Pixel Scroll 4/26/19 UnPixelish BeScrolling

(1) A MOLE IN BLACK. If everyone could just look right here… Men In Black arrives in theaters June 14.

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

(2) SPECULATIVE LITERATURE FOUNDATION. The application period for the Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds begins May 1 and runs until July 31, 2019. Full application guidelines here.

The $500 Diverse Writers grant is intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing / publishing process.

The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background.

(3) HWA MENTOR OF THE YEAR. The Horror Writers Association has named its “2018 Mentor of the Year Award – JG Faherty”.

The Mentor of the Year Award was established in 2016 to recognize a writer who has offered extraordinary service to the Horror Writers Association’s Mentor Program, which pairs newer writers with more established writers. Mentors work with their mentees on developing their craft and their business, in the interest of assisting writers in establishing careers.

The year, the Mentor Program Chair has chosen JG Faherty as the 2018 Mentor of the Year.

Upon hearing news of the award, JG said, “It’s really an honor to be chosen as Mentor of the Year. I am a firm believer that the Mentorship program is one of the most important benefits of membership we have, and under Brian Hatcher’s guidance, it’s reached new heights of success. Way, way back in the dark ages (2007 or so), I was a mentee, working on my first novel. I got lucky enough to be paired with then-president Deborah LeBlanc as my mentor. She helped me immensely with my novel and several short stories, and in the process became a friend as well. Without her help, I might never have sold that first book. Because of her, and because of other people in the organization who’ve taught me that giving back is one of the most important things Active members can do, I signed up as a mentor the moment I earned my Active status. My goal is to help each of my mentees the way Deb helped me, because that’s what writers should be doing, helping other writers succeed. And I’m happy to say that along the way, I’ve made several more friends. What could be better?”

You can follow him at www.twitter.com/jgfaherty, www.facebook.com/jgfaherty, and www.jgfaherty.com.

(4) TODAY’S DAY

April 26: Did you know April 26 was “Alien Day” since Alien was released on April 26, 1979? In the Yahoo! Entertainment story “#AlienDay:  James Cameron On How He Expanded The Universe in Aliens and Where The Franchise Went Wrong,” Ethan Alter interviews James Cameron, who said that David Fincher shouldn’t have killed off the characters played by Lance Henriksen and Carrie Henn in Aliens and that he considers Alien 3 a “brilliant failure.”

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Baptism today – April 26, 1564: William Shakespeare. World’s greatest playwright and perhaps one of our earliest fantasy writers. 
  • Born April 26, 1914 H. L. Gold. Best known for launching Galaxy Science Fiction in 1950, which was soon followed by its companion magazine, Beyond Fantasy Fiction which lasted but several years. He was not a prolific writer having published but two novels, None but Lucifer with L. Sprague de Camp and A Matter of Form, plus a generous number of short stories. None but Lucifer didn’t see printing in novel form until 2002. (Died 1996)
  • Born April 26, 1922 A. E. van Vogt. Ok, I admit it’s been so long since I read that I was fascinated by the wiki page who noted that Damon  Knight took a strong dislike to his writing whereas Philip K. Dick and Paul Di Filippo defended him strongly. What do y’all think of van Vogt? (Died 2000.)
  • Born April 26, 1943 Bill Warren. American film historian, critic, and one of the leading authorities on science fiction, horror, and fantasy films. He wrote the script for the murder mystery Fandom is a Way of Death set at the 42nd World Science Fiction Convention which was hosted by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society which he and his wife were very much involved in. His 1968 short story “Death Is a Lonely Place” would be printed in the first issue of the magazine Worlds of Fantasy. During the Seventies, he also wrote scripts for Warren Publishing’s black-and-white comic books Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. His film reference guide Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties would be revised and expanded several times. (Died 2016.)
  • Born April 26, 1955 Brad W. Foster, 64. From 1987 to 1991 he was a regular contributing illustrator to the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. In 2008 he began producing illustrations for the newsletter Ansible, creating a full color version for the on-line edition, and a different black-and-white version for the print edition. He won an amazing eight Hugo Awards for Best Fan Artist! 
  • Born April 26, 1961 Joan Chen, 58. You’ll remember her from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and the tv series as Jocelyn ‘Josie’ Packard, and probably less so as Ilsa Hayden in the first Judge Dredd film. I certainly don’t. She was Madame Ong in Avatar. No, not that film, is a Singaporean sf film from twenty years back. She was the first customer on the very short-lived Nightmare Cafe series. 

(6) POUND FOOLISH? “Shut up very much,” may have been the message on their pink slips: “After Pentagon Ends Contract, Top-Secret Scientists Group Vows To Carry On”.

A secretive group of scientists who advise the U.S. government on everything from spy satellites to nuclear weapons is scrambling to find a sponsor after the Defense Department abruptly ended its contract late last month.

The group, known as the Jasons, will run out of money at the end of April. The Pentagon says that the group’s advice is no longer needed, but independent experts say it has never been more relevant and worry the department is throwing away a valuable resource.

Russell Hemley, the head of the Jasons, says that other government agencies still want advice and that the Jasons are determined to give it.

…The Jasons group comprises about 60 members. By day, they’re normal academics, working at colleges and universities and in private industry. But each summer, they come together to study tough problems for the military, intelligence agencies and other parts of the government.

…”The department remains committed to seeking independent technical advice and review,” Pentagon spokesperson Heather Babb said. But Aftergood sees another reason for the end of the relationship. He says that the Jasons are a blunt bunch. If they think an idea is dumb or won’t work, they aren’t afraid to say so.

“They were offering the opposite of cheerleading,” he says. “And DOD decided that maybe they didn’t want to pay for that any longer.”

(7) THE BUZZ. NPR will clue you in —“How Do Mosquitoes Taste DEET? Hint: It’s Not With Their Mouthparts”.

Emily Dennis has spent hours, if not days, watching mosquitoes buzz around her bare, outstretched arm. Carefully, she’s observed the insects land, stab their mouthparts through her skin and feed.

But if her arm is slathered with DEET — shorthand for the chemical N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, the active ingredient in many insect repellents — mosquitoes stay away.

“DEET works better than any other insect repellent, and despite it being around since the late 1940s, we still don’t really understand why,” says Dennis, a neuroscientist currently at Princeton University who endured many bug bites while studying how DEET repels insects en route to her Ph.D. at Rockefeller University.

Those bug bites paid off. In a paper published Thursday in Current Biology, she and her colleagues show that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, common transmitters of diseases such as dengue and Zika, sense DEET through their feet, not their mouthparts. According to the authors, the finding narrows the path for future research that could potentially help scientists develop more desirable alternatives to DEET — for example, repellents that don’t need to be reapplied as often as DEET.

(8) STUDYING THE OCCULT(ATION). Saturn disappeared behind the Moon for awhile last night:

And another nice photo here on the Dunedin Astronomical Society’s Facebook page.

(9) TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE. NPR asks: “Blockbuster Films Keep Getting Longer; How And Why Did We Get Here?”

“No amount of money ever bought a second of time,” says Tony “Iron Man” Stark, patient zero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, midway through the new Avengers: Endgame.

As has frequently been the case in the nine Marvel films in which he has appeared, Mr. Stark is right but also wrong. Endgame, the long-promised commencement ceremony/farewell tour for the founding class of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, has both commodities in abundance. Contrast that with the 1990 Cannon Films production Captain America, starring Matt (Revenge of the Nerds) Salinger as Steve Rogers, which runs a svelte 97 minutes and looks like it may well have cost several hundred dollars.

That was then. As the capstone of Marvel Studios’ 11-year, 22-film saga, freely adapted from more than half a century of comic books, the no-expense-spared Endgame dares what few blockbusters have, occupying a bladder-taxing, intermission-free 182 minutes. But then, movies such as this one — franchise entries, popcorn flicks, movies that often harbor artistic ambitions but are always designed to draw a huge audience — began to Hulk out years before Iron Man arrived in May of 2008…

(10) COOL PICTURES. “Hayabusa-2: Spacecraft’s ‘bomb’ crater found” – BBC has the story.

The Hayabusa-2 spacecraft has sent back images of the crater made when it detonated an explosive charge next to the asteroid it is investigating.

On 5 April, the Japanese probe released a 14kg device packed with plastic explosive towards the asteroid Ryugu.

The blast drove a copper projectile into the surface, hoping to create a 10m-wide depression.

Scientists want to get a “fresh” sample of rock to help them better understand how Earth and the other planets formed.

Hayabusa-2 has now taken pictures of the area below where the “small carry-on impactor” (SCI) device was to have detonated, and identified a dark disturbance in which fresh material has been excavated from beneath the surface.

(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Clock Face” on Vimeo Natalia Ryss has a beautiful fantasy about life in old Jerusalem with plenty of clocks!

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

42 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/26/19 UnPixelish BeScrolling

  1. 1) Yessssss. Looks good.

    (and First)

    4) Rewatched it a weekend ago in prep for the episode we recorded at SFF Audio last Sunday on the audiobook of Foster’s novelization. Still holds up, and I had forgotten things about it.

  2. (5) Well… I think Shakespeare was swimming in it. He didn’t invent all that. It certainly could be said he’s the best known among olde writers of fantasy, or the oldest best-known writer of it. After all, what about the Bible? (And if you say that’s not fantasy, then the books of every other religion must be.) Old English epics, Dr. Faustus, the Arabian Nights. However, I’ll go with the implicit point: He’s one of us, one of us.

  3. @Kip
    I suppose a case could be made that he was doing fanfic off of Holinshed’s Chronicles.

  4. (9) Back in the days of double bills, most movies came well under 90 minutes. Few modern movies have anything more to say than then, they just take longer to say it.

  5. @Steve: “Back in the days of double bills, most movies came well under 90 minutes” – are you sure? That would be true of the “B” features, but those aren’t equivalent to the big-budget blockbusters the article is talking about. Something like Spartacus (1960, 184 minutes) obviously wouldn’t have been on a double bill.

    This person aggregated data from IMDb and seems to be saying that if you look at the 25 most popular [as IMDb measures it] films each year, they are longer than they were in 1950 but not much longer than they were in 1960, and that at no point were most of them under 90 minutes. On the other hand if you look at all the movies each year, the average has been around 90 minutes for quite a while and still is.

  6. Actually there are tons of very long blockbusters going way back. Gone with the Wind (1939), 221 minutes. Giant (1956), 201 minutes. War and Peace (1956), 208 minutes. The Ten Commandments (1956), 220 minutes. Around the World in 80 Days (1956), 175 minutes. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), 161 minutes. Ben-Hur (1959), 212 minutes. Exodus (1960), 208 minutes. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), 186 minutes. Laurence of Arabia (1962), 222 minutes. Cleopatra (1963), 248!! minutes. The Great Escape (1963), 172 minutes. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), 197 minutes. The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), 225 minutes. Dr. Zhivago (1965), 203 minutes. The Sound of Music (1965), 174 minutes.

    Sorry for going on, I just found it interesting to look at those all together and see what a variety of things people have made huge event movies about.

  7. @5: I think van Vogt is part of a phase SF had to go through to get past the ~pomposity of Verne and Wells, but I don’t think he wears well — sometimes the purple prose mixes with pompous wrapups. I won’t invoke the suck fairy because he was already antique when I read him.

  8. Yep. Pushing four hours was definitely a thing for blockbusters back in the day.

  9. Don’t forget Abel Gance’s NAPOLEON (1927), clocking in at 330 minutes, although it’s been shown in various lengths over the years. Its re-release in 1980 was a big event.

    CABIRIA (1914) was only 148 minutes, but deserves mention for its innovations (moving camera before Griffith), and for introducing the character of Maciste, who was in movie after movie for decade after decade. When they released some of those over here, they referred to him as Hercules, so I’m going to say it’s genre:

    “It’s genre!”

  10. (5) Regarding Gold’s “None but Lucifer with L. Sprague de Camp”: The only place I’ve heard of this novel previously was in the 30-year Galaxy retrospective anthology with memoirs (Playboy Press, 1980) wherein Frederik Pohl, one of the book’s three editors and Gold’s successor as the magazine’s editor, says that Gold “is preparing his great fantasy novel, None but Lucifer, for book publication.” The implication is that Gold already had a publisher and moreover was the novel’s sole author. Perhaps both were true at the time, or perhaps that was Pohl’s wishful thinking (or his adoption of Gold’s).

  11. gottacook says Regarding Gold’s “None but Lucifer with L. Sprague de Camp”: The only place I’ve heard of this novel previously was in the 30-year Galaxy retrospective anthology with memoirs (Playboy Press, 1980) wherein Frederik Pohl, one of the book’s three editors and Gold’s successor as the magazine’s editor, says that Gold “is preparing his great fantasy novel, None but Lucifer, for book publication.” The implication is that Gold already had a publisher and moreover was the novel’s sole author. Perhaps both were true at the time, or perhaps that was Pohl’s wishful thinking (or his adoption of Gold’s).

    No, it was originally published way back in 1939 by John Campbell by both of them in three parts. ISFDB doesn’t say what the publication was for the first part. The 2002 publication by Gateways Books & Tapes credits both as authors as does the later ebook.

  12. @Cassy B.

    Second fifth is the best fifth!

    This makes me think of the theme to “The Paper Chase”

    “First Fifths are hard Fifths, much more than we Scroll”

  13. @Kip Williams
    I have an upcoming short SF novel (basically just waiting for the final proofread) that is set on a planet called Maciste with a capital called Cabiria.

    And yes, sword and sandal films are at least genre adjacent, if not outright genre. And Maciste was always known as Maciste, when those movies brightened up afternoon TV during my childhood.

    In other news, I got a nice pin from WorldCon 77 in the mail today.

  14. (5) Due to Reasons, I wound up reading the NESFA collections of Campbell’s and van Vogt’s stories nearly back to back. I came away from that thinking that, even if he was still developing as a writer when he became editor of Astounding and mostly stopped writing fiction, that’s not the main reason his fiction shows him as a sexist, misogynist asshat who really served sf significantly better as an editor than as a writer.

    Van Vogt, on the other hand, very dated, yes. Very, very dated. Not going to encourage anyone to go read it if they don’t already feel inclined to check him out.

    But.

    He wasn’t a sexist, misogynistic asshat. His female characters are mostly treated as people with agency, ntelligence, and their own goals in life. It left me with an affection for him that I’ll never feel for Campbell, valuable as Campbell’s contribution to sf is.

  15. Cat: Prior magazine publication explains why Pohl might have called None but Lucifer “great” in 1980, and I can see why (in the course of relating that Gold had remarried and moved from New York City to Los Angeles) Pohl would have omitted that Gold was one of two authors of the novel. But does anyone know why it took so long to find a book publisher? Did “preparing” it for publication circa 1980 mean that Gold was altering and updating it (as others, notably Heinlein, had done with prewar magazine work for postwar book publication) but got stuck somehow and never finished? Or is the 2002 publication unchanged from the 1939 version? Was de Camp not involved? Has anyone the answers?

  16. Meredith Moments: China Mieville’s The Scar and Robin McKinley’s Deerskin are both $1.99.

  17. Les Enfants du Paradis gets special points for being 190 minutes AND being filmed in occupied France during World War II.

    I remember when I was in college, there was a local showing of Our Hitler (US title) which clocks in at 442 minutes. You could watch it over two nights if you didn’t have 8 hours to kill. (I think they let people go eat dinner at the half way point.) That sort of marathon sounds better when you’re in your 20s.

    Seven Samurai is 207 minutes and when I saw it in the theatre in an 80s revival they showed it with the original intermission titles and music. I sort of like the intermissions they used to have in movies. My Fair Lady is only 170 minutes, but it came with both an overture and an intermission. If they weren’t trying to fit as many showings in as possible, they should bring back the intermission.

    The Magnificent Five Parts 1 and 2.

  18. TCM showings preserve the overture/intermission/recessional music and cards of road-show movies–it’s an odd experience to have the telly screen just sit there and play music at you after the end titles have finished.

  19. Having seen a few of the older big blockbusters in the theaters (including It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) when they came out, I remember very well the intermissions.

    I’m wishing they did the same for Avengers: Endgame:). (Haven’t seen it yet, but I will definitely see it in a theater.)

  20. Actually there are tons of very long blockbusters going way back. Gone with the Wind (1939), 221 minutes. Giant (1956), 201 minutes. War and Peace (1956), 208 minutes. The Ten Commandments (1956), 220 minutes. Around the World in 80 Days (1956), 175 minutes. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), 161 minutes. Ben-Hur (1959), 212 minutes. Exodus (1960), 208 minutes. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), 186 minutes. Laurence of Arabia (1962), 222 minutes. Cleopatra (1963), 248!! minutes. The Great Escape (1963), 172 minutes. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), 197 minutes. The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), 225 minutes. Dr. Zhivago (1965), 203 minutes. The Sound of Music (1965), 174 minutes.

    Those are all roadshow pictures. They’d play at one theater in a major city for weeks on end, but with only a couple showings per day. You had to reserve tickets in advance as though it were a live theatrical show, and the price was many times higher than what a nickleodeon charged. Only after the film had rotated through all the major cities in the country would it go into general release, sometimes a couple years after the premiere. They were always presented as something different from run-of-the-mill movies, and their length was part of that.

  21. This talk of long movies reminds me: When I was a lad, and “The Ten Commandments” was “event television” (like “The Wizard of Oz” (the night the Wizard of Oz was shown on television was a holy time for the elementary school set in the 1970s – if you missed it (and who would!) you couldn’t see it again for a year)), I resolved to watch all four hours of it, so I could see the parting of the Red Sea. I lasted through 3 and a half hours (for some reason, I felt I needed to see the whole movie – maybe I thought the Red Sea bit might occur at any time), and missed the climax!

  22. @Andrew — Trying desperately to stay awake until the end, huddled under a mildly scratchy Navajo blanket and eating popcorn, was my similar-sounding childhood Ten Commandments experience.

    (These days I have it on disc so I can start it at a more civilized hour; and I alternate year-over-year between Ten Commandments & Ben-Hur because I really don’t need to see both of them.)

  23. The Ten Commandments might be the last of the yearly movies. It’s on every year just before Easter. (I can’t remember the last time I saw Ben-Hur on TV. Maybe back in the 70s.) After it was pulled back from public domain, It’s a Wonderful Life was a once a year movie. I didn’t see it scheduled this year, but I might have just missed it.

    For the Hateful Eight, Tarantino did a roadshow approach to showing it in a tour of select theaters. He also had an intermission for Grind House, but made it unusable by putting in trailers for other movies. (Can’t say nonexistent movies, because they made Machete.) I had to miss a bit of Deathproof and I wasn’t even drinking soda during the movie.

    Pixel, godstalker, do you scroll it?

  24. …how quick we forget …

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Pt 1 (2010) 2h 26min
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – 2h 33min
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) 2h 37min
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 2h 22min
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) 2h 32min
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) 2h 41min

  25. So, two kittens at home now. New credential, Nevyn, is very calm, not caring an ounce about the irritated, scared and angry little white kitten that is hissing, growling ans meeping at him. He walks around, purrs and plays in total mindfulness. Eddie, my older cat has been there a bit, sniffing around, and doesn’t seem to have any problems at all with his new charge. But Sir Scrittles has been here for a whole WEEK and can’t understand how a stranger can invade his ancestral sacred ground.

    More to follow.

  26. Watched the 4k HDR remaster of 2001 recently which included both the ovature and intermission from the original theatrical release.

    And dashed pretty it is too.

  27. Van Vogt is definitely a case of suck-fairy for me, but then I loved him as a kid. And yeah, he’s not as bad as many from that era–but he still doesn’t hold up very well.

    It doesn’t help that he got into Dianetics.

    (Edit: I didn’t know about the Dianetics till years later.)

  28. Sir Scittles seems to be quite an adventurous kitty. Neyan looks calmer, but they’re both very cute. Older foster brother Eddie, too.

  29. Hampus, thank you so much for the accounts and pictures. Inward I is all aglow.

  30. Filers, I need reassurance. I’m halfway through reading The Goblin Emperor and I am deeply worried for Maia’s sake. Does the story have a mostly-happy ending? I don’t expect his life to be trouble-free, but if he’s going to get killed or end up spending the rest of his life hating every minute of it I’m going to stop reading now.

  31. Nancy, it’s got a great resolution that left me feeling profoundly satisfied.

  32. Nancy, yes, what they said. You should also know there’s a glossary in the back. It does contain a few spoilers, but you can read the text before the list without spoilage if I remember correctly.

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