Pixel Scroll 4/12/19 Been A Scroll Title. Twice.

(1) STAR WARS TRAILER UNVEILED AT CHICAGO CON. The Hollywood Reporter was at the Star Wars Celebration when the Episode IX trailer was screened.

After a year’s worth of speculation, emcee Colbert, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and filmmaker J.J. Abrams unveiled the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to a packed (and raucous) crowd at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago on Friday.

Among the big reveals is that Emperor Palpatine, the villain played by Ian McDiarmid in the previous two trilogies and thought to be dead, is back — as his laugh is heard at the end of the teaser. McDiarmid also walked out onstage after the trailer and ordered it to be replayed.

Earlier in the panel, Abrams made what might have been a reference to Palpatine, though he didn’t name him.

“This movie, in addition to being the end of three trilogies, it also has to work as its own movie,” said Abrams. “It’s about this new generation and what they’ve inherited, the light and the dark, and asking the question as they face the greatest evil, are they prepared? Are they ready?”

(2) 949. Maybe C-3PO deserves a new number, and not just the strange typo Fansided gives him while declaring “Anthony Daniels is the G.O.A.T. of the Star Wars films”

Daniels is one of the few characters who has appeared in all nine of the Star Wars films, which is a remarkable feat that should be celebrated among the Star Wars universe.

In fact, it was fitting that Daniels would be the first cast member introduced at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago along with R2-D2, the other character to grace every single film. When you think of 3-CPO, you often think of Daniels, and without his unique take on this iconic character, 3-CPO wouldn’t be the beloved character he is today.

(3) PRIEST HONORED. GenCon 2019 has announced Cherie Priest as its Author Guest of Honor.

Gen Con, the largest and longest-running tabletop gaming convention in North America, has named Locus Award-winning and Hugo Award-nominated author Cherie Priest as the event’s 2019 Author Guest of Honor. Ms. Priest will take part in several events as part of the convention’s Writer’s Symposium program, including book signings and appearances.

(4) LOOKS LIKE HECK. NPR’s Chris Klimek’s reaction to Hellboy: “Hell, no!”

Hellboy, despite its colon-free title, is actually the fifth movie starring the good-guy demon hero (if you count the two animated films that featured the same cast as the live-action films made by monsteur auteur Guillermo del Toro in 2004 and 2008) and it’s even more exhausting than this sentence.

Pity. The blue-collar, crimson-skinned agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense — basically a more inclusive version of the Men in Black, with a more casual dress code — is a marvelous character on the page. And because filmmaker del Toro has at least as much affection for 1930s serials and monster movies and European folklore as cartoonist Mike Mignola (Hellboy’s creator) does, his two adaptations of Mignola’s comics were revered. But like most del Toro films they were only moderate box office successes, and the profligate profitability of Marvel movies in the subsequent decade (Hellboy is a creator-owned specimen of IP, outside the Disney megalith) demanded that someone try to tap that rich vein again.

Englishman Neil Marshall would appear to be a sterling candidate: He made a trio of well-regarded low-budget genre flicks and directed two episodes of Game of Thrones, including “Blackwater,” which featured the climactic battle of the series’ second season. The chaotic, repetitive movie he’s given us here calls into question not just his competence but his taste….

(5) NIGHTFIRE BLAZES TO LIFE. “Tom Doherty Associates Announces Nightfire, a New Horror Imprint”Tor.com has the story.

Tom Doherty Associates (TDA) President and Publisher Fritz Foy announced today the creation of NIGHTFIRE, a new horror imprint that will join Tor, Forge, Tor Teen & Starscape, and Tor.com Publishing as part of Tom Doherty Associates.

Foy will be Publisher, and TDA will add dedicated staff in editorial, as well as supplemental staff in marketing and publicity. Under the Nightfire imprint, editors will acquire and publish across the breadth of the genre­—from short story collections to novellas and novels, from standalone works to series, from dark fantasy to the supernatural, from originals to reprints of lost modern classics. In addition to publishing books across all formats (print, audio, and ebook), Nightfire’s releases will also include podcasts, graphic novels, and other media.

(6) FINISHING SCHOOL. Jeff Somers brilliantly envisions “How 15 of Your Favorite Authors Might Finish George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire” at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

Brandon Sanderson
After reviewing George R.R. Martin’s notes, Sanderson announces it will take not two but six more books to finish the story properly. After delivering four 1,000-page tomes, Sanderson himself passes away (buried under a pile of 3,500 manuscript pages for the ninth book in the Stormlight Archive) with the story still incomplete. It is the year 2049. The final two books are completed by Christopher Paolini, working from Sanderson’s notes on Martin’s outlines, and are beamed directly into people’s brains via the NookVR brain uplink.

(7) QUIDDITCH REVISIONISM. Emily Giambalvo in the Washington Post profiles the University of Maryland Quidditch team, currently ranked No. 1 and headed to the national Quidditch Cup in Round Rock, Texas this weekend.  But only a quarter of the quidditch players have read Harry Potter and capes and bristles on the “brooms” are now banned (platers compete with PVC pipes between their legs). “Crab cakes and quidditch: That’s what Maryland does”.

The Maryland quidditch team has a 27-3 record and is ranked No. 1 in the country, but it still exists in relative obscurity. Fellow students walk by the practice without adjusting their pace, but they keep their heads turned toward the training. Sometimes onlookers pull out their phones, capturing what seems like a strange combination between playful chaos and a serious sport.

(8) A LITTLE REVIEW. NPR’s Linda Holmes finds Little: A Wrong-Body Comedy That Can’t Get Comfortable”

Marsai Martin is a star.

If you’ve seen her as Diane, the younger daughter on ABC’s Black-ish, you might already know. Diane is wise, wily, funny and a step ahead of her twin brother, Jack. And while scripts work wonders, you cannot create a character like Diane around an actress who wasn’t yet ten years old when she was cast in the role unless the actress in question has the chops for it. Martin’s first starring role in a film comes in Little, where she holds the screen opposite comedy powerhouses Issa Rae and Regina Hall. What’s more, everyone involved in promoting the movie says it was her idea — which she pitched when she was ten. Now, at 14, she’s an executive producer on the film.

…Unfortunately, the film needs more comedy and more consistency in the comedy it has. When it’s funny, it’s really funny, but it’s not funny frequently enough….

(9) TIME TREKKERS. YouTuber Steve Shives tries to determine “Who Is Actually Star Trek’s Most Reckless Time Traveler?”

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 12, 1884 Bob Olsen. He wrote stories for Amazing Stories, from 1927 to 1936, many of them said to be of humorous inclination. He was one of the first writers to use the phrase ‘space marine’ in a two-story Captain Brink sequence consisting of “Captain Brink of the Space Marines” (November 1932 Amazing) and “The Space Marines and the Slavers” (December 1936 Amazing). I’m fairly sure thathe wrote no novels and less than twenty-four short stories. I do know that severe arthritis curtailed his writing career in 1940. (Died 1956.)
  • Born April 12, 1915 Emil Petaja. An author whose career spanned seven decades who really should be remembered as much for his social circles that included early on as H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and August Derleth which later expanded to include Anthony Boucher, Frank M. Robinson, Poul Anderson, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick and Robert A. Heinlein.  It should not be overlooked that he did write seven novels and around forty short stories during his career with the stories appearing in Weird TalesFantasy and Science FictionFantastic Adventures, Worlds of Tomorrow,  Future Science Fiction Stories and other venues as well. (Died 2000.)
  • Born April 12, 1936 Charles Napier. Well let’s meet Adam on the Trek episode of “The Way to Eden”. Oh, that’s a horrible outfit he’s wearing. Let’s see if he had better genre roles… well he was on Mission: Impossible twice in truly anonymous roles, likewise he played two minor characters on The Incredible Hulk and he did get a character with a meaningful name (General Denning) on Deep Space 9. I surprised to learn that he was General Hardcastle in Superman and Justice League Unlimited series, and also voiced Agent Zed for the entire run of the Men in Black animated series. (Died 2011.)
  • Born April 12, 1958 Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink, 61. A LA-resident con-running fan. She has worked on a variety of conventions, both regionals and Worldcons, frequently in the art shows. She is has been a member of the Dorsai Irregulars. She is married to fellow fan Jerome Scott. Works for NASA where she writes such papers as ‘Measurements of Integration Gain for the Cospas-Sarsat System from Geosynchronous Satellites’.
  • Born April 12, 1971 Shannen Doherty, 48. Prue Halliwell on Charmed. (Watched the first, I think, four seasons. Lost interest at that point.) Her first genre role was voicing a mouse, Teresa Brisby to be exact on The Secret of NIMH. She was Cate Parker in Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys — a film that can’t possibly be as bad as its name, can it? Though I’m willing to bet that Borgore & Sikdope: Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse, an Internet short film, in which she is a News Anchor is every bit as bad as its title! 
  • Born April 12, 1979 Claire Danes, 40. Best known genre role is Kate Brewster in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.  Also was Yvaine in Stardust, a film that’s not even close to its source material. 
  • Born April 12, 1979 Jennifer Morrison, 40. Emma Swan in the Once Upon a Time series, and Winona Kirk, mother of James T. Kirk in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. She also paid her horror dues in Urban Legends: Final Cut as Amy Mayfield, the student videographer whose film goes terribly wrong. I’m intrigued to see that she’s the voice actor for the role of Selina Kyle / Catwoman in the forthcoming Batman: Hush, a film that needs a R rating to be told properly. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • Ziggy makes an out of this world real estate deal.

(12) KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. Popular Mechanics feels “Cave Paintings Suggest Ancient Humans Understood the Stars Much Better Than We Thought”.

Studying cave paintings from Turkey, Spain, France, and Germany, researchers have come to the conclusion that humanity’s ancient ancestors were smarter than previously given credit for. These famed paintings were not simply decorative, a new study says—they represent a complex understanding of astronomy predating Greek civilization.

And the paper their article is based on is just fascinating – the PDF is here: “Decoding European Palaeolithic art: Extremely ancient knowledge of precession of the equinoxes”.

(13) BLACK HOLE PHOTO CREDIT. The Washington Post sets the record straight in “Trolls hijacked a scientist’s image to attack Katie Bouman. They picked the wrong astrophysicist.”

…Identical memes quickly spread across Twitter, where one typical response was, “Andrew Chael did 90% of the work. Where’s his credit?”

But those claims are flat-out wrong, Chael said. He certainly didn’t write “850,000 lines of code,” a false number likely pulled from GitHub, a Web-based coding service. And while he was the primary author of one piece of software that worked on imaging the black hole, the team used multiple different approaches to avoid bias. His work was important, but Bouman’s was also vital as she helped stitch together all the teams, Chael said.

“Katie was a huge part of our collaboration at every step,” Chael said.

In truth, singling out any one scientist in a massive, cross-disciplinary group effort like the Event Horizon Telescope’s project is bound to create misapprehensions. Many who shared an equally viral image of Bouman clutching her hands in joy at the sight of the black hole came away wrongly believing she was the sole person responsible for the discovery, an idea the postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has tried to correct.

(14) TILT THE TABLE, LUKE. Polygon reports “Entire Star Wars Pinball collection coming to Switch, with new modes”.

All 19 tables of Zen Studios’ Star Wars Pinball are coming to Nintendo Switch, with a vertical play mode that takes advantage of the Switch screen’s dimensions when held sideways.

In addition to being sold through the Nintendo eShop, Star Wars Pinball will also get a physical edition release, a first ever for a Zen pinball suite. Star Wars Pinball will launch for Switch on Sept. 13, 2019, the studio/publisher announced today in advance of this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration.

(15) REDFEARN. StokerCon UK, to be held April 16-19, 2020 in Scarborough, has announced its Editor Guest of Honour:

Gillian Redfearn is the Hugo Award-nominated Deputy Publisher of Gollancz, the world’s oldest Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint.

Within five months of joining the Gollancz team as editorial assistant she had commissioned the bestselling First Law trilogy from Joe Abercrombie, swiftly followed by acquiring the UK rights to Patrick Rothfuss’ novels. When she became Editorial Director for the imprint in 2014 she was selected as a Bookseller Rising Star, and two years later Gollancz was shortlisted for best imprint in the Bookseller Awards.

Throughout her career Redfearn has worked across the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres, with bestselling and award winning authors including Ben Aaronovitch, Joe Abercrombie, Aliette de Bodard, Joe Hill, Charlaine Harris, Joanne Harris, Sarah Pinborough, Brandon Sanderson, Alastair Reynolds and Chris Wooding, among many others.

(16) PKD’S LAST BOOK. Electric Lit’s Kristopher Jansma, in “Philip K. Dick’s Unfinished Novel Was a Faustian Fever Dream “, says “the sci-fi author died before he could write ‘The Owl in Daylight,’ but he described trippy plot ideas about aliens, music, and Disneyland.”

On January 10, 1982, the science fiction author Philip K. Dick sat down for an interview with journalist and friend Gwen Lee to discuss The Owl in Daylight, a novel that he’d been composing in his mind since May of the previous year. He wouldn’t finish—or even really begin—the book before his death from a stroke a few weeks later, but the novel he outlined to Lee has had as strange an afterlife as Dick himself.

(17) THEY LOST ON JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter monitored tonight’s Jeopardy! outrage —

Answer: The director of the 2018 version of this 1953 classic said, Yes, books were harmed in the making of this motion picture.

Wrong Question: “What is Burn After Reading”?

(18) WHAT DO THEY KNOW. Heresy! “Coffee not essential for life, Swiss government says”.

The Swiss government wants to put an end to its emergency stockpile of coffee after declaring that it is “not essential” for human survival.

Switzerland began storing emergency reserves of coffee between World War One and World War Two in preparation for potential shortages.

It continued in subsequent decades to combat shortages sparked by war, natural disasters or epidemics.

It now hopes to end the practice by late 2022. But opposition is mounting.

It currently has 15,300 tonnes saved up – that’s enough to last the country three months.

(19) EARLY LEARNING. “Artists draw on Scotland’s Neolithic past” to teach people how to build their own timber circles. Should they be interested, that is…

Artists have drawn on Scotland’s Neolithic past to create a series of new illustrations.

The artwork, which includes a tribe and a guide to building a ceremonial timber circle, is for a free education pack called The First Foresters.

It has been created by Forestry and Land Scotland, formerly Forestry Commission Scotland, and Archaeology Scotland.

The artists were guided by European Neolithic artefacts for their drawings.

…”Alan produced the bulk of the illustrations, including a fantastic image of a decaying timber circle being enclosed by an earthen henge, and a fabulous ‘how to build a timber circle’ instruction sheet.

(20) GUNS & WHAMMO. Apropos of recent discussions here, Evan Allgood shows you what “Poorly Researched Men’s Fiction” looks like, at McSweeney’s.

I had a whole gaggle of 100-point bucks in my sights, sleeping peacefully on their feet, like cows. The way they were lined up, I could take down the whole clan in a single shot of gun, clean through their magnificent oversized brains. That’d be enough (deer) meat to last Nora and the baby through the harsh Amarillo winter. I shifted my weight in my hidey spot, snapping a twig and pouring more pepper on the fire by muttering, “God dammit all to hell.” But like any hunting man worth his salt, I was wearing camouflage — that swirly brown-and-green stuff you sometimes see on bandanas. The deers, famously self-assured creatures, didn’t budge. They were awake now, munching happily on some squirrels they’d killed for food, the carnivores. But now they were the squirrels in this equation, which felt somehow ironic….

(21) UNAIRED. You can see a four-minute clip from an unaired Star Trek pilot filmed in 16mm.

The original print from Star Trek’s 2nd pilot was never aired in this format. Had different opening narration, credits, had acts 1 thru 4 like an old quinn martin show and had scenes cut from aired version and different end credits and music. The original 16mm print is now stored in the Smithsonian

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Darren Garrison.]

64 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/12/19 Been A Scroll Title. Twice.

  1. (21) I always wondered where this came from. I expect I have a copy of it (X*3 VHS generations old) from my friend Mike, who brought it back from one of the many marathon taping sessions his anime pals used to do up in the DC area. Yes! Different music, different shots, some different scenes. Very alternate universe stuff. I haven’t watched the brief clip yet, but I expect it’s a much fresher copy than the one I think is on the other side of yonder wall.

    Remember: When You Scroll Alone, You’re Filing With Hitler!

  2. Only tangentially related, but it’s almost Easter so it’s time for the biannual viewing of The Ten Commandments (on alternate years I watch Ben-Hur).

    Is it just me, or is there a distinct lack of Pharaonic Egyptian-themed epic fantasy and sword & sorcery?

  3. @Joe H
    One of the people I know from elseweb wrote one, “The Fire-Moon”. It’s not exactly Pharaonic Egypt, but it’s close enough. Fantasy, and pretty good. (At the Large South American River, Kobo, and probably others.)

  4. An observation about a potential Scroll Title becomes a Scroll Title–I Double-Dog-Dare you to make this a Scroll Title, too.

  5. Meredith Moment: Walter Jon Williams’ ebook version of Metropolitan is now available from the Usual Suspects for $0.99.

  6. (2) I always liked the familar nicknames in the Star Wars universe, like how Artoo was short for R2-D2 and Threepio was short for C-3PO and Luke Skywalker was short for a storm trooper.

    (8) Little won’t have made it until there is a 17 (and counting!) year long message board thread of people remembering an alternate ending that never existed. (That thread must be read to be believed.)

    Claire Danes: I know her best from My So-Called Life, Romeo + Juliet, and many years ago having a nip-slip on Letterman that the censors missed but I sure didn’t.

  7. @10: the movie of Stardust isn’t as far from its source as I, Robot — but it’s way too far, and mostly in cheap or outright vulgar directions. A pity, but I wonder whether money would have backed a script that looked like the novel.

  8. Chip Hitchcock says the movie of Stardust isn’t as far from its source as I, Robot — but it’s way too far, and mostly in cheap or outright vulgar directions. A pity, but I wonder whether money would have backed a script that looked like the novel.

    There exists a recording of Neil reading Stardust which is far more entertaining that the film ever is. Stardust the film is what happpens when a creator has no control over the final product,

  9. Gaiman was a producer on Stardust and by all the accounts I’ve seen was happy with the script.

    I prefer the movie to the book. The book did a very good job of re-creating a Lord Dunsany feel to the narrative, but I’m not fond of Dunsany.

  10. 2) I seem to recall a long ago Lucas interview where he said his intention was that the droids would be the only characters in “all nine” movies.

  11. You put your right file in, you take your right file out,
    You put your right file in, and you scroll it all about,
    You do the Hixel-Pixel and you change the title round…

    Nah, not meta enough.

  12. Claire Danes is 40? Man, I’m getting old.

    And I’ve had people tell me that Stardust is a perfectly fine move–good, even, if you have no familiarity with the source material. But, well, I’m *very* familiar with the source material–particularly the Charles Vess-illustrated version–so I stayed away.

  13. I did enjoy Stardust the movie (and have been thinking of giving it a rewatch one of these days) but I suspect my enjoyment increases in direct proportion to how long it’s been since I last read the book.

  14. Acoustic Rob says And I’ve had people tell me that Stardust is a perfectly fine move–good, even, if you have no familiarity with the source material. But, well, I’m *very* familiar with the source material–particularly the Charles Vess-illustrated version–so I stayed away.

    It’s a mess even if it wasn’t based off a most excellent novel. It suffers most from no one having any feeling for what Gaiman so gracefully accomplished. It’s just feels soulless.

  15. @Cat Eldridge points to a Gaiman reading of Stardust. I like what I’ve heard of him reading, but it has all been relatively small pieces; there are enough different characters in Stardust that it would be interesting to see how he handles them. I see Amazon has the audiobook available for free trial; can anyone tell me how much sticky crap I’d need to have on my computer to hear this?

    @Acoustic Rob: the movie may be OK by the noisy standards established by the MCU(TM) — or it may not, as what’s left of the story (which has most of the quiet setup of the original) is frequently interrupted by let’s-have-a-crude-joke moments, as if the production team didn’t trust what was left of the story to keep the audience’s attention. I’d go beyond @Cat Eldridge’s response of “soulless” to say “aimless” — they weren’t sure what story to tell and so made a grab-bag that doesn’t do anything well.

  16. I was incredibly charmed when I saw Stardust in the theatre, dragged along by a Michelle Pfeiffer-obsessed friend, and knowing nothing else about it. I later read the book and found it weirdly distant and unemotional to its characters. Definitely prefer the film.

  17. All the Stardust opinions are fascinating! I’m in the group that saw the movie and loved it so much that I decided to read the book. I got bogged down and never finished. Didn’t actively dislike it. Just…didn’t get hooked enough to care if I finished reading it.

  18. Regarding Charles Napier, he was also in The Silence of the Lambs, but I don’t know if everyone thinks of that film as “genre”.

  19. Obviously I can’t talk anyone into liking the Stardust movie, but specifically to the comments about how it would’ve been better if Gaiman had been more involved with it: he’s always said that he likes the movie a lot and that while he deliberately took a hands-off approach to the original script, he did go through the drafts in detail providing feedback that went into the result, but that in cases where Vaughn had a different idea, he felt that Vaughn turned out to be right. Perhaps that’s all British politeness but he has been pretty assertive about it. You can still conclude that maybe he just doesn’t have good taste in movies, but in that case a movie he had full control over might not have been good anyway.

    (Me: liked the movie though not perfect; haven’t been able to get into the book, keep thinking I’ll try again.)

  20. Stardust: Really liked the movie; really liked the book. (I own multiple copies of the book, both in text novel form and in graphic novel form.)

    Obviously, they’re somewhat different (show me a movie that’s exactly the same as the novel it’s based on), but I think they’re both very good.

    But I’m getting really tired of the value judgements on the works that people were in, when their birthday is being announced–whether or not I personally liked the works in question…

  21. HowardB says Regarding Charles Napier, he was also in The Silence of the Lambs, but I don’t know if everyone thinks of that film as “genre”.

    Well The Silence of the Lambs is horror so I suppose that it is genre adjacent at a minimum.

  22. Chip Hitchcock asks @Cat Eldridge points to a Gaiman reading of Stardust. I like what I’ve heard of him reading, but it has all been relatively small pieces; there are enough different characters in Stardust that it would be interesting to see how he handles them. I see Amazon has the audiobook available for free trial; can anyone tell me how much sticky crap I’d need to have on my computer to hear this?

    Assuming that you’re using either a Mac or Windows OS, the best bet is the Audible app which I’ve found the most straight forward one for listening to audiobooks. A trial membership gets you this book for free.

    I’ve been a member for some fifteen years now and find it the best way to satisfy my desire for genre audiobooks. They even allow you to return for full credit books you don’t like.

  23. @Chip —

    “a Gaiman reading of Stardust. I like what I’ve heard of him reading, but it has all been relatively small pieces”

    I’m a hardcore audiobook addict, and I can be very picky about narrators. IMNSHO, Gaiman is an excellent reader — I’ve listened to him do several of his own books.

    “I see Amazon has the audiobook available for free trial; can anyone tell me how much sticky crap I’d need to have on my computer to hear this?”

    Don’t know what you mean by “sticky crap”, but it depends on whether you want to listen on your phone or pad or computer.

    On a Mac laptop with a current OS, you don’t have to have *any* “sticky crap” — you can listen either through iTunes or even right on your desktop. I can’t vouch for PC.

    On your phone or pad, it’s very easy to use the Audible app, though I prefer to use a slightly less convenient method (download to laptop, convert aax file to mp3, then upload to my phone through iTunes) in order to use a different app that I prefer (Bookmobile). But if you want to use the least time-consuming and brain-cell-consuming method, then phone and the Audible app are the way to go.

    Some of the audiobook businesses these days don’t actually let you “own” the files themselves. That is one way amongst several that Audible outshines the pack — you can actually download and keep the files instead of essentially renting them.

  24. @John Lorentz: “I’m getting really tired of the value judgements on the works that people were in, when their birthday is being announced”

    I don’t mind the value judgements on the works per se–I love that sort of thing–but when they start to sound like value judgements on Cat’s hard work, I do mind them, a lot.

  25. I wonder if anyone could help me identify two SF novels from the 1960s or 70s that I read as a kid. I’ve been trying to reconstruct all the stuff I discovered at a particular library, and surprisingly I can remember what nearly all of it was, except these.

    1. The protagonists travel to an alternate world (or other dimension or whatever) where the people are at war with huge blob-like entities that slowly move across the land absorbing everything. They manage to get inside one of them and find that it’s mostly empty space but with organ-like structures here and there; in fact it’s a giant single cell.

    2. Two boys are abducted by a flying saucer which seems to be preparing for an invasion. They realize that the “aliens” are really from Earth: giant intelligent ants that have evolved underground in secret. They manage to get away but I think the implication is that we’ll be conquered by the ants any day now.

    The second one was probably marketed as YA. The first one might have been adult or all-ages; I feel like it was in an Andre Norton style, but not by Norton.

  26. I’m another who liked both the movie and the book Stardust. Though they’re definitely different enough that it’s not surprising that people prefer one over the other. I will say that the book is far better in the illustrated version, which is almost-but-not-quite a graphical novel.

    “Coffee not essential for life, Swiss government says”.

    Blasphemy!

    I mean, yes, technically, you can subsist without coffee–but would anyone actually describe that as a life? 😉

  27. I bought Stardust in its comic-book-style serialised format and loved it. I enjoyed the film but it’s a different creature. Even so, Gaiman works adapt much better between mediums than many other writers.

  28. Thinking about some 80s cult SF movies brought these possible titles to mind:

    No Matter Where You Scroll, There You Are

    Suddenly Someone’ll Say, Like, “Pixel,” or “Scroll,” or “Pixel Scroll” Out Of The Blue, No Explanation.

    A Thousand Naked Pixels Screaming And Throwing Little Scrolls At You

  29. Xtifr sas I’m another who liked both the movie and the book Stardust. Though they’re definitely different enough that it’s not surprising that people prefer one over the other. I will say that the book is far better in the illustrated version, which is almost-but-not-quite a graphical novel.

    Ahhh that’d be the version with the ever so lovely Charkes Vess illustrations. Yep thats the printed version I prefer too. The audio version I prefer is the one where Neil himself reads his tale. I think the plain text version is a bit dry.

  30. With Bob Olsen: A piece of kibble kicking around in my head said that someone wrote “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines.”

  31. An Attempt at Clever that slips over the Scalzi Threshold

    @cmm: How about “Pixel, Pixel, Pixel…. Pixel” “I think he’s Scrolled”

  32. Pixel Scroll title lacks Gravitas.

    Re: Stardust
    I enjoyed both though I prefer the prose version with the beautiful Charles Vess illustrations. It’s more English children’s literature in feel, whereas the movie is more Hollywood.

  33. And to bring it back to a discussion we were having a few days ago, I know Neil Gaiman is a fan of Hope Mirrlees (and wrote an introduction to a recent edition of Lud-in-the-Mist), and Stardust is his most Lud-like novel (and could probably slot comfortably into the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, especially if given a wraparound Gervase Gallardo cover).

  34. @Eli this probably isn’t your book 1 but it is close enough that it might be.

    It’s beyond the Burning Lands, the second in John Christopher’s Prince in Waiting Trilogy.

    It’s a post-apocalyptic series (long after the apocalypse), set in Britain. The characters travel from Southern England into Wales. In Wales, a giant amoeba-like creature attacks the country, slowly moving over the ground absorbing people.

    I think the series would be classed as YA now, but not back in the early ‘70s when they were first published.

    Jo Walton writes about them here:
    Mutants, Treachery, Honour

  35. Stardust: Really liked the movie; really liked the book. (I own multiple copies of the book, both in text novel form and in graphic novel form.)

    Just because my knee jerked —

    There is no graphic novel for of STARDUST. There’s an illustrated novel form — I have a double-page spread from it above my fireplace — but it’s prose with illustrations.

    I’m sure many people would like there to be a graphic novel version, but I think the rights to do that are probably tangled up between Neil, Charles and DC, at least as long as DC keeps the illustrated version in print — and even if they lost those rights, I think it might be a situation where either Charles did it or no one did it.

    But that’s just speculation; I don’t really know.

  36. @Kurt: I understand and sympathize with the knee-jerking, but it is closer to the style and feel of a graphic novel than your typical illustrated novel. Which is why I, at least, said “almost-but-not-quite graphic novel”. It’s not a graphic novel, but it’s graphic-novelish. The art feels integral to the story, which is true of all graphic novels, but only some illustrated books. And, of course, the size and shape means it’s likely to be shelved with graphic novels.

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