Pixel Scroll 8/19/20 The Fandom Raspberry Blower Of Old
Pixel Town

(1) MARVEL’S VOICES EXPANDS. This November, Marvel celebrates Indigenous history with a landmark special, Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1, written and drawn by some of the industry’s most renowned Indigenous talent along with talents making their Marvel Comics debut.  

Celebrated writer and artist Jeffrey Veregge, who just wrapped up his exhibition Jeffrey Veregge: Of Gods and Heroes at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, is leading this book alongside a team of acclaimed creators to explore the legacy and experiences of Marvel’s incredible cast of Indigenous characters.

Hugo, Nebula, and Locus-award winning Black/Ohkay Owingeh writer Rebecca Roanhorse and Tongva artist Weshoyot Alvitre tell an Echotale like none before as she is set to play a critical role in Marvel Comics. Geoscientist and Lipan Apache writer Darcie Little Badger joins acclaimed Whitefish Lake First Nation artist Kyle Charles for a Dani Moonstarstory where she will face the crucial question of what her Indigenous heritage means in the new era of mutantkind. And Bram Stoker-winning horror writer Stephen Graham Jones of the Blackfeet Nation teams up with Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation artist David Cutler to revisit one of the darkest spots of X-Men history!

(2) BRIAN KEENE SPOTLIGHTS HAYWARD ALLEGATIONS. Soon after Brian Keene posted “Behind Closed Doors” supplementing his podcast’s report of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct within the industry, he and Mary SanGiovanni were alerted to yet another situation involving allegations that author Matt Hayward sent inappropriate communications to several women.  

Since then Keene has written three posts on the subject, beginning with “Statement Regarding Matt Hayward & Poltergeist Press” (June 26) which emphasizes:

…We believe the women. We believe writer and book reviewer Cassie ‘Lets Get Galactic’, who has stepped forward. And we believe those who have not stepped forward. 

We have known Matt for several years. He and his wife Anna have been guests in our home. Anna’s publishing company, Poltergeist Press, has published books by both of us. We consider them dear friends.

Approximately one year ago, Matt sent a series of inappropriate messages to Mary. Matt has acknowledged this and apologized for it. Mary accepted the apology because Matt was inebriated when the messages were sent, and he was going through a rough time emotionally, having just experienced the death of his best friend. Brian followed Mary’s lead, and in the time since, Mary has received no further inappropriate messages from Matt. Cassie’s account tells a similar story, as do the accounts of those women who have not shared their experience publicly. There is a pattern of behavior.

Again, we believe the women. And we apologize for the hurt that someone we are close to has caused you….

In a follow-up statement, “Update on Russian Translations and Poltergeist Press”, Keene said:

Since that time, several of us have spoke with Anna Mulbach, wife of Matt Hayward. She wishes to continue publishing Russian language translations. The financial stability of that line impacts the livelihood of many Russian citizens, including translators and investors. The success the line has had so far is a testimony to Anna. I wish to encourage that. Further, the fact that this successful foreign-language publisher is run and operated by a woman is something else I wish to encourage, because it’s something our industry desperately needs more of.

Anna has assured me that Matt will not be involved in any aspect of the Russian-language operation, including production or design.

With all that in mind, I have decided to continue working with Anna for Russian-language translations….

On August 18, Keene summarized everything in a “Final Statement on Poltergeist Press, et all”.

…After that was announced. Rights for Dissonant Harmonies were reverted, and Bev Vincent and I sold it elsewhere. Geoff Cooper wanted some time to consider the reversion clause for Shades, since he is not plugged in to the business and wanted to talk to people and determine the facts before signing it. Then Anna Hayward of Poltergeist press announced that she was shutting down the company.

A few weeks later, Anna contacted several of us and indicated that she would like to keep the Russian language imprint open. It was her company — not Matt’s. She assured us that Matt would not be involved in any way with the production.

And so Jeff Strand, myself, and Mary SanGiovanni released a third statement last month, which can be read here.

This will be my final statement, because quite frankly, I am sick of talking about this.

This statement is my own. I do not speak for Mary SanGiovanni (whose own final statement can be read here). I do not speak for Robert Ford, Bev Vincent, Jeff Strand, Wrath James White, Edward Lee, John Boden, Wesley Southard, Tim Meyer, Ronald Kelly or anyone else who has been impacted by this clusterfuck.

This statement will include foul language. It will include my personal opinions.

My personal opinions follow:

1. I support the victims. I have always supported the victims. Anyone who has listened to The Horror Show for the last 6 years knows that I support the victims. Anybody who has been following my career since 1996 knows that I support the victims. I was the first person to report on the then-whispered allegations involving Ed Kramer. I had my then budding-career threatened for doing so. I gave zero fucks then and I give zero fucks now. I will always support the victims. I myself am a victim, and several of the people most important in my life have been victims.

If you do not believe that I support the victims, then I respect your decision. Stop buying my books and listening to my podcasts.

2. I support and believe the victims in this case. I have seen people intimating online that the most vocal victim, Cassie, “made this all up” and others saying that she and the other victims “just want their 15 minutes of fame”. I don’t believe that. But I’ll tell you what, motherfuckers…lets buy into your conspiracy theory for a minute. Let’s say Cassie made it all up for 15 minutes of fame.

Mary SanGiovanni didn’t make it up. I know. I’ve seen the evidence. And Mary’s got an accomplished 20-year career. She doesn’t need fifteen minutes of fame. I believe Mary SanGiovanni. I believe Cassie. And I believe the other women who came forward.

If my belief in these women bothers you, then I respect your decision. Stop buying my books and listening to my podcasts.

(And to the fat fuck who looks like a dropout from Juggalo college and keeps repeating this “15 minutes of fame” bullshit, I’m not going to name you here, because you don’t deserve even a second of fame)….

Four more points follow.

(3) DO THE MONSTER MASK. Secret Los Angeles assures locals they will still have a haunted house to visit this year, in a new socially-distant way: “Urban Legends of Southern California are rolling in to save Halloween!”

Halloween is inevitably going to look a bit different this year with a number of highly-anticipated events canceled already, including Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, and Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure.

But fear not, the spooky holiday traditions will still be upheld in Costa Mesa thanks to this drive-through haunted house experience. Urban Legends of Southern California will conjure up all SoCal’s most terrifying urban legends, cursed souls and monsters that have haunted residents for generations. Whether it’s the mysterious winds that howl through the streets or the unnatural presences that make your hairs stand up, familiar stories will be brought to life through a series thrills.

Once you’ve purchased your ticket, you’ll arrive in your vehicle at your allocated timeslot. From there, you’ll be guided through a journey of immersive scenes, dazzling special effects, and live performances. It’s bound to get your pulse racing as you scramble to lock your car door. You won’t have to worry about monsters getting to close though, they’ll be wearing masks and social-distancing at all times…

(4) IT’S A BREATH MINT; LESS FILLING. James Davis Nicoll tells me “the file name was something like ‘how to start arguments’” — “SF or Fantasy? — Six Works That Defy Easy Classification” at Tor.com.

…See, for example, discussions about where to place The Fifth Season and Gideon the Ninth. Both works have elements generally associated with science fiction, as well as elements traditionally associated with fantasy. Hard classification will fail because the assumption that things are only one thing at a time is wrong. Utterly wrong.

[sarcasm] I am certain that having explained this so clearly, there will never be another argument on such matters. [/sarcasm]

(5) DYSTOPIAN LIFE IMITATES DYSTOPIAN ART. [Item by Olav Rokne.] In 2019, UK high school student Jessica Johnson won the Orwell Youth Prize for writing a short story depicting computer systems that undermine lower-income students by adjusting grades downwards. This spring, in response to COVID-shortened school years, the government of the UK implemented a computer system that “projected” students’ grades forward based on assumptions on how they were doing — and it adjusted the grades of low-income students downwards. Jessica Johnson was one of the students adversely affected by the computer error. “Student who wrote story about biased algorithm has results downgraded” in The Guardian.

She says: “I based [the story] on the educational inequality I already saw. I just exaggerated that inequality and added the algorithm. But I really didn’t think it would come true as quick as it did!”

(6) IF YOU COULD TALK TO THE ANIMALS. NPR’s “Morning Edition” reminds listeners that “Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm,’ Around For Decades, Almost Wasn’t Published”.

DAVID GREENE, HOST: George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” turns 75 this week. The book is now considered a classic, but NPR’s Petra Mayer reminds us that it almost wasn’t published at all.

…MAYER: Orwell biographer D.J. Taylor says the 6-year-old nephew of one of Orwell’s friends read it…

D J TAYLOR: …And reported back via his uncle that he loved it because it didn’t contain any difficult words.

MAYER: But “Animal Farm” is a dark, upsetting book. The pigs take over, and bit by bit, they grow more cruel and murderous, masking each new outrage in revolutionary rhetoric. By the end, drinking liquor, snapping whips and gambling with the neighborhood farmers, they’re indistinguishable from the humans they originally overthrew.

Broadly, “Animal Farm” is a fable about tyranny, but specifically, it’s a satire on the Soviet revolution and how it led to Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror. So why tell such a painful story in such a childish manner? D.J. Taylor says that Orwell was influenced by “Gulliver’s Travels” and French fables. But also, at the time he was writing “Animal Farm,” he and his first wife, Eileen, were adopting a child. So not only did he have kids on his mind…

TAYLOR: The era in which he wrote for the 10 years previous, cinema screens had been full of cartoon animals. You know, it was the great age of the Disney cartoon.

MAYER: It was, in fact, turned into a cartoon a few years after he died, but it almost wasn’t a book at all. Orwell was shopping “Animal Farm” to publishers in 1944 when the Allied victory in World War II was far from assured. Again, D.J. Taylor.

TAYLOR: So this is effectively a satire of Stalin, who was then – even America regarded as avuncular Uncle Joe, you know, our great ally in the fight against Nazism.

MAYER: No one wanted to take a potshot at Uncle Joe. It took more than a year and multiple publishers, but “Animal Farm” finally came out in the U.K. in 1945, and it was a massive hit. Its success enabled Orwell to write his masterwork, “1984.” When people use the adjective Orwellian today, they’re almost invariably talking about “1984.”

(7) HOOKED ON A FEELING. “Stephen Graham Jones on How Horror is the Puppet of Your Own Terror” at LitHub.

Brad Listi: That’s interesting. It’s interesting to think of it that way. I feel like when we go to read something, we’re trying to feel something, or hoping to at least. And if somebody can scare the shit out of you, that’s a feeling.

Stephen Graham Jones: It is. Horror can change your behavior. It can make you turn off the lights in your house in a different sequence at eleven o’clock at night. It can make you edge along the wall to get to your bed instead of just walking brazenly across the middle of your bedroom floor. I love that horror puts you on a string like that. It turns into a puppet, a puppet not necessarily of the the writer, but a puppet of your own terror and your own dread. I think that’s beautiful.

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • August 19, 2007 Highlander: The Source premiered. The final film of the story that spanned both the film and television series, it saw the return of Adrian Paul reprising his character of Duncan MacLeod from Highlander: The Series and the fourth film, Highlander: Endgame. He also produced along with Peter S. Davis and William N. Panzer while Brett Leonard directed. The screenplay was Mark Bradley and Steven Kelvin Watkins from the story by the former. Reception was universally negative if not downright hostile with it being the first film in the series not to get a widescreen distribution.  SciFi Channel instead aired it. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a richly deserved 19% rating. (CE)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born August 19, 1894 – H.W. Wesso.  After covers for Amazing, painted every Astounding cover under W. Clayton (Jan 30 – Mar 33; H. Bates ed.), then more, also AstonishingMarvelStrange TalesThrilling, five dozen in all; eight hundred interiors.  Here is the Jan 30 Amazing.  Here is the Jan 38 Astounding.  Here is an interior from a 1930s Astounding; I haven’t found the date more exactly, can you?  Here is an interior from the Jan 41 Thrilling.  Again I recommend Di Fate’s Infinite Worlds.  (Died 1948) [JH] 
  • Born August 19, 1921 Gene Roddenberry. Oh, you know who he is. But did you know he wrote a lot of scripts for Have Gun – Will Travel? Indeed, his script for the show, “Helen of Abajinian” would win the Writer’s Guild of America award for Best Teleplay in 1958. (Died 1991.) (CE) 
  • Born August 19, 1930 D.G. Compton, 90. SWFA Author Emeritus whose The Steel Crocodile was nominated for the Nebula Award. The Unsleeping EyeThe Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe in the U.K., was filmed as Death Watch which the Audience Reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes actually like giving it a 60% rating. His two Alec Jordan near-future police stories are superb. Nearly everything he wrote of a genre nature is available from the usual digital suspects save Hot Wireless Sets, Aspirin Tablets, the Sandpaper Sides of Used Matchboxes, and Something That Might Have Been Castor Oil. (CE) 
  • Born August 19, 1938 Richard N. Farmer. Author of Islandia Revisited, a sequel to Austin Tappan Wright’s Islandia. No idea it was if authorized but I’m betting it wasn’t as it’s not in print in either print or digital editions currently. (Died 1987.) (CE) 
  • Born August 19, 1938 –Diana Muldaur, 81.  Student of Stella Adler.  First woman President of the Acad. Television Arts & Sciences.  Two Star Trek appearances (original series), later Katherine Pulaski, M.D., in The Next Generation.  Voiced another physician in animated Batman (1992-1994).  One appearance in The Hulk (1979).  Don’t blame CE for omitting her, these things are hard.  [JH]
  • Born August 18, 1945 – Roseanne di Fate.  Teacher, mostly of nursery school, another hard thing; last position at Vassar, my grandmother’s college.  Andrew Porter did a biography of R & Vincent in Algol 21 (Tim Kirk artwork! Bester interview of Heinlein! Benford on knowledge! Brunner on the art & craft of SF! Lupoff book reviews!).  OGH’s appreciation here.  (Died 2014) [JH]
  • Born August 19, 1947 – Dwain Kaiser.  Active fan in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.  Used-book shop owner; had several, all called Magic Door; at his death he was operating his fourth, in Pomona (L.A area).  Founded a Las Vegas SF Society, thus repaying Arnie Katz, one of whose fanzines (with Lenny Bailes) let DK know there was such a thing as fandom.  Published many zines and took part in apas.  OGH’s appreciation here; you will want to know more, but this is the best I can do for now.  (Died 2017) [JH]
  • Born August 19, 1950 Jill St. John, 70. She’s best remembered as Tiffany Case, the Bond girl in Diamonds Are Forever. She was the first American to play a Bond girl. She shows in The Batman in “Smack in the Middle” and “Hi Diddle Riddle” as Molly. And she played Jennifer Holmes in the 1960 film version of The Lost World. (CE)
  • Born August 19, 1952 Jonathan Frakes, 68. Best known for his portrayal of Commander William T. Riker in Next Gen though I’m fond of his voicing David Xanatos on the Gargoyles series which had at least five Trek actors doing voice work. Interesting bit of trivia: For a time in the Seventies, he worked for Marvel Comics at cons as Captain America. He has directed more than 70 television episodes, including episodes of five Trek series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.The Librarians and The Orville. (CE) 
  • Born August 19, 1961 – Randy Smith, 59.  Wrote up the Hugo Awards Ceremony for the ConJosé Souvenir Book (60th Worldcon).  Long helpful in the San Francisco area, currently a director of SFSFC (San Francisco SF Cons, the non-profit that hosted the 51st, 60th, 76th Worldcons; Westercon 53, 64, 66; and like that) and now tired but not exhausted having chaired its liaison committee for the 78th Worldcon we just virtually had.  Relations with John Blaker a model of ecumenism (which, should they read this, they will blushingly try to disclaim).  [JH]
  • Born August 19, 1988 – Veronica Roth, 32.  Six novels, a dozen shorter stories.  Divergent a NY Times Best Seller; it and first sequel sold five million copies before film version of Divergent released.  Her gaze upon the world, says John Clute, is cuttingly sharp; she is said to be reading the Bible; “cuttingly sharp” could be said of Isaiah, though he did not give us dystopias; beyond that is beyond my pay grade.  [JH]

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Ziggy shows that wile you can fool some of the people all of the time, you can’t fool the bird.

(11) FOLLOW THE MONEY. In “The Big Idea: Thomas Levenson” at Whatever, the author of Money for Nothing tells about the famous figure who unexpectedly had to learn the hard way that what goes up must come down.

…Then it happened again. Deep into that story, I came across this:  a stray mention that [Isaac] Newton had lost £20,000–roughly four million dollars in 21st century money–in a financial scam that happened exactly three centuries ago this year, an event called the South Sea Bubble.  Afterwards, he told his niece that he could “calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of the people.”

That’s where Money for Nothing got its start: wondering why the smartest man of his day, someone who could surely do the math to expose the flaw in the South Sea scheme, got it so badly and expensively wrong.  The book that’s finally here has traveled from that starting point to a much bigger and (I hope) more fascinating narrative: how the wild ferment in ideas and ambitions in Britain in the late seventeenth century that we now call the scientific revolution created a culture of number and measurement that mattered in the daily life of those who lived through it.  From there, and how, as the Bubble played out, that disaster produced something very new: the modern financial capitalism that still plays out in all our lives, with all its wealth and woe….

(12) GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE.

But wait!

Back in the Seventies there was a San Diego fan who had his van painted as the Enterprise’s shuttlecraft. The guy went by the name of “James T. Kirk” which I guarantee you doesn’t make it any easier for me to search for a photo.

(13) SEPARATED AT BIRTH. Gizmodo relays scientific speculation about the question: “Does Our Sun Have a Long-Lost Twin?”

…The Oort cloud is the most distant region in the solar system, residing much farther than the outer planets and the Kuiper Belt. Unlike the Kuiper Belt, which is shaped like a donut, the Oort cloud is a massive and thick spherical shell that envelopes the entire solar system. The inner Oort cloud starts at around 1,000 AU from the Sun (in which 1 AU is the average distance from Earth to the Sun), while its outer edge stops at around 100,000 AU.

This region of space is filled with billions, possibly trillions, of rocky and icy objects left over from the formation of the solar system. According to the new paper, the overabundance of material presumed to exist in the outer Oort cloud is the result of our Sun’s early stint as a binary system.

To date, computers trying to simulate the formation of the solar system have failed to reproduce the proportion of objects seen in the outer realms of the Oort cloud and the scattered disc—a specific population of trans-Neptunian objects outside of the Kuiper Belt. As a result, the origin of the outer Oort cloud is “an unsolved mystery,” according to the paper, authored by astronomers Avi Loeb and Amir Siraj from the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard & Smithsonian.

The new paper presents an elegant solution to the overpopulation problem: a second sun.

“A stellar companion to the Sun would increase the chance of trapping objects from the birth cluster of the Sun,” wrote Loeb in an email. “The Sun and its companion act as a fishing net that traps objects gravitationally as they pass near one of the two stars and lose energy by kicking it slightly.”

(14) EIGHTY-EIGHT KEY DATES. Delish charts “88 Food And Drink Holidays You Need To Mark On Your Calendars For Free Food”.

Besides the typical holidays that call for extravagant food spreads and homemade meals, there are tons of national food days that should be on your radar. They don’t all require a celebration but if you’re ever looking for an excuse to have a themed dinner or to drink a certain liquor by the truck load—you should keep some of these days in mind.

A pair of these fall on April 2 — National Burrito Day, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day – which shouldn’t inconvenience exotic burrito connoisseur John Scalzi.

(15) CORDWAINER BIRD OF A DIFFERENT FEATHER. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] “Burke’s Law S01E06 Who Killed Alex Debbs?” on YouTube is a 1963 episode of Burke’s Law written by Harlan Ellison.  Ellison fans recall that he used the name “Cordwainer Bird” for work he disowned.  Well, this episode is about the murder of Alex Debbs, founder of Debonair, a magazine vaguely like Playboy. The joke editor of the magazine is….Cordwainer Bird, and Bird is played by Sammy Davis Jr.!  Bird’s appearance begins after the 16-minute mark. Burgess Meredith also appears as a very nearsighted cartoonist.

(16) ORIGINS. “Where Did Penguins Come From? Scientists Say It’s Not Antarctica” reports NPR’s “All Things Considered.

The image of a penguin might bring to mind an endless march across windswept ice. The reality of penguins is a bit different, says Grant Ballard of Point Blue Conservation Science.

GRANT BALLARD: There’s actually only two species of penguin that really love ice.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Only two species. Many others live in warmer waters.

BALLARD: So an emperor penguin could conceivably be dealing with something like minus 70 degrees or even colder than that, especially with wind chill. But a Galapagos penguin is encountering temperatures that are around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

KELLY: So how did penguins evolve with such different lifestyles? A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has some answers.

RAURIE BOWIE: We’ve been able to resolve several long-standing questions about penguin evolution, in particular where penguins originated.

FADEL: Rauri Bowie of UC Berkeley is an author on that study. He says there’s been a long debate about where the first penguins evolved. Was it Antarctica or farther north in New Zealand, as others have suggested?

KELLY: Well, armed with genetic evidence from 18 species of modern-day penguins, his team has an answer.

BOWIE: Which turned out to be along the coast of Australia and New Zealand and nearby islands of the South Pacific.

KELLY: They say that happened around 22 million years ago.

FADEL: From there, the penguins surfed on a circular current at the bottom of the world.

…KELLY: If there is one thing the paper makes clear, it’s that the evolution of penguins is far from black and white.

(17) WASHED UP ON THE SHORES OF THE INTERNET. During my search for neglected Scroll titles today I rediscovered this gem by Will R. from 2015.

Just scroll right down and you’ll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this vile hive,
aboard this tiny ship.

The Esk were mighty pixeled fen,
the Blogger brave and sure,
the Filers ticked the box that day,
for a three hour tour,
a three hour tour.

Discussion started getting rough,
the tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the filking of the fearless crew
the comments would be lost.
The comments would be lost.

The ship’s now lodged for good inside this
Highly trafficked file,
with Gilligan,
the Blogger too,
The reverend and the SMOFs,
the wombat red,
the dissenters and the grinning fan,
here in Gilligan’s File.

(Ending verse)
So this is the tale of our castaways,
they’ll be here for a long, long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
it’s an uphill climb.

The first Esk and the Blogger too
will do their very best,
to make the others comfortable
With their sordid rhetoric.

No threads, no lights, no time travel,
not a single luxury.
They’ll have to see what they can grow,
like NASA’s Mark Watney.

So join us here each day my friends,
you’re sure to get a smile,
from countless dumbstruck Trufen brave…
here in Gilligan’s File!

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Stephen Colbert tells Late Show viewers, “You Owe Kevin Costner An Apology For ‘The Postman.’” The parting shot is a corker.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Brian Keene, James Davis Nicoll, Olav Rokne, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Danny Sichel, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, and John Hertz for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ky.]

34 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/19/20 The Fandom Raspberry Blower Of Old
Pixel Town

  1. (5) Dystopian writers – stop giving 2020 ideas!

    (9) D. G. Compton wrote a novel with the glorious name Hot Wireless Sets, Aspirin Tablets, the Sandpaper Sides of Used Matchboxes, and Something That Might Have Been Castor Oil

  2. (16) I was looking at some stuff (elseweb) the other day, where they were considering prehistoric critters like ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs and wondering if they were built more like penguins than like sea-going lizards: fat, possibly fuzzy, and probably colored in black/white/gray. (Penguins have long necks – they just don’t look like it.)

  3. Andrew (not Werdna) notes that

    D. G. Compton wrote a novel with the glorious name Hot Wireless Sets, Aspirin Tablets, the Sandpaper Sides of Used Matchboxes, and Something That Might Have Been Castor Oil

    I saw that and didn’t quite believe it was real. Have you read it?

  4. (9) Diana Muldaur (who, according to Harlan Ellison’s review of McCloud in The Other Glass Teat, “acts as memorably as she looks”) was also the main guest star in Planet Earth, Roddenberry’s 1974 continuation of Genesis II; she was the leader of a matriarchy.

    Furthermore (should anyone care), my late father was teenage Frakes’ orthodontist.

  5. @Cat: Sadly I’ve never read it- I think I heard of it in the SF book of lists and never forget it (in the sense of always remembering that Compton was the fellow who wrote the book with the wild title)

  6. (15) The role was originally written for Victor Bouno, but someone cast Davis instead and Harlan change the name of the character. This mentioned in an interview I heard.

  7. Andrew (not Werdna) says Sadly I’ve never read it- I think I heard of it in the SF book of lists and never forget it (in the sense of always remembering that Compton was the fellow who wrote the book with the wild title)

    Oh and then there’s the cover art. Serious acid feel to that design!

  8. @7: he makes horror sound like the Republican Party; no wonder I don’t read it.

    @9 (Compton): in the past, the excuse for that title not being eproduced would have been that it didn’t fit the space available — cf the 1960’s novel The Man Whose Name Wouldn’t Fit.

    @11: wondering why the smartest man of his day, someone who could surely do the math to expose the flaw in the South Sea scheme, got it so badly and expensively wrong. The math wasn’t the issue; the problem was the real-world assertions that were converted into math. No, that’s not a small difference.

  9. The picture linked in (12) is now gone — was it a van painted up like the Enterprise?

  10. 1)) People who are clever in one field often assume they are therefore clever in all. Ask me about the software industry. Doctors, in particular, are known for getting financially scammed.

  11. 4) My opinion, which is obviously the correct one, is that science fiction is the more restrictive genre. If it has elements of both, it’s fantasy. If it’s only science, then it’s science fiction.

    14) It is not too late to have some fries for National potato day today.

    6) Personally I think Animal Farm is superior to 1984. It’s more realistic, people are deceived by their hopes more often than by their fears. And the ideas can apply to any revolution.

  12. Today’s odd medical note. I’ve noted previously that I’ve now has two fifty day stays at Maine Medical because of two way too serious staphylococcus infections, both in the bone. I thought I had gotten rid of the infection this time. Well, no. It turns out that I’ve now got it permanently bonded to the bone in the right leg according to the Infectious Disease unit and will need to take levels of antibiotics that are problematic for, well, as long as I live.

    So I get my blood taken every Friday from here out by my visiting medical staff to see how the infection is doing, and to see if my kidneys are holding up to the antibiotics. If it goes too high, I get another fifty days in-hospital with antibiotics being dripped into me. Oh joy not.

  13. @bill
    It seems to have been deleted – it was a van painted like a shuttlecraft (Enterprise E version). Nice paint job, too.

  14. @Cat
    Sympathies, and hopes that at some point an antibiotic will come along that can kill it without killing you.

  15. Wikipedia says that book has the alternate title of “Cronocules”. It’s available as an e-book.

  16. (9) Randy Smith: It seems a bit odd to me to mention Randy without noting that he’s a United Methodist minister. (We had him perform my wedding ceremony, even though both bride and groom were atheists.) Yes, there’s the glancing reference to John Blaker, but he’s not given a title either, and not everyone may know who he is.

  17. @PJ Evans — I assume Chronocules for the D.G. Compton book was a Terry Carr retitling, because it was an Ace SF Special. I only read a couple Compton books, but I really liked them.

    My wife would like Oor Wombat to know how much she enjoyed A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking. She liked the thoughtfulness of all the baking bits, and appreciated how Mona was upset at having to be a protector instead of one of the protected.

  18. P J Evans Dayton to me: Sympathies, and hopes that at some point an antibiotic will come along that can kill it without killing you.

    Thanks. One can only hope so.

    Someone at Maine Medical reasons that this is my fifth such infection, though I only know of two. One RN in the Unit said late one night that I was walking miracle as nobody survives that many of them, particularly if it gets in the bone. So now I’m on weekly rapid turn-around testing as it’s expected that it won’t stay entirely stable, and quick intervention will be a necessity.

  19. @Cat @P J Evans

    Yep “Hot Wireless Sets, Aspirin Tablets, The Sandpaper Sides Of Used Matchboxes, And Something That Might Have Been Castor Oil” was the title for the UK first edition from Joseph (which is the edition I have). The cover is just the title in different coloured text. Every other English edition is Chronocules.

    I cannot recommend the book though. Not one of Compton’s best IMO.

  20. (15) I was watching the Burke’s Law episode “Who Killed Alex Debbs” a few years ago when John Ireland’s line “We lead double lives. We deal in sex and beautiful women” struck me with terrific familiarity. I didn’t know why, but a little googling directed me to the lyrics of Black Grape’s 1995 single “Kelly’s Heroes” which samples the line. The single and the album “It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah“were fairly ubiquitous in 1995 on UK TV, radio, and anyplace that plays music, which is why the line rang a bell. Which means technically that Harlan Ellison was on a UK Platinum album.

  21. (15) In the life imitating art department, there was a US men’s magazine called Debonair. (Wikipedia says also a separate one in India.) It coughed out a couple of issues in the early 60s before that episode of Burke’s Law and then relaunched at the end of 1964. Lasted through the 70s. I don’t believe they ever had a key club. (BTW. The default for non-bunny bunnies on television shows seems to be credential-related.)

    If you don’t scroll, don’t troll – Door plate on the File 770 mansion.

  22. (9) Why shouldn’t Deathwatch get a decent rating? It’s a good movie.

    (15) I mentioned Ellison’s use of the name ‘Cordwainer Bird’ a week or so ago, on this very site, in a response to an item about the four scripts Harlan contributed to the series. Davis’ scene seems out of tune with the rest of the episode and serves no real purpose other than to add a Name to the cast.

  23. Meredith Moment from Tor.com: Download a free copy of Riot Baby by Aug 22.

    Speaking of things (4) speaks of, I have finally begun reading Gideon the Ninth in earnest. Got up through the end of Act I yesterday. I’m loving the crap out of it. It is routinely making me cackle like a hyena. Sometimes I’ll reach a turn of phrase that makes me stop in my tracks and reread it out loud, just to savor the language. So, so far, count me as a fan.

    (7)-related: I really enjoyed Stephen Graham Jones’s contribution to the “Finding Humanity in Horror” panel during ReCONvene 2020, and am pleased to read more of the same here. It reminds me of the Zoom chat conversation during that panel about why we want to feel the things that horror makes us feel, a subject that has become more and more part of my conscious thoughts since the pandemic. (In that chat I also discovered that I’m not alone in the potential for a vaccine making me think of the backstory of NEWSFLESH…)

  24. I’m not sure if anyone here watched or mentioned the HBO adaptation of Lovecraft Country after Mike linked to a review of it half a week ago, but (not having read the book) I really enjoyed the first episode. It’s simultaneously ultra-unsubtle in terms of its social themes and the way it uses pulp traditions (the opening dream scene makes it instantly clear that this isn’t going to be about barely-glimpsed weirdness in the shadows, it’s the fevered imagination of someone who’s read every early 20th century genre thing he could get his hands on), and thoughtful about the character interactions. Even if I didn’t like the story, which I do so far, I’d probably keep watching it for the excellent cast (and because it left off on a pretty effective cliffhanger).

  25. Spent a few days visiting with my parents, brother & nephew (first time I’d seen them since February), during which time I managed to read Alastair Reynolds’ Bone Shadow (third in the Revenger trilogy) in not quite one sitting. I love those books very much. And now I’m in the early chapters of Walter Jon Williams’ Quillifer, which I’m thus far enjoying.

  26. @Kevin S.: I remember at ConJosé I ran into Randy a little bit before the Hugo ceremony, and since I was a designated acceptor for Jo Walton for the then-Campbell, now-Astounding Award, talking about her chances to win. Randy of course knew quite well that she had won, though I didn’t know he knew. He kept a truly excellent poker face — I never suspected a thing.

  27. Joe H. Says Spent a few days visiting with my parents, brother & nephew (first time I’d seen them since February), during which time I managed to read Alastair Reynolds’ Bone Shadow (third in the Revenger trilogy) in not quite one sitting. I love those books very much. And now I’m in the early chapters of Walter Jon Williams’ Quillifer, which I’m thus far enjoying.

    And that sums up nicely the best aspect of our community, one the Puppies damn their hearts, cannot even begin to grasp. Those are the novels by Reynolds that I bounced off hard but which I think it’s great that you love do them. (The Prefect was the last novel by him I read. I missed it somehow when it originally came out. Great read.) I don’t need to love them to appreciate that you do. Good for you!

  28. Have now finished Gideon the Ninth. There were Things that I was starting to dread happen in it, some because of Tiresome Tropes and some because we were simply moving inexorably in that direction and I didn’t want to get there. Then those things happened, and they happened so much more right than I expected they could. So much laughing through tears. So good.

    Immediately purchased Harrow the Ninth, but exercised supreme self-control and did not begin reading until after the work of the day was done.

    I am only a very little way in and utterly baffled but 100% game for the ride.

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