Pixel Scroll 5/6/17 And He Called For His Pipe, And He Called For His Scroll, And He Called For His Pixels, Three.

(1) DUALING. Sherwood Smith discusses “Tremontaine: When Collaboration Really Works” at Book View Café.

Nowadays, collaborations are happening in all kinds of forms, in print form in our genre not just the traditional pair of co-authors: there was a rise of senior writer-and-junior writer combos, and the continued series.

Then there are the collaborations that share a lot in common with film development, in which writers gather (in film it’s the writers’ room) and hammer out a story between them all.

Then they either go off separately and write portions, or they pass material back and forth, each adding or subtracting or putting their own spin on the emerging narrative.

The most successful of these that has come to my attention lately is Tremontaine, which initially came out in episodes from Serial Box.

Serial Box in itself is interesting: they are using a TV model for readers. The episodes come out weekly, and I believe most if not all are developed by teams. The episodes individually are cheap—less than you’d spend on a Starbucks coffee….

(2) UP ABOVE THE BEAR SO HIGH. Jeff VanderMeer may inspire a new subgenre of sff with the great reception being given to his new novel Borne:

Wow. In Canada, the #1 hardcover bestseller in Calgary for the week is Borne. Thanks, Calgary. You must really love giant psychotic flying bears. (Borne was #5 in Canada overall, across all 260 indie bookstores that report in.)

(3) STAR TREKKIN’. Visit the edge of space with Captain Kirk. Space.com tells how — “‘Star Trek’ Icon William Shatner to Take Zero-G Flight in August”.

This August, William Shatner will get closer to the final frontier than he ever did in his “Star Trek” days.

The 86-year-old actor, who famously portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” TV series and a number of movies, has signed up for an Aug. 4 flight with the Zero Gravity Corporation (Zero-G). The Virginia-based company sells rides on its modified Boeing 727 aircraft G-Force One, which flies in a series of parabolic arcs to give passengers brief tastes of weightlessness.

“Going weightless will turn a dream into reality,” Shatner said in a statement. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to actually explore the final frontier, and now I have the opportunity to experience zero gravity firsthand. It will be an incredible adventure.”

You have a chance to share this adventure with Shatner, if you wish: Zero-G is selling a limited number of tickets aboard the actor’s flight for $9,950 apiece, plus 5 percent tax. (For perspective: a seat aboard a normal Zero-G flight runs $4,950, plus 5 percent tax.) Go to Zero-G’s website if you’re interested.

(4) TOURING CHINA. China Miéville is coming to the U.S. later this month on a book tour promoting October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, which is non-fiction.

(5) COMING ATTRACTION. Teaser poster for the FORUM FANTÁSTICO convention taking place in Lisbon, Portugal this September.


In The Big Bang Theory series Wil Wheaton is a recurring character. In one episode, Sheldon goes to Wil’s house to confront him. The house number is 1701…a homage to the USS Enterprise.

John King Tarpinian adds, “Something even more trivial got me thinking: ‘A homage or an homage?’


Free Comic Book Day

History of Free Comic Book Day Free Comic Book day was established by Joe Field in 2001. While writing for a magazine of the comic industry, he noted that there had been a resurgence in purchases in the wake of the recent flow of comic book franchise movies. Society and finances were both looking favorably on this unending wealth of stories, and so it was that he suggested the institution of a Free Comic Book Day to spread the fandom as wide as possible.

(8) FUR AND FEATHERS. Special effects aficionados will love the preview reel for the upcoming SIGGRAPH conference.

SIGGRAPH 2017 brings together thousands of computer graphics professionals, 30 July – 3 August 2017 in Los Angeles, California, USA.


(9) A FEATURE NOT A BUG. Dragonfly cyborgs will fight terrorism reports Fox News — “How insect cyborgs could battle terrorism”.

The US military, like others around the world, has long pursued tiny flying robots to deploy for surveillance. Armed with tech like cameras and sensors, these flying robots could gather data that larger technology or humans could not.

To be useful in realistic conditions, the drones would need to be able to fly for long periods of time and be able to navigate around obstacles. They also need to be able to carry the weight of the data gathering systems.

(10) THE WORLD ON A STRING. If you like expensive toys, here’s a chance to pay a lot for “Yomega – Star Wars – Darth Vader – The Glide Yo-Yo” – tagged at $118.25.

  • Now available for a limited time, Yomega has produced its professional level yo yo, The Glide, in a collectible Star Wars Series with laser etching of Darth Vader and both Rebel and Imperial symbols.
  • The Glide has been engineered to the highest competition level standards. Machined from airplane grade aluminum, with a silicone pad return system and the world famous Dif-e-Yo KonKave bearing, this is a yo-yo meant for the most discerning player.
  • If you want the “Force to be With You” this is a must have piece for your collection.

Or for the same price you can rock the rebel logo — “Yomega – Star Wars -Rebel Symbol – Glide Yo-Yo”.

(11) GETTING PAID. Someone who should be able to buy as many yo-yos as he wants is Alan Dean Foster – Inverse recalls how “How George Lucas Made a Young, Anonymous Author Rich”. (And as Foster explains in the story, it’s something Lucas didn’t have to do.)

Alan Dean Foster, the author of the very first Star Wars book, remembers George Lucas doing him a huge solid, even when the fledgling director wasn’t rich.

The original Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977, and a full six months before that, on November 12, 1976, its novelization hit bookstore shelves. Though the author of the book — Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker — is listed under George Lucas’s byline, the novelization was in fact ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster.


Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire in the title role, the eagerly awaited comic book adaptation Spider-Man was released on Friday, May 3, 2002, and quickly became the fastest movie ever to earn more than $100 million at the box office, raking in a staggering $114.8 million by Sunday, May 5.

(13) BRADBURYVERSARY. Seventy years ago this week, recalls Phil Nichols, Ray Bradbury’s first book was published.

DARK CARNIVAL, a hardcover from Arkham House, collected Ray’s finest dark fantasy stories, most of them having previously been published in WEIRD TALES magazine.

Some of the classic story titles you may recognize: The Lake, The Small Assassin, The Jar, The Homecoming, The Crowd, The Scythe, There Was An Old Woman, Uncle Einar. Some of his best-ever fiction; and some of the best fantasy fiction of the twentieth-century.

Ray revised some of the stories between their WEIRD TALES appearances and their first book appearance. Then, with the passing years, he came to have second thoughts about some of the stories, and so he re-wrote them again when they were re-packaged for a new book, THE OCTOBER COUNTRY. The OCTOBER COUNTRY remains in print to this day.

Because of THE OCTOBER COUNTRY, Ray allowed DARK CARNIVAL to retire, and only once permitted a re-printing. That was for a special limited edition from Gauntlet Press. Both the original book and the Gauntlet edition are out of print today….

(14) BRICK AND MORTAR. Atlas Obscura takes you inside “Internet Archive Headquarters” in San Francisco.

With the stated mission of providing “universal access to all knowledge,” the Internet Archive is one of history’s most ambitious cataloging projects. So far millions of books, movies, television, music, software, and video games have been collected and digitized by the project, and that’s not counting the billions of websites they’ve been archiving over the past two decades with the Wayback Machine.

Fitting of such an ambitious project, the archive’s brick-and-mortar headquarters are also quite grand. The old Christian Scientist church in San Francisco’s Richmond district was chosen largely because the church’s front resembled the Internet Archive’s logo: the Library of Alexandria’s Greek columns. Inside the beautiful building you’ll find dozens of employees and volunteers digitizing everything from old home movies, to old LPs, to 8-bit video games….

(15) THUMBS DOWN ON DARK TOWER TRAILER. According to Forbes, “‘The Dark Tower’ Should Be A Surrealist Western, Not A Superhero Blockbuster”.

When I pictured The Dark Tower movie, I thought about the structure and pacing of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly mixed with the tone of The Road with the aesthetics of The Cell. If that sounds wacky, good, because The Dark Tower is wacky as hell. It’s a western with high fantasy elements thrown in, mixed with every book Stephen King has ever written, and actually includes Stephen King as a character himself in one of the most surreal storylines in literary history.

But what I’m seeing from this trailer weirds me out in a bad way….

(16) IN LIVING BLACK & WHITE. Terror Time forewarns — “LOGAN – B&W Version of Film Hitting Theaters In May”.

Fans of Wolverine will be getting an extra treat very soon. A Black & White version of the film ‘Logan’ will be hitting theaters May 19th and it will also be included on the DVD when that hits the shelves. Only down side of this awesomeness is that it will only be released in U.S. theaters.

This all started when the film was first released and a fan tweeted at the director James Mangold asking if a B&W version could be done like Mad Max. The director replied in kind and here we are.

(17) NEIL CLARKE, MOVIE STAR? I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. Watch the Absolutely Anything trailer.

Neil Clarke, a disillusioned school teacher, suddenly finds he has the ability to do anything he wishes, a challenge bestowed upon him by power-crazed aliens. Unbeknownst to Neil, how he employs his newfound powers will dictate the fate of mankind — one wrong move and the aliens will destroy Earth. CAST: Simon Pegg, Kate Beckinsale, Rob Riggle, Robin Williams, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Michael J. Walsh, Carl Slaughter, and JohnFromGR for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg Hullender.]

55 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/6/17 And He Called For His Pipe, And He Called For His Scroll, And He Called For His Pixels, Three.

  1. (11) GETTING PAID.

    Foster was hardly an anonymous author at that time. He had already done 8 of his 10 volumes of novelizations for Star Trek: The Animated Series, the novelization for the movie Dark Star, and several other novels, including Icerigger, which had made the longlist for Locus’ Best SF Novel in 1975.

  2. Bruce A,
    I’m often slightly weirded out by people (typically Americans) referring to kiwifruit as kiwi. Because in New Zealand, the kiwi is not the fruit but the flightless bird, or colloquially, persons from New Zealand.


    Is this only just getting a US release? It was out in the UK a couple of years ago. Unfortunately it’s a very silly movie, enlivened only by having a lot of the Pythons on voiceover duty, along with Robin Williams.

  4. Soon Lee on May 6, 2017 at 11:25 pm said:

    Bruce A,
    I’m often slightly weirded out by people (typically Americans) referring to kiwifruit as kiwi. Because in New Zealand, the kiwi is not the fruit but the flightless bird, or colloquially, persons from New Zealand.

    I concur.”Kiwi chunks” are inherently worrying as a concept in either case.

  5. I just finished reading Wicked Wonders, by Ellen Klages – the first physical book I’ve read in what feels like forever – and composing this review of it on Goodreads. (Spoiler: Not my usual fare, but I liked it quite a lot. Also, I did receive a free copy for review purposes.)

    I will venture to say that if you read Ray Bradbury’s short work with the sense that you’re coming home to a place you were never lucky enough to visit, let alone actually live, you will regret not reading this collection. Amazon US shows the trade paperback available now, with the ebook due on the 16th.

  6. Soon Lee on May 7, 2017 at 12:08 am said:


    Well given that pineapple *lumps* are a thing here, we cope just fine with *chunks*.

    There’s a supermarket near a friend of mine that sells them (and L&P)

  7. (2) Honestly, who doesn’t love giant psychotic flying bears? Although I guess it’s possible that the people of Calgary love them even more than the average.

  8. Bruce A, I believe it’s been 29 years, not 19. (I remember seeing the original article, courtesy of Frisbie, who was in Siggraph.)

  9. (3) Ah, memories. 1974, and I did an ink drawing of Kirk and Spock in a soft-shoe number and captioned it “Keep On Trekkin’!” My friend Dave said he could do the computer lettering font (as seen in movies of the time), so I handed it over to him, and I am still waiting.

    Lis: That’s me in school. I’d say “morning,” and if they said “good morning,” I’d allow that I wasn’t ready to commit on that yet.

    I’m weirded out by people calling a TV set a Telly. “Telly” is the name of an actor, and words may not apply to more than one thing.

    File me to the moon
    Let me scroll among the stars

  10. 16) Tempting to go see it again in B&W in the theaters.

    The Mad Max conversion was really good, far more than just desaturating the movie and calling it done.

    11) Heck, I remember an old old Dragon Magazine cartoon about writing and screenplays and a studio boss saying gleefully “Alan Dean Foster does ALL of our novelizations!”

  11. So, I just got a Windows 10 machine… and I can’t figure out where the Kindle Desktop downloads the books to, so I can’t grab them in Calibre and put them on my Kobo. Which is frustrating. If I can’t do this, then I’ll stop buying books from the Great South American River.

    Anyone know? I looked for hints online but my google-fu failed me.

  12. @Cassy B: sorry. can’t help. I got so annoyed with the learning curve, I had a computer tech lobotomize the machine and return it to Windows 7

  13. @Cassy B:

    Look under Libraries > Documents for a folder named “My Kindle Content” or the like.

  14. In the middle of Dover’s anthology “Scientific Romance: An International Anthology of Pioneering Science Fiction” and I am enjoying it. The stories by Poe and Hawthorne were good, and I have stories from Wells, Doyle, and Bierce ahead. One story about global warming was eerily prescient (though off in many details). We’ll see how it all pans out.


  15. (5) COMING ATTRACTION. This poster hurts my eyes a bit. 😉

    (8) FUR AND FEATHERS. Super-cool effects in this video! Also, the voiceover sounds like a friend of mine (who’s been to Siggraph in the past, so it’s not impossible, but I doubt it’s him).

    (17) NEIL CLARKE, MOVIE STAR? Amusing trailer, but probably too over-the-top for me.

  16. Absolutely anything came out in 2015 (as is evident by including Robin Williams and Terry Jones, who sugfers from aphasia, as voice actors) and has an imdbrating of 6.0

    There is also a DVD. Im sure its on netflix somewhere 😉

  17. @Cassy B

    Have you found it? If not, I’ll fire up my win10 machine and find the exact path from mine.
    Also, I don’t know if you noticed this conversation earlier in the year, but the newest version of the kindle prog has messed with how it stores books and so calibre can’t handle it properly; you have to download an earlier version of kindle for Windows.

  18. Paul Weimer says 11) Heck, I remember an old old Dragon Magazine cartoon about writing and screenplays and a studio boss saying gleefully “Alan Dean Foster does ALL of our novelizations!”

    Just a guess but I think it was the first novelization that made him a lot of money. Usually novelizations were not really big money makers for authors. And I’m betting that ADF wasn’t paid a fixed fee for it but got a certain percentage which if it was a mere rounding error for the film company would be really big money for him.

  19. Cassy B:

    At least on my machine:
    Documents>My Kindle Content

    You want Kindle for PC 1.17.1 (44183) so that you can continue to convert files in Calibre.

  20. Concratulation to France for voting for Emmanuel Macron, very relieved. (Le Pen has way to much voters)

  21. 2)
    I was pleasantly surprised to see a piece on Jeff VanderMeer in the (Portland) Oregonian’s Arts section on Friday.

  22. I’m sorry to have incorrectly shortened the name of kiwifruit, and any awful imagery that may have caused. I actually saw the presentation at SIGGRAPH, and there was much laughter when they thanked the SIGGRAPH organizers for recognizing there’s always room for Jello (the slogan for Jello commercials at the time). I should have known that it was 29 years ago, since my 29th wedding anniversary is next month.

  23. Rev. Bob, P.J. Evans, Mark,& Lis Carey, thanks for the tips on the Kindle PC ap. I found the right path to retrieve it; couldn’t read it on Calibre, uninstalled and reinstalled the earlier version of Kindle software, redownloaded, and voila! And fortunately I didn’t have the Calibre-not-recognized problem referred to upthread, but it was good to know it was a possibility.

    So it was a team effort by several Filers to get me straightened out, and I appreciated every one of you!

  24. @James: That review is making me question everything I thought about Canadians.

    Also, that cover is “Good Show, Sir!” worthy.

    @Kip W: Yes, Telly is a bald actor (who loves ya, baby) and also a Sesame Street Muppet.

    (11) ADF probably did the “Star Trek” books as work for hire, a flat fee. As a new-ish writer, his royalties on the original books probably weren’t great. So having a chunk of the royalties on something that sold a bazillion copies really helped. He often speaks of “the house Star Wars built”, where he lives.

    I think the article made a mistake in describing the sequel, though. It’s usually referred to as “infamous”. Replonza!

  25. Well, in 1978 (when I was 10 years old), when, on vacation, I found a new Star Wars novel!!!!!!!! on a drug store paperback rack, I was thrilled, and at the time I just ate it up. These days, I’m not sure how Splinter of the Mind’s Eye would hold up, though. And I read a ton of ADF novelizations back in the day — given that I wasn’t going to be going to any R-rated movies at that point, he was my first introduction to both Alien and Outland, amongst others.

  26. Please allow me to introduce myself: I’m a scroll of wealth and taste.

  27. I recall Susan Wood writing, regarding her studies in Canadian literature and its emphasis on “The Land! The Land!”, about one novel where the protagonist had sex with a gopher hole.

    Canadian Kink. I guess it’s a thing.

  28. These days, I’m not sure how Splinter of the Mind’s Eye would hold up, though.

    One part didn’t age well: Luke and Leia’s sexual attraction.

    “The Princess grew aware of how tightly she was clinging to him. Their proximity engendered a wash of confused emotion.”

    You don’t know how confused, sister!

  29. 11) Personally, I’m looking forward to Allan Dean Foster’s novelization of Game of Thrones. It really needs one.

    Anyway, after reading The Winged Histories and The Devourers, I needed a change of pace, so I’ve just finished Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn. I thought it was pretty damn good, much better than Podkayne of Mars. I had some quibbles with some aspects of technology, and the ending felt rushed, but I found the main character engagibg, and her struggles with adapting to Earth well written.

    So I honestly don’t get why reviewers on Goodreads were calling Polly a Mary Sue. Honestly, I don’t understand those people.

  30. @rcade

    That sort of thing actually can happen in real life between long lost blood kin. Still squicky though.

    What stuck with me was the mcguffin being kyber crystal which made me splutter while watching Rogue One.

  31. @IanP

    That sort of thing actually can happen in real life between long lost blood kin. Still squicky though.

  32. James David Nicoll: “Bruce, may I quote you without context?”

    Umm, in what context would you quote me without context?

    (Unless that was actually addressed to “Bruce A” upthread, who I sometimes confuse myself with because I comment as “BruceA” on several political sites.)

  33. Speaking of stories about people (well, in this case, gods) whose affections are sometimes directed inappropriately, since today is the fourth anniversary of Ray Harryhausen’s passing, it’s time for a Clash of the Titans rewatch.

    (Which, coincidentally enough, had an Alan Dean Foster novelization, although I never read it.)

  34. Dr. Abernethy: The car in the poster at (5) is a Fiat Ritmo from the late 1970s (sold briefly in the USA as the Fiat Strada).

  35. I think the “anonymous” there doesn’t mean “completely unknown,” but that Foster was a ghostwriter for that book.

    @rcade and @IanP: I read years ago about a fertility doctor who, instead of providing his patients with donor sperm from a sperm bank (which is what he said he was doing), gave them his own sperm. Not just once, but more than a hundred times. In a relatively small city: IIRC, young people were being advised to move away to reduce the risk that the random person they were dating would be a half-sibling.

  36. @16: Why? I can understand occasionally using B&W, for effect or possibly for budget (cf Whedon’s fast shoot of Much Ado About Nothing a few years ago), but doing all that work for something that has no connection to traditionally B&W genres like 1940’s noir seems like a waste of time.

    @Rev Bob: yes, Klages is an excellent writer. I didn’t know this was coming and will have to dig it up. (Sometimes the background of her historicals is even more interesting; did you know that “groovy” would have been in-period for her two ~YA A-bomb novels, but couldn’t be used because nobody would have believed it?)

  37. I thought the Gremlin had a slightly more rounded rear end. I sure wish I did. 😉 And now on looking, I see the difference is more subtle than that. I am not particularly good at spatial perceptions and even worse at describing things which exist in space. So I went to Mister Google’s images department.

    Check out this great ad for the Fiat Strada! But I think this ad shows the Gremlin is a cooler looking car.

  38. I had the feeling Ellen Klages had one more novel to write in that series. Does anyone know if that’s so? I thought the first one was fantastic and the second one was pretty good, kind of like the first two of Nancy Kress’s Beggars and Choosers, or Poppy Z. Brite’s first two Liquorverse novels (though those weren’t part of a trilogy, like Kress’s.)

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