Pixel Scroll 7/21/19 But He Can’t Be A Fan Because He Don’t Scroll The Same Pixel As Me

(1) CROWDSOURCED SUCCESSES. The appeal to help send Tiptree Fellow Vida Cruz to Dublin 2019, “Help Vida attend the 77th WorldCon in Dublin!”, has raised $1,230 at this writing, slightly more than its target figure.

Con or Bust so generously sent me funds to pay for accommodations and airfare–two large chunks of expenses that make me hopeful that I will be able to attend. In fact, I have already booked the tickets and my AirBnB stay. I need only save up for food, transportation, and other smaller travel expenses.

However, I hit several snags recently. Sudden health issues required medicines and physical therapy. As a freelancer, my biggest contract was recently ended, and so I have been searching for part-time gigs and full-time jobs to not only help me fund this trip and pay GoGetFunding, but to help pay for my daily and medical needs. Your contribution will greatly help toward lessening the amount I need.

And when Brandon O’Brien was trying to round up the last $700 he needed to get to Dublin, look what happened! Jeff VanderMeer put up 7 of the Sub Press Borne signed special editions for $100 each to the first 7 takers. And just like that, he was funded.

(2) IN TIMES TO COME. Ethan Alter, in the Yahoo! Entertainment story “Everything Marvel Has Planned for Phase 4:  Natalie Portman Returns As A New Thor, Mahershala Ali Will Be Blade, Angelina Jolie Trains to Be An Eternal, More” has the lineup for the next two years of movies and TV shows Marvel unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con.

Here’s who you won’t see as Phase 4 unfolds between May 2020 and November 2021: Spider-Man, Star-Lord and a new Iron Man. But you will meet what’s easily the most diverse superhero line-up in comic book movie history, including a master of kung fu and a group of eternals. You’ll also welcome back a strange sorcerer, a sharpshooting archer and a sword-swinging Valkyrie. Based on the crowd reaction, the most anticipated reunions are with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who will be returning as a thunder goddess, and that vampire hunter Blade, now played by two-time Oscar winner, Mahershala Ali.

(3) STAR DREAMING. Michael Benson’s New York Times opinion piece declares “Science Fiction Sent Man to the Moon”.

Most major achievements, be they personal or collective, arrive after rehearsals. Some unfold as flights of the imagination. The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing provides a great opportunity to examine how an entire branch of speculative fiction — novels, short stories and also feature films — lies behind the first human footprints on another world.

Works of fiction aren’t particularly known for having influenced historical events. Yet some foundational early rocket science, embedded deep within the developmental history of the Saturn 5 — the towering, five-stage rocket that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon 50 years ago this week — was paid for by the budget of the first science fiction film to envision just such a voyage in realistic terms.

Spaceflight as we know it today wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for three extraordinary figures: the borderline-crazy Russian spaceflight visionary Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the hard-right nationalist German-Transylvanian rocketry pioneer Hermann Oberth and the idiosyncratic American rocketeer Robert Goddard. All devised their distinctive strains of rocket science in response to speculative novels, specifically the stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells — founders of a nascent genre later to be known as science fiction. Tsiolkovsky and Oberth also had important roles to play in early 20th century film projects depicting trips to the Moon.

… Of the three, only Tsiolkovsky actually wrote science fiction, which he used as a scratch pad for his revolutionary ideas. Living in near-poverty 100 miles southwest of Moscow, he also issued a stream of theoretical papers. In articles published in 1911-12, he came up with the great utopian credo of the space age: “Earth is the cradle of the mind, but humanity can’t live in its cradle forever.”

(4) THAT OTHER 50TH ANNIVERSARY. NPR profiled SDCC: “San Diego Comic-Con Is Turning 50: Here’s Its Origin Story”.

Fifty years ago, a bunch of comics fans in San Diego decided they wanted a way to meet other fans. They were mostly teenagers — okay, and two adults — but what they created became the pop culture phenomenon we know as San Diego Comic-Con.

Today, Roger Freedman is a physics professor, but in 1969 he was 17 years old — and he had no idea what he was about to get himself into. “I think it’s fair to say that if you had come to us and said how Comic-Con was going to evolve, we would have said A) what are you smoking, and B) where can we buy some?”

It all started with a guy named Shel Dorf — one of only two adults involved with that first convention. Dorf had some experience attending and planning conventions, and more importantly, he had connections. He knew Jack Kirby, the legendary co-creator of characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. And Kirby was willing to talk to a bunch of kids.

“I think we thought comic creators lived on some comic book Mount Olympus and couldn’t be approached by normal mortals like us,” says Mike Towry, who was 14 when he got involved with the convention committee. “And then to find out that we could actually meet them and talk to them one on one, and then have a convention where they would come and we would get to hang out with them was just kind of mind-blowing.”

(5) THE POWER OF TRANSLATION. Nathaniel Isaacson authors “Dispatches from the Future of a New China” for the LA Review of Books.

…It’s not hyperbole to say that without Ken Liu and his Herculean efforts in translation, Chinese SF would not exist — or at least it would not exist in its current state. When Ken Liu’s 2014 translation of Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem (2008) won the Hugo Award in 2015, not only was it the first Chinese work awarded the honor, it was the first work in translation from any language to be lauded so. At some point in the past decade, Chinese SF went from “having a moment” to “enjoying its golden age,” and if 2015 wasn’t the exact moment that shift happened, it was certainly when the translation heard round the world was sounded. The Three-Body Problem’s award signaled the significance of Chinese SF to many Anglophone readers for the first time, but equally important was its reaffirmation of Chinese SF for local readers. Liu’s translation has in turn been the source for the novel’s translations into other languages, putting Liu at the vanguard of Chinese SF’s march toward the world. Within hours of the award announcement, domestic internet searches and sales of both the first book and of Liu Cixin’s whole 2008–2010 trilogy increased more than tenfold. Publishing houses and state institutions like the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China redoubled their efforts using SF as a vehicle for promoting China’s “peaceful rise,” and have identified SF as a key aspect of their propaganda and publicity campaigns.

In the same issue, Virginia L. Conn discusses Ken Liu’s earlier work: “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Finding and Losing Oneself in ‘Invisible Planets’”.

Just as, when pressed, Calvino’s Marco Polo claims that “[e]very time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice,” every story in Invisible Planets is saying something about the author’s own position — but that may or may not be the China we know (or think we know). Invisible Planets is not only the spiritual successor to Calvino’s Invisible Cities: it evinces the same magic without following the same formula, creating a panoply of possible worlds that may or may not be our worlds, and which may or may not be true.

(6) BRAZILIAN INVITATION. Canadian sff author Craig Russell received multiple items of good news recently.

First, “an incredibly kind” review of his novel Fragment written by Brazilian literature professor, Dr. Zélia M. Bora and published in The Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature and Ecocritics.

Some of the comments, translated from Portuguese:

  • “Craig Russell’s clever and captivating novel captures the sensitive reader’s attention from the beginning to the end of the narrative, in a balanced way between the real and the imagined.”
  • Fragment is undoubtedly one of the most important ecocritical fiction works written in this millennium.”

Russell has also received an invitation to speak about the novel at the 2020 Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (Brazil) conference in the city of Curitiba, Brazil (pending travel grant funding approvals.)

(7) STALKER. BBC has more information about the tragedy — “Kyoto Animation fire: Suspect ‘spotted in area’ days before”.

The man suspected of carrying out a deadly arson attack on a Japanese animation studio may have visited the area before, local media reported.

Neighbours spotted a man resembling Shinji Aoba near the Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) office before Thursday’s fire.

Mr Aoba, 41, who suffered severe burns, is in police custody and has been transferred to a hospital in Osaka.

On Saturday, a man died in hospital from his injuries, bringing the death toll from the attack to 34.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 21, 1911 Marshall McLuhan. He coined the expressions the medium is the message and global village, and predicted the World Wide Web almost thirty years before it was invented. I read The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects a long time ago. Somehow it seemed quaint. (Died 1980.)
  • Born July 21, 1921 James Cooke Brown. He’s the creator of Loglan. Oh, and he did write SF. The Troika Incident written in 1970 features a global data net. That, and two short pieces of fiction, are the sum total of his of genre writings. The Troika Incident is available from Kindle but not from iBooks. (Died 2000.)
  • Born July 21, 1933 John Gardner. Grendel, the retelling of Beowulf from the monster’s viewpoint, is likely the only work he’s remembered for. Gudgekin The Thistle Girl (and Other Tales) are genre fairy tales as are The King of the Hummingbirds (and Other Tales)A Child’s Bestiary is, well, guess what it says it is. Mickelsson’s Ghosts, his final novel written before his untimely death, is a ghost story. (Died 1982.)
  • Born July 21, 1939 John Woodvine, 80. First role in our realm is as Macbeth at Mermaid Theatre back in the early Sixties. Shortly thereafter, he’s Badger in Toad of Toad Hall at the Comedy Theatre before being The Marshal in the Fourth Doctor story, “The Armageddon Factor”.  He’s in An American Werewolf in London as Dr. J. S. Hirsch, and he had a recurring role in The Tripods as Master West. He did show up on The Avengers several times, each time as a different character, and he was Singri Rhamin for the episodes of Danger Man
  • Born July 21, 1948 G. B. Trudeau, 71. Not precisely genre or even genre adjacent, but he did an amazing series on the Apple Newton when it came out.
  • Born July 21, 1951 Robin Williams. Suicides depress me. I remember a bootleg tape of a performance of him and Carlin in their cocaine fueled days. Such manic energy. Genre wise, he was brilliant in most everything he did, be it Mork & Mindy, Hook, The Fisher King, Bicentennial Man or Jumanji. (Died 2014.)
  • Born July 21, 1960 Lance Guest, 59. An American film and television actor, best known for his lead role in The Last Starfighter. He also shows up in Jaws: The Revenge as Michael Brody, as Jimmy in Halloween II, as Kyle Lane in the “Fearful Symmetryepisode of The X-Files and as The Burning Zone in “The Critical Mass” episode.
  • Born July 21, 1976 Jaime Murray, 43. If you watch genre television, you’ve most likely seen her as she’s been Helena G. Wells in the Warehouse 13, Stahma Tarr in Defiance, Fiona/the Black Fairy In Once Upon a Time, Antoinette in The Originals, and Nyssa al Ghul in Gotham. Film wise, she was Livinia in The Devil’s Playground and Gerri Dandridge in Fright Night 2: New Blood

(9) DRIVE AROUND THE BLOCK AGAIN. Referring to the second tweet below — You never know who you’re going to wish you’d run into at Comic-Con.

(10) YEAR 6 IS IN THE BANK. The Uncanny Magazine Kickstarter is clicking along, too. Year 6 is funded, and they’re in hot pursuit of their second stretch goal already, with 24 days remaining.

(11) ON THE HORIZON. The “Strange Horizons 2020” Kickstarter has also passed its $13,000 goal with 9 days to go in the campaign.  

(12) EYE ON THE PRIZE. Bonnie McDaniel has posted her assessment of the Hugo Dramatic Presentation Long Form Finalists: “Hugo Reading (Viewing) 2019: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”. Coming in last place —

6) Avengers: Infinity War

This was the Big Superhero Showdown Marvel’s been aiming towards for ten years, but when I saw it, it felt a bit….underwhelming. With so many characters tossed into the mix and so much to do, there wasn’t time for any of them to make much of an impression, with the possible exception of Thor and Rocket. Also, if I’d been Chris Pratt, I would have been ticked off by the way my character was forced to wield the Starlord Stupid Stick, not once but twice. If Peter Quill had only killed Gamora in the beginning, like she asked him to do and he agreed, Thanos would never have found the Soul Stone. Of course, then we wouldn’t have had a $2 billion-plus grossing movie…..

(13) WIDENING GYRE OF HUGO COVERAGE. Steve J. Wright has completed his Campbell Best New Writer reviews + Pro Artist Hugo and Retro Hugo reviews.

(14) THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Gizmodo reveals the final selling price of those newsworthy tapes: “Former NASA Intern Scores $1.82 Million for Moon Landing Tapes He Bought at Auction”

Former NASA intern Gary George sold off three of the agency’s videotapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing for $1.82 million at auction house Sotheby’s on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of the event, CNN reported.

Sotheby’s claims the videos have not been enhanced, restored, or otherwise altered and are the “earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man’s first steps on the moon,” CNN wrote. George paid $217.77 in 1976 (approximately $980 in today’s dollars) for 1,150 reels of NASA magnetic tape at a government auction while he was a Lamar University student interning at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

(15) CREDENZAS FOR CREDENTIALS. The Washington Post says these are the cat’s meow: “Custom wood kennels and memory foam beds: Welcome to the wild world of modern pet furniture”. (With photos.)

…For discerning pet owners who treat their cats and dogs like family — in some cases better than family — designers are creating stylish, even glamorous, furniture. Witness the new $5,000 Crystal Clear Lotus Cat Tower by the Refined Feline, with three platforms for lounging and a hideaway cubby at the bottom lined in white faux fur. (You can see one at the trendy Los Angeles cat cafe Crumbs & Whiskers.) And now you and Buddy can catnap or watch DOGTV on matching tufted Chesterfield-style Wayfair Archie & Oscar sofas; his is a $399 miniaturized version of yours in faux-leather scaled with similar nailhead trim and turned legs.

(16) IT WAS ALL A DREAM. Or maybe Archer was just pining for the fjords for three seasons. Anyway: “FX’s Archer renewed for surprise season 11, reveals major changes”. Entertainment Weekly interviews the showrunners.

FX’s Archer has some huge changes coming for season 11. The first piece of news is that there is going to be a season 11 (creator Adam Reed has previously suggested the show might end after the current 10th season). The second revelation is — as Archer producers just revealed at Comic-Con in San Diego on Friday — that Sterling Archer is going to wake from his three-year coma in the upcoming finale as the show plans a return to its spy agency roots next season. But there’s a lot more to it than just that.

EW exclusively spoke to executive producers Matt Thompson and Casey Willis about their season 11 shakeup. We got the scoop on the show’s major story line for next season, how long Archer has been in a coma, the future involvement of Reed on the show, and more.

(17) NEW STONE AGE. NPR reports “Notre Dame Fire Revives Demand For Skilled Stone Carvers In France”

A little over three months after Paris’ Notre Dame caught fire, French officials say the cathedral is still in a precarious state and needs to be stabilized. Ultimately, they aim to restore the monument, a process that will take years.

When that work begins, there will be a new demand for experts who have the same skills required to build Notre Dame 900 years ago. In the workshops of the Hector Guimard high school, less than three miles from the cathedral, young stone carvers are training for that task.

In an airy and light-filled workshop in the north of Paris, a handful of students chip and chisel away at heavy slabs of stone. Each works on his or her own piece, but all are sculpting the same project: the base of a Corinthian column. The students are earning a professional degree to hew the stone pieces needed to maintain and restore France’s historical monuments.

…”In the beginning, it was my own parents who were surprised when I left my architecture studies to do this,” says Marjorie Lebegue. “But most everyone who finds out I’m studying to be a stone carver says, ‘Wow, what a beautiful profession.'”

Luc Leblond instructs the aspiring stone carvers.

“There’s no reason this should be a masculine profession,” he says. “Men have more physical force, but as a professor, I see the women have a sharpened sensitivity for the more detailed work. So it’s complementary.”

(18) GOOD PLACE BLOOPERS. Shown at Comic-Con –

(19) EVEN BIGGER BLOOPER. ComicBook.com covers the hottest cosplay at Comic-Con:

Los Angeles Times correspondent Benjamin Crutcher wound up going viral at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con by cosplaying as the infamous coffee cup that appeared during an episode of the final season of Game of Thrones.

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “The Simpsons:  Russian Art Film Version” on YouTube is what the opening of “The Simpsons” would be like in a gloomy Soviet apartment complex.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

51 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/21/19 But He Can’t Be A Fan Because He Don’t Scroll The Same Pixel As Me

  1. (8) Loglan shows up in SF in a few places, most notably perhaps in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (which I read ages before I learned that Loglan was real).

  2. “Thora” is a rather uncommon feminine name–the feminine of “Thor”, god of thunder in Norse mythology. The tale is told–on the BBC program “My Word”, but I forget whether it was by Frank Muir or Dennis Norden–of a costume party being given by one Thora Tidmarsh, at which the guests were to dress up as a quotation from Shakespeare. The narrator was unable to think of a suitable quotation or costume for it, until he remembered a line from “Measure for Measure”: “Dressed in a little brief authority”. “Aha!” he said, and stripped down, covered himself with soft French cheese, and went to the party “dressed in a little brie for Thora T.” We’re not told whether he won the prize for “best costume”.

  3. Back from Comic Con. I lost some weight in the wallet region but gained it back in the belly region. Personal high point: getting an autographed Groo print from Sergio Aragones. Favorite cosplayer: I found an adorable little dog with a Wonder Woman costume and every time people took her picture she would pose and smile and wag her tail like mad.

  4. Thora is also the name of Perry Rhodan’s first alien wife. Currently in the series a space ship is named after her.

  5. Ahem. John Champlin Gardner (not to be confused with John Edmund Gardner, who wrote genre-adjacent thrillers, authorized James Bond novels, and Moriarty-centered Conan Doyle pastiches), wrote a great deal more work of genre interest beyond Grendel, some of which is quite memorable. Jason and Medeia, a book-length poem on the mythic characters. The King’s Indian, a story collection including several fantasies, including the title novella and a novelette published in Ted White’s Fantastic. Freddy’s Book, an overtly supernatural novella embedded in a Gothic frame. Most of all The Sunlight Dialogues, a massive genre-bending novel which saunters through the mythic while denying that anything supernatural took place in its pages (but may well take pains to make clear that it’s heart is not in the denials). Also remembered for several non-fiction books on writing, particularly the controversial polemic On Moral Fiction. Also a fine writing teacher, who mentored Raymond Carver. I have no idea why the fantasy genre hasn’t embraced him, perhaps the greatest “mainstream” American fantasist since Shirley Jackson.

  6. 2) Some day, when I have Hollywood amounts of money, I’m going to make a movie about how Jesus gets PTSD from hanging on the cross, stops being worthy of the title of Jesus and escapes earth on a space ship. But that doesn’t matter, because Maria Magdalena was a better Jesus than Josefsson anyway.

  7. Judge Magney: The King’s Indian, a story collection including several fantasies, including the title novella and a novelette published in Ted White’s Fantastic.

    I told Cat offline about how much influence that collection had on my writing — though no blame should attach to Gardner for the results….

  8. When i was a kid and took the recommendations of Time magazine seriously, I was lucky enough to have them recommend The Sunlight Dialogues. Thanks to Judith Merril, I thought it was SF, and I suppose it was. It certainly blew my mind and possibly wants a revisiting.

  9. Which filer was it that made the wonderful Swamp Thing reread? I can’t map the account to a nick here and anonymous comments are disabled, so I couldn’t leave my appreciation there.

    Anyhow, I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the summaries and they fairly matched up to my own impressions. I stopped buying Swamp Thing myself sometime after the Veitch run and while I did read most of the stuff up to Vaughan, it was in a very superficial way (because I didn’t like it, I only wanted to have some grasp of the continuity) and I have forgotten most of it.

    I feel that Swamp Thing has the same problem as many other comics. On the one hand, one of the things I enjoy that kind of comics for is building up a knowledge and a history about a character. On the other hand, with so many contradictory elements from different writers, part of that knowledge is constantly thrown away, or brought back in ways that do not fit neither history or feel. It just isn’t the same comic anymore and so no reason to buy for that, but on the other hand, the old lore serves as a block for new readers. Or old readers that skipped 5 years or so.

    I have started to skip out on DC and Marvel for those reasons (together with too many Crossovers).

    Anyhow, it was great visiting all those memories again with some new perspectives and insights.

  10. To be as fair as I can bring myself to be to the empty-headed whiners: In the comics, Thor was a frog before he was a woman. But do we see any movies about Frog-Thor? No-o-o-o! I demand equal rights for frogs! 😀

  11. Removing the name is what irritated me. It is like Steve Rogers not being worthy as Captain America, being a fat alcoholic and all that, so now someone else would get to be called Steve while he would only be plain Rogers.

    Letting someone else be the God of Thunder has much more logic to it.

  12. Which name? Donald Blake? I don’t think they ever used that in the movies.

    (Although it would have made a bit more sense if the version of Thor that was Donald Blake was the one that became the Thor that was Jane Foster.)

  13. Xtifr on July 22, 2019 at 12:18 am said:

    Which name? Donald Blake? I don’t think they ever used that in the movies.

    I think there was a joke reference to the name in the first movie [I can’t quite remember – on a name badge?]

  14. In the comics, when Jane Foster was wielding Mjolnir she was Thor, and the god formerly known as Thor was called simply “Odinson”.

  15. “In the comics, when Jane Foster was wielding Mjolnir she was Thor, and the god formerly known as Thor was called simply “Odinson”.”

    This is exactly what I was thinking of. Being Jane Foster, God of Thunder, would have been logical. Becoming Thor Foster, Goddess of Thunder, is more illogical. Or possibly Jane Thor Foster. Or whatever they were thinking of.

    As said, Thor is a name. Not a title. Around 8000 people are named Tor/Thor in Sweden now. Around 3000 use the feminine version of Tora/Thora.

    So I hope they will skip out on the name changes in the movie.

  16. Come to think of it, it would at least have been a bit more logical if he had stopped calling himself Odinson, i.e stopped using his fathers name for not being worthy enough.

  17. Names, titles… These things get complicated when you’re talking about gods (and, I guess, other archetypes). Is “Thor, God of Thunder” separate from “Thor Odinson, Aesir”? Is the Thunder-Godness separate from the Thorness, as it were?

    And in possibly a similar vein, is the All-fatherness separate from the Odin-ness?

  18. Maybe Asgard should put out a press release to clarify?

    “It is with sadness that we write to inform you that, at the end of the current aeon, Thor Odinson will be stepping down from his role as god of thunder and leaving the pantheon. His will be a hard act to follow, but we’re pleased to announce the well-deserved promotion of Jane Foster, who we are sure will be an electrifying successor. All are welcome to join us in the Great Hall at close of play today to toast her with a horn of mead.”

  19. (8) Jaime Murray’s father, the actor Billy Murray, is a big fan of the original Bionic Woman tv series, hence her first name.

  20. “It is with sadness that we write to inform you that, at the end of the current aeon, Thor Odinson will be stepping down from his role as god of thunder and leaving the pantheon. His will be a hard act to follow, but we’re pleased to announce the well-deserved promotion of Jane Foster, who we are sure will be an electrifying successor. All are welcome to join us in the Great Hall at close of play today to toast her with a horn of mead.”

    Sent by raven to all major news agencies.

  21. Judge Magney on July 21, 2019 at 9:55 pm said:
    Ahem. John Champlin Gardner (not to be confused with John Edmund Gardner, who wrote genre-adjacent thrillers, authorized James Bond novels, and Moriarty-centered Conan Doyle pastiches), wrote a great deal more work of genre interest beyond Grendel, some of which is quite memorable. Jason and Medeia, a book-length poem on the mythic characters. The King’s Indian, a story collection including several fantasies, including the title novella and a novelette published in Ted White’s Fantastic. Freddy’s Book, an overtly supernatural novella embedded in a Gothic frame. Most of all The Sunlight Dialogues, a massive genre-bending novel which saunters through the mythic while denying that anything supernatural took place in its pages (but may well take pains to make clear that it’s heart is not in the denials). Also remembered for several non-fiction books on writing, particularly the controversial polemic On Moral Fiction. Also a fine writing teacher, who mentored Raymond Carver. I have no idea why the fantasy genre hasn’t embraced him, perhaps the greatest “mainstream” American fantasist since Shirley Jackson.

    Yeah, what he said. (Another fan of John C. Gardner checking in here! Freddy’s Book is certainly genre, and you can make a good case for The Sunlight Dialogues – he will be remembered for other things besides Grendel, good though Grendel undoubtedly is.)

  22. I remembered Gardner’s non-genre novel October Light as excellent and got around to rereading it last year. I wasn’t disappointed.

  23. @15 Instead of (or in addition to?) specially made cat furniture, I bought a desk with room for my computer and other stuff and a cat. Or, later, two cats.

    The cat-suitable desk has a large desktop surface; a built-in storage hutch at the back; and a couple of low shelves/cubbyholes. And the color was chosen to show off Julian’s orange fur: I wouldn’t of course choose a cat to match the furniture, as snarked about in a Saki short story, but there’s no reason not to pick furniture that looks good with the cat you already have.)

    Our long-haired cat Molly likes to lie on or in front of my keyboard, so I can comb and pet her. Kaja prefers the space behind the monitor, or to lie in one of the cubbyholes. And they both like to sit on the top of the hutch; they especially liked that spot in a previous apartment, when my desk was against a wall with a window that started about five feet above the floor.

    We moved last week, and I don’t know yet which cat will decide she likes to sit where, except that Kaja has already chosen the bow window in the kitchen. (Like the window the liked in Arlington, it’s another oddity of 1920s Boston-area architecture. I just wish houses of that vintage had more usable closet space.)

  24. Apropos of absolutely nothing, but possibly of interest to some folks here:

    Three of Judith Tarr’s 1990s historical novels (Throne of Isis (Cleopatra), Queen of Swords (the Crusades) and The Eagle’s Daughter (10th-century Byzantium) just dropped on Kindle with prices ranging from $0.99 to $2.99.

    In related news, I am making some adjustments to the top of my TBR pile …

  25. Vicki Rosenzweig: I bought a desk with room for my computer and other stuff and a cat. Or, later, two cats.

    I would love to see photos, if you have some, when recovery from the move permits! (Imgur allows you to upload anonymously if you don’t have a webspace.)

  26. @8: I read The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects a long time ago. Somehow it seemed quaint. The problem with the cutting edge is that it moves very quickly.

    @12: Is Starlord stupid, or merely not brought up as a goal-focused semi-automaton?

    @16: “pining for the fjords”? Is that phrase still around, or are we dating ourselves?

    @19: Brilliant.

    @Sam Long: Rotsler had a rule about that — with good reason.

    IIRC, the earthbound Thor ends up wearing Donald Blake’s surgical scrubs in the first movie.

  27. Really important birthday not listed: M.P. Shiel, 7/21/1865.

    From Wikipedia (abridged): “Shiel published over 30 books, including 25 novels. The Purple Cloud remains his most famous and often reprinted novel. It has been variously described as both a neglected masterpiece and the best of all Last Man novels. It was credited as the loose inspiration for the 1959 MGM film, The World, the Flesh and the Devil. Stephen King cited it as an influence on his novel The Stand.

  28. John Gardner, wearing his medievalist hat, was one of my grad-school mentors, and I suspect that he saw himself as simply a “writer,” though nothing was really all that simple with John. He was pretty broad-church on literary matters–after all, his academic turf was Chaucer, the Pearl Poet, Malory and other Arthurians, Beowulf, and such, rather than the bourgeois-realist stuff of the 19th-century-and-later Great Tradition novel. He also produced (in collaboration) a translation of Gilgamesh.

    While at Southern Illinois University, John wrote librettos for two operas composed by Joseph Baber: Frankenstein and Rumpelstiltskin. (There is a third, Samson and the Witch, completed after John’s death, that I didn’t know about.) There’s a link to an interview with Gardner and Baber on Baber’s website: https://www.babermusic.com/operas.html

    So I suppose that Gardner ought to be remembered as a fantasist as well as a scholar/novelist. Also a pretty decent singer-banjoist. But mainly, he was all about words, wherever they came from or where they led.

  29. (12) She’s right about Endgame. It’s actually a very bad movie. I think Sorry To Bother You will be higher on my ballot than hers (No surprise because it’s a labour-union movie). But I’m actually embarrassed to see Endgame on the ballot.

    (8) McLuhan’s childhood home is about three blocks from where I live now in Edmonton.

  30. (9) OK, it might be He who shall not be named, but when I first saw the photo, I thought someone was cosplaying The Duke of Spook, the Doc of Shock, the Man with No Tan, Death himself from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

    (8) July 21 was also Don Knotts’s birthday. He was The Incredible Mr. Limpet and The Reluctant Astronaut. Also showed up as himself to help Scooby and the gang solve a mystery on The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

    Also Norman Jewison who directed the original Rollerball. I find its take on corporate power and how fame is manipulated holds up pretty well after 40+ years.

    In the future there will be no war. There will only be Pixel Scroll.

  31. Chip Hitchcock: @16: “pining for the fjords”? Is that phrase still around, or are we dating ourselves?

    Probably both. Members of the Monty Python troupe, collectively and individually, were still actively trading on that brand into the last decade.

  32. Do any of the headline Marvel or DC characters other than Thor go by their personal names, instead of aliases? “The new Batman” or “The new Captain America” doesn’t have the same issues as “The new Thor”. “The new James Bond” would have these issues, if it weren’t for the multitude of actors who have already portrayed 007, and for the multitude of simultaneous James Bonds in the Casino Royale spoof movie.

  33. “Do any of the headline Marvel or DC characters other than Thor go by their personal names, instead of aliases?”

    “Lets change, Fandral. I’m tired of being Grim, so you can be Hogun instead. It is my turn being Dashing.”

  34. Do any of the headline Marvel or DC characters other than Thor go by their personal names, instead of aliases?

    Headline? Er. Kitty Pryde? (She’s had various superhero names.) Guy Gardner? Conan? (Or Ronan for that matter.) Zatanna which is short for Zatanna Zatara. Doctor Doom is just a shortened form of Doctor Victor von Doom. Bucky Barnes before the Winter Soldier?

    Seems like a question for Busiek and Goldfarb.

    With great scrolls comes great pixels

  35. David Shallcross says Do any of the headline Marvel or DC characters other than Thor go by their personal names, instead of aliases? “The new Batman” or “The new Captain America” doesn’t have the same issues as “The new Thor”. “The new James Bond” would have these issues, if it weren’t for the multitude of actors who have already portrayed 007, and for the multitude of simultaneous James Bonds in the Casino Royale spoof movie.

    There’s actually a number of Batmans with Bruce being only one of them. And don’t get me started on the Spider-beings. I’m reasonably sure that there’s now more one Captain America existing in Marvel continuity, so use of personal names has been known to happen.

  36. Peter Parker : No. I’m Peter, by the way.

    Dr. Stephen Strange : Doctor Strange.

    Peter Parker : Oh, you’re using made-up names. Um… I’m Spider-Man, then.

  37. @Hampus: The Swamp Thing thing is mine. Thanks, glad you liked it! I’m never sure whether to post stuff like that here but I figured there are enough comics readers that it might be of interest.

  38. @Joe H.: Yeah, I figure you’d use “Sorcerer Supreme” if you need a non-name title for Dr. Strange.

    @Jack Lint: As you mentioned with Kitty Pryde, a lot of this gets hard to discuss over 70+ years of continuity. Like, I don’t think Guy Gardner goes by Warrior anymore, and Luke Cage isn’t the current Power Man.

  39. Kitty Pryde? (She’s had various superhero names.)

    Jean Grey and Emma Frost have been known more by their names than their aliases at times. Then there’s Jessica Jones and her eponymous Netflix series.

  40. Aside from Kitty Pride; Jean Gray goes by her civilian name a lot more often than as Phoenix (much less Marvel Girl) as does her alt-future daughter Rachel Summers, Emma Frost rarely uses The White Queen, Dani Moonstar went through several names before just using her last name, conversely Hope Summers uses her given one, and Jubilee is a portmanteau of her real name Jubilation Lee.

    Many X-Women apparently think the whole code name thing is a bit silly.

    As for names becoming titles, um… Caesar?

  41. Doctor Occult and Adam Strange are two more heroes under their own names.

  42. @Olav Roknre

    But I’m actually embarrassed to see Endgame on the ballot.

    You’re in luck then, because what’s on the ballot this year is Avengers: Infinity War. 😉 Though Endgame will probably make next year’s Hugo ballot.

    Infinity War is quite a bit higher on my ballot than on yours and Bonnie’s, but you’re right that it doesn’t stand alone very well, unlike the other two superhero movies on the ballot, it’s only half a movie and it relies very much on spectacle and on how engaged you are with the various characters.

    As for Peter Quill, yes, he stupidly wrecks the plan to stop Thanos and indirectly gets half the universe, including himself killed. However, it didn’t find it that out of character for him, because a) Quill isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, and b) he has massive loss and abandonment issues and this loss was probably one loss too many for him. Peter Quill is basically a ten-year-old boy who’s lost his mother stuck in the body of a 35-year-old man.

  43. 8) Just to get it on the record, the John (C.) Gardner story that ran in Fantastic in 1973 was “The Ravages of Spring”, which appeared in “The King’s Indian” the following year. It’s described in reviews as a pastiche of Poe and a re-creation of “The Fall of the House of Usher”. I was surprised to find it in Fantastic (under the editorship of the very faanish Ted White, yet). As a student at Southern Illinois University, coming a few years after Gardner left the faculty, I learned about the writer from taking a class from a professor, who lived very much in the world of literary fiction, and was Gardner’s friend and admirer. He often spoke of him in class. From the context he provided, I didn’t expect that Gardner would sell a story to one of the lower-paying genre magazines.

  44. (20) is pretty hilarious, although it’s no Worker and Parasite.
    (8) Most critics back in the day seem to have panned it, but I thought Gardner’s Freddy’s Book was brilliant.
    Gardner was also Jeffrey Ford’s mentor, and was (according to Ford) a great admirer of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

  45. @P J Evans: he leaves a huge legacy. I wonder whether he was well enough to visit the rebuilt Mission Control (as noted here a few weeks ago).

  46. In terms of superheroes who use their own names rather than super-names, people have covered the main ones I’d have mentioned. Does Nick Fury count as a headliner? There was an angel who was part of the Justice League for a while, named Zauriel. Doctor Anthony Druid was an Avenger. John Constantine may have a series called “Hellblazer” but I don’t recall anyone ever calling him that. (There seems to be something about magic-based characters that makes this kind of thing more likely.) Doctor Terry Thirteen is getting into the obscure. The Metal Men didn’t have any names other than the names of their metals.

    If you want to get into villains, plenty of them just went by their own names: Brainiac, Bizarro, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Kanjar Ro, Despero, the Psycho-Man, Annihilus, Galactus.

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