Pixel Scroll 6/17/19 I’d Like To Teach The Scroll To Sing In Pixel’ed Harmony

(1) NIXRAY VISION. YouTuber Dominic Noble’s Lost in Adaptation series compares written works with their movie and TV adaptations. How important do you think it is for media visualizations to match up closely to your favorite written sff stories?

  • The Thing:
  • The Last Unicorn:
  • Fahrenheit 451:
  • War of the Worlds:

(2) CALENDRICAL NEWS. Yoon Ha Lee has co-written and released a mini-RPG based on the Hexarchate titled Heretical Geese.  Free to download, but you can choose to make a donation. 

Heretical Geese by Yoon Ha Lee & Ursula Whitcher is a two-page tabletop roleplaying game for a cunning Fox (or GM) and wary Geese (or players).  Can the Geese achieve moral insights before being assimilated?

The game may be of particular interest to fans of Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire novels, but does not require familiarity with them.

No animals were harmed in the creation of this mini-RPG.  Some cattens might have been petted, though.

(3) READER FEEDBACK. Peter V. Brett, author of the Demon Cycle dark fantasy novels, got this reader feedback from an older woman determined to shatter the stereotype about Canadians. Thread starts here.

(4) NUKEM. Dwayne Day looks at an M.I.T. proposal from the late 1960s to nuke an asteroid – The Space Review has the story: “Icarus falling: Apollo nukes an asteroid”

In the late 1960s, as the Apollo program was in full-swing, a group of engineers in training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology designed a defense against an asteroid heading toward Earth. Their plan would have involved a half-dozen Saturn V rockets carrying some really big bombs, aimed at an asteroid named Icarus.

Periodically, the large asteroid 1566 Icarus swings by planet Earth, often coming within 6.4 million kilometers of the planet—mere spitting distance in astronomical terms. Icarus last passed by Earth in 2015. It also crosses the orbits of Mars, Venus and even Mercury.

In early 1967, MIT professor Paul Sandorff gave his class of graduate students a task: suppose that instead of passing harmlessly by, Icarus was instead going to hit the Earth. The nearly 1.4-kilometer wide chunk of rock would hit the planet with the force of 500,000 megatons—far larger than any major earthquake or volcanic eruption, and over 33,000 times the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. At a minimum, it would kill millions, flattening buildings and trees for a radius of hundreds of kilometers. The dust it kicked into the atmosphere could even lead to a global winter lasting years. Sandorff posed a simple challenge: You have 15 months. How do you stop Icarus?

(5) ADVICE NEEDED. Daniel Dern wants to read his Hugo Voter Packet (and other stuff) on the move – maybe you already know the solution?

So, a few weeks back, I dutifully downloaded all the Hugo nom files being a Dublin 2019 WorldCon supporter gave me access to. (And month(s) earlier, Nebula noms, as a SFWA member.) To my Windows 10 desktop computer.

I want to put ’em all on my Android tablet, and the Kindle-readable ones on my Kindle Paperwhite, so I can be reading them during idle moments/hours, e.g. on public transit, waiting for appointments, etc.

But. I can’t figure out how to move/get ’em on Android and on Kindle. And M. Web ain’t (so far) helpful enough.

For the tablet, I could “physically” put them on a microSD card, or do a USB transfer. For the Kindle, only the latter, or perhaps other methods. (for the tablet, I could, presumably, crank up a browser and download directly.)

Any advice?

Also, for non-Kindle files, a good reader app?

(6) PRESERVATION? NPR discovers “New York City And The Strand Bookstore Are Not On The Same Page”.

The Strand Bookstore, a New York City icon that is home to 2.5 million books and 92 years of storefront history, was commemorated by the city and chosen as a historic city landmark this week. Nancy Bass Wyden, the store’s third-generation owner, isn’t taking it as a compliment.

“Some people have congratulated me, and I said, ‘No, this is no congratulations. This is a punishment,’ ” Bass Wyden tells NPR’s Scott Simon.

Bass Wyden feels that the designation is counterproductive.

“We don’t need the city to come in and just put red tape and bureaucracy and take control over decision-makings of the store. … It’s really no honor,” Bass Wyden says. “We’re already a landmark.”

…The store owner’s primary objection is that the commission’s decision will incur additional costs to the store and make repairs or changes burdensome.

“They get to decide what color our sign is, our awning is, what material we use,” Bass Wyden says. “They get to decide what kind of windows we have, what kind of metal we use on our doors. Anything that has to even be put on the rooftop, they get the decision-making on that and it’s just wrong. It’s just unfair.”

(7) RETURN TO PANEM. The Hollywood Reporter reports that “‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Novel Coming in 2020”. So what will that make it – the appetizer?

A decade after seemingly wrapping up The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins is bringing readers back to Panem. A prequel, set 64 years before the beginning of her multimillion-selling trilogy, is coming next year.

The novel, currently untitled, is scheduled for release May 19, 2020. Collins said in a statement Monday that she would go back to the years following the so-called Dark Days, the failed rebellion in Panem. Collins set the Hunger Games books in a postapocalyptic dystopia where young people must fight and kill each other, on live television.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 17, 1898 M. C. Escher. Dutch artist whose work was widely used to illustrate genre works such as the 1967 Harper & Row hardcover of Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, or Berkley Books 1996 cover of Clive Barker’s Athens Damnation Game. (Died 1972.)
  • Born June 17, 1903 William Bogart. Yes, another one who wrote Doc Savage novels under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson, some with Lester Dent. Between 1949 and 1947, he or they wrote some fifteen Doc Savage novels in total. Some of them would get reprinted in the late Eighties in omnibuses that also included novels done with Lester Dent. (Died 1977.)
  • Born June 17, 1927 Wally Wood. Comic book writer, artist and independent publisher, best known for his work on EC Comics’s Mad magazine, Marvel’s Daredevil, and Topps’s landmark Mars Attacks set. He was the inaugural inductee into the comic book industry’s Jack Kirby Hall of Fame, and was later inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. (Died 1981.)
  • Born June 17, 1931 Dean Ing, 88. I’m reasonably sure the first thing I read by him was Soft Targets and I know I read all of his Man-Kzin Wars stories as I went through a phase of reading all that popcorn literature set in Niven’s universe. It looks like he stopped writing genre fiction about fifteen years ago. 
  • Born June 17, 1953 Phyllis Weinberg, 66. She’s a fan who was married to fellow fan Robert E. Weinberg. They co-edited the first issue of The Weird Tales Collector, and she co-edited the Weinberg Tales with him, Doug Ellis and Robert T. Garcia. She, along with Nancy Ford and Tina L. Jens, wrote “The Many Faces of Chicago” essay that was that was in the 1996 WFC guide. The Weinbergs co-chaired the World Fantasy Convention In 1996.
  • Born June 17, 1982 Arthur Darvill, 37. Best known for playing Rory Williams, one of the Eleventh Doctor’s companions in Doctor Who, and Rip Hunter in Legends of Tomorrow. He had a bit part as a groom in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. And he played Seymour Krelborn in the Little Shop of Horrors twenty years ago at the Mac (formerly Midlands Arts Centre) in Birmingham.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) SWECON. Edmund Schluessel shares the journey: “Con report: Replicon 2019 (Swecon 2019)”. (He clarifies, “As with Fantasticon, note that this convention is distinct from the American Replicon taking place next week in California.”)

… World guests of honor Charlie Jane Anders and Analee Newitz took enthusiastic part in the con program, which heavily featured discussion about AI and automation. I’m pleased to have met them both and honored they, and the organizers, felt I had something useful to say in the AI panel I joined them on….

(11) STANDARDS & PRACTICES. Britain inaugurates an extraordinary change: “Ads showing bad female drivers and inept dads banned in UK crackdown on sexist commercials”.

Depictions of girls as less academic than boys, men being belittled for “unmanly” behavior, and an array of other cliched portrayals have been consigned to history in British commercials as new rules come into effect banning gender stereotypes in advertising.

The changes, announced in December and enforced from Friday onward, ban companies from using depictions of gender “that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offense.”

Broadcast, online and print advertising is affected by the guidelines, which will force advertisers to discard dated and stereotypical portrayals of men and women.

Advertisers will have to tread carefully in scenarios the watchdog cites as problematic. These include commercials that show a man with his feet up while a woman cleans; a man or woman failing at a task because of their gender; suggestions that a person’s physique has held them back from romantic or social success; or a man being belittled for performing stereotypically “female” tasks.

(12) WRATHINESS. Camestros Felapton takes the measure of the latest Expanse novel: “Review: Tiamat’s Wrath by James S A Corey (Expanse Book 8)”.

There’s never been many fundamentally new ideas in the Expanse series but rather it has pieced together familiar science fiction elements to tell a serial epic story of politics and protomolecules. Which of the two themes dominate in a story varies but the implications of more science fictional events always ripples out politically. Likewise, the factional manoeuvrers of the political stories gang aft a-gley as ancient alien legacies do their own thing.

(13) BIOUPGRADABLE. NPR found a startup company at work on the answer — “Replacing Plastic: Can Bacteria Help Us Break The Habit?”

If civilizations are remembered for what they leave behind, our time might be labeled the Plastic Age. Plastic can endure for centuries. It’s everywhere, even in our clothes, from polyester leisure suits to fleece jackets.

A Silicon Valley startup is trying to get the plastic out of clothing and put something else in: biopolymers.

A polymer is a long-chain molecule made of lots of identical units. Polymers are durable and often elastic. Plastic is a polymer made from petroleum products. But biopolymers occur often in nature — cellulose in wood or silk from silkworms — and unlike plastic, they can be broken down into natural materials.

… The process was how to manufacture biopolymers — using bacteria.

There are certain kinds of bacteria that eat methane. The bacteria use it to make their own biopolymers in their cells, especially if you feed them well. “If we were to get really fat from eating a lot of ice cream or chocolate,” Morse explains, “we’d accumulate fat inside our bodies. These bacteria, same thing.”

(14) BRIDGE OF THESEUS. You can still walk like an Incan on “A bridge made of grass” – BBC photo essay.

Every year the last remaining Inca rope bridge still in use is cast down and a new one erected across the Apurimac river in the Cusco region of Peru.

The Q’eswachaka bridge is woven by hand and has been in place for at least 600 years. Once part of the network that linked the most important cities and towns of the Inca empire, it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2013.

The tradition has been passed on from generation to generation with every adult in the communities on either side gathering to bring new life to the crossing.

(15) SJWC INTERVENTION. How could sff authors have missed this obvious solution on how to make politics more fun?“Cat filter accidentally used in Pakistani minister’s live press conference”.

A Pakistani politician’s live-streamed press conference descended into farce when a cat filter was switched on by mistake.

Shaukat Yousafzai was briefing journalists last Friday when the setting was accidentally turned on.

Facebook users watching the video live commented on the gaffe, but Mr Yousafzai carried on unaware of his feline features.

He later said it was a “mistake” that should not be taken “so seriously”.

(16) TACE IS LATIN FOR A CANDLE. BBC reports that “Finnish radio drops Latin news after 30 years”.

The Yle public broadcaster has told its ‘carissimi auditores’ (dear listeners) that “everything passes, and even the best programmes reach the end of the road. This is now the case with our world-famous bulletin, which has broadcast the news in Latin on Friday for the past 30 years”.

The core members of the ‘Nuntii Latini’ (News in Latin) team – Professor Tuomo Pekkanen and lecturer Virpi Seppala-Pekkanen – have been with the five-minute bulletin since it was first broadcast on 1 September 1989, although other newsreaders and writers have joined since.

Professor Pekkanen took gracious leave of Yle, saying that, “judging by the feedback, Nuntii Latini will be missed around the world – and we send our warm thanks to you all for these past years!”

(17) X MARKS THE SPOT. Just a month before the highly-anticipated debut of House of X and Powers of X, Marvel released an all-new episode of X-Men: The Seminal Moments featuring series writer Jonathan Hickman and other legendary Marvel creators as they shed light on what the future holds for mutants across the universe!

“When Jonathan set out to tell this story, he set out to change the way people think about the Marvel mutants forever…it really shakes things up,” said X-Men Editor Jordan D. White. “The first time he told it to me, I was upset. I was like, ‘We can’t do that. We CAN’T do that.’ The more I thought about it, the more I went, ‘Wait hang on, what if we did…’”

 Hickman revealed what fans might expect from the series:

“There’s no alternate universe version of the X-Men that we’re doing – time travel, or any of that kind of stuff. This is a very cause and effect, very linear narratively straightforward story,” said Hickman. “I think the most important thing about X-Men is obviously the way that individual readers identify with the characters…my obligation is to be true to the character even though you’re putting them in new circumstances and be true to the spirit of what it means to write an X-Men book.”

[Thanks to Jennifer Hawthorne, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Hampus Eckerman, Nancy Sauer, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, rcade, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor Andrew.]

47 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/17/19 I’d Like To Teach The Scroll To Sing In Pixel’ed Harmony

  1. Thanks for the title credit
    (15) Everybody wants to be an SJWC, ’cause the SJWC’s the only C that knows where it … be.

    (5) Has he tried emailing to the Kindle (or to the Kindle app on the android) – that worked for me.

  2. Peter actually likes the adaptation of The Last Unicorn. He wasn’t so fond that his business manager stole all the money from the showings of the film that was to raise money for him but that’s a seperate issue altogether.

    Somewhere around here is my signed copy of the DVD. I should watch it again sometime.

  3. 15) I think that the cat filter should be applied as standard to all news conferences and political debates. Imagine how it could have improved the recent UK PM wannabee debate.

  4. (8) Wallace Wood! Just the greatest all-round comic artist. Still feel like his loss was a tragic cosmic accounting error, and it shouldn’t have happened.

    Escher, of course, was great as well, and I’ve been pleased to see his art in museums, as well as an original print of Night and Day that a friend of ours used to have in his mobile home.

  5. 5) +1 for emailing directly to the Kindle — that has the advantage that the item will actually be in your library and can sync across multiple devices, whereas if you sideload via USB, it effectively only exists on the Kindle you loaded it to.

    (Minor caveats: It needs to be in a Kindle-readable format, obviously, and there’s a limit to the maximum file size, which usually isn’t an issue but might come into play with illustration-heavy art books; or those giant annual Best of TOR.com collections they put together.)

  6. Kindles all have their own email address — should be findable in Amazon’s account management. I think it’s in Manage Content and Devices. Shove as many .mobi files in each email as will fit in it and off you go.

    For the tablet, if you check your email on there at all, you can just email the rest of the files to yourself and download them from there. Just make sure you unzip them first because not all tablets can handle zipped files. Not necessarily the most efficient method but it should work.

  7. One caveat – you’ll likely need to “whitelist” the address you’re sending from – or the Kindle will never see the email.

  8. (5) I unpack the appropriate files and then upload them to folders in Drive. Then I can use the “Open in…” menu item to direct to the appropriate app on my tablet. (In my case, the Books app on an iPad). This lets me actually;organize them in folders, and corresponding collections in the tablet.

  9. Amazon has a “Send to Kindle” app available for just about every platform. Here’s a link to the download page for the Windows version: send to kindle
    Just download it, install, turn it on and sign in to your Amazon account with it. Then you can just take your ebooks and drag them onto its icon. It’ll take larger files than most email accounts will. I use the Mac version and find it a good deal more convenient than emailing (which is what I used to do).

  10. (8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. Escher! I love Escher! Plenty of his work can, IMHO, be called genre all on its own. 😀

    (9) COMICS SECTION. LOL that’s just wrong.

  11. 5) I downloaded the files to my android, used Solid Explorer to create a folder to place them in and to unpack them into. Then I use Google Document to read.

  12. Nuntii Latini features in a very interesting choral piece one of my friends was part of: Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae : “Completed in 1997,[1] the piece was inspired by the MS Estonia disaster of 1994 … The text of the piece is taken from three sources: the Catholic Requiem Mass, Psalm 107: “They that go down to the sea in ships…”, and the report of the disaster from the weekly Latin-language Finnish news service, Nuntii Latini.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canticum_Calamitatis_Maritimae

  13. I also use Calibre, and note that it has both a desktop reader for various moments and the ability to send to one’s Kindle both via USB sync and e-mail.

    That being said just directly e-mailing to the Kindle as mentioned above is probably more efficient if you don’t need the full ebook conversion or library management features that Calibre provides. (I personally love the merge/split plugins for managing some of the compilations that we get.)

  14. (5) As others have mentioned, either email them across to your Kindle (or use the Send to Kindle app – didn’t know that existed if I’m quite honest) just make sure your email is whitelisted in your Amazon account.

    For the tablet I used to upload the epub files into my Google Books account. It can be a bit of a faff to find but it looks like if you’re signed into your google account and go to https://play.google.com/books there should be an option towards the top right in a blue button that says “Upload Files”. Any files uploaded this way should sync through to your Google Play account and be readable via the Google Play Books app.

  15. Add the email address you’ll be sending from to your approved senders for Kindle, and then email to the device you want the stuff on.

    Or use Calibre to sideload or email it.

    Either works really well, preference coming down to what is more convenient and comfortable for you.

  16. @JOeH Indeed, some of the larger TOR collections have been above the maximize size to email to my kindle. The recent free ebook of the month, with four novellas, was too large as well.

  17. I used my iPad’s Mail app to convert the Hugo packet files directly from the email into iBook format on the device.

  18. #6: Landmarks doesn’t work like the Strand owner thinks it does. I live in the original Landmarked area in NYC, and the rules are not what she says they are. Yes, you can’t replace what’s currently there with something wildly different, like vinyl siding on a house that has wooden siding, but many things not visible from the street can be changed without permission.

    I am happy to live in my area, where no new buildings can be higher than 50 feet, and when windows are replaced they have to look like the old windows. But the rules here mean that no 150-year-old brownstones can be replaced with thousand foot high buildings, and we like that just fine.

  19. Rob Thornton says I used my iPad’s Mail app to convert the Hugo packet files directly from the email into iBook format on the device.

    I get a lot of galleys, some in very odd formats, and Rob’s correct that the Mail app on the iPad is very good at dropping them directly into the iBooks app. It’ll even export PDF files into the iBooks app without any glitches.

  20. @3: I’m sympathetic to the reader’s complaint about the misuse of “prone” (and not at all sympathetic to the claim that Brett’s usage comes from D&D, although I remember at least one pre-D&D abuse of the term), but the complaint about split infinitives puts her squarely in the crank column.

    @8: fascinating — I thought Escher’s genre apotheosis was the use (derivation?) of “Relativity” in Labyrinth (1986); I’m not sure I ever saw that cover for the Wilhelm. I wonder whether the piece was used because it was (thought to be) in the public domain? (Also, fact typo: the book came out in 1976 — I remember Haldeman having hopes for “Tricentennial” (which did win) but being certain the Wilhelm was going to beat Mindbridge.)

    @1: The comparison of The Last Unicorn suggests Noble doesn’t appreciate writing that has a less-than-flat affect, or storytelling that doesn’t lay out everything etherised upon a table — or maybe he’s just trying to live up to the mode (which he acknowledges) of mocking everything. (The storytelling complaint reminds me of Brust’s takeoff on the WFC-inevitable writing-for-children panel, in which he complained that adults need to have everything spelled out; Noble’s claim that this is all allegory (very debatable) and that kids won’t “get it” is just not on.) I guess his babble and schtick are marmite; even though his long-delayed conclusion seemed reasonable, I wouldn’t watch another of his rants even if I thought he might take apart something that badly needed it — others might find him amusing. I did find out one thing I hadn’t known, that the book’s final Schmendrick-recommending-Lir scene was filmed but cut; that’s in the Wikipedia article, but seeing clips of it was interesting.

  21. @4 is an interesting display of what people thought was practical, e.g. rigging an existing rocket so it would not bleed off its fuel in orbit was impractical, but scaling up production/assembly/transport to launch a Saturn V every two weeks was? The comments note one issue (first impact throwing up so much dust that later impacts couldn’t be targeted), but not whether the scheme would work at all given Brother Guy’s (et al) discovery that small asteroids are clumps rather than solids. (I don’t know whether this applies specifically to Icarus, but IIRC it’s in the size range he was discussing, but I got only part of his talk at a time in Boskone when I’m not braining very well; has anyone seen specific figures?)

  22. Chip says fascinating — I thought Escher’s genre apotheosis was the use (derivation?) of “Relativity” in Labyrinth (1986); I’m not sure I ever saw that cover for the Wilhelm. I wonder whether the piece was used because it was (thought to be) in the public domain? (Also, fact typo: the book came out in 1976 — I remember Haldeman having hopes for “Tricentennial” (which did win) but being certain the Wilhelm was going to beat Mindbridge.)

    You’re right, it was 1976. OGH, please fix.

    This is the image used.

  23. Chip says The comparison of The Last Unicorn suggests Noble doesn’t appreciate writing that has a less-than-flat affect, or storytelling that doesn’t lay out everything etherised upon a table — or maybe he’s just trying to live up to the mode (which he acknowledges) of mocking everything. (The storytelling complaint reminds me of Brust’s takeoff on the WFC-inevitable writing-for-children panel, in which he complained that adults need to have everything spelled out; Noble’s claim that this is all allegory (very debatable) and that kids won’t “get it” is just not on.) I guess his babble and schtick are marmite; even though his long-delayed conclusion seemed reasonable, I wouldn’t watch another of his rants even if I thought he might take apart something that badly needed it — others might find him amusing. I did find out one thing I hadn’t known, that the book’s final Schmendrick-recommending-Lir scene was filmed but cut; that’s in the Wikipedia article, but seeing clips of it was interesting.

    The thing to remember about TLU is that Peter has said that he knew the novel as it was written was not going to be what Rankin Bass was going to film. Given that he was pleased with what was the final product. And yes it is product in the end.

    If you give him a chance a talk to about it with a drink offered with it, he’ll regale you endlessly about the film and the novel itself. He’s a great conversationalist as I well know provided His Rat Bastard now former manager isn’t around.

  24. @Chip: Saturn V production would only have needed an extra 3 to be manufactured according to the article, 6 would already be available. The VAB could in theory deal with four at once and stacking took something like 2 months so the flight rate is achievable provided that LC-39C got built, as well as a fourth MLP. Icarus is probably fairly solid, it rotates just slow enough that it would break up if it was a rubble pile and got slightly faster.

    Ob-SF: A “spare” Icarus nuke features in Allen Steele’s “Clarke County, Space”.

  25. Over on The Beat (https://www.comicsbeat.com/), contributor John Seven has been posting some articles putting together mostly obscure superhero songs. After three posts about Superman, the latest is titled “25 Obscure Songs About the Superman Family That Should Be On Your Superhero Playlist”. Links to the three Superman posts are included at the bottom of this one and future posts are promised, including Batman for the subject of the next post. He’s really been digging deep for some of these, but that’s part of the fun.

    https://www.comicsbeat.com/25-obscure-songs-about-the-superman-family-that-should-be-on-your-superhero-playlist/

  26. One 80s rap tune that the 25 Obscure Songs About the Superman Family list does not have is Jam On It by Newcleus. It has a long (and really good) section about a DJ contest between Newcleus and Superman in which he was defeated by “a 12-inch cut called Disco Kryptonite.” I memorized it as a kid and often threaten to recite it at inappropriate moments.

  27. @1: I don’t know if I’ll make it all the way through that video about The Last Unicorn to find out what it’s actually saying, because the host’s facial expressions and hyper-expressive narration are so distracting to me. After the first few times he flung his eyebrows up and down, I half expected them to fly off across the room. I know it’s not an uncommon style for video commentaries but even so, it seems extreme.

  28. Mandy and I visited the Escher Museum in The Hague a couple of weeks ago, and it is a must-see if you are in the area. His work is more varied and detailed than many people realize. Not only are there a few sculptural works there (and in Leiden), but some extraordinary commercial work he did including tin boxes, wrapping paper, and others.

    He was clearly a genre artist, and clearly a professional. I know it’s too late now, but perhaps should he have been considered for Best Pro Artist at some point? (I ask at the risk of starting arguments 🙂 )

  29. Eli comments I don’t know if I’ll make it all the way through that video about The Last Unicorn to find out what it’s actually saying, because the host’s facial expressions and hyper-expressive narration are so distracting to me. After the first few times he flung his eyebrows up and down, I half expected them to fly off across the room. I know it’s not an uncommon style for video commentaries but even so, it seems extreme.

    I’ll be brutally honest that I don’t give a shit what any of these so-called critics thinks about these adaptations. Be it Stardust or The Hobbit, I know that it’ll have but a faint resemblance to the source material as the two mediums have very different requirements as regards storytelling.

    That doesn’t necessarily make the film a worse storytelling experience than the source novel, just different. The Neverwhere tv series isn’t better than the novel or the BBC radio series, just different. I really think we all could deal with less analysis and more just experiencing the actual book / film / audiobook.

  30. @Rob Thornton: I had a friend in HS who had that song memorized as well.

    Ookla the Mok has a song about Bizarro (and one about Mr. Mxyzptlk)

  31. @Andrew – Both Ookla the Mok songs are mentioned in the post.

    I did note the previous Superman instances which are linked in the Superman Family. Definitely worth checking all of them out. Also thought it might be worthy entry for the next Pixel Scroll.

  32. @Cat – In regards to Neverwhere, the BBC Television series came first with a corresponding British novelization released during the TV series. Neil then expanded the novel before the US release (per request from the US publisher making it less British according to Wikipedia). Then around 2010 they released the “Author’s Preferred Edition” which added some more stuff along with some revisions. So, the original book and the TV series were comparable although getting Neil’s prose in its pure form is already better. The revised edition of the novel was definitely an improvement, though with the current version being the best of the lot. Also, the full voice audio adaptation is very good as well. It will be interesting to see if the success of Good Omens leads to a new TV version, although I don’t see Neil agreeing to the level of involvement as he did with Good Omens.

  33. 1) NIXRAY VISION. […] “How important do you think it is for media visualizations to match up closely to your favorite written sff stories?”

    I used to think it was very important, but then Blade Runner came out, and I realized that an adaptation could be pretty good on its own terms, even if it was a poor adaptation. 🙂

    Of course, the overwhelming majority of poor adaptations are poor works overall. But at least now I realize there are other possibilities.

  34. Lee Whiteside says to me: In regards to Neverwhere, the BBC Television series came first with a corresponding British novelization released during the TV series. Neil then expanded the novel before the US release (per request from the US publisher making it less British according to Wikipedia). Then around 2010 they released the “Author’s Preferred Edition” which added some more stuff along with some revisions. So, the original book and the TV series were comparable although getting Neil’s prose in its pure form is already better. The revised edition of the novel was definitely an improvement, though with the current version being the best of the lot. Also, the full voice audio adaptation is very good as well. It will be interesting to see if the success of Good Omens leads to a new TV version, although I don’t see Neil agreeing to the level of involvement as he did with Good Omens.

    Yeah I forgot the series came before the novel.

    The best version I think is Neil reading his expanded text. I’m not sure it was ever released legally in the States, I got a copy from the publisher as a gift. Same for Stardust. Jim Henson company optioned Neverwhere as a film possibility but they never followed through on it.

  35. @Lee Whiteside:

    @Andrew – Both Ookla the Mok songs are mentioned in the post

    Knew I should have checked the post first. D’oh.

  36. @Cat Eldridge: I know Beagle is a great conversationalist (or used to be — he was looking very drawn at the local stop of the Last Unicorn tour); a discussion at WFC some years ago ended with us singing the Cannon Song from Threepenny Opera.

    @Lee / @Cat: Neil has observed that the book was the story in his head; the TV series was what they could afford. e.g., the Beast was (IIUC) a badly-disguised cow because anything more impressive would have been over budget. I know UK TV used to be done on a shoestring — I’ve read that the reason for Zaphod’s head looking especially fake was that it kept flopping on the last take the TV crew had time for — but I hadn’t realized it was so tight so late. (bizarre side note: the spellchecker behind this blog accepts “Xaphod” but not “Zaphod” (which is what I recall and what is used in the 5-in-one Hitchhiker omnibus). I wonder where the other spelling is used?)

  37. @Andrew Porter
    #6: Landmarks doesn’t work like the Strand owner thinks it does. I live in the original Landmarked area in NYC, and the rules are not what she says they are.
    I don’t see where she’s wrong The rules as she describes them in the NPR piece (“They get to decide what color our sign is, our awning is, what material we use,” Bass Wyden says. “They get to decide what kind of windows we have, what kind of metal we use on our doors. Anything that has to even be put on the rooftop, they get the decision-making on that and it’s just wrong. It’s just unfair.”) seems to be consistent with what is described in the rules.

  38. but I hadn’t realized it was so tight so late.

    It is a fairly late example. I think there also wasn’t much in the way of British TV SF or Fantasy that was ambitious about creating other worlds visually after the end of Doctor Who’s original run. Red Dwarf being the main exception (which had the extra leeway that comes with being a comedy), along with some children’s TV.

  39. Chip says I know Beagle is a great conversationalist (or used to be — he was looking very drawn at the local stop of the Last Unicorn tour); a discussion at WFC some years ago ended with us singing the Cannon Song from Threepenny Opera.

    Yeah he’s actually in better health at eighty than he was than. Let’s just say that he wasn’t being care for well back then and he is now most definitely.

  40. (5) My typical workflow is (a) download to mac (b) drag onto mac iBooks app (c) read on iPad.

    An alternative which presumably would work for Android is to put the files on Dropbox.

    This year, I actually downloaded the Zip files off the worldcon site on my iPad, and through some sorcery (possibly involving the Dropbox app), was offered a dialog to pick files from inside the archive and again export to iBook.

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