Pixel Scroll 5/9/20 A Pixel Scroll Title That Turns Out To Have Been Used Before

(1) NOT DEAD YET. Since the cancellation of San Diego Comic-Con 2020 was announced in mid-April the people behind it have been thinking about an online counterpart. This humorous video dropped on May 8.

What it all means has yet to be revealed. However, in April SDCC started posting coloring books and videos with the theme of Comic-Con Museum@Home.

While Comic-Con 2020 has been cancelled (we’ll return in 2021!) and the Comic-Con Museum is currently closed along with the rest of the museums in Balboa Park, we want to welcome you to our newest endeavor: Comic-Con Museum@Home!

We have great plans for this new section of our website. This will be your main source for some amazing Comic-Con Museum content, such as exclusive videos—including past events (Sense of Wonder with Jen Bartel, The Art of Shag, Will Eisner Week), and new video content created exclusively for the Museum@Home program. Plus, we’re proud to introduce our exclusive “Fun Book” series, a regularly scheduled downloadable PDF featuring activity and coloring sheets created by the Comic-Con Museum for various age groups.

For one example – “Comic-Con Museum Celebrates Will Eisner: Life Forces: The Art of the Comics Memoir.“

(2) GNAW, YOU’RE KIDDING ME. The New York Times’ Cathy Weaver says it’s “Time to Check Your Pandemic-Abandoned Car for Rats”.  

You might want to make sure there’s not a rat living (or recently dead) in your car’s engine.

Why are you still reading? Check your car for a rat, I said. That’s the tip. Rats like it in there, and while they could take up residence in a car engine at any time, anecdotal reports (and mankind’s modern if imperfect knowledge of rat behavior) suggest the phenomenon may be occurring more frequently right now.

Three line breaks into this story, it is becoming increasingly clear that the depth of your interest in rats plunges far deeper than basic car maintenance tips. You are a person who seeks to understand rats in a way that rats may not even understand themselves. You want to read the invisible instruction encoded in a rat’s brain that compels him to abandon the deli dumpster where he has spent the majority of his short life and, all of a sudden, carry a leaf and perhaps some twigs into the engine of your Jetta. OK. Here is more rat information…

(3) LEAPIN’ LEPUS. “Juliet Johnson and Peter Capaldi On The Story of Richard Adams’ Watership Down” on YouTube is a promotional video for Black Stone Publishing in which Richard Adams’s daughter, Juliet Johnson, and Peter Capaldi discuss a new, unabridged version of Watership Down which Capaldi recorded to commemorate Richard Adams’s centennial.

(4) SURVIVAL OF THE SFFEST. “Everything I Need To Know To Survive Covid-19 I Learned By Watching Scifi & Horror Movies” is a clever mashup by Evan Gorski and Michael Dougherty.

(5) SOFT RE-OPENING. South Pasadena’s Vidéothèque movie rental business told people on its mailing list they expected to be allowed to reopen for pick-up service today.

Pursuant to County Health Dept provisions (& crossing our fingers), we will re-open Saturday, May 9 from 11am-7pm with front door service & will keep these hours daily.

Please refer to our website vidtheque.com to search for titles 

They included a bunch of movie recommendation lists to stimulate the demand, including Time Out’s “The 100 best horror films – the scariest movies ranked by experts”. Number four on the list is

Alien

The miracle of birth
Talk about above and beyond: Ridley Scott was hired by Twentieth Century Fox to make ‘“Jaws” in space’, and came back with one of the most stylish, subversive, downright beautiful films in either the horror or sci-fi genre. The masterstroke, of course, was hiring Swiss madman HR Giger as the film’s chief designer – his work brings a slippery, organic grotesquerie to what could’ve been a straight-up bug hunt (© ‘Aliens’). But let’s not overlook Dan O’Bannon’s script, which builds character without assigning age, race or even gender – plus one of the finest casts ever assembled.

(6) VIDEO GAME CREATOR. The Strong Museum of Play has received a collection of prototypes and projects from the family of inventor Ralph Baer.

Ralph Baer, known as the father of home video games and the first person to patent the idea of playing a video game on a television, spent more than four decades creating, inventing, and changing the landscape of play. The Strong museum, home to the World Video Game Hall of Fame, is pleased to announce that it has received a donation of prototype toys and technologies from Baer’s family that showcase his work and his creative thinking. The items add to the museum’s existing collection of Baer materials, which includes his personal papers and one of his desktop inventing workstations.

…Baer is known for his work in the video game industry, but in addition to creating the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972, the first home console machine, Baer led a successful career in toy and handheld electronic game design, creating the matching game Simon and the plush bear TV Teddy, among many other products. This collection includes dozens of items in various stages of development, including a Big Bird Talking Bank, the Video Buddy interactive system, augmented GI Joe rescue set, Super Simon, along with various other pieces or concepts, including talking greeting cards, a twirling carnival ride, modified stuffed animals, and a toy phone. Together, along with the museum’s existing personal papers, they provide a window into Baer’s design process.

“My father escaped Nazi Germany as a child, and he spent much of his life after that thinking differently about the world and trying to introduce more fun and whimsy into it. He was a visionary and creative force who never stopped learning, inventing, and tinkering—even into his 90s,” says Mark W. Baer, his son and the Trustee of the Ralph H. Baer Trust. 

(7) CREATURE FEATURE. Marie Brennan considers “New Worlds: Working Animals” at Book View Café.

…In fact, dogs serve as kind of a template for things we use working animals to do. The tasks of draft (pulling things like wagons or plows), pack (carrying loads directly) and riding came up when we talked about transportation, so I won’t rehash the list of species used in different parts of the world — but I will note that certain animals we can’t domesticate, like zebra and moose, can occasionally be tamed to perform those tasks. This category is where the Industrial Revolution made the most immediate and obvious dent: once we could replace muscle power with steam power and its successors, we no longer needed to keep millions of horses and mules and donkeys and camels and so forth to work for us.

(8) WHAT’S STUFFED INSIDE. NPR’s Jason Sheehan rides the line: “These ‘Little Eyes’ Watch The World Burn”.

Samanta Schweblin is not a science fiction writer. Which is probably one of the reasons why Little Eyes, her new novel (translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell) reads like such great science fiction.

Like Katie Williams’s 2018 novel Tell The Machine Goodnight before it, Little Eyes supposes a world that is our world, five minutes from now. It is a place with all our recognizable horrors, all our familiar comforts and sweetnesses, as familiar (as if anything could be familiar these days) as yesterday’s shoes. It then introduces one small thing — one little change, one product, one tweaked application of a totally familiar technology — and tracks the ripples of chaos that it creates.

In Tell The Machine, it was a computer that could tell anyone how to be happy, and Williams turned that (rather disruptive, obviously impossible) technology into a quiet, slow-burn drama of family and human connection that was one of my favorite books of the past few years. Schweblin, though, is more sinister. She basically gives everyone in the world a Furby with a webcam, and then sits back, smiling, and watches humanity shake itself to pieces.

You remember what a Furby is, right? They were those creepy-cute, fuzzy animal toys that could blink and squawk and sing, dance around and respond to some basic commands. They were toys that pretended (mostly poorly) that they were alive.

Schweblin’s version is called a kentuki. It’s a simple, fur-covered crow or mole or bunny or dragon with cameras for eyes, wheels, a motor. And a person inside. Virtually, of course. Not, like, for real. Because that would be horrifying. And Little Eyes is absolutely horrifying, but not that kind of horrifying….

(9) REDECORATING THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE. ScreenRant tries to explain “Why The Fourth Doctor Had A Second (Original) TARDIS Console Room”.

…In the debut episode of Doctor Who‘s original season 14, The Doctor takes his then-companion, Sarah Jane Smith, to a different, unused console room, and then strongly suggests this place was actually the original hub of the TARDIS. This console room remained The Doctor‘s base for the remainder of the season and was a massive visual departure from what had come before, with wooden panel walls, stained glass windows, and a smaller, cabinet-like console. Unfortunately, the Victorian-style console room only lasted a single season before the white, pimply decor returned. Reports conflict as to whether the wood of the previous set was proving problematic to maintain, or whether incoming producer, Graham Williams, simply wasn’t a fan.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • May 9, 1973 Soylent Green premiered in theatres. It was the last performance by Edward G. Robinson who gets a great death scene here. It starred Charlton Heston and Leigh Taylor-Young. It was directed by Richard Flieschier and produced by Walter Seltzer and Russell Thacher. It was rather loosely based on Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison. Most of the critics at the time generally liked it, and at Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 71% rating among audience reviewers.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born May 9, 1860 J. M. Barrie. For us and for many others he’s the author of Peter Pan.  After that he had a long string of successes in the theater.  He knew George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells.  He joined the Authors Cricket Club and played for its team along with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A.A. Milne, and P.G. Wodehouse.  He was made a baronet in 1913. (Died 1937.)
  • Born May 9, 1913 Richard McKenna. His short story “The Secret Place” was a Hugo finalist and won the Nebula.  “Casey Agonistes” (short story) and “Hunter, Come Home” (novelette) are in many anthologies; “Casey” has been translated into French, German, Italian; “Hunter” into French, German, Italian, Romanian; “Secret” into Dutch, German, Italian, Polish.  Cover artist for Volume 3 of the NESFA Press Essential Hal Clement (Variations on a Theme by Sir Isaac Newton).  Best known outside our field for The Sand Pebbles.  (Died 1963.)
  • Born May 9, 1920 Richard  Adams. I really loved Watership Down when I read it long ago so will not read it again so the Suck Fairy may not visit it. Are any of the various Watership animated affairs worth seeing? Reasonably sure I’ve read Shardik once but it made no impression one way or the the other.  Heard good things about Tales from Watership Down and should add it my TBR pile. (Died 2016)
  • Born May 9, 1920 William Tenn. Clute says in ESF that ‘From the first, Tenn was one of the genre’s very few genuinely comic, genuinely incisive writers of short fiction, sharper and more mature than Fredric Brown and less self-indulgent in his Satirical take on the modern world than Robert Sheckley.’  That pretty sums him up I think.  All of his fiction is collected in two volumes from NESFA Press, Immodest Proposals: The Complete Science Fiction of William Tenn: Volume I and Here Comes Civilization: The Complete Science Fiction of William Tenn: Volume II. (Died 2010.)
  • Born May 9, 1925 Kris Neville. His most well-remembered work, the “Bettyann” novella, is a classic of science fiction. It would become part of the Bettyann novel, a fix-up of it and “Overture“, a short story of his. He wrote a lot of rather great short fiction, much of which can be in the posthumous The Science Fiction of Kris Neville, edited byBarry N Malzberg (who greatly admired him) and Martin H Greenberg, and more (some overlapping with the first collection) Earth Alert! and Other Science Fiction Tales. He’s not alas wisely available in digital form. (Died 1980.)
  • Born May 9, 1926 Richard Cowper. Writer of some seriously comic genre fiction that Martin Amis loathed. The White Bird of Kinship series is what he’s best remembered for and I’d certainly recommend it as being worth reading.  It appears that all of here are available from the usual digital suspects. (Died 2002.)
  • Born May 9, 1936 Albert Finney. His first genre performance is as Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge. That’s followed by being Dewey Wilson in Wolfen, a deeply disturbing film. He plays Edward Bloom, Sr. In the wonderful Big Fish and voices Finis Everglot in Corpse Bride. He was Kincade in Skyfall. He was Maurice Allington in The Green Man based on Kingsley Amis’ novel of the same name. Oh, and he played Prince Hamlet in Hamlet at the  Royal National Theatre way back in the Seventies! (Died 2019.)

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Immortal words from The Far Side.
  • Bookshelves dominate Grant Snider’s new Incidental Comic.

(13) KEEPING COMIC SHOPS AFLOAT. Shelf Awareness reports money will start flowing from the rescue fund next week: “Binc Distributing $950K to Comic Book Stores”.

Next Tuesday, May 12, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) will distribute more than $950,000 raised by the Comicbook United Fund to comic store owners. The fund was created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by Creators 4 Comics, Jim Lee, DC and Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group. Binc is distributing amounts ranging from $800 to $2,400 to 637 comic book shops across the U.S. and U.S. territories.

The Comicbook United Fund grew out of the Forge Fund, which Oni-Lion Forge established last year with a donation to Binc of $100,000. This year, DC added another $250,000 to the fund. In addition, after the pandemic hit, a coalition of artists, authors, comics creators and other supporters held more than 600 auctions on Twitter, and DC’s Jim Lee began auctioning 60 original sketches in 60 days on eBay, with 95% of sales going to Binc.

In addition to the more than $950,000 that Binc is distributing to comic stores next week, Binc has distributed another $174,786 to 156 comic retail employees and owners to help with rent, mortgage, utilities, food and other necessities during this pandemic

(14) TIME AND TIDE. Wil Wheaton’s latest read is “By request, an HP Lovecraft short story.” Hear him at Soundcloud.

…I love the Cthulhu mythos, but I’m not crazy about Lovecraft’s storytelling. I feel like he spends a lot of time in the high concept and the world building, without ever really going more than skin deep on his protagonists and narrative characters. NB: I haven’t read a ton of Lovecraft, probably six or so short stories, so maybe he has a novel or novella with rich characters and narratives, but I haven’t found it.

None of this is to suggest that he wasn’t brilliantly creative and imaginative, just that his stories aren’t the most satisfying use of my time.

However, hundreds of you have reached out in comments and emails, asking me to narrate something from the Cthulhu Mythos, so today’s RFB Presents is a short, weird, lurid story called Dagon.

(15) OUR DYING EARTH. Tammy reviews “GOLDILOCKS By Laura Lam” at Books, Bones, and Buffy.

Goldilocks has a fantastic premise and uses one of my favorite sci-fi tropes: leaving our dying Earth and striking out to colonize a new planet, in the hopes of saving humankind. And for the first half of the story, it lived up to this promise. But I ended up with mixed feelings, and I felt the first half was way stronger than the second half. Still, I had a lot of fun reading this book, and I’m going to recommend it to readers who love strong female characters and enjoy reading about current social issues. There are some scary events in Goldilocks that really hit close to home (can you say “pandemic”?) which added a lot of tension to the story, but I also felt that Lam made a few missteps with the characters’ choices in some cases.

(16) IN THE BEGINNING. “Supergirl: 10 Things You Never Noticed About The First Episode” at ScreenRant.

… Since so much has happened in the meantime, it’s easy to forget what Supergirl was like in its beginnings when Kara Danvers was still learning how to use her powers and was hoping to figure out how to be a hero. No matter how many times you’ve seen the show’s first episode, you might have never noticed the following 10 details.

Number 10 —

National City

Kara reveals shortly after the beginning of the first episode that she lives and works in National City. The name of the city is a nice easter egg for all fans of the publisher DC comics.

National City doesn’t have its origin in the comics, but by choosing this name for Supergirl’s home, the show’s creators paid homage to DC comics. Before DC was, well, DC, the company’s name was National Comics Publications, hence the ‘National’ in the name of Supergirl’s city.

(17) MASTERPIECE THEATRE. Gideon Marcus is there when That Was The Week That Was goes off the air, and other real news is happening, but no time to waste! This is the magazine with Robert Sheckley’s Mindswap! — “[MAY 8, 1965] SKIP TO THE END (JUNE 1965 GALAXY]” at Galactic Journey.

…And then, having given my report, I’d tie it pithily to the subject at hand, namely the June 1965 Galaxy science fiction digest.  But the fact is, there’s lots to cover and I’m anxious to get it all down while it’s still fresh in my mind.  So, you’ll just have to pretend that I was clever and comprehensive in my introduction…. 

(18) THE FAR FUTURE – 1947. At First Fandom Experience they’ll take you back even further in time where you can see “A Rarity: Tellus News”.

This issue of Tellus News, a “newspaper of the future,” was discovered among a collection of fanzines from the 1940s.  It was mis-categorized because of the cover date: “Sol 23, 1947”

But this hand-drawn fanzine was created in 1932 by Howard Lowe as a vision of what news might look like 15 years hence.  It’s not a copy — it’s an original set of drawings. Rendered in colored pencil, it was likely never reproduced, and as such is a one-of-a-kind artwork….

(19) STAR WARS FOR THE 1 PERCENTERS. Michael Verdon, in the Robb Report story “Why ‘Star Wars’ Characters Are Taking Over the World’s Most Expensive Superyachts” says the British superyacht firm Thirtyc has been putting out Star Wars-related yachts for Star Wars Day on May 4, and Verdon shows how the onepercenters are having cosplay fun with their expensive yachts.

…Seeing a storm trooper and Darth Vader on a million-dollar tender isn’t an everyday occurrence. Neither is catching a glimpse of Princess Leia or Chewbacca driving away on another tender.

At first, the firm received a lot of compliments about their whimsical but highly realistic work. “As it spoke to peoples’ imaginations, they started asking us to use their boats,” says Armstrong. Soon, Star Wars vehicles like AT-AT Walkers and Starfighters appeared on superyacht helipads and rear decks.

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Universe” on YouTube is a 1960 documentary, directed by Roman Kroitor and Colin Low for the National Film Board of Canada, which Stanley Kubrick said was one of his inspirations for 2001.

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

47 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/9/20 A Pixel Scroll Title That Turns Out To Have Been Used Before

  1. Thank you for the title credit!

    (11) William Tenn and Richard Adams – a good day. I think I’ve read all of Tenn. In addition to bunny and bear, ive also read Adams’ supernatural novel The Girl in the Swing

  2. @11: Barrie was also the author of “The Ten-Pound Look”, which was for the time a scathingly feminist play — very much outside the domesticity of Peter Pan. (He wasn’t the only playwright to shift his colors; W. S. Gilbert’s libretti were stereotypical when they weren’t outright demeaning, but one of his plays slams the double standard.)

    @11 (McKenna): lovely coincidence with yesterday’s Pixel about deadly planets; I finally got to it today to cite “Hunter Come Home”. “Casey Agonistes” has possibly the greatest opening line in genre. One of the great premature losses to the field, made worse because he didn’t start selling until ~finished with his Navy career.

    @11 (Adams): I remember Shardik as bleak, in some ways plausibly — the wreckage left behind by a fanaticism — and in some ways excessively. OTOH, it wasn’t as blatantly sexist as (e.g.) The Plague Dogs, which was snide enough in the first few pages that I would have thrown it across the room if it hadn’t been a borrowed book that I was reading in a restaurant.

    @11 (Tenn): there’s also a collection of his nonfiction, Dancing Naked; he was quite a storyteller, although I’ve heard his veracity challenged. None of the three are ebooks yet, but it’s possible the brave-and-noble volunteers are getting the hang of conversions and will make them happen more quickly. (Summary from the outside; I have so not been involved with this.)

    @11 (Cowper): what of his was comic genre? I remember some novels that I felt were entangled with obscure (or maybe unobscure) beliefs I wasn’t getting (I’m looking at you, The Twilight of Briareus), but nothing comic — and Martin Amis’s loathing might be a recommendation.

    @17: Well, that’s another critic I can ignore; I read Mindswap in 1967 and thought it was brilliant — and hung together, which I didn’t see in some of his other novels.

  3. (8) WHAT’S STUFFED INSIDE.

    Having read the entire review, I have to say that this book sounds like it is something I would be throwing against the wall very early on.

  4. @Chip: oh yeah. I read the Plague Dogs too and disliked it thoroughly for reasons I no longer remember.

  5. (8) @JJ: I was kind of meh on Schweblin’s Fever Dream, (which is a very short novel – probably a novella, although it was published as a stand-alone) but I really liked her short story collection, A Mouthful of Birds.

    (5) Very little of O’Bannon’s script actually made it into the film.

  6. 2) I know that weasels getting into cars and eating cables and insulation are a common problem, but rats are new to me.

    19) Those are really cool. Sadly, the megayacht company for which I sometimes do translations doesn’t do anything nearly so cool. Though some of their customers seem to have mistaken the James Bond movies for documentaries.

  7. @Cora —

    2) I know that weasels getting into cars and eating cables and insulation are a common problem, but rats are new to me.

    Weasels? Yikes. Around here, it’s mice. I had mice eat my wiring in my previous vehicle — I often don’t drive anywhere for days at a time, and out here in the country they really can be a problem.

  8. Cora Buhlert says I know that weasels getting into cars and eating cables and insulation are a common problem, but rats are new to me.

    Mice will eat almost anything and make a nest oft times of it, so I don’t why rats who are just a larger rodent wouldn’t do it as well. Largest rats I ever saw were in Sri Lanka — I swear they wear as big as small terriers!

    It’s past midnight and I’m not on the schedule for surgery later today so I’ll likely be here until at least Tuesday. I’ve got an IV drip now, I’m listening to classical music and accessing the net on my iPhone while my iPad gets charged at the nurses station. Reading for the evening has been Zelazny’s Roadmarks which somehow I’ve never read.

  9. Cora Buhlert: Though some of their customers seem to have mistaken the James Bond movies for documentaries.

    I am now envisioning a yacht with a ballast compartment which has an electric sliding roof and a complement of sharks.

  10. 2) I remember an article in Jalopnik about martens (Marder) doing $65 million of damage a year to cars in Germany. They were pretty close to extinction in Germany in the 1950s so I see this as them getting even.

    We had a woodchuck/groundhog/whistlepig chew through the wiring of a car once. How can an animal have so many names in one language? It’s really just an oversized squirrel.

    11) It’s Rosario Dawson’s birthday. She was in the two Sin City movies, most of the Marvel shows on Netflix, Percy Jackson, Men in Black II, and is the voice of Wonder Woman in a lot of the animated DC movies. Plus she was Valerie Brown in Josie and the Pussycats, so she can do no wrong in my eyes.

    And Billy Joel who can be forgiven for his predictions for the future of New York in Miami 2017.

    I still compare all Hercule Poirot actors to Finney. Probably saw him in Murder on the Orient Express at the right time so it’s stuck in my memory. At least his mustache was better than Kenneth Branagh’s production number of facial hair.

  11. Much as I’ve enjoyed Richard McKenna’s sf, it’s The Sand Pebbles that I’ve read multiple times.

  12. Jack Lint says I still compare all Hercule Poirot actors to Finney. Probably saw him in Murder on the Orient Express at the right time so it’s stuck in my memory. At least his mustache was better than Kenneth Branagh’s production number of facial hair.

    I prefer David Suchet but I’ll agree that he also made a rather fine Hercule. Branagh really didn’t work for me.

  13. Jack Lint: I still compare all Hercule Poirot actors to Finney. Probably saw him in Murder on the Orient Express at the right time so it’s stuck in my memory.

    Oh, is this like the “Who’s Your Doctor?” game? My Poirot is definitely David Suchet.

    Charles Laughton – Alibi (stage version of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd)
    Francis L. Sullivan – Black Coffee, Peril at End House, The Wasp’s Nest (stage and film)
    Austin Trevor – Alibi (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd), Black Coffee, Lord Edgware Dies
    Anthony Holles – The Yellow Iris (radio)
    Orson Welles – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (radio)
    Maurice Tarplin – The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor (radio)
    Harold Huber – The Adventures of Hercule Poirot (radio series)
    Richard Williams – Murder in the Mews (radio)
    Heini Göbel – Murder on the Orient Express
    Martin Gabel – The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
    Ed Begley – Who Killed Supersleuth? (parody)
    Tony Randall – The Alphabet Murders
    Horst Bollman – Black Coffee
    Albert Finney – Murder on the Orient Express
    James Coco – Murder by Death
    Dudley Jones – The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It
    Andrew Sachs – Revenge of the Pink Panther (mental delusion)
    Peter Ustinov – Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun, Appointment with Death, Thirteen at Dinner, Dead Man’s Folly, Murder in Three Acts
    Joan Borràs – Novel·la (Spanish series)
    Maurice Denham – The Mystery on the Blue Train (radio)
    Ian Holm – Murder by the Book
    Peter Sallis – Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (radio)
    John Moffat – (BBC Radio series)
    Bobby Davro – Sketch Pad (parody)
    David Suchet – Agatha Christie’s Poirot (series)
    Anatoliy Ravikovich – Peril at End House
    Jason Alexander – Murder on the Disorientated Express (Muppets parody)
    Hugh Laurie – Spice World (parody)
    Alfred Molina – Murder on the Orient Express
    Konstantin Rajkin – Poirot’s Failure (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd)
    Anthony O’Donnell – Agatha Christie: A Life in Pictures
    Kotaro Satomi – Agatha Christie’s Great Detective Poirot and Marple (anime series)
    Kevin Delaney – Evil Under the Sun
    John Mangan – Extraordinary Women
    Mansai Nomura – Murder on the Orient Express
    Kenneth Branagh – Murder on the Orient Express
    John Malkovich – The ABC Murders

  14. For once Chip Hitchcock and I aren’t quite on the same page. I liked Mindswap, but wouldn’t quite go as far as “brilliant”. It felt a bit like it was trying a bit too hard to be edgy and new-wave-y and weird, and the pacing was a bit uneven. But I did think it stuck the landing fairly well. Which was all the more impressive given that at more than one point, I was sure that Sheckley had lost the plot completely. 🙂

    As for Tenn, well, I’d say his humor is certainly drier than Sheckley’s, but every bit as biting. I definitely wish he’d written more though; I’ve read all his fiction multiple times.

    (5) Wow, renting movies on disc is still a thing? And in LA, no less! Or maybe it’s still a thing because LA? Anyway, good for them. I know some of our local bookstores and such are looking into curb-side pickup options, but I don’t think any plans have been finalized yet.

  15. Yes, thanks JJ. Ah, Murder by Death!

    @2
    That’s right out of a postpoc story, and should not surprise anyone here. Rats!

    @10
    The Harrison novel is better, but Soylent Green is still watchable all these long decades later.

    @11
    I have read only one Cowper story, A Message to the King of Brobdingnag, which I heartily recommend.

    I have never read Peter Pan. I have never seen a media adaptation of Peter Pan. A co-worker was stunned I didn’t get her Smee reference. What’s a smee, I said. It seemed for a moment she might swoon.

    I have never read Watership Down– I think you see where this is headed.

    @20
    Thanks for the tip and link.

  16. 11 Tenn is one of my favorite authors.

    RE: Soylent Green: It was one of the first SF properties I discussed with someone in High School that wasn’t Star Wars. I had a long conversation with a classmate about it and its themes.

  17. 11) I picked up a copy of Finney’s Scrooge (a musical, BTW) and watched it back around Christmas. It was something I must’ve seen on broadcast television when I was tiny & wee, and had more or less forgotten it (except for half a verse from the song “Thank You Very Much,” which had been stuck in my head for the past 45 years) until it was mentioned on an episode of a podcast I listen to. Actually quite good and had some bits that would have been genuinely scary to young me, I assume.

  18. Richard Adams: I liked Watership Down a lot – it held up, I think, on a fairly recent re-read of it. The Girl in the Swing, I’m still fairly positive about. The Plague Dogs… has some good moments, though it is very cynical and heavily flavoured with Adams’s own opinions. Shardik is a not very memorable secondary-world fantasy – it had a follow-up, Maia, which I wasn’t enthusiastic enough to read.

    The story I heard about the Doctor Who console room was that the old set got damaged, somehow (possibly by Elisabeth Sladen) in an unbroadcast section of the preceding story “The Seeds of Doom”. It’s got no more credibility than any other rumour, I suppose.

    Mindswap… I liked it, myself, but “self-indulgent” is a valid criticism, I think. Personally, I don’t mind when writers indulge themselves a bit, especially writers like Sheckley… but I can see people getting turned off by the resultant kaleidoscopic prose. Not everyone’s got my sort of tolerance for this stuff!

  19. Masked Meredith Moment: Ted Chiang’s Exhalation (as per Steve Wright’s Masked Filers post) is currently $4.99.

  20. @JJ: Having read the entire review, I have to say that this book sounds like it is something I would be throwing against the wall very early on. No disagreement there — but I see a very wide variety of tastes here, and this looked like the sort of obscure edge case that might not be picked up by usual suspects.

    @Cat Eldridge: I’m listening to classical music and accessing the net on my iPhone while my iPad gets charged at the nurses station. given today’s tech needs, I’m surprised there isn’t a way to plug in a charger within reach of a bed. Or were all the nearby outlets occupied by a panoply of medical devices?

    @JJ: I am now envisioning a yacht with a ballast compartment which has an electric sliding roof and a complement of sharks. That’s … something. Now I’m envisioning somebody on another yacht asking “Why’s that boat reeling like a drunken sailor” and getting back “He had to take out the baffles so the sharks would have room to swim, so his ballast sloshes.”

    @Jack Lint: How can an animal have so many names in one language? Limited communication until relatively recently is an obvious guess. Three names seems trivial; consider the number of names of Puma concolor — Wikipedia says

    Due to its wide range, it has many names

    and

    The cougar holds the Guinness record for the animal with the greatest number of names, with over 40 in English alone.

    @Xtifr re @5: I wonder whether LA’s net capacity has kept up with demand; given equipment that isn’t on its last legs, DVDs never reduce a picture to a few hundred giant pixels (or freeze altogether).

    wrt Mindswap, I’m not usually a fan of kaleidoscopic prose per se, but I loved the spilling-over of ideas, none of them (ISTM) dragged out too long because there was always another around; they worked even when I didn’t know all of the context (e.g., the takedown on overplayed historicals — I read it years before Start the Revolution Without Me came out and was not a follower of the books or movies satirized). I may also have appreciated it more because I was starved for input; that was the year I was living in Millbrook NY (population 2000; library with 1 shelf-foot of SF; most of 2 hours from NYC and no good way to get there by public, while I’d spent my first 14 years just a few miles outside DC)

  21. 2) My mom had squirrels chew up the wiring in her car a couple years ago.

    David Suchet is my Poirot as well. Mom’s a big mystery fan (she’s read all the books as well), and we watched a lot of those back when I was living at home.

  22. Jack Lint: Wasn’t Rosario Dawson also in the bad Eddie Murphy sf movie THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH?

  23. (11) Brown Robin, Richard Cowper wrote some wonderful short fiction. There were 3 of those little yellow Gollancz hardcover collections from the UK (I own them all), which collect most of his short fiction (there was one US paperback collection that picked from the first 2 UK hardcover collections), and then some uncollected later short fiction from F&SF and small press chapbooks. He would be perfect for a small press Complete Short Fiction, but who knows what the market would be for such a collection.
    The 3 Gollancz collections (The Custodians, The Web of the Magi and The Tithonian Factor) are all available in Kindle editions.

  24. That piece by Evan Gorski and Michael Dougherty was really well-made, so a big thumbs up to them.

  25. (2) When my mother and I were getting ready to move into town, we found a buyer for my father’s ancient (and rebuilt) Austin A40. It turned out to have the remains of a mouse nest in the trunk. (The buyer, a friend, said later he had a time moving the front seat back so he he could drive it. My father had rebuilt it for short people.)

  26. @Brown Robin

    I have read only one Cowper story, A Message to the King of Brobdingnag, which I heartily recommend.

    I think that’s the only story of his that I’ve read too – and it’s a very memorable one. Just looked up the issue of F&SF it was in http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?61319; I remember “Cube Root” and “Barking Dogs” pretty well, too.

  27. @JJ

    I am now envisioning a yacht with a ballast compartment which has an electric sliding roof and a complement of sharks.

    No shark tanks so far, but I’ve seen dedicated teakwood bathing stairs for a dog and a fellow who wanted a mini-submarine that would launch out of the yacht.

    Regarding sliding roofs, I once had to do a rush translation job for a manual for some kind of sliding sun awning. Turns out that the yacht crew had lost the manual, the sun awning was stuck and the yacht owner was angry. So they contacted the shipyard who contacted the manufacturer of the sun awning. Unfortunately, the manufacturer couldn’t locate the manual either, so someone had to write a new manual and I had to translate it overnight, so the yacht crew could repair the sun awning in the morning before the yacht owner woke up.

    Though my favourite yacht story is that of the heiress who could not tolerate that her exalted poop and pee ended up in the same sewage tank as the common poop and pee of the crew. So she wanted to have a separate sewage tank installed. I suspect the woman has no idea where the sewage goes after it is pumped from the tank.

  28. (9) The story I heard was that the existing set had suffered water damage whilst in storage between seasons. The wooden set was hastily put together with materials that were to hand and a new set with the conventional look was made ready for the next season.
    (11) Two other roles that Albert Finney played are worth mentioning: Daniel Feeld in Karaoke/Cold Lazarus and he was in Breakfast of Champions as Kilgore Trout.

  29. Chip correctly asks given today’s tech needs, I’m surprised there isn’t a way to plug in a charger within reach of a bed. Or were all the nearby outlets occupied by a panoply of medical devices?

    There is but I wasn’t carrying one with me as I wasn’t planning on this happening, so a friend is dropping one off later today after he rummages for one at his house.

    Speaking of medical devices, I came out of surgery with an oxygen feed up my nose. That surprised me as I didn’t get one after the bone surgery a year for the staph infection.

  30. @Martin Wooster Yes, but Josie and the Pussycats negates the sins of Pluto Nash

    Re: Poirot I’m glad I didn’t suggest who provides my mental image of Sherlock Holmes. I should say there’s a part of my mind that thinks Miss Jane Marple is like Margaret Rutherford despite it not being a very true to the books description of the character.

    Despite it being a comedy, Coco wasn’t a bad Poirot-like character in Murder by Death. I’m pretty sure I saw the ABC Murders on TV, but I honestly don’t remember Tony Randall, though I may remember Robert Morley and Anita Ekberg.

    (10) One thing is to watch the start of Soylent Green to see the custom Computer Space cabinet. Supposedly the first video game in a movie.

    I have to say that my idea of what the movie was like was really warped by that poster and the commercials they ran at the time. Thought it was some epic crowd control movie.

  31. In re: Rosario Dawson — I can’t believe nobody has mentioned Daredevil!

    edit — I see Jack did mention the Marvel shows in a general way…. so I take it back. But Daredevil still deserves special mention! 🙂

  32. Surgical update. They operated on the knee this morning which had the most unholy combination of a fractured patella which was also separated and a torn tendon was well. Surgery lasted several hours. They put it back in place with the usual screws and wire.

    It will bear weight and I can (YEA!) walk on it. PT therapist took me out for a short walk in the hallway but I’m not supposed to get out of bed again. Right now we’ve having the mystery of the extremely high pulse, around 110, so they’re pumping me full of special fluids.

    I’ll be several more days before heading home. Sessions with PT including how to negotiate stairs are on the agenda.

  33. Glad the surgery went well @Cat. It’s good that it is weight-bearing; will help with rehab.

    When I smashed my patella, I had to stay off that foot for 6 weeks which led to my leg atrophying. My left thigh is still slightly smaller than my right.

  34. (11) If you watch the sequence when Albert Finney is punching Gabriel Byrne in “Miller’s Crossing” really closely George Alec Effinger claimed you could spot him as one of the extras, as the film was shot in New Orleans.

  35. @Cat — You’re a poor thing! It’s great that at least the surgery is over. Now comes all the fun hobbling around and the exciting PT!

  36. Soon Lee says Glad the surgery went well @Cat. It’s good that it is weight-bearing; will help with rehab.

    Well rehab is going to be a problem as there’s no outpatient PT right now due to near total Covid lockdown at Maine Med. pity as I’d get my fav therapist.

    When I smashed my patella, I had to stay off that foot for 6 weeks which led to my leg atrophying. My left thigh is still slightly smaller than my right.

    Ouch. They just completely rebuilt mine so I’m not sure how much bone they left in place. Someday I’ll ask Jenner to show me the post-op X-rays which I know they’ll have done to documents the rebuild. Bearing weight on it is definitely not a problem.

  37. @Cat Eldridge
    I still remember falling off a bike and bashing a knee (also scraped arm from elbow nearly to wrist) back in 1979. The knee stiffened up the next day, and was all but immobile for most of the next couple of weeks; it didn’t stop aching for another three months after that. Which was tricky because the mailbox was three steps up on a porch. (It also made getting in and out of a car more interesting than I wanted.)

  38. P J Evans notes I still remember falling off a bike and bashing a knee (also scraped arm from elbow nearly to wrist) back in 1979. The knee stiffened up the next day, and was all but immobile for most of the next couple of weeks; it didn’t stop aching for another three months after that. Which was tricky because the mailbox was three steps up on a porch. (It also made getting in and out of a car more interesting than I wanted.)

    I’m wearing a knee immobilizer that unfortunately will make automobile rides virtually impossible as the leg doesn’t bend at all. I’m supposed to wear it all the time as it’s intended to keep the knee from moving until it fully heals up.

  39. @Cat —

    I’m wearing a knee immobilizer that unfortunately will make automobile rides virtually impossible as the leg doesn’t bend at all. I’m supposed to wear it all the time as it’s intended to keep the knee from moving until it fully heals up.

    When I was in my knee/foot splint, it was fortunately my right leg. The day after the fall I started practicing driving my SUV left-footed, with my right leg extended over the passenger seat. It worked pretty well; the hardest part was getting in and out of the vehicle — I had to enter by the passenger door and scooch over backwards into the driver’s seat. I was determined to not be stuck at home!

  40. Cat, I probably should have had something like that, but without going to the doctor it wasn’t happening. I certainly tried to avoid bending it; it hurt.

  41. P J Evans notes Cat, I probably should have had something like that, but without going to the doctor it wasn’t happening. I certainly tried to avoid bending it; it hurt.

    As injuries go, it certainly rates up there with breaking the left shoulder blade clean off in a motorcycle accident. (I can now dislocate that shoulder far too easily.) And I can see right now that I’m looking at my second straight night with no sleep at all.

  42. @Cat Eldridge: cheers for being able to take weight immediately. (I’m even more glad given @Soon Lee’s story that a surgeon was willing to hold my broken ankle in position under an X-ray, then decide from the films that a simple cast was sufficient instead of surgery to insert a pin — which would have meant no weight-bearing for six weeks.) And kudos to the nurses for having a charger that fit!

  43. @Chip,

    I cried when I saw the state of my shriveled leg after 6 weeks staying off it. But the rehab progress was rapid (I was motivated). It did not take long before I was able to walk without crutches & then onto light jogging. Once the leg got to ~80% of its former function I found it harder to stay motivated & do the exercises; there was little gain from a lot of effort by that point.

    Currently the leg is functioning at 100%, with the only difference in less muscle mass. The way to fix it is body-building, which is something I have never had any interest in. Visually the difference is not noticeable to most, unless I draw attention to it.

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