Pixel Scroll 9/15/21 You Load Fifteen Pixels, What Do You Get?

(1) NEW FIRST DOCTOR ANIMATION PLANNED. The next classic Doctor Who adventure to be animated using archival fragments is the opening story of the third season, “Galaxy Four”, reports the BBC.

Galaxy 4 (alternatively spelled Galaxy Four) is the mostly-missing first serial of the third season of Doctor Who, which originally aired in four weekly episodes from 11th September to 2nd October 1965.

Audio-only recordings of all four episodes have survived from this classic story, and have been used to create a brand new, fully animated story, filling the gaps alongside the original surviving Episode 3 and over five minutes of original footage from the otherwise lost Episode 4.

The Doctor and his travel companions, Vicki and Steven land the TARDIS on a planet which is on the verge of total annihilation, as it drifts too close to the three suns it orbits. Trapped on the planet with them are the Drahvins, a race of warrior women, and the Reptillian Rills.

The Drahvins want to steal the Rills spacehip to escape the planet’s death throes, and enlist the Doctor’s help, which he is forced to give when Maaga, the cunning Drahvin leader, keeps Vicki and Steven as hostage. Even though the Doctor is determined to broker a peace deal between the two sides, Maaga doesn’t trust him, or the Rills…

This two disc release gives fans the opportunity to enjoy the four new animated episodes of Galaxy Four in either colour or black and white.

(2) FIYAHCON PUBLISHES CONTENT RELEASE FORM. On the eve of FIYAHCON 2021, which begins tomorrow, the convention leadership has addressed a Twitter kerfuffle.

Kim Yoon Mi evidently was dissatisfied with some terms of the release that FIYAHCON is asking panelists to sign and aired some criticisms on Twitter. Initially, the release’s language was not being quoted, but L. D. Lewis subsequently made it available for public review. (See below.)

Here are screencaps of several of Kim Yoon Mi’s points.

Here are excerpts from L.D. Lewis’ replies on Twitter.

This preface precedes the copy of the consent form:

This is the agreement copy for the Consent Release Form sent to all panelists so they may optionally have their programming item included in FIYAHCON’s Archives. As of this writing, it has been signed without complaint by 302 panelists across both of FIYAHCON’s events, and all caveats have been respected. The document was crafted with the assistance of Marguerite Kenner, a legal expert and active participant in the SFF Community. Questions, concerns, and requests for clarity are welcome and encouraged at director@theconvention.fiyahlitmag.com.

(3) 2001 MINUS 71. Fanac.org’s latest additions include a scan of Futurian v3n1 (1940) which contains Arthur C. Clarke’s article, “How To Build A Spaceship.” Clarke thought his rocket would only cost £250,000 to build – a rather surprising bargain when compared with the cost to construct the first Queen Mary passenger ship, £3.5 million in 1934 (says the Wikipedia).

As far as I can remember, no Science Fiction author has ever had the nerve to describe a rocket propelled spaceship as it really must be. Writers such as Manning (“The Wreck of the Asteroid”) and the painstaking German authors have spoken glibly of step rockets, but they have all fallen short of reality. This article will therefore consist largely of a systematic debunking of rocketships. The amount of energy needed for any interplanetary voyage can be accurately calculated, so we know what a spaceship has to be capable of if it is to do its job. We also know the energy content of our best fuels and a simple calculation gives us the quantity of, say, hydrogen and oxygen we need for any particular journey. The result is depressing: so depressing” in fact that Science Fiction has ignored it with the same verve that enabled E.T. Snooks, D.T.G. to repeal the equally inviolable law of inverse squares. To take one ton of matter to the Moon and back requires several hundred tons of the best fuels we possess. Faced with this situation we can do one of two things. We can sit twiddling our thumbs until a better fuel comes along, or we can try and do the job with the materials we have. Course one is not likely to get us very far…

(4) NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS LONGLISTS. The National Book Awards Young People’s Literature longlist includes these titles of genre interest.

  • Home Is Not a Country, Safia Elhillo (Make Me A World)
  • A Snake Falls to Earth, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
  • Too Bright to See, Kyle Lukoff (Dial)
  • The Mirror Season, Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel and Friends)

The judges are Pablo Cartaya (presenter), Traci Chee, Leslie Connor, Cathryn Mercier (chair), and Ibi Aanu Zoboi.

The National Book Awards 2021 Longlist for Translated Literature includes one book of genre interest:

  • On the Origin of Species and Other Stories by Bo-Young Kim. Translated by Joungmin Lee Comfort and Sora Kim-Russell

The complete longlists are at the link. Five finalists in each category will be announced October 5. The winners will be revealed on November 17. Finalists receive a $1,000 prize, a medal, and a judge’s citation. The winners will receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.

(5) YA RATINGS SITE DOA. The YAbookratings.com site has been taken down since Foz Meadows unloaded on it the other day. Meadows’ thread, which includes some screencaps of what she reacted to, starts here.

(6) WORRIED ABOUT LIFE ON EARTH. The New York Times profiles the Tennessee author whose novel is on the Booker Prize shortlist: “Richard Powers Speaks For the Trees”. (No relation to the sff artist of the same name.)

…He was hiking in the woods nearby one day when he had the idea for his new novel, “Bewilderment,” which W.W. Norton will release on Sept. 21. Set in the near future, “Bewilderment” is narrated by Theo Byrne, an astrobiologist whose search for life on other planets feels increasingly futile in the face of the coming collapse of life on Earth. As he struggles with the disasters unfolding around him, Theo fears for his 9-year-old son, Robin, who is consumed by grief over the death of his mother and the fate of the planet.

The novel is shaping up to be a literary prize contender and was named to the Booker Prize shortlist on Tuesday. “Bewilderment” marks Powers’s latest and perhaps furthest foray into science fiction, but it has ominous echoes of contemporary America — catastrophic weather, political unrest, a Trump-like president who tweets erratically and spouts conspiracy theories about election fraud, a deadly virus that jumps from cows to humans and spreads rapidly before it gets detected….

(7) ELLISON’S ICONIC HOME. Tim Kirk posted photos of Harlan Ellison and a visitor admiring the “Aztec Martian” facade of Harlan’s home which was designed and sculpted by Tim’s brother Steve Kirk. Also at the link, a shot of Steve and Tim inside Harlan’s study; Steve sculpted the “Robot Deco” totems visible in the foreground.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

1965 – On this evening fifty six years ago on CBS, Lost in Space first aired. It was created and produced by Irwin Allen whose previous SF show was Voyage to the Bottom of The Sea. Its main cast was Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Bill Mumy, Angela Cartwright and  Jonathan Harris. Oh, and The Robot was played by Bob May and voiced by Dick Tufeld. It was designed by Robert Kinoshita who did the Robot for Forbidden Planet. It would last three seasons of eighty three episodes. A Lost in Space film with a new cast would later happen, as well as a rebooted series. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 15, 1890 — Agatha Christie, or to give her full name of Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE (née Miller). ISDB lists her Harley Quin tales as being genre as they think the lead character is supernatural though no reviewers I can find think that he is. Anyone here who has read them? They also list one Hercule Poirot story, “The Big Four”, as genre as it involved apparently the use of atomic explosives in a 1927 story.  I’ll admit that I love her Murder on the Orient Express in all its film incarnations no matter who plays the lead role. (Died 1976.)
  • Born September 15, 1940 — Norman Spinrad, 81. The only novel I’ve read by him is Bug Jack Barron. My bad. And I was fascinated to learn he wrote the script for Trek’s “The Doomsday Machine” episode which is an amazing story. It was nominated for a Hugo at Baycon. So how is that he’s never won a Hugo? He did get nominated for quite a few Hugos, the “Riding the Torch” novella at Aussiecon One, Staying Alive: A Writer’s Guide  at L.A. Con II, Journals of the Plague Years at Noreascon 3 and  Science Fiction in the Real World at Chicon V. 
  • Born September 15, 1942 — Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, 79. Best known for her series of historical horror novels about the vampire Count Saint-Germain. She has been honored with the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, a Living Legend Award from the International Horror Guild Award and a Bram Stoker Award for Life Time Achievement. Very impressive indeed.
  • Born September 15, 1946 — Oliver Stone, 75. Jeopardy! answer: Oliver Stone. Jeopardy question: Who was the scriptwriter for the Conan the Barbarian? Yeah, isn’t that a kick? He has several genre credits one being the executive producers of the Wild Palms series, and the same for The Hand, a horror film about a comic book artist gone horribly wrong.
  • Born September 15, 1946 — Howard Waldrop, 75. I think that The Texas-Israeli War: 1999 which he wrote with Jake Saunders is my favorite work by him, but I’ve not read Them Bones. His short fiction such as “The Ugly Chickens” which won the World Fantasy and Nebula Awards is most excellent. He just won a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. A generous selection of his work is available at the usual digital suspects. 
  • Born September 15, 1952 — Loren D. Estleman, 69. You’ll have noticed that I’ve an expansive definition of genre and so I’m including a trilogy of  novels by this writer who’s better known for his mainstream mysteries featuring Amos Walker which are set in the  Sherlock Holmes Metaverse, Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. I think it was Titan Book that maybe a decade ago republished a lot of these Holmesian pastiches of which there are more than I want to think about. ISFDB lists two other novels by him as genre, Journey of the Dead and The Eagle and the Viper.
  • Born September 15, 1946 — Tommy Lee Jones, 75. Best known as Agent K in the Men in Black franchise, he’s has done other genre, the first being in Batman Forever as Harvey Dent / Two-Face. He’s also Colonel Chester Phillips in Captain America: The First Avenger as well. He most recently appeared as Cliff McBride in Ad Astra.  Oh, and he’s in A Prairie Home Companion as Axeman. 
  • Born September 15, 1962 — Jane Lindskold, 59. My first encounter with her was the Zelazny novel she finished,  Donnerjack. It’s excellent though how much it’s Zelazny is open to debate which we did the last time I posted her Birthday. Of her own novels, I recommend The Buried Pyramid, Child of a Rainless Year and Asphodel as being very good.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro shows a distant world where the movie theaters are open.

(11) GENESIS STORIES. The Salt Lake Tribune profiles four comics sellers in “How Utah’s independent comic book stores champion fandom, literacy and fantastic storytelling”.

Charles Prows was a Utah State University student in May 2013 when he decided to open a comic book store.

The almost lifelong Utah resident was on a road trip with his brother one weekend, complaining to his brother about the long path ahead: finishing his undergraduate degree and veterinary school, starting his own practice and — eventually — making enough money to retire and open a comic book store.

“That’s a really roundabout, weird way to open a comic book store,” his brother said.

His brother “ended up convincing [him]” that he should drop out of school and chase his real dream, Prows said. And he did just that — jumping in with only a few hundred dollars to his name….

(12) FINAL EXAM. James Gunn’s last book was released this summer: The Reading Protocols of Science Fiction: Discourses on Reading SF.

“The invitation came online, probably an e-mail. I was aware of the existence of SFF.net, a website that specialized in discussions of science fiction issues, often by authors who were too impatient to get their opinions published in the SFWA Bulletin, which got published every two months and was the battleground for some classic debates and sometimes name-calling… The invitation was to join a discussion–in midstream–about the protocols for reading science fiction. One of the exchanges online included a reference to the fact that I had written about the protocols in a recent article… I didn’t read the website regularly, mostly because I didn’t have time; these were busy days for me, both teaching and publishing, and my days as president of SFWA and then of SFRA were long over, and the debates were still raging about mostly the same issues. But the debates about the protocols of reading science fiction were still fresh and the discussion about them, if they existed, was still fresh. And the discussion was brisk and sharp, particularly from Damon Knight, with whom I had an interesting relationship since I had read his fiction and his critical opinions… We had met in a bar at the World Science Fiction Convention…”

And so begins James Gunn’s definitive and fascinating study of the reading protocols of science fiction — the way readers read science fiction differently than other kinds of fiction. (Or, do they?) The journey may seem academically dry, but is anything but, as it involves all sorts of beloved personalities and brawling debates about reading, writing, the very definition of science fiction itself, and what sets it apart from other fiction, and, ultimately, what makes us what we are as humans.

The lively debate involves Damon Knight and many other professional science fiction writers and critcs. The book includes Samuel R. Delany’s key essay on the subject, and several by James Gunn, to thoroughly explore the subject.

This is James Gunn’s last book, finished just before his death, and a most fitting capstone to his incredible career, all carefully put together with his friend and associate, Michael R. Page.

(13) DOROTHY DISAPPEARS. If they only had a heart. Litigation forces a DC-area brewer to rename its best-known beer. The Washington Post tells the story: “Oz forces 7 Locks Brewing beer name change”.

There’s something poignant about the new name for an old beer made by Rockville’s 7 Locks Brewing. What was originally known as “Surrender Dorothy” is now simply called “Surrender.” The Wicked Witch won and 7 Locks had to throw in the bar towel.

In this case, it was Turner Entertainment that was no friend of Surrender Dorothy. Its lawyers dropped a house on 7 Locks Brewing’s effort to trademark the name of their signature beer. (I think I may have mixed metaphors there.) “Basically, Turner owns the rights to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” said Keith Beutel, co-founder of 7 Locks. “They claimed that we were using the term ‘Surrender Dorothy’ and they didn’t want any confusion with their branding.”…

(14) UNOFFICIAL COMPANION. A Kickstarter appeal has been launched to fund publication of Across Time and Space: An Unofficial Doctor Who Companion by Unbound.

Across Time and Space is a beautifully designed, 800-page paperback containing reviews of every televised Doctor Who story up to the present day. It is based on a blog called The Patient Centurion started by the writer Tony Cross in 2011, which now runs to over 200,000 words. The book includes an introduction from Doctor Who podcast host, Sunday Times bestselling author and all-round good guy Daniel Hardcastle

It is an unofficial book not in any way associated with the BBC – this is a project by a fan for the fan community . We hope it will encourage some fans to follow Tony’s journey and start watching all 852 episodes in order . . .

Everyone that pledges at the standard level will receive a copy of the book and other perks. At this writing they’ve raised $4,815 of the $32,557 goal.

(15) GIVE YOUR ANSWER IN THE FORM OF A HAT. “Helen Mirren to Host ‘Harry Potter’ Quiz Show for WarnerMedia”The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

The Oscar-winning actress has been tapped to host four-part competition series Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses for WarnerMedia. The previously announced series, which marks the 20th anniversary of the first film in the Harry Potter franchise, will air first on Cartoon Network and TBS before making its debut on HBO Max at a date to be determined.

“I knew someday I’d get a Harry Potter role, and I’m so pleased to take part in the 20-year film celebration,” Mirren said. “The films inspired such enchantment and wonder for so many of us, and it will be such a treat to reignite that magic for the countless fans who continue to revel in this spellbinding world.”

(16) DRAGON, PARTY OF FOUR. The Associated Press says it will happen tonight: “4 will circle Earth on 1st SpaceX private flight”.

SpaceX’s first private flight will be led by a 38-year-old entrepreneur who’s bankrolling the entire trip. He’s taking two sweepstakes winners with him on the three-day, round-the-world trip, along with a health care worker who survived childhood cancer.

They’ll ride alone in a fully automated Dragon capsule, the same kind that SpaceX uses to send astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA. But the chartered flight won’t be going there.

Set to launch Wednesday night from Kennedy Space Center, the two men and two women will soar 100 miles (160 kilometers) higher than the space station, aiming for an altitude of 357 miles (575 kilometers), just above the current position of the Hubble Space Telescope….

(17) THE PAST THROUGH YESTERDAY. DUST presents “Atropa” Episode 1.

When Off-World Officer Cole Freeman finds the missing research vessel ATROPA, he discovers an inconsistency in the ship logs. He wakes the crew from hypersleep, and they soon find themselves caught up in a much bigger mystery. Series Description: A troubled Off-World cop, running from his past, finds himself slammed directly into it when he boards the mysterious spaceship ATROPA.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “The Netflix Executive Tutorial” on Screen Rant, Ryan George plays Netflix executive Perry LaCroix, who explains all the advantages of being an executive at Netflix. Your deltoids get a good workout from all the bags of cash you’re carrying around. Everyone is your friend as you throw hundreds at them, “You get very familiar with the anguished cries of former CEOs” who leave pleading voice mails.  But is it possible you could be replaced by an ATM that says “yes” on the front?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, rcade, N., Michael J. Walsh, Rich Lynch, SG Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

53 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/15/21 You Load Fifteen Pixels, What Do You Get?

  1. 9) Christie is very coy about it, but the mysterious Harley Quin is clearly some kind of supernatural being, one part Puck and one part Nemesis, leading his puppet to the truth.

  2. (13) Next, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints could weigh in, about displaying an image of their temple on such a beverage.

    (5) Come on, if people paid attention to the Twitter/blogosphere before starting a project, nothing would ever be accomplished, other than more tweets and blogs.

  3. 13 ” I guess Turner doesn’t know about that bridge near DC”

    The label on the can shows the Mormon Temple and the Bridge, the old label was the same except the word “Dorothy” was shown on the bridge with Surrender over the top of the label. The new label now shows a workman painting out the word “Dorothy” with just Doro left. Also the DC Beltway shown on the label was made a darker shade of gray, the old one was a yellowish color.

    For those not in the DC area, there is Mormon Temple just by the DC Beltway in Maryland, as you drive around the outer loop of the beltway you see this white building with 3 shiny golden spires which seems to hover over the beltway. There is a CSX Railroad bridge that crosses over the beltway at that location. Ever since the construction on the Temple was completed people have been painting “Surrender Dorothy” on the bridge, even as CSX paints over it. This has been going on for over 40 years.

  4. “Saint Glyer, don’t you call me cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company scroll….”

  5. (2) Wot!?

    (5) I’ve been following many of the Twitter threads about the YA rating boondoggle. The Foz Meadows thread is an international treasure.

    (8) Now I have the John Williams theme song playing in my mind. (Wonder what happened to that guy? Seems he might have had a knack for SF soundtracks…)

    (9) Thanks to Michael for bringing up Harley Quin! I loved those stories and really need to reread them. But I’m trying to finish “A Little Life” right now… Wish me well. ?

  6. @Cat Eldrige: How many Worldcons does someone have to chair to be worthy of a write-up? You gave me one this year, and I’ve never done anything for fandom that was remotely that hard.

  7. Cat Eldridge: Ok, I’ll bite out of feline curiosity. What makes you worthy of a Birthday write-up? Do tell.

    Oh, yikes! Kevin was Chair of Worldcon 76 and Costume-Con 26 and Co-Chair of Westercon 66. He’s President of the International Costumers’ Guild and has been famous (possibly infamous) for years for his costumes. He is also the creator of the amazing ThinBot (which makes alcoholic drinks by itself via its programming) and the Tiki Dalek that went to Loncon 3.

    https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2015/04/profile-of-an-ibm-scientist-kevin-roche

  8. JJ says Oh, yikes! Kevin was Chair of Worldcon 76 and Costume-Con 26 and Co-Chair of Westercon 66. He’s President of the International Costumers’ Guild and has been famous (possibly infamous) for years for his costumes. He is also the creator of the amazing ThinBot (which makes alcoholic drinks by itself via its programming) and the Tiki Dalek that went to Loncon 3.

    https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2015/04/profile-of-an-ibm-scientist-kevin-roche

    Now I know. I’ve told y’all to send me Birthdays and I’ve had my email address up here enough so you can do that. Don’t be shy.

  9. David Goldfarb asks How many Worldcons does someone have to chair to be worthy of a write-up? You gave me one this year, and I’ve never done anything for fandom that was remotely that hard.

    Send me fan Birthdays and I’ll enthusiastically use them.

  10. 13). Actually there are TWO castles near the “Surrender Dorothy” railroad bridge. Just past it is a two-story office building with towers that was built as part of the National Park seminary project in the 1890s.

    This is where I’m from ( I grew up half a mile from the bridge).

  11. 9) Spinrad’s “Journals of the Plague Years” was fairly problematic, I thought, even when I read it back on its first publication in 1988. Would probably stand up even less well today. (Though it might have gained new parallels –in 1988, it was clearly inspired by the AIDS epidemic– what with the anti-vax paranoia of today. Still problematic.)

  12. 2) Tyops exist in contracts but they used to be relatively rare.

    The language appears to be derived from website content agreements – which are more often then not deep rights grabs, even when the website owner(s) claim they don’t intent to take advantage.
    Problem is, courts generally decide based on the written contract.
    I have re-written (to no avail) and refused to sign very similar contracts governing website content contributions, though I do participate on FB, with the full knowledge that they could make a full-length feature film based on one of my posts and would not have to include me in any manner, including payment.

    What bothers me the most about the little I know of this situation is that the rights (as presented here) do not appear to been written from the content creator’s side, where related, ancillary and derivative rights are expressly curtailed.

    Had I been invited to be on panels at this con, I’d have refused to sign such a contract as well.

  13. They’ll ride alone in a fully automated Dragon capsule, the same kind that SpaceX uses to send astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA

    Not just the same kind of Dragon capsule, but one that has already made a round trip to the ISS from November 2020 to May this year.

  14. 2) That doesn’t look terribly predatory? It doesn’t say they get the copyrights to the slides, just that they get to use them in recordings of panels, which doesn’t seem unreasonable. It says they get copyright to the actual recordings, but not to the author contributions.

  15. (12) Another book for the stack…

    “You read 15 books and what do you get – another Humble Bundle and deeper book stacks. Saint Leibowitz don’t you call me, cause I can’t go – I’ve got to read more for the Hugos, you know”

  16. (2) Outside the fact that this is now being debated in public, Kim Yoon Mi has some good points. As a contract, that consent release is vague and overreaching on the side of the Convention. It could benefit from tightening the language specifying in detail what works are being copyrighted by the con and what rights are being retained by the author. The language in the paragraphs are contradictory.

    The comment that the form had been “crafted with the assistance … a legal expert” I find interesting because a legal expert or a lawyer would at a minimum have numbered these paragraphs.

    My interpretation of this is there can be opprobrium on both sides and gosh doesn’t twitter make it great to have reasonable conversations about legal issues.

  17. (9) Howard Waldrop’s short stories are utterly unique and wonderful. Howard, Who? is a good starting point. Available from Small Beer/Weightless Books. Make sure you have plenty of spare socks.

  18. As a contract, that consent release is vague and overreaching on the side of the Convention. It could benefit from tightening the language specifying in detail what works are being copyrighted by the con and what rights are being retained by the author. The language in the paragraphs are contradictory.

    I’m confused by how the rights granted to FIYAHCON are “irrevocable” but the signer can “revoke this authorization in writing.”

    I also would be concerned about granting the con the right to derive works from panel contributions for which the panelist collects no royalties. The agreement allows for the signer to make caveats or exclusions, so presumably panelists with such concerns are carving them out of the agreement.

    Setting aside the personal disagreement going on it’s a good thing this agreement was aired publicly, since FIYAHCON should do what it can to make sure it’s fair to all sides and avoid future legal disputes that might arise.

  19. @Cat Eldridge My comment came off brattier than I intended; last year I was listed as a belated birthday on the 16th and was eagerly awaiting seeing my name in the regular list this year.

  20. Kevin Roche says My comment came off brattier than I intended; last year I was listed as a belated birthday on the 16th and was eagerly awaiting seeing my name in the regular list this year.

    Ahhhh. Well I do repeat some Birthdays but I try to add in fresh ones each year as well. Give me a nudge a few days out next year and I’ll write you up a proper Birthday with all the trimmings.

  21. @Cat Eldridge, will do!

    (And I’m going to snarf up the micro-biographies provided by JJ et al here to have to hand the next time a committee asks me for a 100 word biography.)

  22. Andrew (not Werdna) wrote: “You read 15 books and what do you get – another Humble Bundle and deeper book stacks. Saint Leibowitz don’t you call me, cause I can’t go – I’ve got to read more for the Hugos, you know”

    Tres bon!

    My favorite Spinrad fiction is maybe What Eats You. I feel like he hit a high water mark in the 80s. I admit I dislike Bug Jack Barron. I agree with LeGuin that The Iron Dream would have made a much better novelet. Spinrad is extragenre to me. He don’t care if his work fits, he just writes what he wants. I really enjoy his nonfiction. His reviews in Asimov’s are da bomb, and two books, Science Fiction in the Real World and Stayin’ Alive a Writers Guide were faves when I was a kid.

    Waldrop’s stories are in the same genre as Lafferty, or Bisson, or Neal Barrett Jr. Some Rucker. Some Emshwiller. Some Kit Reed. Some Sterling. I think his novel Them Bones is one of the best novels of the 80s by anybody. My favorite story…Black as the Pit, from Pole to Pole, written with the underappreciated Steven Utley.

  23. Ah yes, the birthday authors:

    Norman Spinrad: My favorite novel by him is Song of the Stars, which is really a sentimental favorite more than anything. I think his best work was the novella “Riding the Torch,” which was a perfect piece of post-hippie SF. Another novel that is of personal interest is Little Heroes, which is not a good novel but is amazingly accurate in its portrayal of pop music today. It’s really uncanny.

    Howard Waldrop: An amazing short story writer. The one story that really pressed my music freak button was “Flying Saucer Rock and Roll,” which is about aliens and the birth of doo-wop in Newark. Finally, there really is a good ’50s rockabilly song called “Flying Saucer Rock and Roll” by Billy Lee Riley and the Little Green Men.

    https://youtu.be/-GDhgdFLjE8

  24. I think the only Spinrad I ever read was Agent of Chaos, just because it was on the library’s paperback SF spinners back in the day.

  25. I used to love Spinrad, but yeah, a lot of his stuff doesn’t hold up very well. Still, I think I prefer an aging hippie who was at least somewhat progressive for his day, but has a number of embarrassing blind spots, to the hordes of regressive blind conservatives that came out of the Campbellian school… 🙂

    I think Russian Spring is one of Spinrad’s most underrated works. It’s not without flaws, but it’s mostly thoughtful and well executed. Unfortunately, it’s a novel about the future of the Soviet Union that was released all-too-shortly before the Soviet Union ceased to exist, which didn’t help it get attention.

    I also liked his recent The People’s Police, a light, humorous piece about class war and systemic racism. Again, not without flaws, but overall, I thought it was mostly pretty well done.

  26. Kevin Roche says to me will do!

    (And I’m going to snarf up the micro-biographies provided by JJ et al here to have to hand the next time a committee asks me for a 100 word biography.)

    Don’t forget to email me here.

  27. Xtifr: When the sf genre is considered as a dialog, I think Norman Spinrad’s stories challenged the perspectives of some other writers and had an important impact on that level, an effect now invisible since the genre immediately moved on. For example, the idea that The Iron Dream is written by Hitler still has a certain impact, versus the more powerful wake-up call it originally delivered to sf readers who were challenged to answer for enjoying all those genocidal space operas they’d grown up on.

  28. I’ve read some short pieces by Spinrad (The Weed of Time is stuck in my memory quite deeply), but no novels (yet). My idiosyncratic reason for being annoyed with Spinrad is that his panning of Moving Pictures in Asimovs kept me away from Pratchett for several years (I could have been enjoying Pterry sooner!) – but I don’t blame him for having different tastes than me.

  29. As I said in my Birthday write-up, the only novel by him that I’ve read is Bug Jack Barron and I did find mildly interesting. I’m not sure why I’ve not read more by him but I suspect it was just that my TBR was larger than I could comfortably cope with and there was nothing compelling me to reading anything else by him.

  30. Sixteen Scrolls
    (with apologies to Merle Travis and Tennessee Ernie Ford)

    Some people say a man is made outta mud.
    A Filer’s made outta books, cons and blood,
    Books and blood and films and cons.
    We may look weak, but our minds are strong

    You read 16 scrolls, what do you get?
    Another day older and more books unread.
    St. Leibovitz, don’t call me ’cause I can’t go,
    I owe my soul to the Mount Tsundoku.

    I was born one morning when the sun didn’t shine
    I picked up a novel and said, “This looks fine.”
    I read 16 pixels of number nine scroll
    and the straw puppy said, “Well, a-bless my soul”

    You read 16 scrolls, what do you get?
    Another day older and more books unread.
    St. Leibovitz, don’t call me ’cause I can’t go,
    I owe my soul to the Series Hugo.

    I was born one mornin’, it was drizzlin’ rain.
    Reading and writing are my middle name.
    I was raised in the library by an old mama lion
    and no rabid puppy will make me walk the line

    You read 16 scrolls, what do you get?
    Another day older and more books unread.
    St. Leibovitz, don’t call me ’cause I can’t go,
    I owe my soul to the Novel Hugo.

    If you see us comin’, better step aside.
    A lotta dogs didn’t, a lotta dogs cried.
    One fist science fiction, the other fantasy.
    If the right one don’t get you
    Then the left one will.

    You read 16 scrolls, what do you get?
    Another day older and more books unread.
    St. Leibovitz, don’t call me ’cause I can’t go,
    I owe my soul to the Mount Tsundoku.

  31. The Tennessee Ernie Ford version of “Sixteen Tons” regularly shows up in the background of my “The Day the Saucers Came…” series of eye-witness accounts of the survivors of the 1950s B-movie type alien invasion, because it was in the charts when the fictional alien invasion takes place.

  32. Cora Buhlert says The Tennessee Ernie Ford version of “Sixteen Tons” regularly shows up in the background of my “The Day the Saucers Came…” series of eye-witness accounts of the survivors of the 1950s B-movie type alien invasion, because it was in the charts when the fictional alien invasion takes place.

    I’ve not heard that song in decades so I’m now streaming it off Apple Music. Thanks, Cora! (Siri followed it up with “Good Looking” by Helen O’Connell which has a duet with Ford.)

  33. @Mike Glyer: I suspect he helped but there’s still a lot of people writing thinly veiled racism into their epic fantasy and MilSF, decades after The Iron Dream was published. Many people did get the point, but even more didn’t.

    Humans ain’t always the sharpest tools in the shed…

  34. I’ve not heard that song in decades so I’m now streaming it off Apple Music. Thanks, Cora! (Siri followed it up with “Good Looking” by Helen O’Connell which has a duet with Ford.)

    When I’m writing stories for that series, I have a playlist with songs from the period, including “Sixteen Tons”, “The Wayward Wind”, “Heartbreak Hotel” and a couple of others.

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