Pixel Scroll 5/20/19 My name Is Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire. I Own A Pixel And A Scroll

(1) I SEE BY YOUR OUTFIT. You know what they say about the love of money. Patch O’Furr’s “How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 1)” begins a three-part series at Dogpatch Press.

Fandom roots were growing independently. Influential fans of these times included Fred Patten, who helped import anime to America, founding a fandom for it, mingling it with science fiction fans and their conventions. Anime was a breath of fresh air with robots, monsters, science fiction and serious adult stories. Patten was also a bridge for funny animal artists with self-published APA’s and zines. In the early 80’s, Steve Gallaci put furries in military science fiction illustration that energized these artists.

At conventions, there was a certain social split among artists and fans. Serious-minded artists wanted to launch respectable careers, while orbiting ones hoped to ride along. But others looked to themselves as sources for fandom for its own sake — and respectability to outsiders wasn’t the main point. While other fandoms took different paths, this one branched off towards a subculture.

At 1980’s sci-fi conventions like Baycon in the San Francisco Bay area, the split was felt with separate room parties (separated by elitism or even cliquish mocking at “skunkfvckers”). It eventually spun off into the first furry con, ConFurence 0 in 1989, a test put together by fans in Southern California. (Mark Merlino, cofounder of Confurence, told me about the fan split in a long email exchange in 2017.) Others spun off from Chicago (Duckon), Philadelphia (Philcon) and elsewhere when furry fans wanted cons of their own….

Tomorrow, Part 2 will look more at how fandom grows with free expression, its own cottage industry and independent media, while making a certain fandom identity. Then Part 3 will look at how fandom can work like counterculture (or even punk) and how commercialism creeps in and complicates it.

(2) X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS. The late Len Wein gets a lot of love in the video that launches this series – “The History of the X-Men Part 1.”

Starting today through the end of May, Marvel will release the four-episode series online to celebrate the X-Men series that changed the Marvel Universe forever: Giant-Size X-Men, 1991’s X-Men #1, Age of Apocalypse, and New X-Men. Sponsored by this summer’s blockbuster HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X series, these new retrospectives will take both longtime and new X-Men fans back to some of the greatest moments in the Marvel Universe, setting the scene for the most important story in the history of mutantkind.

Each of these shorts will feature voices from Marvel’s past and present – including legendary creators like Adam Kubert, Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, Jonathan Hickman, Al Ewing and more – as they look back and share their thoughts (and inside looks) into the most influential moments that redefined and reignited the X-Men, leading to bold new directions that drew in generations of fans around the world.

X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Series Release Schedule:  5/20 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 1: Giant-Size X-Men (1975);   5/22 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 2: X-Men #1 (1991);  5/24 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 2: Age of Apocalypse (1995);  5/28 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 2: New X-Men (2001)

(3) A MARTIAN ODYSSEY. Ingvar (of Trigger Snowflake fame) livetweeted his tour of the Sweden Solar System, starting near the Sun and ending right by Mars, “Using just feet and public transport, it takes about three hours to go from the Sun to Mars.” The thread starts here.

(4) PINNACLE OF SFF. The winners of the 2019 Colorado Book Awards were announced on May 18. (Via Locus Online.)

  • Juvenile Literature
    Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut (Owl Hollow Press)
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
    While Gods Sleep by L. D. Colter (Tam Lin Publishing)

(5) HIGHER AND HIGHER. Did you know that Godzilla suffers from inflation? Bloody Disgusting has a lovely diagram: “Artist’s Epic Godzilla Size Chart Highlights How Much the King of the Monsters Has Grown Over the Years”.

…Artist Noger Chen put together this epic size chart in advance of King of the Monsters, putting every single live-action Godzilla (from 1954-2019) side by side, in order of height.

Godzilla measured just 50m tall when he first debuted on the scene, and here in 2019, he’s grown to a staggering 119.8m – the largest Godzilla, in front of Shin Godzilla, ever on screen!

(6) DOWN THE RIVER. Casting choices are named for a new sff movie in “Cannes: Anne Heche, Thomas Jane Join Sci-Fi Film ‘Salvage'” at The Hollywood Reporter.

Salvage will tell the story of two couples fighting to survive on a houseboat as it moves down river in a post-apocalyptic America: Everyone is out for their own survival, nothing is as it was and brutality is the new normal. Each of the characters discover sides of themselves they never knew existed, some valiant and some violent.

The film also boasts an original score composed by Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains.

(7) CROWDSOURCED STAFFING. [Item by Dann]. Grimdark Magazine is losing their cover artist. They are asking fans who are subscribed to their Patreon to help them select their next cover artist.

Help us shortlist a new GdM cover artist

Right-o grimdark horde! I need your input to decide upon a shortlist for a new cover artist to replace our outgoing legend Jason Deem.

When I put out the word for a new artist we got a very tall pile of entries–fifty or sixty or so. I had to cut most of them either for their art not being aligned with what I want on our covers, or their rates being a bit too far out of budget, and got the list down to four. I’d love to get your opinion on them.

The artists are:

(8) DC SAYS STOP WONDERING. After the comic debuted a lawyer letter arrived —“DC Sends Cease And Desist Demand Over Wonder Woman AOC Cover”Bleeding Cool has the story.

This week, Devil’s Due published the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & The Freedom Force: New Party, Who Dis? comic book. A number of comic book retailers ran exclusive retailer covers, including this one for NY Collector Cave by Carla Cohen which Bleeding Cool posted a couple of weeks ago. In which AOC bears a stunning resemblance to Wonder Woman. Too stunning it seems for DC Comics whose legal team, after reading the article on Bleeding Cool (Warner Bros IP traffic spiked in the days after we posted that article), sent a cease-and-desist notice to DEvil’s Due and the NY Collector Cave demanded that the comic in question not be distributed, but recalled and returned or destroyed.

(9) PUSHING THE NARRATIVE. Is Grumpy Cat dead, or already reincarnated as Craig Martelle? Camestros Felapton has a few quotes from the 20BooksTo50K leader that raise the possibility: “Wrapping up the LMBPN Kerfuffle and the Nebulas”. Martelle told his FB group —

…Six indies nominated for Nebula awards last night and zero indie winners. What matters most is which stories resonate best with the readers and which ones will lead to new stories bringing more readers on board. Who is going to be the most professional of the authors? Out of our six finalists? Only one is not a full-time author and that is by choice.

I am not talking down about any winners or any other authors – being a full-time writer comes with great risk….

Camestros follows up with some earthy opinions of his own.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 20, 1911 Gardner Francis Fox. Writer for DC comics who created The Flash, Adam Strange and The Atom, plus the Justice Society of America. His first SF novel was Escape Across the Cosmos though he wrote a tie-ie novel, Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon, previously. (Died 1986.)
  • Born May 20, 1928 Shirley Rousseau Murphy, 91. Author of the Joe Grey series of mysteries. It’s a cat who solves mysteries. Surely that’s genre. Excellent series. She also did some genre, none of which I’ve encountered, the Children of Ynell series and the Dragonbard trilogy.
  • Born May 20, 1946 Cher, 73. In The Witches of Eastwick which is her main genre credit. She did appear as Romana on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in “The Hot Number Affair” and she voiced herself in the “The Secret of Shark Island” of The New Scooby-Doo Movies which despite the name was actually a series, but that’s it. 
  • Born May 20, 1960 John Billingsley, 59. Phlox on Enterprise, a series I really liked despite the fact it seems to have many detractors. His first genre role was in A Man from Earth as Mr. Rothman, a film in which the scriptwriter riffed off the immortality themes from the “Requiem for Methuselah” episode he did for Trek. He’d later reprise that role in The Man from Earth: Holocene. He’s had one-off appearances on The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, Duck Dodgers, Twin Peaks, Lucifer and The Orville. He had a recurring role on Stitchers as Mitchell Blair. 
  • Born May 20, 1961 Owen Teale, 58. Best known role is Alliser Thorne on the just concluded Game of Thrones. He also was Will Scarlet in the superb Robin Hood where the lead role was performed by Patrick Bergin, he played the theologian Pelagius in 2004 King Arthur, was Vatrenus in yet another riff on Arthurian myth called The Last Legion, was Maldak in the “Vengeance on Varos” episode in the Era of the Sixth Doctor, and was Evan Sherman in the “Countrycide” episode of Torchwood. He’s currently playing Peter Knox in A Discovery of Witches based on the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, named after the first book in the trilogy.
  • Born May 20, 1992 Jack Gleeson, 27. Joffrey Baratheon on the just concluded Game of Thrones. Earlier genre roles are all nameless but are Reign of Fire, Batman Begins and Shrooms, the latter being an Irish horror film. 

(11) IN THE LID. Alasdair Stuart says The Full Lid for May 17 includes a visit to the UK’s phenomenally good National Video Game Museum, a review of Vylar Kaftan’s excellent new novella and a look at Directive, a short run podcast with endless tricks up its sleeve. The Hugo Spotlight this week is Foz Meadows. Here’s an excerpt about the museum —

…Some of them are demos or in beta testing like Lightmatter, which I spent a lot of time with. You’re visiting a science facility built into a mountain when the science becomes Science. Guided out by the grumpy Cave Johnson-alike whose project it is, you have to manipulate your surroundings to stay in the light. Because every shadow will kill you. It’s got that Portal ‘feral science’ feel to it mixed with a great, monochrome graphic palette that throws stark light and shadow everywhere. Once this is done, I’m going to pick it up.

So that’s a game I would never have known existed. That’s still being built. And you can play for free in a museum….

(12) AZAD SFF REVIEWED. NPR’s Caitlyn Paxson says “Language Has Magic In ‘The Candle And The Flame'”.

A fantastical silk road city comes to life in Nafiza Azad’s richly detailed debut novel, The Candle and the Flame.

Fatima works as a messenger in the melting pot of Noor, a bustling desert city where humans and djinn live side by side. Once Noor was only a human city, but an attack by a chaotic tribe of djinn called the Shayateen wiped out the entire population — all except for Fatima and her adoptive sister and grandmother. After the massacre, a new maharajah took charge of Noor and turned to the Ifrit, powerful djinn who strive to keep order in the world, to help drive out the Shayateen and keep the city safe, for its new human and Ifrit inhabitants alike.

(13) AVOID BLOGGER BURNOUT. Fine advice from The Little Red Reviewer: “Dear Book Bloggers, I’m worried about you”

Dear book bloggers of the world:  I’m worried about you. Please be kinder to yourselves.

Book blogging is not and was never meant to be something you are required to do every day or three times a week or on any arbitrarily defined schedule.

Book blogging is not and should not be about keeping up with other bloggers. There isn’t some prize for reading the most books, or downloading the most eARCs from Netgalley or getting the most ARCs in the mail.

Book blogging should not be something that comes before selfcare, or before your family, or before the big things in your life. Some days watching TV should come before book blogging, because we all do #selfcare differently….

(14) BEFORE LIGO. NPR looks at a “Billion-Dollar Gamble: How A ‘Singular Hero’ Helped Start A New Field In Physics”.

Imagine spending 40 years and more than a billion dollars on a gamble.

That’s what one U.S. government science agency did. It’s now paying off big time, with new discoveries about black holes and exotic neutron stars coming almost every week.

And while three physicists shared the Nobel Prize for the work that made this possible, one of them says the real hero is a former National Science Foundation staffer named Rich Isaacson, who saw a chance to cultivate some stunning research and grabbed it.

“The thing that Rich Isaacson did was such a miracle,” says Rainer Weiss, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the 2017 Nobel laureates. “I think he’s the hero. He’s a singular hero. We just don’t have a good way of recognizing people like that. Rich was in a singular place fighting a singular war that nobody else could have fought.”

Without him, Weiss says, “we would’ve been killed dead on virtually every topic.” He and his fellow laureate Kip Thorne recently donated money to create a brand-new American Physical Society award in Isaacson’s honor.

(15) WESTEROS’ FOURTH ESTATE. Esquire’s Gabrielle Bruney suspects a bunch of writers are going to have to get real jobs now that the show’s ended: “Game of Thrones Created a Vast Media Ecosystem. We Talked to the People at Its Center.”

…”I think that when the show first started, it was the book reader base that really got it going,” said David “Razor” Harris, editor of Thrones news, recap, and discussion website Winter is Coming.

“This is a show that both debuted and ran in an era where live-tweeting, after episode breakdowns, and podcasts are the norm,” said Myles McNutt, a media studies expert and assistant professor at Old Dominion University, who reviews the show for The AV Club. Twitter was barely five years old when the program debuted; Instagram would make its appearance six months after Thrones did. Earlier generations of web-savvy fans had been consigned to wikis and message boards, corners of the internet the uninitiated found easy to overlook. But instead, Thrones content was “popping up in your YouTube related videos, on the the Apple front page of top podcasts,” said McNutt.

“It sort of feels like it’s part of your feeds and your daily existence online,” he continued. “I do think there’s ubiquity to it that has encouraged people to jump onboard that might not have otherwise.”

(16) SIREN SONG. Air New Zealand encourages George R.R. Martin to finish the books — after flying to the country on one of their planes.

(17) NOT THIS FUTURE? BBC’s Jane Wakefield analyzes “The Google city that has angered Toronto”. Key quote vs. genre: “The smart city model is all about hype. They believe that if we have enough data we can solve all our problems, and we need to be skeptical about those claims.”

It was meant to be a vision of how we will all live in future – a smart city built from the internet up – offering citizens the chance to experience the very latest technology.

That would include autonomous cars, innovative ways to collect rubbish and shared spaces for communities to come together in new ways.

Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google, had acquired disused land in Toronto, Canada for this bold urban experiment, which it hoped would become a model for other cities around the world.

The fact that it would be collecting a lot of data from sensors placed all around the harbourside development unsettled some.

Now many are asking whether a private firm should take charge of urban improvement at all….

(18) NOT SO FAST! Indications that another much-touted idea doesn’t work to spec — “Warning over using augmented reality in precision tasks”.

People who use augmented reality headsets to complete complex tasks fare worse than those with no high-tech help, a small study suggests.

In addition, those fitted with headsets over-estimate how well they perform.

The discovery might limit the usefulness of augmented reality, which has been finding a role in medical and engineering jobs.

The problem arose because of the way that human eyes focused, researchers said.

(19) FACING THE FUTURE. “Hershey’s Tries to Woo the Youths With Emojis”MyRecipes tells how.

…Are the emojis just an attempt to sell more chocolate to youths? Probably. But they’re also designed to do the one thing that advertisers and brand managers speaking at industry conferences love most: starting a conversation. The press release states that the selected emojis were chosen because they “feature meanings that would help to spark a conversation.” The idea that chocolate could get people talking was based on market research which concluded that 87% of kids would want to share chocolate that features emojis with others.

(20) WESTWORLD SADDLES UP AGAIN. The third season trailer has dropped — Westworld III – HBO 2020.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Patch O’Furr, Andrew Porter, Dann, Alasdair Stuart, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Acoustic Rob.]

31 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/20/19 My name Is Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire. I Own A Pixel And A Scroll

  1. (9) PUSHING THE NARRATIVE.

    So is LMBPN a publisher, or not?

    If their authors are “indies”, then LMBPN are lying about being a publisher, they’re nothing more than a self-publishing platform.

    If they’re actually a publisher, then their authors are not the poor, downtrodden indies LMBPN is claiming they are. 🙄

  2. (19) Reminds me of the cookie/chocolate emojis I was buying at the Asian market four or five years ago. (Update: It was 2008. SO CLOSE!) Which, oddly, reminds me of another candy I purchased almost twenty years ago: Y2Kandy.

  3. This is a test of the avatar system. New computer, new reflexes—I think I let it auto-insert the wrong email. Let’s find out.

    (Update: That’s the man, officer!)

  4. @3: I see the Swedish version is less concerned with precise representation than a version that I’ve heard of somewhere in the US. Doing Jupiter as a flower bed (if I’m reading the picture and bits of the Swedish correctly) is way cute.

  5. 3) I had totally missed that this existed and had no idea what Ingvar was on about when he started tweeting. I thought he was researching for his new tale “Trigger Snowflake and The Great Solar System Transformation” or something.

  6. 10: I liked Enterprise until they introduced the time war. In general, time travel either means the future is immutable, or, if it’s not, once you’ve changed the past, if you can return to your own time, depending on how far in the future it is, you’ll return to an unrecognizable future where you probably were never born. I’ve never cared for the idea of predestination (mainly due to its religious implications), and if you’ve returned to a future where you don’t belong, and you don’t know anyone, what’s the point? I stopped watching Enterprise shortly after that, but based on how most Star Trek time travel stories end up with a deus ex machina ending and no consideration for what time travel might imply, I’m guessing it never went deep into what time travel means.

    On the other hand, I’m in the middle of The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch, where people are time traveling to maybe futures and coming back, and some of the implications are interesting, like what sort of technologies could you bring back from the future, and what does knowing about future events mean, if you can return back from a future and prevent things from happening or cause them to happen, it means that the people in the future you visited are not the same people who are in the timeline you’re in when you return to your present. Pocket universe? Multiverse? Whatever name you want for them.

  7. (13) JDN was the person I thought of when I saw this item since he’s been John Henrying himself against the professional magazine book reviewers for several years now.

  8. @ Hampus Eckerman: I think the key sentence fragment that started it was “Om solen vore lika stor some Globen, så vore Jorden…” .

    @ Chip Hitchcock: That’s the previous Jupiter. It used to be a flower arrangement near Arlanda Airport, and I think the plans is for something more… spherical roughly at the same place.

    I’m unlikely to repeat the tour anytime soon, it was great fun doing it, and I recommend anyone who has a couple of hours free (and a travel card) in Stockholm to do it.

    I’d also consider actually starting at Globen tube station, rather than at Skärmabrink, as I did, because all I did was “eh, pretty much any next stop will have me close to the Globe” not taking actual geography into account.

    OK, it was only a few minutes walk (maybe 300 m, then the same distance back), but having been closer would’ve possibly made for a more impressive photo. That thing is BIG.

  9. When I watch a time travel plot based on the idea you can fix a bad future, like what they attempted this season on The Orville seven years after the pivotal event, it makes me obsess over all the innocents born in the broken timeline who the protagonists are going to wipe out of existence if they succeed.

  10. If I can be 45x as productive as the median reviewer, while dealing with some sort of brain injury thingie that impacts memory, vocabulary, and math skills, I don’t see why everyone cannot be 45x as productive as the median reviewer.

    I am rueful I only outproduced the whole of the Locus team once.

  11. (2) Speaking of Len Wein, I recently decided to read as much Swamp Thing as possible, and I’ve been writing some notes about it – not in minute detail but to look at its themes and how the series evolved, so the part about Wein’s time on it is just one segment, but he really laid the groundwork or swampwork for the whole thing. I still have a long way to go (not yet done with Alan Moore) but I’m really appreciating how many different genre ideas and approaches to storytelling went into this.

  12. May 20th is Jane Wiedlin’s birthday. While best known for being part of the Go-Gos, you can see her for 8 seconds on a viewscreen at Starfleet Headquarters in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. She was also Joan of Arc in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    Also Anthony Zerbe who was Matthias, leader of The Family, in The Omega Man. He was in two of the Matrix movies, Star Trek: Insurrection, The Dead Zone, and Kiss meets the Phantom of the Park.

    ‘Cause fifths like us, Pixel we were born to scroll

  13. All Hail Willis Carrier!

    Having the AC in has resulted in a significant boost in how I feel. Not cured that simply, but a major step towards almost normal. I mean, normal for me.

  14. Today is also the birthday of Martin Carthy, MBE, who is genre-adjacent — he’s been part of the British folk & folk rock scene for well over 50 years. Here’s a video of him performing the English ballad “Famous Flower of Serving Men”, which inspired a section of Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer (itself based on another ballad which he probably performed at one time or another, maybe when he was in Steeleye Span) and which I think was also the basis of Delia Sherman’s Through a Brazen Mirror?

  15. 13) I’m thinking that book blogging is perhaps a different animal from book reviewing, at least reviewing as historically considered. I’ve been reviewing since the late 1970s, so I have a pretty good idea of my own production schedule.

    I’m not a speed reader–I clocked around 400 wpm in high school and haven’t changed much in the intervening decades. And when I estimated my copy-producing rate fifteen years or so ago, it came up at 100 words/hour of publishable copy. Those are the task-specific constraints, which need to fit into the rest of my life. (Even a retired writer has a life.)

    In any case, I’ve never thought that the goal was to cover enormous numbers of titles–there were always more titles than there were hours available for reading–and why should I read a book I don’t enjoy in the first place? (Have I mentioned the 100-plus books stacked on the dresser that I want to read but haven’t found time for yet?) My “productivity” has gone downhill over the last few years–where my early Locus columns covered as many as four, I now aspire to two titles a month and still sometimes skip a column because I can’t get to the writing. (100 words/hour, remember, for a column that should run around 2000 words.)

    Reviewing isn’t about piling up titles-covered or outproducing rival outlets, at least for me. It’s about the conversation. If life’s too short to drink bad wine, it’s way too short to read and write about mediocre books. Unless anatomizing mediocrity is one’s area of interest, of course.

  16. 10) Cher’s video for “I Got You Babe” featuring Beavis and Butt-Head is close enough to genre for me.

  17. Since I was at the Nebula Awards this weekend, I didn’t keep a close eye on File 770. Was anything ever mentioned about the Babylon 5 Preservation Project on Kickstarter?

    In any case, It passed the original $30,000 goal yesterday and has now raised over $45,000!

    Also, in checking for the latest update on the project, I was pleasantly surprised to see a certain meeting I had the morning after the Nebula Weekend be the subject of the “Day One” update.

  18. @Bruce:

    At least some people think timeline A is enough worse than timeline B that they’d choose to change the past even knowing that if they returned to the timeline B future, they would be lost and not know anyone.

    It’s not obvious to me that I would, or should, say no if asked “will you go into the past and prevent the Holocaust, given that in that world, you wouldn’t exist?”

    That’s significantly different from stories that are a more personal “if I could change the past I would have gone to X college” or “not married Y.”

  19. “The Pixelyon Fifth project was the last best hope for Scrolls. It Filed”

  20. (3) It seems the Swedish model is very large, at a scale of 1:20,000,000; the ones we have here in Switzerland are typically at 1:1,000,000,000. I walk the nearest one with my older son several times a year.

  21. @microtherion: It covers most of Sweden, and spans from “the Sun” to “the Termination Shock”. The latter is basically where the background pressure of the Universe is balanced against the pressure of the solar wind.

    From the southernmost part of the model (2017 OR10), to the northenmost (the previously mentioned Termination Shock), the model spans ~1400 km, which for a scale model is not entirely small.

  22. “not entirely small” — feeling a bit understative today, are we?

    I’m not sure I see the ?metaphor? of the termination-shock monument, but I’m impressed that they go that far (and fill in over a dozen objects along the way, instead of sticking to the Sun and planets). Putting it in Kiruna is interesting, as that’s another sort of boundary: the northernmost town in Sweden (says Wikipedia) — I wonder whether the scale was deliberate to reach just that far.

  23. @ Chip Hitchcock:

    I live in the UK, we can easily tell that the catchy tune from the first LEGO movie is American. Had it been British, it would’ve been called “Some things are not too bad”.

    Well, Kiruna is home to Esrange, the ESA northern launch site, and the termination Shock sculpture is on a site named Rymdcampus (literally Space Campus), so I am not surprised that they decided to put one up.

    I don’t know if the scale was intentional, I think it’s genuinely coincidental, since it probably all started with “hey, this globe-shaped arena has been likened to the Sun, let’s just run with that!”.

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