Pixel Scroll 3/25/20 Captain COVIDeo And His Pixel Scrollers

(1) BLAST FROM THE PRESENT. Gideon Marcus reports: “Good news! Literally — Galactic Journey (me, Lorelei, Janice, etc.) was featured in the Times of Israel (though the bit about Kaua’i is now up in the air!).” “Historian and family live in groovy 1965 bubble and do the time warp, again”.

Marcus is a 45-year-old space historian and science fiction aficionado from Vista, a city of around 100,000 less than an hour north of San Diego. He introduces himself as The Traveler, but for those unsure of exactly where he travels, a pasteboard next to the dais declares: “Time Travel — Just Ask Me.”

Many who attend his presentations at science fiction and fantasy conventions, public libraries, coffee houses, corporate auditoriums, and other venues actually do ask, Marcus tells The Times of Israel. They’re particularly interested, he says, in the way he bridges the present with the world of 55 years ago.

(2) WHY WE CAN’T HAVE INTERSTELLAR NICE THINGS.

(3) LIBERTYCON STILL GO. As of St. Patrick’s Day this was  their status on Facbook.

As of now, with LibertyCon being three months away, we do not anticipate a cancellation of the convention.

We, like every ConCom around the world (for it is not flat), will be monitoring the global health crisis and will be following the national guidelines as they are updated.

(4) LISTEN TO THE DOCTORS.

(5) ELFQUEST. “Get The Elfquest Coloring Book–For Free!”.

Everyone is doing their best to stay healthy and sane in these trying times as we face the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Remember the Kickstarter campaign that got our three gorgeous art books funded? One of the perks was an ElfQuest coloring book, full of wonderful Wendy Pini black-and-white line artwork. This book was only available through the Kickstarter campaign and is now rare as zwoot brains.

We’re now making it available to you here, for free, as a PDF file for you to print out and color to your heart’s content. We hope it’ll ease some of the cabin fever we’re all feeling – and that you’ll share your creations on social media.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • March 25, 1956Indestructible Man premiered. Based on a screenplay written by Vy Russell and Sue Dwiggins, it  was produced and directed by Jack Pollexfen,  and starred Lon Chaney, Jr., Ross Elliott and Robert Shayne. In some areas of the States, it was a double bill with Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It wasn’t at all liked by critics at the time, and the audience over at Rotten Tomatoes currently gives it an eight percent rating. You can see it here, and you can also see it with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary thisaway. (MST3 version)

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 25, 1916 Jean Rogers. She played Dale Arden in 1936’s Flash Gordon serial and again in 1938’s Flash Gordon Goes To Mars serial. She’d be replaced by Carol Hughes for the third,  Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe,  when she said she wasn’t interested in doing it. She would go on to co-star with Boris Karloff in the horror film Night Key. (Died 1991.)
  • Born March 25, 1927 Sylvia Anderson. Film producer, writer, voice actress and costume designer, best known for her collaborations with Gerry Anderson on such Supermarionation series as ThunderbirdsSupercarFireball XL5 and Stingray. (Died 2016.)
  • Born March 25, 1930 — Patrick Troughton. The Second Doctor of who I’ll confess I’m not the most ardent fan of. The Fourth Doctor is my Doctor. Troughton had a long genre resume starting with Hamlet and Treasure Island early on before preceding to such works as Scars of Dracula and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell later on. Telly wise, I see him on R.U.R. Radius playing a robot, on a Fifties Robin Hood show being that character, and on The Feathered Serpent. This is children’s series set in pre-Columbian Mexico and starring Patrick Troughton as the scheming High Priest Nasca. H’h. (Died 1987.)
  • Born March 25, 1939 D. C. Fontana. Script writer and story editor, best remembered  for her work on the originalTrek franchise. She also worked on Genesis IILogan’s Run, The Six Million Dollar Man and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Her final work was writing an episode for the fanfic known as Star Trek: New Voyages. (Died 2019.)
  • Born March 25, 1947 Paul Levinson, 73. The Silk Code novel by him would garner  the Locus Award for Best First Novel of 1999. It was the first novel in a series of novels and short stories featuring NYPD forensic detective Dr. Phil D’Amato who first appeared in Levinson’s “The Chronology Protection Case” novelette. You can purchase it from the usual digital sources. 
  • Born March 25, 1947 Elton John, 73. According to EoSF, “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long Long Time)” is based on the  Bradbury “Rocket Man” short story. And they also note that “Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)” (on Rock of the Westies, 1975) is a catchy song about the childhood taste in comics of the song’s lyricist Bernie Taupin.
  • Born March 25, 1958 Amy Pascal, 61. She gets Birthday honors for being responsible for bringing Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse to the screen. She also produced Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far from Home as well the Ghostbusters film that’s best ignored. She is producing the yet untitled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel.
  • Born March 25, 1964 Kate DiCamillo, 56. She is one of only six people to win two Newbery Medals, for her novels The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & Ulysses. I’m not familiar with the latter work, but the former is a wonderful read that got turned into a remarkably good film as well. 

(8) LEAVE YOU HANGING. “Coronavirus: The Walking Dead to pause on penultimate episode”.

Fans of The Walking Dead must wait for the finale of the current series after producers revealed they had not been able to finish it because of Covid-19.

That means season 10 will end with its penultimate episode next month – but they aim to air the planned finale as a special episode later in the year.

AMC, which makes the zombie drama, said the pandemic had made it “impossible” to finish the episode on time.

Season 10 started airing last October and will now wrap up on 5 April.

“Current events have unfortunately made it impossible to complete post-production of The Walking Dead season 10 finale, so the current season will end with its 15th episode on April 5,” the network said.

When it does eventually arrive, the programme-makers have promised the finale will be “an epic, action-packed thriller with plenty of surprises”.

(9) ANOTHER DELAY. “‘Wonder Woman’ And ‘In The Heights’ Films Delayed During Coronavirus Outbreak”.

With movie theaters closed around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, Warner Brothers is postponing the openings of some of its big summer movies, including Wonder Woman 1984. It was originally set for June 5. Now, it will hit theaters on Aug. 14.

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot tweeted, “In these dark and scary times, I am looking forward to a brighter future ahead where we can share the power of cinema together again.” Warner Brothers is also postponing its animated movie Scoob, the thriller Malignant and its film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical In the Heights.

(10) CAUTION. “Coronavirus: Calls to protect great apes from threat of infection”.

Conservation experts are calling for urgent action to protect our closest living relatives, the great apes, from the threat of coronavirus.

New measures are needed to reduce the risk of wild gorillas, chimps and orangutans encountering the virus, scientists warn in a letter in Nature.

Habitat loss and poaching are big threats to the survival of great apes, but viruses are also a concern.

Scientists say the current outbreak warrants the utmost caution.

Infectious disease is now listed among the top three threats to some great ape groups.

“We do not know what the effect of the virus on them is and that means we have to take the precautionary principle and reduce the risk that they will get the virus,” said Prof Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University, UK, who is a co-signatory of the letter.

“That means halting tourism, which is happening in several countries already, reducing research, being very cautious with reintroduction programmes, but also potentially halting infrastructure and extractive projects in great ape habitats which bring people in closer contact with great apes and thus potentially spread this virus to them.”

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

42 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/25/20 Captain COVIDeo And His Pixel Scrollers

  1. 7) Patrick Troughton was also in two Ray Harryhausen films — Jason & the Argonauts (arguably Harryhausen’s best) and Sinbad & the Eye of the Tiger (inarguably not his best; but not his worst).

  2. A couple of other noteworthy Patrick Troughton TV appearances:

    The fondly remembered 1984 adaptation of John Masefield’s The Box of Delights.

    The fairly obscure 1987 serial Knights of God, which could be described as “The Handmaid’s Tale – but for kids!” It also starred Blake’s 7’s Gareth Thomas, and a pre-Downtown Abbey Julian Fellowes in front of the camera as the deputy bad guy. It’s never had a UK repeat showing, or VHS/DVD release. The Wikipedia page says that it was distributed by Disney/ABC, but given the political/religious elements, I’d be surprised if it could get onto US (network) TV – anyone know if it’s ever been shown or been available in North America?

  3. (7) Also David Lean’s birthday. Blithe Spirit might be considered genre. That ghosts who dress for dinner sort of genre.

    Hoyt Axton who was the one who bought Gizmo in Gremlins.

    Richard O’Brien who was Riff Raff and sang Science Fiction/Double Feature. Also had a part in Flash Gordon. So hitting some of the popular topics of the comment section. Other roles in Dark City, Dungeon and Dragons, The Ink Thief and Spice World.

    Katharine McPhee who was the “normal” person amongst the nerds of Scorpion.

    Never scroll pixels after midnight.

  4. John S / ErsatzCulture says The fairly obscure 1987 serial Knights of God, which could be described as “The Handmaid’s Tale – but for kids!” It also starred Blake’s 7’s Gareth Thomas, and a pre-Downtown Abbey Julian Fellowes in front of the camera as the deputy bad guy. It’s never had a UK repeat showing, or VHS/DVD release. The Wikipedia page says that it was distributed by Disney/ABC, but given the political/religious elements, I’d be surprised if it could get onto US (network) TV – anyone know if it’s ever been shown or been available in North America?

    The entire series is online here. And why do you think it’s too political to shown in the US? I’m really amazed how some Filers think being being anti-American is a good thing without first stopping and thinking.

  5. Patrick Troughton also had a small part in 1970’s apocalyptic horror film The Omen. (Probably most notable these days for being an important inspiration for Pratchett and Gaiman’s Good Omens!)

  6. @Cat Eldridge: Do you think any US network (I’m aware that cable and streamers are more flexible) would dare show The Handmaid’s Tale? In the UK, it’s shown in a peak-time 9pm slot on one of the main broadcast channels.

    I raise my doubts about whether Knights of God would ever get shown in US, because there are a number of things about US network shows that seem very odd to my British/European eyes, in terms of what they don’t ever mention. A recent-ish example is the James Spader drama The Blacklist, which has any number of scenes of shootouts and gruesome torture, often explicitly depicted in gruesome detail. Yet a couple of years ago, they had a subplot where the main character was pregnant, and didn’t want to keep the baby, so went through no end of anguish about trying to get it adopted. I believe at no point was the word “abortion” ever mentioned, not even in the context of why it might not be possible (e.g. late term), which struck me as bizarre, unless looked at in the meta-context of not wanting to alienate the pro-life segment of the audience. By contrast, I think all of the UK dramas set in schools (Grange Hill, Waterloo Road, Ackley Bridge) have had teen pregnancy/abortion plotlines at some point.

    As for being anti-American, for over a decade I’ve worked for three different multinationals headquartered in the US, so I guess I’m not very good at it. Two of those were megacorps with head offices in the east and west coasts that everyone reading this will have heard of; the third was a much smaller outfit headquartered in the midwest, with very religious founders, and had a corporate culture that was often eyebrow raising, even to many of their lower-level US employees.

  7. So, on 3/24 I placed an order with Amazon for four books (and Pink Floyd’s Obscured by Clouds, as I slowly fill in my collection). I got the now-standard four weeks out date. (We also ordered some OTC medication, which arrived in one day.)

    Two of the books have already shipped, with the others listed as “preparing for shipment.” The first shipment says arriving 4/3, which is slow, but better than the original 4/22. I think those four week dates are just a cushion, and they’ll ship non-critical items whenever they’re caught up on critical ones.

    The books? The new Jemisin. Two non-genre ones from the recent article posted here from The NY Times on comfort reading. And Damsel, Elana K. Arnold’s take on Sleeping Beauty, because I so loved her brand new one, Red Hood, which is a werewolf version of Little Red Riding Hood set in a contemporary high school.

  8. Jack Lint:

    Richard O’Brien who was Riff Raff and sang Science Fiction/Double Feature. Also had a part in Flash Gordon. So hitting some of the popular topics of the comment section. Other roles in Dark City, Dungeon and Dragons, The Ink Thief and Spice World.

    Richard O’Brien also wrote Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  9. 3) Please, LibertyCon, do not do this. Yours is a popular con with a geographical spread that will bring people from all over. With just a few infected coming, you might help spread the virus to previously spared regions. And you are putting valued guests, fans, authors and community members at risk.

    Please see if you could do something on the net instead. Or postpone until there hopefully is an easier way to test for the virus, thus making it easier to stop spreading this disease.

    I understand the sadness of cancelling a con, but this is not the right time.

  10. @John S / ErsatzCulture

    I would also note for some of the non-British readers that Grange Hill is a kid’s drama. It was on just after 5pm. Similarly Byker Grove, another kid’s drama series aired at around the same time, also had abortion as a sub-plot in one series I think. Also these were shows that aired decades ago.

    However I don’t quite think all the school dramas (not that Byker Grove was a school drama) had teen pregnancy / abortion plot lines. I don’t think Press Gang did – I can’t remember that very well – but that was more a comedy drama.

  11. @2: What authors have proposed moving a majority of the Earth’s population on generation ships? (Clarke’s “Rescue Party”, maybe — but that was a mass evacuation rather than an exploration.) Or making the ships so small that there would be almost no person-to-person contact? (I exclude cases where the crew spends most of its time in suspended animation.) Anderson’s World Without Stars might be an example, but I’d think that making humans effectively immortal would have side effects (beside the one shown). ISTM that selecting out the selfish idiots (and the claustrophobic) would be part of the process of picking who goes — but Scalzi does like his epigrams…

    @4: that’s good; one could almost pity the people who tuned out because this Doctor was female.

  12. @Hampus Eckerman: I think you’re asking for too much sanity from a convention that appears to prize the all-Amurrican freedom to be an idiot. Or (being generous), they may have an agreement with the facilities that lets them out if there’s still a pandemic on in a couple of months, but not now (let’s not forget how Arisia got screwed); seeing Hubei province relax most of its restrictions after two months may have suggested to the site that three months will be enough in the US (especially after the recent incredibly-stupid remarks from the Cheetoh about ending the shutdown by Easter).

    extending @John S / ErsatzCulture ‘s discussion of what’s covered differently; I’ve read a number of (sometimes snarky) comments from Europeans asking why US women always take the sheet with them when they sit up in bed (based on a large sample of US movies). The US looseness over violence and tightness over sex was satirized at least as far back as Sturgeon’s Venus Plus X.

  13. (3) To be charitable, a lot of events that are three months out haven’t been cancelled yet. Everything I was supposed to attend to the end of April has been cancelled, but the ones from May onward are still on (for now).

  14. As someone who’s lived my whole life in the US, I would have found that Blacklist pregnancy plot odd too. It’s been years since I watched US network TV daytime soap operas. But they naturally had that situation come up frequently. And I can think of at least one off the top of my head where a teenage girl did have an abortion.

  15. Anthony on March 26, 2020 at 3:22 am said:
    Amazon UK have The Peripheral by William Gibson as a 99p daily deal today.

    And it’s an outstanding book.

    Has anyone read his new one yet?

  16. Kim Stanley Robinson’s Green Earth (an edited and compressed packaging of the Science in the Capital trilogy) is £1.99 on Amazon UK.

    I know people’s mileage with KSR varies, but if you like what he does, I think this is a really engaging work and is more effective in this version compared to the original trilogy.

  17. @Chip Hitchcock

    What authors have proposed moving a majority of the Earth’s population on generation ships?

    Seveneves might qualify, at least in the sense that the ships contained a majority of Earth’s surviving population.

    ISTM that selecting out the selfish idiots (and the claustrophobic) would be part of the process of picking who goes

    Even if that selection were perfect for the initial generation, it’s likely to be of limited effectiveness for subsequent generations (Unless you institute a little Soylent Green / Cold Equations kind of party for each new generation).

  18. (3) What would make this extra problematic is that, at least at this time, evidence indicates that the LibertyCon-affine part of the population is less into social distancing than others.

  19. Not familiar with Libertycon, so I was looking at the list of author guests at LibertyCon and… whoa!! see a lot of sad puppies. Many authors are unknown to me but I wonder.. are most of them puppies? Are most of the attendees all of the conservative evangelical xtian mindset?

  20. It’s asks rather correctly Ita on March 26, 2020 at 2:48 pm said:
    Not familiar with Libertycon, so I was looking at the list of author guests at LibertyCon and… whoa!! see a lot of sad puppies. Many authors are unknown to me but I wonder.. are most of them puppies? Are most of the attendees all of the conservative evangelical xtian mindset?

    As Molly Bloom in Ulysses said, “Yes and yes and I said yes.” I don’t know if they’re all of the evangelical mindset as that’s a specific niche but definitely conservative xtian in some manner or other would be a correct assessment. Not a lot of overlap with the WorldCon community I’d say. And decidedly Puppy friendly.

  21. Well, for the GoH of the most recent LibertyCon is Patricia Briggs, the toastmaster is Seanan McGuire. Neither are puppies or conservative Christians and in fact, I suspect that both write the sort of thing that makes puppies cry. Seanan McGuire is also very popular among the WorldCon and I have seen Patricia Briggs on quite a few Filers’ lists of Hugo nominations. I certainly have nominated Mercy Thompson for best series several times.

    But otherwise, LibertyCon does have a reputation as a conservative leaning, puppy-friendly con. At least two Filers have attended, so they can tell you more.

  22. @Cora Buhlert —

    Well, for the GoH of the most recent LibertyCon is Patricia Briggs

    Aaaaaactually…. one of the main reasons I stopped reading Briggs’s series was because of the really offensive sexual politics — her werewolf pack had way too much with the subservient women and dominant men who had the right to lord it over the women ’cause they were werewolves and all. I couldn’t take any more after the first coupla books.

  23. @microtherion: a generation born on a generation ship would be raised to live on the ship — however draconic that raising was. Panshin had a rite of passage (that was still a generation ship, even if it did lightspeed); others would have other solutions for indoctrination (for Panshin it was mostly “You’re better than the groundlings”) and for failures of indoctrination. Most generation-ship stories don’t think about what life would really be like if the ship were to survive; Marina Lossiter’s Noumenon comes closer (according to my fragmentary notes), but it read as if the author were more interested in making points than in being real.

  24. @Chip
    Susan R Matthews wrote a novel with a fleet of generation ships that involved the training.

  25. @P J Evans: considering the ‘verse she started with, I’m not surprised that Matthews took on that idea.

  26. @2 Le Guin wrote a good novella, “Paradises Lost” about being the fifth generation on a generations ship.

  27. @Chip Hitchcock

    Most generation-ship stories don’t think about what life would really be like if the ship were to survive

    Aurora had quite a bit of generational friction, and Sarah Pinsker’s Wind Will Rove had an interesting and unusual perspective on some of the issues.

  28. @microtherion —

    Sarah Pinsker’s Wind Will Rove had an interesting and unusual perspective on some of the issues.

    Oh, hey — I loved that story, but I had forgotten that she wrote it!

  29. @Contrarius

    Oh, hey — I loved that story, but I had forgotten that she wrote it!

    Music playing a big role is a good clue to her being the author!

  30. @Laura: Guess I need to read more Pinsker – the music was a big part of why I liked “Wind Will Rove” so much.

  31. @Patrick and @Laura —

    I think she may turn out to be another author that I enjoy more in short form than long. I dnfed Song for a New Day because I got bored.

    OTOH, I’ve been thinking recently about how prescient that book was with its talk about social isolation due to plague!

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