Pixel Scroll 6/30/19 The Scroller I File, The Pixel I Get

(1) AVOIDING THE HIT PARADE. The Planetary Society welcomes you to enroll in “Asteroid Defense 101” “A short course introduction to asteroid impact and what we can do to prevent it.” It’s free.

In this course, you’ll learn about the threat of asteroid impact, the history of asteroid impacts on Earth, asteroids and comets in general, and The Planetary Society’s 5 step plan to prevent asteroid impact. At the end of the course you’ll be presented with resources to learn more, and encouraged to share what you’ve learned with others. The entire course can be completed in about an hour or a little bit more. See below to learn about the instructor and see the curriculum. Let’s save the world!

(2) HE’S IN THE BOOK. Henry Lien celebrated his discovery that he’s the subject of a Wikipedia article. “Achievement Unlocked,” he called it. The entry begins —

Lien is originally from Taiwan and lives in Hollywood, California. He has been an attorney, a teacher at UCLC Extension, and an art dealer in Los Angeles, representing artists from the Americas and Eurasia. He has also served as president of the West Hollywood Fine Art Dealers’ Association and on the board of the West Hollywood Avenues of Art and Design.

(3) ONE TO BEAM DOWN. The latest gatekeeping controversy inspired Kiya Nicoll to explain “I Was Born To Be A Fake Fan”.

…My first serious fannish activity was writing Star Trek: The Next Generation fanfic, largely focusing on my two favorite/self-insert characters: Data and Wesley Crusher.

My first social fanac was half-assedly joining a play-by-mail Starfleet simulation RPG.

My first “no shit there I was” fan story was giving a homemade snickerdoodle cookie to Brent Spiner.

You don’t get my fandom experience without Tolkien, for sure; but you damn sure don’t get it without Star Trek, either. Star Trek is where I start doing fandom, as a social thing broader than the scope of my family, rather than merely reading my father’s shelves ravenously. (Though of course my immediate social circle of fic writers included at least one person who sneered at anything involving Wesley Crusher positively, and I came away with the impression that she did it to fit in and I would be expected to do the same. So I stopped sharing my fic.)

I used to comment about the watershed of the post-Star Wars fandom experience; I am pretty sure that the post-Harry Potter fandom experience has only increased this phenomenon. Older fen I saw talk about being teased or bullied for liking science fiction and fantasy; I got a bit of that for reading, generally, but it was a given that I would read genre. Everyone did genre, at least people who actually read.

I was… sometime in my teens before I learned that there was stuff out there that wasn’t genre. It was the Doonesbury sequence on The Bridges of Madison County that did it. This wasn’t something that was explained to me – or remotely apparent to me – before then. Everything I read, I read as Strange People In Unfamiliar Situations, and the same principles applied that to Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson and whatever nonsense was assigned in English class, where it worked just as well as it did on Niven and my beloved Cherryh.

One of my first encounters with old-school convention/zine fandom was being indirectly mocked for saying “sci-fi”, the way my father did, the way everyone I knew did. It was made clear to me that this was the mark of an Outsider, possibly an Interloper, certainly not someone who was qualified to be welcomed into the inner circles….

(4) BACK TO THE FUTURE. Gene Kranz, famed as the voice of Mission Control, helped celebrate the restoration of the historic facility: “NASA Reopens Apollo Mission Control Room That Once Landed Men on Moon” in the New York Times.

…On Friday, Mr. Kranz and Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator, cut a ribbon marking the official reopening of the restored Apollo Mission Control Center. It was a three-year, $5 million project, and every inch of the famed heart of America’s lunar aspirations was repaired and refurbished. Its reopening comes three weeks before the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind, and helps to kick off Apollo festivities across the country.

Apollo mission control had been abandoned in 1992, with all operations moved to a modernized mission control center elsewhere in the building. Center employees, friends, family — and anyone, really, who had access to Building 30 — could walk in, take a seat, take a lunch break and take pictures.

While they were there, they might take a button from one of the computer consoles. Or a switch or dial, anything small — a personal memento from an ancient American achievement. The furniture fabric and carpet underfoot grew threadbare. The room was dark; none of the equipment had power. Wires hung where rotary phones had once sat. The giant overhead screens in front of the room were damaged, and the room smelled of mildew. Yellow duct tape held carpet together in places….

(5) IT GETS WORSE. The Guardian tells us “German sci-fi fans lap up dystopian tales of Brexit Britain”.

“One basic rule of dystopian fiction is that the future should be worse than the present,” said the German novelist [Tom Hillenbrand]. “But in this case it turns out I was a bit too optimistic.

“In my book Britain has actually worked out how it wants to leave and the EU is preparing a new constitution as a result. The real Brexit is actually much more dystopian.”

Since Drone State was published in Germany to critical acclaim in 2014, two years before the EU referendum on EU membership, a new micro-genre has flourished in the country’s publishing industry: dystopian fiction about Brexit Britain.

(6) KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Theodora Goss and Cadwell Turnbull on Wednesday, July 17, 7 p.m. at the KGB Bar.

Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss is the World Fantasy and Locus Award-winning author of novels, short stories, essays, and poetry, including debut novel The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and sequel European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Seiun, and Mythopoeic Awards, as well as on the Tiptree Award Honor List, and her work has been translated into twelve languages. She teaches literature and writing at Boston University and in the Stonecoast MFA Program.

Cadwell Turnbull

Cadwell Turnbull is the author of the The Lesson. His short fiction has appeared in The Verge, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (forthcoming). He lives with his wife in Somerville, Massachusetts. 

KGB Bar: 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs.) New York, NY


  • June 30, 1971 Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was released on this day


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 30, 1902 Lovat Dickson. Australian-born publisher and author who was half-brother of Gordon R Dickson. He wrote the biography H G Wells: His Turbulent Life and Times. (Died 1987.)
  • Born June 30, 1905 Nestor Paiva. Sometimes it only takes one film or series for a performer to get a Birthday write-up from me. Paiva makes it for Lucas the boat captain in The Creature from the Black Lagoon and its oft-forgotten sequel Revenge of the Creature. Though that was hardly his only genre role as his first role was in the early Forties as an uncredited prison guard in Tarzan’s Desert Mystery and he’d be in many a genre film and series over the decades as Prof. Etienne Lafarge in The Mole People, as the saloon owner in (I kid you not!) Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Felicity’s Father in The Spirit Is Willing, Captain Grimby in “The Great Treasure Hunt” of The Adams Family and a Doorman in the “Our Man in Leotards” episode of Get Smart. (Died 1966.)
  • Born June 30, 1920 Sam Moskowitz. SF writer, critic, and historian. Chair of the very first World Science Fiction Convention held in NYC in 1939. He barred several Futurians from the con because they threatened to disrupt it in which was later called the Great Exclusion Act. In the Fifties, He edited Science-Fiction Plus, a short-lived genre magazine owned by Hugo Gernsback, and would edit several dozen anthologies, and a few single-author collections, most published in the Sixties and early Seventies. His most enduring legacy was as a historian of the genre with such works as Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of “The Scientific Romance” in the Munsey Magazines, 1912–1920 and Hugo Gernsback: Father of Science Fiction. (Died 1997.)
  • Born June 30, 1959 Vincent D’Onofrio, 60. Not Kingpin in that not terribly good or bad Daredevil film, but rather in the Daredevil series, Edgar the Bug in the only truly great Men in Black film and Vic Hoskins in Jurassic World. He also was Jason Whitney / Jerry Ashton in The Thirteenth Floor, loosely based upon  Simulacron-3, a early Sixties novel by Daniel F. Galouye. 
  • Born June 30, 1961 Diane Purkiss, 58. I’ve not read her Corydon Trilogy she wrote with Michael Dowling, her son, but I can say that  At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things is as splendid as the title suggests it is. She’s also written Fairies and Fairy Stories: A History.
  • Born June 30, 1966 Peter Outerbridge, 53. Dr. David Sandström in what I think is the underrated ReGenesis series as well as being Henrik “Hank” Johanssen in Orphan Black anda recurring role on Millennium as Special Agent Barry Baldwin. He’s currently in two series, The Umbrella Academy with a recurring role as The Conductor, and as Calix Niklosin in V-Wars, yet another Netflix SF series. 
  • Born June 30, 1972 Molly Parker, 46. Maureen Robinson on the current Lost in Space series. One-offs in Nightmare Cafe, The Outer Limits, The SentinelHighlander: The SeriesPoltergeist: The LegacyHuman Target and she appeared in The Wicker Man asSister Rose / Sister Thorn.


(10) WILL YOU SEE IT AGAIN? Emergency Awesome gives a rundown of the extras tacked onto the end of the Avengers: Endgame re-release, done in hopes of topping Avatar’s box office record.

Covering new Avengers Endgame Post Credit Scene with Hulk from Endgame Re Release. Special Stan Lee Cameo Scene and Avengers Endgame Spider-Man Far From Home Post Credit Scene. New Footage, Deleted Scenes and Bonus Features. Most of which will be on the Avengers Endgame Blu Ray later this year.

(11) COURT IS IN SESSION. At Legal Eagle, “Real Lawyer Reacts to Daredevil (The Trial of Frank Castle).”

Is Frank Castle a hero or a villain? Is Matt Murdock a good lawyer or a bad one?

A legal analysis of Frank Castle’s trial from season 2 episode 7 and 8 of Marvel’s Daredevil. As Vulture eloquently put it: “In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the “trial of the century” does not concern O.J. Simpson, but Frank Castle. It’s finally time for the Punisher to stand trial, and thanks to just about every imaginable thing going wrong, Nelson and Murdock must defend him against District Attorney Reyes, who has a stacked deck and enough clout to steamroll our favorite tiny firm with ease.”

(12) HUGO’S GREATEST MOMENTS. This is probably well-intended, but my goodness!


(13) SHOOTING SPARKS. The Monica Bellucci sf movie Nekrotronic has dropped its official trailer.

(14) NERO. Congratulations to fanartist Taral Wayne (creator of the File 770 masthead), who also is a coin collector and just acquired a fabulous Roman aureus.

To my surprise, the number quoted was not remotely as high as that. Just HOW high, I asked? He did a few calculations about his costs, and compared examples on line, and gave me a number that led me to swallow and say, “I can do that!” Mind you, I will be scraping together everything I can spare for the next three months, along with everything else I had already spend at the show, but I CAN do it. It will be the most expensive coin I have ever bought in the past, or am ever likely to buy in the future, and it was more expensive than anything else of any kind that I have ever bought, but IT IS MINE! I now own a gold aureus by the emperor Nero, roughly 54 to 68 AD. I think I have experienced an epiphany of sorts.

(15) BEST NEW WRITER. Bonnie McDaniel has posted her assessment of the Campbell Finalists. From the middle of her ballot —

3) S.A. Chakraborty (my review of her novel here).

This is an Arabic-inspired fantasy, set in the secret magical land of the daeva, or djinn. This world is well built, with a great weight of history and backstory conveyed without infodumping. There’s also some meaty themes of discrimination and oppression.

(16) RETRO HUGO NOMINEE DECODED. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] For all of us Retro Hugo voters who are confused by the rather incoherent horror film The Seventh Victim, here is an older article from Vice which explains why the movie is so strange: “The 1940s Horror Movie That Embraced Lesbianism and Satanism” (2017).

 The signs are plentiful. Jacqueline has recently married a lawyer Gregory Ward (Hugh Beaumont), yet shows no signs of wanting to take his name or be with him romantically. Ward reveals to Mary, “There’s something about your sister a man can never quite get hold of.” Jacqueline is also “miserable” with her life, necessitating regular visits to psychiatrist Dr Louis Judd. (The doctor is played sarcastically by Tom Conway, who reprises the same character from Lewton’s similarly odd 1942 masterpiece Cat People—a film that also tackles repressed sexuality.) It turns out that Jacqueline has fallen in with the secretive cult and is now wanted dead by its members, who fear that she has told her psychiatrist about them.

In short, the missing women everybody is looking for is a lesbian and because society doesn’t accept her, she becomes depressed and commits suicide. But Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton weren’t allowed to do more than vaguely hint at the character’s sexual orientation, so they shoehorned in a plot about Satanists, since Satanists are apparently less scary than lesbians.The article certainly caused me to reevaluate the movie, since a) it’s now even less SFF than before, and b) equating lesbians with Satanists is pretty offensive.

(17) ALTERNATE MUSICAL HISTORY. Whether it’s sff or not isn’t something Leonard Maltin is concerned about – it’s the disappointing execution: Yesterday: What A Letdown”.

A good idea is a rare and precious gift. Screenwriter Richard Curtis has had many of them, leading to such films as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill. He and Jack Barth had another good one: What if a time warp erased the whole world’s memory of The Beatles, and a struggling singer presented their songs as his own? They brought this concept to director Danny Boyle, whose enthusiasm led to Yesterday.

An idea, however, is not the same thing as a story. This film is an unfortunate example of a premise that doesn’t blossom into a full-fledged screenplay. The cast is engaging enough, with Himesh Patel as a hard-luck guy who has greatness thrust upon him and Lily James as his platonic pal. They’ve been like brother and sister since childhood, always there for each other, but neither one can admit that they are truly in love. This relationship, fraught with hesitations and crises, becomes repetitious and tiresome.

(18) PAPER ART. Colossal’s gallery shows how “Quilled Paper Sculptures by Sena Runa Embellish the Natural Forms of Everyday Objects and Animals”. Some sff images among them —  

Sena Runa (previously) twists, folds, and stacks layers of thick paper to create dynamic paper sculptures. The Turkish artist uses a wide range of hues to create chromatic elephants with a rainbow of shades, or work all of the brilliant blues of the ocean into a single sea turtle.

(19) KURTZMAN DEFROCKED. Midnight’s Edge explains why Alex Kurtzman can’t be fired but has been sidelined as the maven of all things Star Trek at CBS.

On June 27, CBS officially confirmed what Midnight’s Edge revealed almost two weeks earlier: that Michael Chabon is the new showrunner of Star Trek Picard. In this video, we will begin by going through what this implies about Alex Kurtzman and his current role, before moving on to what Chabon might bring to Picard.

(20) RE-VERSE. A visit to Bonnie McDaniel’s blog led me to rediscover this wonderful verse Stoic Cynic posted in comments in 2016 (it was a very good year!)

A fragmented excerpt from The Filer and the Astronaut by Louise Carol:

‘The time has come,’ the Filer said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of pups — and picks — and palimpsests —
Of Cadigan — and King —
And why this movie, cult is not —
And whether trolls believe.’

‘But scroll a bit,’ the Pixels cried,
‘Before you have your chat;
For some of us are full of links,
Oh do not rush so fast!’
‘No hurry!’ said the Astronaut.
They thanked him much for that.

‘A post of fifth,’ the Filer said
‘Is what we chiefly need:
Filking and Punnery besides
Are very good indeed —
Now, if you’re ready, Pixels dear,
We can begin to read.’

‘O Pixels,’ said the Astronaut,
‘You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be posting here again?’
But answer came there none —
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d scrolled up every one.

[Thanks to mlex, Carl Slaughter, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Bruce D. Arthurs, P J Evans, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Alan Baumler, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day GSLamb.]

64 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/30/19 The Scroller I File, The Pixel I Get

  1. I bought some Roman and Byzantine coins over the years from Darryl Schweitzer. Since they were affordable, I’ve often wondered if they were real. It’s not like they’re in Mint or anything, but still. I love the idea that I’m handling a coin with Claudius on it, or one of that crowd.

  2. (8) D’Onofrio was in the Daredevil TV show, not the movie – that was Michael Clarke Duncan, whose performance was one of the better parts of that film.

  3. Kip Williams on June 30, 2019 at 6:51 pm said:
    I’ve never had a coin that was from before the 1880s, but I have an old (and very definitely used) “Kansas Home Cook Book”, 4th printing, roughly 1887. Someone certainly enjoyed it – it has onionskin sheets bound in for adding your own recipes, and some of those are used, along with clippings from magazines glued to the endpapers. It’s the kind of cookbook you want if the world loses everything after 1900: how to make your own yeast, for example.

  4. (3) I don’t remember quite when I learned that scifi was a depreciated term (it was long before I went to cons or had much exposure to fandom (maybe I picked up the idea after I started reading Asimov’s in 1979)) but I remember training myself to always say ‘Science Fiction’ or SF (I don’t know who I was worried about offending – Isaac?).

  5. Wow! I never really thought about yeast making before. Presumably, you have to first find some scratch, right? (In other words, I’d be completely lost.)

  6. (17) Yesterday is a movie for Joe Biden supporters: The protagonist is a plagiarist, and the story is a reinforcement of Boomer cultural hegemony.

    And I say this as someone who has a lot of affection for uncle Joe.

  7. (17) Okay, so i’m an old fogey, but I loved the Beatles from the first time I heard them on my AM radio, and I really enjoyed this film. But sf it is not.

  8. (19) Well…Michael Chabon did write the Short Trek “Calypso,” which proved to be rather prophetic, even if we don’t yet know how it’s going to play out.

    (10) snort I didn’t know Avatar had a box office “re-coed.” There’s a groanworthy pun in there somewhere.

  9. 8) D’Onofrio was also in David People’s lone directorial outing, the post-apocalyptic sports film The Blood of Heroes (aka Salute of the Jugger). One of those “sure it sounds stupid, but it’s actually pretty damn cool” movies. Full of great lines, surprisingly good performances (given the material, not the actors), brilliant action sequences and some fairly good world-building.

    Try and find the Australian-market Salute of the Jugger version, the extended bittersweet ending is so much better.

  10. Bonnie McDaniel: Appertain yourself your favorite coeducational beverage!

  11. (3) That was a nice piece. As someone who grew up in a non-fannish family I grew up with the impression that the fannishly born and bred were exempt from the gatekeepers who were always checking up on fanbastards like myself. It wasn’t until I discovered more gatekeepers in activities like music and gaming that I realized it wasn’t just me.

  12. With NEKROTRONIC: those of us who remember the crazy Australian films of the ’70s and ’80s are pleased to learn that in Australia, they still know how to make cheese!

  13. Vincent D’Onofrio also played the Marvel superhero Thor in the 1987 film Adventures in Babysitting. (Yes, he did. Shhh. I’m 100% on Sara’s side, he was Thor, having a temporary superhero memory lapse. Happens to the best of us.)

  14. 3) I’ve always used SF and knew that sci-fi was a term clueless folks used. No idea where I picked it up, but then I often read SF magazines and non-fiction books about SF in the bookstore as a teen (because I couldn’t afford to buy them) and picked up a lot of terms and knowledge that way.

    5) Tom Hillenbrand won the Radiio Bremen Krimipreis, a crime fiction award, last year, which is quite surprising, because he’s more of an SF than crime fiction writer. Sibylle Berg is a writer and columnist who occasionally ventures into SFF territory. I quite like her work. I’m not familiar with Regine Bott a.k.a. Kris Brynn

  15. Cora Buhlert: I couldn’t say if anyone before Harlan Ellison derided the term “sci-fi”, but it was one of his bugaboos and he was very influential in shaping new fans of my generation. Scoffing at Forry Ackerman’s coinage “sci-fi” was one of many bits of received wisdom. (And as “sci-fi” became prevalent anyway, there was an effort to take away the credit for its invention from Ackerman and give it to Heinlein, but that was proved bogus — by some commenters on this very blog!)

  16. 3) I picked up somewhere that you could say Sci-Fi for movies and TV-series, but the rest was always SF. I have no idea where.

    Someday, I’m going to make a Gatekeeper Bingo Card, just to see how much of gatekeeping I’m doing myself. I know there are some stuff that I used to be doing that I’ve had to stop. I used to ask a lot of questions to new people about books and comics to get an idea of on what level we could speak, but found out that it was taken as a cross-examination of fan credentials. That was kind of embarassing. And I guess there’s a lot of small things like that which I’m still doing without thinking of it. Only reacting if others do the same. And I have a depressing feeling I was much worse when I was younger. I was one of those idiots that didn’t like Van Halens Jump because there was synths in it. For some reason it was important to not mix hard rock with synths.

  17. @ Hampus – I felt the same way about mixing rock guitar and synths, but gave Jump a pass because… well, it’s Van Halen. And I guess Rush was okay too. For the longest time though I never liked the mixture of fantasy and sci fi.

    Re Harlan and SF – wasn’t it short for ‘speculative fiction’, an attempt to add gravitas to the genre? At any rate, whenever I see ‘SF’ written it still always sounds as ‘sci-fi’ in my head.

  18. (3) That was a lovely piece.
    There have long been discussions about whether or not the basic human nature is to be “tribal”; to divide the world into “us” and “them”, on the understanding that “they” are wrong, whoever or whatever “they” are, and that challenging any aspect of the tribal credo results in expulsion for heresy.
    I am tending towards the view that the division is actually between the folk who are tribal and the folk who are not. And the folk who are not are largely out of luck because all the support structures are, almost by their very nature, tribal. (And yes, this is a gross oversimplification. It’s merely the best fit I have yet found.)

  19. We have two terms, so let’s give them consistent meanings. You read sf; you watch sci-fi.

  20. 3) Today is the first time I’m hearing that there is anything wrong with sci-fi. I think I’m going to pretend that I never heard it.

  21. @David Brain — I think it’s a little more like the people who feel strong allegiance to an existing tribal structure, versus those who don’t. This maps pretty well to the divide between authoritarian personalities and non-authoritarians: legitimacy is either derived from tradition or from agreement.

    Orthogonal to this axis is the FIAWOL/FIJAGH axis.

  22. I think there’s a comment in Billion Year Spree along the lines of “only would-be trendies use ‘sci-fi’.” Personally, I think there are bigger things to get upset over….

  23. (8) Not technically genre, but Vincent D’Onofrio played Robert E. Howard in the movie “The Whole Wide World.” It was based on Novalyne Price‘s memoirs. (Price was played by Renée Zellweger.)

  24. Tangentially related to (1), I started Mary Robinette Kowall’s Calculating Stars last night (after finishing, and very much enjoying, Cat Valente’s Space Opera).

  25. Meredith moment: the sequel to calculating stars, the fated sky, is $2.99 today.
    Also, all three books of the centennial cycle and two of the laundry files.

  26. Harlen Ellison used to get up on stage when he was GoHing conventions and make the audience pledge not to use the term “sci-fi”. Alas, I fell for the gatekeeping myself. I’m better, now.

    (He led a call-and-response chant that went something like “I will never… (I will never) … Say “sci-fi”… (say “sci-fi”)…. Again!”

    So far as I am aware, Harlan was the sole instigator (and active promoter) of the anti-“sci-fi” culture in SF fandom… but he was such a Big Name at the time that everyone fell in line.

  27. Also Meredith Momenting today: Port of Shadows, the new Black Company book by Glen Cook.

  28. Woot! My second title!

    I remember being harshly corrected by my father the first time I used the phrase “sci-fi” in his presence. Call it childish rebellion, but I refuse to correct or deride anyone on their choice of names. Whatever you call it cannot alter my enjoyment.

  29. I hadn’t known there was a distinction between saying SF and sci-fi; I’m not sure whether to put down the fact that I never heard a word about using “sci-fi” to the fact that I am a younger fan, or whether I benefited from that phenomenon where white guys don’t get the same scrutiny from our would-be gatekeepers as all others.

  30. 16) THE 7TH VICTIM has one of the most downbeat endings for a film, the overwhelming and subtle ending makes it one of the films I own and acknowledge as interesting but will not easily rewatch.

    Ellison’s hatred for the term “sci-fi” is linked to his open acknowledged and publicized dislike towards Forry Ackerman, who coined the term.

  31. @TYP–I think it’s mainly that you’re a younger fan.

    To me, sci-fi was what they called it when they were mocking and insulting us for the “stupid, childish” stuff we read, always equating it with the very worst, low-budge, badly-written science fiction movies.

    And then, at some point, the media wasn’t talking that way, there were good sf movies and good sf tv shows, and younger fans obviously didn’t care about any such distinction. I’m sure it wasn’t anything like as abrupt as it felt.

  32. @Lis Carey

    To me, sci-fi was what they called it when they were mocking and insulting us for the “stupid, childish” stuff we read, always equating it with the very worst, low-budge, badly-written science fiction movies.

    Yeah, that’s what I gleaned reading about SF as a kid: You called it “sci-fi” to signal that you thought it was trash. “SF” was what people who liked it used. To this day, I never use “sci-fi,” but I’ve never tried to tell anyone else they can’t.

  33. @ Hampus

    I don’t blame you for being wary of synths and heavy metal. For example, Final Countdown by Europe demonstrates how synths can all go wrong in rock.

    ObSci-Fi – Though I have been outside of fandom for most of my life, I somehow picked up the “SF”/”sci-fi” false dichotomy. I blame my subscription to Analog from 1980 through 1995.

  34. @2: as with other Wikipedia articles (e.g. Tom Smith), the question is whether somebody will knock this one out due to being insufficiently (self-?)important.

    @8: ah yes, Moskowitz the great noisemaker, once characterized as the author of the only book (The Immortal Storm, IIRC) in which the start of World War II is an anticlimax.

    @Kip Williams: I suspect Darrell’s coins are real, just cheaper because they were worth less originally (and so minted in greater numbers).

    also @Kip Williams: the standard method of “making” yeast is to put out some yeast feeder and wait for it to catch; yeast spores are everywhere. The trick is separating out the ones that add off-flavors (cf “sourdough”) — for chosen values of “off”; the Belgian beer style “lambic” is properly fermented by opening the windows rather than adding cultured yeast (at least for genuine lambic; in the US the term is not restricted, rather like “champagne”).

    re “sci-fi”: the defining use I remember hearing a very long time ago was the CBS exec who told Roddenberry “We don’t need another sci-fi show; we’ve got Lost in Space.” I have never run into what I consider a solid confirmation of this story (it may have been spread by Harlan, which suggests it was imaginative), but it represented a semi-shibboleth dividing those who lumped crap and OK stuff together from those who didn’t, rather than dividing by medium.

  35. Greg Hullender says Yeah, that’s what I gleaned reading about SF as a kid: You called it “sci-fi” to signal that you thought it was trash. “SF” was what people who liked it used. To this day, I never use “sci-fi,” but I’ve never tried to tell anyone else they can’t.

    The first time I heard the term that I recall was when the channel now known as Syfy was launched as the Sci-Fi Channel in the early Nineties. I’ve never used it myself preferring SF as it just seems more traditional.

  36. I never gave much heed to Harlan’s rants (except as a minor form of entertainment), but he was far from the only one to find “sci-fi” grating on the ear and a signal that the user was probably a slumming interloper or a neo coming in to a print-centric subculture from the TV/movies/comics world. (This, recall, goes back more than a generation.) And the notion of anyone forming their opinion of science fiction from Forry Ackerman still makes me cringe.

    I’m not a gatekeeper (what gate?), just a guy with an ear. And (to use another doorway metaphor) that horse is long out of the barn and over the horizon, so there’s no point in complaining. But, like Greg H., I never use the phrase myself. (Just as I never use “spirituality” unironically. It’s a tic, but mine own.)

  37. As far as making your own yeast goes: most of the recipes call for potatoes (boiled and mashed with the cooking water) and hops. Some are “caught” yeast, though, and one uses yeast cakes dried yeast as a “starter” which it expands.

  38. I wish people HAD given more heed to Ellison’s rants. Because being on the receiving end of his caustic sarcasm as a teen was no fun.

    I’ve seen a bunch of the Hugo Finalists on sale. Everyone should probably go do a
    Meredith check if they want to buy any.

  39. Another of Harlan’s contributions to the received wisdom is that a real pro would never let himself be nominated for a fan Hugo. We know how that one turned out, too.

  40. bookworm, thanks to you I’ve added “The Fated Sky” and the last book in the Centenal cycle to Mt Tsundoku.

    Also, I have some 40-year-old sourdough starter. Time to feed it again….

  41. Chip Hitchcock:
    My favorite Moskowitz story: I expect someone here knows the actual details. I just recall Art Widner either told me the story or was in it.

    In brief, someone is walking up to a function room at a con as someone else is walking out. The arriving fan asks the other what’s going on in the room and is informed “Sam Moskowitz is recounting the history of Fandom in real time.”

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