Pixel Scroll 6/29/19 I Scroll Less Than Half Of You Half As Well As You Pixel

(1) SPEAKING WITH PRIDE. Sina Grace tells about Marvel’s lack of support for LGBTQ+ superheroes and comic books: “As Pride Month comes to a close, it’s time I spoke candidly about my experience at Marvel Comics”. Warning: Grace quotes some of the abuse.

…It’s no surprise that I got the attention of trolls and irate fans for taking on this job. There was already backlash around the manner in which Bobby Drake aka Iceman came out, and Marvel needed to smooth that landing and put a “so what” to the decision. After a point, I could almost laugh off people making light of my death, saying they have “cancerous AIDS” from my book, or insinuating I’m capable of sexual assaultalmost. Between Iceman’s cancellation and its subsequent revival, Marvel reached out and said they noticed threatening behavior on my Twitter account (only after asking me to send proof of all the nasty shit popping up online). An editor called, these conversations always happen over the phone, offering to provide “tips and tricks” to deal with the cyber bullying. I cut him off. All he was going to do was tell me how to fend for myself. I needed Marvel to stand by me with more work opportunities to show the trolls that I was more than a diversity hire. “We’ll keep you in mind.” I got so tired of that sentence. 

Even after a year of the new editor-in-chief saying I was talented and needed to be on a book that wasn’t “the gay character,” the only assignment I got outside of Iceman was six pages along, about a version of Wolverine where he had diamond claws. Fabulous, yes. Heterosexual, yes. Still kind of the gay character, though.

We as creators are strongly encouraged to build a platform on social media and use it to promote work-for-hire projects owned by massive corporations… but when the going gets tough, these dudes get going real quick…. 

(2) SFWA SUPPORTS BEAGLE. Here’s one more instance where they lent a helping hand:

(3) TALE WAGGERS. How can you not want to read a post with a title like this? “Where Dogs Play a Part: Dogtime on the 5 Best Fantasy And Science Fiction Books With Dogs” at Black Gate.

Everybody loves recommending science fiction books. It’s not just our friends at Tor.com, Kirkus Reviews, and The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog anymore. Last week at Dogtime (Dogtime?!) Jean Andrei recommended the 5 Best Fantasy And Science Fiction Books “where dogs play a part in the story.” Starting, of course, with one of the great classics of the genre, the 1944 fix-up novel City.

(4) BARBARIANS AT THE GATES. Did you get into fandom Before Mainstream Acceptance (BMA) or After Mainstream Acceptance? Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson has a theory he’d like to try out on you: “BMA Fans and AMA Fans. Will the Real Fan Please Stand Up”.

BMA fans are frequently taken to task for so-called “gatekeeping”.  I think that some of that, perhaps even a large part of it, is not gatekeeping in the minds of those fans so much as it is an expression of fierce loyalty and protectiveness over something that they paid hard currency to help create.  They value certain things because they’ve learned that those things are important to the maintenance of fandom (as they know it) and are suspicious and critical when AMA fans don’t exhibit the same respect, knowledge of or, worst-case-scenario, take it upon themselves to redefine things that are already settled law and enshrined in the fannish encyclopedia.

(5) SOLEIN IS NEITHER GREEN NOR PEOPLE. It’s marketed as electric food, but it’s not what The Guardian’s headline implies: “Plan to sell 50m meals made from electricity, water and air”.

The powder known as Solein can be given texture through 3D printing, or added to dishes and food products as an ingredient.

It is produced through a process similar to brewing beer. Living microbes are put in liquid and fed with carbon dioxide and hydrogen bubbles, which have been released from water through the application of electricity. The microbes create protein, which is then dried to make the powder.

(6) LOCUS AWARDS. Here’s two photos from today’s fun:

  • The cast of Primeval came to the banquet looking for something good to eat.
  • And the traditional Hawaii shirt fun and games:

(7) WWII FANACK. Rob Hansen, curator of fanhistory site THEN, tells about his latest additions:

In what I think concludes my recent deep dive into 1940s LASFS. I’ve just added a page on Ackerman’s War which is accompanied by a couple of photos you may not have seen before. I’ve also moved most of the clubroom stuff onto its own page ‘cos it makes more sense that way. The text includes the usual cornucopia of links, of course.

It’s mostly lighthearted, but not this part —

On New Year’s Day 1945 Alden Ackerman, a Pfc with the 42nd Tank Battalion 11th Armored Division and Forry’s kid brother, was killed in action in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. The news took several weeks to reach Forry, who reported the death in ‘The Alert’ and in VOM #39, which featured him on its cover. Ackerman later announced he would also be starting ALDEN PRESS, whose first offering in March was a memorial to Alden.

(8) BERGLUND OBIT. In another major loss for Lovecraftians, friends of Edward P. Berglund (1942-2019) reported on Facebook he died this week. In the words of Luis G. Abbadie:

Edward P. Berglund was a great editor, a great contributor to our beloved shared world of the Cthulhu Mythos, a great man, period. His anthology The Disciples of Cthulhu was the first original Mythos collection to follow August Derleth’s classic Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos and a classic in its own right. And his monumental website A Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos is a fondly remembered Ancient Pharos for so many of us.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 29, 1919 Slim Pickens. Surely you remember his memorable scene as Major T. J. “King” Kong in Dr. Strangelove? I certainly do. And, of course, he shows up in Blazing Saddles as Taggart. He’s the uncredited voice of B.O.B in The Black Hole and he’s Sam Newfield in The Howling. He’s got some series genre work including several appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, plus work on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Night Gallery. (Died 1983.)
  • Born June 29, 1920 Ray Harryhausen. All-around film genius who created stop-motion model Dynamation animation. His work can be seen in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (his first color film), Jason and the Argonauts,  Mighty Joe Young and Clash of the Titans. (Died 2013.)
  • Born June 29, 1943 Maureen O’Brien, 76. Vicki, companion of the First Doctor. Some 40 years later, she reprised the role for several Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio works. She had a recurring role as Morgan in The Legend of King Arthur, a late Seventies BBC series. Her Detective Inspector John Bright series has been well received.
  • Born June 29, 1947 Brian Herbert, 72. Son of Frank Herbert.
  • Born June 29, 1950 Michael Whelan, 69. I’m reasonably sure that most of the Del Rey editions of McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series was where I first noticed his artwork but I’ve certainly seen it elsewhere since. He did Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walks Through Walls cover which I love and many more I can’t recall right now. 
  • Born June 29, 1956 David Burroughs Mattingly, 63. He’s an American illustrator and painter, best known for his numerous book covers of genre literature. Earlier in his career, he worked at Disney Studio on the production of The Black Hole, Tron, Dick Tracy and Stephen King’s The Stand. His main cover work was at Ballantine Books where he did such work as the 1982 cover of Herbert’s Under Pressure (superb novel), 2006 Anderson’s Time Patrol and the 1983 Berkley Books publication of E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith Triplanetary
  • Born June 29, 1957 Fred Duarte, Jr. His Birthday is today and this long-time Texas fan is eulogized by Mike here upon his passing several years back. (Died 2015.)

(10) 101. Anna-Louise Fortune is starting a short series about the Worldcon. After hearing her voice JJ says “I keep expecting her to pull out a ruler and whap me on the knuckles.”

(11) HUGO TAXONOMY. The fabulously inventive Camestros Felapton commences to drilling through the award’s historic layers in “The Hugosauriad: Introduction to a Dinography”.

…Two points form a line and following that line backward I could cut a rock sample through the Hugo Awards and expose the geologic layers. From there I could construct not a biography of the Hugo Awards but a dinography* — an account of a thing using the medium of dinosaurs.

A dinography requires some rules, specifically a rule as to what counts as a dinosaur. For my purpose the dinosaur eligibility includes

  • Actual dinosaurs as recognised by the paleontology of the time a work was written.
  • Prehistoric reptilian creatures from the Mesozoic era that in popular culture count as dinosaurs such as large marine reptiles and pterosaurs.
  • Fantastical creatures derived from dinosaurs such as creatures in Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar series.
  • Aliens (intelligent or not) of a reptilian nature that humans would see as dinosaur like.
  • Dinosaurs as a metaphor for something either out of time or hanging on beyond their time.

(12) DEADLY BED. The Guardian delves into a California seashore calamity: “Temperatures lead to what appears to be largest local die-off in 15 years, raising fears for broader ecosystem”

In all her years working at Bodega Bay, the marine reserve research coordinator Jackie Sones had never seen anything like it: scores of dead mussels on the rocks, their shells gaping and scorched, their meats thoroughly cooked.

A record-breaking June heatwave apparently caused the largest die-off of mussels in at least 15 years at Bodega Head, a small headland on the northern California bay. And Sones received reports from other researchers of similar mass mussel deaths at various beaches across roughly 140 miles of coastline.

While the people who flocked to the Pacific to enjoy a rare 80F beach day soaked up the sun, so did the mussel beds – where the rock-bound mollusks could have been experiencing temperatures above 100F at low tide, literally roasting in their shells.

Sones expects the die-off to affect the rest of the seashore ecosystem. “Mussels are known as a foundation species. The equivalent are the trees in a forest – they provide shelter and habitat for a lot of animals, so when you impact that core habitat it ripples throughout the rest of the system,” said Sones.

(13) LAST CHANCE. James Reid’s assessment: “Hugo Awards Extravaganza 2019 – John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer”.

The Campbell award is open to the best new writer, and is judged over their output regardless of length or quantity.  Usually, the main thing to comment on is that it is not really a Hugo,1 but the interesting wrinkle of the Campbell award this year is that you can be eligible for it twice.  The Campbell competition is often my favourite, because it usually the most diverse and novel category.   This year however, five of the six nominees are in the second year of eligiblity, and four of those were on last years slate.2

(14) UNDER THE LID. Alasdair Stuart introduces “The Full Lid 28th June 2019”:

This week’s Full Lid is here for all your bio-mechanical, classics of English literature and scrappy can-do cinema needs. I take a listen to the Dirk Maggs’ produced adaptation of William Gibson’s Alien III script, am impressed by the first episode of Catch-22 and ridiculously charmed by the minimal budget enthusiasm of Audax. Also this week, the DJBBQ5000, Journeyquest take us Cooking WIth Carrow and I look back on a demanding week.

The subject isn’t sff (is it?) but I’m going to excerpt Stuart’s sharply-written Catch-22 review.

…Luke Davies and David Michôd’s adaptation of Joseph Heller’s classic novel does everything right. It doesn’t have hundreds of pages so instead of the slow burn agonizing unreleased terror of the novel’s absurd waits between missions, it focuses all the way in on Yossarian. Abbott is perfect for the role, simultaneously swaggering and cowed and his jokes are always a quarter second away from a scream. He’s not okay. No one cares. He gets worse. No one cares. That’s the marching tempo of the story, always accelerating, never quite breaking out into a run….

(15) WHAT A CROC! But NPR says it’s true: “Veggie Surprise: Teeth Of Ancient Crocs Reveal That Some Very Likely Ate Plants”.

Modern crocodiles can trace their lineage back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. If you picture that crocodile ancestor, way back in the Cretaceous period, what do you imagine it snacking on? Maybe a fish or a bird?

Think again. Scientists say it’s more likely it was chomping on prehistoric flowers or other plants. A new study in Current Biology has found these ancient crocodile cousins actually evolved into plant eaters at least three times, and probably more.

It started with a paleontology graduate student at the University of Utah puzzling over some strange-looking teeth of the crocodile cousins (known as crocodyliforms, or crocs for short).

“The fact that so many croc teeth look nothing like anything around today just absolutely fascinated me,” Keegan Melstrom tells NPR.

(16) OUT OF THE ZONE. Galactic Journey is there when The Twilight Zone leaves the air (in 1964): “[June 26, 1964] Curtain Call (Twilight Zone, Season 5, Episodes 33-36)”.

Back in January, it was announced that this season would be The Twilight Zone’s last. In the show’s five year run, Rod Serling’s brainchild has produced more than 150 episodes and brought a new level of sophistication to science fiction and fantasy entertainment on television. Even with some decline in the program’s quality, The Twilight Zone still remains incredibly impressive as a whole — as the series comes an end, the show still manages to deliver some strong performances…

[Thanks to Camestros Felapton, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/29/19 I Scroll Less Than Half Of You Half As Well As You Pixel

  1. I was floored when the Boston library, which has a substantial SF section, did not so label the latest-but-one Tim Powers.

    It could be worse. My local library has Theodora Goss’s European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman filed under Mystery!

    I mean, I’ll admit that Sherlock Holmes does put in an appearance. But still…. 😀

    (I bet we could have a near-endless discussion of all the bizarre filing choices made by bookstores and libraries.)

  2. @Hampus Eckerman: Your comments may be longer, but they’re no less good, and your long one on page 1 of comments on this post is excellent.

    @Various: Whelan’s one of my favorite artists! 😀

  3. “Some Filers mention comic-book stores as markers. What about SF-text stores?”

    Most comic book stores in Stockholm started as used comic book stores, then later changing to selling new graphic novels. I was buying stuff from these stores in -77, there were several. I think the oldest still surviving is from -78. Which coincidentally is the same year the first SF bookstore opened.

    Regarding paperbacks, one of our big publishers started publishing a series called Saturnus in -73 and I remember it being widely available. A few years earlier they had started to publish a series called “Goosebumps” with horror, but there was quite a lot of SF in it. Book three in the series was “Donovan’s Brain”, published in -71. Also widely available. There was stuff from Leiber, Wyndham, Heinlein and more in that series.

    Our main childrens program was called Captain Zoom about an alien coming to earth trying to understand how everything worked. It started in 1976.

  4. 4) Obviously the BMA/AMA divide began with Amazing Stories, whose crude adaptions of themes pioneered by Margaret Cavendish, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman introduced SF to the mass readership of pulp magazines.

  5. @ Chip, re 9 – me too! I loved Jason. And Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. There’s a big bronze sculpture of Ray Harryhausen in the Lucasfilm lobby, so I’m sure he was a big influence on George.

  6. I’ve seen some arguments that there’s actually been two waves of AMA in Sweden. One around the 50:s at start of the space race. That created a first wave, got mainstream publishers involved, created new zines, and so on. But after the first curiosity, there was a backlash from the literary establishment, SF was targeted mostly at the youth market (where they remained a big thing), and mystery novels became the hyped genre. Then another wave that started around -68 with 2001 and Planet of the Apes and from then continued growing and never really stopped.

    It is then possible to say that acceptance from the mainstream establishment came in the second wave, but the acceptance from the mainstream readership got its groundwork in the first wave.

    Anyhow, as I said, when I grew up, it felt like any fight for acceptance was over. Enough people who had read SF in the first wave had gotten work at publishers and in newspapers then.

    But older fans might have a different view than me.

  7. My personal favorite Harryhausen is probably Golden Voyage of Sinbad (the evil wizard Koura is the OTHER role Tom Baker was born to play).

    Having said which, I’d say Jason & the Argonauts is probably his BEST film overall, while Clash of the Titans (which I just rewatched last night) probably has his best animation.

  8. @Hampus Eckerman:

    Ah, so you’re definitely not talking about Staffars (started in 1988), but that’s probably what I think of when I think archetypical Stockholm comic store.

    For similar Swedish subculture who is (and isn’t) part of the “in” crowd, those who used KOM-based BBSes and those who did not.

  9. Ingvar:

    Nah, I think more of Serieboden in Gamla Stan and a shop at Götgatan before that. And instead of Staffars, I would have gone wth Alvglans that was started by friends of mine. I think they opened before Staffars.

    And I did use KOM-system. 😉

  10. @Hampus
    I wonder if it can be tied to events in science and technology. The atomic bomb is way too early, although I think what really matters isn’t when it was developed; it’s when was there a critical mass of kids who grew up taking it for granted. So maybe take the dates of major inventions and add twenty years. That’d put the kids of the atomic age into 1965, which is about when the New Wave got started. (Not that I’ve ever heard anyone try to make such a connection.)

    John Glenn orbited the Earth in 1962, and the moon landing was in 1969, so 1982-1989 (or, “sometime during the 1980s”) would be a reasonable time to have a critical mass of people who thought of space travel as ordinary. That fits well with Jack Lint’s analysis of when mainstream movies switched to being mostly genre. It also sort of matches Mike Gleyer’s suggestion, which would put the date no later than 1983.

    The 1980s was also a period when computers went from something you read about to something you saw advertised on TV and that everyone owned, so by this reasoning, you’d expect something to happen during the 2000s, although I’m not sure I can really point to anything inside fandom tied to that period.

    Maybe the truth is that you just get different generations, each calling the next “not authentic.” Pre-atomic, pre-space, pre-computer, and (maybe) pre-social media.

  11. @Xtifr: putting a genre book in a different genre is indeed more peculiar than putting it in general fiction. I wonder whether Goss somehow breaks them; here, where she’s local, IIRC her fiction is split. (I haven’t looked for nonfiction.)

    @Sophie Jane: cute — but at least one of the retrospectives observing last year’s bicentennial makes clear that Frankenstein was huge a century before Gernsback.

    @Greg Hullender: The 1980s was also a period when computers went from something you read about to something you saw advertised on TV and that everyone owned Really? I hadn’t been watching TV for a long time by then, but I remember how expensive “home” computers were then, and how it was a matter of great moment that Noreascon Three bought 3 computers to live in the homes of the people running Publications, Registration, and Treasury. It’s possible we were skewed a bit due to the number of people who had been taking up unused CPU cycles at work (that was when the standing joke about having to get one non-DEC member for every DEC employee who joined the continuing club), but I’d have said that home computers weren’t widespread until the end of the decade, or later; I also remember the 1985 NASFiC thinking a panel on “what you can do online” was worthwhile, suggesting the online world was still strange.

  12. Really? I hadn’t been watching TV for a long time by then, but I remember how expensive “home” computers were then …

    In my experience in the 1980s, the high-end computers (PC and Mac) were too expensive to be described as something “everybody” owned. But a lot of people had Commodore 64s, TRS-80s and other low-end computers.

  13. I got my TI-99/4A around -82, but had no modem until my Spectravideo 328, three years later or so. But we weren’t many people with computers.

    I think we were like 1 out of 10 in class who had one in the middle of the 80:s.

  14. Chip Hitchcock: I also remember the 1985 NASFiC thinking a panel on “what you can do online” was worthwhile, suggesting the online world was still strange.

    Home computers started becoming common in the mid- to late-80s (I had an Apple IIgs), but it was the mid- to late-90s before the World Wide Web became common beyond techies and SF fans.

  15. The Commodore 64 was moving millions of units throughout most of the eighties. Of course, they were single-handedly outselling the rest of the competition combined, but even so, it all added up to a lot of home computers around by the mid-eighties.

  16. As a boy, I remember seeing a TRS-80 in a Radio Shack window and imagining one typed questions in on a keyboard and the machine displayed its answers on the screen. At the end of 1980 my brother and I received a Sinclair ZX80 as a Christmas present and we learned the truth of badly connected power supplies, partially successful saves of programs to cassette tape, no ability to simultaneously display and process. We were hooked.

  17. @ Cliff: At least you didn’t have RAM-pack wobble… I got a ZX-81 in, um, 1983 (I think, might’ve been 1984) and RAM-pack wobble was way worse than trying to set the volume correctly on the tape recorder (pro-tip, save multiple times, adjust the recording volume down every time, at least my tape recorder had a slight drift (probably temperature?) in the recording volume, which of course was adjusted by the same knob that adjusted playback volume).

  18. @Ingvar

    Oh, the RAM pack wobble, how I remember it well. Far too many games ended abruptly because I hit the keyboard too enthusiastically.

  19. Ha ha! I heard about the RAM pack wobble. I got my ZX81 shortly after it came out, but never upgraded the memory (moved quickly on to the VIC-20). Its 1K was shared between code, data and the display memory. I remember coding and seeing the display window shrinking as I typed.

    But you tell that to kids these days, and they don’t believe you.

  20. Our first home computer was an Atari 400 with a supposedly touch sensitive keyboard with horribly squishy unreliable keys. It was a great day when we upgraded to an 800 with actual keyboard and disk drive. But internet? MUCH later.

  21. I did my first programming on a Commodore PET in the very early 1980s – our high school had one. It also had games like “Gold Miner” https://www.mobygames.com/game/pet/miner – my friends and I would skip lunch to go to the classroom where the PET lived (fortunately a room that was unused at lunchtime) to do programming/play games.

    Before I went to college I also got a Timex Sinclair (with the awful membrane keyboard). I took that one to college (and got special dispensation to bring the little black and white TV I used as a monitor for it, since freshmen weren’t otherwise allowed to have TVs in the dorm).

  22. I had a Commodore 64 back in the early-mid-80s. A friend of ours had an Atari… he couldn’t turn it off because if it cooled down all the chips popped out….

  23. Timex Sinclair was the American version of the ZX80. Before I got mine, a friend sold me a cassette tape of Space Invaders for the Commodore PET. It didn’t work.

    After the VIC-20 I upgraded to a Commodore 64 and eventually got a floppy disk drive. That was fantastic, until I discovered a firmware bug that would sometimes corrupt files when updating them. So that was the end of the RPG I was writing :).

  24. As a boy, I remember seeing a TRS-80 in a Radio Shack window and imagining one typed questions in on a keyboard and the machine displayed its answers on the screen. At the end of 1980 my brother and I received a Sinclair ZX80 as a Christmas present and we learned the truth of badly connected power supplies, partially successful saves of programs to cassette tape, no ability to simultaneously display and process. We were hooked.

    We have surprisingly similar formative experiences with computers.

    I saw a TRS-80 for the first time through a glass window in the front office of Pauline G. Hughes Middle School in Burleson, Texas. Some kids were allowed to play the Haunted House text adventure game after school. Unable to get the same privilege, I daydreamed for weeks the experience of playing it without a computer.

    My dad bought a Timex Sinclair when I was 14. I borrowed it and learned programming for the first time on those weird keys. He never got it back.

  25. Apple //e in high school 🙂 though no modem in those days. I doubt I knew what a modem was in 1982? 1983? whenever it was my Dad got it.

    Before that, several years at least, I’d taken a short computer class over the summer where we used an Apple ][ and TRS-80 (or as they were nicknamed, Trash-80). Ah the cassette drives on the TRS-80 . . . yipes.

  26. I really liked our Timex Sinclair, which I think was the model one up from the bottom. Display as big as our TV (it was the TV), memory via cassette tapes, and it programmed in Basic. I wrote stuff for it. Some fun. They orphaned it as soon as it was out of the package, but I found the last Chess tape in Houston, so I could play anyway. After that, we went and looked at the first Macintoshes… and bought a PCjr.

  27. We got our first home computer in 1987. It was an EPSON XT-compatible and hugely expensive at the time. My Dad got it cheaper due to business connections. It had a 20MB harddrive, which we filled up more than once. It also had Wordstar, on which I wrote my first stories and many school papers, as well as a couple of games, mostly Pacman and chess and the like. A few years later, it even acquired a colour monitor and a mouse, a blocky thing which could be used for drawing. No internet, though I begged my parents for a dial-up modem so I could chat with my friends (a few kids at school had computers by the late 1980s, mostly Commodores and Ataris).

    In 1992 or so, the EPSON PC was supplemented by an early black and white laptop, which my Dad brought home from a business trip to Taiwan. The laptop ran Windows 3.1. and had Lotus Smartsuite (still a better office suite than Microsoft’s). Still no internet. The battery life was terribly short and it was replaced by a colour laptop after two years or so. The EPSON remained in service until 1995, when it was replaced by a Windows 95 machine. This was the first machine which had internet access at home, though not right away. Before that, I used the Internet at university

    Though my first online experience was on a French Minitel machine while visiting relatives in the late 1980s. I thought it was awesome and immediately asked if we could have one at home. It only works in Frannce, I was told. Mind you, my relatives lived in very rural Alsace, in a village that had only about five houses, a church, a war monument, a ruined castle and more cows than people and they still had online access, while hardly anybody in Germany had it.

  28. I remember the Trash-80 all too well; I have a distinct memory that it was demoed at Seacon (1979 Worldcon — possible because Wikipedia reports it came out in 1977), and it was used for score compiling (adding up a bunch of fiddly numbers, and keeping best-of-the-time-period reports) by a commercial bridge club I played at in the early 1980’s. I also remember Silverberg et al. on what turned into an I-love-my-word-processor panel at the 1983 Westercon. I read all your memories (and remember Langford’s comments over the years, and even the Dick Francis novel featuring a betting system run on a home system) and think “No wonder the home computer took a while to become common — using one of these must have taken a real fanatic.” I started working for software companies, both of them near home, in 1980, and so didn’t own a computer at home until 1995 (I had loaners for specific jobs, but using a PDP-11 or a Sun workstation was much easier on the nerves), but somehow I don’t feel deprived….

  29. @rcade – the coincidences mount up: didn’t you also wind up writing a bunch of computer books? Me too!

  30. I can’t remember when we got our first PC home. -83 I think? But it took two years more or so until I head my own. We were kind of computerized then, mom had one, my father one, and me and my brother shared one, but it was mostly mine because he wasn’t home as much. The whole family used to play text adventures together, clue each other up. When my parents divorced, I how me and my mother used to phone each other everytime we got a bit further in Lurking Horrors.

    So maybe -86 was the first time that I had a PC with a modem that could call ordinary BBS:es. The Spectravideo 328 could only handle those with Videotex standard (a swedish failed version of Minitel).

    My first internet account was in -94 when the first ISP in Sweden started (I got early access as it was my friend who started it). Though I had access through schools before. Maybe from -90.

  31. When I was in college, ten of us starving students banded together, pooled our money, and bought the just-released Apple II, which we set up in a basement where we all had access. For at least three of us, this ended up having a significant effect on our eventual careers. In fact, I actually managed to get paid for software I wrote using that machine–the first money I ever received as a programmer.

  32. My father had a dumb terminal linked to something at UW via audio modem in the 1970s, which I used to play endless games of Lunar Lander and a Star Trek game I never got the hang of. Later, being exec of the UW SF club (now lamentably dying due to lack of interest) gave me access to the club Honeywell account, which I used to play hack/rogue. I bought my game store stock from a computer store that wanted to get out of RPGs and because of that, got my very own Atari 800 on which I ran sales and stock management. It was wildly unsuited for that role. The next machine was an Atari XL, a work horse machine I used for a decade. It was so reliable that I remember the one time it crashed and how baffled I was.

    I was aware of USENET but having no direct access settled for reading printouts of … rec.arts.sf-lovers, I think.

    In February 1988, John Sellens and I were in the same theatrical company (now not quite dead but working hard at achieving that goal) and through him I got an account on Watyew, and through it USENET.

  33. @rcade – the coincidences mount up: didn’t you also wind up writing a bunch of computer books? Me too!

    I did. I think we’re around two or three more similarities from being clones. Now I want to hear whether you’re also a child of divorce who escaped into D&D, SF and comics.

  34. Ha ha! No divorce, and no comics. But yep, escape into D&D and SF – and most significantly Tolkien. Are you by any chance also an 80s rock fan?

  35. Are you by any chance also an 80s rock fan?

    More ’90s. Grunge was my everything. In the ’80s I was into Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, The Cure, Pet Shop Boys and (still not ashamed to admit this) Milli Vanilli.

    It wasn’t until my sons got into Guitar Hero a decade ago that I learned to appreciate ’70s and ’80s rock gods.

  36. Then here we diverge and affirm our individuality. Although I did play a lot of Guitar Hero and Rock Band with my daughters :).

  37. Oooh, Guitar Hero! I played it a friends work, then bought it together with a playstation the day after. And Rock Band after that. Fantastically social game.

  38. I took my first one back to the store because I was convinced there was a timing issue with the ‘plectrum’. Once I got the second unit home, I realized I was just crap at it.

  39. For me it was Donkey Konga, especially as a social activity. I have two bongo controllers now, but it’s been donkey’s years since I could get anyone to play it with me.

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