Pixel Scroll 4/28/19 Heck Has No Fury Like A Woman Scorned

(1) GOOGLE GAG. Google “Thanos.” There will be a Infinity Gauntlet image on the right side. Click on it. No spoilers involved.

(2) AVENGERS BREAKS THE BANK. Yahoo! Entertainment has the numbers as “World turns out for record ‘Avengers: Endgame’ movie debut”.

Fans around the globe packed movie theaters for the debut of “Avengers: Endgame” over the weekend, pushing total ticket sales for the Walt Disney Co superhero spectacle to a stunning $1.2 billion and crushing records in dozens of countries.

“Endgame” generated an unprecedented $350 million in the United States and Canada from Thursday night through Sunday, according to Disney estimates. The three-hour action spectacle that revealed the fates of Iron Man, Thor and other popular comic-book heroes also made history in China, Brazil, France, Egypt, South Africa and 38 other markets….

(3) LIFE OF TOLKIEN. Historian John Garth’s Daily Mail article has some spoilers for the Tolkien biopic — “The forbidden love that saved JRR Tolkien from the horrors of war: A controversial new film reveals the extraordinary true story behind The Lord Of The Rings”

…It was more than three weeks before he had a chance to think. Tolkien sat out at night in a Somme wood as dark and tangled as his thoughts, then wrote to the other two survivors. ‘Something has gone crack,’ he said. ‘I feel just the same to both of you – nearer if anything and very much in need of you. But I don’t feel a member of a little complete body now.’

The four had dreamed that with God’s help they would change the world through a grand creative collaboration. They must have been mistaken, Tolkien said.

Though none of them could know it, Gilson’s death had actually put Tolkien on the road to changing the world singlehandedly….

(4) CONTROVERSY STALKS CIA PRESENCE AT CON. “Awesome Con Opens With Fans Questioning CIA Involvement”ScienceFiction.com has extensive coverage.

Awesome Con opened the doors at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, for its seventh year on Friday. Every year, Awesome Con gets bigger – more celebrities, more artists, more fans. Now, it seems like there’s also more controversy.

As first reported by the website ComicsBeat, the CIA has a large presence at this year’s con, from logos on various signage, to a large exhibit booth, to several CIA-inspired panels.

…At the convention, the CIA booth is in an area surrounded by other science, technology, and government bodies, including NASA. The messaging around the agency’s booth is clear – they are there to recruit those who are interested.

Talking to some of the attendees at the convention, the reactions to the CIA being there were mixed. Some who spoke about their displeasure would only provide their first names, citing fear of retribution.

“I think it’s just messed up, man,” said Peter, who would only say he lived somewhere ‘up north.’ “These are the same people who’ve killed and tortured innocent people, but you got them here recruiting? There are kids around here! I thought this show was supposed to be about the fans?”

“I’m not going anywhere near that area,” said Sara, who travelled with her young son from Pennsylvania. “It’s sad, too, because I wanted my son to see some of the space stuff over there. Maybe somebody will realize they made a mistake and not do this again.”

(5) BRADBURY STATUE. “Dedication planned for August as work starts on Waukegan’s Ray Bradbury statue” reports the Chicago Tribune.

Work on a Ray Bradbury statue in downtown Waukegan has begun as the final stretch of fundraising continues, a Waukegan Public Library official said.

The 12-foot-tall statue — which will feature the late Waukegan native, book in hand, on a rocket ship — will be placed outside the library once complete, with a dedication planned for Bradbury’s birthday on Aug. 22.

The statue, inspired by Bradbury’s poem “If Only We Had Taller Been,” is being created in stainless steel by acclaimed artist Zachary Oxman, who agreed to a contract a few months ago so he could start buying material and lining up a foundry, said Richard Lee, who saw the project begin as a conversation four years ago when he was the library’s executive director.

The Ray Bradbury Statue Committee is still $20,000 shy of the $125,000 needed to cover the statue’s cost, but the hope is that seeing the finished product will help spark the last fundraising push, library spokeswoman Amanda Civitello said.

(6) IN DEMAND. WorldCat’s The Library 100 lists the top novels available in libraries worldwide. Plenty of sff! I’ve read 41 of these, but lots of you can beat that score.

What makes a novel “great”? At OCLC, we believe literary greatness can be measured by how many libraries have a copy on their shelves.

Yes, libraries offer access to trendy and popular books. But, they don’t keep them on the shelf if they’re not repeatedly requested by their communities over the years. We’ve identified 100 timeless, top novels—those found in thousands of libraries around the world—using WorldCat, the world’s largest database of library materials.

So, check out The Library 100, head to your nearest library, and enjoy the read!

(7) TIME FOR A REFILL. In his latest The Full Lid, Alasdair Stuart says he “takes a look at the excellent narrative build of Discovery season 2 and what it shares with classic stage magic. I also listen to Monkeyman Productions’ remarkable Moonbase Theta, Out, find a lot to be optimistic about at Ytterbium and contrast that with one of my very few con horror stories. Thanks for reading.” Here’s a brief excerpt from the Eastercon report —

…Four years ago, volunteering at a convention, I had to explain to a decades-in-the-business, award winning creative you’ve probably heard of that a harassment policy was not a needless frippery but rather the equivalent of putting a roof on a house. Sooner or later, you always end up needing it. That wasn’t the only complaint we had about the policy, but it was the one that left the nastiest taste in my mouth. A taste, I notice four years later, has gone. Harassment policies are now the norm. The Overton Window of tradition has shifted and shifted, FOR ONCE, to the left.

That doesn’t just apply to cultural changes either. I’m seeing the ragged leading edge of the singularity hitting at multiple places across the industry and improving what came before it every time it does. Ten years ago I explained that I worked for a podcast and was greeted with the polite, confused expression of a relative who’s pretty certain they’ve been told a joke but have no idea whether or not to laugh. This year, I was part of the best podcast panel I’ve seen, or been on, at a convention to date….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 28, 1840 Palmer Cox. He was known for The Brownies, his series of humorous books and comic strips about the troublesome but generally well-meaning sprites. The cartoons were published in several books, such as The Brownies, Their Book for some forty years starting in the 1870s. Due to the immense popularity of his Brownies, one of the first popular handheld cameras was named after them, the Eastman Kodak Brownie camera. (Died 1924.)
  • Born April 28, 1910 Sam Merwin Jr. He was most influential in the Forties  and Fifties as the editor of Startling Stories,  Fantastic Story Quarterly, Wonder Stories Annual, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Fantastic Universe. He wrote a few stories for DC’s Strange Adventures and Mystery in Space but otherwise wasn’t known as a genre writer. (Died 1996.)
  • Born April 28, 1914 Philip E. High. Made his name first in the Fifties by being published in Authentic Science Fiction, New Worlds Science Fiction and Nebula Science Fiction, and was voted “top discovery” in the Nebula readers’ poll for 1956.  A collection of his short stories, The Best of Philip E. High, was published in 2002. He wrote fourteen novels but I can’t remember that I’ve read any of them, so can y’all say how he was as a novelist? (Died 2006.)
  • Born April 28, 1917 Robert Cornthwaite. Actor in such Fifties films as The Thing From Another WorldThe War of the WorldsMen Into Space and Destination Space. He would be active well into the Twentieth Century in such productions as The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Colossus: The Forbin Project , The Six Million Dollar Man, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and White Dwarf. (Died 2006.)
  • Born April 28, 1929 Charles Bailey. Co-writer writer with Fletcher Knebel of Seven Days In May, a story of an attempted coup against the President.  Rod Serling wrote the screenplay for the film. ISFDB says it got one review in the trade, in Analog Science Fact & Science Fiction, February 1963 by P. Schuyler Miller. (Died 2012.)
  • Born April 28, 1930 Carolyn Jones. She began played the role of Morticia Addams (as well as her sister Ophelia and the feminine counterpart of Thing, Lady Fingers) in The Addams Family. Though she had an uncredited role in the original The War of the Worlds which be her first genre role as a Blonde Party Guest, and she was Theodora ‘Teddy’ Belicec in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. She had a recurring role as Marsha, Queen of Diamonds on Batman. (Died 1983.)
  • Born April 28, 1948 Terry Pratchett. Did you know that Steeleye Span did a superb job of turning his Wintersmith novel into a recording? You can read the Green Man review here (Wintersmith) by Kage’s sister Kathleen. My favorite Pratchett? Well pretty much any of the Watch novels will do for a read for a night when I want something English and really fantastic. (Died 2015.)
  • Born April 28, 1953 Will Murray, 66. Obviously MMPs still live as he’s writing them currently in the Doc Savage Universe to the tune of eighteen under the house name of Kenneth Robeson since 1993. He’s also written in the King Kong, Julie de Grandin, Mars Attacks, Reanimator Universe, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.,Tarzan, Destroyer and The Spider media franchises. So how many do you recognize? 
  • Born April 28, 1967 Kari Wuhrer, 52. Best known for her roles as Maggie Beckett in Sliders and as Sheriff Samantha Parker in Eight Legged Freaks. Her first genre role was as Jackie Trent in Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time. She also played Amy Klein in Hellraiser VII: Deader (There was that many films in that franchise? Really? Why?) She voiced Barbara Keane and Pamela Isley in the most excellent Batman: Gotham by Gaslight and earlier in her career she was Abigail in the first live action Swamp Thing series. 
  • Born April 28, 1971 Chris Young, 48. Bryce Lynch in the Max Headroom series which I still hold is of the best SF series ever done. The only other genre I think he’s are two horror films, The Runestone andWarlock: The Armageddon. Unless you call voice roles in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue genre…

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • With geometric logic, Candorville proves that Star Trek:Discovery is a big deal.
  • Speed Bump reveals something you didn’t know about those Little Libraries.
  • Speed Bump has a cute phone joke, too.

(10) ROUGH JUSTICE. Yahoo! Entertainment says “‘Avengers: Endgame’ Spoiler Man Beaten Outside Hong Kong Cinema”.

A man who obviously didn’t get the memo on Avengers: Endgame – or chose to ignore it – was beaten outside a Hong Kong cinema for shouting out spoilers to fans waiting in line to see the film.

(11) BACK IN TIME. Intercot documents EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth attraction, which was created with the help of Ray Bradbury and many others.

Spaceship Earth opened on October 1, 1982 and “celebrates communication as the key to human progress and survival.” (Walt Disney World – A Pictorial Souvenir © 1984 Disney) “For EPCOT’s signature structure, the Imagineers needed an image as unique as the Magic Kingdom’s castle. Something that would say, ‘Here’s a place that’s global in scope and futuristic in design.’ They made an inspired choice, Spaceship Earth.”

You can read and listen to recordings of the Spaceship Earth narrative, too.

Passing directly beneath the remarkable structure, we proceed up a short ramp passing two posters, a sign, and a large mural before entering the pavilion. The two posters on either side of the entrance queue show a painting of Spaceship Earth with stars in the distance behind it. Both say “Ride the Time Machine from the Dawn of Civilization to the Beginning of Our Tomorrow. SPACESHIP EARTH.” The sign which is along the right side of the ramp reads “Spaceship Earth is a slow moving attraction that explores the history of human communications. Since travelers will be transported to the furthest regions of our solar system, the attraction is not recommended for those who experience anxiety in dark, narrow or enclosed spaces.” The mural depicts astronauts working on a satellite with Earth in the distance. Surrounding them are smaller images of cavemen, the Egyptians, the Romans, Gutenburg and his printing press, and modern day people. These announcements are heard as we near the entranceway:

(12) YOUR MPH MAY VARY. According to Gizmodo, “Hubble Measurements Confirm There’s Something Weird About How the Universe Is Expanding”.

…But other measurements don’t agree. Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope recalculated the Hubble constant with the help of a recent high-accuracy measurement of the distance to a nearby satellite galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, as well as new observations of 70 Cepheid variables, a kind of pulsating star. Cepheids’ pulsation rate and brightness are closely enough related that their distance can be calculated. Combined with other improvements, they calculated the Universe’s expansion at 74 kilometers per second per megaparsec.

Basically—when scientists look farther away, the Universe seems to be expanding more slowly than when they look at the local Universe….

(13) STARBIRTH. Jonathan Cowie says of Gaia DR2 reveals a star formation burst in the disc 2–3 Gyr ago” – “It’s a bit technical for non-science types but they in Gaia DR2 data an imprint of a star formation burst 2–3 Gyr ago in the Galactic thin disc domain, and a present star formation rate.” Nature summarizes it thus:

…A burst of star formation that peaked two billion to three billion years ago spangled the Milky Way with a new generation of stars.

To understand how the Galaxy formed and evolved, astronomers need to know the rate at which its stars are born and how that rate has changed over time. But there is no way to measure the age of individual stars directly.

Roger Mor at the University of Barcelona in Spain and his colleagues turned to data from the Gaia satellite, which precisely measures the distance from Earth to millions of stars. These measurements allow researchers to calculate a star’s true brightness and size, which can be fed into models to infer its age.

The team simulated star formation in the Milky Way over time, and found it was in steady decline until roughly five billion years ago, when production suddenly ramped up. The researchers estimate that half the total mass of all the stars ever created in the Milky Way’s thin disk — which contains most of the Galaxy’s stars — was produced during this period.

(14) RADIO 4. FutureProofing episode “The Apocalypse” is a 40-minute programme on BBC Radio 4 which is not your usual prepper fare as it touches a number of SF tropes including the singularity, post humanism, AI as well as the basics such as asteroids.

Will 21st century technology avert or accelerate the Apocalypse? FutureProofing discovers the dangers and risks of existential disaster in the 21st century.

(15) COULDA BEEN A CONTENDER. Core Ideas explains how the Heroes TV show was on the verge of becoming classic sci fi and then didn’t.

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lisa Goldstein.]

60 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/28/19 Heck Has No Fury Like A Woman Scorned

  1. I read 38/100 and 91/500. Since I studied English, I read a lot of older and modern classics. I also read some of the older classics for fun, though rarely the modern ones.

    Children’s and YA books are very country and language-specific, so I’m missing a lot of the US/UK ones, which make up about a quarter of the list. Apart from modern YA and children’s books like Twilight, Harry Potter and the Philip Pullmans, the only older ones I read are Pipi Longstocking and Heidi. And I only read Heidi, because I ran out of better things to read.

    Amazingly, I have read only three of the approx. 10 German language books on the list and liked none of them. In fact, All Quiet on the Western Front has the distinction of being the book assigned in school that I hated most and The Sorrows of Young Werther is not far behind, though I disliked Emilia Galotti by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and The Distant Lover by Christoph Hein (and I can’t believe I just looked up the English title of a book I hate) even more .

    I actually see a pretty strong mystery and thriller presence on the list. There were at least three Agatha Christies, at least two Arthur Conan Doyles, two by Wilkie Collins, a whole lot of John Grisham (Why?) and James Patterson (Why?), pretty much everything by Dan Brown (Why?), the entire Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larson, a random Sue Grafton and a random Janet Evanovich, Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, etc…

    Romance really is underrepresented. There is one random Nora Roberts novel (and not even a particularly good one), a bunch of Nicholas Sparks novels, though their status as romance is disputable, because most/all of them don’t have a happy ending, and several classics by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Elliot, etc… If you want to include hybrids like the Twilight books or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books, you get a few more.

    I don’t know why romance is so underrepresented, but it’s probably because the genre is too big and too spread out that there is less consensus about which books to stock. Though I would have expected at the least very big names like Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Linda Howard, Julia Quinn, Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick, etc… to make an appearance.

  2. 66/100 and 192/500 for me. Fewer in each succeeding group of 100. There seem to be quite a few children’s books on the list.

    I still have the Ace Double of Philip E. High’s The Time Mercenaries backed with Louis Trimble’s Anthropol that I bought at the age of about 12 in the late ‘60s. I read it it a bunch of times back then but it’s probably been over 40 years since the last time.

  3. 63/100. Haven’t gone on to the 500 list yet.

    Ultragotha and others–what Chip said. MMPBs don’t last many lendings. Yes, many libraries have them, because there’s high community demand in most places. However, they’re often not added to the permanent collection, because they’re just not going to last that long, and for a library, most of the cost is cataloging and adding into the permanent collection.

    Lending of ebooks doesn’t change things as much as you might imagine. Just as with print books, purchasing one “copy” means you get to lend one copy at a time. Multiple lendings of your one copy at the same time would be a serious copyright violation that the publisher would not take lightly. It does reduce turnaround time, though.

    Oh, and here in 2507, it has somewhat relieved the problem of the otherwise ephemeral publishing of America’s most popular literature.

    What I’ve mainly been doing is sleeping. More sleep!

  4. With respect to (6), my numbers are 52/100 and 175/500

    I noticed the CIA at Awesome Con, if I understood things correctly, they were in the section labeled Future Con which seemed to be mostly federal government agencies and other government entities such as NASA and a couple of public libraries. The number of free tables for fan groups/conventions and government agencies/entities seemed greatly reduced this year. OTOH, the Exhibition Hall is very big and while I tried to go down all the aisles, I may have missed stuff.

  5. @Cat Eldredge: it certainly seems to me that the occasional YA book I check out of the library has far more e-copies than physical instances listed. (The information appears in various forms, especially if I move to reserve a copy — I’ve even held drag races to see which version became available first.) But I don’t know whether that applies to romances — I’m not going to try to guess whether romance readers are as tech-savvy as readers of other non-YA — and it’s not clear to me whether it matters, as I don’t see an indication that the listings are limited to physical books.

  6. @Joe H.:

    15) I think Heroes was one of the series that got hit hard by the writers’ strike. Also, I hated their decision to bring Sylar back. And pretty much everything else I saw from S2 onwards was a weird combination of flailing and treading water.

    In addition, I was irritated by the later seasons’ repeated flashbacks to the first season which struck me as desperate attempts to remind the audience that we used to like the show…

    As Sheldon Cooper said:
    “Firefly did a movie to wrap things up. Buffy the Vampire Slayer continued on as a comic book. Heroes gradually lowered the quality season by season till we were grateful it ended.”

  7. Cora Buhlert on April 29, 2019 at 3:39 pm said:

    Children’s and YA books are very country and language-specific, so I’m missing a lot of the US/UK ones, which make up about a quarter of the list.

    YA books I really liked (not necessarily on either of those lists) are:
    The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (but NOT the movie)
    The Abhorson books by Garth Nix
    Everything Diana Wynne Jones wrote. I especially like The Merlin Conspiracy and Year of the Griffon (sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm).
    Tamora Pierce’s books
    Bridge to Terebithia (different from the movie)

    What ones are good from Germany? Bearing in mind I don’t speak German.

  8. Try Michael Ende. The Neverending Story is definitely available in English and Momo likely as well. There is also the Jim Knopf and Lukas, the Train Engine Driver duology for slightly younger readers, which definitely had an English language edition and about which I wrote an in depth article for Galactic Journey.

    Otfried Preußler is another author of very good German children’s and YA fantasy. His historical YA fantasy novel Krabat (various English titles) is probably the best work for adult readers. Other fine children’s books by him are The Robber Hotzenplotz, The Little Ghost, The Little Witch and The Little Water Sprite

    Max Kruse, youngest son of the famous dollmaker Käthe Kruse and actually the model for the Käthe Kruse baby dolls you can still buy today, is another beloved author of German children’s books. Das Urmel aus dem Eis (Urmel from the Ice) is probably the best known.

    Ellis Kaut is best known for her Pumuckl stories about a red-haired kobold. No idea if these have ever been translated.

    For newer authors, there is Cornelia Funke, whose Inkheart trilogy is actually in the World Cat top 500. Several of her books, particularly her fantasy novels, have been translated into English, though the more realistic novels like the Wild Chicks series usually aren’t available in English. In addition to Inkheart, the Mirror World trilogy (Reckless, Fearless and I’ve forgotten what the third is called) and The Thief Lord are good.

    Walter Moers is something of a hybrid, who writes delightful children’s books, very adult comic books and all ages fantasy. The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear and the Zamonia books (Rumo and his Miraculous Adventures, The City of Dreaming Books, The Alchemaster’s Apprentice and The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books) are the best known. The Zamonia books are actually written by a dragon named Hildegund von Mythemetz and only “translated” by Moers.

  9. @ Cora Buhlert:

    I have no idea if Christine Nötslinger has been translated to English. And she was also Austrian rather than German, but I do recall being quite fond of her books, and I would class at least a few of them as genre-adjacent (main one tha tI can think of is Konrad oder Das Kind aus der Konservenbüchse, translated to English as Conrad: The Factory-Made Boy).

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