Pixel Scroll 4/3/20 Andy Warhol, Pixel Scroll, Can’t Tell Them Apart At All

(1) THE CONLINE LIFE. NYC area convention HELIOsphere is running online this weekend. Here’s how to locate the schedule and tap into the programming.

When we had to cancel HELIOsphere 2020 because of the coronavirus, we were sad. And, we were bored. So, this weekend, we bring to you:

HELIOsphere: Beyond the Corona! (a virtual event)

Join us while we all #StayHome! We unfortunately had to cancel our in-person event this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still gather together online for some presentations, panels, games, and lots of filk! Check for the latest schedule and Zoom and Discord links. And finally, stay safe and healthy, everyone! We want to see you all in person next year!

(2) NOT MAKING BOOK. Writer and editor Beth Meacham updated Facebook readers with the current struggles of the publishing industry.

I want to talk for a minute about why publishing is in so much trouble right now. It’s way more complicated than most people seem to think.

First, you need to know that the vast majority of our business remains in hardcover and paperback books. Hard copies, physical objects. The second strongest sector has been audio books. Ebooks are a distant third.

Selling books is a very long and complicated supply chain. Ignore editorial — writers and editors can work at a distance and electronically. It really starts with the paper. Storing paper for the big presses takes an enormous amount of warehouse space, which costs money. Printers don’t store a lot — they rely on a “just in time” supply chain so that when a book is scheduled to go to press, the paper is delivered to the printer. Most of that paper is manufactured in China. Guess what isn’t coming from China? Anything, for the last three months. Some of it comes from Canada. Guess what the Trump administration put a big tariff on at the beginning of the year?

So, we don’t have adequate paper supplies. Then consider, big printing plants are not “essential businesses”…. 

(3) RITE GUD. The latest episode of the Rite Gud podcast is up. In it, R.S. Benedict talks to horror writer Gretchen Felker-Martin about Isabel Fall’s controversial story “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter” and about the need to make space for messy, difficult, transgressive queer fiction. “Transgressive Queer Fiction and the Right to Be Messy”

(4) RAILING AGAINST FATE. Prepare to brace…. Snowpiercer, starring Oscar® winner Jennifer Connelly and Tony Award® winner Daveed Diggs premieres May 17.

Set more than seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, Snowpiercer centers on the remnants of humanity who inhabit a perpetually moving train, with 1001 cars, that circles the globe. Class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival play out in this riveting television adaptation based on the graphic novel series and film from Oscar® Winner Bong Joon Ho (Parasite).

(5) LBJ’S WALKERS. [Item by Olav Rokne.] The U.S. National Archives blog Text Message reveals the behind-the-scenes story of how the government tried to build AT-AT style walking war machines in the 1960s. It’s an interesting story, and the images they’ve posted are amazing“Bringing Sci-Fi to Life: The Walking War Machines of ARPA and G.E.” 

One has only to look to the 1980 movie Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back to see the relationship between science fiction and scientific research to recognize the surviving creative influence of the ambulating quadruped transporter.

(6) ELUSIVE QUARRY. James Davis Nicoll reads a lot – and there are even more books he’d read, if he could! “SFF Books That Are Hard to Track Down in North America” at Tor.com.

…It can be frustrating to have heard of an interesting book, to want to read that book, and to find that it is available ONLY in an imported edition. Well, at least it’s available (failing a breakdown in global trade networks, and how likely is that)…but it may take longer to get the book and the book may be more expensive.

You may be wondering why I am vexed about this. Allow me to list a few books that I wanted to acquire and that were not available in North American editions, as far as I can tell.

(7) BY THAT SPECIAL GLINT IN THEIR…UM. “Proof of Life: How Would We Recognize an Alien If We Saw One?” Tagline: “Some day, astrobiologists will need to answer that question – if they’re lucky.”

…One thing that sets life apart from nonlife is its apparent design. Living things, from the simplest bacteria to the great redwoods, have vast numbers of intricate parts working together to make the organism function. Think of your hands, heart, spleen, mitochondria, cilia, neurons, toenails – all collaborating in synchrony to help you navigate, eat, think and survive. The most beautiful natural rock formations lack even a tiny fraction of the myriad parts of a single bacterial cell that coordinate to help it divide and reproduce. 

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • April 3, 1953 — In London, The War Of The Worlds based on the H.G. wells novel had its very first theatrical showing. It was the recipient of a 1954 Retro-Hugo Award at Noreascon 4 in 2004.  It was produced by George Pal, and directed by Byron Haskin. It starred Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. It was deemed culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant in 2011 by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. 
  • April 3, 1968 Planet Of The Apes had it a full U.S. wide release after several smaller city wide openings. It was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. It starred Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison. The screenplay was by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, and was somewhat based on Pierre Boulle‘s La Planète des Singes. It was not on the final Hugo ballot in either 1968 or 1969 for Best Dramatic Presentation, though it was met with critical acclaim and is widely regarded as a classic film and one of the best films of 1968. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it an 87% rating with over 117,000 having expressing an opinion! 
  • April 3, 1998 — The rebooted Lost In Space film premiered. Produced by Mark W. Koch, Stephen Hopkins, Akiva Goldsman and Carla Fry, it was directed by Stephen Hopkins from a script by Akiva Goldsman based on ideas by Irwin Allen. It was universally panned by critics on release, it lost enough money to kill the planned sequel and it received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Remake or Sequel, but lost to the tied GodzillaThe Avengers and Psycho. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a 24% rating. 
  • April 3, 1999 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World first aired on TNT.  It starred Peter McCauley, Rachel Blakely, William Snow, David Orth, Jennifer O’Dell and Michael Sinelnikoff. Produced in Australia, it would run for three seasons and last for sixty six episodes. The never produced fourth season would have featured guest appearances of two other Arthur Conan Doyle characters, Holmes and Moriarty. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 3, 1927 Donald M. Grant. He was responsible for the creation of several genre small press publishers. He co-founded Grant-Hadley Enterprises in 1945, Buffalo Book Company in 1946, Centaur Press in 1970 and Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in 1964. Between 1976 and 2003, he won five World Fantasy Awards and a Balrog Award as well. (Died 2009.)
  • Born April 3, 1928 Colin Kapp. He’s best remembered  for his stories about the Unorthodox Engineers which originally largely appeared in the New Writings in SF anthologies. I’d also single out his Cageworld series which is set in the future when humanity lives on nested Dyson spheres. Both series are available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 2007.)
  • Born April 3, 1929 Ernest Callenbach. Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston was rejected by every major publisher so Callenbach initially self-published it. Ecotopia Emerging is a prequel and sequel as well published later. Yes, I read both. As such fiction goes, they’re ok. Nothing spectacular, characters flat and writing style pedestrian.  If you can find a copy, Christopher Swan’s YV 88: An Eco-Fiction of Tomorrow which depicts the rewilded Yosemite Valley is a much more interesting read. (Died 2012.)
  • Born April 3, 1946 Lyn McConchie, 74. New Zealand author who has written three sequels in the Beast Master series that Andre Norton created and four novels in Norton’s Witch World as well. She has written a lot of Holmesian fiction, so I’ll just recommend her collection of short stories, Sherlock Holmes: Familar Crimes: New Tales of The Great Detective. She’s deeply stocked at the usual digital suspects. 
  • Born April 3, 1958 Alec Baldwin, 62. I’ve no idea how many times I’ve see him in Beetlejuice as Adam Maitland since it’s one of my favorite films, period. Despite those who don’t like The Shadow and him in his dual role of Lamont Cranston and The Shadow, I’m quite fond of it. Let’s just skip past any mention of The Cat in the Hat… Ahhhh Rise of the Guardians where he voices Nicholas St. North is quite fantastic. Another go to, feel good film for me. He’s Alan Hunley in some of the Mission: Impossible franchise, a series I think I’ve only seen the first two films of. And here’s a weird one — the US. run of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends replaced the U.K. narrator, some minor musician no one had ever heard of by the name of Ringo Starr, with him. 
  • Born April 3, 1961 Eddie Murphy, 59. He’s got a long history in genre starting with The Golden Child and going on to include Wes Craven’s Vampire in BrooklynThe Nutty Professor films, Mulan, the Dr. Dolittle films, the Shrek franchise and The Haunted Mansion
  • Born April 3, 1962 James R. Black, 58. I’d like to say he’s best known for his leading role as Agent Michael Hailey on The Burning Zone but since it was short-lived and I’m not sure anyone actually watched it on UPN that might be stretching reality a bit. If you like great popcorn viewing, The Burning Zone is certainly worth seeing. Prior to his run on that series, he’s got a number of one-offs including Babylon 5Deep Space 9, The SentinelSpace: Above and Beyond with his first genre role being Doctor Death in Zombie Cop.
  • Born April 3, 1970 Jo Graham, 50. Her first novel, Black Ships, re-imagines The Aeneid, and her second novel, Hand of Isis, features the reincarnated main character of the first novel. If that‘s not enough genre cred for you, she’s written Lost Things, with Melissa Scott and a whole lot of Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 novels.

(10) HELP IS ON THE WAY. Rick Kovalcik announced the results of the “Help Ben and Ireland Hatcher” GoFundMe on March 31:

Two money orders totaling $1661 (since USPS money orders are limited to $1000) went out by Priority Mail to Ben Hatcher today.

(11) NEW WORLD ORDER. SYFY Wire’s Dana Forsythe talks to people trying to ride out the financial storm: “Comic Cons, Artists, And Fans Search For A Way Forward Amid Coronavirus Cancellations”.

…At the top, many convention organizers were caught between a rock and a hard place after C2E2 seemingly went off without a hitch from Feb. 28 through March 1. Without guidance from local (not to mention the federal) government, con creators were still bound by contract to hold these major events. By March 12, though, tough decisions were made simple as federal and state leaders alike declared emergencies and issued bans on large gatherings. With mandatory shelter in place orders now spreading, what happens now? While comic cons big and small fight to stay afloat, the artists, vendors, and support staff scramble for solutions.

Gary Sohmers is the organizer of the NorthEast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza, which organizes two midsize cons that happen three times a year just outside of Boston. The cons usually attract about 4,000 attendees over three days with the average person spending about $100 on merchandise. Sohmers employs a small staff of 12 to 15 people and then usually hires a handful of service contractors per show. That’s not to mention thousands of dollars in marketing costs, he tells SYFY WIRE.

(12) SXSW 2020 SCREENINGS ONLINE. “Amazon will stream SXSW Film Festival selections for free for 10 days”Engadget has the story. Date still to be determined.

SXSW was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but that isn’t stopping organizers from offering a taste of what the Austin event would have offered. They’re partnering with Amazon on an SXSW Film Festival Collection that will stream movies from the festival on Prime Video for 10 days, completely free in the US — you won’t need a subscription. While creators will have to opt in, they’ll receive a screening fee for their trouble. Amazon and SXSW are tentatively looking at a late April timeframe for the virtual festival.

(13) BRAIN-TO-TEXT! [Item by Daniel Dern.] From Slashdot: “Scientists develop AI that can turn brain activity into text”.

Two immediate (media) plot uses:

1, Superman 1, when Lois Lane, while being flown by Supes, is thinking, “Can you hear what I’m thinking”

2, Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist, for Zoe’s unable-to-speak dad (btw, this show is doing Good-Place-level exploration of Zoe’s ‘superpower’, including one bit, last week, too funny to spoil.)

3, Speechless, for JJ, also unable to talk.

(14) IT’S FREE. [Item by Daniel Dern.] More free watches/reads via io9.

Update: According to TrekCore, CBS All Access has expanded the free trial to 60 days with a second code, ENJOY. Enter both at checkout to get two months free, and if you’ve already done the first one you can extend it by going into My Account and entering ENJOY….

Scribt: In a press release, Scribt announced it’s making book, magazine, and audiobook services free for 30 days—without requiring folks to put down a credit card. All you have to do is visit the website to sign up. There’s a great collection of science fiction and fantasy books on there, as well as some self-help, healthy living, and mindfulness books for folks interested in that as well.

(15) HAPPY DEATH DAY. [Item by N.] Ladyknightthebrave’s video essay on the Happy Death Day movies. I used to dismiss these movies out of hand for their Blumhouse associations but based on the analysis/scenes featured here, they appear to be supremely underrated.

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

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/3/20 Andy Warhol, Pixel Scroll, Can’t Tell Them Apart At All

  1. (13) Scalzi’s BrainPal?

    “Brush up your ScrollSpeare, start Pixeling now”

  2. Juan Sanmiguel says None of the Ape films ever got on the Hugo Ballot. I was always kind of surprised by that

    Yeah it’s a bit of a puzzler. The first one is well done and is as good as some of the films that did make the Hugo ballot.

  3. @2: IIUC, Tor has cut upper-level salaries substantially while scaling so the lowest-paid people still get full salary — a sterling example, against what a lot of other companies are doing.

    @5: considering how slowly much smaller walkers have been progressing, I’m surprised that versions half a century ago just “discovered technical flaws” during beta testing; I wonder what it took to make them work at all.

    @9 (Kapp): memories vary. I know I read a few of Carnell’s “New Writings” series but don’t remember Unorthodox Engineers; OTOH, he had some tolerable novels, serialized in IF or just available in paperback. The Wizard of Anharitte and The Survival Game weren’t terrific and would probably read even less well now, but both were good reads then — and a male writer including powerful female characters was not common in the 1970’s.

    @9 (Callenbach): even for an epistolary novel, Ecotopia is didactic — although it’s interesting watching a narrator learn better. Unfortunately both books are male-gazey even if the prequel has a teenage female as one of the leads (which gives room for a scene that is a bit creepy by today’s standards); they make an odd contrast to Kapp. They’re also fascinatingly unrealistic — the people between ~Napa/Sonoma and ~Eugene, or anywhere east of I-5, would probably have been … unenthusiastic … about allying with citified hippies against the good ole U S of A.

    re @8: 1968’s ballot was filled with Star Trek episodes; given a small (and probably more-focused) pool of nominators, I’m not surprised PotA wasn’t nominated. 1969 is more variable. OTOH, I read the book before the movie came out and was seriously unimpressed; fans of the time may have thought the movie was more didactic than stfnal. The movies were certainly noticed, but not in the best way; I remember a set of fake poster-and-still pairs for “Planet of the Goats” and sequels at a Boskone art show.

  4. Chip says 1968’s ballot was filled with Star Trek episodes; given a small (and probably more-focused) pool of nominators, I’m not surprised PotA wasn’t nominated. 1969 is more variable. OTOH, I read the book before the movie came out and was seriously unimpressed; fans of the time may have thought the movie was more didactic than stfnal. The movies were certainly noticed, but not in the best way; I remember a set of fake poster-and-still pairs for “Planet of the Goats” and sequels at a Boskone art show.

    And all five Trek episodes on the final ballot were damn brilliant. Mind you five episodes making the final ballot is still a bit of overkill but it does prove how popular it was among fandom.

  5. 8) I think Beneath the Planet of the Apes was my favorite. I saw the trailer for that in a theater before some family friendly movie like The Boatniks and some of the scenes from the forbidden zone were fairly intense.

    (9) I’m sure Eddie Murphy would like to forget The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Those who have seen it, don’t have that luxury. Good cast + the director of Termors and City Slickers – What could go wrong?

    Also Jamie Hewlett who gave us Tank Girl (with Alan Martin) and the Gorillaz.

    And David Hyde Pierce who created the role of Sir Robin in Spamalot and provided the voice for Abe Sapien in the first Hellboy movie. More voice work in A Bug’s Life, Osmosis Jones, The Amazing Screw-On Head and Treasure Planet.

    Take your scrolling pix off me, you damned dirty fifth

  6. Chip says memories vary. I know I read a few of Carnell’s “New Writings” series but don’t remember Unorthodox Engineers; OTOH, he had some tolerable novels, serialized in IF or just available in paperback. The Wizard of Anharitte and The Survival Game weren’t terrific and would probably read even less well now, but both were good reads then — and a male writer including powerful female characters was not common in the 1970’s.

    You can be forgiven if you don’t remember them as there’s only five stories in total and only four that ran in New Writings. I’m prolly going to get a copy of them of Apple Books as I’m curious as to how they read. Someone remembers him well enough that they digitally published pretty much everything he wrote. That’s not all that common as I can attest from my daily research for stitching together the Birthdays.

  7. Jack Lint notes And David Hyde Pierce who created the role of Sir Robin in Spamalot and provided the voice for Abe Sapien in the first Hellboy movie. More voice work in A Bug’s Life, Osmosis Jones, The Amazing Screw-On Head and Treasure Planet.

    He’s had some live roles as well — Addams Family Values, The Fisher King and one episode of The Outer Limits. I did have on my long list but he didn’t make the final cut.

  8. The only Planet of the Apes movie I’ve seen is the 2001 remake with Helena Bonham Carter and…some other people. I wasn’t super impressed, but didn’t hate it either.

    ’68 was my first Worldcon, but I was a bit too young for Hugo voting. The general impression I had at the time, though, was that most fans considered PotA decent but not great. (Which is why I never quite got around to seeing it.)

  9. 9) I watched at least the first few episodes of The Burning Zone; if memory serves, I quit because the biology got insultingly bad – which tends to be a common reason for me to quit pet-food-tier genre shows. Is it just me, or are biology and linguistics the two sciences that get abused the worst by writers’ rooms?

  10. Chip Hitchcock:

    even for an epistolary novel, Ecotopia is didactic — although it’s interesting watching a narrator learn better. Unfortunately both books are male-gazey even if the prequel has a teenage female as one of the leads (which gives room for a scene that is a bit creepy by today’s standards); they make an odd contrast to Kapp. They’re also fascinatingly unrealistic — the people between ~Napa/Sonoma and ~Eugene, or anywhere east of I-5, would probably have been … unenthusiastic … about allying with citified hippies against the good ole U S of A.

    Well, I figured we magicked off anything east of the Cascades, but even if that happened, there’s still a very loud and angry contingent that likes to call themselves the State of Jefferson right in the middle of it all. I know upon finishing it, I thought to myself that this guy has no idea that my hometown (Redding) was right in the middle of this area he called Ecotopia, and they would not be happy about it.

  11. Xtifr: The general impression I had at the time, though, was that most fans considered PotA decent but not great.

    Decades later, I can still remember the first time I saw Planet of the Apes. It was a TV Movie of the Week or some such. It may or may not have aged well, but to this day I remember how thunderstruck I was at the final scene. I was already reading SF at that point, but the movie very definitely contributed to the sense of wonder that made me a lifelong SF fan.

    Xtifr, the remake has a greatly modified plot compared to the original. I encourage you to consider watching it at some point, maybe for entertainment during the current stay-at-home directives.

  12. Pro Tip: In a time of plague, don’t forget to take your seasonal allergy meds.

    I’ve been keeping myself on cetirizine (Zyrtec) 24/7, meaning twice a day (recommended dose is once a day, but it really doesn’t last that long), ever since this corona thing got started. I do have spring allergies, but I usually wouldn’t be so fanatical about the drug — but I don’t want to have any confusion about why I might start sneezing or coughing. And I’ve noticed how impressively clear my airways have been — I’ve only sneezed once in weeks (and that one was embarrassing because I was in the grocery store at the time, wouldn’t ya know).

    Forgot to take it last night. Woke up sneezing multiple times just now. Oops! Proof of Concept: cetirizine is my friend!

    In genre news: I’m in the middle of Highfire by Eoin Colfer. Having lots of fun with it. I recommend the audio version — Johnny Heller narrates and is doing a great job; the accents may or may not be Louisiana-authentic, but they and Heller’s delivery are entertaining. So far (about 2/3 of the way through), I recommend it as a diverting bit of fluff. I haven’t read anything else by Colfer, so I can’t compare to his other work!

  13. (8) I always liked that story that Clarke et al were surprised that Planet of the Apes won a special make-up Oscar when 2001 wasn’t even recognised, and the joke that this was because they thought that 2001 had used ‘real’ monkeys…

  14. @ Chip, re item 2: Disney execs are also taking big salary cuts, although they are also planning to furlough non-unionized park workers later this month.

  15. 13) Not such a big development, since – as so many message boards and comments sections show – the Internet has been turning brain inactivity into text since 1995.

  16. Ecotopia also had a remarkable take on African Americans, which was that they were the one group that didn’t integrate into tree-hug-o-topia. They got their own homeland, a reservation if you will.

  17. The original SNOWPIERCER is a very entertaining trashy movie by the great Bong Joon Ho that I recommend if you haven’t seen it. THE HOST is another one of Bong’s films that’s worth seeing.

  18. Meredith Moment —

    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is currently available at Amazon US for $2.99 . You could argue whether it really counts as sff or not — tough. 😉

    I really need to reread this one.

  19. 9) I remember Colin Kapp as the author of “Gottlos”, the cover story of the November 1969 Analog, which was the first sf magazine I ever bought. The story didn’t actually impress me much. It was about an intelligent tank.

  20. I read Ectopia as a kid in the early 80s I think? And even as a young idealist I kept thinking it didn’t work as well as say, Looking Backward.

    The main thing I vaguely remember about Ectopia is a couple having a screaming argument with each other, because um, repressing emotions was bad. I remember thinking “Nah, that’s not going to work.” And hunters writing blood on the narrator or something.

    I was older when I read Ectopia Emerging, and I recall a lot of retcons. Like a magical energy generator, and people of similar beliefs migrating betterment the nascent Ectopia and the US. So Evgeny everyone in Jefferson, Redding and Napa would leave. Right.

  21. McJulie: This is a good filk, you should put it on File770
    Paulcarp: But it’s not fannish!
    McJulie: I’ll post it for you. That way if they get mad at somebody they’ll get mad at me.

    With apologies to Martha and the Vandellas
    (h/t Marvin Gaye, William “Mickey” Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter)

    “No One In The Street”

    Malls are closed around the world
    Are you ready for a brand new bug?
    Spring is here and the time is right
    For mass graves to be dug

    They’re shutting down Chicago (no one’s in the street)
    Done in New Orleans (no one’s in the street)
    And New York City (no one’s in the street)

    All we need is testing, more testing
    They’ll be testing everywhere
    They’ll be looting, robbing, and drive-through swabbing
    That’s who’s in the street

    Oh, it doesn’t matter who you blame
    Long as Obama is his name
    So come on, every day, on TV
    Republicans, not CDC

    They’ll be no one (no one in the street)
    There’s no one in the street (no one in the street)

    It’s an isolation across the nation
    And Zoom for folks to meet
    There’ll be coughing, sneezing, daily press briefings
    No one’s in the street

    Philadelphia, P-A (no one in the street)
    Baltimore and D.C. now (no one in the street)
    Can’t forget the Motor City (no one in the street)

    What we need comes later, ventilators
    There’ll be virus everywhere
    There’ll be sweating, aching, but still Spring Breaking
    Chancing in the street

    Oh, it doesn’t matter what you says
    Just as long as you are Pres
    So come on, every guy, grab a mask
    It’s optional, in case you asked

    They’re shopping
    They’re shopping for TP (panic in the stores)
    Shelves bare in L.A. (panic in the stores)
    Every day, they’re running out of Lysol (panic in the street)
    Let’s form a big, long line (keeping 6 feet apart)
    I got mine, we’re checking out at the store (keeping 6 feet apart)
    Across the ocean flew (distancing in the street)
    AirBridge Crew, we’re dying in the street

  22. re item 2: Disney execs are also taking big salary cuts, although they are also planning to furlough non-unionized park workers later this month.

    Disney gig workers got cut immediately. My niece was working for them.

    7) Aren’t octopuses supposed to be an alien species? Good luck communicating with any aliens we might run upon. We’ve not even managed to establish decent communication with other species on Earth.

  23. @Cat Eldridge: And all five Trek episodes on the final ballot were damn brilliant. Oh yes. OST was maddeningly inconsistent, but at its best it was years if not decades ahead of the rest of media SF. There was this cliche about media SF being two decades behind written; I don’t recall any OST that could be confused with New Wave, but with the number of genre scriptwriters used the show sometimes came close to contemporary writing.

    @David Brain: the bitter half of that joke dates as far back as 2001‘s award year; ISTR it was presented as fact at the time, but I don’t remember how well that claim was backed up. (It wasn’t just a fannish claim though, says I, having just spanked someone elsewhere for quoting fannish claims about some mid-1960’s Hugo results.) Maybe a case for Snopes?

    @James Davis Nicoll: I’d completely forgotten that bit; I plead the ~4 decades since I read the original and the fact that it took me a long time to wake up to not-quite-as-blatant racism, as I’d grown up with the more blatant kind — I was still living in my natal state of Maryland when our very own George (Mahoney, not Wallace) made such an ugly run for governor that Spiro T. “yes, he is a crook” Agnew was someone a lot of Democrats could get behind. Made me feel downright nostalgic when Massachusetts’s own reactionary jackass, John Silber, somehow got the Democratic nomination for governor.
    I guess Ecotopia belongs somewhere on the heading-out-the-door stream that also has The Gate to Women’s Country, where (IIRC) the ?”error”? of homosexuality was much simpler to remove from the gene pool than male violence.

    @Rose Embolism

    The main thing I vaguely remember about Ectopia is a couple having a screaming argument with each other, because um, repressing emotions was bad. I remember thinking “Nah, that’s not going to work.”

    That was also where a friend who generally approved of the book balked: “I’d fit in there about as well as Mr. Spock at a Primal Scream session.” I’ve only read scraps of Looking Backward, but I certainly wouldn’t claim Ecotopia was less preachy — especially for its time; IIRC, the gender divides (“women are better managers”, “ritually violent sports are for men”) seemed a bit off even to oblivious me-then.

    @McJulie: it’s techish, which is good enough IMO. (And I’m remotely doing a seminar on 1960’s not-quite-#1-in-the-US songs, so I was reminded of this one just recently.)

  24. @McJulie,

    Your cut and paste turned most carriage returns into question marks. And simply removed others.

  25. Email me the correctly formatted text as mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com and I will fix it.

  26. Chip says to that Oh yes. OST was maddeningly inconsistent, but at its best it was years if not decades ahead of the rest of media SF. There was this cliche about media SF being two decades behind written; I don’t recall any OST that could be confused with New Wave, but with the number of genre scriptwriters used the show sometimes came close to contemporary writing.

    Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, Jerome Bixby, Norman Spinrad and Theodore Sturgeon were the writers for those episodes with only Bixby not being familar to me though his genre resume is it turns out to be rather impressive.

  27. So my project of the part few days as been seeking out and ordering medical grade disposable face masks. It started off because the food pantry I volunteer at is almost out of them and I had some spare cash courtesy of a renters rebate from the state that was quite generous.

    So I ended up getting three batches of them totalling four hundred masks. Some are coming from China, some from Walmart. Price was variable from cheap to not so cheap. I’ll keep fifty or so for myself to use — I can always dip into the food pantry cache if need be,

    I’m not wearing a mask right now while out walking though I cross the street to avoid close contact with the very few people I encounter on my daily several hour walk. (A Close and Common Orbit is the listening experience currently.) I’ve got a cloth face mask I put on if I go into a store.

    I’m missing coffeehouses and, well, random social interaction. Hell I miss the sounds of a City being a City.

  28. @Cat Our state government has been thinking about requiring people who are outdoors to wear masks. My response is, if they can find me one, I’ll be glad to wear it. Online searches show lots of those beauty facial masks, but nothing to cover the nose and mouth. I don’t dare look on Amazon after my last visit which was trying just to find a digital thermometer.

    I suppose I could just buy some handkerchiefs or bandanas and go with the desperado look. For those of us without DIY skills and/or sewing equipment, there aren’t a lot of options.

  29. The question of whether to wear or not to wear a mask is complicated: different countries have different recommendations. The WHO doesn’t recommend wearing masks unless e.g. you are caring for someone suspected of being infected with COVID19.

    There is also the question what sort of mask, how effective the different sorts are, whether we should leave available stocks for the frontline healthcare workers who really need them. And that’s not even getting into the question of wearing the masks properly (they don’t work well unless fitted properly), and the likelihood of more face-touching if you are not used to wearing masks.

    Currently, New Zealand authorities don’t recommend wearing facemasks, but I realise that is not the case in e.g. the Czech Republic where mask-wearing is mandatory,

  30. @Jack LInt

    For those of us without DIY skills and/or sewing equipment, there aren’t a lot of options.

    You don’t need to be able to sew — there are no-sew masks you can wear.

  31. @Bill Followed the link. Are they really using a Brooks Brothers handkerchief to make a face mask? Desperate times. I looked for bandanas on the Walmart webpage and the first ones to come up were printed with the image of the lower portion of a skull which seemed oddly appropriate. Might just be easier to just order a plague doctor mask from Amazon. A surprising wide variety are available.

    @Soon Lee When this all started, the general message was that masks protected other people from you if you were sick, but didn’t do so much about protecting you from other people. Probably depends a lot on the mask you use.

  32. Email me the correctly formatted text as mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com and I will fix it.

    @Mike Glyer, thank you!

  33. @Jack Lint
    I got bandanas from “Major Surplus”, a surplus store I’ve patronized in the past – they have a website, and shipped fairly quickly. (They only had one color, olive drab.) You can find handkerchiefs at Target, too; the 16-inch ones come in packs of six. Hair elastics (for thick hair, which are larger) work for holding them on. If you want ties, try shoelaces, at least 40 inches long.

  34. Jack Lint says Our state government has been thinking about requiring people who are outdoors to wear masks. My response is, if they can find me one, I’ll be glad to wear it. Online searches show lots of those beauty facial masks, but nothing to cover the nose and mouth. I don’t dare look on Amazon after my last visit which was trying just to find a digital thermometer.

    There’s lots of masks available on Amazon and you can even get the, at the online Walmart store for quite reasonable prices provided that you aren’t trying to buy the disposable ones like I was. Washable cloth masks will do for most folks — I have one that a local company made for the for pantry staff but I can’t speak to clients when I’m checking them in using it as it quickly becomes a sodden wet mess so I need a disposable mask.

    We use roughly twenty a week at the food pantry between the salvage operations and the actual pantry, so we needed a fair number of the disposable sort.

  35. I’ve made a couple masks for personal use and used the “opening to add a filter” style (inserting flattened coffee filters) but I find the inserting and removal of the filter sub-optimal and figure I’ll just sew up the open slit and use them plain.

  36. Heather Rose Jones says I’ve made a couple masks for personal use and used the “opening to add a filter” style (inserting flattened coffee filters) but I find the inserting and removal of the filter sub-optimal and figure I’ll just sew up the open slit and use them plain.

    I prefer the disposable ones to the cloth as they’re far more comfortable. As I said, I ordered four hundred of them, most for the Pantry but several months worth for me. They worked out with expedited shipping to fifty cents apiece which wasn’t that bad. I am only out and about several hours a day usually unless I’m staffing the food pantry or doing a medical appointment so I can likely use one several times.

  37. @Cat Eldridge

    If I had access to disposable masks, I’d donate them to someone with a greater need than grocery shopping. (And of course now I’m envisioning the bins and bins full of disposable masks in the gown-in rooms at work. But that represents a “greater need” as well.) The cloth masks are better than nothing, and nothing is what I have without home-made cloth masks. (I think I still have some particle-filter masks in the garage for woodworking, but not enough that it would make a difference to my habits.)

  38. Heather Rose Jones says to me: If I had access to disposable masks, I’d donate them to someone with a greater need than grocery shopping. (And of course now I’m envisioning the bins and bins full of disposable masks in the gown-in rooms at work. But that represents a “greater need” as well.) The cloth masks are better than nothing, and nothing is what I have without home-made cloth masks. (I think I still have some particle-filter masks in the garage for woodworking, but not enough that it would make a difference to my habits.)

    Cloth masks, particularly if you use a mix of cotton and poly fabric, work fine. Just maintain proper social distancing when possible. Yes I’m lecturing: Bastet knows that I’ve got the lecture enough in the past ninety days.

    I used the same mask, the blue one that’s most common, that the staff used on the Unit. Someone overnight got the task of inking the date on them so that everyone remembered to only use them for a day. (The hospital prohibited the use of any other mask by staff.) Now I must wear one when one of my Northern Lights care staff is here. Some of them wear a mask and a shield. And yes they hate it.

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