Pixel Scroll 8/11/21 Only Trust Your Scrolls, Pixels Will Never Help You

(1) F&SF COVER REVEAL. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s Sept/Oct 2021 cover art, “Jupiter in Half-Phase, Seen from Io,” is by David A. Hardy.

(2) THE RACCOON AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION. Brandiose is a successful creator of logos for minor league sports teams, notably Huntsville’s Rocket City Trash Pandas.

The name Trash Pandas perfectly embodies the dichotomy of the region. A place with a contemporary, optimistic, fresh energy that retains its country flavor.

We wanted to present the Trash Panda racoon as the clever, intelligent creature that it is. It was important to show that this character was less of a “banjos on the porch” type figure and more of a “this guy engineered a rocket ship out of NASA’s trash” kind of critter. 

We loved the idea that the raccoons have their own rocket engineering facility in the woods, next door to their human engineering counterparts. In their dwelling, the raccoons use the human’s discarded rocket junk to construct their own version of NASA (or RASA – Raccoon Aeronautics and Space Administration).

See more examples of their work and read the stories behind them at the link. The New York Times also ran an article about them: “Sod Poodles, Yard Goats and Trash Pandas, Oh My”.

(3) WHAT-IF ORIGINS. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Having been reading long enough to (vaguely) remember the first what-if/imaginary tales (as in, not part of continuity and/or canon), like Superman asking his Fortress of Solitude’s superdupercomputer “what if Krypton hadn’t exploded,” etc… and, Bog knows why, taking those visualizations as, ahem, gospel, versus, “yeah, coulda gone that way”, ult(cough)imately leading to (some of) these stories becoming canonized parallelisms (I’m talking about you, Marvel Ultimate)… and (while I also fault DC in many cases) I’m not moved/interested by/in many of Marvel’s What If’s, well, there’s one particular issue that remains dear to my heart — What If #11, What If The Original Marvel Bullpen Had Become The Fantastic Four?, written and penciled by Jack Kirby!

“[What if] four members of the original Marvel Bullpen were turned into real-life versions of the Fantastic Four: Stan Lee as Mister Fantastic, Sol Brodsky as the Human Torch, Jack Kirby as the Thing, and Flo Steinberg as the Invisible Girl.”

I’ve still got my copy in one of my “do not sell” boxes.

This is (also) among my favorites of “real world people guesting/in comic stories” (I’m also fond of Don Rickles’ appearances in Kirby’s first New Gods stories/plotlines in Jimmy Olsen; ditto Saturday Night Live’s Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players teaming up with Spiderman in Marvel Team-Up #74.) (No, I don’t remember/know the deets, I’m looking ’em up as I go.) (And then there was the Groucho Marx-y character in a Howard the Duck annual…)

Filers can read and enjoy this Kirby masterpiece! It’s on Marvel’s streaming comic service… also in collected-in-book form, in What If? Classic: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 available from bookstores, (free from) libraries and e-free (on HooplaDigital.com ). And perhaps from a nearby friend.

(4) THE NEXT GREAT SFF AWARD. I commented on Camestros Felapton’s blog about the almost nonexistent window between when the Dragon Award ballot is released and the close of voting, and how many novels are finalists, making the award ultimately for the most popular book nobody has read or plans to read before they vote.

Greg Hullender found in that the seed of a great idea:

Hey, that’s a category we’re sorely lacking: most popular unread book. “Looking through your mountain of unread books, which one do you feel most guilty for not having read yet?”

It could have several categories:

Most Popular Unread Book That I Think is SF.

Most Popular Unread Book That I Think is Fantasy.

Most Popular Unread Book That I Suspect Might Not Be Genre.

Most Popular Unread Book That I Bought Mostly for the Cover.

Most Popular Unread Book That I Can’t Remember Why I Bought It.

What would be a good name for these awards? The Tsundoku Awards is too obvious a name. But obviously the prize for winning in a category should be a new book.

(5) AC/DC. “Robin, Batman’s Sidekick, Comes Out As Bisexual” – here’s a transcript of NPR’s discussion on Morning Edition.


After 80 years, Batman’s trusted sidekick finally had his coming-out moment. In the latest comic, Robin – his real name is Tim Drake – accepts a male friend’s offer to go on a date. Many fans of the character have been looking forward to this.

MEGHAN FITZMARTIN: Tim’s struggle with identity – he knows who he is when it comes to vigilantism. But this was a space where it felt the most correct. This was the next moment for him.


That’s Meghan Fitzmartin. She’s the writer for this series of DC Comics.

FITZMARTIN: The significance, I think, has been others seeing themselves in the character and feeling seen and cared for in a way that speaks to something that they’ve seen for a long time.

KING: Robin made his first appearance back in 1940. And he’s not the first comic book superhero to come out as queer, but he is by far the most high-profile one.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: People like Northstar, Batwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Iceman, Apollo, Midnighter. But you notice something about all those names. They’re not necessarily household names….

(6) YOUR TAX QUATLOOS AT WORK. James Davis Nicoll probably didn’t have an easy time finding “Five Sympathetic Science Fiction Bureaucrats”.

Fictional bureaucrats often serve as convenient hate sinks, providing the author with characters whose occupation is generally considered fair game for scorn. Obstructive bureaucrats abound in fiction, perhaps because they are not infrequently encountered in real life. But not all writers settle for such easy targets. Indeed, some writers have gone so far as to make a bureaucrat or two into sympathetic figures.

Don’t believe me? Consider these five….

Aiah from Metropolitan by Walter Jon Williams (1995)

Aiah is a low-level functionary in Jaspeer’s Plasm Authority. Roughly speaking, she works for this world’s electric company, plasm being geomantic energy. Hardly a position to command respect, save when one considers that Aiah is a member of a despised ethnicity, the Barkazil. Convincing her coworkers to trust her with even minimal responsibility is a victory of sorts.

Fate hands Aiah a treasure in plasm. In another person’s hands, this would be the first step towards the sort of Simple Plan that ends with the protagonists as dead as a Coen Brothers’ criminal. Aiah, however, is not just hardworking and ambitious. She is cunning as well, which means not only will she leap on the chance to escape her circumstances, and not only can she find someone willing to assist her with her windfall—she has every chance of surviving the transaction.

(7) CONDENSED CREAM OF MFA. Lincoln Michel puts “Everything I’ve Learned about Being a ‘Professional’ Writer in One Post” at Counter Craft.

Last week there was a bizarrely contentious Twitter debate about whether MFA programs should offer professional advice to students or whether it should be a sacred space for art without the messiness of business. I won’t wade into all the threads, but I’m firmly on the side of publishing demystification. I always dedicate part of my MFA courses to answering student questions about submissions, agents, etc. Perhaps this is because I had to figure all of this out myself while so many writers around me seemed to have been passed all this knowledge in secret. I don’t mean that I’m not privileged, but just I didn’t have any family publishing connections or professional mentors or even know any authors growing up. I wish I’d gotten more of a professional education, from banal things like freelance taxes to general advice like how willing you have to be to promote your own work—did you know I have a SF novel called The Body Scout publishing on 09/21 that you can preorder today???—and so I figured I’d just write down everything I’ve learned here in the hope it helps someone else….


  • 2010 – Eleven years ago at Aussiecon 4 where Garth Nix was the Toastmaster, China Miéville won the Hugo for Best Novel for The City & The City. It shared this honor with The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.  It was published by Del Rey / Ballantine in hardcover the previous year. Other nominated works that year were Cherie Priest‘s Boneshaker, Robert J. Sawyer‘s Wake, Robert Charles Wilson‘s Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America and Catherynne M. Valente‘s Palimpsest. It would win an amazing number of other awards including the Arthur C. Clarke Award, a BSFA, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, a Kitschie (Red Tentacle) Award, a Locus for Best Fantasy Novel and a National Fantasy Fan Federation Speculative Fiction Award (Neffie). It would be nominated for, but not win, a Nebula. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 11, 1902 Jack Binder. Thrilling Wonder Stories in their October 1938 issue published his article, “If Science Reached the Earth’s Core”, where the first known use of the phrase “zero gravity” is known to happen.  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.)
  • Born August 11, 1932 Chester Anderson. New Wave novelist and poet. He wrote The Butterfly Kid, the first part of the Greenwich Village trilogy. It was nominated for a Hugo Award at Baycon. He wrote one other genre novel, Ten Years to Doomsday, with Michael Kurland. Not even genre adjacent, but he edited a few issues Crawdaddy! in the late Sixties. (Died 1991.)
  • 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 was nominated for a World Fantasy Award, and he was editor of Night Cry in the mid Eighties. Bone Music is the only work available from the usual suspects. (Died 2014.)
  • 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 given its short longevity.) 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 from the usual suspects. (Died 2010.)
  • Born August 11, 1962 Brian Azzarello, 59. Writer of the comic book 100 Bullets, published by Vertigo. Writer of DC’s relaunched Wonder Woman series several years back. One of the writers in the Before Watchmen limited series. Co-writer with Frank Miller of the sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight III: The Master Race.
  • Born August 11, 1976 Will Friedle, 45. 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 Future, Peter Quill in The Guardians Of The Galaxy, and Kid Flash in Teen Titans Go!  to name but a few of his roles.
  • Born August 11, 1964 Jim Lee, 57. Korean American comic-book artist, writer, editor, and publisher.  Co-founder of Image Comics, now senior management at DC though he started at Marvel. Known for work on Uncanny X-Men, Punisher, Batman, Superman WildC.A.T.s. and Before Watchman. Now Lee is the sole Publisher of DC Comics.
  • Born August 11, 1983 Chris Hemsworth, 38. Thor in the MCU film franchise and George Kirk in the most recent Trek film franchise. Other genre performances include Eric the Huntsman in the exemplary Snow White and the Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Curt Vaughan in Cabin in the Woods and Agent H in Men in Black: International. Ok who’s seen the latter? It’s on my bucket list. 


(11) DOUBLE JEOPARDY! Deadline says this is how they’re dividing the baby: “’Jeopardy!’: Mike Richards To Host Syndicated Show, Mayim Bialik To Host Primetime Specials & Spinoffs”.

The search for new permanent host of Jeopardy! is officially over. The show’s executive producer Mike Richards has been named the new permanent host of the venerable syndicated game show, succeeding the late Alex Trebek. Additionally, Sony Pictures Television announced that The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik will host Jeopardy!’s primetime and spinoff series, including the upcoming Jeopardy! National College Championship set to air on ABC next year. The Greatest of All Time winner Ken Jennings will return as consulting producer for the show…. 

(12) HI BROOKE! “I’m Brooke Gladstone and I Am a Trekker” from WYNC Studios – listen or read the transcript at the link.

In September 1966, Gene Roddenberry dispatched the crew of the Starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage through space and time and into the American living room. In a vintage OTM piece, Brooke explores the various television incarnations of the franchise and the infinitely powerful engine behind it all: the fan.

Brooke Gladstone: Editor’s log star date, August 11th, 2021. To mark what would have been the 100th birthday of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of one of my favorite shows, we are replaying a piece I made all the way back in 2006. I’m Brooke Gladstone. I am a Trekker.

William Shatner: Get a life, will you, people? For crying out loud, it’s just a TV show.

Brooke: When William Shatner said that on Saturday Night Live, though to be fair, he didn’t write it, it stung.

Barbara Adams: I think a lot of fans feel like they are not respected. They’re almost ashamed to admit they’re fans of Star Trek unless they hear two or three references to Star Trek in the conversation.

Brooke Gladstone: Not Barbara Adams, so moved was she by this series; optimistic, pluralistic vision of the future that when serving on the jury in the whitewater trial 10 years ago, she wore the uniform of a Starfleet officer. “If it helps to make people think a little more about what those ideals are, then I’ll keep wearing this uniform,” she said, and then was promptly dismissed for talking to the press….

(13) DJINN BUZZ. The Essence of Wonder with Gadi Evron staff are joined by Patricia Jackson and Elias Eells to discuss A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark on Saturday, August 14 at 3:00 p.m. US Eastern Time. The streaming show is accessible via YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch.

(14) HEAR VALENTE. The Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid presents “The Present is Purple with Catherynne M. Valente” in conversation with Ed Fortune, August 24 at 7:00 p.m. BST. Register here.

About this event

Summer is slowly fading away but Glasgow in 2024 is not taking a break in bringing you amazing bookish events! Join us on August 24th for an exciting evening with the brilliant Catherynne M. Valente to talk about her brilliant new novella The Past is Red, out now from TorDotCom… Grab a copy and an iced drink and join us!

The future is blue. Endless blue…except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown…

(15) TRAILER OF DOOM. Doom Patrol Season 3 streams September 23 on HBO Max.

Go through the looking glass with a super-powered gang of outcasts (including Matt Bomer as Negative Man, Joivan Wade as Cyborg, Brendan Fraser as Robotman, and more). Last seen at a decrepit amusement park where Chief (Timothy Dalton) witnessed his metahuman daughter, Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) engaged in a fiery face-off with “The Candlemaker,” an ancient evil deity who will stop at nothing to fulfill his world-ending destiny, join the #DoomPatrol for an action-packed third season.

(16) ANIMATED WITCHER. Face your demons. The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf premieres August 23 on Netflix.

(17) KITTY THE FREELOADER. Science has discovered “Cats prefer to get free meals rather than work for them” reports Phys.org. No shit!

When given the choice between a free meal and performing a task for a meal, cats would prefer the meal that doesn’t require much effort. While that might not come as a surprise to some cat lovers, it does to cat behaviorists. Most animals prefer to work for their food—a behavior called contrafreeloading.

… “There is an entire body of research that shows that most species including birds, rodents, wolves, primates—even giraffes—prefer to work for their food,” said lead author Mikel Delgado, a cat behaviorist and research affiliate at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “What’s surprising is out of all these species cats seem to be the only ones that showed no strong tendency to contrafreeload.”

(18) THEORY X GETS SPACED. Jacobin’s Meagan Day investigates a lost bit of space history in “Houston, We Have a Labor Dispute”.

For decades, rumors have circulated about a strike in space. The story goes that in 1973, the three astronauts on the Skylab 4 mission took an unplanned day off to protest ground control’s management style, and the job action resulted in improved working conditions. It’s a great story.

According to Skylab 4 crew member Ed Gibson, that’s not exactly what happened. But his telling of events, though it differs from the tidy and entertaining “space strike” narrative, is still a tale of overwork, micromanagement, and perceived noncompliance bringing management to the table. And Gibson’s account still confirms that even a whiff of collective action can shift the balance of power in workers’ favor.

Earlier this year, the BBC broadcast an interview with Gibson, the last surviving Skylab 4 crew member, conducted by Witness History producer and presenter Lucy Burns. “We’ve only had one reporter other than you talk to us in the past forty-seven years,” Gibson told Burns. He set out to correct the record.

Gibson maintains that the crew didn’t mean to go on strike. But what did happen had a similar effect in terms of giving the astronauts leverage and intervening in a bad (extraterrestrial) workplace dynamic.

(19) HOME COOKING. Stephen Colbert’s monologue had more to say about that Field of Dreams Apple Pie Hot Dog beginning around 8 minutes into this YouTube video. Includes info about how to make it at home from creator Guy Fieri.

(20) READERS DIGESTION. Dark Horse Direct is taking pre-orders of these Dune: Sandworm Bookends based on how the creatures appear in the forthcoming movie. Cost  $149.99, only 2,000 will be sold.

Dark Horse Direct, in partnership with Legendary Entertainment, is proud to present the Dune: Sandworm Bookends! Based on the giant sandworms from the highly anticipated new film of the iconic science fiction epic, Dune, these bookends will have you watching your walking pattern over the sands of Arrakis.

Each half measuring 8.5” tall by 8” wide by 6.5” deep, this highly detailed bookend set is meticulously sculpted and hand painted to showcase the fearsome sandworm as it erupts out of the sands, ready to defend its territory and the most precious resource in existence.

(21) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “The Professional Movie Fan Tutorial:  Pro Tips” on Screen Rant, written by Ryan George, Dave Heuff plays professional super movie fan “Fredge” Buick, who explains that a professional movie fan has to be perpetually angry! (his avatar is Heath Ledger’s Joker), have questionable hygiene, and use a lot of duct tape to sneak the noisy snacks you want inside the theatre.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Richard Horton, Todd Mason, John A Arkansawyer, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jake.]

51 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/11/21 Only Trust Your Scrolls, Pixels Will Never Help You

  1. 11) Shakes head.
    Still, the tryouts still remind me of GWB and Cheney picking himself as his VP.

    Amazon tells me 4 years ago today I was in Helsinki for Worldcon, and 7 years ago today, in London for Worldcon.

  2. (8). The 2010 Best Novel Hugo was actually a tie between the Mieville and Bacigalupi novels. Both are deserving winners.

    And… there is a really good 4-part miniseries adaption of The City and the City. I found it on Amazon Prime though it’s available elsewhere as well.

  3. Rich Lynch says The 2010 Best Novel Hugo was actually a tie between the Mieville and Bacigalupi novels. Both are deserving winners.

    Thanks fir the catch. I’ve sent a note to OGH to add a note about that.

    And… there is a really good 4-part miniseries adaption of The City and the City. I found it on Amazon Prime though it’s available elsewhere as well.

    I’ve skipped it so far because I’ve listened to it at least a half dozen times as narrated by John Lee so I’ve got it firmly as a theater of the mind at the point. So I’ve got really no interest in a video version of the story.

  4. Lincoln Michel’s post makes a great deal of sense. He reminds me of John Scalzi at his best.

  5. 4) I propose: Unread Book That Has Followed Me On the Most Moves, and a co-category, Most Popular Unread Book That I’ve Owned the Longest Without Reading It, But Someday, Really!

  6. 4) The Hugos, obviously, since most of the nominees and winners seldom are genre nowadays. 🙂

  7. (4) Most popular book I realized I already have a copy of only after getting back from the Con where I bought it again at the Dealers Room.

  8. Andrew (not Werdna) says Most popular book I realized I already have a copy of only after getting back from the Con where I bought it again at the Dealers Room.

    I want a category for most copies of a single book owned. I have three copies of Emma Bull’s War for The Oaks: the Orb edition that was never released, the Library edition and the trade paper edition. The Orb is signed after she broke both arms at a Ren Faire by slipping on stage; the trade paper was signed years later and much more legible.

  9. (17) KITTY THE FREELOADER. “What’s surprising is out of all these species cats seem to be the only ones that showed no strong tendency to contrafreeload.”

    Thank You, Captain Obvious. 😀

  10. I think the book I have the most copies of (including an omnibus that contains it, and a Kindle version) is The Dying Earth? Including a battered old paperback that was actually autographed by Vance. (n.b. It was already signed when it was given to me.)

  11. Jan-Erik Zandersson: The Hugos, obviously, since most of the nominees and winners seldom are genre nowadays.

    You must be talking about a different Hugo Award. All of the fiction Hugo finalists in 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 are genre. In 2017 there was one non-genre story by Nina Allan.

    Did I like all of them? Hell no, there were several that I No-Awarded. But they were still genre.

  12. I don’t have any copies of The Lord of the Rings. I have 3 copies of Stranger In a Strange Land (2 editions) and 2 editions of Frankenstein.

  13. 4: Clearly – The “What Did You Get That Award For?” Award. It should also include the category Best “Novel Everyone Else Thinks I Should Read That I Refuse to Read Because Everyone Thinks I Should” award category.

  14. THE BUTTERFLY KID got on the ballot for five nominations. Not anything that could ever happen again.

  15. You’d want to rule out the case of a self-published author holding onto multiple copies of his/her own book for sale. I think the only book I own more than two copies of is my thesis.

    And I think you could argue that the Best Related Work nominees aren’t usually genre. not usually being intended as fiction.

  16. Three sets of LotR under the sky
    Seven Dying Earth tomes in their halls of stone

    (Yes, I just checked and those are the actual numbers.)

  17. Great way to start off the day is seeing a title credit 🙂

    (3) I always liked the Hawkeye-on-the-David-Letterman-show (NBC version) installment of The Avengers.

    But for Groucho Marx appearances in comics, for my money the best by far is Lord Julius from Dave Sim’s Cerebus comics. (Nobody should read Cerebus, and Sim’s awful in multiple ways, but dang if the dude couldn’t write a Groucho pastiche)

  18. David Goldfarb says Doesn’t everybody have three or four copies of The Lord of the Rings?

    Queen of Air and Darkness, no. I always preferred The Hobbit to the trilogy anyways and even that I only had one copy of at one time.

  19. I am still unpacking my books from the move, but right now it looks like I only have three duplicates–

    Robert Holdstock – Celtica
    Donald Kingsbury – Courtship Rite
    Paul Park – Soldiers of Paradise

  20. I have a nagging feeling I have two copies (at least) of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, in at least two languages.

    In possibly-closer-to-genre, the book “Soul of a New Machine”, about the BG Eclipse MV-8000 design, is translated to Swedish, as “En dators födelse”.

  21. I confess to having once voted on the Hugos without having watched all four Doctor Who episodes.

  22. Ok, so what’s the book you’ve given the most copies away of? For me, that’s been Emma Bull’s Bone Dance: A Fantasy for Technophiles. And yes that should be a category too.

  23. I think the book I most copies of is The Time Machine. I have my original copy, it is also in a volume of Wells’ complete short stories, an omnibus volume of four novels and the ebook of the collected works.
    (4) Recipients of an award should have it taken away if they ever read the book they received it for. They also wouldn’t be allowed to read the book they get as a prize.

  24. Novella’s (and shorter works) appearing in multiple collections is a different question. I know I have at least four copies of “Idle Days on the Yann”, for example, in different Dunsany collections.

    (4) And the award goes to the book (in custody of the author), not to the multitude of non-readers, so an individual reading the book after the voting period is over shouldn’t change the award. I can’t see demanding that the book’s author not have read it.

  25. (2) The Rocket City Trash Pandas are in Madison AL, not Huntsville.

    (9) The OED has a quote using “zero gravity” from 1915.

  26. My partner and I have at least two copies of Lord of the Rings, most Pratchett books and most Gaiman. Three of some of them.
    We had to have a conversation with her eldest about how he could read anything he wanted, and as a rule (he’s careless with books) he should read the more battered version/paperback over hardcover, EXCEPT for Good Omens, since there’s no way I’m getting Pterry’s signature on another copy should he drop mine in the bath.

  27. Andrew (not Werdna): Most popular book I realized I already have a copy of only after getting back from the Con where I bought it again at the Dealers Room.

    I’m glad I’m not the only person this happens to.

  28. @Nina: And I’m likewise happy to find out I’m not the only one.

    P.S. There’s also an award out there for the “Most popular book I bought for my wife, not realizing that she’d already gotten it for me”

  29. I’d like to nominate the novelizations of both The Black Hole and Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Most Popular Books I Bought For Myself, Then Mom Made Me Return Them Because There Were Already Copies Wrapped Up For Me Under The Christmas Tree.

  30. Joe H. says I’d like to nominate the novelizations of both The Black Hole and Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Most Popular Books I Bought For Myself, Then Mom Made Me Return Them Because There Were Already Copies Wrapped Up For Me Under The Christmas Tree.

    So did Mom choose your Christmas presents well?

  31. (3) I remember that issue vividly. Typically great work by Kirby, and it’s a surprisingly affectionate take on Marvel’s early years considering that by 1977 Kirby had been on the outs with Lee for quite a while and had only recently returned. But there is a dig at the company – even if most readers at the time might not have noticed or cared – in casting Flo Steinberg as the Invisible Woman. Steinberg had been hired as Lee’s secretary but ended up providing all kinds of administrative support in Marvel’s early years, and despite getting dubbed “Fabulous Flo” in Lee’s Bullpen columns and handling a lot of communication with fans, she was paid badly for massive amounts of work so I’m sure she felt taken for granted – invisible, even. She quit 3 or 4 years after the story takes place, and by the time Kirby wrote it 9 years later, she’d moved into underground comics and become a publisher herself.

  32. I think there might be two copies of the Lord oft he Rings in the house, because Colin had a copy, too. I picked the Alan Lee illustrated hardbacks and got rid of my others.

    I’m pretty sure the books we’ve had the most copies of were the Chronicles of Narnia (I tried to replace my absolutely ruined, occasionally torn in half, scribbled on, or missing pages children’s edition twice; once for the Dillons’ covers, and again because I realised the Dillon cover editions were missing several of the Pauline Baynes illustrations, which meant I kept the least ruined older ones. Colin had at least three different versions if you count the audiobooks.)

    I have bought multiple editions of a book I liked, but never kept them long; I used to have a tradition of going around the SCA event right after Christmas with a bag of books and let people pick any one that looked good to them. The only one I know created MASSIVE squee after the fact was Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, but I get the impression many were quietly enjoyed. So I had a purpose for my doubles.

  33. Cat Eldridge says: So did Mom choose your Christmas presents well?

    I … may have expressed some interest in those particular books in the run-up to the gift-giving season.

    I did end up reading them both multiple times, that being the only way to experience those stories again in those pre-VHS rental days.

  34. Lenora Rose says I think there might be two copies of the Lord oft he Rings in the house, because Colin had a copy, too. I picked the Alan Lee illustrated hardbacks and got rid of my others.

    I picked up the one volume edition of the Alan Lee illustrated trilogy when a local bookstore chain went out of business twenty years or so ago and was steeply discounting it. It isn’t really readable being really massive but oh it is gorgeous.

    Now listening to Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party”

  35. @Joe H.–

    I … may have expressed some interest in those particular books in the run-up to the gift-giving season.

    And that worked for you? My commendations to your mother. My mother consistently badgered me for a Christmas list, every single year, and every single year, equally consistently, decided that everything I asked for was not a suitable gift–that I would be much happier with something that would look like a nice gift in the eyes of her siblings and cousins.

    My mother was a great reader herself, and there was some overlap in our reading tastes, but books, for some reason, were on the list of Not Acceptable as Christmas Gifts.

  36. Joe H.: I had one Christmas present related problem. I had asked my parents for “Intervention” by Julian May, which I had seen ads for (and was desperately awaiting, having read all the Pliocene Exile books). Then in early December, I saw “The Surveillance” (a paperback) on the bookshelf – and figured I had somehow gotten the name wrong, that it was too late to provide a correction to the Xmas list, and that therefore, I should just buy the book and read it already (and did!) – and on Christmas morning I received the hardback “Intervention” which was composed of two parts – “Surveillance” and “Metaconcert” (the publishers had decided to split the book into two parts for the paperback edition). Ah well. I zoomed through the part I had already read Christmas day and soon enough I got to the new stuff.

  37. Joe H. says That’s why I find it more efficient to just buy everything for myself these days.

    One of the joys of the digital age is how easy it is to purchase content. Be it books, entire video series or music, it’s there to be purchased at the merest whim. Which I’ve done more than once.

  38. My mother’s solution to what to get for Christmas (and birthdays) was to simply give me the money and send me off to get something I wanted. I then brought it back to be wrapped and presented on the day.

  39. My mother’s solution to what to get for Christmas (and birthdays) was to simply give me the money and send me off to get something I wanted. I then brought it back to be wrapped and presented on the day.

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