Pixel Scroll 5/25/17 Eight Pixels High And Scrolling For Touchdown

(1) FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY. Today’s the day. Aaron Couch of The Hollywood Reporter, in “‘Star Wars’: Unsung Heroes Finally Share Their Stories”, looks at the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, focusing on all the special effects people who made Star Wars great and how no one was sure at the time that the film would be a hit.

Well, not “no one.” There were all the people who had bought 20th Century-Fox stock in the months before it opened and boosted its price before I saw a screening and had that idea myself. I remember talking with somebody who managed a portfolio for the Hughes Aircraft pension plan who said I’d already missed the bargain. Somebody expected it to be a hit.

Star Wars went to San Diego Comic-Con in 1976, and people weren’t all that excited.

To lure an audience to a panel about an unknown property, the Star Wars promotional team employed star power from Marvel Comics, bringing writer Roy Thomas and artist Howard Chaykin to talk about their Star Wars comic book adaptation. Marketing head Charles Lippincott spent time at a table chatting with people and selling posters … which unfortunately for them, few people kept.

“I think they were $1.75 and that poster now is still available on the collector’s market — and it’s one of the two most expensive posters you can buy on the collector market because people didn’t keep them,” recalls Craig Miller, who worked as a publicity assistant. “It sells for two or three thousand dollars now.”

Yes, Miller does have one in his personal collection. (Saving pays off!)

(2) SHOULD HAVE QUIT WHILE HE WAS AHEAD. The BBC’s Nicholas Barber argues “Why Star Wars should have stopped at just one film”. Try not to hurt yourself laughing.

…A New Hope would be a lot more intriguing today if every other episode had been left to our imaginations –to playground games, to pub discussions, to self-published fan fiction. Instead, the episodes which did come along answered its questions, solved its mysteries, filled in its blanks and narrowed its mythical scope to the prosaic tussles within one dysfunctional family. The prequels demystified the iconic villain of A New Hope by showing him as a grumpy brat, while the most recent sequel, The Force Awakens, devalued its victory by showing us how ultimately pointless it was: not only did evil prevail, but two of the heroes (Han Solo and Princess Leia) had a son who grew up to be a genocidal, patricidal maniac….

(3) PHOENIX COMICON. Police may have averted a serious incident at a Phoenix convention — “Armed man arrested at Phoenix Comicon after struggling with police”.

A man armed with multiple guns at Phoenix Comicon is now in police custody.

Police say the 30-year-old Valley man was taken into custody Thursday afternoon for allegedly threatening to cause harm to Phoenix officers.

According to officials, the man was taking pictures of officers and was found at Comicon with three handguns and one shotgun. He also had knives and ammunition.

Police say the man was inside the Phoenix Convention Center and struggled with officers before he was detained.

(4) THE DOCTOR AFFECTED BY LATEST U.K. INCIDENT. Radio Times says “Doctor Who episode edited for Saturday airing following Manchester bombing”.

This week’s episode of BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who will have a section of dialogue removed as a mark of respect to victims of Monday night’s terrorist attack in Manchester, RadioTimes.com understands.

The excerpt in question from upcoming story The Pyramid at the End of the World made passing references to terrorism as part of a more general discussion of threats to Earth, but the BBC has decided that as a matter of sensitivity it should be removed.

(5) MOTHERBOARD LOSES A PIONEERING MEMBER. In November, Debbie Notkin resigned from the Tiptree Award committee to free her energy for other causes. This month she posted a farewell message.

Last November, after the disastrous U.S. election results, I resigned from the Tiptree Award motherboard. I have been involved with the award from immediately following Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler’s creation of it more than a quarter of a century ago.

I remain deeply committed to the goals and work of the Tiptree Award. When I was trying to make this difficult decision, several people pointed out to me that the work of supporting transgressive artists is resistance, and I agree wholeheartedly. I just feel personally that it’s time for me to put my energy into other kinds of resistance and response.

(6) STAND BY TO FROTH. James Davis Nicoll fires his latest canon — “Twenty Core Speculative Fiction Works About Science and Scientists Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”.

As with the previous core lists, here are twenty Speculative Fiction Works about Science and Scientists chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field [1]. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider.

(7) GRAND TURK, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. The Traveler at Galactic Journey is fifteen years too early to see Star Wars but don’t think he lacks for excitement –he’s been watching TV coverage of Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter’s drama-laden mission. “[May 24, 1962] Adrift in Two Oceans (The Flight of Aurora 7)”.

Fun, to be sure, but at the end of the third orbit, Carpenter was in a pickle. Almost out of fuel, the ship misaligned thanks to a balky thruster, and the window for firing his retrorockets sliver-thin, the astronaut fired his braking thrusters a few seconds late. For half an hour, first in the shuddering initial reentry, and then in the chest crushing crashing through the atmosphere, culminating in the gentle sway beneath parachutes before splashdown in the Atlantic, Carpenter had no idea where he would end up.

Neither did the recovery fleet. In fact, Carpenter landed some 250 miles away from where he was supposed to. This did not bother the philosophical spaceman, who spent the next hours relaxing on his inflatable raft, sitting in pleasant companionship with a little black fish nearby. When the boats of the U.S.S. Intrepid finally arrived, hours later, Carpenter was completely calm. In fact, like a good guest, he offered them some of his food.

(8) HALO EFFECT. Mentioning The Saint in Roger Moore’s obituary reminded Cat Eldridge of a passage in Kage Baker’s 2007 review of “Otto Penzler’s The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps”.

It’s easy to grumble about Leslie White’s “The City of Hell!,” a wildly improbable fascist-cop fantasy, but at least the prose is lean and passionate. On the other hand, here is Leslie Charteris, clearly being paid by the word in “The Invisible Millionaire.” After 35 pages of coy overdescription and endless adoring references to the Saint’s perfect features, your correspondent was ready to go out and bitch-slap Roger Moore. And was it really necessary to include an entire badly-written novel (“The Crimes of Richmond City”) by Frederick Nebel? He may have been one of the seminal pulp writers, but surely a short story from him would have satisfied honor….

(9) MORE WHEATON COOLNESS. You can expect to find Wil Wheaton on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 before too long.

I have a small part on the first episode of MST3K’s first revival episode. Erin Gray and I get to deliver all the exposition about Jonah’s backstory. It’s pretty great, and this was a freaking dream come true for me.


  • Geek Pride Day

The idea for dedicating a day to celebrating geekiness originated in Spain in 2006 when Spanish blogger German Martinez, who chose the day to coincide with the 1977 release of Star Wars. Geek Pride Day spread rapidly across the internet and, soon after, the world, drawing attention from mainstream media as well.One of the events organized to celebrate this day was in Madrid when 300 geeks played a game of a human Pacman together. A list of the basic rights and responsibilities of geeks was also written up. The rights include “The right to not like football or any other sport” and “The right to not be ‘in-style’”, and the responsibilities include “Attend every geeky movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else.”

  • Towel Day

A tribute to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Towel Day sees fans of the author and the book carrying towels with them to work, to school and as part of their daily activities.

The most important thing that you need to remember in order to celebrate is DON’T PANIC; no matter what the day throws at you, draw comfort from the knowledge that you’re armed with your trusty towel.


  • May 25, 1977 — Star Wars was released in theaters. (You may have caught a few hints about this earlier in the Scroll….)


  • Born May 25, 1944 –Frank Oz, of Muppets fame.

(13) DON’T FORGET TO WRITE. Great series of tweets about entering the writing profession by Nick Mamatas (via John Scalzi). It starts here —

(14) TALLYING REPRESENTATION. “GLAAD on LGBTQ representation in film: ‘It is not getting better’”The Verge has the story.

GLAAD released its annual report on LGBTQ representation in film today, and the numbers are bleak. They’ve barely increased since 2015, and when broken out into more specific demographics, they often got worse.

Overall, representation of lesbian, gay, transgender, or queer characters was slightly higher in 2016 than 2015. GLAAD reports that 18.4 percent of the industry’s top 125 films included a LGBTQ character. However, gay men still make up a whopping 83 percent of these characters, and of the 70 LGBTQ characters that GLAAD identified (up from 47 the year before), 14 of them were back-up dancers in one musical number in The Lonely Island’s summer comedy Popstar.

Racial diversity in films with LGBTQ representation decreased in 2016, with characters played by people of color down to 20 percent from 25.5 percent in 2015 and 32.1 percent in 2014.

Here is the link to the report itself — “2017 GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index”.

The GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) maps the quantity, quality and diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in films released by the seven major motion picture studios during the 2016 calendar year. GLAAD researched films released by 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers, as well as films released by four subsidiaries of these major studios. The report is intended to serve as a road map toward increasing fair, accurate and inclusive LGBTQ representation in film.

(15) PUBLICITY. Meanwhile, the gender disparity in publishing industry PR is measured by Breaking the Glass Slipper’s article “Gender parity in publisher PR”.

Results at a glance

Statistically, Orbit came in as the worst for gender disparity. Every single newsletter I opened was skewed in favour of their male authors. Men were mentioned over three times more often and also featured over three times more often.

Then you have a sliding scale. Rebellion’s parity was generally poor, as was Hodder, Gollancz and Voyager’s –though I received far fewer newsletters from them. Angry Robot achieved near parity between April –October 16, but for unknown reasons, the remainder of the year wasn’t as equal.

Tor.com was the only publisher who regularly featured more women than men, but this was almost solely as authors of articles and short stories published online.

These graphs only record the frequency of simple mentions. Another avenue of interest might be to follow the PR level of books once they’re published compared to the build-up beforehand. Some titles drop off the radar entirely, while others go from strength to strength. If that were tracked, I wonder whether this trend would continue?

(16) SPACE JAM. Dan Tepfer is a pianist and composer whose new album, Eleven Cages, is due out next Friday. He also maintains a keen interest in science — especially astrophysics, the subject of his undergraduate degree. WBGO asked him to elaborate on some recent findings in a faraway solar system, and he came back with this absorbing lesson in the music of planetary orbits: “Dan Tepfer, Pianist and Science Enthusiast, Walks Us Through the Music of the Cosmos “.

Watching the video below made me happy. It brings together two of the things I love most, astrophysics and music. It’s very unusual to find these two subjects talked about seriously in the same sentence, and even rarer when they are able, as in this video, to complement and illuminate each other. Watch as the orbits of planets around a distant star are expressed in sound:


I’m a jazz musician, but I studied astrophysics for my bachelor’s and have always loved science, so it feels natural to me that these two worlds belong together. Thinking about natural processes and mathematics has informed my composing for a long time. And while many artists remain math-adverse, there’s a small but significant number of musicians who think along similar lines. (Composer and saxophonist Steve Coleman, whom I heard at the Village Vanguard last week, is an inspiration to many in this regard, and has used orbital ratios in his work.)

So, what’s going on in this video? How, in the first place, were these orbits figured out? It’s only in the past 25 years that we’ve been able to detect planets in orbit around stars other than our own. This is mainly done indirectly, by (for example) measuring faint dips in a star’s brightness as planets pass in front of it….

(17) WINGING IT IN THERE. Perhaps Devenski should also yell ‘Dracarys!’ when he throws his fastball. MLB.com’s Cut4 reports “The Astros have a perfect ‘Game of Thrones’ bobblehead planned for Chris ‘Dragon’ Devenski”.

(18) WHERE PAPER IS KING. Not that you’ve never been to a bookstore before, but if you want a peek at what Amazon is doing in the Big Apple, Recode takes you “Inside Amazon’s first New York City bookstore”.

Inside, it’s brightly lit with a subtle warmth. And the first table, right inside the door, shows the kind of data-informed curation that Amazon seems to be aiming for: “Highly Rated” books, rated 4.8 stars and above — on Amazon’s website, of course.

Amazon uses its data throughout the store, including up-to-date star reviews on title cards for each book, as well as for other curation.

Here’s my favorite example: An endcap called “Page Turners,” consisting of books that Kindle readers finish in three days or less. Clever.

(19) NAME IN THE NEWS. Chinese sf writer Hao Jingfang’s new celebrity as the winner of a 2016 Hugo has already gained her an automobile endorsement.

Narrator: In the face of the unfamiliar and the unknown, there are a group of people who are fearless to march. To go beyond all the achievements. To imagine. To open up a new world. You are the first ones to create history when others are hesitating. Every owner of Audi is igniting the fire for change.

Ma Long is the first male Full Grand Slam winner in table tennis.
Hao Jingfang is the first female writer to win the Hugo Awards for Best Novelette.
Cheng Congfu is the first Chinese racing driver to compete in 24 Hours of Le Mans.


Of course, she is not the first women to win the Best Novelette category — that was Joan D. Vinge in 1978. Nor is even unusual for women to win the category — they’ve now done so four of the past five years. But it’s great to see another sf writer in commercials.

And is there something about novelette writers that attracts ad agencies? Don’t forget that Harlan Ellison had won three Best Novelette Hugos by the time they hired him to plug the 1988 Geo Metro.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, ULTRAGOTHA, Chip Hitchcock, Early Grey Editing, Brandy Wood, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, and Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

97 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/25/17 Eight Pixels High And Scrolling For Touchdown

  1. 1st in pixels,
    1st in scrolls,
    And 1st in the hearts of our filers.

  2. @19: Considering the number of things Harlan has contempt for, I’m surprised both that he was picked for this and that he was willing to do it; I suppose money was the reason.

    @2: I’m sympathetic to this argument; I’ll remember the opening shot (real shot, not that silly scroll) of SW IV to my dying day, but most of the other effects are lost in mental clutter. And those wretched prequels just proved that SW IV was slinging empty hints at backstory.f

    @6: 5/20 — and no intention of trying some of the others; I had my fill of Pournelle (even when teaming with Niven) a long time ago.

    I think the case for “should have stopped after the first one” is *much* stronger for “The Matrix”…

  4. @6: 5/20 — and no intention of trying some of the others; I had my fill of Pournelle (even when teaming with Niven) a long time ago.

    Are you by any chance confusing Jerry Pournelle with his daughter Jennifer R. Pournelle? Jerry Pournelle collaborated with Niven. J. R. Pournelle wrote Outies.

  5. 2) The prequels I still hate, to this day. Prequels in any form and in any media are extremely difficult and fraught. For me the SW prequels not only did not stick the landing, they were not even in the same zip code as the airport.

    6) I’ve read Mote and Gripping Hand, but I’ve not read Outies. That’s Pournelle’s daughter, though, and maybe someday I will give it a shot, but GH wasn’t anywhere near as fun for me as Mote, although some things were entertaining in it.

  6. I saw the first episode of the new MST. I smiled at Mr. Wheaton’s backstory dispensing, and there were some funny moments. Mostly, though, I drifted off. I haven’t much cared for the cast since the real Mads left. Mike was okay when he had some better foils, but Pearl Forrester, Brain Guy, and Monkey Guy just never did it for me.

    No file for you till you scroll all your pixels!

  7. (1) I feel VERY old. I didn’t see it opening day, maybe a week or two later. It was at ONE theater in town, the ticket was super-expensive at $3.50, but wow. Fox sent some promotional stuff to a small Star Trek con I was at a couple months before. We thought it looked a’ight.

    (2) Also, he believes we should get off his lawn. Guess he needed a “hot take click bait”, and nobody would argue with him that the prequels sucked.

    (6) That’s a good list! I’ll have to check out some of them I haven’t read, b/c the ones I have (about half), I really liked.

    (8) Ah, I miss her.

    (10) wonders if I have a Star Wars towel… would my ROTJ blanket count?

    (14,15) Sadly unsurprising. I don’t go to many movies but I do watch a fair amount of TV, so I guess I didn’t realize how much better TV is than movies. Who doesn’t squee over Alex and Maggie on “Supergirl”?

    @19: Holy…! I owned a Geo Metro, b/c I needed a very small car with a hatchback and I could buy one new with cash in a couple months. I certainly didn’t think it was futuristic or cool or radical or anything. It was literally the cheapest new car that met my needs. Chevy must have given Harlan a Metro filled with $100 bills to shill something that boring and corporate, which IIRC was the butt of jokes during its entire run.

  8. 2) I rather like this sentence:

    As technically superior as it may be, though, the fact remains that Empire does what we expect a Star Wars film to do, whereas A New Hope did what nobody expected.

    I was very much into more intellectual fare when Star Wars came out. I’d seen Nashville in theaters three times, and Shampoo twice. I’d read Dhalgren, and The Sunlight Dialogues, and I listened to the Velvet Underground and David Bowie and Patti Smith and Blue Öyster Cult.

    I waited a month to see Star Wars, because it wasn’t going to be as good as, say, Phantom of the Paradise, or The Andromeda Strain. It was a kids’ movie. I mean, I’d seen American Graffiti. (At least, I’d watched it. I’m not so sure I saw it the first time around.)

    Then I finally went and stood in line and had to wait for the next showing because the line was so damn long for Star Wars. I almost left, at one point.

    Then I came back the next night, to see it again. It gave me something I didn’t expect.

    It wasn’t till years later, and my palate had been broadened, that I really understood (to some extent) what I’d seen, but at least I actually did see it.

    And he’s right about Rogue One recapitulating A New Hope, with the minor exception that rirelobql qvrf, which makes all the difference.

    So two points to the author, who fought valiantly in a losing cause.

  9. 1
    My physics professor saw it the first night. (Bought tickets in advance, I believe – it was at one of the Century theaters on Winchester, right by Mrs Winchester’s house.) I didn’t see it until a few days later, with friends. We had to stand in line for a couple of hours before we got in. (In the afternoon. On a warm day. But we had lots of company.)

  10. @Paul Weimer,

    Did you mean Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones & Revenge of the Sith? They are rather bad.

    But do you include Rogue One in that category too? It’s also a prequel, but one which I liked it a lot.

  11. The prequels were awful but for me the Clone Wars period itself was just about redeemed by the cartoon series (the second, long running one; never saw the first). It has a slow start but by season 2 I realised I was actually invested in Anakin’s character and enjoying his onscreen time in a way I suspect only the actors’ parents can claim for the live action movies. The relationship with Padme was still beyond hope, alas.

    Also, for all its retreading, I am so personally happy that The Force Awakens exists and has given us Rey, General Organa and the best fighter pilot/stormtrooper relationship in the galaxy. Fingers massively crossed for December to knock the new material into orbit.

  12. (6) STAND BY TO FROTH.

    An interesting list as always but “Left Hand of Darkness” seems like an odd choice when “The Dispossessed” more overtly features a scientist doing science stuff.

  13. James Davis Nicoll on May 25, 2017 at 8:43 pm said:

    Sadly, the rule about not using the same book twice got me there. That and my total lack of planning for this.

    Ah! There is no tyrant quote so cruel as that of a self-imposed rule.

    But now I have to wonder how you didn’t have The Left Hand of Darkness in one of your lists already! 🙂

  14. Some lucky creep at my high school got into a pre-screening, and the next day he drew a giant Star Wars logo on the chalkboard in the English class across the hall from mine. When it opened, my family went to see it with the neighbors, but I was fighting with the neighbor girl plus I’d read the novelization, so it didn’t sound that interesting to me. I was all about trying to be older and sophisticated at the time (I believe Blue Oyster Cult was also involved).

    I finally saw it for the first time in 1979, in a crowded matinee full of people who had already seen it a hundred times, and it was pretty much like the novelization and the comics and the Mad parody and all the pop culture I’d already seen.

    Empire, on the other hand, knocked my socks off and turned me into a science fiction fan on the spot. The depth of the worldbuilding sucked me in. That happened in the theaters by Mrs. Winchester’s house.

    Then much later when home video came out, I saw Episode 4 on VHS where I could focus on the dogfight (and pause it, and time it, and so on) and the magic just clicked and I fell in love. Somehow I needed to be able to take it apart and take a good look at it before I could jump on the pop culture bandwagon with everyone else.

    As far as the prequels … the thing I love about SW is the worldbuilding and effects. Not the plot, not the acting, not the relationships. For all their lame dialogue and lazy recycled visuals from Oddworld and Dinotopia, the prequels also have the nifty chase scene in Coruscant, and the sonic detonators in the meteor-dodging space fight between Jango Fett and Obi Wan, and we FINALLY get a glimpse of the wookiee planet Kashyyk, where Ep6 was supposed to take place. All those things are perfectly satisfying to me, and sometimes I feel a little battered by the intensity of prequel hatred.

  15. I just finished reading The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (a story which has no SF-ness that I can think of, so skip this if so inclined). I’d seen the Bogart version of the movie multiple times, but never read the novel.

    The movie is so iconic that it is difficult not to mentally picture Bogart, Greenstreet, Astor, Lorre, etc. while reading. There are a few scenes in the book which did not make it to the movie, likely for dramatic/pacing reasons, and also because of the Hays Code. (Spade beds O’Shaughnessy, and the homosexual relationship between Cairo and Wilmer is much more explicit in the novel than the movie). But in general, the Huston film follows Hammett’s story pretty closely, so much so that you will even recognize lines of dialog.

    Like SF, detective fiction is genre fiction, and was published primarily in the pulps during the 1920s. But unlike SF of the era, the Falcon is told in a modern voice, and reads as well as anything written today. It’s a short novel, and zips along on the strength of plot and characterization. Well worth reading, much more so than other books of the 1920s.

  16. @John A Arkansawyer
    @Bill: “Hey Mr. Tatooine Man, use the Force for me.”

    A day late, but not a dollar short at all!

    Yesterday was Dylan’s birthday, but today is Star Wars’s, and besides, today’s scroll title is inspired by the Byrds. So today doesn’t seem all that late.

  17. Bill: But unlike SF of the era, the Falcon is told in a modern voice, and reads as well as anything written today. It’s a short novel, and zips along on the strength of plot and characterization. Well worth reading, much more so than other books of the 1920s.

    If you haven’t already read them, you should find almost equally enjoyable Hammett’s Red Harvest and The Thin Man, and his novels The Dain Curse and The Glass Key, while a bit more dated, aren’t far behind.

  18. @10 Not only did I carry my towel today, in honor of Terry Pratchett, I wore lilac. Night Watch is my second favorite Pratchett book. Monstrous Regiment is first.

  19. Mike ninja’d me to it, but I was going to rec Hammett’s RED HARVEST as well. Hardboiled as hell, with a high body count. I first read it in an omnibus of Hammett’s novels, where it ran for 125 pages and had 25 people die in the course of the book (tho’ the majority, I think, happened off-page).

    3) Welp, I remember when the big worry was that prop weapons might be mistaken for real by police, with fatal results. So now the worry is that real weapons might be mistaken for props?

    (Phoenix ComicCon is local for me, but I’ve never been. Too big for me to enjoy, tho’ my oldest brother, who’s fringe-fannish, attends.)

  20. More on the Phoenix ComicCon incident and policy changes banning props, from Phoenix New Times. Excerpt:

    “As any Phoenix Comicon regular can tell you, prop weapons are a common sight at the event. As a matter of fact, many Comicon attendees had ‘em as they checked out the Exhibitor Hall on Thursday, the first day of the event. Prior to the ban, event organizers allowed the items at the event, provided they were inspected and peace-bonded by security upon entry.

    [emphasis added]

    Looks to me like the fellow in question either found a way around convention security to come in with actual firearms, or the screening procedures at the entrances were inadequate or poorly done.

  21. A quick reading report – I’ve mostly been doing Hugo reading (that I ought to write up some thoughts on soon) but a pre-ordered tor.com novella turned up earlier this week and I had to stop to read it – River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey.
    According to the foreword, there was at one point a plan – apparently proposed quite seriously – to solve the issue of farming enough meat for the fine people of 19th century Louisiana by importing…wait for it…hippos. It makes a certain amount of sense, after all, there’s good eating on a hippo and there are all those convenient bayous for them to live in. I can only imagine the plan fell apart once enough people realised how incredibly dangerous hippos are.
    So obviously what the world was missing was the alt-history version where this plan has actually been put into action and there are hippo-riding cowboys protecting the hippo farms from the feral hippos terrorising the bayous….
    I just loved the concept when I first read it about it, and the actual story is pretty darn good as well. It’s effectively a caper story where Winslow Houndstooth (great name!) is hired to solve the feral problem, assembles his team of hippo-riding experts in a set of Magnificent Seven-style scenes, and heads off into the swamps for some action, romance, betrayal and old grudges coming back to haunt them. (For reference, the “cowboy” team aren’t all boys, there’s a heavily pregnant deadly assassin etc etc). I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    The interesting thing is that Gailey is up for the Campbell this year on the strength of several short stories (deservedly so IMO as I nommed her) and I think this novella really adds to her portfolio, but is it reasonable to take it into account given that it’s a 2017 publication? If not it’s certainly an argument for nominating her again next year.

  22. Mark, if you haven’t read it already, you might like Sarah Gailey’s short story “A Lady’s Maid”, just posted on the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog yesterday.

    (Apparently, B&NSF&FB will be following tor.com’s example, and occasionally publish original fiction on their site.)

  23. Mark: is it reasonable to take it into account given that it’s a 2017 publication? If not it’s certainly an argument for nominating her again next year.

    The purist in me says no, you should judge her by her pre-2017 Campbell-eligible work, the same as with the other Finalists. The pragmatist in me points out that, as I mentioned elsewhere, voters are allowed to use whatever criteria they wish to make their decisions.

    This is her second year of eligibility. She will not be eligible for the Campbell next year.

  24. I saw Empire Strikes Back first at our school cinema and remember liking it, but being somewhat confused with what everything was about and even more confused about the strange ending. Half a year later they showed Star Wars again and that got me at least some of the answers, but then I had forgotten parts of Empire Strikes Back and had to wait until it was shown again and THEN I was out of confusion.

    Everything got so much easier when the video recorder became mainstream.

  25. @JJ

    This is interesting, the Hugo awards site (and so the F770 listing that I checked when writing that) says 1st year, but Writertopia has her as 2nd. She published Bargain in Mothership Zeta in 2015 so it looks like 2nd is correct!
    Who do I need to tell about that sort of detail – the current Hugo admin (i.e. Nicholas) or the Hugo site (which I bet is Kevin, because that sort of thing is always Kevin!)

    I try to be a purist in this sort of thing (ditto artists on their current year’s work etc) but of course it’s difficult not to be influenced.


    Seen it but not yet read it, but thanks for the pointer.

  26. By the time Star Wars opened in the UK I’d seen it three or four times because we were living in Luxembourg then. And I immediately wanted a sequel.

  27. Going to third (or fourth…fifth?) the recommendation for Hammett. He wasn’t quite as lyrical a writer as Chandler, but he was great at sucking you into his world, and his plotting was outstanding. I devoured his stuff when I was younger.

    Hippos on the Mississippi sounds like a great concept! Definitely going to add that to my list, even though my TBR pile is higher than it’s been in a while, thanks in part to the SFWA Humble Bundle.

    As for SW–if they’d stopped with one, we wouldn’t have Empire. Which on some days, I will argue is the best of the lot. (Tuesdays and Thursdays, and every other Sunday, to be precise.)

  28. @PJ Evans: Sorry, I wasn’t clear. By Prequels, I refer to Menace, Clones and Revenge.

    As far as the worldbuilding of the prequels someone mentioned upstream–I wanted to like that, but the movies, for me, kept fighting that. A core of the planet made of water? Midichlorians? Videogame like cinematography of a space battle to make my eyes water trying to figure out what was going on? I couldn’t even enjoy the worldbuilding. (seeing E.T. in the Galactic Senate was a funny easter egg, though,. I admit)

  29. @Mark, JJ:
    One can consider different publications when determining eligibility and when determining ranking. I’d say it’s legit for the Campbell which is an award for the writer rather than the work.

    I second the recommendation for “River of Teeth”. The sequel will be published on September 12.

  30. 6) Was Cyteen in one of the previous lists? Because I think that’s science-y enough to qualify… (Good list; read a little more than half)

  31. He sees pixels in the architecture scrolling in infinity, he says Amen! and Hallelujah!

  32. interesting juxtaposition: as time goes by, I have come to regard SW as one of the worst things to happen to SF in film, while at the same time, I regard Gernsback’s influence on the lit more and more favorably.

  33. I first saw Star Wars sometime in the summer of 1977, although not on opening day (it didn’t even reach my hometown until July 1st of that year). I was visiting my grandparents in California, and went with a cousin of mine (who had already seen it at least once). The Star Destroyer rumbled across the screen and the back of my head was pretty much blown off; when the credits rolled, my world had been irrevocably changed.

  34. This is odd. I just remembered a vivid dream I had years ago about working in a bookshop owned by Amazon. I think I got lost in the shelves trying to find a book for a customer.

  35. I’d had Red Harvest recommended and didn’t read it right away. By the time I read it, I’d been over Chandler multiple times, and Hammett was a revelation. Where Chandler was subjective, emotional, and evocative, Hammett simply reported, and did it in such a way that you still knew just how everybody was feeling at a given moment. Hammett was the real thing, too, an ex-Pinkerton (here’s a good short read: From the Memoirs of a Private Detective,” 1923) who knew how to tell a story.

    So, yeah, I read his novels and short stories, and found others as they came out. When we helped Kelly Freas move out of Virginia, he had several paperbacks with Hammett stories I hadn’t read, and it just wasn’t possible to read them in any meaningful way while continuing to sort things—tried, though. Fortunately, the world of print has caught up with his output, overruling Lillian Hellman’s suppression of all but a handful of stories. Somewhere out there is the second half of his treatment for a Thin Man movie, serialized in a mystery magazine a couple of decades back. Luck just gets me so far.

    The first two Maltese Falcon movies hewed pretty close to the book. To amplify what’s already been said, I’ve seen multiple reports that much of the process of screenwriting consisted of pasting up pages of the book in a binder and crossing some parts out. There are two radio versions I know of, one with Bogart in a half-hour version, and my favorite, the Lux Radio Theater version of 1943, which stars Edward G. Robinson as a dynamite Spade.

    I happened to watch BLOOD SIMPLE again this week. The title, as far as I know, came from Red Harvest (which really needs a good movie version—I mean one that takes place in a copper mining town in Montana and so on), which is indeed his most awesome work. As the nameless Continental detective (“The Continental Op”) narrates his tale, you feel him sinking into the savagery of what’s happening around him.

    One of his short stories, “The Gutting of Couffignal,” has a final coda that rivals my favorite ending of any Chandler story (that would be “Red Wind”). If you can read ROT-13 on the fly, look away now:

    V unq arire fubg n jbzna orsber. V sryg dhrre nobhg vg.
    “Lbh bhtug gb unir xabja V’q qb vg!” Zl ibvpr fbhaqrq unefu naq fnintr naq yvxr n fgenatre’f va zl rnef. “Qvqa’g V fgrny n pehgpu sebz n pevccyr?”

  36. The prequels were awful but for me the Clone Wars period itself was just about redeemed by the cartoon series (the second, long running one; never saw the first).

    Yes, I resaw parts of the prequel trilogy a couple of weeks ago and found that my harsh judgment of them was not harsh in hindsight. Truly awful dialog, plot points, etc. Just genuinely bad movies. But I do like Clone Wars (mainly the Ahsoka Tano arc, the stories centering around the actual clones are pretty meh to me) and also Rebels.

    I’ve read Mote and Gripping Hand, but I’ve not read Outies. That’s Pournelle’s daughter, though, and maybe someday I will give it a shot

    I gave Outies a shot, and gave up on it very early–I don’t remember exactly what it was about it that I found off-puting, but I did give it a good (metaphorical) toss against the wall.

  37. @Nicoll: is Jennifer less wedged than her father? I have not had good reports of his sons.

    @lurkertype: I doubt the BBC needs click bait.
    also, shilling “boring and corporate” in a country where cars are used as all sorts of symbols (instead of being treated as tools) strikes me as worthwhile.

  38. is Jennifer less wedged than her father?

    How wedged is her father? In the end, do we really ever know how wedged anyone is?

  39. @Kip W:

    V unq arire fubg n jbzna orsber. V sryg dhrre nobhg vg.
    “Lbh bhtug gb unir xabja V’q qb vg!” Zl ibvpr fbhaqrq unefu naq fnintr naq yvxr n fgenatre’f va zl rnef. “Qvqa’g V fgrny n pehgpu sebz n pevccyr?”

    I read that story for the first time last fall, and when I got to that part, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh in amusement or laugh in horror, but I sure did laugh.

  40. Paul Weimer on May 26, 2017 at 2:51 am said:
    That’s not me you’re answering – I’ve never even seen the prequels. (Sometime I might, but I’m not in a hurry.)

Comments are closed.