Pixel Scroll 5/20/20 Don’t Wait To Get Filed, There Are Pixels To Scroll And Boxes To Tick

(1) TAP INTO THE COMMUNITY. Cat Rambo gives writers a list of tips about “How to Ask for Things” at the SFWA Blog.

One thing that can really boost a writer in their early career is getting help from a more experienced writer. The fantasy and science fiction genre has a long and valued tradition of “paying things forward,” mentoring and assisting newer writers to pay back the way they themselves were helped when they first came onto the scene….

Accordingly, I join others telling new writers not to be afraid to draw on this tradition and ask for things. But I do have some tips for making those asks more successful.

Above all: be specific, and do as much of the work for the other person as you can. The reference letter where I have the URL to submit it, the applicant’s statement of purpose, and their notes of stuff I might want to hit are more likely to get written than the one where I have to ask or search online for the information…

(2) NOT USING WESTERN UNION. NPR’s Annalisa Quinn finds that “‘The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’ Is A Lackluster Prequel To ‘The Hunger Games'”.

With her Hunger Games novels, Suzanne Collins harnessed a combination of twisty plots, teen romance, dystopian worldbuilding and subtle intimations of cannibalism to sell more than 100 million books around the world.

The premise was unbeatable: Authoritarian regime forces children to fight to the death on live TV; rebellion ensues. But much of the series’ appeal came from the spiky charisma of protagonist Katniss Everdeen, the sharpshooting teenager who wins the games and starts a revolution while choosing between two boys who are as alike in cuteness as they are different in Weltanschauung.

Collins’ new novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is a baggy, meandering prequel to the events of The Hunger Games that tells the story of Katniss’ nemesis and Panem’s authoritarian ruler, Coriolanus Snow. With his Roman tyrant’s name, surgically altered face and breath smelling of blood and roses, Coriolanus appeared as a distant villain throughout most of The Hunger Games series. It’s only the last installment that gives him a touch of mystery — in its final pages, sentenced to public execution, he instead dies laughing, choked on his own blood.

…The question of how much of character is innate, how much formed, becomes a more explicit — OK, painfully obvious — theme in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The novel is a plinth for two opposing worldviews. The cruel Hobbesian Gamemaster tells Coriolanus that the hunger games are a reminder that people are monsters kept only in check by strong rule: “What happened in the arena? That’s humanity undressed. … That’s mankind in its natural state.” Meanwhile, in spite of the cruelty she suffers in the arena, Lucy Gray believes that there is “a natural goodness built into human beings.” The debate matters, the Gamemaster says, “[b]ecause who we are determines the type of governing we need” — a republic or a tyranny.

(3) ICONIC ACTRESS DEPARTS BATWOMAN. “Ruby Rose leaves Batwoman – and other stars who exited major roles” – BBC has an overview.

The Australian actress Ruby Rose is to leave her role as comic book superhero Batwoman after just one series.

Rose said it had been a “very difficult decision” not to return to the show, which is shown in the UK on E4.

Batwoman, which began on the CW network last year, is the first superhero show to have an openly gay lead character.

Its producers said they were “firmly committed” to the show’s “long-term” future and would re-cast the role with another member of the LGBTQ community.

Rose, who is openly gay, said she was “truly grateful… to everyone who made season one a success”.

The 34-year-old said she had “the utmost respect” for everyone involved and that the decision to leave had not been “made lightly”.

(4) GETTING EVEN. Even if you’re working at home that presence is probably lurking in Zoom. Does James Davis Nicoll suspect what might happen after you read “Five Revenge Tales Featuring Treacherous Bosses and Evil Overlords”?

…David Drake’s mercenary troupe, Hammer’s Slammers (commanded by Friesland’s Colonel Alois Hammer), was formed to suppress an uprising on Friesland’s colony-world Melpomone. The foreign mercenaries were offered settlement on wealthy Friesland in exchange for their services, as well as a chunk of cash. But after the mercenaries crushed the rebellion, Friesland’s government decided that it wasn’t such a great idea to settle battle-hardened mercenaries in their midst. Nor did it seem like a good idea to let the mercenaries sell their skills to other employers, since said employers could well be Friesland’s enemies. Best idea: kill off the now-superfluous soldiers. Friesland expects that their own Colonel Hammer will acquiesce. They are wrong. Hammer sides with his soldiers. Forewarned, the Slammers obliterate their would-be assassins and become the very destabilizing force that Friesland had feared.

(5) FULFILLING A ROLL. In “A City Locks Down to Fight Coronavirus, but Robots Come and Go”, the New York Times studies the success of an emerging technology.

If any place was prepared for quarantine, it was Milton Keynes. Two years before the pandemic, a start-up called Starship Technologies deployed a fleet of rolling delivery robots in the small city about 50 miles northwest of London.

The squat six-wheeled robots shuttled groceries and dinner orders to homes and offices. As the coronavirus spread, Starship shifted the fleet even further into grocery deliveries. Locals like Emma Maslin could buy from the corner store with no human contact.

“There’s no social interaction with a robot,” Ms. Maslin said.

The sudden usefulness of the robots to people staying in their homes is a tantalizing hint of what the machines could one day accomplish — at least under ideal conditions. Milton Keynes, with a population of 270,000 and a vast network of bicycle paths, is perfectly suited to rolling robots. Demand has been so high in recent weeks, some residents have spent days trying to schedule a delivery.

(6) THOMAS OBIT. German film composer Peter Thomas, who died May 19, aged 94. Cora Buhlert says that since she couldn’t find an English language obituary, she wrote one herself: “In Memoriam: Peter Thomas”. Thomas provided the soundtracks for a lot of SFF works, including the legendary SF TV series Raumpatrouille Orion as well as the 1959 science fiction film Moonwolf and a lost TV adaptation of G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. A lot of the Edgar Wallace thrillers, for which he composed the music, are borderline SFF as well.

(7) LIPPINCOTT OBIT. Charles Lippincott (1939-2020), whose work marketing Star Wars changed the way movies are publicized, died May 19 following a heart attack last week. He was 80. The Hollywood Reporter traced his beginnings:

Lippincott worked on campaigns for a number of groundbreaking films, including Michael Crichton’s Westworld (1973); Alfred Hitchcock’s final film, Family Plot (1976); Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979); and Flash Gordon (1980). But it was his work on Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) that left the biggest mark, and he helped reshape how movies are marketed.

Craig Miller, in his recent book Star Wars Memories, notes that Lippincott went to USC Film School at the same time as George Lucas. At the Star Wars Corporation —

Charley was responsible for a lot. He made sure every character, every name, every image was properly copyrighted and trademarked. He made the licensing deals (along with Marc Pevers, an attorney who was Vice President of Licensing at 20th Century Fox) for the merchandise that, despite the enormous box office gross, was the real profit center for Lucasfilm. He was even part of the pitches to the 20th Century-Fox Board, to help convince them to make the movie.

Charles Lippincott

Lippincott’s other film publicity and advertising credits include Judge Dredd (which he also produced) and Comic Book Confidential (which he wrote and produced), which starred Star Wars’ Mark Hammill.

I’ve always been grateful to him for the chance to bask in the reflected glory of Star Wars when, in my first meeting as LASFS president, held at the 1976 Westercon, I introduced his promotional pre-release Star Wars slide show.

You can find many posts about marketing and Star Wars industry history at his blog From the Desk of Charles Lippincott.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • May 20, 1950 Dimension X’s “The Lost Race” was playing on NBC stations nationwide. Ernest Kinoy adapted the story from Murray Leinster’s “The Lost,” first published in the April 1949 of Thrilling Wonder Stories. A space crew find themselves shipwrecked on a world where the ruins of a long dead spacefaring civilization hide a deadly secret that has much power to destroy the present as it did the past.  Matt Crowley, Kermit Murdock and Joseph Julian were the cast. You can listen to it here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born May 20, 1799 – Honoré de Balzac.  His complete works total 20,000 pages.  We can claim six novels, three dozen shorter stories, translated into English, German, Romanian, sometimes more than once.  What of The Quest for the Absolute, whose alchemist hero at the end cries Eureka! [Greek, “I have found it”] and dies: is it fantasy?  (Died 1850) [JH]
  • Born May 20, 1911 Gardner Francis Fox. Writer for DC comics and other companies as well. He was prolific enough that historians of the field estimate he wrote more than four thousand comics stories, including 1,500 for just DC Comics. For DC, he 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-in novel, Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon, previously. (Died 1986.) (CE)
  • Born May 20, 1911 – Annie Schmidt.  Mother of the Dutch theatrical song, queen of Dutch children’s literature.  Hans Christian Andersen Medal.  Poetry, songs, plays, musicals, radio and television for adults.  Two fantasies for us, Minoes (tr. as The Cat Who Came In Off the Roof), Pluk van de Petteflet (tr. as Tow-Truck Pluck).  One of fifty in the Dutch Canon with Erasmus, Rembrandt, Spinoza, Van Gogh, Anne Frank; see here.  (Died 1995) [JH]
  • Born May 20, 1925 – Roy Tackett.  “HORT” (Horrible Old Roy Tackett, so named by Bruce Pelz; while RT was alive, anyone hearing this responded “Oh, I know Roy, and he’s not that old!”) is credited with introducing SF to Japan.  Active since 1936, drifted away in the late 1950s, returned upon finding the Coulsons’ fanzine Yandro, published a hundred issues of his fanzine Dynatron.   Co-founded the Albuquerque (New Mexico) SF Society and Bubonicon.  Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate, 1976; report, Tackett’s Travels in Taffland.  Fan Guest of Honor at Westercon XXI and the 55th Worldcon.  (Died 2003) [JH]
  • Born May 20, 1928 Shirley Rousseau Murphy, 92. Author of the Joe Grey series of mysteries. Its narrator is a feline who speaks and who solves mysteries. Surely that’s genre. Excellent series which gets better in characterization as it goes along. She also did some more traditional genre, none of which I’ve encountered, the Children of Ynell series and the Dragonbard trilogy. (CE)
  • Born May 20, 1940 Joan Staley. She showed up twice as Okie Annie on Batman in “It’s How You Play the Game” and “Come Back, Shame“. She played Ginny in Mission Impossible’s two-parter, “The Council”, and she was in Prehistoric Valley (Dinosaurs! Caveman! Playboy mates in bikinis!) (Died 2019) (CE)
  • Born May 20, 1946 – Mike Glicksohn.  A great loccer (“loc” also “LoC” = letter of comment, the blood of fanzines) comparable to Harry Warner; three Fan Activity Achievement awards.  Founding member of Ontario (Canada) SF Club.  With Susan Wood published the superb fanzine Energumen, Hugo winner 1973; with her, Fan Guests of Honour at the 33rd Worldcon; his trip report, The Hat Goes Home (he famously wore an Australian bush hat).  Co-founded the fanziners’ con Ditto (named for a brand of spirit-duplicator machine).  One of our best auctioneers at Art Shows, at fund-raisers for cons and for traveling-fan funds.  (Died 2011) [JH]
  • Born May 20, 1949 – Mary Pope Osborne.  Children’s and young-adults’ book author best known for the Magic Tree House series, sixty of them so far; 164 million copies sold; animé film grossed $5.7 million, donated to educational projects.  Iliad and Odyssey retelling books, also myths e.g. Echo, Atalanta, Ceres; Thor, Baldur.  Thirty chapbooks.  Camped six weeks in a cave on Crete.  Two separate terms president of the Authors Guild.  Says she tries to be as simple and direct as Hemingway.  Honorary Doctorate of Letters, U. North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  [JH]
  • Born May 20, 1951 Steve Jackson, 69. With Ian Livingstone, he founded Games Workshop and  also the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the two most dominant aspects of the UK games industry before it came to be essentially wiped by the advent of videogames. I’m fairly sure the only one of his works that I’ve played is Starship Traveller which I’d been playing around the same time as Traveller. (CE)
  • Born May 20, 1954 – Pat Morrissey.  Thirty covers, a hundred twenty interiors; Magic, the Gathering cards; limited-edition prints; tattoos; Einstein Planetarium at Smithsonian Institute; Philadelphia Museum of Science; sometimes as Pat Lewis, Pat Morrissey-Lewis.  See herehere.  [JH]
  • Born May 20, 1954 – Luis Royo.  Prolific Spanish artist; covers in and out of our field, comics, a Tarot deck, CDs, video games; a domed-ceiling fresco in Moscow (with his son Romulo Royo).  Spectrum silver award, Inkpot award.  See hereherehere.  [JH]
  • Born May 20, 1961 Owen Teale, 59. Best known role is as 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. (CE)
  • Born May 20, 1968 Timothy Olyphant, 52. He’s been cast in the next season of The Mandalorian where he might be Sheriff Cobb Vanth which in turn means he’d be wearing Bobo Fett’s salvaged armor. And he was Sheriff Seth Bullock in the Deadwood franchise which must at least genre adjacent given the great love of it by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly.  (CE)

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) A KINDER CUT. Apparently, we’ll get to find out. “What if the Snyder Cut of Justice League is actually great?” Jeffrey Lyles of Lyles Movie Files has hope.

…All of which to say is I’m actually very interested in the HBO Max launch 2021 reveal of the Snyder cut of Justice League. I’m surprised it needs to wait another year to debut unless Warner Bros. is throwing out some more cash for some post production elements. If anything the Snyder cut will be a win because it shouldn’t feature a digitally removed mustache version of Cavill’s Superman with the odd lip CGI.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Snyder said while he’s never watched the version Joss Whedon completed, fans “probably saw one-fourth of what I did.” Snyder added, “It will be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie.

(12) SPACEX MISSION. “Astronauts arrive at Kennedy for historic launch” – BBC has the story.

Nasa astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to prepare for their historic mission next week.

The pair’s flight to the International Space Station (ISS) will be made in a rocket and capsule system provided by a commercial company, SpaceX.

Nasa has traditionally always owned and operated its space vehicles.

But that is a capability it gave up in 2011 when it retired the last of the space shuttles.

The agency now intends to contract out all future crew transportation to low-Earth orbit.

Hurley and Behnken flew into Florida from the agency’s human spaceflight headquarters in Texas where they have been in quarantine.

They’ll continue protecting their health at Kennedy as they get ready for Wednesday’s planned lift-off.

Their rocket, a Falcon-9, and capsule, known as Dragon, will be wheeled out to the spaceport’s famous launch pad – complex 39A – in the next few days for its static fire test.

This will see the Falcon ignite briefly all nine of its first-stage engines to check they are fit to go.

(13) TURNOVER AT NASA. But why did you resign? NASA doesn’t usually remind me of The Prisoner, “Nasa: Doug Loverro steps down days before crewed launch”.

The head of Nasa’s human spaceflight programme has stepped down just days before a “historic” launch.

Doug Loverro resigned on Monday, Nasa announced, less than a year after his appointment.

…No official reason for Mr Loverro’s departure has been announced, but a leaked copy of an email sent to Nasa employees mentioned a risk taken earlier in the year “because I judged it necessary to fulfil our mission”.

“Now, over the balance of time, it is clear that I made a mistake in that choice for which I alone must bear the consequences,” the message continued.

While Mr Loverro offered no further explanation, he told the Axios news website that his decision to leave the agency was unrelated to the upcoming launch. “I have 100% faith in the success of that mission,” he said.

Mr Loverro was appointed in October last year. His deputy, Ken Bowersox, will become the acting head of human spaceflight.

(15) BIG BIRD. And BBC has the word: “Megaraptor: Fossils of 10m-long dinosaur found in Argentina”.

Palaeontologists have found the fossils of a new megaraptor in Patagonia, in the south of Argentina.

Megaraptors were large carnivorous dinosaurs with long arms and claws measuring up to 35cm (14in) in length.

They also had powerful legs and long tails which made them more agile than the Tyrannosaurus rex and allowed them to catch smaller herbivorous dinosaurs.

The new megaraptor is one of the last of its group, before dinosaurs became extinct, the scientific team says.

(16) TAKE ONE TABLET AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING. “Gilgamesh tablet: Bid to confiscate artefact from Museum of the Bible reports the BBC.

US prosecutors are seeking to confiscate a rare ancient tablet from a Christian museum co-founded by the president of retailer Hobby Lobby.

The 3,500-year-old artefact, from what is now Iraq, bears text from the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the world’s oldest works of literature.

Prosecutors allege that an auction house deliberately withheld information about its origins.

Hobby Lobby said it was co-operating with government investigations.

It bought the tablet from the auction house in a private sale in 2014 for $1.67m (£1.36m) for display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington.

The office of the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York says the tablet was illegally imported into the US.

(17) JEOPARDY! Last night’s Jeopardy! contestants struggled with this one, says Andrew Porter.

Category: Adventure Novels.

Answer: In this novel the surname of a pastor, his wife & 4 sons is not given in the text; the title was meant to evoke a 1719 novel.

Wrong questions: “What is Gulliver’s Travels?” and “What is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?”

Correct question: “What is Swiss Family Robinson?”

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “This is What The Matrix Really Looks Like Without CGI!!!–Special Effects Breakdown” on YouTube, Fame Focus looks at how the special effects crew of the matrix used a combination of CGI, wire work, rear projection, and miniatures to acheive the spectacular special effects of The Matrix.

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

50 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/20/20 Don’t Wait To Get Filed, There Are Pixels To Scroll And Boxes To Tick

  1. 2) Just finished it. Uhg… more below.

    Reading.

    Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll – Non-genre, romance. D-did the author actually read Pride and Prejudice? Is this fanfic of the BBC version?

    The contrived situations, the cliche euphemisms for body parts and sex acts, the errors that could have been solved by consulting a wiki if too lazy to read the book. This was… not good.

    The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley – Non-spoiler thoughts.
    So this is a Starship Troopers riff, cool.
    Oh hmm that’s interesting so also that other book, it’s a cool idea to mix those two things.
    Uhh so we’re going to see how it all comes tog-. Oh
    But did that change anything?
    I totally blame you.
    I don’t know how that helped. Ah well, done reading sleep time.
    Wake up, get caffeine, think about book. fridge horror

    Three and a half stars bumped up to four for the mindscrew.

    The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal – This is like the first one. Did you like the Calculating Stars? Yes? Read this one too.

    Four Stars

    Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange – Non-Genre. Imagine Pride and Prejudice without the fun Jane Austen narrator. Without the sarcasm. Without being the least bit playful.

    Two stars, did not meet expectations. Boring but not overtly bad.

    The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Blatant cash-grab soon to be two movies produced by Lionsgate–there’s a very convenient break right in the middle of the book.

    Snow, a senior at an elite prep-school comes from a prominent family fallen on hard times. He’s whiney, he’s entitled, he’s manipulative, his views of other people revolve around what they can do for him. Now he has to do well on his school project–mentor in the 10’th Hunger Games–so he can win a scholarship and pay for university.

    Snow always lands on top.

    Movie 1: The Tenth Hunger Games. It reads like a dozen fanfics I’ve read. Manipulated reaping, blatant rule-breaking, unusual use of sponsor gifts, etc.

    Movie 2: The Games are over, let’s draw this baby out.

    Other notes. Rue’s four-note song has words now. So does the national anthem. We’ll get to hear The Hanging Tree again and the song Katness sings when Rue dies. All your favorites will be shoehorned in and fear not. They’ll be able to reuse old sets and locations, lots and lots of indoor locations. This is budget-friendly!

    If you spent the first three seasons of 13 Reasons Why feeling sympathetic toward Bryce, this is the book for you.

    For anyone else, it licks hyena taint.

  2. @6: Milton Keynes is the place that neither Crowley nor Aziraphale would take credit for, but both reported as a success; I’ve read assorted descriptions that agree.

    @9: Gardner Fox was one of the few names I recognized as sources for the prose in the Kirk Poland contest.

    @9bis: IIRC, Jackson also got the SCA’s journal, Tournaments Illuminated, back on track when it was about to lose its 2nd-class mail permit for inconsistency. He was also the subject of a nastier version of the Cleve Cartmill incident, being told after a Federal raid that a new game was a handbook for terrorism.

    Rhymes with Orange has a fortunate meet-up.

    a book comment: Lyons’s The Ruin of Kings kept reminding me that the e-book programs I can find need to handle footnotes properly — at this point it’s ancient tech that they have no excuse for making into inconvenient links. This was a nuisance because every now and then there was something key in the footnotes (which averaged almost 1/page), so I had to keep checking. Aside from that, this is a fascinating setup: what happened elsewhere during the last few days of the previous book, ending with just enough movement forward (after the two leads meet, which we’re told right at the beginning) that the concluding book will be either stunning or massively disappointing. The parallel story means it doesn’t suffer from middle-book syndrome. Not sure about the star rating, but it was one of the best I’ve read in the last few weeks (no small commendation, as I’ve been reading 4-5 books a week.)
    another comment: Tracy Kidder’s A Truck Full of Money is much more a personal portrait/narration than a process story like his other books that I’m familiar with. (I haven’t followed all his work.) The subject is Paul English, who I knew of when we were both at Interleaf; I had a satisfactory career as a software engineer after that company started falling apart; he went from being the chief of software development (after being told at his first interview that he wasn’t good enough for them) to found companies and Do Good. Covering ~35 years of his life means the focus is much more diffuse than (e.g.) The Soul of a New Machine, but gives a substantial picture of an interestingly strange and driven person.

  3. (7) I checked out Lippincott’s blog and found it quite interesting because I recall all the original advertising (radio ads, a pre-release trailer, etc.). Looks like the most recent entries are from 2016.

    I know that several weeks ago the Hollywood Reporter site lost a good chunk of its editorial staff, so I’ll excuse – this time – their claim that Lippincott worked on “Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)” as though such a title existed in the 1970s. Judging from his blog, he surely would never have called it that himself…

  4. Cora Buhlert: I enjoyed your piece on Peter Thomas, whose work was new to me but whose work sounds like comparable English or Italian composers of the 1960s.

    I saw that one of the Edgar Wallace films has Klaus Kinski in it. Was Kinski in many of these Edgar Wallace films? This must be some of his earliest work.

  5. @Chip Hitchcock: The other issue I ran into with the footnotes in The Ruin of Kings is that—at least on my (old) Kindle—the asterisks that denote a footnote are small enough that I’d occasionally miss one. I got into the habit of swiping back a “page” each time I clicked a footnote just to check. Not the book’s fault, but a mild annoyance.

    I am in no particular hurry to upgrade my ereader but I’d at least take notes if any Filers have recommendations for ereaders that put footnotes at the bottom of the page as the Great Typesetter intended.

  6. @Chip and @Goobergunch —

    a book comment: Lyons’s The Ruin of Kings kept reminding me that the e-book programs I can find need to handle footnotes properly — at this point it’s ancient tech that they have no excuse for making into inconvenient links. This was a nuisance because every now and then there was something key in the footnotes (which averaged almost 1/page), so I had to keep checking.

    This is perhaps one benefit of audiobooks. Instead of having to search for footnotes, they were handled as interjections in the voice of Thurvishar D’Lorus, the character who supposedly compiled the narrative.

  7. @chip Different Steve Jackson. The one involved with the SS case was the American game designer. This references Steve Jackson the British game designer.

  8. Games Workshop and also the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the two most dominant aspects of the UK games industry before it came to be essentially wiped by the advent of videogames.

    Games Workshop is hardly wiped out. There are twenty stores within a hundred kilometres of me, looks like pretty much at least one in every large town/city. It might not be the dominant hobby for kids, but it’s a strong niche. Certainly feels bigger than conventional wargaming ever was.

  9. 5) I’ve driven right through the middle of Milton Keynes several times and I couldn’t find it. As they say, no There there.

    9) Re: Steve Jackson (UK): I can’t personally stand Warhammer, but Games Workshop sell it and especially the officially approved figures and models by the truckload.

  10. I felt at the time that the best way to handle “No Award” was to announce at one time the names of the categories that had been no awarded. Building suspense for a category and then saying that it was won by “No Award” put a lot of energy in the room that was going to be voiced.

    When I saw in the scroll that Gerrold was apologizing for something about that ceremony I wondered if it would be about the asterisks.

  11. @Martin Wooster
    Klaus Kinski was in a lot of Edgar Wallace movies, mostly playing the villain’s henchman. The Squeaker from 1963 is IMO his best performance, though problematic, because he plays a mute, mentally disturbed, gay coded henchman (Why have one problematic stereotype, when you can have three?), who kills people with snake venom and feeds one victim to a tiger, all for his beloved boss. It’s an amazing performance. The Strange Countess, where Kinski plays a mentally ill man, who is being used as a convenient assassin by the villains (Kill this person and the voices will stop), is very good as well.

    And yes, there was a distinct style of West European film music in the 1960s and 1970s.

    Anyway, glad you liked the article.

  12. @gottacook: I see no problems with that reference; the date is correct, and ST:ANH has been the formal title for over 40 years (which means it’s probably the only title over half of their readers have known). The fact that Lucas didn’t do as series writers and filmmakers do nowadays and make clear from the beginning that this was a series reflects the different practices then — I remember Silverberg sneering at on-cover declarations of trilogies some years after his Lord Valentine trilogy was done (1983).

    @goobergunch: and when I did see the footnote markers, I often had to try more than once to click on them rather than someplace nearby.

    @Contrarius: thanks, but against the 5-7x loss in speed I’ll take text over voice.

    @rochrist: uh … oops?

    @Jeff Jones: TFTR — he’s right both that there were better/bigger ways to handle it then, and that coming up with the right thing under time pressure would have been a huge achievement; unlike at least one bad choice (far away in time and space) I’m still intermittently peeved about, the ceremony was going to happen on time regardless of how ready people were to deal with the Hugos being s*at on. It’s possible he should have been told about this earlier so he (and others) could think more about what to say — but that’s not on him, and I can testify that there’s enough going on in the days before Worldcon setup starts that another issue to workshop would not have been welcome.

    @rcade: that’s another solution that could have been workshopped in advance — although ISTM it would have involved telling more people (e.g. presenters as well as concom) sooner, which is something that long practice discourages Hugo admins from doing.

  13. Cora Buhlert: Thanks for your explanation about Klaus Kinski. I’m sure he stood out even in Edgar Wallace films!

    To my mind, Thomas sounds closer to what British and Italian musicians of the 1960s were doing than he does to anything else I’ve heard, but I don’t know enough about West German film music to make a better comparison.

  14. Chip: But when you write “The fact that Lucas didn’t do as series writers and filmmakers do nowadays and make clear from the beginning that this was a series,” by doing so you’re blurring the difference between whether a series was always planned (as this implies) and whether Lucas wrote his screenplay to seem as if it were part of a longer story entered and left in medias res.

    In journalism about the first movie, I’ve come across writers who were able to briefly and artfully indicate that the movie was originally known simply as Star Wars during its unbelievable full year of original theatrical release, even if the later title is also mentioned.

    Oddly enough, the Guardian posted a story last night on the 40th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back in which, as a few commenters noticed, the writer began by erroneously stating that it had not always been called “Episode V” within the movie.

  15. @Chip —

    @Contrarius: thanks, but against the 5-7x loss in speed I’ll take text over voice.

    Ahhh, but I can listen to a book while I do other things — drive, cook, garden, feed critters, shop, whatever. So I get double the value out of my time, and I don’t waste any time in “just” reading. I could never get through nearly as many books as I do if I were actually eyes-on-the-page reading them.

  16. Contrarius notes that Ahhh, but I can listen to a book while I do other things — drive, cook, garden, feed critters, shop, whatever. So I get double the value out of my time, and I don’t waste any time in “just” reading. I could never get through nearly as many books as I do if I were actually eyes-on-the-page reading them.

    Same here. And I’ve found that I can adjust the speed upward by a quarter on some novels without losing track of the text. I’m listening to Ancillary Justice right now while working on some needed WordPress matters. It’s working just fine.

  17. I recently finished The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and think it one of the all-time great works of fantasy. I hadn’t read him before. I am extremely surprised that a writer of his talent has never been on a Hugo ballot.

    This is another thing that Larry Correia and the rest of the Puppies ruined with their bloc-voting stunt. Rothfuss would have made the ballot for Best Novella in 2015. “The Slow Regard of Silent Things” was sixth behind a slate full of Puppy junk, including three by John C. Wright.

  18. @Goobergunch: I’ve been reading Dreyer’s English in paper. (A fun book that I think many Filers would like.) It averages a litlte less than one footnote per page…but for whatever reason, the asterisk symbol in the font they used for the book I find very hard to see. I keep finding footnotes at the bottom of the page and having to go back and search through the text to find just what’s being footnoted. Aggravating.

  19. @David Goldfarb: Yeah, having on-page footnote text isn’t a cure for hard-to-see asterisks but at least I know that there’s one hiding somewhere in the page!

  20. 9) Among other genre roles, Timothy Olyphant did the zombie horror satire “Santa Clarita Diet” on Netflix for three seasons.
    And back in 2007 he was the title character in the movie “Hitman”. Not sure if this is genre exactly — but something bizarre must have been going on to make Olyphant look so unattractive.

  21. He also had another zombie film, The Crazies which was actually pretty good if bleak.

  22. David Gerrold won’t be holding down his cheers when Trump is ousted from office. You’d think by now he’d understand what people were cheering in 2015 — that democracy had not been defeated.

  23. I don’t think an apology was necessary either. The people cheering didn’t create the situation. Blame for that belongs entirely with Larry Correia, Theodore Beale and the rest of those self-promoting, self-pitying chorfs.

  24. My impression is that Gerrold was thinking of the hostages — like, for instance, Sebastien de Castell — who ended up being NA’d despite being innocent of any puppy shenanigans.

  25. That’s the rhetorical case Gerrold is making, yes. It’s part of his decision to prioritize the feelings of writers on the ballot over the fans whose award it is and whose process for giving it had been throttled by Vox Day. And although it was known that thousands more people than usual had bought supporting memberships — up until the moment the results were announced nobody knew WHO had bought those memberships — it might have been the Gamergaters Vox had tried to lure into participating. Vox Day and the various Puppies had tried to dictate the winner by taking away real choice in as many categories as possible, and only when those No Award results were announced did people know that robbery had been foiled (at least partly) and the idea that somebody would tell them to shut up at that moment is revolting.

  26. @Mike —

    That’s the rhetorical case Gerrold is making, yes. It’s part of his decision to prioritize the feelings of writers on the ballot over the fans whose award it is and whose process for giving it had been throttled by Vox Day.

    I’m with you that the bigger issue was the “triumph over evil”. After all, I was one of those “thousands more people” who bought memberships — I started voting because of the puppies — and I was one of those people applauding, if only from a distance in my case.

    OTOH, I think it’s also okay to spare a thought or two for the innocent victims caught in the crossfire. Would I go so far as to issue a blanket apology for the applause? No, but I might go so far as to issue a targeted apology or at least statement of support aimed at those victims who didn’t do anything to deserve being slighted. (And yes, we should also keep remembering that it was the puppies’ fault that those victims were victimized in the first place — it wasn’t the other voters’ fault that they got put in that position.)

    It was a bad situation all around, and there wasn’t going to be a perfect way to handle it. As in any war, there is always going to be collateral damage.

  27. In re: #9:

    Tanya Huff put a Sgt. Mike Glicksohn in what now seems to be called her “Confederation Series”, aka “The Valor Series”. I believe that character died with the rest of Sh’Quo company in Valor’s Trial

  28. Contrarius: Let’s take a step back for a moment and ask how the word “victims” entered this discussion. Or “innocent.” Some writers demanded to have their name removed from the slates. Some finalists rejected their nominations and didn’t appear on the ballot. Then, there were slated individuals who stayed on the ballot. If you think any of them are owed an apology, and your comment reflects that you do, you probably have your own ideas about how to sort them out.

  29. Contrarius: I think it’s also okay to spare a thought or two for the innocent victims caught in the crossfire.

    Absolutely — but there weren’t many of those left on the ballot to be No-Awarded. The vast majority of No Awardees were happy to be the beneficiaries of nominations that they knew they hadn’t earned. (I still remember how one of them tried to kiss up to both Puppies and Worldcon members in an attempt to get everyone to vote for them.) It’s very hard for me to feel any sympathy for those people.

  30. Cora Buhlert: A friend notes that among Peter Thomas’s scores was CHARIOTS OF THE GODS? Does that count as sf?

    He also recommended a film Thomas scored called DIE SCHLANGENGRUBE UND DAS PENDEL which he suggested would be a film that people who enjoyed the work of Mario Bava would like. What would this be in English and is this film any good?

  31. Now you supposedly liberal idiots have got me riled up. For at least one person, it was most likely the one work they produced that could be Hugo-eligible. Calling it a victory for democracy is a damned lie and slanderous.

  32. Jeff Jones says with vile Now you supposedly liberal idiots have got me riled up. For at least one person, it was most likely the one work they produced that could be Hugo-eligible. Calling it a victory for democracy is a damned lie and slanderous.

    Well you’ve already lost your argument with the considerable vile displayed towards most of us but I am curious which work you thought was Hugo eligible. Name it.

  33. Jeff Jones: Vox Day doesn’t call the tune for me, and that’s the truth.

  34. Jeff Jones: For at least one person, it was most likely the one work they produced that could be Hugo-eligible.

    That doesn’t change the fact that they were willing to benefit from a nomination that they hadn’t earned.

    I’ve looked at the list of No Awardees for 2015, and with the exception of the Editors, there is nothing on that list which would have gotten nominated on its own merits through a natural nomination process.

  35. @Jeff Jones–

    Now you supposedly liberal idiots have got me riled up. For at least one person, it was most likely the one work they produced that could be Hugo-eligible. Calling it a victory for democracy is a damned lie and slanderous.

    Hugo-eligible =/= Hugo-worthy. Nor does having a Hugo-eligible, or even Hugo-worthy, work justify slating one’s way onto the ballot, or being willing to go along with that. Indeed, if they only had one Hugo-eligible work, and slating was the only way they could get on the ballot–that doesn’t speak well for it being Hugo-worthy.

  36. @Martin Morse Wooster

    Cora Buhlert: A friend notes that among Peter Thomas’s scores was CHARIOTS OF THE GODS? Does that count as sf?

    Yes, he did provide the score for Chariots of the Gods, which I would call science fiction, even if it pretends to be a documentary.

    He also recommended a film Thomas scored called DIE SCHLANGENGRUBE UND DAS PENDEL which he suggested would be a film that people who enjoyed the work of Mario Bava would like. What would this be in English and is this film any good?

    That film is from 1967 and is a loose adaptation of The Pit and the Pendulum, starring Lex Barker, who appeared in a lot of German movies of the period, as well as Christopher Lee as the villain and Karin Dor as the damsel in distress. The director was Harald Reinl, who was married to Karin Dor at the time.

    It’s been a while since I’ve last seen the film, but I always liked it. It’s a somewhat lurid late 1960s gothic horror film. Christopher Lee is the resurrection of a villainous nobleman who was sentenced to death and executed for torturing twelve virgins to death. He comes back from the dead to avenge himself on the daughter of virgin No. 13 (Karin Dor) and the son of the judge who sentenced him to death (Lex Barker). There are several torture scenes, including the infamous pit with the pendulum and the Mario Bava comparison is actually apt, though as a German film, it’s less violent than its Italian counterparts, because the West German film rating authorities were (and still are) squeamish about violence and much more relaxed about sex.

    The original theatrical trailer gives a pretty good impression of what the film is like, as does this trailer for the 2019 remastered edition. There’s some Peter Thomas music, too.

    As for the English language title, the film seems to have had a lot of titles and none of them are The Pit and the Pendulum, probably to avoid confusion with the Roger Corman film. IMDB lists the various English language titles here.

  37. Lis Carey say quite correctly: Hugo-eligible =/= Hugo-worthy. Nor does having a Hugo-eligible, or even Hugo-worthy, work justify slating one’s way onto the ballot, or being willing to go along with that. Indeed, if they only had one Hugo-eligible work, and slating was the only way they could get on the ballot–that doesn’t speak well for it being Hugo-worthy.

    If it didn’t appeal to fandom in an organic manner, than it’s not Hugo worthy. I just pulled up the list of 2015 slate nominees and I’ll be damned if any of them were even mediocre in quality.

    It’s interesting for me to contemplate these as I vote annually for the Toy awards on another site and some of the same issues come up there regardIng companies putting out inferior product and being shocked when they get lousy reviews of it. Write great novels, them you’ll get nominated by fandom for Hugos.

  38. I read Gerrold’s (and Jones’s) comments to be in defense of nominees who did not become finalists because slates pushed them too far down list to make the top five, and not to be in reference to the finalists who were no-awarded. Am I missing something with that reading?

    In other words, a 6th/7th/8th place vote-getter would have been in the top five without slates, and may well have actually won a Hugo from that position.

  39. bill — In Gerrold’s case he’s discussing an interaction he wishes he’d had with the 2015 Hugo ceremony audience about their response to the announcement that No Award won. Isn’t he more likely expressing concern about the people who were on the ballot?

  40. @Jeff —

    Calling it a victory for democracy is a damned lie and slanderous.

    That WAS democracy, Jeff. The members voted, and NA won. That’s how democracy works, in case it’s a new concept for you.

  41. Cora Buhlert: Thanks for your explanation. The German PIT AND THE PENDULUM does sound entertaining!

  42. @Jeff Jones: citation needed: exactly who do you think was slandered? (Or more likely libeled, since this part of the discussion has been in writing.)

    @bill: your reading of Jones’s comment is unconvincing, especially given that all of the non-Puppy discussion has been at least neutral and almost always sympathetic towards the nominees that were pushed off by the Puppies.

    @Contrarius / @Cat Eldridge: I spend a certain amount of time each day doing things sufficiently unbrained (e.g. walking for exercise now that the gym is closed) that I could be listening to a book; however, I can’t imagine (e.g.) dealing with WordPress while trying to follow a plot — I know how distractible I am — and if I combined such time with sitting-and-listening time I’d still finish so few books that Mt TBR would fall over on me. In theory I could listen to a book while not-thinking and read text when I have time, but I’ve found tracking more than one book to be very difficult — I’d probably have to backtrack so much that I’d end up reading fewer books. I get that it works for some people — even sometimes works better than text — but not for me.

    @various: I admit to yelling “F*** the Puppies” at the screen I saw one NA announcement on (at a bid party that was quiet enough that watching was plausible), but I take no pride in it; my feeling about the cheering is that being better than that would have been nice, and forestalling it as Gerrold suggests would have been a long-term win (not to mention cutting more ground out from under the us-versus-them narrative the Puppies have thrived on). That victory may not have been truly Pyrrhic, but it was not cheap enough to cheer about.

  43. Chip says Contrarius / @Cat Eldridge: I spend a certain amount of time each day doing things sufficiently unbrained (e.g. walking for exercise now that the gym is closed) that I could be listening to a book; however, I can’t imagine (e.g.) dealing with WordPress while trying to follow a plot — I know how distractible I am — and if I combined such time with sitting-and-listening time I’d still finish so few books that Mt TBR would fall over on me. In theory I could listen to a book while not-thinking and read text when I have time, but I’ve found tracking more than one book to be very difficult — I’d probably have to backtrack so much that I’d end up reading fewer books. I get that it works for some people — even sometimes works better than text — but not for me.

    Fair enough. Keep in mind that I’m doing WYSIWG WordPress most of the time and it’s usually Justice daily or weekly updates on various sites, some technically that don’t have any connect to p, errr, the folks who pay for them.

    Now that I’m confined to a rehab favility for at another month, I’m doing both print and audio as the mood hits me. I’ve purchased the Long List Anthologies as I don’t read enough short fiction.

  44. For at least one person, it was most likely the one work they produced that could be Hugo-eligible.

    There were a lot more than one person whose work would’ve made the ballot without the Puppies slating a bunch of mediocre work by themselves and their friends. Some of them may never make a ballot. I care a lot more about those creators than I do the ones who were put on the ballot in a mean-spirited campaign to “burn down the Hugos.”

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