Pixel Scroll 8/5/21 You’ve Got To Know When To Hodor’em, Know When To Scroll’em, Know When To White Walker Away

(1) BURTON OUT OF JEOPARDY, UNFORTUNATELY. LeVar Burton won’t succeed the late Alex Trebek as host of the game show Jeopardy! According to Deadline, the show’s executive producer Mike Richards will be taking the job.  

LeVar Burton tweeted today:

I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I’ve won. The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure.

Here’s a look-back at a recent show when LeVar Burton presided over “The Science Fiction Category”.

(2) WHO’S ON FIRST. “Doctor Who’s next showrunner is more important than its next Doctor” insists Radio Times.

…But the showrunner is responsible for literally everything – from the tone of the show to its look, its casting, its music… even, to a lesser degree, its format and structure. Yes, making Doctor Who – and indeed, any show like it – is a massive team effort, but the showrunner picks (or is at least involved in the hiring of) their writers, the composer, the production designer, the make-up artists, the casting director… all those talented folk whose hard work goes into putting the show together.

Think how distinct the Russell T Davies era is from the Steven Moffat era, and how different both are to Chibnall’s show. Bar a few cosmetic changes, Doctor Who starring Christopher Eccleston and Doctor Who starring David Tennant are broadly the same series. But there’d be no mistaking Moffat’s Who for Davies’ – yes, they’re ostensibly the same programme, but the visuals are different, the humour is different, certain of the tropes are different… everything has regenerated, far more dramatically than when the show switches out one lead actor for the next. (That lead actor, of course, is also picked by the showrunner – pending BBC approval.)…

(3) HUGO HISTORY UPDATE. [Item by Kevin Standlee.] Ben Yalow located a copy of the 1993 Hugo Awards Nominating & Final Ballot Details report and I have updated the 1993 Hugo Awards entry at the official Hugo Awards site with a copy of it.

Note that the rules in 1993 were different than they are today, and this report included what was required under the rules as they existed at that time.

[Editor’s egoscanning note: I see File 770 came in second, as it was wont to do in the Nineties.]

(4) ON YOUR MARK. Tenth Letter of the Alphabet has combed through the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office and assembled a vast collection of “Pulp Fiction Trademarks” like these —

(5) ANOTHER CONLANG. “What Language Does Leeloo Speak In The Fifth Element?” – let Looper tell you.

…A lot of time and effort, including the formation of a special language, went into crafting “The Fifth Element,” with Besson working on the project for around 15 years. What some might not know is that the unique language Leeloo speaks in the film is called the Divine Language, and it’s actually a personal creation of Besson’s, made solely for the movie. 

The Divine Language that was developed for “The Fifth Element” only has around 400 words in total, but that’s certainly enough to carry a conversation. According to an interview with i-D, Jovovich gives Besson complete credit for the language’s creation, stating that “He brought me a dictionary of words. We would write each other letters in the language, so I was getting used to communication and speaking it.”… 

(6) UNDERSTANDING SILKPUNK. BookRiot’s Lyndsie Manusos has some definite opinions about “Silkpunk: What It Is And What It Definitely Is Not”. “Silkpunk does NOT apply to every speculative, science fiction, or fantasy book inspired by Asian history or culture. Here’s what it is.”

…In the long history of speculative and SFF genres, silkpunk is pretty new. It was invented by Ken Liu to describe his 2015 novel The Grace of Kings. Liu coined the term, and wrote a post on his website to delve into its definition. Liu’s post begins with: “No, [silkpunk is] not “Asian-flavored steampunk.” No, it’s not “Asian-influenced fantasy.” No, it’s not…

(7) A PAIR OF ACES. Molly Templeton pointed out to Tor.com readers where they can “Watch Martha Wells and Becky Chambers in Conversation”.

… The two discuss outlining (or not); television watching (Wells, like all wise viewers, enjoys Elementary); how much time Chambers thought about tea while writing Psalm; writing with compassion for your characters; and how excellent it is that more voices are telling their stories in SFF….

(8) TOP 10. ScreenRant shared the list of “The American Film Institute’s 10 Best Sci Fi Movies”. Guess what is only number six!!

6. Blade Runner

A cerebral film with lofty existential themes, Blade Runner is a duly highly regarded sci-fi film and often noted as one of the best of the sci-fi genre. Another Ridley Scott film – one of his best science fiction films – Blade Runner follows an officer and blade runner named Deckard that is tasked with tracking down and destroying four replicants, which are sentient robots that were deemed illegal after a replicant uprising on a faraway planet.

On Deckard’s journey to destroy, or retire, the replicants, he is faced with questions of what it means to be human and the accuracy or inaccuracy of perception of reality. Further, the film paints a bleak portrait of a potential future with animals being extinct and a highly polluted atmosphere, connecting to concerns that modern audiences have for the environment.

(9) STONE SOUP. At “Building Beyond: Leaf Me Alone”, Sarah Gailey is joined by Stephen Rider and Amal El-Mohtar to play with this writing prompt:

The global forest community has decided to cut off all economic and trading ties with the outside world. From now on, forest-based resources are for the forest alone.

(10) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1970 – Fifty one years at Heicon ’70 where John Brunner was the Toastmaster, Ursula Le Guin wins the Hugo for Best Novel for The Left Hand of Darkness. It was first published in 1969 as Ace SF Special, Series 1.  Other nominated works that year were Robert Silverberg’s Up the Line, Piers Anthony‘s Macroscope, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Norman Spinrad‘s Bug Jack Barron. It would also win a Nebula Award and be nominated for a Ditmar Award as well. 

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 5, 1906 John Huston. Yes, the Huston who directed  and wrote The Maltese Falcon graced our community. He was M in Casino Royale, and The Lawgiver in Battle for the Planet of the Apes. He was in Sherlock Holmes in New York as Professor Moriarty, and voiced Gandalf in The Return of The King. (Died 1987.)
  • Born August 5, 1929 Don Matheson. Best remembered for being Mark Wilson in Land of the Giants. He also had roles in Lost in Space (where he played in an alien in one episode and an android in another episode), Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaThe Alfred Hitchcock Hour, an Alice in Wonderland film and Dragonflight. (Died 2014.)
  • Born August 5, 1935 Wanda Ventham, 86. Mother of Benedict Cumberbatch. She’s been on Who three times, in “The Faceless Ones”, a Second Doctor story, in “Image of the Fendahl”, a Fourth Doctor story and finally in “Time and the Rani”, a Seventh Doctor story. She also had roles in The Blood Beast TerrorProject U.F.O and Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter. She was often on British TV series including Danger ManThe SaintThe Avengers and The Prisoner. And yes, she was on his Sherlock series where she played…his mother.
  • Born August 5, 1940 Natalie Trundy, 81. First, she was one of the Underdwellers, named Albina, in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.  Next, she played Dr. Stephanie Branton, a specialist studying apes from the future who came into our present day in Escape from the Planet of the Apes.  Then in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, she played the chimp Lisa.  As far as I can tell, she’s the only performer to play three different roles in the Apes films. 
  • Born August 5, 1947 Élisabeth Vonarburg, 74. Parisian born, she’s been a Quebec resident for four decades. She was the literary director of the French-Canadian SF magazine Solaris. Her first novel, Le Silence de la Cité, was published in 1981. Since then she’s been a prolific writer of novels and short fiction. I’m pleased to say that the usual suspects is deeply stocked in her works. Her website, in French of course, is here. She’s won ten Prix Aurora Awards for the best Canadian science fiction and fantasy works and activities in English and French. Très, très impressionnant! 
  • Born August 5, 1961 Tawny Kitaen. I first remember her in Hercules and the Circle of Fire as Deianeira, a role remarkable only for the minimalist costume she wore. She repeated the role throughout the series. Her first genre acting was actually in low budget horror flick Witchboard. And other than an appearance in a SF comedy series They Came from Outer Space, that’s it for her. (Died 2021.)
  • Born August 5, 1980 JoSelle Vanderhooft, 41. Former Green Man reviewer with a single novel so far, Ebenezer, and several collections, Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories and Steam-Powered II: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories which the former were nominated for a Lambda Award. She also co-edited with Steve Berman, Heiresses of Russ 2011: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction.

(12) COMICS HISTORY. “Let Otto Binder show you how the mid-’60s comic book sausage was made” at Scott Edelman’s blog.

Two more treasures found in my late sister-in-law Ellen Vartanoff’s collection — mid-’60s scripts by the extremely prolific comics writer Otto Binder. Wikipedia claims he wrote 4,400 stories under his own name — and 160 more under the pen-name Eando Binder…

…His [Otto Binder’s] story in Creepy adapted of one of the 10 stories he wrote for Amazing Stories with his brother Earl Binder (under the pen name Eando Binder) about the intelligent robot Adam Link.

Someday I’ll scan and share the entirety of both scripts, but for now, here’s a comparison of the first page of the Mighty Samson one, as well as the published page, with art by Frank Thorne — who’s perhaps best-known for his work on Marvel’s Red Sonja….

(13) DRAWN THAT WAY. Studio co-founder Alvy Ray Smith tells IEEE Spectrum readers “The Real Story of Pixar” – “How a bad hardware company turned itself into a great movie studio.”

…The story… goes back to a time when I and other researchers in computer graphics scattered around the United States began to see the technology as allowing a new art form: the creation of digitally animated movies. A handful of us began talking about when somebody would make the first one—”The Movie,” we called it—and the massive computing power it would take to pull it off. That kind of computing power was not affordable in the mid-1970s. But with Moore’s Law cranking along at a steady pace, there was every reason to think that the cost of computing power would come down sufficiently within a decade or so. In the meantime, we focused on developing the software that would make The Movie possible.

By definition, The Movie could incorporate no hand drawing. The tools to build it emerged piecemeal. First came the software that enabled computers to create two-dimensional images and, later, virtual 3D objects. Then we figured out how to move those objects, shade them, and light them before rendering them as frames of a movie….

…We kept the possibility of The Movie alive during the next five years with a series of short films, including Luxo Jr. (1986), nominated for an Academy Award; Tin Toy (1988) winner of an Academy Award; Red’s Dream (1987); and Knick Knack (1989). These were four of the sparkling jewels that sustained us during these otherwise tough years.

Each one of these pieces represented continued improvements in the underlying in-house technologies. Luxo Jr., for example, incorporated the first articulated objects that self-shadowed themselves from multiple light sources. Red’s Dream showed off our Pixar Image Computer: the principal background for the piece, a bicycle shop, was the most complex computer graphics scene ever rendered at the time….

(14) THEY’RE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY. “R2-D2 is now a Tamagotchi you’ll forget about” predicts Engadget. (See demos at the company’s own interactive info page: Star Wars R2-D2 Tamagotchi.)

Disney and Bandai have teamed up to bring Artoo to the pockets of fans who don’t mind training, cleaning and looking after a needy, digital version of the droid wherever they are. …As you might expect from a Tamagotchi, you’ll interact with the toy using three physical buttons.

There are 19 skills for Artoo to learn. You’ll need to keep him charged and clean. Unlike with other Tamagotchis, you won’t have to clear up any poop from R2-D2 (he’s a droid, after all). A Lucasfilm spokesperson told Engadget that if R2-D2 sits for too long, he’ll accumulate dust. You can clean that away with the press of a button.

There are nine mini-games you can play with him, including firefighting and Star Wars staple Dejarik (or holochess). If you don’t keep the droid happy, some Jawas might arrive to take him away….

(15) FROM OUTSIDE OF TIME. Episode 37 of Octothorpe 37, a podcast about science fiction and SF fandom from John Coxon, Alison Scott, and Liz Batty, is available here.

 We didn’t record this week so this is the fabled EPISODE X, part of the SUMMER OF FUN (summer of fun). We discuss the Retro Hugo Awards and reading old books from a time when Graham Linehan was still on Twitter. Crazy.

(16) MINUS MEN. Y: The Last Man premieres September 13 — on FX on Hulu.

Based on DC Comics’ acclaimed series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, Y: The Last Man traverses a post-apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic event decimates every mammal with a Y chromosome but for one cisgender man and his pet monkey. The series follows the survivors in this new world as they struggle with their efforts to restore what was lost and the opportunity to build something better.

(17) THE STARS BYE DESTINATION. Gizmodo knows why “This Blasted Star Is Getting the Hell Out of the Milky Way”.

Careening through the Milky Way at nearly 2 million miles per hour, the star LP 40–365 shows no signs of stopping. A team of astronomers recently figured out that the star was propelled into its current speedrun by a supernova explosion millions of years ago.

LP 40–365 is unusual. It’s a white dwarf, a small, compact star at the end of its life, and it’s very rich in metals. LP 40–365 also has own atmosphere, which is mostly composed of oxygen and neon. But most important to this story is that the star is a runaway from a huge stellar explosion, which set in motion its dash out of the galaxy….

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Mario Golf”,  Fandom Games says this Mario Bros. line extension “turns the fusty game of golf into the PGA version of Death Race.”

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, N., John Coxon, Daniel Dern, Scott Edelman, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/5/21 You’ve Got To Know When To Hodor’em, Know When To Scroll’em, Know When To White Walker Away

  1. 8) I’m always astounded when 2001 rates so high. Yes, it’s groundbreaking special effects (that would be used to much better effect in subsequent films) but the movie as a whole is a disappointment. Like many of Kubrick’s films, it moves glacially slow (Barry Lyndon has to take the record with scenes that move slower than continental drift). The ending becomes a confused mess with attempts at artistic imagery that shows the director either had no idea what the ending was or was incapable of conveying it. I had the fortune to have read the novelization by Clarke first, so that helped. But you shouldn’t need to read a novelization to find out what the ending meant. 2010 was a far superior film.

  2. 11) re: Tawny Kitaen. I think when File 770 ran her obit, we discussed the possibility that Gwendoline was also genre. Certainly it’s very pulpy. I’d have to re-watch it to check for specific genre elements, and not get distracted by the semi-nudity.

  3. David Shallcross says re: Tawny Kitaen. I think when File 770 ran her obit, we discussed the possibility that Gwendoline was also genre. Certainly it’s very pulpy. I’d have to re-watch it to check for specific genre elements, and not get distracted by the semi-nudity.

    Tawney? Semi-nude? Never. She took her clothes off more than she kept them on.

    I just looked it up and yes, I should’ve included it as it’s definite genre elements.

  4. So, plans went haywire because my brother-in-law is now in the hospital with gastrointestinal issues that aren’t C. Diff. (someone listens to my advice, at least), and I had a meltdown. However, the trip is on again–for Saturday. My birthday. A friend will come with me. Can’t help drive, but I won’t be alone on the drive.

  5. 1) Jeopardy: very very disappointed to see the show’s writers falling into the common error of confusing “star system” with “galaxy”. The object in the question did not “enter our galaxy” — it could not enter because it never left!

    2) Doctor Who showrunner: Radio Times isn’t wrong, of course.

    On his Tumblr, Neil Gaiman answered an ask about whether he’d consider taking the position: his answer boiled down to “there are a number of people who could be showrunner for Doctor Who, but only I can do Good Omens.” (Which isn’t wrong either, IMO.)

  6. 4: Amazing Stories remains a currently registered (word) trademark in multiple classes. The trademark shown in the post is a formerly registered, now defunct, “design” mark, displaying a specific font, orientation, etc.

    8: I’m not astounded, amazed or startled by the inclusion of 2001 as the #1 SF flick. It is. I am disappointed and question the experience and professionalism of the judges who saw fit to completely overlook Forbidden Planet, especially when they had room for it, replacing E.T., which is a glorified alien abduction/UFO story and does not belong under an SF title. Effin fone home if you don’t like that characterization.

    10: Very odd: 1970 is one of the few years prior to my engagement with Fandom that I not only read every single one of the novel nominees (and a high percentage of all other fiction nominees) but also knew the Fan GoH, US Pro GoH, & others involved. It predates my entry into Fandom by three years.

    More on 8: the novelization of 2001 by Clarke was written contemporaneously with the working film script; I suspect contract(s) are the reason it was not credited to by Clarke and Kubrick. Word on the street is that Clarke’s novel went with an originally discussed ending, which was later changed by Kubrick for the actual film – or vice versa. Wikiedia claims the novel was released after the film was released. My memory is that I also read the novel prior to watching the film, both of which took place in 1968; memory also says that owing to my age, I had to get my parents to take me to see it, and, having read the novel, spent some time in the theater lobby explaining the movie to all of the bemused adults.
    I suspect an early 1968 book release and a film run that lasted from April of 1968 until at least early 1969 to be responsible.

  7. (6) I couldn’t manage to make myself finish ‘Grace of Kings’ but the parts I read didn’t seem to have any ‘punk’ at all.

  8. Wanda Ventham was in UFO, Gerry Anderson’s British TV series, not Project UFO, the later American TV series.

  9. You might find it interesting that NASA is planning a Mars mission simulation “Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog” in an Earth-bound habitation module, and is looking for volunteers. There are various requirements, including age between 30 and 55, and the ability to endure close confinement for a year.

  10. I’m not a big sf movie guy but in my opinion 2001 is in a class of its own, certainly compared to the others I’ve seen in that group of ten. (I haven’t seen “The Day the Earth Stood Still” or “Alien.”)

  11. I’m trying to figure out what the difference is between “film with aliens in” and “sci-fi film” and drawing a total blank.

  12. Meredith Moment: For what it’s worth, Again, Dangerous Visions is available in ebook for $2.99 from the usual suspects. I suspect that the Suck Fairy has visited this book, but here it is for historical purposes.

  13. Steve davidson says More on 8: the novelization of 2001 by Clarke was written contemporaneously with the working film script; I suspect contract(s) are the reason it was not credited to by Clarke and Kubrick. Word on the street is that Clarke’s novel went with an originally discussed ending, which was later changed by Kubrick for the actual film – or vice versa. Wikiedia claims the novel was released after the film was released. My memory is that I also read the novel prior to watching the film, both of which took place in 1968; memory also says that owing to my age, I had to get my parents to take me to see it, and, having read the novel, spent some time in the theater lobby explaining the movie to all of the bemused adults.
    I suspect an early 1968 book release and a film run that lasted from April of 1968 until at least early 1969 to be responsible.

    If ISFDB is right, the novel came out at end of June which is three months after the Tim was released. The caveat to my statement is there are earlier editions which bear release dates of 00-1968 so there could have been earlier editions. Or not.

    I read it, can’t say four or so decades on that I remember much about the one reading I did of it. The film I do remember. And I think it earned its place in film history rather nicely.

    Now listening to P. Dejeli Clark’s The Haunting of Tram Car 0015 which was nominated for a Hugo at CoNZealand.

  14. Rob Thornton says Meredith Moment: For what it’s worth, Again, Dangerous Visions is available in ebook for $2.99 from the usual suspects. I suspect that the Suck Fairy has visited this book, but here it is for historical purposes.

    Some of the stories there are very, very good; some are, errr, well let’s just say that time has not been very kind to them at all. And I am very curious to to see how the stories in the yet to be released JMS edited Dangerous Visions anthology will stand up after all this time.

  15. (8) The most recent film on that list is from 1991. There are a lot of contenders from after that date. I find it hard to believe that nothing released in the last 30 years belongs there.

  16. Paul King says The most recent film on that list is from 1991. There are a lot of contenders from after that date. I find it hard to believe that nothing released in the last 30 years belongs there.

    I suspect it says more about the age of the critics who voted here than the quality of the movies in the past three decades. I personally think Galaxy Quest could easily fit on this list. And no Star Trek films, not even Wrath of Khan? Shame on them!

  17. (8) “Arrival,” “The Truman Show,” “Gattaca,” and “Galaxy Quest” leap to mind as relatively recent movies of note.

  18. Meredith moment: Ringworld is available from the usual suspects for five dollars and ninety nine cents. I mention it because IMDB thinks that it’s in development as a series from Amazon Studios. Anyone heard anything about this? I know “in development” is a meaningless phrase most times.

    I’ve not re-read it in maybe twenty years so I’m not sure if the Suck Fairy has bitten her ever so sharp little teeth down upon it. (Other than short fiction, I’ve not read anything by him in years.)

  19. I realised my previous statement about Niven was incorrect. I have read one long form series by him recently and it was quite outstanding. It was the one that he co-authored with Edward M. Lerner, Fleet of Worlds, the prequel series to the Ringworld series. Though I admit the writing therein has me suspecting very strongly that the latter actually wrote it as it simply doesn’t read like Niven does. If you’ve not read, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

  20. 10) I love that Dillon cover for Left Hand of Darkness. I could look at it forever.

  21. Regarding 2001, I think you had to be at the right age to see during its original run in 1968 and shortly thereafter to fully appreciate it. Because I remember sitting down with two fannish friends to watch 2001 sometime in the early 1990s. We were all very excited to watch what was supposedly the best science fiction film of all time, better than Star Wars, better than all of Star Trek, better than Alien, better than Blade Runner, better than Total Recall. And we were bored shitless.

    One friend went off to do something else and said “Call me, if something happens”. I held out until the lightshow at the end. Then I went to get a book about science fiction films which I used as a guide to find good SFF movies, looked up 2001 and said, “According to the book, the lightshow is the end, though the movie still runs another 20 minutes or so. Okay, I’m not watching twenty minutes of crappy Musikladen video effects (Musikladen was a German music TV show in the 1970s and 1980s which used electronic effects much like 2001’s lightshow). I’m going to bed.” Only one friend held out to the end. As for me, it took another ten years or so until I finally forced myself to watch the bloody lightshow all the way through.

    In short, I absolutely accept that 2001 was groundbreaking at the time it came out and left a deep impact on those who saw it at the right age. But I and my friends saw it after having already seen Star Wars and Alien and the Star Trek movies, etc… and those groundbreaking effects no longer looked quite so groundbreaking,. And unlike Forbidden Planet or The Day the Earth Stood Still or Metropolis (which absolutely belongs on that list), the plot of 2001 simply doesn’t hold up. The HAL bit does, but that’s only a small part of the movie.

    Regarding E.T., I have never understood the intense love that movie was engendered (and it was the highest grossing movie of all time from 1982 until 1993, when it was dethroned by Jurassic Park) and unlike was 2001, I was the target audience for E.T., nine years old when it come out. However, I never found E.T. more than okay. There are better SF films of the 1980s (and yes, E.T. absolutely is SF). There are even several better “kids have a great SFnal adventure” films of the 1980s. The Goonies is much better, ditto for Gremlins, the largely forgotten Critters and the early Roland Emmerich effort Joey. But for some reason, E.T. is the one which became a classic.

  22. Taste, accounting for, etc. Nevertheless, the pacing of 2001 (or Barry Lyndon, for that matter) is not unlike that of, say, Metropolis–though, I suspect, for different reasons. (Watch almost any silent drama.) (And the AFI list is limited to American movies–thus no * Frau im Mond* or Things to Come or Man in the White Suit.)

    I didn’t see The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers on their original releases, but I did see all the others on the list as they came out in theatres–including 2001 in a Cinerama house (and later in a rather faded flat print and a couple more times on video). Over the years, 2001 has consistently struck me as a great piece of filmmaking–as have Star Wars and most of the others on the list, though they have not all seemed to me, print snob that I am, to be equally solid as SF. But I do judge movies more generously than I do books.

    The real problem is with 10-best lists, especially ranked lists–what I find useful is discussions of the various merits of roughly-comparable works. But that slides right into criticism and analysis and history and makes for lousy clickbait.

  23. @Cat Eldridge said:

    I mention it because IMDB thinks that it’s in development as a series from Amazon Studios. Anyone heard anything about this?

    I did a bit of digging. Multiple sources report Akiva Goldsman is attached as writer. That’s potentially good, IMHO, as his TV writing tends to be much better than his film writing.
    Alan Taylor is attached as director, which could be good.
    It looks like it’ll be a TV Miniseries (or a TV movie) rather than a full series, which is disappointing to me. Although I hope they gloss over (or flat omit) some of the more problematic elements of the source material.

  24. Ringworld: You think they would or should drop the Teela Brown character entirely? Both the whole “bred for luck” thing, and the sexual relationship across the huge age gap?

  25. David Shallcross says Ringworld: You think they would or should drop the Teela Brown character entirely? Both the whole “bred for luck” thing, and the sexual relationship across the huge age gap?

    Now that’s a very good question. I doubt that that the writer will take her out and I’m not sure that I consider, given the civilisation that we’re talking about, that age differences like that are all that meaningful. Doesn’t boosterspice mean that some relationships will involve people who have age differences of centuries?

  26. A Ringworld TV series could probably wander a long way from the original without my minding very much. The concept is great for an extended series, with room for as many seasons and subplots and spinoffs as the audience will stand for. If they can get the Puppeteer and the Kzin right the rest should follow.

    Meredith monent: Robin Hobb’s Blood of Dragons (volume 4 of the Rainwild Chronicles) is $1.99 at the usual suspects. I’ve never read anything by this author and suspect that this is not the ideal place to start, but will give it a try anyway.

  27. I think 2001 is a truly great movie. It is philosophical, political, scientific, and mystical, in ways that other movies rarely even try to match, and that is not common even in written science fiction. But it’s not popular. Space opera is popular.

  28. @JIm Janney: If you’ve read anything by Megan Lindholm (Wizard of the Pigeons), she is the same author as Robin Hobb.

    The Rain Wild Chronicles follows on the Liveship Traders Trilogy, starting with Ship of Magic. I highly recommend starting at the beginning.

    Set in the same world, mostly parallel with only a little bit of overlap, are The Farseer Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy, and The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy. The three trilogies form an extended work that is an absolute masterpiece.

  29. (16) Worth noting (for those who hadn’t noticed) that the Brian K. Vaughan who wrote Y: The Last Man is the same as the one who wrote the Hugo-winning Saga comics.

  30. @Tom Becker: thanks.

    I think 2001 is a Kubrick movie first, and SF afterward.

  31. Xtifr says Worth noting (for those who hadn’t noticed) that the Brian K. Vaughan who wrote Y: The Last Man is the same as the one who wrote the Hugo-winning Saga comics.

    We did the early Saga volumes in a book club one summmer evening with lots of beer on tap. Even the members that weren’t particularly into graphic novels liked them. They admittedly were SF fans.

  32. Tom Becker notes that If you’ve read anything by Megan Lindholm (Wizard of the Pigeons), she is the same author as Robin Hobb.

    She as Megan Lindholm co-wrote with Steven Brust the Romany noir detective novel The Gypsy. Minneapolis based Boiled in Lead did an album called Songs from The Gypsy which retold the novel as a song cycle. Neither has made it into digital form alas.

  33. Overall, I think Saga is better than Y: The Last Man, but Y is still pretty good. We’ll see how the adaptation goes…

  34. Xtifr says Overall, I think Saga is better than Y: The Last Man, but Y is still pretty good. We’ll see how the adaptation goes…

    I think Saga has a far more interesting story than Y: The Last Man does. But than I just don’t in general like post-apocalyptic stories so my opinion is inherently tainted by that.

    I do really like Anderson’s Orion Shall Rise so there are exceptions to that statement.

  35. 8) If I hadn’t had to google what happened at the end of Infinite Jest (which I adored), I’d probably say that the greatest SF movie of all time ought not be the one that the audience needed explaining to them.
    As for ET, definitely SF in my book, and far superior to The Goonies IMHO.
    It’s a peculiar list, in that some movies are there for being ‘cerebral’, and some are clearly blockbuster fare. I’m not sure I’d kick any off, but others worthy contenders would be: Arrival, Primer, The Matrix. (My wife re-watched this recently on headphones while I was working and watching over her shoulder without audio – I was reminded how many great ideas are in there and how tightly the movie is paced.)

  36. @ Cora Buhlert:

    Yeah, I would say that “2001” is an important film, in so far as it changed the way SF was filmed. My understanding is that it ushered in classical music in the soundtrack (note, there was probably a transition towards ore electronic music, sometime in the 40s-60s) and I suspect it also did a lot for the visual language. I suspect that “good” and “important” often get conflated.

    But, as a film to watch for the plot? I’d honestly rather read the book.

  37. re 2001: while watching The Green Knight, it occurred to me that the pacing in both movies is deliberate for a reason, to give you time to think about what you’re seeing. As distinct from a lot of movies where the fast pace is to keep the audience from thinking too much…

  38. Arthur Clarke got a neat telescope as a present from Kubrick, a short, fat drum of a thing that he took out on the porch of damon knight and Kate Wilhelm’s Victorian house in Milford so that we could all look at stuff like rocks on the moon, close up. He was pretty happy to be working on the film.
    I got to see the film sometime close to the opening in company with a pack of San Francisco Science Fiction fans from various Bay Area clubs.
    What got me was how many of the fans were afterward asking ‘what happened?’
    It seemed pretty clear to me.
    But later I realized that the printed word and filmed story telling are totally different things. Anybody in that pack was way more knowledgeable about science fiction in print than I was (despite being devoted to it and having read it all my life, science fiction was already a pretty large body of literature); but very few of them had a sense of how film communicates. I was looking at a film and not expecting a book. I had read Henry James as well as Doc Smith, and it was ok with me for things to move slowly, conveying the amount of time that things take in real time. It was refreshing that the trip to Jupiter was subjectively long, rather than taking a couple of hours (subjectively) the way it did on Captain Video. It was really exciting not to have whooshing rockets. –This many years later we still have whooshing rockets and noisy space battles in most films, despite that everybody (nowadays) knows better.
    If it had been an American movie: hands down, the greatest science fiction film of all, the one that has most influenced the vocabulary of film over all, is undoubtedly “Metropolis.”

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