Pixel Scroll 9/1/21 Pixel At The Well Of Scrolls

(1) LIADEN UNIVERSE BULLETIN. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller report from the wilds of Maine on what’s upcoming.

  • Their fifth Liaden Universe Collection, Liaden Universe Constellation V, will be published February 1, 2022.
  • A mass market 30th anniversary reprint of Local Custom, a Liaden Universe® novel by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, is coming  November 30, 2021. 
  • A Sharon Lee and Steve Miller Liaden holiday story is slated for mid-November at Baen.com, title and exact release date TBD.
  • Sooner than that: The mass-market version of Trader’s Leap by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller will be released September 28, 2021 — it is currently available in hardback and ebook. 
  • Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are the Guests of Honor at Albacon 2021 in September — held over from last year. This year it’ll be a virtual con held September 17-18.
  • Their chapbook Bad Actors, was published July 31, 2021 from the authors’ Pinbeam Books imprint and is widely available in ebook and paper. That’s their 33rd “Adventures in the Liaden Universe” chapbook. 
  • Also, on July 26, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller turned in Fair Trade, a Liaden Universe novel (#24), which is due to be published next year by Baen. The follow-up novel is under contract and started, due to be turned in next year. Two more Liaden novels are under contract thereafter.

(2) ADAPT & IMPROVE. Charlie Jane Anders’ newsletter discusses “Everything I Learned From Working on Season One of Y: The Last Man”.

Working on season one of Y: The Last Man was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I got to be in a writer’s room with some of the smartest minds in the biz, and learned a ton about story structure  — and how to think on your feet when your episode has to change completely for the ninth time, because we rethought the endgame of the season. But I also got a crash course in how to adapt and update a beloved classic. 

In Y: The Last Man, a mysterious event kills every mammal with a Y chromosome, except for one dude named Yorick Brown, and his pet monkey Ampersand. This is the setup for an epic journey across a shattered United States with the mysterious Agent 355 and the brilliant scientist Dr. Allison Mann. It’s also a vehicle for talking about what a world without patriarchy would look like, and how the survivors would rebuild, and expand to fill the spaces left by cis men. I love the comic’s playful approach to genre and the madcap verve with which it keeps reinventing itself, and I’m here for the “found family” aspect with the central trio. This is the comic that made me a fan of both writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Pia Guerra.

There’s just one problem: the comic largely ignores the existence of trans people (and when it does mention us, the treatment is much worse than I had remembered.) Like many other classics, Y: The Last Man reflects the time when it was created — and when we adapt the things we love, we also have an obligation to update and improve them, especially where they have the potential to do harm to a marginalized community here and now….

(3) MOVING RIGHT ALONG. In conjunction with the new Amazon Prime TV show, Orbit UK is releasing the entire set of The Wheel of Time books in paperback with new covers, all of them showcased in a nifty animated GIF (which I’ll link to rather than embed so the strobe effect won’t drive us all to distraction.)

There’s also an Instagram video version with musical accompaniment. Design by Duncan Spilling. The books go on sale September 16 in the UK, just in time for folks to read The Eye of the World before the TV show is released in November

(4) A FOCUS ON NATURE. The South Pasadena (CA) Public Library is calling for patrons to Vote for One City One Story. This year’s theme is “Navigating Nature.” Two of the five titles proposed by the staff are genre. A video about the program is here. Voting ends at midnight on September 10, 2021. The winning title will be announced on September 27, 2021.

  • Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

(5) NO SECOND FIFTH. Chapter 61 of Camestros Felapton’s Debarkle is called “The Sad Demise of the SP5” but I remember laughing more than crying. Because when Declan Finn tried to commandeer the Sad Puppy steering wheel, Sarah Hoyt and Amanda Green smacked him with a rolled-up internet.

…While not mentioning Declan Finn by name, the post title identified his post as the issue. By using the name “Sad Puppies” Finn had apparently crossed a line, even though his open campaigning during Sad Puppies 4 had not visibly caused offence.

Green was clear though. Sad Puppies 5 was coming soon….

Green was also clear that she would be helping Hoyt with SP5 and also be taking over the reins (leads?) for SP6.

Facing a sudden and unexpected backlash to his list Declan Finn came to the only possible conclusion he could make. The negative reaction he was receiving must be coming from the comment section of the popular fanzine File 770!… 

(6) AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION. R. Talsorian Games is bowing out of Gen Con, which is happening September 16-19: “RTG Exiting Gen Con 2021”.

After considerable internal discussion, R. Talsorian Games has decided to exit Gen Con 2021. We don’t do this lightly. We had planned on our biggest Gen Con yet this year, with more events than ever, more booth space than ever, and a larger crew than ever.

And that’s why, in good conscience, we cannot attend the convention. The health and safety of our crew comes first and the numbers in Indiana are abysmal. The vaccination rates are too low, the positivity rates and new case rates too high, and the social mandates designed to protect people too few. If even one member of our crew caught COVID-19 while attending Gen Con or carried it home to their loved ones and their local community, that would be one too many.

At R. Talsorian Games, we write about Dark Futures for fun, but we also believe we have a responsibility to try and prevent them from happening.

We want to make it clear, we do not blame the staff of Gen Con 2021 or the Indiana Convention Center in any way. 

(7) AUREALIS AWARDS NEWS. The 2021 Aurealis Awards are open for entry through December 14.

The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction, are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021.

Full Award Rules and FAQ can be found on the Aurealis Awards website.

The Aurealis Awards judges welcome electronic entries in all categories, including novels, short stories, novellas, illustrated work / graphic novels, collections, anthologies, children’s and young adult fiction.

Finalists of all award categories will be announced early in 2022 and winners announced at a ceremony to take place in the first half of the year. For more information on the awards or for the entry form, visit the Aurealis Awards website at https://aurealisawards.org/.

The Convenors’ Award for Excellence is also open to entries.

This is awarded at the discretion of the convenors for a particular achievement in speculative fiction or related areas in the year that cannot otherwise be judged for the Aurealis Awards.

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • 1974 – Forty-seven years ago today, Jefferson Starship’s Dragon Fly was released on Grunt Records, a vanity label founded in 1971 by themselves. It was the debut album for the recently renamed Jefferson Airplane. The entire album is somewhat SF in nature, particularly  “All Fly Away” and “Hyperdrive”.  Two years later, the latter song would be used in the opening ceremonies at MidAmeriCon.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 1, 1875 — Edgar Rice Burroughs. Bradbury declared him “the most influential writer in the entire history of the world.” Now I’d not necessarily disagree or agree with that statement but I said last year that he has largely fallen out of public notice and I’ll stand by that claim. So what’s your favorite works by him? The Barsoom stories are mine. (Died 1950.)
  • Born September 1, 1942 — C. J. Cherryh, 79. I certainly think the Hugo Award-winning Downbelow Station and Cyteen are amazing works but I think my favorite works by her are the Merchanter novels such as Rimrunners. Anyone familiar with “Cassandra“, the short story she won a Hugo for at Seacon ‘79? What’s it part of? 
  • Born September 1, 1943 — Erwin Strauss, 79. I’m not sure I can do him justice. Uberfan, noted member of the MITSFS, and filk musician. He frequently is known by the nickname “Filthy Pierre” which I’m sure is a story in itself that one of you will no doubt tell me. Created the Voodoo message board system used at a number of cons and published an APA, The Connection, that ran for at least thirty years. Do tell me about him. 
  • Born September 1, 1952 — Timothy Zahn, 69. Apparently he’s known more these days for the Thrawn series of Star Wars novels, but oh, ok, so it is perhaps better written and more interesting than his mainstream genre sf. His sole Hugo Award was at L.A.Con II for his “Cascade Point” novella, and he get a nomination at Aussiecon Two for “Return to the Fold” novelette. 
  • Born September 1, 1952 — Brad Linaweaver. Alternate history Moon of Ice is one of his better works and it won the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel. It was nominated for a Nebula though oddly as a novella which it was originally published as. He owned the brass cannon which was the property of the Heinleins and which Virginia bequeathed to him in her will. (Died 2019.)
  • Born September 1, 1964 — Martha Wells, 57. She’s won two Nebula Awards, three Locus Awards, and two Hugo Awards.  Impressive. And she was toastmaster of the World Fantasy Convention in 2017 where she delivered a speech called “Unbury the Future”. Need I note the Muderbot Diaries are truly amazing reading?
  • Born September 1, 1967 — Steve Pemberton, 54. He’s on the Birthday List for being Strackman Lux in the most excellent Eleventh Doctor stories of “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” but he has other genre credits including being Drumknott in Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, Professor Mule in the Gormenghast series and Harmony in the Good Omens series as well.
  • Born September 1, 1968 — Zak Penn, 53. He wrote the script for The Incredible Hulk, co-wrote the scripts for X2X-Men: The Last Stand, and the story but not the script for The Avengers. With Michael Karnow, Penn is the co-creator of the Alphas series. He contributed to the script of The Men in Black. 

(10) INSIDE LYNCH’S DUNE. At Deadline, “‘Dune’ 1984: Francesca Annis, The Original Lady Jessica, Lifts The Lid On Life Behind The Scenes Of David Lynch’s Epic, The ‘Heaven’s Gate’ Of Sci-Fi”. The interviewer is the actress’ son.

…It’s kind of funny. You were well known for doing a lot of well-received classical and period film, TV and stage work. But just before Dune, you’d also done Peter Yates’ Krull, which was another massive-budget sci-fi adventure movie. People don’t know the movie well these days but it was a big production. And sadly, another big flop…

Yes, it’s been a shame for me — or maybe it was a hidden blessing — that the few very big-budget things I’ve done didn’t take off, otherwise I would have risen with them…

When you first read the script for Dune did it seem complicated or convoluted? People have always said how difficult the novels would be to adapt…

I’ll tell you, when I first went to see the film at the premiere — and I’ve only seen it once – as soon as Princess Irulan started to talk in voice-over at the beginning, explaining the story, I thought “Uh oh, this film is in trouble.” Any Hollywood film that has to explain itself in detail at the beginning is in trouble…

My experience of working on Dune was that if David Lynch had been able to make his own film, it would have been brilliant, but unfortunately Dino oversaw every single tiny thing. Dino was already thinking about the video sales. David had wanted to make the scenes very dark, all the underworlds very dark and look very sinister. Dino wouldn’t allow it. It had to be lit brightly so that it would transfer well to video, where I think at that time things went down a shade. David and DoP Freddie Francis were constantly being hamstrung and I don’t think David made the film he wanted to make.

I was a big David Lynch fan. I thought he was terrific. But Dino was a huge personality. He had tapped David to do multiple films….

(11) SCOTS WITCH HISTORY. “Double, double toil and trouble: New exhibition uncovers the dark history of witchcraft in Scotland” reports The Press and Journal.

The exhibition is aptly named “Toil & Trouble” as a homage to a poem spoken by the witches in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which was first performed in 1606 – a time when accusations of witchcraft were rife.

Examining and compiling the dark history of witchcraft into an online experience, the students focused specifically on the period between the 16th and 18th centuries.

The exhibition has launched this week, just as Holyrood heard a plea for the Queen to pardon thousands of Scottish women brutally killed in witch trials.

The online exhibit can be accessed here: “Toil and Trouble · Toil and Trouble: Witchcraft in Scotland”.

(12) VISIT THE CONCATE-NATION. SF² Concatenation has just Tweeted an advance alert of an article ahead of their seasonal edition.

In 2017 an oddly-shaped object whizzed through the Solar system.

Astronomer and SF author Duncan Lunan looks at some exotic, some positively SFnal, explanations.

(13) HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW. Heroes & Icons tells “The Story of the Signature Star Trek Sideburn”.

…The origin of the distinct sideburn pointiness came after filming the second pilot for the series, Where No Man Has Gone Before, which is the last episode you can find of Kirk and the crew sporting normal sidebdurns. “Normal” being a lot bushier for the 60’s mind you.

With the series being picked up, Gene Roddenberry wanted the cast to commit to having a futuristic hairstyle going forward. For the sole reason of wanting a social life outside the set without having to look like men of the future, the cast disagreed….

(14) HONEST GAME TRAILERS. Fandom Games says “NEO: The World Begins With You” lets you reenter a world where “Spiky-haired protagonists with terrible fashion sense” enter “history’s hippest purgatory.”

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “The Marvel Leak Protection Tutorial” on Screen Rant and written by Seb Decter, Jack Eastcott plays C.I  Foreman., MCU Leak preventer, who warns “those nerds are everywhere” and if you see an MCU actor on the set squirming, it’s because this guy has cue cards telling the guy not to leak.(This dropped today and Ryan George doesn’t have anything to do with this one.)

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Jeffrey Smith, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, James Davis Nicoll, Steve Miller, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

65 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/1/21 Pixel At The Well Of Scrolls

  1. First!

    Dragonfly is my favorite Jefferson Starship album though truth to told its songs from the their Airplane era such as “Lather”, “Crown of Creation” and Plastic Fantastic Lover” that I’m more likely to play if I’m mood to play them.

  2. Martha Wells I’ll-Rein series is also good. The trilogy is one of the few genre books with a female friendship as a central relationship (there is an important male friendship also but that’s more common)

  3. (9) A big day for authors in the birthdays.

    Zahn’s Angelmass is a fun book, as is The Green and the Gray – but I like his short stories like “Time Bomb” and “Pawn’s Gambit” perhaps even more than his novels.

    Years and years ago I was in the lobby at a con, doing a little juggling, and Filthy Pierre started playing accompaniment.

  4. (9) Martha Wells has since won 2 more Locus Awards and another Nebula (for best Novel this time), making the count 3 Locus, 2 Nebulas, and 2 Hugos.

  5. Andrew (not Werdna) notes that it’s A big day for authors in the birthdays.

    It was a particularly good day for authors. Setting aside Erwin Strauss, they’re all writers. Some days it works out that, some days it doesn’t.

    Now reading Ernest Hogan’s Smoking Mirror Blues

  6. Funny. I heard that Lynch was offered Return of the Jedi and turned it down since it would always be George Lucas’ film. It seemed what he feared in Jedi happened in Dune.

  7. 4) The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben was a huge bestseller in Germany, spending months on the non-fiction bestseller list. It was also generally well reviewed, though I would still vote for Dune or Parable of the Sower.

  8. (4) Parable of the Sower, obvs.

    (6) Good for them. If I played such games, I would purchase from them.

    (9) I miss the Voodoo Message Board. It was an elegant means of communication, and easier than trying to chase down everyone via generic message board or hoping you have their cell phone or hotel room number or finding them or their BFF in the huckster’s room or a panel or a party.

    FP’s flyer racks are also a thing of, well, not beauty, but a joy forever.

    Even here in 9189, which I think is as far in the future as I’ve ever been on F770.

  9. I suppose 9189 must be almost as far as you can go — nobody’s ever got a 5-digit date have they?

  10. (8) Speaking of that album, if anyone’s got a CD of that they’re willing to sell for a reasonable price, email me (me at search engine that’s like whoopee!). My brother’s looking to replace his, but on Amazon it’s going for north of $60. Also “Red Octopus” on CD.

    If only I believed in miracles….

  11. @Mike: It must be as far as the F770 time machine goes; I’m still there in 9189, and as usual it’s 4:30 PM. It’s also August 31st, not Sept. 1.

    (No sign of Shoggoth)

  12. Zak Penn also co-wrote the screenplay for FREE GUY which I thought was surprisingly good thanks to a very funny performance by Taika Waititi.

  13. 9) Also born today: Harold Lamb, who is at least associational (he wrote many excellent historical adventure stories that were heavily influential on Robert E. Howard) and wrote at least one or two things that were genre-adjacent, particularly Shifting Sands, a Haggardesque lost race novel that unfortunately has more than its share of really unfortunate stereotypes about the far east.

    I’ve read Cherryh’s “Cassandra” — it was reprinted in Visible Light, which was then reprinted in its entirety as part of The Collected Short Fiction of C. J. Cherryh. It’s not really part of anything, as I recall — just riffing on the Cassandra myth. Downbelow Station is my favorite SF novel bar none; I also love Chanur and Morgaine and, well, just about everything of hers I’ve read, although I’ve yet to start Foreigner.

  14. (2) I’m getting more and more stoked for Y to air, and I’m impressed by CJA’s openness about the challenges of adapting it to be better representative of trans people. I’m crossing my fingers it lives up to the hype… but if it doesn’t, I do have those lovely Absolute editions just over there…

  15. Martha Wells Il-Rein series is also good. The trilogy is one of the few genre books with a female friendship as a central relationship (there is an important male friendship also but that’s more common)

    This is one of my favorite trilogies and one of my comfort reads. The three main characters mesh so beautifully and there’s so much fabulous snark in the series. She was such an incredibly undervalued writer before Murderbot.

  16. I read “Cassandra” a couple of years ago in my library’s decrepit copy of Nebula Winners Fourteen. It had aged considerably better than at least three of the other stories in that volume, which were heavily smeared with creeping and misogyny. I have found this a common occurrence with older SFF stories, and it has dampened my desire to try to read all of the past Hugo and Nebula finalists.

  17. (4) I very much enjoyed The Hidden Life of Trees as an audiobook. Loved The Parable of the Sower. A bit grim for my usual tastes, but, well, Octavia Butler. A wonderful writer we lost far too soon. And Dune is a book it would have been a shame not to have read.

    All still well remembered, here in 8335.

  18. Um, Mike… you sure about that Hugo Finalist rank for Dragon Fly? I’ve just checked the Hugo Award files, and I don’t see any mention of it in its year of eligibility. However, in the Hugos awarded in 1971 — the year with no chosen winner — one of the also-rans was BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship.

  19. Chris Rose on September 1, 2021 at 9:06 pm said:

    (2) I’m getting more and more stoked for Y to air, and I’m impressed by CJA’s openness about the challenges of adapting it to be better representative of trans people.

    CJA’s essay moved me from a definite NOPE to a maybe. I thought Y was entertaining but it’s premise felt dated even at the time

  20. David Clark says Um, Mike… you sure about that Hugo Finalist rank for Dragon Fly? I’ve just checked the Hugo Award files, and I don’t see any mention of it in its year of eligibility. However, in the Hugos awarded in 1971 — the year with no chosen winner — one of the also-rans was BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship.

    Not Mike’s fault, but mine, I misread a page and my brain sometimes as y’all know stubbornly cross-wires information. I’ll have Mike remove that reference.

  21. 9) Filthy also supplied magazines with a convention calendar that several ran in their back pages, currently including Asimov’s and probably Analog. Last time he was asked, he was not interested in expanding that to other titles.

    I’m probably going to get clobbered for this one, but:

    I disagree with the statement “…when we adapt the things we love, we also have an obligation to update and improve them…”

    I think what authors have an obligation to do is to write their own, original content that updates and improves representation & etc., and to avoid “adapting” older works, which in many ways usually distororts the original story (out of necessity) so much that all one is really doinig is buying the product’s name for its supposed marketing value.

    The only way that Hollywood/media in general is going to change is if people stop indulging and enabling its bad habits. (Fat chance of that happening.)

  22. @steve davidson
    “I think what authors have an obligation to do is to write their own, original content that updates and improves representation & etc., and to avoid “adapting” older works, which in many ways usually distororts the original story (out of necessity) so much that all one is really doinig is buying the product’s name for its supposed marketing value.

    The only way that Hollywood/media in general is going to change is if people stop indulging and enabling its bad habits. (Fat chance of that happening.)”

    That would have more force if there weren’t multiple examples of great movies that improved on their source material. Yes, it often doesn’t happen – but some of the times when it does makes masterpieces. I mean, who would be a Mario Puzo purist when watching the ‘Godfather’ movies? Even movies that aren’t artistic masterpieces, just great movies – have you ever read the Peter Benchley novel “Jaws” was based on? shudder

    But, you may object, a lot of these movie adaptations are of SFF works that are already masterpieces and should therefore not be meddled with in adaptation. But there have ALWAYS got to be changes when you adapt a work from one medium to another. The question is where one draws the line. To say that dropping Tom Bombadillo from the movie is NBD but editing out a few transphobic asides is unforgivably ‘distorting’ the original work merits a raised eyebrow.

    This is not a new debate.

    The true faith discovered was
    When painted panel, statuary.
    Glass-mosaic, window-glass,
    Amended what was told awry
    By some peasant gospeller…

  23. 9) All works are a part of their time. The question is should we leave some elements that weren’t thought out at the time in a work, even if they are harmful or would turn of a lot of viewers, so that the movie/TV show will never be made.
    I don’t remember Y treadment of transpeople, I trust Charlie Jane Anders enough to believe her, that it was bad. I do think that the premise of Y The Last Man does logically mean that the show has to adress the topic of transpeople in this world. And I think there is a responsible to make it not horible.
    Every chance can mean that fans hate it, but chances that make a work less harmful for minoritys is somethink that is a good think, imho.
    So I disagree with Steve Donaldson here, hope this is not clobbering.
    I sometimes role my eyes, when I see purist, that hate every chance, no matter how minor. (This is not meaned to be in Steves direction, just a general observation)

  24. Steve Davidson: That’s all very well, but when Hollywood DOES choose to acquire a title (And they do, and will, forever, and in this case at least it’s a NEW title and not another recap of Spiderman or Lord of the Rings, or etc*), you cannot reasonably be okay with them only adapting it exactly as written, bigotry and all. I mean, what’s the point of insisting it remain “pure” when pure means hurting people or including outdated ideas?

    This commentary by Anders made me MUCH more interested in the tv series even as it firmed my belief I don’t especially want to try the comics.

    I don’t even necessarily mind this, sucker as I am for stuff like the MCU warts and all, and considering how good Into the Spiderverse was, but I am aware it is a weakness of Hollywood to go for guaranteed sells and not create new work.

  25. steve davidson: I think what authors have an obligation to do is to write their own, original content that updates and improves representation & etc., and to avoid “adapting” older works, which in many ways usually distororts the original story (out of necessity) so much that all one is really doinig is buying the product’s name for its supposed marketing value.

    I wholeheartedly disagree with this. And you should, too.

    One of the complaints of older, longtime SFF fans is that the classics on which they grew up are no longer read. There’s a reason for this. A lot of the old classics have been hit hard by the RacismSexismMisogynyHomophobiaTransphobia Suck Fairy.

    And yet a lot of those works still have a solid core of story that would make a great modern adapted film if the sucky parts were stripped out.

    You want people to appreciate the old-time great SFF works. So you should be all for screenwriters adapting the great parts and leaving out the sucky parts in order to get a modern audience.

    Heinlein was one of my gateway drugs into SFF. But there ain’t no movie corp or majority public that’s gonna pay to make or watch a Heinlein film that doesn’t have the suck extracted.

  26. J&J say One of the complaints of older, longtime SFF fans is that the classics on which they grew up are no longer read. There’s a reason for this. A lot of the old classics have been hit hard by the RacismSexismMisogynyHomophobiaTransphobia Suck Fairy.

    Ok, let’s also admit that we’ve had many decades of the addition of often very good genre literature fiction that has been published. And the fans who came of age since the Forties and Fifties would have their own set of authors that they very correctly think of as the authors they grew up with.

    So don’t expect a fan who isn’t at all familiar with say Heinlein or perhaps even Niven to suddenly get the jones to go out and be deeply, madly in love with either of them. It isn’t likely to happen.

  27. @jayn: have you ever read the Peter Benchley novel “Jaws” was based on? shudder
    It still amazes me (as it did when I read Benchley’s book not long after seeing the film that summer) that such a great film was made from such a terrible novel.

  28. @steve davidson “ I think what authors have an obligation to do is to write their own, original content that updates and improves representation & etc., and to avoid “adapting” older works, which in many ways usually distororts the original story (out of necessity) so much that all one is really doinig is buying the product’s name for its supposed marketing value.”

    I don’t think this counts as a clobbering but I strongly disagree. Authors are artists, they have no obligation to color inside the lines set by others. Their only obligation is to themselves and their self-set artistic goals. IMO.

  29. I discovered Burroughs as a kid (partly cuz it was my b’day too). His racism was clear to a ten-year-old in 1984, and the prose is a century old and acts older. But I still have a soft spot for Barsoom.

    Another cool birthday for Sept. 1: the great Lily Tomlin, who deserves a citation for voicing Ms. Frizzle on The Magic School Bus, a PBS cartoon that my kid loved. The science lessons are incredibly creative, Tomlin’s performance is very Doctor-ish, and her bus might as well be a TARDIS!

  30. @steve davidson “ I think what authors have an obligation to do is to write their own, original content that updates and improves representation & etc., and to avoid “adapting” older works, which in many ways usually distorts the original story (out of necessity) so much that all one is really doing is buying the product’s name for its supposed marketing value.”

    And sometimes the authors themselves feel that their older work has been hit by the Suck Fairy, despite their best efforts. I strongly disagree, in part because I’m in the process of revising my first series in order to bring it up to date (somewhat of an issue when writing near-future tech stuff). But in this case, I’m dealing with books that are somewhat more relevant now than when they were released, as well as correcting a problematic production job. If I want to promote them, I want them to be something that doesn’t make me cringe because the tech is dated and the production looks…dated.

    Besides, they’re my works and it’s my copyright. And doing so is not impairing my production of new work.

  31. jayn: have you ever read the Peter Benchley novel “Jaws” was based on? shudder

    PhilRM: It still amazes me (as it did when I read Benchley’s book not long after seeing the film that summer) that such a great film was made from such a terrible novel.

    The Bridges of Madison County. Richard LaGravenese should have gotten an Oscar nomination for writing a decent movie out of an absolutely rubbish book.

  32. I’m from transformative works fandom, so I’m pretty much never going to come down on the “a Completed Work is Sacrosanct” side of things. /shrug

    There are bad adaptations (cough dark is rising cough), and there are great adaptations, and there are adaptations that do their own thing, and there are “original” works (that still build upon all which came before and usually two or three really significant influences) – and they’re all perfectly natural kinds of storytelling. Which, of course, doesn’t mean you have to like all of them, but it’s a preference, not creative superiority.

  33. I never read the novel Jaws, so it’s interesting to see that it’s disliked. I did read Benchley’s non-thriller novel The Girl from the Sea of Cortez back in the day, and remember liking it a lot.

  34. Another cool birthday for Sept. 1: the great Lily Tomlin, who deserves a citation for voicing Ms. Frizzle on The Magic School Bus, a PBS cartoon that my kid loved. The science lessons are incredibly creative, Tomlin’s performance is very Doctor-ish, and her bus might as well be a TARDIS!

    I’m pretty sure someone could switch from Ms. Frizzle cosplay to River Song cosplay simply by adding a sonic screwdriver to the costume.

  35. Aaron G. says Another cool birthday for Sept. 1: the great Lily Tomlin, who deserves a citation for voicing Ms. Frizzle on The Magic School Bus, a PBS cartoon that my kid loved. The science lessons are incredibly creative, Tomlin’s performance is very Doctor-ish, and her bus might as well be a TARDIS!

    She was also in The Incredible Shrinking Woman as Pat Kramer/Judith Beasley and voiced May Parker in Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse as well as appearing in an episode of the X-Files.

  36. Adaptions necessarily make changes. And a TV series is even more of a commercial enterprise than a book. So I don’t see making changes that suit the sensibilities of the target audience as a big thing. There are certainly worse changes that could be made.

    I won’t agree with all the changes an adaption makes – I don’t like the way that the movie of the The Prestige amped up the rivalry. (I regretfully accept the loss of the frame story – I think it had to go). But it is still a very good adaption of a book I thought unfilmable.

  37. Howl’s Moving Castle is a bloody amazing movie that is well into my favourites from Miyazaki. Its complete lack of much of anything to do with the book after the first 30 minutes doesn’t make it any worse (though it does leave room for a more faithful adaptation to also be a grand movie). Similarly, the fifth Harry Potter movie actively improved on the chase through the Department of Mysteries and the death of a major character compared to the book; remaining faithful might have broken a movie that already had to squeeze the plot till it screamed to be short enough to be one (LOONG) movie.

    By contrast, the second and third Lord of the Rings movies were often at their weakest when they diverged most significantly from Tolkien’s story, and the Hobbit movies were pretty nearly ruined by doing so.

    I would suggest faithfulness of adaptation is not actually representative of quality when choosing to adapt. The choice to adapt instead of writing completely original material might be, but assuming nobody will ever adapt is a pipe dream at best.

    However, none of those examples has much to do with bigotry (Rowling’s personal opinions about certain groups and issues with the worldbuilding and tokenism are thankfully not much relevant to the exact example), so a key component in what Anders was discussing is missing.

  38. @PhilRM:

    It still amazes me (as it did when I read Benchley’s book not long after seeing the film that summer) that such a great film was made from such a terrible novel.

    I read it as a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book that was in a collection of the condensed novels that my grandparents had on their bookshelf. Wikipedia tells me it was Volume 98, published in 1974.
    Even eight-year-old me recognized that it was bad, but I chalked that up to the fact that it had been condensed by the Reader’s Digest folks.
    Speaking of adaptations: I think I’m going to watch the new Amazon Wheel of Time series before I make another attempt at the books. With very rare exceptions, I find that I’m often better served by reading (or re-reading) after watching a TV or film adaptation of a book, because books have always been a significantly richer experience for me (and I know I’m not alone in that). But I’m also not sure how that’ll work when it’s a series of books that I’ve never managed to get completely through (I’ve bounced off of Book 4 or 5 of the series multiple times over the last two decades).

  39. (2) If this mysterious event (virus? 5G? testosterone poisoning?) bumps off everyone with a Y chromosome, wouldn’t that mean all biological males no matter if they were cis, bi, gay or trans?

  40. Lowell Gilbert says Adapting a book into a movie automatically means getting rid of a vast majority of the material, so being rigidly faithful to the book is a non-starter.

    Not always true. Like Water for Chocolate adapted from the Laura Esquivel novel is remarkably faithful to latter, quite often word for word, scene for scene. I’m sure that Filers can think of other novels treated similarly.

  41. When I say that most of the material has to be cut to make a movie from a book, I am merely speaking in terms of length. Every moment in a movie may come directly from the book, but a lot of the book still had to be cut because it didn’t fit.

  42. Lowell Gilbert says not getting my point When I say that most of the material has to be cut to make a movie from a book, I am merely speaking in terms of length. Every moment in a movie may come directly from the book, but a lot of the book still had to be cut because it didn’t fit.

    The film Like Water for Chocolate is for all practical purposes identical to the novel. Everything in the novel did fit. it’s not a long novel.

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