Pixel Scroll 4/27/20 Abbot And Cos-Scroll-O Meet The Pixel Monster

(1) LATEST COMICS BARGAIN. [Item by Daniel Dern.] “ComiXology Now Offering 60-Day Free Trial of Their Unlimited Service” reports The Inventory. ComiXology’s $5.99/month Unlimited gives you access to “over 25,000 digital comics, graphic novels, and manga from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and more!”

At free, this is a deal you can’t beat. (Assuming you’ve got a reasonable viewing device, in terms of screen size.) The regular price isn’t shabby, either, as long as you find stuff you like. (I did, but after a year-ish of binging, had found most/enough.)

Aside from DC and Marvel — a smaller and sometimes different selection than what you’d find on their own unlimited sites — there’s Dynamite, IDG, Fantagraphics, etc. IIRC, there’s Saga, Trees, ERB/Barsoom stuff, and some original-from-ComiXology titles (none of which grab me, but your jauntage may vary).

If you’ve already started exploring ComiXology’s FREE offerings, you’ll find more in many of those titles to keep going with.

BTW, if you haven’t already gotten a free Hoopla (hoopladigital.com) account through your library, do that! You can’t read as much, but the price is right.

And you can find many of Hoopla’s offerings on ComiXology, which in turn will let you make more use of your Hoopla monthly limit.

(See my “All In Color For A Zorkmid” post for more on all this.)

Here’s my question for Filers: What device are you using to read your digital comics on? In particular, is anybody using a tablet/2-in-1 other than an iPad Pro 12.9 where the screen is big enough to let you read it in the printed-comic-equivalent full size? E.g., on a Chromebook that supports that ComiXology Android app? Let me know (via a comment).

‘Nuff read!

(2) CONTEST WINDOW OPENS. “B&N Launches National Children’s Short Story Contest” – a chance for some, details at Publishers Weekly.

During these unprecedented times when families are hunkered down at home together due to the Covid-19 virus, Barnes & Noble is giving aspiring young authors a chance to showcase their creativity—and become published. Between April 27 and May 29, contestants can submit written or graphic short stories to be considered for inclusion in an anthology that the company will release in time for this year’s holiday season.

(3) COUGH IT UP MARVEL. Emily Asher-Perrin is right! Avengers: Endgame Never Showed Us Its Greatest Scene”.

But I would like to register a complaint: You see, the most interesting arc of the film is nowhere to be found on screen. And I request that Marvel produce the deleted footage of this arc, otherwise I’m not really sure why this movie was made at all.

I’m speaking, of course, about how Doctor Stephen Strange stage managed an entire apocalypse solely for Maximum Dramatic Effect.

(4) EMPTY THE MAGAZINE. Good eReader says “Barnes and Noble will stop selling new magazines”.

Barnes and Noble has shuttered over 500 of their 600 bookstores in the United States and the bookseller has announced they are no longer going to be ordering new magazines and will cease carrying them altogether.

“It will probably be a bigger deal for smaller publishers who count on the money they get upfront from B&N,” said one industry veteran, who noted that big newsstand titles, like Hearst’s Cosmopolitan and Meredith’s People, are far more reliant on other retailers.

(5) COVID COSPLAY. In the Washington Post, Maura Judkis says that cosplayers took the mandatory mask-wearing requirements to dress up as characters. “We regret to inform you that your inflatable T. rex costume is not virus-proof”.

Hence the Spider-Man in the canned food aisle.  The dinosaur roaming the deli section. The unicorn walking a dog. These sightings, though not nearly as common as surgical masks and gloves, have accented our lockdown landscapes with flecks of whimsy: A couple visited their relatives wearing costume spacesuits. In China, one woman picked up medication dressed as a giraffe. In Italy, a man was reportedly arrested after breaking quarantine to go outside in a T-rex suit.

(6) MOVIE MAKING. Filer Cliff sent this link to “RenderMan: An Advanced Path-Tracing Architecture for Movie Rendering”, a paper describing a project he’s been working on. He says, “This is the software used for all Pixar movies, the Star Wars movies (and pretty much all of ILM’s output), Lord Of The Rings (but not The Hobbit) and is the oldest and one of the most widely used renderer in movie production. This was the software that Hanrahan and Catmull originated and which earned them the Turing Award you mentioned a few weeks ago.” The article begins —

Pixar’s RenderMan renderer is used to render all of Pixar’s films and by many film studios to render visual effects for live-action movies. RenderMan started as a scanline renderer based on the Reyes algorithm, and it was extended over the years with ray tracing and several global illumination algorithms.

This article describes the modern version of RenderMan, a new architecture for an extensible and programmable path tracer with many features that are essential to handle the fiercely complex scenes in movie production. 

(7) ROCKET OWNER. The person who won the auction of the prop Hugos from the set of Knives Out.

(8) TALK TO THE ANIMALS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The Washington Post has two articles about the video game Animal Crossing.  Michael Andor Brodeur interviews Animal Crossing’s composer, Kazumi Totaka, and says his music is “a blissful 24-hour lullaby that’s helping countless players weather countless hours of forced downtime.”  “The Animal Crossing soundtrack is an unlikely lullaby for a nervous world”.

Right now, millions of households and headphones around the globe are filled with the music of one of the world’s most popular and influential composers.

Over the past month, homebound listeners have spent hundreds of hours immersed in his latest work — a suite of never-ending melodies — but most of them don’t even know his name. They consume his music the same way one breathes air, with an unceasing and unconscious appetite.

Elise Favis says the the latest Animal Crossing, “Animal Crossing:  New Horizons,” gives players more control over the environment in the game and more opportunities to customize the game to make it more of a form of personal expression. “Everything you need to know about the Animal Crossing: New Horizons major update”.

…Upon booting up your recently-updated game, you’ll notice your mailbox has two messages, one from Bank of Nook and the other from Nintendo. The bank notifies you of a reduced interest rate for your account (this is likely to curb the all-too-quick road to wealth many players have taken) and attaches a gift of a rug shaped like a bag of bells. As for Nintendo, their message thanks you for downloading the update and gives you a decorative world map to hang on the wall.

Outside of slashing your interest rate (it’s unclear how much the rate has changed), these freebies are welcome.

(9) ANDRUS OBIT. Longtime fanzine fan Reed Andrus died April 25. He was interested in all things associated with the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery genres. He once said Richard E. Geis’ Science Fiction Review was his gateway into fandom. He also contributed to the National Fantasy Fan Federation’s Yesterday and Today (1974), co-edited Laughing Osiris (1974-1978), and published Bull of the Seven Battles which Brian Earl Brown’s Whole Fanzine Catalog (1979) jokingly described as “a personalzine so confident of its limited appeal and exclusive audience that it doesn’t list the address in the zine itself…”

Andrus said in a comment here at File 770 he was a cancer survivor who underwent surgery in 2007.

For more than three decades his work appeared in print and online, from the Charlotte Austin Review, and Mystery News to The Thunder Child. He studied for a Ph.D in US history at the University of North Texas.

Andrus found a fannish home in the Classic Horror Film Board discussion forums. Known there as “oldmanster,”  he left over 6,800 comments between 2005 and 2014.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • April 27, 1955 The Devil Girl From Mars premiered. It was produced by Edward J. Danziger and Harry Lee Danziger as directed by David MacDonald. It was written by James Eastwood and John C. Maher  It starred Patricia Laffan, Hugh McDermott, Adrienne Corri and Hazel Court. Critics in general called it a delightfully bad film with the Monthly Film  Bulletin saying it was “Everything, in its way, is quite perfect.” The audience reviewers over at Rotten Tomatoes apparently don’t agreed as they give it a 22% rating. You can decide for yourself as you can see it here as it’s in the public domain.
  • April 27, 1963The Day of the Triffids premiered in the USA. It was produced by George Pitcher and Philip Yordan, as directed by Steve Sekely.  It’s rather loosely based on the 1951 novel of the same name by John Wyndham (who was toastmaster at Loncon 1) as scripted by Bernard Gordon and Philip Yordan. It starred Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore and  Mervyn Johns. Critics who were familiar with the novel weren’t terribly happy with the film. It currently rates a 52% rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.  Yes, it’s in the public domain, so you can watch it here.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 27, 1901 Frank Belknap Long. John Hertz say that Long should be singled out for the “To Follow Knowledge” novelette which he lovingly discuses here. I only add as John didn’t note it, that he received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. (Died 1994.)
  • Born April 27, 1920 Doris Baumgardt. Well-known and loved fan, illustrator and writer. She was a member of the Futurians, and a founding member of FAPA. She was also a member of the CPASF and the Science Fictioneers. She was one of five members of the Futurians allowed into the first World Science Fiction Convention by Sam Moskowitz — the other four were Isaac Asimov, David Kyle, Jack Robinson and Richard Wilson. She wrote three pieces of short fiction that were published in the Forties and Fifties; she contributed artwork to fanzines. (Died 1970.)
  • Born April 27, 1922 Jack Klugman. He was in an amazing four Twilight Zone episodes (“A Passage for Trumpet,“ “A Game of Pool,” “Death Ship” and “In Praise of Pip,” plus one-offs on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Outer Limits. Does Around the World in Eighty Days count as genre adjacent? If so, he was in the Eighties ministries. (Died 2012.)
  • Born April 27, 1957 Rachel Caine, 63. She has two ongoing endeavors, the Weather Warden series which is most excellent and the superb Great Library series. I can’t speak to the Morganville Vampires series as I don’t do vampires really. And yes, I know she’s got a number of other series, far more than can detailed be here. 
  • Born April 27, 1958 Caroline Spector, 62. She was an Associate Editor at Amazing Stories for several years, but her main genre connection is her fiction in George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series where she has seven stories. She also a Shadowrun novel, Worlds Without End. (Now that was an interesting RPG!) she also has an essay, “Power and Feminism in Westeros” in James Lowder’s Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, From A “Game of Thrones” to “A Dance with Dragons
  • Born April 27, 1958 Jon Cassar,  62. Producer, The Orville. Not my cup tea but I many y’all love it. His director and producer genre credits are extensive and include Person of InterestTouchContiniumTerra NovaFringeHuman TargetForever Knight and that’s not an inclusive list by any means. 
  • Born April 27, 1963 Russell T Davies, 57. Responsible for the 2005 revival of the BBC One of Doctor Who. (A Whovian since the very beginning, he thinks “The Talons of Weng-Chiang” has the best dialogue in the entire series.) Of course he’s also responsible for Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures as well. (Need I note that the The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot was his idea?) Oh, and a few years back, he produced A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • Born April 27, 1967 Erik Thomson, 53. Scottish actor who’s best remembered  for being Hades on Hercules: The Legendary JourneysYoung Hercules and  Xena: Warrior Princess. His first acting role was as an unnamed young man in the “By The Numbers” episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater
  • Born April 27, 1986 Jenna Coleman, 34. Clara Oswald, Companion to the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.   She remains the longest serving companion since the series was revived. Genre wise, she was also Connie in Captain America: The First Avenger, and did voice voice work on the animated reboot of Thunderbirds Are Go. And yes, she showed up in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Lio discovers the challenges for vampires during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Marmaduke demonstrates how to achieve orbit.

(13) COMIC BOOK DIAGNOSIS. “‘This is beyond the Great Depression’: will comic books survive coronavirus?”The Guardian goes looking for the answer.

…The comics world is now split between many have-nots and two very prominent have-alls: DC Comics and Marvel Comics, subdivisions of massive publicly traded corporations Disney (Marvel) and AT&T (DC), worth $192bn and $224bn respectively. Though Marvel and DC have taken a hit from the pandemic, they’re still so big that professionals and retailers look to them not just for guidance, but also for relief. DC has donated $250,000 to a charity for bookshops, and, for the first time since the 1970s, is allowing retailers to return unsold comics. A spokeswoman said the company was also assessing new ways to distribute comics to shops for mail-order and kerbside pickup programmes. The Guardian has also seen an email from DC sent to shops last week, saying it will start distributing comics through three new companies – two of which are reportedly run by retailers that directly compete with the shops themselves.

And Marvel has cut its editorial staff by half, according to a source familiar with the situation. A Marvel spokesman said the company would not confirm numbers, but that all the cut staff were furloughed, not laid off, and the firm would continue providing health insurance “for the duration of the furlough period”. Bleeding Cool also reports that Marvel has stopped work on at least 20% of its forthcoming books. However, it is offering some discounts to publishers

(14) SOCIAL DISTANCE MUSIC. “Hands Off: A 100th Anniversary Guide to Theremin Music” at Bandcamp.

The year is 1920. At a government-run think tank in Petrograd, a brilliant young Soviet scientist harnesses the power of something called the “heterodyne beat frequency” to create a mysterious-looking, antennaed box that creates a high-pitched wail, which intensifies when his hands come closer to it. This might sound like the plot of some sci-fi film noir, but it’s the real-life origin story of the device that bears Professor Léon Theremin’s name. An electronic instrument that you play without touching would seem like the quintessential axe of the virtual era, but 2020 actually marks the theremin’s 100th birthday.

“It’s an extremely simple concept,” says Steven M. Martin, director of Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey, the 1993 documentary that helped precipitate a renaissance for the enormously influential instrument. “The circuitry is very elegant. That was the basis for all electronic music up until the digital era. All [analog] synthesizers…were based on the same principle that Theremin pioneered.”

Originally, the theremin was seen as a sort of space-age violin, far more difficult to master than old-school instruments due to the lack of a physical reference point…. 

(15) EVERYBODY CHIP IN! The BBC reports “Belgians urged to eat more chips by lockdown-hit potato growers”.

Belgians are well known for loving chips (frites), often with a big dollop of mayonnaise, but hard-up farmers now want them to eat chips twice a week.

Romain Cools of the potato growers’ union Belgapom presented it as a matter of survival, as a major export sector fears ruin in the coronavirus crisis.

About 750,000 tonnes of potatoes are piled up in Belgian warehouses, as the lockdown has sent orders plummeting.

“Let’s all eat chips twice a week, instead of just once,” Mr Cools urged.

Since mid-March, restaurants in Belgium and many other markets for potato growers have closed. The cancellation of Belgium’s many spring and summer festivals has added to their woes.

Moreover, the international trade in potatoes has been hit. Belgium is one of the world’s top exporters of potato products, including frozen chips. It sends more than 1.5m tonnes annually to more than 100 countries.

One small bright spot in this story is that Belgapom will now deliver 25 tonnes of potatoes a week to food banks in Flanders – produce that will otherwise simply rot, Belgian media report.

(16) PINNING DOWN THE STORY. “HBO Makes ‘Hellraiser’ Series Development Deal; ‘Halloween’s David Gordon Green To Direct Early Eps” reports Deadline.

HBO has made a deal to develop a series from the classic horror franchise Hellraiser, with Halloween helmer David Gordon Green set to direct the pilot and several more initial episodes that brings to the small screen for the first time Pinhead, the iconic pincushion-domed villain who heads a group of pasty-faced villains sent from hell, known as the Cenobites.

(17) GRIM WONDERLAND. In “Book Review: Looking Glass by Christina Henry”, The BiblioSanctum’s Mogsy praises a collection of short fiction.

Novellas and anthologies? Typically not my thing. But since this collection was not only written by Christina Henry but is also part of her incredible Chronicles of Alice world, I knew I would make an exception. Looking Glass features four new stories set in the same universe as Alice and Red Queen, which reimagines Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland through dark horror lens. It is not a sequel per se, but seeing as this grim quartet of interlinked short tales serves as a continuation of the saga, it would be helpful to have read the previous novels.

(18) CLIPPING SERVICE. David Doering found this 1966 newspaper photo of one of my relatives using a remote banking terminal, arguably a forerunner of the ATM. Dr. Richard Glyer had a practice in Mountain View, CA. I think I met him, or for certain, his widow. She was a painter and my father had one of her landscapes.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Man 2020” on Vimeo, Steve Cutts explains why plants and animals are happy that humans are staying home.

[Thanks to Daniel Dern, N., Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Darrah Chavey, Francis Hamit, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day The Other Nigel.]

46 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/27/20 Abbot And Cos-Scroll-O Meet The Pixel Monster

  1. (7) I’m not jealous. Totally, totally not jealous. Really, totally not jealous – have I mentioned that I’m not jealous.. (seriously, I’m just delighted by the joy in this picture).

    “Oh, the Pixels You Will Scroll” by The Doctor (Who-uess)

  2. @18
    It’s weird how different today’s world is from just a generation ago. I remember the first ATM I ever saw…in college. I remember the first pc I ever saw…in middle school. I remember the first CD I ever saw…the summer after I graduated high School.

    I literally feel like an alien sometimes. I’m glad to have landed on this planet, I must say. My birthworld sucked.

    The Day of the Triffids is an okay movie, but it isn’t a patch on the novel which I enjoyed much more than I expected to.

  3. Juan Sanmiguel says Devil Girl From Mars inspired Octavia Butler to write. She realized someone got paid to write

    Really? Where is this story told? I suspect the poster is better than the film is.

  4. Brown Robin says The Day of the Triffids is an okay movie, but it isn’t a patch on the novel which I enjoyed much more than I expected to.

    Well the novel was substantially better than the film was as the scriptwriter scraped the main character and the plot deviated from the novel in major ways. Anyone see the two later takes on the novel that were undertaken? It was made into a series twice, once in 1981 and again in 2009, not to mention three radio series.

  5. (4) As the scathing comments on Good eReader make clear, the headline and the article are misleading to the point of outright lying. Barnes & Noble have shuttered 500 stores because of the Covid-19 outbreak. They’ve stopped ordering new magazines because of the Covid-19 outbreak. As soon as the social distancing restrictions are eased, those stores will be reopened and B&N will resume stocking new magazines, because they’ll be able to sell them to customers..

  6. PhilRM notes correctly ) As the scathing comments on Good eReader make clear, the headline and the article are misleading to the point of outright lying. Barnes & Noble have shuttered 500 stores because of the Covid-19 outbreak. They’ve stopped ordering new magazines because of the Covid-19 outbreak. As soon as the social distancing restrictions are eased, those stores will be reopened and B&N will resume stocking new magazines, because they’ll be able to sell them to customers.

    Yep. My local independent bookstores aren’t selling magazines either as they’re not getting them from the jobbers and I know some aren’t being printed right now. It’s hard to sell much of anything beyond books when your physical store is closed down as they are. M

  7. (4) Realistically, Barnes and Noble is the last thing resembling a newsstand in my area. Other than the magazines sold near the checkouts at some supermarkets, I’m not sure where I’d even look for a new magazine now.

    To be fair, I haven’t really looked for a new magazine in a couple years since the nearest B&N closed down. Probably just me being nostalgic for when every mall had at least one bookstore that sold magazines and if you ventured into a bigger city you could find a newsstand that sold magazines and papers from all over the world.

    (10) Another film mentioned in Science Fiction/Double Feature. But does Janette Fox really fight the Triffids? Thought she mainly got saved from the Triffids as was common for movies of that era.

    (11) Also Sally Hawkins birthday. Most famous recently for The Shape of Water, but she’s been in two each of Godzilla and Paddington movies. (We can argue over which eponymous creature causes more damage.) Also voices characters in Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale, and Stick Man.

    Plus Ace Frehley who was The Spaceman in Kiss and Walter Lantz who gave us Woody Woodpecker (and other animated characters including Space Mouse.)

    Professor, I observed your encounter with the Pixel Scroll. Today it is you who learned the power of the file. Tomorrow it will be the whole world!

  8. (11) Jack Klugman was a terrific actor, but – although I can think of several roles that would have suited him well – he never appeared in an episode of Night Gallery.

  9. Andrew: I’m not jealous. Totally, totally not jealous. Really, totally not jealous – have I mentioned that I’m not jealous.. (seriously, I’m just delighted by the joy in this picture).

    I am totally jealous. I kept an eye on the auction, and had a bit of disposable income I was willing to bid, but the price got a bit too rich for me at the end.

    However, when I saw that photo, I was so happy that the winner is clearly someone who will love and enjoy those things as much as I would have. 🙂

  10. Jack Lint says To be fair, I haven’t really looked for a new magazine in a couple years since the nearest B&N closed down. Probably just me being nostalgic for when every mall had at least one bookstore that sold magazines and if you ventured into a bigger city you could find a newsstand that sold magazines and papers from all over the world.

    We don’t have B&N in this region, the nearest one being in Portsmouth, NN, nut we do have a Books-A-Million which has a surprisingly deep selection of magazines including in impressive offering of genre fiction zines such as F&SF, all placed in the literary magazine section. They even carry all of the UK Who zines which surprised me.

    Their genre shelves are decently stocked though it leans heavily towards recent releases with back catalog limited to the usual such the Foundation series. And weirdly enough they are deeply, deeply stocked in Baen titles.

  11. gottacook corrects me Jack Klugman was a terrific actor, but – although I can think of several roles that would have suited him well – he never appeared in an episode of Night Gallery.

    My bad. Mike, please correct this error.

  12. 1) I read a few comics via Comixology (the ones written by Saladin Ahmen, Seanan McGuire, and Kat Howard, and the DIE comic painted by Stephanie Hans), and have picked up various multi-issue collections (Astro City & some others) during deep-discount sales. But I barely, or less than barely, keep up with current subscriptions, so never felt a need for the Unlimited version.

    I read the comics on my 19″ PC monitor, but to be really able to read the lettering I need to zoom in at least one or two steps (the vertical height is only about 9″), which means I need to scroll up and down on the enlarged image. Minor annoyance but, yeah, it’s still an annoyance. A larger monitor would be nice, one of these days (for more than just the comics).

    4) I’m wondering how big a hit magazines operating on thin margins will take from losing newsstand sales, even if only for a few months. Major SF magazines like F&SF and ASIMOV’S have the large majority of their sales via subscription, but newsstand sales were still a significant line item, last I recall.

    10) I never before noticed the Triffids on the movie poster had faces.

  13. Bruce Andrews asks I’m wondering how big a hit magazines operating on thin margins will take from losing newsstand sales, even if only for a few months. Major SF magazines like F&SF and ASIMOV’S have the large majority of their sales via subscription, but newsstand sales were still a significant line item, last I recall.

    The several senior zine staffers locally that I’ve talked with say that it’s been a significant hit as newsstand sales are about thirty percent of their total revenues. Keep in mind that these are speciality zines with a price point above ten dollars and a relatively low circulation but I imagine the same applies to any of the general ones as well.

  14. 1) I just read comics on my Kindle (Fire HD, with a ten inch screen – not perfect, but good enough.) Can zoom in if I want to, or go panel by panel rather than page at a time – it works for me, but then I’m no purist.

    Oh, and @Jack Lint, I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a triffid that spits poison and kills.

  15. I’m using an iPad, sixth generation, to read the DC Universe streaming app which has a really deep archive of comics though it lacks any of the Vetigo titles such as as Fables or Air. It’s proven perfect to read their comics and I’ve read many an evenings worth of them without any eye strain what-so-ever.

  16. 7) I loved Knives Out. One of the few recent movies that was worth watching twice. But I must admit that I didn’t even notice the Hugo props.

    And I agree with @JJ — glad those are in the hands of someone who will find so much joy in them.

  17. @Jack Lint:

    (4) Other than the magazines sold near the checkouts at some supermarkets, I’m not sure where I’d even look for a new magazine now.

    Try your local pharmacy (granted, for a limited selection). (In better times, I’d also suggest train stations and airports.

    @Cat Eldridge:

    I’m using an iPad, sixth generation, to read the DC Universe streaming app which has a really deep archive of comics though it lacks any of the Vertigo titles such as as Fables or Air.

    Hoopla has lots of the Fables. Ditto ComiXology Unlimited. (I just checked both.)

  18. 7) Those are “authorized replica” props. WSFS (usually through the MPC/Hugo Awards Marketing Committee) periodically is approached by people making movies/television shows/plays wanting a Hugo Award prop. They generally get approved, although WSFS also requests credit. (Sometimes they even remember to include it.) The rockets are from the same foundry that Worldcons use, although the bases are not prototypical for the years in question.

    Cheryl Morgan and I tried to bid on them so we could offer them to the Hugo Award History Display at Worldcons, but were outbid at the end.

  19. @Brown Robin: get off my lawn, you young whippersnapper! I remember going to buy one of the first UHF-enabled TV’s (in junior high). I remember taking my senior high school’s very first computer course, and the excitement of getting a ~6-characters/sec teletype terminals with crappy yellow paper, so we could actually try out our programs at school instead of going in person to the temple of the mainframe two bus rides away! 15 years later, I spec’d and tapped my employer’s first Ethernet — imagine being able to have a Real Computer in your office!) And first-run movies (per “Hardware Wars”‘s sneer) were $3, and 20 doubleheaders of old films projected without commercials cost $20.

    Of course, the first of those times was also when the price of two videotape recorders would buy you a reasonable small car (cassettes? you mean those ultra-low-fi really-portable machines?), and long-distance calls were ridiculously expensive (I had a passionate three-year … book discussion, carried on by handwritten letters with a girl ~60 miles away), and that slow connection cost $33/hr (present-day dollars per the first Google hit for an inflation calculator, which I suspect is underestimating). And the second was when one lousy megabyte of memory cost over $7700 (same calculator) and was the size of the ~$300 notebook I’m typing this on. You’re right; I miss elements of who I was, but not much about the times. (Maybe seeing 2001 in first run, in pseudo-Cinerama….)

    Doris Baumgardt’s Fancyclopedia entry

    @Jack Lint: there used to be two newsstands facing each other in the middle of Harvard Square; the annex-on-the-subway-platform (where I heard a newsboy cry “First non-Italian Pope in 400 years!”) died during the rebuild ~40 years ago, but the one on top of the station held on until just recently. Once C19 dies down I might be able to get current glossies at either of Boston’s headhouse railroad stations (and the scandal-sheets like People are all over supermarket checkouts), but I have no idea where I’d look for pulps — I wouldn’t even bet on finding them in the local SF bookstore.

    re @10, the Wikipedia summary suggests Fox is part of the fight, not the faint. Is anyone willing to admit watching the movie recently enough to remember?

  20. 3.) You’ll be on the edge of your seat for the epic logistics scene! Thrill as Doctor Strange implements ISO9001-certified LEAN-derived just-in-sequence superhero delivery!

  21. @Nicholas Whyte: I liked Europatat – Antoine de Caunes and Jean-Paul Gaultier were fun, as presenters…. Oh, wait, that was Eurotrash. Easy mistake to make.

  22. (7) the closed auction is here, if you want to see good pics of the statues.

    If I had won them, I’d be tempted to put a new plate on one of them with my own name . . . .

  23. Meredith Moment, Gideon the Ninth has just been reduced to £2.04 an the Amazon UK Kindle Store.

  24. @Chip Hickcock: You think you’re old? My first computer system used beads-on-a-string and the output went onto stone tablets. (We got color when somebody noticed that the cave walls were flat enough and we had access to ocher and woad.)

  25. @ Russell Letson – The next gen was quipu-based computation a la the Incas. But their computing resources discovered how to make N-dimensional Cat’s Metacradles and promptly disappeared from existence.

  26. @Paul —

    Meredith Moment, Gideon the Ninth has just been reduced to £2.04 an the Amazon UK Kindle Store.

    And it’s still available for $2.99 at Amazon US.

  27. @Chip: The MIT Co-op bookstore right next to the Kendall Square T station carries F&SF, IIRC. They were in the process of relocating right before Covid-19 hit, so not only do I not know when they’ll reopen, I don’t know where they’ll reopen.

  28. I can’t claim to have used the earliest computers, but we used to do all sorts of creative crafts with the punch cards my dad brought home from work. 🙂

    Another Rachel Caine series I really liked was “The Revivalist”. One of the rare zombie stories where the zombie is the protagonist!

    Felicia Day’s production company, Geek & Sundry, did a short-lived, low budget (but authorized) adaptation of The Morganville Vampires on their YouTube channel. It wasn’t great (see “low budget”), but Amber Benson was in it, and she was good.

  29. @Jack Lint

    (4) Realistically, Barnes and Noble is the last thing resembling a newsstand in my area. Other than the magazines sold near the checkouts at some supermarkets, I’m not sure where I’d even look for a new magazine now.

    To be fair, I haven’t really looked for a new magazine in a couple years since the nearest B&N closed down. Probably just me being nostalgic for when every mall had at least one bookstore that sold magazines and if you ventured into a bigger city you could find a newsstand that sold magazines and papers from all over the world.

    In Germany, every grocery store carries a selection of magazines and newspapers, though they’re usually limited to gossip mags, TV mags, women’s mags, cooking mags, these home and country mags and some computer, car and sports mags. You can usually also get crossword mags and a small selection of hobby and crafts mags. Sometimes, though not always, you can also find pulp magazine series. Usually the romance and western series. Perry Rhodan, John Sinclair and Jerry Cotton are no longer available everywhere.

    Dedicated news and tobacco shops as well as some bookshops, mostly the big ones, carry a larger selection than the grocery stores. This is where I go for Perry Rhodan and the like or for language teaching mags. However, those shops have been shuttered due to the corona virus until last week.

    If I want a foreign magazine or a rare title, I have to go to the big newsstand at the central station or the airport, because those carry almost all German magazines and many international ones. Though there are differences, e.g. I can only get The New Yorker at the airport, while UK genre/media mags like SFX, Sci-Fi Now and Doctor Who magazine are only available at the central station. Sadly, I have never seen Analog, F&SF, Asimov’s or any of the US mystery mags (or Interzone) at any German newsstand, though the central station newsstand occasionally has the German SF mag Nova. Most of the time, when I go to the central station, I’m there to buy a magazine and not to get on a train.

    I have no idea if those newsstands are currently open. The one at the airport is almost certainly closed, because the whole airport is closed. The one at the central station might well be open, but I’m not planning to go there and check for the time being.

  30. @Russell Letson ff: I see we’ve drifted into fantasy….

    @Nina: I don’t even know that the Tech Coop was relocating again. (I remember when it was where a student store belongs, right in the middle of the campus — but I suppose the first floor of the new student center was too valuable to be given to a giant foreign store instead of being divided.) I, too, wonder where it will end up.

  31. (1) I read comics on an old Nook HD+ tablet with a 10 inch screen. I’m near-sighted, so I just take my glasses off and hold it close.

  32. @Chip: Sorry, I got carried away. Actually, Ocher & Woad were the accountants who did our tax returns. (They used an abacus and wore sleeve garters. Colorful guys.)

    (Have I been social-distancing long enough yet?)

  33. @Russell Letson: Beads and string? Luxury. We had to coppice trees just so to produce carefully designed lattices of twigs, which you stuck one end of into a termite mound. If you get it right, the termites walk along to the nodes in the lattice – and finicky buggers they were – that acted as AND and OR gates. Just to add to the headache, the whole thing had to be asynchronous, because just try to get termites to keep pace.

    (In fact, last week I bought a 10″ K&E Log-Log Duplex Decitrig plus case, in great condition. I’ve wanted one for decades and now I have one. Would have preferred a 20″ but those get pricey. Maybe after the end of the world comes to a complete stop I’ll splurge.)

  34. Trees? Bah! Weak and decadent! Real programmers know the joy of getting a crew to adjust the position of your menhirs just so to make all your calculations come out correctly. (I believe the great historian and documentarian, Sir Terry Pratchett, has published the results of his research into the era.)

  35. @Patrick Morris Miller
    I have a K&E of that species – bought back in the early 70s, before calculators became even remotely affordable for college students. It still slips smoothly. Also still more scales than I ever needed.

  36. @Patrick Morris Miller: I get the nostalgia for old tools. I have frequently berated myself for letting go of my E6B in my last move; I hadn’t used it in 18 years and was certain never to use it again, but it represented a 3-year ~obsession (until I figured out just how useless a private pilot’s license was in the northeast US).

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