Pixel Scroll 8/30/20 An Eruciform’s Body Is Wonderful Long.
Says Alice.

(1) FILM PRODUCTION RESUMES IN PRAGUE. Czech diplomat Jaroslav Olsa Jr. told Facebook readers, “I am happy that the Czech Republic is back as the powerhouse for Hollywood productions as it became the first country in Central Europe to reopen for filmmakers!” And he linked to this Czech Film Commission post: “Carnival Row completes two weeks of remaining filming in the Czech Republic under strict coronavirus protocols”.

In the Czech Republic, the clapper has just fallen on the most financially beneficial foreign production since the introduction of production incentives. The neo-Victorian fantasy television series Carnival Row starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, a joint venture between the American companies Amazon Studios and Legendary Television, has completed two weeks of remaining production in Prague, after filming was interrupted at the beginning of March due to the spread of Covid-19.

(2) G.O.A.T.? Matthew M. Foster strikes an exceptional note of excitement over “Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)”.

This is the greatest movie ever made.

Am I over praising it? Absolutely. But this is the movie we need now. This is it’s time. If there’s ever been a more perfect fit for a film with reality, I don’t know it. Perhaps it won’t end up as the best film of the year, but it will be THE film of the year.

In this miserable time, filled with hate and doom and surrounded by loneliness, there’s been no cinema for nearly six months. Nothing. A huge gaping void to go with the huge gaping void which has been life, and Bill and Ted come along to fill it…

(3) MARK YOUR CALENDAR. Or whack your porcupine, or whatever it is you do to remember a date. 8-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author Scott Edelman will launch a book on September 22. Scott elaborates —

Since this pandemic has made an in-the-flesh book launch for my new short story collection Things That Never Happened impossible, I’m doing as so many have done and holding a virtual one. So I’ll be running it live on September 22 through YouTube.

And you can even click to set yourself a reminder. I’ll briefly interview the cover artist to discuss how she came up with the concept, then I’ll be interviewed, and take questions. And as you can see by the image, the publisher even donated gift cards good in their store for me to give away as prizes.

Attend this live event for a chance to win one of three $50 gift certificates good at the Cemetery Dance store.

(4) VIRTUAL OR-ECON PLANNED. OryCon 42 has been postponed to next year due to the pandemic. It will be held November 13 to 15, 2021.

They will have a free virtual mini-con in 2020 from November 12-14, 2020 which has been dubbed OR-eCon. See updates at the OryCon website.

For now, we’re actively recruiting volunteers interested in making this virtual event happen. Please contact volunteers@orycon.org if you are interested in volunteering for OR-eCon.

If you would like to be notified as our plans progress, you can join our mailing list here.

While this will be a free event, we will be requesting donations both to cover the costs of the virtual event and for use elsewhere in the organization. As always, the various OSFCI charitable funds (Clayton, Petrey) are also open to donations.

(5) WHERE’S THAT OSCAR? ScreenRant is still peeved: “These Fantastic Sci-Fi Movies Were Some Of The Oscars’ Biggest Snubs”.

… These are often genre films, such as sci-fi, which continually fail to receive the recognition they deserve. While things are getting better, the Academy has a long and storied history of ignoring these excellent and influential films. With this in mind, here are 10 fantastic science-fiction films that were snubbed by the Oscars…

08 Blade Runner

Blade Runner presented a vision of the future unlike anything seen before and its influence continues to be felt today, but it was tragically overlooked by the Oscars and only picked up a mere two nominations and failed to win either award.

Harrison Ford’s fantastic portrayal of Rickard Deckard wasn’t enough to earn him a nomination, or any other member of the cast. Blade Runner’s score was also overlooked. However, Bafta showered the film with eight nominations and awarded it three awards. The huge disparity between organizations goes to show how subjective these nominations are.

(6) TELL KIDS ABOUT BOSEMAN DEATH? Actor Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer on August 28. In the Washington Post, Keith L. Alexander says Black parents with young children who are Black Panther fans are struggling to determine if they should tell their kids that Boseman died: “Parents of young ‘Black Panther’ fans struggle with telling children of actor’s death”.

… Graphic designer Kyle Cox remembers how he struggled to keep his own pain away from his 3-year-old son Lucas when NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, Cox’s idol, was killed in a helicopter crash in January.

“Every time he sees Chadwick on TV or in a movie, he points and says ‘Challa,’ ” said Cox, 34, of Lawrence, Mass. Lucas’s bedroom is covered with Black Panther posters, bedsheets, pillowcases and action figures.

“My wife and I have not decided yet if we are going to tell him. He wants to be like T’Challa when he grows up, a Black king. I don’t know if I want to tell him his hero died. That might crush him,” he said. “He’s still trying to get used to the pandemic and not seeing his friends anymore.”

(7) NEIL KADEN HAS DIED. Fanzine publisher and conrunner Neil Kaden (1954-2020) died August 28 at the age of 66. The family memorial notice is here, where it says a full obituary is coming. He is survived by his wife, Cris. There are some fine photos of the pair here at BostonBaden.com.

In a 2010 letter of comment, Neil told File 770 readers that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease around 2005. He told about his concern that other fans who also suffer from it might lose their connection to fandom and no one would know:

Statistics should show that over 1-in-100 fans are stricken with PD, but neither of us could identify where these fans are. Without a faanish safety net, they fall out of touch. The motion related symptoms, balance problems, bradykinesia, tremors, memory problems, and uncontrollable dystonia, are frequently not very visible, especially in the early stages.

Kaden at one time participated in several amateur publishing associations (APAs), founding DAAPA, and belonging to Taps, Applesauce, Anzapa, Canadapa, Vanapa. His publications included Dopplegangers!; Nekromancy; and Confessions Of A Failed Yuppie.

He co-chaired Ditto 13, a con for fanzine fans, in 2000.

(8) NELSON OBIT. Actress Lori Nelson died August 30. The Hollywood Reporter paid tribute.

Lori Nelson, the 1950s starlet who was kidnapped by an amphibious monster in Revenge of the Creature and portrayed Barbara Stanwyck’s daughter in Douglas Sirk’s All I Desire, has died. She was 87.

Nelson had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years and died Sunday at her home in the Porter Ranch section of Los Angeles, her daughter Jennifer Mann said.

…In Revenge of the Creature (1955), the first of two sequels spawned from 1954’s Creature From the Black Lagoon, Nelson played the ichthyology student named Helen who is snatched from a seaside restaurant by a smitten Gill Man (Tom Hennesy and Ricou Browning).

She initially did not want to make the movie but in the end was glad she did.

“I played opposite Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Jimmy Stewart, Dean Martin and Audie Murphy, but who’s the leading man everybody wants to ask me about? The Gill Man!” she said in an interview for Tom Weaver’s book The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy. “It’s so funny, Universal had to twist my arm a little to be in a monster movie. But if I knew then how popular they would remain, I would have twisted their arm to be in a couple more.

(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • August 30, 1999 — The animated Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles first aired in syndication from the Bohbot Kids Network. Produced by Co-Executive Producer’s Verhoeven-Marshall Flat Earth Productions (Richard Raynis was the other Co-Executive Producer), it’s loosely based off both Heinlein’s novel and Verhoeven‘s film. Very loosely. Duane Capizzi who later wrote the Superman: Doomsday film was one of the actual producers. The voice cast was rather large and consisted largely of no one you’ll recognise without Googling them. The series would last one season and thirty six thirty minute episodes before being canceled by Columbia TriStar Television and Sony Pictures on a cliff hanger as the last four episodes weren’t produced. You can see the trailer here.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz]

  • Born August 30, 1797 – Mary Shelley.  Frankenstein her first novel; I agree with Brian Aldiss it’s the first science fiction novel.  Alas, it seems one of those books everybody talks about but nobody has read.  It’s an irresponsibility contest between the man and the monster.  Also a feminist tract; I’ve said that of Glory Road but falling on deaf ears.  One more novel, a score of shorter stories, for us; five other novels, travelogues, biographies, editions of Percy Shelley’s work.  (Died 1851) [JH]
  • Born August 30, 1887 – Ray Cummings.  Two dozen novels, two hundred thirty shorter stories for us; perhaps seven hundred fifty all told.  He, and not e.g. Feynman or the Flying Karamazov Brothers, wrote “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once” (a character in The Girl in the Golden Atom says it, ch. 5).  (Died 1957) [JH]
  • Born August 30, 1896 Raymond Massey. In 1936, he starred in Things to Come, a film adaptation by H.G. Wells of his own novel The Shape of Things to Come. Other than several appearances on Night Gallery forty years later, that’s it for genre appearances. (Died 1983.) (CE)
  • Born August 30, 1931 – Jack Swigert.  Licensed private pilot by age 16; attained Second Class Scout, Boy Scouts of America.  At Univ. Colorado, football for the Buffaloes; M.S. (aerospace engineering) from Rensselaer; M.B.A. from Univ. Hartford.  U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, Korea; jet fighter pilot, Air Nat’l Guard; engineering test pilot; 7,200 hrs in flight.  AIAA (Am. Inst. Aeronautics & Astronautics) Chanute Award for demonstrating Rogallo wing.  NASA (Nat’l Aeronautics & Space Adm’n) Astronaut; on Apollo 13 mission said “Houston, we’ve had a problem here”; Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Elected to U.S. House of Representatives, developed cancer, died before serving.  Three honorary doctorates.  Int’l Space Hall of Fame.  (Died 1982) [JH]
  • Born August 30, 1940 – Ye Yonglie.  (Written Chinese-style; the family name is Ye, rhymes with Heh heh.)  Chemist, poet, biographer, film director; fifty volumes of various material; proclaimed the leading science popularizer by the Party (thus sometimes “the Chinese Asimov”).  Xiao Lingtong Manyou Weilai (in romanization the Party prefers; “Little Know-it-all Roams the Future”) and sequels still in print, three million copies circulating, many Chinese children’s first contact with Futures Studies.  Half a dozen short stories for adults, three translated into English, see e.g. Science Fiction from ChinaTales from the Planet Earth.  Reports on SF in China for FoundationLocus.  (Died 2020) [JH]
  • Born August 30, 1942 Judith Moffett, 78. She won the first Theodore Sturgeon Award with her story “Surviving” and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer at Nolacon II (1988) for her Pennterra novel. Asimov wrote an introduction for the book and published it under his Isaac Asimov Presents series. Her Holy Ground series of The Ragged World: A Novel of the Hefn on EarthTime, Like an Ever-Rolling Stream: A Sequel to the Ragged World and The Bird Shaman are her other genre novels. The Bear’s Babys And Other Stories collects her genre short stories. All of her works are surprisingly available at the usual digital suspects. (CE) 
  • Born August 30, 1956 – Lissanne Lake, 64.  A hundred covers, plus interiors, for Feast of LaughterMythic DeliriumStrange Plasma, books, gaming cards.  Here is Lafferty in “Orbit”, i.e. stories published in Orbit.  Here is the Four of Chivs (blades) from her Buckland Romani Tarot Deck.  Of course she has a Facebook page.  [JH]
  • Born August 30, 1963 Michael Chiklis, 57. He was The Thing in two first Fantastic Four films, and Jim Powell on the No Ordinary Family series which I’ve never heard of.  He was on American Horror Story for its fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show as Dell Toledo. The following year he was cast as Nathaniel Barnes, in the second season of Gotham, in a recurring role. And he voiced Lt. Jan Agusta in Heavy Gear: The Animated Series. (CE)
  • Born August 30, 1965 Laeta Kalogridis, 55. She was an executive producer of the short-lived not so great Birds of Prey series and she co-wrote the screenplays for Terminator Genisys and Alita: Battle Angel. She recently was the creator and executive producer of Altered Carbon. She also has a screenwriting credit for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, a film the fanboys hate but which I really like. (CE) 
  • Born August 30, 1972 Cameron Diaz, 48. She first shows as Tina Carlyle in The Mask, an amazing film. (The sequel is bloody awful.)   She voices Princess Fiona in the Shrek franchise. While dating Tom Cruise, she’s cast as an uncredited Bus passenger in Minority Report. Oh, and she’s Lenore Case in the cringingly awful Green Hornet, a film I gave up on after fifteen or so minutes despite being predisposed to liking it. (CE)
  • Born August 30, 1973 – Echo Chernik, 47.  Commercial artist including science fiction and fantasy images; in four issues of Spectrum.  Here are some cards from her Patrick Rothfuss Name of the Wind Art Deck.  Here is Echo Recoil.  Here is a tote bag for the Uwajimaya shops.  Here is her Four of Blades for the “Shadowrun” Sixth World Tarot.  Here is an Elf for Shadowrun.  [JH]
  • Born August 30, 1980 Angel Coulby, 40. She is best remembered for her recurring role as Gwen (Guinevere) in the BBC’s Merlin. She also shows up in Doctor Who as Katherine in the “The Girl in the Fireplace”, a Tenth Doctor story. She also voices Tanusha ‘Kayo’ Kyrano in the revived animated Thunderbirds Are Go series. (CE)

(11) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.

  • It’s Fred MacMurray’s birthday. He was used by artist C.C. Beck as the basis for Captain Marvel back in 1939.

(12) LEADERSHIP. “Octavia Butler on How (Not) to Choose Our Leaders” by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.

Like Ursula K. Le Guin, Butler straddled the timeless and the prophetic, saturating her fiction with astute philosophical and psychological insight into human nature and the superorganism of society. Also like Le Guin, Butler soared into poetry to frame and punctuate her prose. Each chapter begins with an original verse abstracting its thematic direction. She opens the eleventh chapter of the second Earthseed book with this verse:

Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.

(13) POETIC LICENSE. In the latest podcast from Diamond Bay Radio, Lex Berman interviews Sebastian Doubinsky.  Touching on drugs, music, and the need to protect poets as the last bastion of freedom, Seb provides a thoughtful background to his novel The Invisible  (Meerkat Press, 2020):  The Invisible With Seb Doubinsky’.

Take a stroll around New Babylon with the City Commissioner, Ratner, who finesses his way through the subcultures of Synth music, political corruption, and the invisible power of shared delusions. Ratner is out to find the murderer of Jesse Valentino, the former cop and unknown poet, unknown at home, and famous everywhere else.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY.“It’s a Neil Gaiman Universe, We Just Live In It” on YouTube is a clip from a 2014 episode of the NPR game show Ask Me Another where a contestant was asked whether a passage was from Neil Gaiman’s work or was made up by the Ask Me Another staff.

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

23 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/30/20 An Eruciform’s Body Is Wonderful Long.
Says Alice.

  1. 10) On the topic of movies one can’t bear to watch in full, I must report I only managed about twenty minutes of the Keanu Reeves film 47 RONIN last night. Christ on a crutch, why fuck around like this with one of the world’s classic stories?

  2. (5) No disrespect, but several of those movies did not deserve Oscar nominations.

  3. 5) Well, I suppose you could make an argument for several movies on this list such as two of my favorite SF films, 2001 and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    BUT NOT, NOT WALL-E!!!!!!

    I HATE IT WITH THE HEAT OF A THOUSAND SUNS, ALL GOING NOVA ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!

    So NO, already…pfui!

  4. (5) So of 10 movies snubbed by the Oscars, 3 of them won an Oscar, and 3 more received Oscar nominations. Apparently I’ve been wrong about what “snubbed” means for my whole life.

    (11) The illustration of Captain Marvel is by Alex Ross, not C.C. Beck. Here’s an example of the latter’s depiction. I think the resemblance to MacMurray is stronger in Beck’s work.

  5. I don’t think any of those movies deserved Oscar nominations for best picture and I like almost all of them. 2001 got plenty of nominations, so it’s probably the closest. Looking at the list of movies nominated for best picture that year, you could argue it has had a much greater impact than Rachel, Rachel which has faded from the collective memory.

    OK, since I bought the book: Blade Runner and 2001 are both part of the Scalzi Sci-Fi film canon. The book predates a lot of these picks, including the top three, so obviously things might have changed. He did include Thing from Another World, but not The Thing.

    (10) Raymond Massey was also in A Matter of Life and Death/Stairway to Heaven as an American soul who objects to an American woman falling in love with David Niven.

  6. 5) I have to agree with Jack Lint: none of those films really deserved best picture. But there are other categories that they might qualify for.

    12) The rest of that article has some all too trenchant poetry by Butler.

  7. (10) There have been so many movies and books based on Frankenstein, not to mention the tropes, it is deeply embedded in our culture. When I read the book, I wondered how it could hold up, with all the years that have gone by, and all the hype. The answer is that it’s a really great book. It is well worth reading. We are still working on the issues that it raised.

    In the debate going on over the science fiction canon, I have to agree that a lot of what was considered the best science fiction of the 20th century is past its sell-by date. But I have to ask, have you read Frankenstein?

  8. (12) The article doesn’t mention how in Parable of the Sower the tyrannical leader got elected on the slogan “Make America Great Again”….

    (14) I got all of these easily, which is good as otherwise I’d have to turn in my Gaiman fanboy credentials.

  9. 4) Tuscon in Tucson (say that five times fast), generally held over the same weekend, has also set their clock back one year.

    (Last year’s Tuscon was the next-to-last con I attended, thanks to the end of the world, and the last time I met my usual con crowd. I am not satisfied with this year and I want a refund.)

  10. (10) I need to read more Judith Moffett – I enjoyed several of her shorter works, but never any of her novels. To the used bookstore (virtually!).

  11. Thomas Disch asserted firmly in The Stuff Our Dreams Are Made Of that nobody read Frankenstein for fun (unless I misremember and it was “at all”) which since I have done just that I knew was nonsense. Stuff was a pretty worthless book.

  12. @JDN: the exact quote is “its appeal will always be limited to those who read fiction in a spirit of academic curiosity”.

    I found Stuff a wide-ranging and immensely entertaining polemic, vast swathes of which I completely disagreed with.

  13. I don’t remember why I decided to read Frankenstein, but I was glad I did. I found it thought-provoking and surprisingly enjoyable.

  14. @James Davis Nicoll: “Stuff was a pretty worthless book.”

    I wouldn’t go that far, but it sure was a disappointment. I don’t have much good to say about it.

  15. I read Frankenstein. I enjoyed Frankenstein.

    Every time I see Disch quoted, it’s something I find, to be kind, ridiculous.

    @bill (5)
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Best Original Screenplay, not generally considered a “major” Oscar.
    2001: A Space Odyessy Nominated for several Oscars, but only won Best Visual Effects. Not a major Oscar.
    Blade Runner Nominated for Best Visual Effects and Best Production Design; won neither of them.
    WALL-E Nominated for Sound Editing, Sound Editing, Original Score and Original Screenplay–not major Oscars. Did win Best Animated Feature; again, not a major Oscar. (@Chris Barkley–Bite your tongue. I loved WALL-E. It was several tons of fun.)
    Moon No nominations
    V For Vendetta No nominations
    The Thing No nominations
    A Quiet Place One nomination, Best Sound Editing. Didn’t win.
    Annihilation No nominations
    Logan Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay

    Yep. Nominations, and even wins, for only the minor categories, certainly does count as “snubbing,” in the eyes of anyone who considers the movie so “recognized” as worthy of more and better. Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Director–those are major awards.

  16. I’m sure we could have an entire comment thread devoted to questionable claims made in The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, and I feel like Disch would’ve been fine with that; I think most of the book is the sincere form of trolling, i.e. writing things that are one’s own opinions but stated in a deliberately inflammatory way in full awareness that one hasn’t really backed them up. But I certainly wouldn’t call it worthless. The alternative history it presents of SF-as-we-know-it being descended from Poe, and the focus on America’s history of cranks and con artists, is pretty interesting.

    Disch wrote a libretto for a Frankenstein opera which I’ve never gotten around to looking at, but it’s online and the description here doesn’t make it sound like he was quite that dismissive of the novel.

  17. There are some who don’t consider the supporting actor/actress Oscars as Major Awards. (Often consolation prizes or a way to give an award to a lead actor who can’t beat the heavyweights.) The Big 5 are usually given as actor, actress, director, film and screenplay (either original or adapted.) I would include cinematography, but any distinction of what is and isn’t a major Academy Award is an artificial distinction dependent on the user.

    Three movies have won the Big 5: Silence of the Lambs, It Happened One Night, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Silence is somewhat genre adjacent given Lector’s almost superhuman abilities and just given how far it was from the standard award nominee.

    Well, Clarice – have the pixels stopped scrolling?

  18. SFF quotation on tonight’s University Challenge. Identify the writer from their Nebula winning novels.
    The team, who were otherwise extremely good did not know Connie Willis or Joe Haldeman, but had a theory that if they kept saying Iain Banks they’d be right in the end. They did though recognise Neil Gaiman.

  19. In a birthday genre link, Raymond Massey played a murderer in Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) who had been made to resemble Boris Karloff by his accomplice, a tipsy plastic surgeon portrayed by Peter Lorre. Karloff, of course, was Frankenstein’s monster in the 1931 film, Frankenstein.

  20. Kevin Harkness says Karloff, of course, was Frankenstein’s monster in the 1931 film, Frankenstein.

    He actually played the role three times in the Thirties in in Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein. It’s rather hard to keep such a monster down.

  21. He actually played the role three times in the Thirties in in Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein. It’s rather hard to keep such a monster down.

    Very true! And, to continue making the link into a chain, he also played the baron in Frankenstein 1970 (1958), the voice of Baron Boris von Frankenstein in Mad Monster Party (1967), and a non-Frankenstein evil scientist in House of Frankenstein (1944). To circle back to the first link in the chain, he also played Jonathon Brewster on the stage and repeated the role in a made-for-TV movie of Arsenic and Old Lace (1962).
    I will say that I found him most menacing in The Body Snatchers (1945) as the grave robber who decided to go Burking.

  22. @ Kevin Harkness
    I read somewhere that Karloff originated the role on stage in Arsenic and Old Lace, getting a big laugh with the line “He said I looked like Boris Karloff!”

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