Pixel Scroll 3/4/21 And All The Scrolls Are Full Of Pix

(1) SPACE OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY. The virtual Tucson Festival of Books will include a panel “Galactic Empires, Murderbots and More!” with Tochi Onyebuchi, John Scalzi, and Martha Wells on Saturday March 6 at 11:00 a.m. Mountain time. Registration info here.

(2) GUEST WHO? “Star Trek: The Next Generation Almost Featured Robin Williams” at CBR.com.

…One actor the show never snagged, however, was Robin Williams, despite the fact that an episode was written specifically for him and the actor’s passion for the series.

The episode written for Robin Williams was Season 5, Episode 9, “A Matter of Time.” The episode focuses on the time-traveler Berlinghoff Rasmussen, a 26th century historian who traveled back in time to observe Picard and the crew of the Enterprise during a crucial moment. Except Rasmussen didn’t come from the future — he came from the past. He had stolen his time machine and was visiting The Next Generation‘s 24th century in order to steal as much technology as he could and become rich back in his own time….

(3) THE WONDER OF THUNDER. Netflix dropped a trailer for Thunder Force, a superhero comedy with Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer.

(4) HARD SF LAUGHS. “Weir(d) Science: PW Talks with Andy Weir” is a Q&A at Publishers Weekly about the author’s neaw book Project Hail Mary.

How did you decide on the level of humor?

I’m a smartass myself, so smartass comments come naturally to me. For me, humor is like the secret weapon of exposition. If you make exposition funny, the reader will forgive any amount of it. And in science fiction—especially with my self-imposed restriction that I want to be as scientifically accurate as possible—you end up spending a lot of time doing exposition.

(5) FIRST STEP INTO SPACE. In the “ESA – Parastronaut feasibility project”, the European Space Agency will try to develop people with physical disabilities as astronauts. (Click for larger image.)

For the first time in over a decade, ESA is looking for new astronauts. These recruits will work alongside ESA’s existing astronauts as Europe enters a new era of space exploration.

In a first for ESA and human spaceflight worldwide, ESA is looking for individual(s) who are psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to be an astronaut, but have a physical disability that would normally prevent them from being selected due to the requirements imposed by the use of current space hardware.

ESA is ready to invest in defining the necessary adaptations of space hardware in an effort to enable these otherwise excellently qualified professionals to serve as professional crew members on a safe and useful space mission.

… Because we believe that exploration is the matter of a collective effort, we need to extend the pool of talents we can rely on in order to continue progressing in our endeavour. One effective way of doing this is to include more gifted people of different genders, ages and backgrounds, but also people with special needs, people living with physical disabilities.

Right now we are at step zero. The door is closed to persons with disabilities. With this pilot project we have the ambition to open this door and make a leap, to go from zero to one.

…There are many unknowns ahead of us, the only promise we can make today is one of a serious, dedicated and honest attempt to clear the path to space for a professional astronaut with disability.

(6) AN INCREDIBLE CAREER. Sunday Profile: LeVar Burton on YouTube is an interview of Burton (he’s now a grandfather!) by Mo Rocca that aired on CBS Sunday Morning on February 28.

(7) #ILOOKLIKEANENGINEER . S.B. Divya, in “Hard Science Fiction Is Still Overwhelmingly White—But It’s Getting Better” at CrimeReads, says hard sf is becoming more welcoming to women and people of color as engineering and technology become more diverse professions.

…I didn’t start my adult life as a writer. First, I wanted to be a scientist. I went to Caltech to major in astrophysics, got sideswiped by computational neuroscience, and ended up working in electrical and computer engineering. From the moment I set foot on the Caltech campus, to the most recent tech job I held, I found myself and my fellow female engineers vastly outnumbered by our male cohort. Over almost 25 years in the industry, I have not seen these ratios improve. If anything, they’re getting worse.

The same phenomenon appears in so-called “hard science fiction,” which is another label that people attach to Michael Crichton’s novels. This subgenre encompasses stories whose speculative science and technology elements do not put a strain on credibility. (In contrast, see any fiction involving faster-than-light spacecraft, anti-gravity, or time travel.) Here, too, is a domain whose bestsellers are dominated by white men.

We live in the year 2021, and yet we persist in associating certain jobs—and certain types of stories—with specific groups of people. Engineers are Asian; startup CEOs are white. School teachers are women, and academics are men. Unfortunately, many times the statistics bear these out in reality, too. Why do we struggle to break free of these narratives and associations? Because we have so few counterexamples that are publicized. It’s not that they don’t exist, but they do not permeate our popular consciousness. It takes effort to overcome these associations, whether you fit in the stereotyped demographic or not. Without that struggle, the associations become self-fulling prophecies.

(8) ECHO WIFE NEWS. Sarah Gailey’s new book has been optioned – Deadline has the story: “Annapurna To Adapt Sarah Gailey’s Novel ‘The Echo Wife’ For Film”.

After a competitive situation, Annapurna has successfully optioned the rights to bestselling author Sarah Gailey’s most recent novel The Echo Wife and is adapting the book as a feature film.

Gailey will executive produce the project alongside Annapurna….

Hugo Award-winning and bestselling author Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Gailey’s nonfiction has been published by Mashable and The Boston Globe, and won a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Gailey’s fiction credits also include Vice and The Atlantic. The author’s debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, published in 2019.

The Echo Wife was published on Feb. 16 by Tor Books, the science fiction and fantasy division of Macmillan Publishers….

(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • March 4, 1977 — On this day in 1977,  Man From Atlantis premiered. Created by Mayo Simon and Herbert Solow, the pilot was written by Leo Katzin. It starred Patrick Duffy, Belinda Montgomery, Alan Fudge and Victor Bruno. It ran for thirteen episodes that followed four TV movies. It was not renewed for a full season. We cannot offer you a look at it as it’s behind a paywall at YouTube. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born March 4, 1923 Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore CBE HonFRS FRAS. Astronomer who liked Trek and Who early on but said later that he stopped watching when “they went PC – making women commanders.” Despite that, he’s here because he shows up in the debut Eleventh Doctor story, “The Eleventh Hour“. And he was also in the radio version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well. (Died 2012.) (CE)
  • Born March 4, 1933 – Bernie Zuber.  Original vice-president of the Mythopoeic Society.  Early editor of Mythlore.  Founded the Tolkien Fellowships, edited The Westmarch Chronicle.  Guest of Mythcon XIII.  Active in local (Los Angeles) fandom.  (Died 2005) [JH]
  • Born March 4, 1938 Gary Gygax. Game designer and author best known for co-creating  Dungeons & Dragons with Dave Arneson. In addition to the almost beyond counting gaming modules he wrote, he wrote the Greyhawk Adventure series and the Dangerous Journeys novels, none of which is currently in print. (Died 2008.) (CE)
  • Born March 4, 1952 – Richard Stevenson, age 69.  College English teacher of Canada, has also taught in Nigeria, musician with Sasquatch and Naked Ear.  A score of poetry books, memoir Riding on a Magpie Riff.  Six dozen poems for us.  Stephansson Award (Writers Guild of Alberta).  Has published haikusenryu (two Japanese short-poetry forms, unrhymed 5-7-5-syllable lines), tanka (Japanese short-poetry form, unrhymed 5-7-5-7-7-syllable lines).  [JH]
  • Born March 4, 1954 Catherine Anne O’Hara, 67. First genre role role was in the most excellent Beetlejuice filmas artist Delia Deetz followed by being Texie Garcia in Dick Tracy, a film I’ll be damn if I know what I think about. She voices most excellently Sally / Shock bringing her fully to, errr, life in The Nightmare Before Christmas. I see she’s in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events as Justice Strauss. Lastly, and no this is by no means a complete listing of what she has done, she was on Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events as Dr. Georgina Orwell. (CE) 
  • Born March 4, 1965 Paul W. S. Anderson, 55. If there be modern pulp films, he’s the director of them. He’s responsible for the Resident Evil franchise plus Event HorizonAlien V. PredatorPandorum and even Monster Hunter which no, isn’t based off the work of a certain Sad Puppy. (CE) 
  • Born March 4, 1966 Paul Malmont, 55. Author of the comic strips, The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril and Jack London in Paradise which blends pulp tropes and SF elements including using as protagonists Heinlein and Asimov. He wrote the first four issues of DC Comics’ Doc Savage series with artist Howard Porter. (CE) 
  • Born March 4, 1969 – Sarah Bernard, age 52.  Half a dozen books for us.  Did her own cover for this one.  Has read a Complete Sherlock Holmes, three by Julian May, a dozen by Anne McCaffrey.  [JH]
  • Born March 4, 1973 – Marco Zaffino, age 48.  Author, filmmaker, musician; some for us e.g. Pure Bred Chihuahua.  Things can be unclear at borders (perhaps why those bookshops closed); see this Website.  These Sentries might be ours.  [JH]
  • Born March 4, 1973 Len Wiseman, 48. Producer or Director on the Underworld franchise. Also involved in StargateIndependence DayMen in Black and Godzilla in the Property Department. Sleepy Hollow series creator and producer for much of it, wrote pilot as well. Producer for much of the Lucifer seriesas well and is the producer for the entire series of Swamp Thing. Also produced The Gifted. (CE)
  • Born March 4, 1982 – Maggie Lehrman, age 39.  One novel for us; another outside our field, reviewed by Kirkus as “An earnest high school romp” which I guess leaves ML feeling as I did when someone – who as I’ve said is still my friend – described me as an earnest man in a propeller beanie, I mean what do you want?  Anyway, Website here. [JH]
  • Born March 4, 1982 – Lauren Miller, age 39.  Two novels for us, one other; now working on another as L. McBrayer.  She says “writing and seeing and being.  I have come to believe that there is magic to be found if we can learn to do all three at the same time.”  [JH]

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) SEUSS ON THE LOOSE. The New York Times’ coverage — “Dr. Seuss Books Are Pulled, and a ‘Cancel Culture’ Controversy Erupts” – includes these interesting sales figures.

…Classic children’s books are perennial best sellers and an important revenue stream for publishers. Last year, more than 338,000 copies of “Green Eggs and Ham” were sold across the United States, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks the sale of physical books at most retailers. “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” sold more than 311,000 copies, and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” — always popular as a high school graduation gift — sold more than 513,000 copies.

“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” one of the six books pulled by the estate, sold about 5,000 copies last year, according to BookScan. “McElligot’s Pool” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” haven’t sold in years through the retailers BookScan tracks. Putting the merits of the books aside, removing “Green Eggs and Ham” would be a completely different business proposition from doing away with new printings of “McElligot’s Pool.” (Though the news that the books would be pulled caused a burst of demand, and copies of “Mulberry Street” were listed on eBay and Amazon for hundreds or thousands of dollars on Wednesday.)

(13) MISSION UNPOSSIBLE. Science Fiction 101 is a new podcast by Phil Nichols and Colin Kuskie: “It’s Alive: Science Fiction 101 first episode!” Their first mission, should they choose to accept it, is to define the term!

In this debut episode, your friendly hosts Phil Nichols and Colin Kuskie first attempt to define “science fiction”. If you want to know more about this thorny subject, check out Wikipedia’s attempt to do the very same thing. Or, for a more in-depth discussion, check out what the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has to say on the subject.

(14) PIECES OF EIGHT. The latest episode of Octothorpe is now available – “26: I’m Not Even a Single-Tasker”

John [Coxon] is an annoying prick, Alison [Scott] is not sure she’s staying sane, and Liz [Batty] is going to a beach. We discuss all the news from Eastercon, going to Picocon, and then look back on Punctuation before staying sane in the apocalypse.

(15) NOT ULTRAVIOLENCE BUT HYPERVIOLENCE. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna interviews Keanu Reeves, who co-created with Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney BRZRKR, a 12-issue comic published by Boom! Studios. “Keanu Reeves on the joy of writing his first comic book: ‘Why not? That sounds amazing!’”

… To dramatize this “Highlander”-meets-“Logan” fighter during the Boom! introductions, Reeves stood and acted out potential scenes, even flashing some fighting moves — pitch meeting as full-body immersion. The approach was similar to when Reeves first met with Pixar for “Toy Story 4,” striking action poses to play Duke Caboom. “I’ll get in touch with a feeling or thought — or a feeling-thought,” says the bearded Reeves, wearing a black Levi’s jacket and starkly backdropped by a near-white wall — Zoom room as Zen room. “I’ll express it and it tends to come out through the filter of the character.”

“BRZRKR” opens with maximum carnage and minimal verbiage. The creative team promises more textured themes are on the horizon. Discussing the comic’s scope, Reeves riffs until he’s in full mellifluous monologue: “We do want to take on morality, ethics, peacetime, war, violence, whose side, what’s right, what’s wrong, truth, fiction, memory, what do we believe in, who are we, with not only violence but also love — and then our own identities and who we are as humans.” Whoa.

(16) STARSHIP EXPLODES AFTER LANDING. “SpaceX Starship appears to ace touchdown, then explodes in Texas test flight”KTLA has the story.

SpaceX’s futuristic Starship looked like it aced a touchdown Wednesday, but then exploded on the landing pad with so much force that it was hurled into the air.

The failure occurred just minutes after SpaceX declared success. Two previous test flights crash-landed in fireballs.

The full-scale prototype of Elon Musk’s envisioned Mars ship soared more than 6 miles after lifting off from the southern tip of Texas on Wednesday. It descended horizontally over the Gulf of Mexico and then flipped upright just in time to land.

The shiny bullet-shaped rocketship remained intact this time at touchdown, prompting SpaceX commentator John Insprucker to declare, “third time’s a charm as the saying goes” before SpaceX ended its webcast of the test.

But then the Starship exploded and was tossed in the air, before slamming down into the ground in flames.

(17) BY THE SEA. You can read the introductory paragraphs to an article about mermaids here — “Splash by Marina Warner – the rest of the article is behind a paywall at the New York Review of Books.

In l819 the French inventor Cagniard de La Tour gave the name sirène to the alarm he had devised to help evacuate factories and mines in case of accident—in those days all too frequent. The siren, or mermaid, came to his mind as a portent, a signal of danger, although it might seem a contradiction, since the sirens’ song was fatal to mortals: in the famous scene in the Odyssey, Odysseus ties himself to the ship’s mast to hear it, and orders his men to plug their ears with wax and ignore him when he pleads to be set free to join the singers on the shore. Homer does not describe these irresistible singers’ appearance—only their flowery meadow, which is strewn with the rotting corpses of their victims—but he tells us that their song promises omniscience: “We know whatever happens anywhere on earth.” This prescience inspired Cagniard: he inverted the sirens’ connection to fatality to name a device that gives forewarning.

In Greek iconography, the sirens are bird-bodied, and aren’t instantly seductive in appearance but rather, according to the historian Vaughn Scribner in Merpeople, “hideous beasts.” A famous fifth-century-BCE pot in the British Museum shows Odysseus standing stiffly lashed to the mast, head tilted skyward, his crew plying the oars while these bird-women perch around them, as if stalking their prey: one of them is dive-bombing the ship like a sea eagle. An imposing pair of nearly life-size standing terracotta figures from the fourth century BCE, in the collection of the Getty Museum, have birds’ bodies and tails, legs and claws, and women’s faces; they too have been identified as sirens… 

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. It’s “FallonVision” with Elizabeth Olsen on The Tonight Show. “Jimmy Fallon’s ‘WandaVision’ spoof with Elizabeth Olsen alters our pandemic reality”.

Jimmy Fallon took viewers on a journey through the decades of talk-show history while spoofing “WandaVision” this week. Because after all, what is “The Tonight Show” if not the tradition of late-night TV persevering?

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

109 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/4/21 And All The Scrolls Are Full Of Pix

  1. I suspect that most of the withdrawn Dr. Seuss books will be back on sale within the year, just with a few lines of text cut and an illustration or two removed.

  2. Joshua K. says I suspect that most of the withdrawn Dr. Seuss books will be back on sale within the year, just with a few lines of text cut and an illustration or two removed.

    I don’t see any reason to believe that. The Seuss organisation is being honest why they withdrew the books from circulation and see no reason that they’ll modify that decision. The books themselves are hardly major Seussian works by any stretch of the imagination.

  3. I don’t think Seuss’s first book will be left out of print permanently. The other five, maybe. But I don’t see it with To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.

  4. John A Arkansawyer says
    I don’t think Seuss’s first book will be left out of print permanently. The other five, maybe. But I don’t see it with To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.

    Why? The Seuss folk made it really clear what they were doing and why. Why should they change their minds later on this work?

  5. @Cat Eldridge: They changed their mind about having it in print. Why shouldn’t they change their mind again? Especially if the money is right or the mores change. It’s not like there’s some obvious moral difference between withdrawing a book and editing a book. Which one is the better path may look different in five years.

  6. As to To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, even if it’s left OOP permanently by those in charge of the estate, it’s already PD in much of the world and will be PD in the US under current copyright law in a dozen years or so. Who knows what will happen in the interim? Not me-my crystal ball is in for repairs.

  7. @Robert Reynolds
    Even if the book goes out of copyright, “Dr. Seuss” will still be a controlled trademark.

  8. I don’t see the problem with minor touch ups/deletions and am all for children’s books evolving with the times, and you would hardly want to give a child of the 21st century an exclusive diet of books written 80 or a hundred years ago. But I looked up a second lesser blacklisted title, On Beyond Zebra! and I don’t really buy that it is acceptable to let these be banned because of their lesser work status or that sales have been poor – there’s genius even in some of the little known ones.

    The issue for this one appears to be that (in the middle of 30 pages of general wild weirdness, imaginary alphabets and wildly silly creatures) Dr. Seuss introduced a specifically middle-eastern themed silly creature, Spazzim, belonging to the Nazzim of Bazzim, convenient for travel because its horns held: thread and needle for sock mending, toothbrush, cup, two three-handed clocks, velvet umbrella, vegetable chopper, gold-plated popping-corn popper, grasshopper cage for favorite grass hopper.

    I note the company statement not only said “these books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong” but also that ceasing sales of six “is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”

    There’s such a strong classical liberal current running through all his children’s writing that it is very hard to argue the books are racist. But one has to admit that, although naturally no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches, at the same time, I won’t eat this strange food on a boat or with a goat… OK, so I like it after all, but hey, take a gander at all of these weird, exotic, foreign places.

    I’m starting to suspect the company is actually planning to make additional modifications to text/illustrations to add more explicit multicultural elements into the existing books beyond what is currently there (which is, often as not, far-off land exoticism, if anything). How else would they ensure the catalog “represents” all communities?

  9. Bill says Even if the book goes out of copyright, “Dr. Seuss” will still be a controlled trademark

    I believe that means that the works themselves cannot be published as Dr. Seuss cannot be used without the permission of the Seuss organisation.

  10. Yes, it can simply be published with Geisel, just as other works in the public domain are credited to their authors.

  11. ROBERT REYNOLDS saysYes, it can simply be published with Geisel, just as other works in the public domain are credited to their authors.

    Sorry, Theodore Seuss Geisel is also trademarked by the Seuss organisation. Indeed they license his name and likeness out to the American Library Association for an Award they do. So no, they’re not free to do that.

  12. I stand corrected. For a period of years after the author’s death, 70 years in CA, IIRC, there’s a “right of publicity” protecting his name, likeness or persona being used for publicity purposes without permission from the owner of the rights. The work in the public domain is available once it’s no longer under copyright, but it cannot appear under his name without permission so long as the protection of the name is in place. Thank you for the correction.

  13. Actuallyl likeness otrademarks which is what this would fall under have no limitations and can be renewed as long as the holder wishes. So both Theodore Seuss Geisel and his creations are protected by trademark so long as the Seuss organisation so deems it a Necessary Thing.

  14. @Cat Eldridge

    Sorry, Theodore Seuss Geisel is also trademarked by the Seuss organisation.

    Yes, the award is trademarked.

    But that means that you can’t name an award that, or name it something so close as to cause confusion. It doesn’t mean that you can’t publish a book under the name “Theodor Geisel” — the goods and services being trademarked don’t include books. (I was searching for “Geisel”, and was surprised that the name wasn’t trademaked by Seuss Enterprises.)

  15. jayn says Then I guess they could leave the name of the author off the works entirely?

    You could but they’ve trademarked the characters within the works as well. I can’t say without checking that they’ve trademarked every character but certainly did major ones so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they did the minor ones as well.

    Why are y’all so determined that work that the Seuss folk want out of circulation be back in circulation?

  16. Because despite copyright laws, culture belongs to everyone. See, for example, fan fiction.

  17. Brian Z.: I looked up a second lesser blacklisted title… and I don’t really buy that it is acceptable to let these be banned

    You obviously don’t understand the meaning of the words “blacklisted” and “banned”.

    The Suess works in question have neither been blacklisted or banned, they have been withdrawn from print by their owners.

    And it doesn’t matter whether you accept their reasoning for that or not, you don’t get to have a say in it.

  18. bill: The court doesn’t seem to share your culture-belongs-to-everyone mantra — remember the recently throttled Seuss/Star Trek mashup.

  19. @Cat Eldridge
    Speaking strictly for myself, I don’t. But I assume when copyrights expire the books will be probably back in some form or other. Just wondering what forms that might legally be.

  20. bill says Because despite copyright laws, culture belongs to everyone. See, for example, fan fiction.

    No, it doesn’t. Culture is a complex thing entangled in layers of legal complexity. And rightfully so. Because authors and other creators need to get rightfully compensated in order for us to enjoy what they’ve created. Besides most fan fiction sucks.

  21. Cat Eldridge on March 6, 2021 at 4:17 pm said:

    bill says Because despite copyright laws, culture belongs to everyone. See, for example, fan fiction.

    No, it doesn’t. Culture is a complex thing entangled in layers of legal complexity. And rightfully so. Because authors and other creators need to get rightfully compensated in order for us to enjoy what they’ve created. Besides most fan fiction sucks.

    Wait. Wait wait wait.

    puts two and two together and gets…

    Is THIS why Matt Yglesius is on Twitter pissing off authors by declaring that copyright should expire after 30 years?

    Was it the Seuss fauxtroversy that inspired his hot-like-a-dumpster-fire take on copyright? Like, reasonable people said, “Look, the books aren’t banned; the copyright holder withdrew them from publication. As is their right, as copyright holder,” and the kneejerk reaction was, “Well, then, obviously the real problem is that they’re still the copyright holder at all. If each Dr. Seuss book had fallen into the public domain three decades after first being published, we wouldn’t be enduring this travesty of free speech right now.”

    facepalm

    If everybody doesn’t cut the stupidity out I swear I am going to turn this car around.

  22. @Mike – No doubt. But Cat has expressed support for fanfic previously, so I was just showing that a strict respect for creator’s rights and desires isn’t always prioritized around here.

  23. bill says No doubt. But Cat has expressed support for fanfic previously, so I was just showing that a strict respect for creator’s rights and desires isn’t prioritized around here.

    Fanfic is fine so long as the creator of the original fiction is comfortable with it. If that creator isn’t, that the creators of fanfic should respect that.

    I’m not where your last statement is coming from. I know that the overwhelming majority of Filers respect creator’s rights and desires.

  24. bill: What is your definition of a “strict respect for creator’s rights and desires,” and do you advocate that people adhere to your definition? Only a few hours ago you wrote “Because despite copyright laws, culture belongs to everyone.” The two statements need reconciling.

  25. “Blacklist” and “banned” are inappropriate? There was a literal outside committee brought in and convened for the literal purpose of producing a literal list of books with marks against them. (Not even a committee of educators – the statement suggests a token number of those were involved!) Used book markets are removing the books and placing would be sellers on hate watch lists.

    And the unquestionable right to opaquely form an anonymous outside committee of non-educators to forever vanquish the Spazzim and its gold-plated popper lies solely with a literal wartime Nazi foundation. Oh the places we’ll go.

    As for “having a say”, I’m not a big fan of publisher boycotts, unlike some around here, but this is pretty serious. At least go to a library, make a high-res scan of your favorite title, print up nicely and gift to some parent who was laid off due to Covid-level serious.

  26. Brian Z.: At least go to a library, make a high-res scan of your favorite title, print up nicely and gift to some parent

    You say that you’re not a fan of boycotts, but clearly you’re a fan of piracy. 🙄

  27. A public call for a boycott of Bertelsmann would be more “legal” than a call for civil disobedience through charitable citizen photography. Not more ethical, in my opinion. It was a pipe dream to think anyone could tack Seuss Enterprises to move in the same direction as the dead author’s vision. Now that it is privately owned by a Nazi organization, you can argue that non-commercial, non-criminal piracy is wrong until you are blue in the face.

  28. Brian Z.: civil disobedience through charitable citizen photography

    The word you’re looking for is “piracy”.

     
    Brian Z.: the dead author’s vision

    You’re in no position to say what the dead author’s vision was.

     
    Brian Z.: privately owned by a Nazi organization

    The article to which you link debunks your own claim.

    You’re still as dishonest as ever. It’s a mystery to me why Mike took you off his Banned list.

  29. Brian Z says A public call for a boycott of Bertelsmann would be more “legal” than a call for civil disobedience through charitable citizen photography. Not more ethical, in my opinion. It was a pipe dream to think anyone could tack Seuss Enterprises to move in the same direction as the dead author’s vision. Now that it is privately owned by a Nazi organization, you can argue that non-commercial, non-criminal piracy is wrong until you are blue in the face.

    Though JJ said it, I’m going to repeat it here. It’s outright lie that Bertelsmann is owned by a Nazi organisation and any who knows German history would know that’s a lie as the Nazi party is officially outlawed in German. You’re officially a frelling idiot.

    Second she’s right. I’ve no idea why OGH unbanned you as you stink, stank, stunk. I’ve seen brighter lifeforms in the litter box of my cat.

  30. Fanfiction isn’t trying to profit and fanfiction doesn’t copy or pirate anything but produces its own original works. There’s a reason I call it “transformative works fandom” and not “stealing stuff fandom” or “photocopying library books fandom” – its inherent nature is one of creation, and we care about owning our stuff too. Different standards for different actions. Leave us out of your attempts to justify wrestling copyright out of the rights owners hands, your objections to them having control of their own property have nothing to do with us.

  31. But Cat has expressed support for fanfic previously, so I was just showing that a strict respect for creator’s rights and desires isn’t always prioritized around here.

    I don’t know why you dug up that two-year-old comment from Cat, but it doesn’t advocate anything against the rights or desires of a creator. It seems like you’re just trolling by taking positions you don’t actually hold. Perhaps the discussion would be more productive if you didn’t do that.

  32. Is THIS why Matt Yglesius is on Twitter pissing off authors by declaring that copyright should expire after 30 years? Was it the Seuss fauxtroversy that inspired his hot-like-a-dumpster-fire take on copyright?

    I don’t think Yglesias would need Seuss panic to inspire a hot take on shortening copyright. I’ve been seeing those since the Sonny Bono act, though these folks more often advocate the original 28-year copyright (14 plus 14) , since that was good enough for the founders by gum.

    Of course back then the average life expectancy was 40.

  33. rcade says I don’t know why you dug up that two-year-old comment from Cat, but it doesn’t advocate anything against the rights or desires of a creator. It seems like you’re just trolling by taking positions you don’t actually hold. Perhaps the discussion would be more productive if you didn’t do that.

    I’ve said before, and I’ll repeat it again here, that I’ve nothing against fanfic provided that the creator of the original fiction signs off on the use of the characters and settings for use in fanfic. If they don’t, than everyone should respect that.

    I don’t read fanfic myself but that is more because there’s not enough time in the day to read all the professionally written fiction I’d like to read now without dipping into the universe of amateur fiction. If I want badly written fanfic, I could read some of the stuff over on Baen Books I suppose…

  34. @Brian: Do you fail at reading or history? Yes Bertelsman, had a problematic history from 1933-1945.
    That is normal for a german buisness, which was active then.
    They are working from the article, that you linked to get this history in the open.

    Re Seus: You don’t have a right that a company sells a product, that you want to buy. It is their choice if they sell it (writers have pulled embarasing works before, it is their choice) so you are only producing wordselat.

  35. I suspect strongly that Dr. Seuss didn’t want anyone who wasn’t him altering his books or illustrations, and that would likely show up in his estate. This would both explain why he himself tweaked “Chinaman” AND why the estate is choosing to withdraw, not alter. if they come back in 5 years with “revised” versions, I’ll cede to being wrong. And Fox and its ilk will have ANOTHER censorship fit, but unlike this one, it won’t involve mass buying of titles that are still in prints, so I doubt we’ll see it.

    It’s interesting for me. My son’s birthday is coming up, and I had been considering looking up some of Seuss’s less known works in new and used bookstores now some of those are open again around here, including MacElligot’s Pool by name. However, having already been burned by the truly dreadful awfulness of those key pages of “If I Ran the Zoo” I was planning to check each one over for its content first. Then, literally a week later, all this.

    (The one I DID get was “Did I ever Tell you How Lucky You Are?” We already had “I had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew” which Naomi Kritzer cited as one of his lesser known works but deserving of attention, and she’s right.)

  36. Apropos of Seuss and the return of formerly banned trolls: It is very hard to unthunk a Glunk, but it can, with proper assistance, be done.

    (Not the best Seuss in terms of gender dynamics–not a lot of Seuss is great at gender dynamics, I have to admit–but one of my favorites conceptually, given my choice to go into the career category of Thinker-Upper.)

  37. @Mike — my two comments were meant only to respond to Cat’s question:
    “Why are y’all so determined that work that the Seuss folk want out of circulation be back in circulation?”
    Because I/we grew up with Seuss, have affection for his works, and consider it a part of my/our culture. And to the extent we identify with it, an attack on it is an attack on us. This is an emotional statement more than a reasoned one — obviously some of the withdrawn material is racist, and racism is wrong, and I don’t maintain that there is anything good about (for example) the drawings of the Africans in If I ran the Zoo. (OTOH, I still don’t see anything wrong at all about Scrambled Eggs Super, and I think anyone who is bothered by “Spazz” in context is looking for a reason to be offended.)

    Do I want the work to be back into circulation? Well, some of it, sure. I think it was a mistake to make a public issue of withdrawing it, and I think when ebay bans the sales of them, they are wrong. If Seuss Ent. had said that future releases would include a statement along the lines of “These works are a product of a different time. They contain depictions that were wrong when they were made, and are wrong now. They don’t represent the attitudes of Seuss Ent. Parents and educators should use these depictions as teachable moments, and should also use the works as a whole to show that there is good and bad in everyone and everything.”, then I could get behind that 100%.

    Part of my negative reaction to the whole contretemps is that I don’t like book banning. I think that book banners are bad people. History bears this out. Book banners are always the bad guys, and never the good guys. “I am going to keep you from being able to read this” is always a bad look. If they had quietly let the books go out of print, as publishers do all the time, that would have been a routine business decision. But they made a political statement out of it, and I disagree with the thinking behind the statement.

    Re: rights and fanfic. I see a conflict between the belief that Seuss Ent. has absolute authority to control the distribution of the Seuss works (which is a true statement) and the belief that fanfic is a good thing. Fanfic is predicated on the idea that fans have sufficient interest in characters and universes that they can make up their own stories without the explicit permission of the real creators.
    As far as my own beliefs: Seuss Ent. has the right to do what they are doing, but not everything legal is the best thing to do; I don’t read fanfic, but a world in which it exists is better than a world in which it can’t; copyright laws are too restrictive (Bono act was bad, life+70 is too much, fair use should be bigger, and should be pretty liberal when a rights owner is holding back a work — copyright laws should work in the direction of putting work out, not restricting them).

    @JJ

    You’re in no position to say what the dead author’s vision was.

    Maybe not, but we do know that despite his own recognition that some of his early work was very racist, he was fine with these six books staying in print (although he did make minor changes to one of them.)

    @Meredith

    Fanfiction isn’t trying to profit and fanfiction doesn’t copy or pirate anything but produces its own original works.

    Which is absolutely irrelevant to whether or not it violates copyright. Nonprofit works still violate copyright. Derivative works still violate copyright.

  38. bill:

    If Seuss Ent. had said that future releases would include a statement along the lines of “These works are a product of a different time. They contain depictions that were wrong when they were made, and are wrong now. They don’t represent the attitudes of Seuss Ent. Parents and educators should use these depictions as teachable moments, and should also use the works as a whole to show that there is good and bad in everyone and everything.”, then I could get behind that 100%.

    The problem with this is that this kind of disclaimer works for older kids, teens, and adults, but has nothing to do with how younger kids’ brains work. They are learning the world from what they see and read, and they don’t divide good from bad with any nuance. This is the same reason I am not impressed by people saying “But I read Huckleberry Finn at 12 and I got that some of what he wrote used a bad word….”

    My son is 5. He is the only white person in his kindergarten class, including the teacher. It would be very hard for me to say that the 38 pages of this book he liked are good, but this 39th and 40th are bad.

  39. @bill

    If you can’t understand the difference between “a rights owner gets to control their own work” and “a rights owner gets to control everyone else’s work” or why someone might reasonably treat them differently, then I don’t really know how to explain it to you.

  40. I understand it is hard to believe what they got away with, but Bertelsmann attained global domination of the publishing industry with relatively few hiccups specifically because they lied at every turn, pretending to have been a victim of the Nazis when they were Hitler’s biggest publisher (I could say more but you can look all that up). Longtime Jewish-run Random House, which the Geisel family had trusted for 50 years and sold their rights to, should never have been taken in by that act, and should never have been acquired by them. When all this came out, Bertelsmann stitched together a new fig leaf narrative, claiming for example that the son who ran it for so long had not the faintest clue of what really happened despite his signature being on documents. I don’t see how a company with that record has any business forming anonymous committees that (effectively) “blacklist” books, particularly at a time when the giants like ebay and Amazon are amping their censorship. And what’s next, after Seuss?

    Not to mention, wishing for respect for the creators/rights holders in this kind of context is sadly an exercise in futility.

  41. Brian Z.: I could say more but you can look all that up

    No. It is not the job of anyone else here to find citations which support your spurious and twisted claims.

    It’s your job to provide citations which actually back up the rubbish you’ve posted (and the earlier link you provided did just the opposite).

  42. @Brian Z: It’s easy to understand how this happened. In postwar Germany, there were a huge number of people dancing the “I Am Not a Nazi Polka.” I’m sure this Bertelsmann racket, er, firm and its top people were dancing very enthusiastically, too.

  43. This is my last comment in direction of Brian, I will keep an eye out, if other comments I think I should address, pop up.

    Just to make it clear, we are talking about how people reacted during a time that was more than 75 years ago, a treaty that was 50 years ago, meaning that someone should never act again, today.
    Actually what is the difference between Bertelsman and other german firms, that existed then? (echoing Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson)
    What right do you give a german to speak here on the board, btw? (Full disclosure I am not sure how much guilt there is on my family exspecially on one site. I have someone, who could be considered a criminal in my extended family, he has never seen a court, because he was taken and never seen again after the war)

  44. Lis Carey says The Seuss copyrights are owned by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, i.e., the Geisel estate. Not by Bertelsmann.

    Copyrights of works are rarely owned by corporations. The overwhelming majority are held by the creators or by their heirs. It’s small-scale capitalism on a widespread basis.

  45. Lis, thank you for offering the clarification. What rights were aquired by Random House/Bertelsmann at various points along the way is murky. The ownership of Seuss Enterprises L.P. is murky. (BTW on LinkedIn its CEO called it a $7 billion global business – not “small scale capitalism” by any stretch.) Some of the recent press said Seuss Enterprises is part of Random House, but that seems way oversimplified or wrong. But it’s clear they cooperate very closely and Bertlesmann isn’t halting publication of Seuss books published continuously since the 50s without being involved in the process. I know I’m a terrible cynic, but this is nontransparent and weird and not a simple case of an author estate stating its wishes, no matter how much the institutions involved wish it to appear as such in a press release.

    (On how Random House got tricked into the acquisition, I’ll just clarify I mean that deceit and silencing of investigations happened recently, not just during or right after the war.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.