Pixel Scroll 8/11/20 The Pixel Scrolls So Sweetly, It Lists
The Links Completely

(1) LODESTAR MEMENTO. Fran Wilde shows off her Lodestar finalist pin. The Instagram is a video of her unwrapping the box. Below is a screencap of the pin.

(2) CAN’T TELL THE DC FROM THE DOA. A.V. Club reports “DC Comics hit with huge layoffs, DC Universe streaming service could be dead”.

The WarnerMedia branch of Warner Bros. was hit with a ton of layoffs today, and things seem especially dire this evening for the Warner-owned DC Comics. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a number of high-ranking people at DC are now out, including editor-in-chief Bob Harris, several senior VPs, and some editors (including executive editor Mark Doyle, who was in charge of the publisher’s edgy new Black Label graphic novels). Furthermore, THR’s sources say the layoffs have come for “roughly one third” of DC’s entire editorial staff as well as “the majority” of the people working on the DC Universe streaming service, and the DC Direct merchandise brand has been completely shut down after 22 years of selling Batman toys.

The Hollywood Reporter story adds:

…Insiders also say the majority of the staff of the streaming service DC Universe has been laid off, a move that had been widely expected as WarnerMedia shifts its focus to new streaming service HBO Max.

“DC Universe was DOA as soon as the AT&T merger happened,” said one source.

DC Universe launched in May 2018, and is home to live-action series such as Doom PatrolTitans and Stargirl, as well as animated offerings including Young Justice and Harley Quinn. Some of those shows have now started to stream on HBO Max.

Also a victim of the layoffs: DC Direct, the company’s in-house merchandise and collectibles manufacturer….

(3) THE HORROR. Jo Furniss totes up “10 Novels Based On Folk Horror” at CrimeReads.

…I don’t want to give the impression that my American Rose is some kind of bastard love child of Kate Bush and the Blair Witch. But like other suspense writers who dip their nibs into the cursed waters of folk horror, its elements may be sprinkled into a contemporary novel to create an atmosphere of dread.

The resurgence of the genre shows that folk horror is apt for our times. Identities are fluid. No bad deed goes unpunished. The civilized world is only a heartbeat away from primal and uncanny threats.

The genre is also nostalgic for a rural England that is as far from Downtown Abbey as you can get in a four-horse carriage. This England is afeared of change. In times of crisis, we return to the old ways, which offer a reassuring connection to a simple past. But at the cost of old evils. There is a sense that all progress is a chimera, that our modern sophistication is itself a form of naivety.

(4) BLACK UTOPIA. In “Will I Live to See My Utopia?” at Uncanny Magazine, P. Djèlí Clark responds to HBO’s adaptation of Watchmen.

…Before your mind can make sense of it, words in some shade of Watchmen yellow superimpose across the screen: TULSA 1921.

Gotta admit, didn’t see that coming.

Once those two words flashed, what I was looking at resolved into focus. The Tulsa Race Riots of 1921[5]. The Tulsa Massacre. The scene set off a surge on Google[6] as viewers searched for information on the riot—their first time learning about it. Many Black folks, though, didn’t have to go looking. We’d heard some version of this story. I couldn’t even tell you where or when it was passed on to me—one of those bits of common knowledge that travels along Black intra-community networks, written down in our Scriptures on the Sins of White Folk. The story of the all-Black and self-sustaining community that rose up in the middle of Jim Crow. That prospered, with its own businesses and professionals. Black Wall Street, they called it. Even if you didn’t know every detail—like the discrepancies about airplanes dropping dynamite on buildings, or the disputes over mass graves[7]—you had heard something about Tulsa. It was a story of Black excellence, and Black horror. A tragic tale of a lost world like the city of Atlantis, or doomed Krypton—only snuffed out not by natural disaster or hubris, but by the reckless fires of white supremacy.

Still, the cold open of an HBO production was the last place I expected to see this. I’d gone my entire Black life and never seen a single recreation—not once. Our stories didn’t appear in mainstream productions like this. Our histories certainly weren’t centered this way within a major speculative canon. Our perspective wasn’t supposed to fit into stories of superheroes as jaded vigilantes, a physics- bending blue guy, and the greatest hoax ever played on mankind—à la interdimensional psychic squid.

But here we were. This was happening….

(5) ROBOFLOP. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Robots and disability access clash; everyone loses. TechCrunch’s Haben Girma discusses “The robots occupying our sidewalks” .

The robot, shaped like a large cooler on wheels, zipped along somewhere ahead of me. My left hand clasped the smooth leather harness of my German shepherd guide dog. “Mylo, forward.” The speed of his four short legs complemented the strides of my longer two — call it the six feet fox trot. Together we glided past the competition.

My quarantine buddy stayed behind filming the race. Mylo: 1, Robot: 0.

The Mountain View City Council voted on May 5, 2020 to allow Starship Technologies’ robots on city streets. Founded in 2014, Starship operates no-contact delivery robots in several cities around the world. Customers schedule deliveries of food, groceries or other packages through the Starship app.

My amusement with the little robots shifted to curiosity. Thirty years after the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, many tech companies still fail to design for disability. How would the autonomous robots react to disabled pedestrians?

About 10 feet down the sidewalk, I stopped and turned around. Mylo tensed, his alarm crawling up my arm. The white visage of the robot stopped about a foot from his nose.

I hoped the robot would identify a pedestrian and roll away, but it stayed put. Mylo relaxed into a sitting position — guide dog school didn’t teach him about the robot apocalypse. I scratched his ears and he leaned into my hands. The robot was not moved.

(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

August 11, 1955 X Minus One’s “Almost Human” was broadcast for the first time. The screenplay was written as usual by George Lefferts off of Robert Bloch‘s story of the same name first published in Fantastic Adventures, June 1943. (Last collected in The Complete Stories of Robert Bloch, Volume 1: Final Reckonings, 1990.) Bloch’s tale has a petty criminal taking over an android for what he thinks he is suitable training and has the tables turned on him as the android is too human. The cast included Santos Ortega, Joan Allison, Jack Grimes, Guy Repp, Nat Pollen, Joseph Julian and Lin Cook.  You can listen to it here. (CE)

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertx.]

  • Born August 11, 1902 Jack Binder. In Thrilling Wonder Stories in their October 1938 issue they published his article, “If Science Reached the Earth’s Core”, with the first known use of the phrase “zero gravity”.  In the early Forties, he was an artist for Fawcett, Lev Gleason, and Timely Comics.  During these years, he created the Golden Age character Daredevil which is not the Marvel Daredevil though he did work with Stan Lee where they co-created The Destroyer at Timely Comics. (Died 1986.) (CE) 
  • Born August 11, 1923 – Ben P. Indick.  Fanzine Ben’s Beat; letters, reviews, in AndurilBanana WingsThe Baum BugleThe Call of CthulhuChacalThe Frozen FrogThe Metaphysical ReviewNecrofileNyctalopsRiverside QuarterlyRod Serling’s Twilight Zone MagazineStudies in Weird FictionWeird Tales.  Wrote Ray Bradbury, Dramatist and George Alec Effinger; eight short stories; contributed to Hannes Bok studies and flights of angels (1968), Bok (1974).  First Fandom Hall of Fame.  My attempt to recruit him for APA-L produced, briefly, Chez Ondique.  (Died 2009) [JH]
  • Born August 11, 1928 Alan E. Nourse. His connections to other SF writers are fascinating. Heinlein dedicated Farnham’s Freehold to Nourse, and in part dedicated Friday to Nourse’s wife Ann.  His novel The Bladerunner lent its name to the movie but nothing else from it was used in that story. However Blade Runner (a movie) written by, and I kid you not, William S. Burroughs, is based on his novel. Here the term “blade runner” refers to a smuggler of medical supplies, e.g. scalpels. (Died 1992.) (CE) 
  • Born August 11, 1932 Chester  Anderson. His The Butterfly Kid is the first part of what is called the Greenwich Village Trilogy, with Michael Kurland writing the middle book, The Unicorn Girl, and the third volume, The Probability Pad, written by T.A. Waters. I can practically taste the acid from here… The Butterfly Kid is available from all the usual digital suspects. (Died 1991.) (CE) 
  • Born August 11, 1936 – Bruce Pelz, F.N.  An omnifan who did clubs, collecting, cons, costuming, fanhistory, fanzines, filking, gaming, and, as the saying goes, much much more. Co-chaired Westercon 22 and L.A.Con the 30th Worldcon (with Chuck Crayne); founded Loscon and chaired Loscon 10; Fan Guest of Honor at Noreascon Two the 38th Worldcon; founded the History of Worldcons Exhibit; twice earned the LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Soc.) Evans-Freehafer Award; was named a Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Soc.; service award); Filk Hall of Fame; invented APA-L, contributed to it, FAPA, SAPS, OMPA, The Cult, and for a while every existing apa; recognized fan and pro art with the Fantasy Showcase Tarot Deck (PDF); gave his collection of fanzines, almost two hundred thousand of them, to U. Cal. Riverside.  He was an Eagle Scout.  Here and here are appreciations by OGH.  (Died 2002) [JH]
  • Born August 11, 1949  – Nate Bucklin, 71.  First Secretary of Minn-stf (or stef, from Hugo Gernsback’s word scientifiction) and thus one of its Floundering_Fathers.  Guest of Honor at Minicon 16 and 43, Windycon 32, DucKon IV.  Five short stories.  Fanzine, Stopthink; editor awhile of Rune; founding member of Minneapa.  Being a filker (see link under Bruce Pelz) he was Guest of Honor at GAFilk Six, and the Interfilk Guest at Contata 5.  Once explained to me “We have half these songs memorized – usually the first half.”  [JH]
  • Born August 11, 1959 Alan Rodgers. Author of Bone Music, a truly great take off the Robert Johnson myth. His “The Boy Who Came Back From the Dead” novelette won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Long Fiction, and he was editor of Night Cry in the mid-Eighties. Kindle has Bone Music and a number of his other novels, iBooks has nothing available. (Died 2014.) (CE)
  • Born August 11, 1961 Susan M. Garrett. She was a well-known and much liked writer, editor and publisher in many fandoms, but especially the Forever Knight community. (She also was active in Doctor Who and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne fandoms. And no, I had no idea that the latter had a fandom.) She is perhaps best known for being invited to write a Forever Knight tie-in novel, Intimations of Mortality. It, like the rest of the Forever Knight novels, is not available in digital form. (Died 2010.) (CE) 
  • Born August 11, 1970 – Elizabeth Kiem, 50.  Four novels for us; collaborated on five books about Balanchine.  Three of those four have the Bolshoi Ballet.  [JH] 
  • Born August 11, 1972 – Danielle Wood, 48.  Tasmanian.  Three novels for us (with Heather Rose); dozens more via thus this site (subscription needed).  Website here.  [JH]
  • Born August 11, 1976 Will Friedle, 44. Largely known as an actor with extensive genre voice work: Terry McGinnis aka the new Batman in Batman Beyond which Warner Animation now calls Batman of the FuturePeter Quill in The Guardians Of The Galaxy, and Kid Flash in Teen Titans Go!  to name but a few of his roles. (CE) 
  • Born August 11, 1989 – Will Wight, 31.  Sixteen novels in three series; fourteen shorter stories, most available only here.  Website here.  Some of you will know why I keep misspelling his misspelling his name (and may even know how to spell Nesselrode).  [JH]

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) TOWARDS POGO. Maggie Thompson guides readers through “The Depression Comics Challenge” at SDCC’s Toucan blog.

…Even in high school, Walt Kelly had worked at his local newspaper; after graduation, he even drew that paper a comic strip about the life of P.T. Barnum. While he was also hired for a few freelance assignments while living on the East Coast, he wanted to produce a different sort of comic art. Walt Disney Productions was his goal, he applied to work there, and he was hired.

As he worked for Disney on a variety of projects for the next five and a half years, he became friends with several of his fellow writers and artists. Like many other fledgling creators there, he’d eventually go on to work in the new comic book industry.

But wait. We were wrapping up the 1930s. And the 1940s were just ahead….

(10) CONDEMNED BY THE SCI-FI SCRIBE. In “Awards For Works Should Be Judged By The Work Itself” [Archive Today copy] Richard Paolinelli rolls together the week’s kerfuffles – Hugo toastmaster GRRM mispronouncing names, Jeannette Ng’s Hugo, the Retro-Hugos for Campbell and Lovecraft, and the attack on the concept of an sff canon – into one prodigious blunt and fires it up. Every paragraph is like this:

…And now they want to change the rules for future Retro Hugos it seems. No longer can the best work be nominated, they yowl, but if the creator behind said work does not pass the “Officially Acceptable Wokeness Test” they must be chiseled out of the SF/F historical record forever lest future generations ever hear of their vile “un-woke” creations!

And to make sure we know how unwoke he is, Richard repeatedly misspells N.K. Jemisin’s name, and delivers this bonus blast to John Scalzi’s syndicated movie review column of 30 years ago.

…Even John Scalzi jumped into the fray to declare that we really shouldn’t waste our time on the “old SF/F” stuff and only read the “modern (read: acceptably woke) stuff”.

HISTORICAL NOTE: I had the extreme displeasure of having to read his crap when it shot across the McClatchy Newspaper wire back in the mid-1990s when he was at the Fresno Bee and I worked the copy desk for two days a week at the Modesto Bee (thankfully the other three days I escaped that torture by working in the Sports department.)

When I heard Scalzi had jumped to fiction writing I pitied his poor editor. His stuff at the Bee was always the last we worked on and always need massive reworking to be suitable to run….

(11) DOWN THESE MEAN BOSTON STREETS. Obviously not sff, but I sure have read a hell of a lot of these books. At CrimeReads, Susanna Lee surveys “The World Of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser And The Birth Of The 1970’s Private Detective”. Really, Lee could have been rather more critical and still have been fair to the series.  

…In [The Godwulf Mnuscript], a student member of the anticapitalist committee tells Spenser not to laugh at the group, saying that they are “perfectly serious and perfectly right.” Spenser answers that so is everyone else he knows. In a world that revolves around ideologies and declarations of righteousness, Spenser is glad to meet people who don’t take themselves too seriously. The cast of supporting characters is populated by friends of different genders and colors who operate on principle without saying so, who are more about the walk than the talk. This is part of the hard-boiled principle of understatement; other people’s pain is to be taken seriously, but one’s own is not. But it is also a signal that the hard-boiled is beginning to change his parameters.

(12) AN EX-WIZ OF A WIZ. “Successor To Fill The Shoes Of Retiring New Zealand Wizard” is a short transcript from NPR’s Morning Edition. This is nearly the whole thing:

Ian Brackenbury Channell walks around in black robes and a pointy hat. He’s a tourist attraction, so Christchurch, New Zealand, even pays him. As he steps aside, a successor wizard takes over. Now, you may ask, exactly what magical power does this wizard possess? His answer – every day, the world gets more serious, so fun is the most powerful thing.

(13) NO LONGER AN ENIGMA. “Wartime code breaker helps crack Sheffield birds’ behaviour”.

Scientists have used mathematical equations developed by a wartime code breaker to understand the behaviour of birds.

University of Sheffield researchers used models developed by Alan Turing to study why flocks of long-tailed tits spread out across the countryside.

They found the birds were more likely to stay close to their relatives but avoided larger flocks.

PhD student Natasha Ellison said the maths was essential to the research.

Researchers tracked the birds around Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley, which eventually produced a pattern across the landscape, and they used maths to reveal the behaviours causing these patterns.

The team used equations developed by Mr Turing in the 1950s, who developed them to describe how animals get their spotted and striped patterns.

(14) REVERSE POLARITY. “Stunning ‘reverse waterfall’ filmed near Sydney” is a BBC video.

High winds and torrential rain on the New South Wales south coast in Australia have resulted in a spectacular sight – waterfalls in the Royal National Park being blown in reverse.

(15) WHEN FRUIT COLLIDES. “‘Bullying’ Apple fights couple over pear logo”: BBC’s article includes a picture of the allegedly-infringing graphic.

When Natalie Monson started her food blog 11 years ago, she didn’t expect to end up embroiled in a fight with the world’s most valuable company.

But the US small business owner is now battling Apple for the right to use a pear in the logo on her recipe app.

In a patent filing, Apple said the image was too similar to its own logo and would hurt its brand.

Ms Monson says the tech giant is simply “bullying” and she feels a “moral obligation” to fight back.

More than 43,000 people have already signed the petition she and her husband Russ, owners of the Super Healthy Kids website, created last week to try to pressure the company to back down.

“This is a real world example of a small business being destroyed by a giant monopoly because they don’t have accountability,” Mr Monson told the BBC. “That was so frustrating to us that we thought we had to do something. We can’t just be the next victim on the list.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

(16) A VERY ANTISOCIAL INSECT. Yes, this ant could do anything except bite its way out of a drop of tree resin: “Fossil of fearsome ‘hell ant’ that used tusk-like jaws to hunt its victims discovered in amber” at Yahoo! News.

A 99-million year old fossil of a “hell ant” is giving researchers a glimpse into the behavior of these fearsome ancient insects, a new study reports.

Encased in amber (tree resin), the fossil provides the most vivid picture yet of how hell ants once used their uncanny tusk-like mandibles and diverse horns to successfully hunt down victims for nearly 20 million years, before vanishing from the planet.

“Since the first hell ant was unearthed about a hundred years ago, it’s been a mystery as to why these extinct animals are so distinct from the ants we have today,” said study lead author Phillip Barden of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, in a statement.

(17) WHY IT’S GR8T. In “Honest Trailers:  Avatar–The Last Airbender” on YouTube, the Screen Junkies explain that the anime series Avatar–The Last Airbender is “full of life lessons that will thrill your inner eight-year-old–because it was written for eight year olds.”

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

72 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/11/20 The Pixel Scrolls So Sweetly, It Lists
The Links Completely

  1. (10) CONDEMNED BY THE SCI-FI SCRIBE. When I heard Scalzi had jumped to fiction writing I pitied his poor editor. His stuff at the Bee was always the last we worked on and always need massive reworking to be suitable to run

    Wow! I can smell those sour grapes clear over here! 😀

  2. JJ says of Wow! I can smell those sour grapes clear over here! ?

    You think? Had anyone read these columns? I’d be interested in reading some of them.

  3. I wonder if you get digital access to old issues with a subscription to the Fresno Bee. Only $1.99 for the first month.

  4. Cat Eldridge: I don’t know if those columns are accessible. However, Wikipedia tells me:

    The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies, was released in October 2005. This book covered the history of science fiction and science fiction film and listed a “canon” of 50 significant science fiction films.

    “What’s all this I hear about the canon?” someone asked.

  5. 10) So you were the one who archieved that post before I did. Seems like great minds think alike.

    I also really wonder how Richard feels about this year’s Dragon Award finalists.

  6. 7) The only Nourse that I’m sure I read was Scavengers in Space (a juvie book about a couple of young men who head out to mine the asteroids and have Adventures), but I read that book lots — at some point, probably from a garage sale, we had acquired a copy of the 1959 hardcover. (Much in the same fashion, I’m guessing, as we’d acquired a copy of Assignment in Space with Rip Foster, another asteroid-set book which I read incessantly.)

  7. 10) the absolute best part is his statement I will never accept a Hugo or a Nebula if I won and I’d ensure I wouldn’t win one by demanding my name and work be removed if nominated. I don’t want my works stained by being connected to awards based on hate.

    Now there’s an ego inflated way, way beyond any reasonable size. Just because he got nominated for a Dragon, an exercise slightly less hard to accomplish than a drunken piss, doesn’t mean than he’s of the caliber that should be ever nominated for a Hugo!

  8. (2) CAN’T TELL THE DC FROM THE DOA.

    I subscribe to it. What I think will happen is they’ll strip the video out of it as that’ll be offered up at Warner Video and make a pure comics library like Marvel Unlimited. I think that’s why most fans subscribe anyways. I tend to purchase video off iTunes if I’m really interested in watching it.

  9. (7)
    I remember in the San Fernando Valley secession election, seeing a sign saying “Bruce for Mayor” and going “waitaminnit – he’s dead!”, before realizing they were talking about some guy whose last name was Bruce.

  10. (10) @JJ: Wow! I can smell those sour grapes clear over here!

    That’s because they’ve been fermented to produce a whine.

  11. (7) Chester Anderson. Today Amazing Stories publishes a new short story by Michael Kurland, set in The Greenwich Village Trilogy universe, (maybe, reality tends to shift a lot around there) and illustrated by Al Sirois (Filers may enjoy trying to identify some of the individuals depicted).
    TGVT is also available in a relatively newly released print edition from Dover.
    (and there are reviews of the first two also on the website).

    (I’m still scheduling the day’s posts so not sure when it will go live at this time, but it will be 11 am est or later)

  12. 10) The irony: there’s a grammatical error in his criticism of another writer’s copy. Doh!

  13. (7) Alan Nourse’s *The Universe Between * was an early favorite of mine.

  14. (8) “It’s a cookbook!”

    (10) That’s an … interesting … interpretation of what Scalzi said about SF canon.

    The whole point of most of these discussions is that young fans will be introduced to SF and fantasy by different works than older fans. And people are shocked by this very concept! Even though it’s not a new idea. All new fans were introduced to the genre by different writers than fans who came before them. Maybe some people are so wrapped up in themselves that they can’t figure that out.

    Also, a young fan is probably going to bounce off — and yes, even reject — both the writing style and the ideas in a lot of older SF. You don’t have to be “woke” to come across racism and misogyny in an old story and say “Ugh.” Why is that so hard for people to grasp?

  15. 1) That whole package for the Lodestar finalists is really lovely!

    10) Gotta wonder what he thinks about those Hugo and Nebula finalists getting their cooties all over his precious Dragon Awards this year. And he doesn’t need to worry about demanding his work and name be removed in the less than zero chance that he got anywhere near the Hugo or Nebula ballot — even the Dragons learned the hard way that you should ask people if they accept the nomination.

  16. Laura: And he doesn’t need to worry about demanding his work and name be removed in the less than zero chance that he got anywhere near the Hugo or Nebula ballot — even the Dragons learned the hard way that you should ask people if they accept the nomination.

    I’ve read a sample of Paolinelli’s work. His having to make a decision whether to accept a Hugo nomination isn’t even within the realm of possibility. 😀

  17. Anne Marble: Also, a young fan is probably going to bounce off — and yes, even reject — both the writing style and the ideas in a lot of older SF. You don’t have to be “woke” to come across racism and misogyny in an old story and say “Ugh.” Why is that so hard for people to grasp?

    It’s not that they can’t grasp it. I think that it’s because being faced with that, is being faced with the fact that they’ve turned into their dad or their grandpa — “there’s been no good music / SF / whatever since 19xx!” where 19xx is the sweet spot for their tastes.

    For a lot of people, having to face that what you still like best is long in the past, and is no longer of much interest to a younger person, is a stark reminder that you are no longer a younger person — that time, and tastes, have moved on, and you are still somewhere <——- back there.

  18. @16
    “Murder hornets,” “hell ants:” we need to calm down and accept our arthropod cousins at a more socially-enlightened level. If they decide to press suit, this sort of prejudicial name-calling could result in costly court rulings for humanity. Apparently, insects really bug people. They’re just differently-appendaged.

    @7
    I love The Butterfly Kid. It isn’t great, but it is fun, and very much of its time, a kind of chill PKD, with paisley and bell-bottoms.

  19. Anne Marble asks Also, a young fan is probably going to bounce off — and yes, even reject — both the writing style and the ideas in a lot of older SF. You don’t have to be “woke” to come across racism and misogyny in an old story and say “Ugh.” Why is that so hard for people to grasp?

    I’d say you are woke if you bounce off the racism and misogyny in any story regardless of when it was written. And there’s plenty of genre fiction written today, mostly by Puppies and associated kin, which has more than enough racism, transphobia and misogyny to give anyone who’s woke a queasy feeling. The feelings expressed by Paolinelli in his Scalzi tirade are fortunately limited I think to fewer fans and writers every year.

  20. Also, the whole canon tsimmes reminds me of the statue tete-a-tete. No mature person cares whether others acknowledge the importance of their own cherished tchochkes, and no sophisticated apologia can disguise the underlying psychological difficulty.

  21. JJ says For a lot of people, having to face that what you still like best is long in the past, and is no longer of much interest to a younger person, is a stark reminder that you are no longer a younger person — that time, and tastes, have moved on, and you are still somewhere <——- back there.

    JJ, the average bookstore genre fiction I’ve seen used to be heavily stocked with what, for lack of a better word, I’ll call the classics. What I’ve noticed in the last decade is less of those are being stocked, save Bradbury and such but even there just a few titles, and more of the really new writers are getting stocked such as Chambers and Tidhar. This indeed suggests your thesis is right as the older works must not be selling as well as they used to.

  22. I will readily acknowledge that I am no longer young — and you will have to pry my 80’s hair band rock from my cold, dead hands! 😀

    Having said that, I seem to be finding plenty of fabulous new SFF to enjoy every year. So I guess I ain’t dead yet. 😛

  23. @Brown Robin:

    I believe your definition of “mature” rules out some of my relatives, and lots of other people: we may not actively care whether you understand the emotional value of grandma’s pin-cushion or a wedding ring, but I would care if you came over and said “grow up, you don’t need a pin cushion” or made fun of someone for caring that their wedding ring no longer fits.

    The psychological “difficulty” you talk about is that physical objects can symbolize or reinforce memories or connections to other people. Those aurochs and hand prints on a cave wall aren’t just pictures, they may not have been hunting magic, but they mattered, they still matter to people.

    I don’t expect you to care about my family tchochkes, but thinking that caring about symbols and mementos is childish seems so weird that I have to assume that what I read isn’t what you intended to convey.

  24. 7) I’ve only read the first book in Will Wight’s Cradle series [Unsouled], but it was very good. Glad to seem him get some love here.

    Regards,
    Dann
    The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. – Dorothy Parker

  25. Vicki Rosenzweig, I probably don’t cherish any of the fifteen of the albums on your list of albums everybody must listen to, or any of the books you consider crucial to life, or the reputation of your favorite historical personage immortalized in bronze, because I am not you. If that’s a deal-breaker, then so be it; I guess we can’t be friends.

    My point is it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

    I’m glad you love your grandma. I liked one of mine. I have no intention of damaging your pin-cushion. I am a deeply-flawed and -weird person, but not a cruel one, I don’t think.

    I don’t foresee tearing down a statue, but if someone really objects to a statue of someone I think was pretty cool, I don’t intend to diatribe in public about it, and it’s profoundly odd to me that others do. My opinion upstairs is my current understanding of why others react in this way.

    I’m sorry I upset you, and anyone else; it won’t happen again.

  26. I don’t expect other people to care about the same physical objects I do, because they haven’t had my life, my experiences, my beliefs.

    I do find the use of the word “tchochkes” in this context to be dismissive and disrespectful.

    If I showed you the objectively worthless item I carry in my pocket in memory of my father, I would not expect you to value it as I do, but I would expect you to understand my explanation of why it matters to me and symbolizes what I treasure about my father–not to dismiss it as a worthless tchochke, or to think less of me because I ascribe emotional value to an object of no monetary or historical value.

  27. Andrew (not Werdna): Here’s an anecdote that’s past it’s sell-by date, but I still love it.

    Alan Nourse, as you know, was a medical doctor. And years ago one of the members of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education was Robert Docter, also an MD.

    They both did their residency at the same time in the same hospital, and when they were on the same shift you might hear over the PA, “Paging Doctor Docter. Paging Doctor Nourse.”

    Sure, that happened….

  28. Steve Davidson: Really, Steve, you should learn that one of the foibles of the internet is that if the thing you mention isn’t available RIGHT NOW for people to click on you lose the benefit of having mentioned it.

  29. 7) “Scavengers in Space” was the very first book I read that called itself science fiction, in around 1961. (I’d read a lot of Burroughs and similar adventurish books prior to this.) I still remember where it was shelved in my grade school library (which doesn’t exist any more).

    I mentioned that to Nourse the one time I met him. He said it made him feel very old…

  30. @JJ: When you talk about Dylan, he thinks you’re talking about Dylan Thomas … whoever he was. The man ain’t got no culture.

    WRT 80’s hair metal, kids these days are likely to know about it thanks to “classic rock” stations and to the Rock Band game. Check out the list of downloadable songs.

  31. @11
    Thanks for that link, Mike. That book sounds like it’s just up my alley. (Well, once.the price comes down a wee.)

    I loved Spenser for Hire, though I haven’t read any of Parker’s novels (shame on me). I wasn’t much of a TV person, but something about that show…the car, the leaves blowing through the byways, Avery Brooks…made it required viewing.

  32. @7: Nourse was an interesting mix: he wrote a lot of straight-out adventure, at least one with an appallingly sexist premise, but he also gave us an early plea for tolerance in Star Surgeon

    @10: I wonder whether there’s any truth at all in RP’s claim that Scalzi’s writing needed heavy editing — I don’t think of S as a great stylist, but even the bits of ancient blog (unlikely to be edited by someone else?) I’ve read are competent and clear.

    @11: this seems plausible (at least about the books — the TV show was another matter), although there are places the essayist could be clearer; e.g. the blur around Reagan’s slogan, or the fact that Hawk is to some extent there to do the work (e.g. executions) that Spenser won’t dirty his hands with. I find it bitterly amusing that fans hated Susan; I remember choking on reading that the actress with that role said she was weakening the character compared to the books because “this is the post-feminist 1980’s.” I suppose that went with making Spenser pretty; a fellow reader commented when the show came out that she’d always thought of Spenser looking like Parker.

    @PhilRM: you could offer him some cheese to go with the whine (and with his books…).

    @Anne Marble:

    You don’t have to be “woke” to come across racism and misogyny in an old story and say “Ugh.” Why is that so hard for people to grasp?

    Because they don’t notice those prejudices — to them it’s part of the universe, like water to a fish — so they think anyone raising said issues is being petty (at best).

    @JJ: you remember 80’s hair-band rock? Whippersnapper! I gave up playing bass in 1972, when I realized I didn’t have the musical depth to make up my own lines, and heard only random fragments of contemporary music thereafter. Going into an exercise center (because it was ~free with a job that had moved too far to bicycle to) in 1991 was strange.

  33. @Mike Glyer: Thanks for the Dr. Doctor, Dr. Nourse story.

    Back in the day, Nourse wrote a column for Good Housekeeping magazine which my mother subscribed to. I checked his column monthly to see if he mentioned any SF (he didn’t). Very disappointing.

    “On the Avenue I’m Scrolling you to, Douglas Adams’ street”

  34. (2) I feel for those folks laid off, but DC has been a mid-range cluster fuck for a while. Their repeated resets have failures, and dull to boot. On the other hand, Marvel was in as bad or worse straits during the Perlman period, and clearly they came back. We’ll just have to see.

    (10) Wow. Not worth reading at any level.

  35. Yes, many older works are replete with the misogyny that was the norm at the time they were written. Many newer works are loaded with the misandry that is the norm in the times in which they are being written. The point of reading across time is to connect you with other times so that you can experience the changes that occurred, and which still are occurring.

    A Classic is anything that people are willing to pay money to read a hundred years after it is published. A Best Seller is any book on which the publisher is willing to pay more than fifty thousand dollars in promotion. “Now” is as much a ghetto as “Then.”

    I am not going to bother looking up whether Scalzi was as good a writer when he was younger as he is now. I do know that Mark Twain remained disgruntled to the end of his life about being fired from The Call when he was younger: but he eventually found a better job doing writing at which he was more successful.

    I once left Chester Anderson sitting at our piano with a new piece I had written, and which I asked him to try out. Then we went shopping. When we came home Chester was curled up on the floor in the corner and he looked at me with dismayed eyes and said: “You have a weird mind in your left hand!” I treasure that comment.

  36. @Jon DeCles, can you suggest some titles for books that are loaded with misandry?

    (e: I meant “supply”, but I’m keeping the thinko.)

  37. Re 80’s hair metal. I was delighted when my then 8-year-old was able to identify Hot For Teacher after just a bar or two. I blame it on the parents.

  38. @Chip – have you considered trying learning bass again? There are so many excellent (and free) online resources out there now. It’s likely you just never found the right teacher. I’m very very far from being musical, but, with the help of some of these resources, I’ve felt very fulfilled over this last year trying to learn how to improvise jazz lines on guitar.

  39. (10) “These stupid people judge people on work that was a long time ago!”
    followed by
    “25 years ago we had to edit his stuff, therefore he is a hack”
    is… *chefs kiss

    (AFAIK -AFIcanK- Scalzi has a reputation for needing relatively little editing.)

    This scroll is intentionally left point blank.

  40. @peer: I suspect an author can get away with requiring a lot of editing or with having trouble hitting deadlines, but not both. Scalzi has talked about his deadline issues before, so…

  41. On music and SF: Currently reading the new Wire magazine and turns out a Brazilian noise artist has a H.P. Lovecraft tilt–witness songs named “R’lyeh.exe,” “@tekeli_li,” “Yog-Sothoth Is The Gate,” and “Gatos De Ulthar Na Rua Dos Quatro Lentos.”

    On 80s hair metal: I despised it when I were a lad and still despise it now. It was a great relief when Nirvana’s success blew up the whole hair metal scene.

    On electric bass: Played it in a weird post-punk act during the 90s.

  42. Not metal, but the series is genre — and the series as a whole is one of the greatest champions of 80s rock still out there –>

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