university’s rare books archive, where no food, drink or even pens are allowed.

Emily Dourish, deputy keeper of rare books and early manuscripts, discovered the biscuit….

(12) GETTING READY FOR ST. AQUIN. “Catholic leaders call for ethical guidelines around AI”Axios has the story.

Catholic leaders presented Pope Francis with a broad proposal for AI ethics, education and rights on Friday as part of an AI conference at the Vatican in Rome.

Why it matters: Algorithms are already starting to replace human decision-making, but ethicists and activists say now is the time to speak up on the values those algorithms should embody.

Driving the news: Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, a group of scholars that studies bioethics, are calling for AI to be developed in a way that protects the planet and safeguards “the rights and the freedom of individuals so they are not discriminated against by algorithms.”

  • IBM executive vice president John Kelly and Microsoft president Brad Smith are signing the “Rome Call for AI Ethics” on behalf of the two tech companies.
  • The group outlined ethical principles related to transparency, access and impartiality — what they call an “algor-ethical” framework.
  • It is a “first step toward awareness and engagement” with other companies and international institutions for a public debate about AI ethics, a spokesperson for the Academy told Axios in an email.

(13) EIGHT ARMS GOOD? “The Tentacle Bot” — some short videos.

Octopus-inspired robot can grip, move, and manipulate a wide range of objects

Of all the cool things about octopuses (and there’s a lot), their arms may rank among the coolest.

Two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are in its arms, meaning each arm literally has a mind of its own. Octopus arms can untie knots, open childproof bottles, and wrap around prey of any shape or size. The hundreds of suckers that cover their arms can form strong seals even on rough surfaces underwater.

Imagine if a robot could do all that.

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Beihang University have developed an octopus-inspired soft robotic arm that can grip, move, and manipulate a wide range of objects. Its flexible, tapered design, complete with suction cups, gives the gripper a firm grasp on objects of all shapes, sizes and textures — from eggs to iPhones to large exercise balls.

(14) A LITTLE MEME THINGY.

(15) OFF BROADWAY. Last night on Saturday Night Live the sketch “Airport Sushi” has the Phantom of LaGuardia emerging to warn someone boarding a flight at LaGuardia airport that he really shouldn’t eat the airport sushi.

(16) LEAP YEAR LEFTOVER. Comicbook.com frames the next item:

Reynolds owns Aviation Gin, and the recent ads for the alcohol company have been nothing short of hilarious… Now, Reynolds’ latest ad, which features his voiceover, is celebrating Leap Day, which happens every four years in February. Of course, that means folks born on February 29th have an especially interesting birthday. In the new ad, Reynolds enlists a woman who was born on Leap Day 84 years ago, which means tomorrow is technically her 21st birthday.

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

28 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/1/20 Sometime Ups Outnumber The Downs, But Not In Pixlingsham

  1. (9) I read Guin’s “Beyond Bedlam” a year or so ago – classic Galaxy tale: take one strange premise as the basis for a society and see what happens.

    Ron Howard also directed the Hugo-winning Apollo 13.

  2. While Doctor Who is not one of my primary fan interests, the season finale almost made me a believer. Whoh.

  3. (9) Kenneth Mars played Inspector Kemp in Young Frankenstein, not Kenneth Branagh.

  4. @1: drop another bag in the dumpster, mates — this fire’s not big enough yet.

    @9: I remember that skeleton scene as seriously amazing, not so much for the technical as for the expressiveness of the skeletons. (There’s a shot where one looks at the sword that has just gone through its ribcage and gives an are-you-f***ing-kidding-me glare before tossing the sword and rejoining the fight.) I think I saw that at my first Boskone, 47 years ago; I wonder how badly the Suck Fairy has been at it?

    @9 bis: IIUC, Martin NMI Greenberg got on a lot of people’s coal-in-the-stocking lists; Asimov’s discussion is probably just the most widely published. One can speculate whether he would have gone on to real novels (instead of fixups) without some track record to make Doubleday pick him up — but I suspect he would have, as he seems to have written for the joy of it and made a thing of never taking an advance.

    @11: Sounds like nobody inspected the book before checking it in. That’s not good; wouldn’t one want not to put a pest attracter in a rare-books collection?

  5. (9) I came across Wyman Guin’s novella “A Man of the Renaissance” in one of Silverberg’s Alpha anthologies of the early 1970s, and found it very memorable. (ISFDB says it appeared in Galaxy first, in 1964.) Until today I hadn’t realized he’d written so little.

  6. @John Lorentz: You beat me to it, yet now I’m picturing present-day Kenneth Branagh in the role.

    @Chip Hitchcock: Holy %$&#! I was at that Boskone! (I grew up just down the road, in Quincy.) I last watched Jason and the Argonauts a couple of years ago. It’s held up pretty well. Nigel Green was the best Hercules ever.

  7. Jason & the Argonauts is probably Harryhausen’s best film overall (although my personal favorite is Golden Voyage of Sinbad). It’s next on my Harryhausen Centenary Rewatch list — maybe tomorrow night? The goal is to finish by watching Harryhausen’s Clash of the Titans on what would have been his 100th birthday on June 29th.

  8. Kenneth Branagh would have just turned 14 when Young Frankenstein was released if the IMDb dates are accurate.

    11: Unfortunately it’s not unusual for accessions to the UL to not be thoroughly inspected on arrival. A check of the general theme and for any obvious problems and it’s off to the archives until a researcher requests access. There’s a huge amount of stuff comes in and never enough staff to check every page.

  9. Michael Kurland (who, full disclosure, was once married to my aunt, SF writer Melisa Michaels) also wrote several books featuring Professor Moriarty as the protagonist, which, while usually classified as mysteries, could be considered at least genre-adjacent. Also, I thought they were a lot of fun. The first one, The Infernal Device was a finalist for the Edgar award.

  10. 12) I’m a little cynical about this now I’ve discovered I’m an annihilator of nature. Though of course in an SF story, this would most likely be the first move in a campaign against the AIs and plucky hacker allies.

  11. Anthony says Kenetth Branagh would have just turned 14 when Young Frankenstein was released if the IMDb dates are accurate.

    It’s actually Kenneth Mars. No idea why my brain selected Branagh instead. I’ve added OGH to fix the Birthday entry.

  12. Brannagh did direct a version of Frankenstein, if I remember correctly.

    I loved Jason And The Argonauts, and The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad. The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad was a little too light on skeletons for my liking.

  13. @Cliff: directed and starred in (as he did several times around then).

    @PhilRM: quite a coincidence. However, I can’t see Branagh as the Inspector even (or perhaps especially) after his rather contained Leontes in NTLive’s The Winter’s Tale; YF was already so weird that it needed someone like Mars in his full Yugh[sic] Simon (from What’s-Up-Doc) mode (including the accent).

  14. „Huh, Im the pixel of Hugos past and Im here to warn Mike not to use that scroll tit…oh crap“

    Thanks Mike! Didnt expect.

  15. (9) March 1st was also David Niven’s birthday. He had to deal with an angelic Cary Grant in The Bishop’s Wife and argue with an angelic Marius Goring in A Matter of Life and Death/Stairway to Heaven. He was also Count Dracula in Old Dracula which, surprisingly, was released two months before Young Frankenstein.

    Lana Wood was also a robotic maid in an episode of The Night Gallery. “You Can’t Get Help Like That Anymore” is probably more notable because Chloris Leachman and Broderick Crawford are the truly awful couple who have purchased her.

    (15) This is the third of these SNL musical sketches with John Mulaney. The original was Diner Lobster and the second was Bodega Bathroom.

    We’re on the scroll to nowhere. Come on inside. We’ll take that file nowhere. We’ll take that ride.

  16. Cliff says
    Brannagh did direct a version of Frankenstein, if I remember correctly.

    H’h. And that might be where my mind got the idea that he was in Young Frankenstein. Thanks!

  17. 12) This reminds me that in a recent issue of Asimov’s, Bob Silverberg’s column recalled his story “Good News From the Vatican”. Probably just a coincidence.

  18. Golden Voyage lacked skeletons, but it did have the Kali swordfight, and Tom Baker as an evil wizard.

  19. (8) Crime Traveller aired in 1997, not 1978. It was not great.

    (9) Andrew Faulds best known role of all was surely as Jet Morgan in Journey Into Space. IIRC it was the last radio programme in Britain to get a larger weekly audience than any TV programme.

  20. Stuart Hall says Andrew Faulds best known role of all was surely as Jet Morgan in Journey Into Space. IIRC it was the last radio programme in Britain to get a larger weekly audience than any TV programme.

    Might well be, but radio work is oft times an elusive beast at best when putting together these Birthday notes. There’s more than enough material that covers the video side of things, and specific radio shows are lovingly covered, but finding info on a given performer and what they’ve done on radio can be damn near impossible.

  21. (12) Whatever you can say about AI, I’ve never heard of a neural network covering up child abuse, so maybe the Catholic church would be well advised to focus on the beam in their own eye for the time being.

  22. 15) I liked that sketch, though I thought the ending the best thing about it. Do check out the David Byrne performances from this show. They are the first new thing to do with a band on stage I’ve seen in some time. And among the cut sketches was this little genre-adjacent gem:

  23. @microtherion: I have little patience with organized religion of any sort (my one comment on Tor’s Narnia thread was to cite the Bene Gesserit paragraph that begins “Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child.”), but ISTM that the Roman church can probably walk and chew gum at the same time. By now the child-abuse mess is well beyond grand declarations (which there have been) and deep into how-to-clean-up problems — which I suspect call for a lot more one-on-one “What were you thinking?” (or even “What — were you thinking?”) interviews. The issue certainly hasn’t been forgotten by the hierarchy; I read within the last week that some order founded by a pedophile was being told it had to do more cleanup before it could be back in the good graces of the Church.

    Whether any organization should be granted such credibility by its members that it can make sweeping moral statements and not be laughed at is another question, and one for which my preferred answer would require changing the nature of a lot of people; the sort of belief that ignored abuses like the Magdalene laundries — or worse, that assumed they were OK because a priest said they were — is not easy to dislodge.

  24. I note that in (8), there’s a repeated line (A copy-pasta error looks like) in the spiel about Abraxas. I’m also not surprised that’s the entry where it took this long for anyone to note the error.

  25. @microtherion: it’s also possible that you haven’t heard of AIs covering up child abuse because they’re just that good at it!

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