Pixel Scroll 5/10/19 There Have Always Been Starpixelers At Scrolled Comfort Farm

(1) EUROVISION. In “Eurovision 2019 Is Here: Science Fiction Fans, Rejoice!”, Tor.com’s James Davis Nicoll supplies plenty of examples to show that “Although Eurovision itself may not be exactly SF, some of the pieces are definitely science fiction-adjacent. The visuals are often glorious, and the show as a whole is well worth viewing.”

(2) THEY’RE BACK. The Bounding Into Comics Facebook group was restored on May 9. Supposedly they still don’t know why it was shuttered, apart from a notice that they had violated “the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”

…As you can see the last post was our Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer article, which was posted on May 6th.

When we asked for further clarification on why the page was taken down. We did not receive a response.

While it’s still unclear exactly why Facebook took down our page, we are glad that it has been restored. And we are extremely grateful and truly humbled by the fan support we received after the page was taken down.

While we are happy to continue publishing to our Facebook audience. We do plan on continuing to grow our presence on other social media platforms including MeWe and Gab.

(3) LOCUS COLLECTION PRESERVED. Duke University Libraries announced a prized acquisition — “Locus Collection Tracks the Stars and Universe of Sci-Fi”.

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University has acquired the archives of the Locus Science Fiction Foundation, publisher of Locus, the preeminent trade magazine for the science fiction and fantasy publishing field.

The massive collection—which arrived in almost a thousand boxes—includes first editions of numerous landmarks of science fiction and fantasy, along with correspondence from some of the genre’s best-known practitioners, including Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), Dean Koontz, Robert A. Heinlein, and hundreds more.

…A tireless advocate for speculative fiction, [founder Charles N.] Brown was also a voluminous correspondent and friend to many of the writers featured in the magazine. Many of them wrote to him over the years to share personal and professional news, or to quibble about inaccuracies and suggest corrections. The letters are often friendly, personal, humorous, and occasionally sassy.

Reacting to a recent issue of Locus that featured one of her short stories, the science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler wrote, “I am Octavia E. Butler in all my stories, novels, and letters. How is it that I’ve lost my E in three places in Locus #292? Three places! You owe me three E’s. That’s a scream, isn’t it?”…

(4) ANOTHER COUNTY HEARD FROM. The New York Times’ Glenn Kenny works hard to resist the movie’s charms in “‘Tolkien’ Review: A Fellowship That Rings Obvious”.

Directed by Dome Karukoski from a script by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford, this picture about the pre-fame days of the author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” teems with many on-the-nose moments. And it does so while hewing so strongly to the Distinguished British Biopic ethos (including the “England: Land of Magnificent Sunsets” trope) that it teeters on the edge of genuine obnoxiousness. Surprisingly, the emphatic score by the customarily more nuanced Thomas Newman is one of the prime offenders.

Nevertheless, “Tolkien” manages several scenes of credible emotional delicacy. And it doesn’t shy away from the conspicuously literary, treating the writer’s explorations of Wagner (sparked by his love interest and future wife Edith, played by Lily Collins) and passion for philology (sparked by chats with the intimidating professor Joseph Wright, played by Derek Jacobi) with a commendable amount of detail.

(5) SOMETHING FOR YOUR BRAIN’S POKÉMON CENTER. NPR’s Vincent Acovino calls “‘Pokémon Detective Pikachu’ — Go!”

Have you ever questioned the moral fabric of the Pokémon universe?

Sure you have. For starters: In what kind of world would “Pokémon battles” — in which two humans force two excessively cute creatures to a fight until one of the beasts faints — constitute an acceptable social convention? And isn’t the whole Trainer/Pokémon relationship more than a little … problematic? Who decided that wild Pokémon, who demonstrate a level of intelligence several degrees above that of other animals, should live out their lives under the constant fear of capture and exploitation by humans?

Your enjoyment of Pokémon Detective Pikachu will likely depend on your degree of investment in these sorts of existential questions.The strength of the film lies in the way it playfully undermines the Poké-verse, poking holes in a thing that, when reduced to its essentials, seems just real silly. Much like last year’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Pokémon Detective Pikachu looks itself in the mirror and remarks on what it sees there. And while it doesn’t pull off the trick nearly as well, there’s something admirable about a film that isn’t afraid to have some fun with a property so established — and beloved — by its core audience.

(6) ALL THE BEST: Following Paula Guran’s announcement of the contents of The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2019, Jason has completed his “Collated Contents of the Year’s Bests (2018 Stories, Links)” over at Featured Futures.

Welcome to the third annual linked collation of annuals or “year’s bests.” As the contents of the Afsharirad, Clarke, Datlow, Guran, Horton, and Strahan science fiction, fantasy, and horror annuals have been announced, they have been combined into one master list with links to the stories which are available online. (The only one not yet integrated is the BASFF, which will likely be announced late in the year.) Hopefully, you’ll enjoy some of them and that will help you decide which annual or annuals, if any, to purchase.

(7) VAMPIRELLA’S PRIEST. Christopher Priest is writing Vampirella comics now. ComicsBeat questioned him about it — “Why Priest Added Vampirella to His Iconic List”

Deanna Destito: Before jumping into this, were you a Vampirella fan? What appealed to you about this project?

Christopher Priest: No, I wouldn’t call myself a Vampirella fan (which is sure to annoy Vampirella fans!), although I was certainly aware of the character. But I’d guess I viewed the property nostalgically. Fondly, for sure, but if I thought of Vampirella at all I thought of her in a kindly past-tense, as an artifact of the 1970s and my misspent youth….

(8) BEHIND THE SCENARIOS. I learned from this interview there’s a book of notes, too! “Getting Transreal: An Interview with Rudy Rucker” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

Your companion book, Notes for Million Mile Road Trip, is actually longer than the novel! The idea of following up reading a novel with that kind of metadata is fascinating; can you tell us more about it?

It’s hard to write a novel. It takes a year or maybe two years of tickling the keyboard at your desk or using a laptop in a cafe, and doing that pretty much every day, even on the days when you don’t know what comes next. This is where writing a volume of notes comes in. When I don’t have anything to put into the novel, I write something in the notes. I might analyze the possibilities for the next few scenes. Or craft journal entries about things I saw [that day]. Or describe some the people sitting around me, being careful not to stare at them too hard. Or think about how hopeless it is to try to write another novel, and how I’ve been faking it all along anyhow. The more I complain in my notes, the better I feel. I publish the finished Notes in parallel with with the novel, not that I sell many copies of the notes. Long-term, the notes will be fodder for the locust swarm of devoted Rucker scholars who are due to emerge any time now from their curiously long gestation in the soil.

(9) LORD WINSTON OBIT. Zombie Squad, an international network of dogs and other pets dedicated to protecting society from the walking dead, paid its respects on Saturday to Lord Winston, the indefatigable West Highland terrier who inspired the group’s creation in 2013 and had served as its official leader until his death on 21 April, aged nearly 15. Despite losing the use of his back legs following a series of operations, Lord Winston – via his British owner – posted daily messages and regular videos on Twitter, where prospective new members continue to be welcomed at @ZombieSquadHQ.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 10, 1863 Cornelius Shea. As the authors of SFE put it, “author for the silent screen and author of dime novels (see Dime-Novel SF), prolific in many categories but best remembered for marvel stories using a fairly consistent ‘mythology’ of dwarfs, subterranean eruptions, and stage illusion masquerading as supernatural magic.” To my surprise, only two of his novels are in the Internet Archive. 
  • Born May 10, 1886 Olaf Stapledon. Member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Star Maker contains the first known description of what are now called Dyson spheres. (Neal Asher currently is making the best use of these in his Polity series.) He wrote about a baker’s dozen novels of which iBooks has pretty much everything available at quite reasonable prices. I know I read and enjoyed Star Maker many years ago but don’t recall what else I read. (Died 1950.)
  • Born May 10, 1895 Earl Askam. He played Officer Torch, the captain of Ming the Merciless’s guards, in the 1936 Flash Gordon serial. It’s his only genre appearance though he did have an uncredited role in a Perry Mason film where the SJW credential was the defendant in a Perry Mason murder case, The Case of Black Cat. (Died 1940)
  • Born May 10, 1899 Fred Astaire. Yes, that actor. He showed up on the original Battlestar Galactica as Chameleon / Captain Dimitri In “The Man with Nine Lives” episode. Stunt casting I assume.  He had only two genre roles as near as I can tell which were voicing The Wasp in the English language adaptation of the Japanese Wasp anime series, and being in a film called Ghost Story. They came nearly twenty years apart and were the last acting roles he did. (Died 1987.)
  • Born May 10, 1935 Terrance Dicks, 84. He had a long association with Doctor Who, working as a writer and also serving as the programme’s script editor from 1968 to 1974. He also wrote many of its scripts including The War Games which ended the Second Doctor’s reign and The Five Doctors, produced for the 20th year celebration of the program. He also wrote novelisation of more than 60 of the Doctor Who shows. Prior to working on this series, he wrote four episodes of The Avengers and after this show he wrote a single episode of Space: 1999 and likewise for Moonbase 3, a very short-lived BBC series. 
  • Born May 10, 1963 Rich Moore, 56. He’s directed Wreck-It Ralph and co-directed Zootopia and Ralph Breaks the Internet; he’s has worked on Futurama. Might be stretching the definition of genre (or possibly not), but he did the animation for “Spy vs. Spy” for MADtv. You can see the first one here:
  • Born May 10, 1969 John Scalzi, 50. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever read by him. What would I recommend if you hadn’t read him? The Old Man’s War series certainly as well as the Interdependency series are excellent. I really have mixed feelings about Redshirts in that it’s too jokey.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) MARVEL 1000. Marvel’s celebration of its 80th Anniversary will include a new epic comic book issue to celebrate the legacy of the Marvel Universe: Marvel Comics #1000.

Featuring 80 creative teams with luminaries from both classic and current comic books (and beyond!), this oversized one-shot will be packed with pages spanning across generations of Marvel’s iconic Super Heroes – with cover art from legendary artist Alex Ross!

Among those individuals, some of whom teased the project on social media this week, are long-time Marvel veterans — including Roy Thomas, Peter David, Gerry Conway, and Adam Kubert — and current creators — including Saladin Ahmed, Gail Simone, Chip Zdarsky, and Kris Anka — as well as talents outside of comics, like filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

(13) THE WORD FROM PORTALES. Locus Online’s “2019 Williamson Lectureship Report” quotes GoH Alex Rivera, criminalist Cordelia Willis (daughter of Connie) and others —

“We’re living in a time of walls,” said filmmaker Alex Rivera when introducing Sleep Dealer at the start of the 43rd Williamson Lectureship April 4-6, 2019 in Portales NM. “It’s a global obsession. How do we tell stories in such a world? In my film, I try to cross the consciousness of walls by looking at them, through them, and beyond them.”

(14) 124C41. Hephzibah Anderson’s profile of John Brunner focuses on his novel Stand on Zanzibar (taking the typical “sci-fi predicted it, gosh!” angle) in today’s BBC Culture post “The 1969 sci-fi that spookily predicted today”.

…Though it divided critics on publication, Zanzibar has come to be regarded as a classic of New Wave sci-fi, better known for its style than its content. This seems a pity. When an excerpt appeared in New Worlds magazine in November 1967, an editorial claimed that it was the first novel in its field to create, in every detail, “a possible society of the future”.

There’s irony in some of what Brunner got wrong. He assumed, for instance, that the US would have at last figured out how to provide adequate, inexpensive medical care for all by 2010. Other inaccuracies are sci-fi staples – guns that fire lightning bolts; deep-sea mining camps; a Moon base. And yet, in ways minor and major, that ‘future society’ nevertheless seems rather familiar today. For example, it features an organisation very similar to the European Union; it casts China as America’s greatest rival; its phones have connections to a Wikipedia-style encyclopaedia; people casually pop Xanax-style ‘tranks’; documents are run off on laser printers; and Detroit has become a shuttered ghost town and incubator of a new kind of music oddly similar to the actual Detroit techno movement of the 1990s.

(15) NEBULA REVIEWS. A full rundown of all the nominees for “The 2018 Nebula Awards” is preceded by an analysis of this year’s kerfuffle at Ohio Needs A Train.

The accusations of slate-building, especially as it’s so close to the Hugos being basically completely turned aside for a couple of years there by slating antics 4, led to tensions running fairly high and people running fairly hot on the issue. The SFWA, for its part, says that it wants to take this sort of thing seriously and is looking into ways to try to keep stuff like this from taking over, without (as of the time of this writing) mentioning what steps it may be taking. I suppose that’s fine, but it’ll be interesting to see if anything is different about the nomination process next year.

(16) LODESTAR REVIEWS. Lodestar Award Finalist Reviews by Sarah Waites at The Illustrated Page.

(17) FANTASY LITERATURE’S NOVELLA HUGO REVIEWS. Despite the name, the Fantasy Literature site reviews science fiction, fantasy, and speculative horror, as well as comics and graphic novels.

Best Novella

(18) WRIGHT OF WAY. Steve J. Wright has completed his Best Novelette Hugo Finalist reviews

Novelette

(19) SPACE PASTA. SYFY Wire reveals “Saturn’s rings are hiding moons shaped like frozen ravioli. Here’s why.”

Even from beyond its cosmic grave, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft continues to amaze us with the things it unearthed during its Saturn flybys — like the moons that have been lurking in its rings for billions of years.

When Cassini ventured as close as it would ever get to Saturn, it imaged the moons (which look like space ravioli) in enough detail to reveal that they were covered in the same stuff as its iconic rings. Some of them were even blasted with icy particles from nearby Enceladus. The posthumous images from Cassini’s flyby have given scientists unprecedented close-ups of these really weird satellites.

(20) CRIMESTOPPER. Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Great Superhero Movie Rewatch reaches the films inspired by Chester Gould’s iconic cop — “’Contact Dick Tracy at once’ — RKO’s Dick Tracy Features” at Tor.com.

While he’s pretty much a pop-culture footnote in the 21st century, Dick Tracy was a household name in the 20th. Created by Chester Gould for the eponymous comic strip in 1931, Dick Tracy saw the hard-boiled detective stop a bunch of over-the-top criminals with cutting-edge technology. Gould foresaw the advent of smart-watches with Tracy’s “two-way wrist radio,” and the character was hugely popular.

It wasn’t long before Tracy was adapted to the big screen, first with movie serials in the 1930s and then four one-hour feature films in the 1940s….

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

73 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/10/19 There Have Always Been Starpixelers At Scrolled Comfort Farm

  1. 1) While many are entertained by Eurovision’s outrageous camp tendencies (paging Catherynne Valente), its cloyingly sweet poptunes just don’t work with my tender post-punk/avant-music sensibilities. Alas.

  2. (14) 124C41. Well Détroit is hardly a shuttered ghost town with over four million people living in the metro area and nearly seven hundred thousand in the city proper. It’s doing its damn best to cope with being a post-industrial city that the federal government has largely abandoned policy wise and which has had to literally tear out whole neighborhoods.

  3. When I was a small thing I was completely, totally obsessed with Pokémon. I had the video games. I watched the cartoons. I collected the trading cards. I asked for a Nintendo 64 specifically and solely so I could play Pokémon Stadium. I went to events. I used up my birthday treats on getting to see the films in the cinema. If there was a Pokémon thing that could reasonably be accessed by a young person living in London, I did it. Even the things which kind of sucked because I was a girl and boys of the same age were in full cooties mode, so they came with a side of shunning. I’ve somewhat fallen away from the fandom (mainly because keeping up with the handheld consoles got a bit much for just one game) and in general I find the Live Action film trend tiresome, but I’m genuinely excited for Detective Pikachu, which I was not expecting at all.

  4. @14: “a classic of New Wave”?!? Not from my real-time perspective. OTOH, the review sounds too ignorant to waste time following.

    @10: Finian’s Rainbow may have been a big-ticket mundanely-praised film back when most film SF was trash — but it’s definitely genre, with wishes coming true due to the proximity of a stolen pot of leprechauns’ gold. Astaire said it was the last film he’d dance in, but apparently he was enough of an attraction to keep being cast in other films.

    edit: Fifth!

  5. Chip: I’m not sure what your problem is with the “review” (actually a profile of Brunner’s whole career), but the statement that Stand on Zanzibar is widely considered a classic is a statement about its reputation, not about your opinion of the book. I think it’s indisputable that it does have that reputation. If by “my real-time perspective” you mean that you read it when it came out and didn’t like it, that’s entirely consistent with the article’s claim that it is better regarded now than it was at first.

  6. (10): I went through a Stapledon phase in college and read Sirius, Odd John, the Flames, Last and First Men, as well as Starmaker. Good times. Obviously very influential, particularly on Clarke (the later Rama sequels borrow heavily from Starmaker as I recall). Odd John turns up in Julian May’s Intervention, too, as a book that influences the main character.

    As I recall, Astaire asked to appear in BSG because he wanted to please the grandkids.

  7. Andy notes that Astaire was also in On the Beach.

    And I note that I gave up on going through his IMDB entry fairly quickly, because it has a line for every movie or television program that has used a clip of Astaire singing or dancing.

    (Posting from the year 518, when we’re not sure what a “movie” is but know we enjoy music and dancing.)

  8. Is the “Christopher Priest” who wrote VAMPIRELLA the real Christopher Priest, the author, or the guy who changed his name to Christopher Priest?

    With Rich Moore: I didn’t know Spy v. Spy was animated. I love Sergio Aragones’s work.

  9. @Martin Wooster
    The guy that changed his name, from what I can find.

    But here in 4287, they’re both long dead.

  10. Yeah, I was going to say that posting about “Christopher Priest” on an SFnal blog without specifying which Christopher Priest you have in mind is rather ambiguous.

    I sort of assumed, since the context was comics, that we were talking about the American comics writer, but I did, for a moment, hope that the British novelist was going to be trying his hand at writing for Vampirella. That could have been fascinating. 🙂

    Stapledon really is amazing. In an era when most SF was extremely pulpy, he managed to make a career writing SF that was anything but!

    Granted, his stuff wasn’t exactly Great Literature™ either. In fact, it was something with even less commercial potential: philosophy! His Wikipedia page lists “philosopher” before “author” in his list of credentials. Yet he managed to earn enough from his books-of-philosophy-disguised-as-SF to write full time. I find that very impressive. (I also enjoyed his books, in case it’s not obvious.)

    @Eli: I’m also curious what your objection to calling Stand on Zanzibar “a classic of New Wave” is? Is the “classic” part or the “New Wave” part? Because I think it fits both pretty well. And I was there too. Heck, Brunner stayed at our house for the ’68 Worldcon. Ok, I was a kid, but still…

    (I’m also a huge fan of SoZ. Though I don’t mind if you didn’t like it–de gustibus and all–I’m honestly just wondering what you were trying to say.)

  11. I like to think of Stapledon as Lovecraft’s good twin. Or Lovecraft as Stapledon’s evil twin, as the case may be. I think Star Maker is a fascinating contrast to some of Lovecraft’s later stories — Shadow Out of Time, for example, which also deals with great vistas of time & space, but to very, very different purpose.

  12. I clicked through to the Vampirella article, and it left me with no question that we’re talking about the African-American comics writer, not the British SF fan and prose writer. (I’ve read that the former didn’t know about the latter when he changed his name, just by the by.)

  13. He had only two genre roles as near as I can tell which were voicing The Wasp in the English language adaptation of the Japanese Wasp anime series, and being in a film called Ghost Story.

    In addition to ON THE BEACH, he was also in Santa Claus IS COMING TO TOWN and THE EASTER BUNNY IS COMING TO TOWN, and in THE MAN IN THE SANTA CLAUS SUIT played a mysterious costume shop owner who was actually Santa.

    FINIAN’S RAINBOW has magic to it, as well.

  14. @Xtifr: I’m guessing you meant that reply for Chip, not me. I have no problem with that description of SoZ; there are some things I really dislike about the book, but I think it’s clearly a significant work within the New Wave and also in SF in general.

  15. RIP Eddie. My gray king. My adventurer, my mutant purrer, my cozy companion. You have been a friend, a foster father, a favourite uncle for humans, cats and kittens and performed all the roles with love and compassion that made you unique. A small kitten is now sitting, waiting at the door for you to come home, something that will never happen. I will miss you so much.

  16. 1) As the palestinian grassroot campaigners have called for a boycott of what as been appropriated into an Israeli PR-effort, I will skip Eurovision this year.

  17. A Hugo voting email has just arrived in my inbox. Links to the packet entries are on your voting page.

  18. (1) @Rob Thornton: You can find plenty of exceptions to the cloyingly sweet pop tunes (Ukraine’s winning entry from 2016 is one such); what gets me is the—to put it mildly—wildly varying quality.

    @Xfitr: Stapledon was British, and his most important inspiration from within the science fiction tradition was HG Wells and his scientific romances. One could even claim that science fiction at the time was two entirely different genres: one pulpy one in the USA and one European one drawing on authors like HG Well and J.-H. Rosny aîné.

  19. @ Karl-Johan Norén

    1) Thanks. I’ll give the Eurovisions of the past a closer look. As for this year’s event, I’m going to look into the Palestinian boycott that Hampus mentioned before watching it.

  20. @Hampus: I’m sorry for your loss. (I just moved our gray queen, Molly, aside so I could reach the keyboard and type this.)

  21. Is the “Christopher Priest” who wrote VAMPIRELLA the real Christopher Priest, the author, or the guy who changed his name to Christopher Priest?

    That name change always throws me. I am a fan of both but never can get straight in my mind which one wrote The Book on the Edge of Forever and which The Falcon.

    Calling one of them the “real” Christopher is a bit unkind. The comics one changed his name a quarter-century ago. I think that gives him at least some claim to the title. This is not Highlander.

  22. rcade says Calling one of them the “real” Christopher is a bit unkind. The comics one changed his name a quarter-century ago. I think that gives him at least some claim to the title. This is not Highlander.

    I’m the one who passed that particular news item unto OGH and I’d no idea which Christopher it was that was in question when I did so. To be honest, I’d forgotten that there was two of them. Not that it matters as it still sounds like a fascinating undertaking.

    Graphic novels by the way are something my post trauma brain still enjoys and understands very well. Must be the visual aspect that helps it follow the story. The DC Universe service has been a blessing has I’ve spent many an hour reading entire stories there.

  23. Hampus: I’m so sorry for your loss. Your lovely eulogy particularly touched me today because I have been dealing with a cousin who just had to have her old dog put to sleep, and she keeps apologizing for grieving, in the “I know it’s just a dog” mode: someone, somewhere, has apparently convinced her that she should be embarrassed about it. I keep telling her that when a member of the family dies, you grieve–no matter if that member had two feet or four . . . again, deepest sympathy.

  24. I’m very impressed; as best as I can tell with a very quick look, all of the publishers submitted all of the fiction works in their entirely (not excerpts!) to the Hugo Packet. with the exception of one Campbell submission and two Lodestar submissions.

    One novelette is not included; “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again”
    By Zen Cho, but it is available free to read online or as a free downloadHERE.

    One Lodestar book is not included but apparently will be added later.

    (I haven’t poked into the editor or fan or non-fiction submissions yet.)

    The trend had seemed to be going in the opposite direction in the last few years; honestly, I was expecting most of the novels to be excepted this year; I’m very pleased that most publishers decided to trust the Hugo voters not to pirate.

  25. Packet! Squeeee! Oh, it is a very nice packet this year. (Although I haven’t checked the art folders yet and I’m hoping they’ll have copied the uniform presentation from a couple of years ago, that was so niiice. *fingers crossed*)

  26. @Hampus: I’m so sorry for your loss. You have had a lot to deal with so far this year, and I extend my deepest sympathies.

  27. Oh, Hampus. Two such losses in such a short time is more than any heart should have to bear. Sending you love, and hoping that your two new kittens will be a comfort to you.

  28. 1) Regarding Eurovision, the first one I watched was in 1979 (also in Israel), largely because of my undying love for the German entry that year. It’s still one of my favourite all-time Eurovision songs BTW and definitely genre-adjacent, if only because German disco Mongolians count as alternate history.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAEUrp2V4ss&w=560&h=315%5D

    Back then, Eurovision was a big deal. It was a bright light (two or three solid hours of music with no unfunny comedy skits, interviews with people no one cares about, etc…) in the three channel landscape of German TV in the 1970s and early 1980s. Plus, because Eurovision is long (and was long even before the expansion of the 1990s), being allowed to watch meant staying up late.

    I lost interest as I grew older and TV grew more exciting with the arrival of private TV. I think the last one I watched was the one where Celine Dion (yes, that Celine Dion) won for Switzerland. Here she is. The song is actually not bad:

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pEYw8PcBas&w=560&h=315%5D

    I started watching again in 1998, when Guildo Horn and the Orthopaedic Stockings performed for Germany in what was one of the first parody songs in the contest. It’s still a great performance 21 years later, so here is Guildo Horn rocking Birmingham Arena with “Guildo hat euch lieb” (Guildo loves you) and giving the BBC camera operators heart attacks. Bonus: A very young Stefan Raab (popular German comedian, musician and TV personality) conducting the BBC orchestra.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RF43nd0cwo&w=560&h=315%5D

    I continued watching for a few years, but eventually drifted away again, because it all became a bit samey after a while. However, while sappy pop songs dominate Eurovision, there have always been different styles of music represented as well. James already mentioned Lordi, the monster metal band from Finland, in his post, but here is another Finnish entry that’s definitely genre, a punky post-apocalyptic anti-war song called “Nuku Pommin” (apparently the title means “Atom Bomb” in Finnish). Finished dead last in 1982 in Harrogate. IMO it is better than the other anti-war song in the contest that won:

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmpyXSXZcAA&w=560&h=315%5D

    Finally, here is another very good and unusual Eurovision song of the singer/singwriter school. “Rücksicht” (Consideration) by Hofmann & Hoffmann from 1983. Visually it’s not much and a track suit maybe wasn’t the best outfit choice for the Eurovision finale, but the lyrics (reproduced in German and English below the video, if you clock through to YouTube) are still great and thoughtful. Sadly, one of the Hoffmann brothers committed suicide barely one year later.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjDCIX7aGOA&w=560&h=315%5D

  29. David Langford says The elder Christopher Priest had a word or two to say about the younger in his 2005 Worldcon GoH speech.

    Ouch.

    Does anyone know why he choose to call himself this name? Did he know there was a well-known and rather quite respected writer by that name?

  30. My favourite Eurovision entry in modern times is Portugal, 2017. It has such a classic sound.

    For all time favourite I do agree with Coras choice of Moskau from 1979 (this used to be our drinking song in fake german for several years). And Lordi and Nuku Pommin shall of course never be forgotten.

    Another surprise was the jojking sami who arrived in the middle of a norwegian song (around 1:30 in). They were a bit of a joke in school, but the song got to be a real earworm.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AyMdsQOT8vI

    And thanks everyone, for all your kind words.

  31. @Hampus
    The 1979 German Eurovision entry was “Dschingis Khan” by the eponymous band. “Moskau” was their next song and not a Eurovision contestant. Still a great song and I guess lots of people sprained their backs trying to imitatet that dance move at the end.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paiQRSpg4Aw&w=560&h=315%5D

    And here is a rarity, Dschingis Khan performing in English and singing “The Rocking Son of Dschingis Khan”. This was their first song as far as I remember and predates their Eurovision song.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHbxbW4I5J0&w=560&h=315%5D

    Louis Hendrik Potgieter, the dancer who portrayed Genghis Khan, and Steve Bender, the bald guy, are both sadly no longer with us.

    Love the Israeli Blues Brothers BTW.

  32. Meredith moment:

    If anyone cares about such things, the latest audio production in the Aliens universe, Alien III, is currently available for FREE pre-order at Audible. Probably only counts for Audible members.

    I’m not generally interested in horror — BUT — the script for this one was written by William Gibson. And the narrators (full cast narration) include both Michael Biehn and Lance Henricksen. And it’s free!

    P.S. — I just read that this is the original 1987 movie script for Alien III, which never got made.

    https://www.audible.com/pd/Alien-III-Audiobook/B07QY3KR81?qid=1557615941&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=0HCYPTT3EQ08V1P707N7

  33. Hampus! I just saw your note about Eddie. I am so sad for you. It’s so unfair to lose two so close together!

    I’ll ask my crew to send you a few phantom headbutts and purrs through Cat Ethernet.

  34. Contrarius says Meredith moment: If anyone cares about such things, the latest audio production in the Aliens universe, Alien III, is currently available for FREE pre-order at Audible. Probably only counts for Audible members.

    Yep, it’s for Audible members only as I had to sign-in to get it. It’s only nine bucks otherwise. Not sure I’m going to listen to it all the way through as that whole Alien thing was never my cup of tea Earl Grey anyways but I’ll give it at least a a partial listen at some point just to see how Gibson wrote it.

    Bear’s Ancestral Night Is damn good, possibly the best thing she’s written. Thanks to all of you here who recommended it!

  35. Hampus, I’m so sorry. They may be small in body, but they’re big in our hearts.

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