Pixel Scroll 5/1/20 Do Ansibles Dream Of Electronic Beeps?

(1) NEW MARVEL COMICS ON THE WAY. Today, Marvel Comics announced its plans to resume releases for its comics starting Wednesday, May 27. Said a press releasem “True Believers everywhere will now be able to escape back into the Marvel Universe and continue following their favorite Marvel stories and characters.”

Over the next few weeks, Marvel will keep a balanced release schedule for its comics and trade collections as the industry continues to restart distribution and comic shops begin to reopen and adapt to current social distancing policies. Stay tuned for more information as Marvel continues to release new comics in the most thoughtful way we can for fans, creators, and the industry during these unpredictable times.

(2) THINGS COVID-19 MAKES UNPREDICTABLE. Fantastika 2020 today announced that they have optioned March 19-21, 2021 as a backup in case their first deferred date – October 23-25 this year – doesn’t pan out. All four guests of honor — Adrian Tchaikovsky, Aliette de Bodard, Peadar Ó Guilín, and Eva Holmquist — are planning to come to Fantastika 2020 in October, but right now no one knows if they will be able to come next March.

(3) A CERTAIN CONVENTION CASUALTY. Pittsburgh’s furry fandom Anthrocon, which was to be held July 2-5, announced on April 27 that they have cancelled this year’s event:

(4) AN UNEXPECTED OMEN. Tor.com’s Emmet Asher-Perrin directed fans how to eavesdrop on an exchange between two favorite characters: “Crowley and Aziraphale Weather the Lockdown on Good Omens’ 30th Anniversary”.

It’s the 30th anniversary of Good Omens’ publication, so Neil Gaiman, David Tennant, Michael Sheen, and the other folx involved with last year’s miniseries have offered up a brand new scene. As a (literal) treat.

(5) MEREDITH MOMENT. Barbara Krasnoff’s mosaic fantasy novel of the past and future of two Jewish families, The History Of Soul 2065, is available today for only 99 cents at Amazon & other venues! — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, itunes, Kobo, Google Play. Read Daniel Dern’s January 27 File 770 review of the book.

(6) ABOUT JEMISIN’S AUDIOBOOK. AudioFile has posted a Behind the Mic video with Robin Miles and her Earphones Award winning performance on N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became.

AudioFile Magazine’s review begins —  

Robin Miles gives voice to everything New York in this fantastical celebration of the city’s spirit. As the novel opens, New York City is going through a transformation–it’s becoming sentient, embodied by six human avatars who represent the city’s five boroughs plus New York as a whole…. 

(7) A SHAGGY DOG STORY. Margaret Lyons, the New York Times television critic, asks “How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?”

Robbie Amell on “Upload.” The dog is his character’s therapist.

‘Upload’
When to watch: Starting Friday, on Amazon.

“Upload” feels like a hybrid of “The Good Place,” “Black Mirror” and “Idiocracy,” a cheeky, cynical but still lyrical sci-fi romantic dramedy. Robbie Amell stars as Nathan, a tech bro in 2033 whose consciousness is uploaded to a chichi but bizarre afterlife. Corporate greed is a defining pillar of modern life, and on “Upload” it’s a defining pillar of death, too, where the indignities of being advertised to, of always feeling shaken down, of being little more than a revenue stream, can endure for eternity. But hey, free gum! If you like big, imaginative shows with bite, watch this.

(8) HOPS TO IT. The bibulous Camestros Felapton shares the results of exhaustive testing in “Beers and Hugos: what to pair with your novel finalists”.

What to drink as you sit in your favourite reading spot with a good book is a vexing question of no import whatsoever. Wine has its advocates but I think drinking beer or slowly sipping spirits is a better a match for novels.

But what to match with this year’s Hugo Finalists for Best Novel?

So many factors to consider about each book! For example —

The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley. Do we need a high-strength beer here to match the mind-twisting plot or something with more flavour and less alcohol so we can concentrate and try to work out what is going on? I’ve drunk Chocolate Fish Milk Stout before which is a suitably disorientating car-crash of nouns but I don’t think that is the right tone for this novel. I want something that is sharp but very much not what it seems to be — a drink that makes you want to know what is going on and why? Perhaps something with a hint of a terrible experiment gone wrong… …

(9) LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. HBO dropped a teaser trailer. The series debuts in August.

HBO’s new drama series, based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff of the same name, debuts this August. The series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.

(10) MORE BUDRYS. David Langford says, “Research for the recent Budrys SF essay collection Beyond the Outposts uncovered a mass of material that didn’t fit the scope of that already oversized book. I’m happy to report that the Budrys family liked the idea of my releasing a free ebook of other writings by our man — from a tasty 1960 fanzine to his final editorials in Tomorrow SF.”

Now you can download free A Budrys Miscellany: Occasional Writing 1960-2000 at the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund Free Ebooks page – and please consider making a donation to TAFF.

(11) IT WASN’T THAT LONG AGO. Onward came and went with good reviews but an otherwise muted reception placing it much lower than Pixar’s more beloved films. YouTuber 24 Frames of Nick gives it a reappraisal. “You’re wrong about Onward.”

(12) TODAY’S DAY.

SPACE DAY is celebrated annually on the first Friday of May. An unofficial educational holiday created in 1997 by Lockheed Martin, Space Day aims to promote the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields among young people.

(13) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • May 1, 1953 Tales of Tomorrow’s “The Evil Within” episode first aired. A scientist has perfected a chemical that unleashes the beast within, but before he can create an antidote, his wife takes it when he takes a sample home to keep it refrigerated. It was directed by  Don Medford from a script by David E. Durston and Manya Starr. It starred James Dean, Margaret Phillips and Rod Steiger. It was Dean’s only genre role.  You can watch it here.

(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 1, 1905 E. Mayne Hull. She was the first wife of A. E. van Vogt and a genre writer in her own right with two novels to her credit, Planets for Sale and The Winged Man (which is co-written with her husband), and about a dozen stories. The Winged Man is a finalist for the Retro Hugo this year. She does not appear to be available in digital form. (Died 1975.)
  • Born May 1, 1923 Ralph Senensky, 97. Director of six Trek episodes including “Obsession” and “Is There in Truth No Beauty?“ which are two of my favorite episodes. He also directed episodes of The Wild Wild WestMission: ImpossibleThe Twilight Zone (“Printer’s Devil”), Night Gallery and Planet of the Apes.
  • Born May 1, 1946 Joanna Lumley, 73. No, she was no Emma Peel, but she was definitely more than a bit appealing (pun fullly intended) in the New Avengers as Purdey. All twenty-six episode are out on DVD. Her next genre outing was In Sapphire & Steel which starred David McCallum as Steel and her as Sapphire. If you skip forward nearly near twenty years, you’ll  find her playing The Thirteenth Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death in the 2017 Comic Relief special. Yes, she played the first version of a female Thirteenth Doctor. 
  • Born May 1, 1952 Andrew Sawyer, 68. Librarian by profession, critic and editor as well being an active part of fandom. He is the Reviews Editor for Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. I’ve also got him doing Upon the Rack in Print, a book review column in Interzone and elsewhere and contributing likewise the Rust Never Sleeps column to Paperback Inferno as well. He hasn’t written much fiction, but there is some such as “The Mechanical Art” in the  Digital Dreams anthology.
  • Born May 1, 1955 J. R. Pournelle, 65. Some years ago, I got an email from a J. R. Pournelle about some SF novel they wanted Green Man to review. I of course thought it was that Pournelle. No, it was his daughter. And that’s how I came to find out there was a third Motie novel called, errrr, Moties. It’s better than The Gripping Hand.
  • Born May 1, 1956 Philip Foglio, 64. He won the Hugo Award Best Fan Artist at SunCon and IguanaCon 2. He later did work for DC, First and Marvel Comics including the backup stories in Grimjack. He and his wife are responsible for the totally ass kicking Girl Genius series
  • Born May 1, 1957 Steve Meretzky, 63. He co-designed the early Eighties version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video game with the full participation of Douglas Adams. ESF also says that he did a space opera themed game, Planetfall and its sequel A Mind Forever Voyaging in the Eighties as well. He did the definitely more erotic Leather Goddesses of Phobos as well. 
  • Born May 1, 1972 Julie Benz, 48. I remember her best as Darla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, but she’s had other genre roles such as Julie Falcon In Darkdrive, a very low budget Canadian Sf film, Barbara in the weirdly good Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th, and Angela Donatelli in Punisher: War Zone. 

(15) COMICS SECTION.

  • Reality Check tells how one robot family overcame its hereditary medical problem.
  • Reality Check also demonstrates the importance of grammar when instructing one’s fairy godmother.
  • Speed Bump describes a drug with questionable effects.

(16) THE LAST OF SHE-RA. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Final Season Trailer.

(17) HISTORY IMPROVED UPON. David Doering wonders if this is where the tradition of fabulous meeting minutes began for the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society:

“Bruce A. Yerke’s position as the most entertaining Secretary the LASFS ever corralled, and as founder and editor of Imagination (the magazine which precipitated the  unprecedented hordes of LASFS publications on the fan world ), is doubtless well known to most fans, but it wouldn’t do to forgo mention of his fabulously hilarious minutes. Those priceless documents were probably the indirect cause of the attendance of many otherwise uninterested persons, who came around solely to discover whether they had been libeled or praised, and to writhe or bask in a flow of words as the minutes were read.”

“The Damn Guy” in Fan Slants, Sept. 1943

Some of Yerke’s other attempts at jocularity in 1943 were more sophomoric.

“I was resting on a couch in one corner of the LASFS clubroom, dozing contentedly. Yerke entered, espied my recumbent form, and concluded that this was a splendid opportunity for some real fun. Producing an enormous sheet of wrapping paper, he tucked it about me, and then gleefully set fire to it. Luckily I came to my senses at this point and prevented an uncomfortable experience. When I demanded an explanation for his unseemly conduct, he replied, ‘I was giving you a hot-torso!’” 

(18) CIRCULAR FILE. James Davis Nicoll shares the addresses in “Put a Ring On It: Potential Planetary Ring Systems and Where to Find Them” at Tor.com.

… The mediocrity principle would suggest that other ring systems exist—systems that may be even more spectacular than Saturn’s. Recent discoveries hint that this may be the case. Data from the star 1SWASP J140747—have I complained yet today that astronomers are terrible at naming things?—suggests that its substellar companion may have a ring system that could be 180 million kilometers wide. That is about 30 million kilometers more than the distance from the Earth to the Sun. If Saturn had a ring system like that, it would be naked-eye visible.

(19) THE NAVY VS. THE DAY MONSTERS. Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait tells SYFY WIRE readers: “So, Those Navy Videos Showing UFOs? I’m Not Saying It’s Not Aliens, But It’s Not Aliens.” He gives a kind of Reader’s Digest condensation of the work done at MetaBunk.

On 27 April 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense officially released three unclassified videos, footage taken on Navy fighter jets. These videos, leaked to the public in 2007 and 2017, appear to show three unidentified flying objects moving in weird and unexpected ways. The Navy had already acknowledged the videos were real, but pointedly did not say what they show.

Do these videos show alien spaceships? If you do a lazy search on Google for them, the results might give you the idea they do. A lot of electrons have been spilled claiming these show alien vehicles making impossible maneuvers, are surrounded by a glow indicating some sort of advanced tech like a “warp drive,” and are clearly beyond our own miserable human technology.

But is any of this actually true?

Yeah, no. I mean, sure, the objects in the footage are unidentified, but something being a UFO doesn’t make it, y’know, a UFO….

(20) LINNAEUS NEVER HEARD OF THESE. Maybe you want to know, maybe you don’t, but you’re about to find out! “The 7 Strangest Real-Life Species Named After Star Trek Characters” courtesy of StarTrek.com.

Ever since Gene Roddenberry’s seminal sci-fi series blasted off in 1969, scientists across Earth have been naming newly-discovered species after the franchise’s characters and cast. Which animals share names with Star Trek’s most beloved and why? We’ve energized the etymology behind seven real-life Star Trek species into one handy databank below.

First on the list:

Ledella spocki (named after Mr. Spock)

At first, naming a mussel after Leonard Nimoy’s Science Officer may seem highly illogical. However, when tasked to title a newly-discovered mollusk in 2014, Spanish researchers led by Dr. Diniz Viegas opted to pay homage to Spock. The reason? They noted the shape of the mussel’s valves resembled the pointed ears of Star Trek’s most famous human-Vulcan hybrid.

(21) OPINIONS — EVERYBODY’S GOT ONE. The BBC’s Nicholas Barber earns his check this week arguing“Why The Empire Strikes Back is overrated”.

…This might come across as a contrarian hot take, but it seems obvious to me that the best film in the Star Wars series is, in fact, Star Wars. (I know we’re supposed to call it ‘A New Hope’ these days, but it was called Star Wars when it came out in 1977, so that’s good enough for me.) What’s more, it seems obvious that The Empire Strikes Back is the source of all the franchise’s problems. Whatever issues we geeks grumble about when we’re discussing the numerous prequels and sequels, they can all be traced back to 1980.

…My grievance with The Empire Strikes Back isn’t that it sticks to the winning formula established by Star Wars: that’s what most sequels do, after all. My grievance is that it also betrays Star Wars, trashing so much of the good work that was done three years earlier. My un-Jedi-like anger bubbles up even before the first scene – at the beginning of the ‘opening crawl’ of introductory text, to be precise. “It is a dark time for the Rebellion,” says this prose preamble. “Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.”

Haaaaang on a minute. “Although the Death Star has been destroyed”? “Although”? The sole aim of the heroes and heroines in Star Wars was to destroy the Death Star, a humungous planet-pulverising spaceship of crucial strategic importance to the Empire. One of their big cheeses announced that “fear of this battle station” would keep every dissenter in line. Another hailed it as “the ultimate power in the universe”. But now the Rebels’ demolishing of the ultimate power in the universe is waved aside with an “although”? That, frankly, is not on. And it’s just the first of many instances when The Empire Strikes Back asks us to pretend that Star Wars didn’t happen….

(22) LITTERBUGS. “High microplastic concentration found on ocean floor”.

Scientists have identified the highest levels of microplastics ever recorded on the seafloor.

The contamination was found in sediments pulled from the bottom of the Mediterranean, near Italy.

The analysis, led by the University of Manchester, found up to 1.9 million plastic pieces per square metre.

These items likely included fibres from clothing and other synthetic textiles, and tiny fragments from larger objects that had broken down over time.

The researchers’ investigations lead them to believe that microplastics (smaller than 1mm) are being concentrated in specific locations on the ocean floor by powerful bottom currents.

“These currents build what are called drift deposits; think of underwater sand dunes,” explained Dr Ian Kane, who fronted the international team.

“They can be tens of kilometres long and hundreds of metres high. They are among the largest sediment accumulations on Earth. They’re made predominantly of very fine silt, so it’s intuitive to expect microplastics will be found within them,” he told BBC News.

(23) IT’S SAD TO BE ALL ALONE IN THE WORLD. Or so I remember someone telling Mary Tyler Moore in Thoroughly Modern Millie. “Animals in zoos ‘lonely’ without visitors”.

A number of zoos around the world are reporting that their animals are becoming “lonely” without visitors.

Zoos have had to close to members of the public due to Covid-19.

At Phoenix Zoo, keepers have lunch dates with elephants and orangutans, and one sociable bird needs frequent visits. Primates have gone looking for missing visitors.

Dublin Zoo said animals were also “wondering what’s happened to everyone”.

Director Leo Oosterweghel said the animals look at him in surprise.

“They come up and have a good look. They are used to visitors,” he told the Irish Times.

…Without visitors, some animals lack stimulation, Paul Rose, lecturer in animal behaviour at the University of Exeter, told the BBC.

“Some individuals, such as primates and parrots get a lot of enrichment from viewing and engaging with visitors. It is beneficial to the animal’s wellbeing and quality of life. If this stimulation is not there, then the animals are lacking the enrichment,” he said.

It’s not just the mammals: “Garden eels ‘forgetting about humans’ need people to video-chat”.

Keepers at Toyko’s Sumida Aquarium, which has been closed since 1 March due to the coronavirus pandemic, are starting to worry about their garden eels.

The sensitive little creatures had become used to seeing hundreds of faces peering into their tanks.

Now the aquarium is deserted they’ve started to dive into the sand whenever their keepers walk past.

This makes it hard to check they’re healthy.

The aquarium says the eels are “forgetting about humans” and is making what it calls an “emergency plea”.

“Could you show your face to our garden eels from your home?”

Yes, they’re asking people to call in for a sub-aqua video chat and remind the eels that humans are friendly.

(24) COMIC STALK. Marvel Entertainment announced today the launch of a brand-new digital series, Marvel Presents: The World’s Greatest Book Club with Paul Scheer, a six-episode weekly series celebrating your favorite comics and the community around them. This fun, light-hearted series is hosted by actor and comedian Paul Scheer, who will be joined by celebrity guests including Damon Lindelof, Gillian Jacobs, W. Kamau Bell, Phil Lord, Yassir Lester, and Jason Mantzoukas. The series is produced in partnership with Supper Club with Paul Scheer, Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn, and David Gelb as executive producers.

For fans, comic shops have and always will be the heart of the comic book community; a place for new and longtime fans to come together and share their passion, fandom, and appreciation for the artform while learning about something new. As a lifelong lover of Marvel comics, Scheer will look to capture some of that comic shop experience by diving into the personal origin stories with comics and beyond with each guest in the series. Scheer will be joined by Marvel New Media Head of Content Stephen Wacker to provide an inside look into some of Marvel’s most-read classics and unlock forgotten treasures from the Marvel vault.

In the first installment, Scheer and special guest Damon Lindelof and Marvel’s Stephen Wacker take an inside look into some of Marvel’s most-read classics and forgotten treasures, discussing Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk (2005) #1, New Mutants (1983) #1, and The New Mutants Marvel Graphic Novel (1982).

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

30 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/1/20 Do Ansibles Dream Of Electronic Beeps?

  1. (13) A few years ago, the local community college tv station showed “Tales of Tomorrow” every weekend, which I greatly enjoyed.

  2. @14 (Foglio): IIUC, he scripted the graphic novel of Another Fine Myth as well as drawing it; IMO the result was funnier than the book, which may be why he didn’t do the second book — whose illustrator appeared to be attempting to copy Phil’s style, but ended up with Skeeve looking sly/shifty rather than honestly clue-deficient.

    @19: I’m not surprised — but I’m glad somebody did the work to make sense of this, even thought it probably won’t make a particle of difference to the Twue Bewievers.

  3. I think the only two Infocom games that I played were Hitchhikers Guide and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Getting the Babel fish in your ear in Hitchhikers was a thing of beauty requiring multiple attempts and if you were unlucky, a restart of the game so you could pick up some junk mail at your home at the start of the game.

    Leather Goddesses despite the title and a choice of naughtiness level was more pulp than erotic. It did come with a scratch and sniff card. It also allowed you to pick the gender of your character by whether you went to the men’s or women’s room in a bar. There’s a mention of it in the movie version of The Martian.

  4. Meredith Moment:

    Middlegame by Seanan McGuire is currently available at Amazon US for $2.99 .

  5. 14) Born May 1, 1977 — Iphinome. Paladin, future Empress, back to back winner of perfect attendance award in sixth and seventh grades.

  6. Pretty sure the only Infocom game other than HHG2TG that I played was Starcross, a game with a fair amount of Rendezvous with Rama DNA in it, and also grues. There were a lot of games in their portfolio that looked interesting, and no doubt it would be easier for me to play them now than then, but where would I ever find the time?

  7. I’m looking for a review of Catfishing on CatNet for Green Man. I’ll trade a very nice selection of Italian dark chocolate bars for it. Anyone interested? Ideally the review would also refer to the earlier story that it grew out of. Email me here if interested.

  8. Happy birthday, Iphinome!

    2 and 3) Eurocon in Rijeka, Croatia, in early October is still going ahead so far. And since Croatia is planning to reopen the country for tourists soon, that might actually happen.

    A one day local con in North Germany, also in October, is also still happening so far.

  9. Ive played Stationfall and Zork, although I havent finished neither. Im too impatient I think. I am playing Parsley right now which is a cross between a (real life) RPGand a Text adventure and has the big advantage that it works perfect in slack.

  10. (14) I don’t think I ever made it all the way through the Hitchhiker’s Guide game; I’m just not any good at figuring out what kind of roundabout approach the designer wants me to try. I was really impressed when my wife told me she had finished it (she was much more of a text game nerd than me in the ’80s) until she mentioned that of course she’d used a cheat guide—which I have to admit is my preferred approach with a lot of games, I just didn’t know one was available back then. I believe she felt that Leather Goddesses was something of a letdown relative to what she’d been hoping for.

  11. Apropos of nothing: I had missed the news item a couple weeks ago about the Chernobyl fire and “Stalkers”, although I had read Hampus’s great piece about that kind of thing from a few years back. I only found out about it now because I happened to have finally read Roadside Picnic and greatly enjoyed it (my review), and I mentioned it to someone who immediately said “Wait, is that the same thing this Daily Beast story is talking about?”

    When I did read the Daily Beast story, I have to say I didn’t think very highly of it. The reporter seemed to have basically repeated the same known facts that Hampus mentioned, and then wildly leaped to saying that these people are literally a cult in the usual sense (rather than part of a book’s “cult following”), leading to phrases like “Whatever the craziness of the cultists…”— and the headline says that the Stalkers are being blamed for the fire, which is quite a stretch from what’s actually said in the article. And then the rest of is just a recap of the book (in such detail that I think the impulse here was fannish more than journalistic), basically accurate except that I think “The authors wrote about alien civilizations to describe the totalitarian reality in the 1970s” is an odd way to describe this particular novel.

    Anyway, yeah, Roadside Picnic is good. I haven’t read anything else of the Strugatskys; does anyone have particular recommendations?

  12. Strugatskys – best known (apart from Roadside Picnic) for their “Noon Universe” series of quasi-Utopian SF novels/short stories – I always think of it as sort of the anti-Star Trek, in that Star Trek has a monolithic interstellar government (the Federation), and a massive dedicated military-cum-exploration force (Starfleet), but deliberately refrains from interfering with alien cultures – whereas the Noon Universe has light-touch government at best, and exploration is in the hands, virtually, of individual hobbyists, but they meddle all the time.

    If you don’t want to get into the Noon Universe stuff (and some of it is hard to get hold of in English translation), the satirical collection Monday Begins on Saturday might be a good place to start – it’s set in an institute that deals with the paranormal, magical and bizarre, the title refers to the institute’s ferocious work ethic (one of the stories is about the lengths staff will go to so as to avoid having time off), it pokes fun at Soviet-era nitwits like Lysenko, and it’s been described as “the Russian Harry Potter”, which it totally isn’t, but it’s a lot of fun anyway.

  13. I know this will infuriate people, but I have to say it: I think I prefer ep. 7 to ep. 4. Yes, as many people (including me) have noted, they’re basically the same story. And yes, I counted that as a mark against 7 at first. But then I started to remember all the stuff I’ve always disliked about ep. 4. (Most notably: Luke.) And my opinion started to shift. Without my nostalgia-blinders on, things looked different.

    That said, 4 did transform the world, and pretty much single-handedly saved the SF movie industry. So I have to give it props for that. It was the right movie at the right time. But that doesn’t mean it’s flawless–far from it. (I mean they’re all pretty cheesy when you get down to it. Nearly half of them are movies I have zero interest in ever re-watching.)

  14. If nothing else, I really mean to get around to watching the film adaptation of Hard to Be a God.

  15. If nothing else, I really mean to get around to watching the film adaptation of Hard to Be a God.

    It’s a good movie and feature Werner Herzog’s lone pre-Mandalorian SF acting role (unless you count the classic “Hand and feet in box” from Nosferatu). Christine Kaufmann is in the movie as well, but don’t hold that against the film. I saw the movie in the theatre upon release in 1990. Sadly, it seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth since then.

  16. Thank you Camestros, Cora. Knighthoods for both of you.

    Reading the Act 1 preview of Harrow the Ninth. Second person chapters. I am not Harrowhark. I am not Harrowhark. I am not doing those things. I read. I do not participate. Arrghhhh, not me not me not me not me not me.

  17. John Hertz responds by carrier pigeon:

    I haven’t seen the movie. I do recommend the book. So does (literary present tense) Ursula K. Le Guin.

    http://file770.com/classics-of-s-f-at-westercon-71/

    We’ll discuss three Classics of Science Fiction, one discussion each.

    Each … may be more interesting now than when first published….

    Arkady & Boris Strugatsky,“Hard to Be a God”(1964)

    Centuries after Communism has inevitably prevailed on Earth, students follow other planets – but if they interfere, they’ll ruin the progress of historical materialism and bring about catastrophe. How’s that for a Prime Directive?

  18. Is anyone else finding that the “A Budrys Miscellany” download at TAFF has not been working? -K

  19. I have only seen the 2013 film of Hard to be a God. It’s a very well made film. But, it is such a depressing wallow in mud and filth that I have absolutely no desire to revisit it.

  20. K asks Is anyone else finding that the “A Budrys Miscellany” download at TAFF has not been working? -K

    It worked fine when this was offer was posted as I downloaded this tasty item to my iPad without any difficulty.

  21. I also had no problem downloading, ~2300 EDT on 1 May. The net is certainly averaging a higher load than usual with so many people consuming movies at home, so there might have been a temporary pileup — or a short-term server failure (possibly aggravated by fewer people being on duty on the weekend?). I had something that looked like the latter in the middle of reading a mystery this afternoon on Hoopla, just when the story was going critical. Fortunately it came back in a few minutes.

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