Pixel Scroll 9/29/21 I Should Have Been A Pair Of Ragged Pixels, Scrolling Across The Floors Of Silent Files

(1) BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL. The Brooklyn Book Festival, running from September 26-October 4, has several virtual panels of interest to sff readers. Register at the links.

From creating slice-of-life cyclops and mermaid stories to horror-infused dramas and Afrofuturist epics, worldbuilding—complete with specific rules, cultures, and logic—is no small feat. Join creators Tim Fielder (Infinitum), Kat Leyh (Thirsty Mermaids), John Jennings (After the Rain), and Aminder Dhaliwal (Cyclopedia Exotica) as they discuss the unique challenges and joys of speculative storytelling and how fantastical worlds can say more about our own. Moderated by writer and editor Danny Lore (Queen of Bad Dreams, FIYAH Magazine). 

A dystopian London, a child caught in the midst of a deadly epidemic, and a grieving taxi driver in a ghostly Washington, D.C. Join the authors of A River Called Time (Courttia Newland), Phase Six (Jim Shepard), and Creatures of Passage (Morowa Yejidé) for a conversation on what draws them to speculative fiction, from world-building to the mechanics that make a story tick. Moderated by Carolyn Kellogg.

A Life of Crime (virtual) – Brooklyn Book Festival – October 3, 9:00 p.m. Eastern

Join award-winning mystery authors Naomi Hirahara and Walter Mosley for a discussion about their prolific and versatile writing livest. Hirahara’s latest mystery, Clark and Division, revolves around a Japanese American family building a new life in 1940s Chicago after their release from mass incarceration during World War II. Mosley’s indefatigable detective, Easy Rawlins, returns in Blood Grove, solving a new mystery on the streets of Southern California in 1969. Moderated by Dwyer Murphy, editor in chief of CrimeReads.  

The in-person programming includes “The View from the End of the World”, October 3, 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

A cross-country road trip in an atomic-powered tunnel digger, when everything else has stopped working.. A scavenger hunt for extinct species set against the backdrop of environmental collapse.. Hollywood dreams literally going up in flames, amid nefarious corporate dealings.  Join Jonathan Lethem (The Arrest), Jeff VanderMeer (Hummingbird Salamander), and Alexandra Kleeman (Something New Under the Sun), as they discuss visions of our world and how we’ll manage to keep living in it. Moderated by Alice Sola Kim.

Jonathan Lethem and Jeff VanderMeer will be appearing virtually.

(2) FLAME ON. SF2 Concatenation’s Autumn 2021 issue weighed in on fan controversies from last spring in this incendiary Editorial Comment.  (The creators of this long-lived periodic sff news publication are The Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation Team.)

EDITORIAL COMMENT

The 2021 Worldcon has a new Chair who deserves best wishes from all in the SF Worldcon community.  We need to remember, she has taken over following the successive resignations of the convention’s former co-chairs one of which was due to the continued abuse conrunners and others are receiving from a minority of self-righteous, perfervid, strident Worldcon fans.
          Of course, it is not just convention runners, this year one major author who has given much to the Worldcon community – in both time, effort and cash over many years – has received disparaging attention due to what is arguably a non-malicious misjudgement unfortunately made at last year’s Worldcon. The maltreatment this well-known author has received includes a nasty little article whose title uses profanity against its target (the article’s writer was unable to marshal her argument with calm logic). Sadly, there were enough of these strident fans for it to be short-listed for a Hugo Award to be presented at this year’s Worldcon. That the article contains both a profanity and the author’s name – the target of her abuse – means that it clearly runs contrary to the Worldcon convention’s own code of conduct, yet the Worldcon committee has decided to do nothing: the least it could have done would have been to censor the offending words and explain why.
          Such Worldcon abuse from a minority of fans is not new, in fact it seems to be increasingly regular.  Indeed the last time the Worldcon had been held in our neck of the woods in Brit Cit there was a volatile reaction to the proposed host for the Hugo ceremony that was both unwarranted and totally over-the-top that even spilled over into the mainstream press.
          And so it will be interesting this year to see whether the Hugo will go to a hate-mongering work or whether the majority of Worldcon’s Hugo voters will take a stand?
          The Worldcon is next likely to come to our neck of the woods in 2024; that is if the Cal Hab Worldcon bid for that year wins.  Let’s hope that by then the braying, vociferous minority will have moved on so that that event can be tantrum free.

(3) BIDDERS CALLED OUT. SF2 Concatenation – which is produced by a predominantly UK team – also challenged the Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid to address crowding issues at the last three European Worldcons.

The 2024 bid for a British Worldcon in Glasgow is still on….  But given the increasing overcrowding problems at recent European Worldcons (London in 2013Helsinki in 2017, culminating in a jam-packed Dublin in 2019) it seems that the current generation of European Worldconrunners are unable or (worse?) unwilling to curb numbers to fit their venue’s size.  It would arguably be helpful if the Glasgow 2024 bid team gave a clear steer as to its planning policy on avoiding overcrowding so that those contemplating registering having attending the programme (as opposed to the socialising) as a big draw can decide whether or not to commit a four-figure investment in registration, travel, accommodation and food to attend.

(4) HOLLYWOOD ICON. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] I heard this 2018 interview Leonard and Jessie Maltin did with Rick Baker and his daughter Veronica Baker: Maltin on Movies: Rick and Veronica Baker. Rick Baker won seven Oscars for makeup and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  His daughter, Veronica, is a producer at DC Universe Infinite.

Rick Baker discovered his calling in 1958 when he was 8 and bought the third issue of Famous Monsters Of Filmland.  As a teenager, he discovered the home address of master makeup artist Dick Smith and sent him some photos of his work.  Smith realized that Baker had talent and then spent a day with the teenage Baker giving him tips and subsequently hired him as an assistant for The Exorcist.  Smith, Baker recalled, was a very nice guy who was really good at spotting talent, since three of the teenage monster enthusiasts he corresponded with became Baker, J.J. Abrams, and Peter Jackson.

Baker, who retired in 2015 because he was tired of dealing with the suits, had lots of stories.  He notes he was King Kong in the 1976 movie and played the pilot who killed Kong in the 2005 remake.  He still works on new designs and enthusiastically posts them on Instagram.

Cosplayers whose favorite holiday is Halloween will find Baker and his family simpatico because they spend three months a year prepping their  Halloween costumes. One year Baker, his wife, and their two daughters played four different versions of the Joker.  Another year they were characters from Beauty And The Beast with Baker playing the Beast.

I thought this was very enjoyable.

(5) ENJOYING ASIMOV’S BOOKS. Adam-Troy Castro tries to stick up for Asimov, though necessarily begins his Facebook post with a hefty list of concessions.

Thanks to the new TV adaptation of Asimov’s FOUNDATION, some people are rushing to the internet to make the clever observation that Isaac Asimov really wasn’t a great writer of fiction.

They are also talking about his disgusting personal conduct toward women at conventions, but let us put that aside, mostly because I absolutely agree that it was disgusting and have no reason to argue with you….

…When I was a kid of about 8-10, precociously picking up books that had been marketed to adults from a school library that had the whole set of Asimov and Clarke books, they were a godsend to me. I had no problem parsing the prose, any prose. But for a kid who had not yet even begun to decode adult interactions, beginning a process that I am still shaky on today, as are we all, it was helpful to have books that imparted the sense of wonder and provided drama that was pretty much all surface because anything more sophisticated was precisely the stuff that I would be confused by and get bogged down in. Through Asimov I learned the trick of reading a book. And from Asimov I moved on to writers capable of introducing, among other things, more elegant prose, more complex description, more sophisticated characterization, and the resonance of human interactions that were by their nature harder to navigate than math problems….

(6) PROPERTY IS THEFT. WIRED’s “Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy” podcast interviews a professor who believes “Sci-Fi Is a Good Way to Learn Political Theory”. Listen to the complete interview with Joseph Reisert at the link.

…Reisert is currently teaching Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed to help students understand Marxist ideas of a society without private property. “It’s the one imagining of a society without property that seems reasonably plausible to me,” he says. “I love that novel, and I think the central insight there is that to make that society without property work, even apart from the organizational challenges, requires a kind of moral transformation that’s not easy to accomplish.”

Another advantage of science fiction novels is that they tend to be more entertaining than political treatises, meaning that students are more likely to actually read them. “One shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having a light, easy reading at the end of a long semester right before people take exams,” Reisert says.

(7) THEFT IS THEFT, EVEN MORE SO. A press release on Business Wire reports “Educational Publishers Obtain Preliminary Injunction Against 60 Illegal Websites that Use Online Ads to Sell Pirated Content”.

Educational publishers, Macmillan LearningCengage Group, Elsevier, McGraw Hill and Pearson,have obtained a Preliminary Injunction from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against 60 websites that sell illegal, unlicensed copies of eBooks. The publishers filed suit against the operators of these websites on August 9, 2021, and on the same date obtained a Temporary Restraining Order that required the immediate shutdown of the infringing activity on these websites, as well as the cessation of the services provided by intermediaries that support the websites. With the Preliminary Injunction, that injunctive relief has now been extended through the pendency of the litigation. This is the fourth suit in less than two years that the publishers have brought against pirate eBook websites, and the fourth time they have successfully obtained a Preliminary Injunction.

Like the prior lawsuits, the current lawsuit states that the operators of the pirate eBook websites use online ads—most notably ads on Google and Microsoft’s Bing—to attract customers searching for the publishers’ legitimate content to their illegal websites. In addition to Google and Bing, the websites rely on payment processors, web hosts, domain registrars, proxy service providers and other internet service providers, all of whom are required by the Court’s injunction to stop facilitating the pirate websites’ illegal activity.

The sale of pirated textbooks injures students, who do not receive legitimate copies of the products they seek to purchase. Piracy also causes publishers financial injury, creating a ripple effect impacting the ability to invest in the creation of new works and scholarly contributions that benefit education as a whole. The educational publishers’ enforcement efforts seek to stop online piracy.

(8) SANDMAN CLIP. IndieWire introduces “’The Sandman’ First Look at Neil Gaiman’s Netflix Series”.

Netflix’s logline for the dark fantasy show reads: “A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, ‘The Sandman’ follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.”

The preface at YouTube says —

The Lord of Dreams has been summoned, and captured, by mortal men. Once free from his captivity, this eternal ruler of Dreams will realize that his troubles are only just beginning. The Sandman is a Netflix series based on the groundbreaking comic book series created for DC by Neil Gaiman.

(9) LITERARY CHOCOLATE. Fine Books & Collections brings to fans’ attention a new Lovecraftian delicacy that will soon be available.

Open Book Chocolates, purveyors of handmade, literary-themed chocolates, has announced a Lovecraft-inspired dark chocolate bar infused with Nori seaweed, ginger spice, and candied ginger. It’s called ‘The Call of Cthulhu,’ and a Kickstarter campaign is underway to launch this new flavor into the world. They’ve already met their funding goal, but potential backers can still get in on the action through October 12.

The Kickstarter still has 13 days to run: The Call of Cthulhu Chocolate Bar by G. E. Gallas.

…Our newest flavor, The Call of Cthulhu, is inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s 1926 short story about narrator Francis Wayland Thurston’s search for the truth behind his recently deceased great uncle’s papers. Cthulhu is an ominous, nightmarish, octopus-like creature that hibernates underwater until the time is right for him to emerge and cause havoc. Nori seaweed represents Cthulhu’s aquatic origins, while the spicy kick of ginger expresses the discombobulation he bestows on man….

Call of Cthulhu is just one of a whole line of book-inspired chocolate bars that includes Alice in Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, The Raven, Les Miserables, and A Christmas Carol.

(10) ANOTHER TASTE OF HPL. Heritage Auctions has a big Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy auction coming up on October 14 when  The Gary Munson Collection of Horror and Fantasy Rare Books goes under the hammer. One example is this Lovecraft rarity:

…No discussion of genre-defining work is complete without a mention of H.P. Lovecraft. Though a somewhat controversial character, there can be no doubt that his curious mind, monstrous creations and bone-chilling descriptions of creeping madness continue to shape the horror genre — and will well into the future. There is a reason we describe the worst of our nightmares as Lovecraftian: because H.P. Lovecraft shined a spotlight on all the darkest corners of our world and our minds.

As rare and secretive as the Eldritch gods themselves is this copy of an autographed manuscript signed for the short story, Pickman’s Model. Featuring 16 leaves of Lovecraft’s spidery handwriting, the manuscript is not only signed by Lovecraft, but is also written on the backs of 15 letters written to the author himself. Purportedly, Lovecraft was no fan of typewriters and often used the backs of correspondence, notes and other scrap paper for getting down his ideas. These unique letters contain a laundry list of recognizable names of Lovecraft’s peers and provide unique insight into the publication timeline of the story and Lovecraft’s correspondence and interactions in the years leading up to publication…

(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1963 – Fifty eight years ago this evening on CBS, My Favorite Martian first aired. It was created by John L. Greene who had absolutely no SF background. (Think The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.) It starred Ray Walston as “Uncle Martin” (aka the Martian) and Bill Bixby as Tim O’Hara. The first two seasons, seventy five episodes, were black and white, while the last thirty two episodes of season three were in color. It did very well for the first two seasons but ratings dropped significantly in the third season and it got cancelled. An animated series, My Favorite Martians, was made by Filmation and aired on CBS a decade later. It lasted sixteen episodes. Jonathan Harris voiced Martin. It would be remade in 1999 as a film with Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Martin and Ray Walston in a new role, Armitan/Neenert. It was a box office disaster. It currently has a twelve percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 28, 1873 — Theodore Lorch. He’s the High Priest in 1936 Flash Gordon serial. He also shows up (uncredited originally) as Kane’s Council Member in the 1939 Buck Rogers serial as well. (Died 1947.)
  • Born September 28, 1930 — Naura Hayden. Her best-known film appearance is a starring role in The Angry Red Planet where she was Dr. Iris “Irish” Ryan. Yes she was a redhead. Unless you can count her uncredited appearance as a harem girl in Son of Sinbad, this is her only film or series genre role. In 1955, she joined a Canadian musical cast of Li’l Abner. This was made possible by Sidney W. Pink who wrote the script for The Angry Red Planet. (Died 2013.)
  • Born September 28, 1934 — Stuart M. Kaminsky. Though best remembered as a very prolific mystery writer for which I single out the Toby Peters series about a private detective in 1940s Hollywood and the Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov series about a Moscow police inspector,  he does have genre works. He did two Kolchak the Night Stalker graphic novels, plus wrote the scripts for two Batman stories, “The Batman Memos” and “The Man Who Laughs”. As an editor, he’s responsible for the On a Raven’s Wing: New Tales in Honor of Edgar Allan Poe anthology. (Died 2009.)
  • Born September 28, 1942 — Ian McShane, 79. Setting aside Deadwood which is the favorite series of Emma Bull and Will Shetterly where he’s Al Swearengen, he portrayed Mr. Wednesday in American Gods. And it turns out, though I don’t remember it, he was Dr. Robert Bryson in Babylon 5: The River of Souls film. And he’s Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Now you tell me what your favorite genre role is by him. 
  • Born September 28, 1944 — Isla Blair, 77. Her first credited film appearance was in  Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors as an art gallery assistant.  She was Isabella in The King’s Demons, a Fifth Doctor story. She’s in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as the wife of her real-life husband Julian Glover, and credited as Mrs. Glover. She’s Blaker in The Quatermass Experiment. Finally she has played a starring role as Sally in the BBC’s alternate history An Englishman’s Castle series.
  • Born September 28, 1959 — Scott MacDonald, 62. He’s been on four Trek shows:  Next Gen,  Voyager,  Deep Space Nine, and  Enterprise. He’s also up on Space Above and BeyondBabylon 5X-FilesStargate: SG-1Carnivale and Threshold. He was also in Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, a film which you can guess how bad the rating at Rotten Tomatoes is.
  • Born September 28, 1961 — Nicholas Briggs, 60. A Whovian among Whoians who started out writing Who fanfic. First off he’s the voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen in the new series of shows. Well not just them as he also voices the Judoon, the Ice Warriors, the  Nestene Consciousness, the Jagrafess and the Zygons.  Second he’s the Executive Producer of Big Finish Productions, the audio drama company that has produced more Doctor WhoTorchwood and other related works that you’d think possible. Third he did act twice in the Whoverse. Once on Torchwood as Rick Yates on “Children of Earth: Day Four” andThe Sarah Jane Adventures as Captain Tybo in “Prisoner of the Judoon” episode.  Fourth he’s appeared as himself in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
  • Born September 28, 1974 — Alexis Cruz, 47. He was Skaara in the Stargate film and  remarkably got to play the same character in the Stargate SG-1 series as well which is unusual indeed. He’s done a number of fairly obscure horror films (DarkWolfSpectres, Slayer and Altergeist).
Hayao Miyazaki

(13) LOVE FOR MIYAZAKI. {Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Behind a paywall in the September 21 Financial Times, former Financial Times film critic Nigel Andrews noted the 20th anniversary of Hiyao Miyazaki’s Spiritied Away, the only film in Andrews’s 46-year career he gave six stars to (Andrews judged on a 1-5 star scale).

Hiyao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is 20 years old. I saw it at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the golden Bear for Best film.  Some months later it won the Best Animated Feature Oscar. Is it the best film I’ve ever seen?  Quite possibly.  I’d want it on a desert island.  Yes, my life would be poorer without it. And I never, during my 46 years as a practicing movie reviewer, bestowed that 6/5 rating on anything else; or even thought to….

…Maybe Miyazaki’s masterpiece is better seen as a movie to crown his own career than to coronate future directors.  He never followed it with a better one himself, though there are marvels in Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and The Wind Rises.  But then Welles never surpassed Citizen Kane, nor Hitchcock Vertigo.  Spirited Away is the great treasure of 21st century animation, and we may be saying that when the 21st century ends. 

(14) TRADPUB’S ANSWER TO THE $600 ASHTRAY. Amanda S. Green, in “Who can read your book?”, discusses news reports about the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee grilling publishers about library e-book contracts.  

…As an example, the article notes how a California school district had to pay $27/yr per student for access to e-books of The Diary of Anne Frank. In other words, if 100 students that year studied the book, the district paid the publisher $2700–and the district nor the kids “owned” that e-book. If they bought the paperback book directly from Amazon instead of through Baker & Taylor where they’d probably get a discount, they’d pay $11/copy or less. The e-book would cost $6.99. So why is the per student cost for the school library for this e-book so much more?

Why aren’t publishers trying to encourage school districts to invest more of their limited library funds in books and e-books–and giving them more for their money–than they are? After all, if we teach our youngsters to enjoy reading, that should be a win-win for publishers, right?

When publishers have politicians pointing out the obvious, there’s a problem….

(15) ON WRY. David Bratman’s report about visiting “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” in San Jose begins with a rather clever comment.

… You show your proof of vaccination – though they’re quite bewildered by the actual card, expecting it to be transferred to a phone – and nobody’s very interested in your ticket – and head down a clogged (because people read very slowly) passage by a series of panels with explanatory narration and quotes from Vince’s letters in English and Spanish. Finally, if you get around that and the arrow-bearing signs reading “Gogh This Way” which must be terribly confusing to anyone who doesn’t know how to mispronounce the name, you get to the main hall….

(16) REWRITING THE DICTIONARY. The WPM Invitational site has an archive of the results of two Washington Post competitions, among other things: “Word Play Masters”.

The Washington Post’s Mensa invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.   Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.                     
                                                                            
2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole….               

And there are 15 more.

The same site also has the 16 winners of a different challenge:

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.  And the winners are:
                                                                                                              
                                                                            
 1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.                            
                                                                            
 2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained….             

Etc.

(17) LIVED IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND. “Scientists Unseal Secret Cave Chamber Used by Neanderthals”Yahoo! has the story.

Scientists exploring a cave network inside of the Rock of Gibraltar—a monolithic limestone mass in the British territory of Gibraltar—have discovered a chamber that nobody’s seen for 40,000 years. The chamber, which measures about 42 square feet, not only offers insight into a pocket of Earth long untouched, but also, in all likelihood, an area where Neanderthals visited. And perhaps snacked on animal carcasses.

Gizmodo reported on the discovery, which the scientists recently announced. The team visited the Gibraltar cave network—known as Gorham’s Cave complex—in August of this year as a continuation of a nine-year-long effort to determine its true dimensions. The complex is of intrigue as experts consider it to be one of the last habitations for Neanderthals in Europe. The site’s so important for archaeology, in fact, it’s even a UNESCO World Heritage Site….

(18) ROBOTECH. Here’s a promotional video with footage the Amazon Astro mentioned in the Scroll the other day:

(19) AUTEUR’S DEBUT. Dementia 13, the 1963 horror film that marked Francis Ford Coppola’s debut has been released last week in a restored director’s cut.

Presented in HD and available on Blu-ray for the first time, Francis Ford Coppola’s director’s cut of Dementia 13 is quintessential gothic horror, wrapped in the twisted mysteries of a family’s deepest, darkest secrets. A widow deceives her late husband’s mother and brothers into thinking he’s still alive when she attends the yearly memorial to his drowned sister, hoping to secure his inheritance. But her cunning is no match for the demented, axe-wielding thing roaming the grounds of the family’s Irish estate in this cult favorite featuring Patrick Magee, Luana Anders, William Campbell, and Bart Patton.

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “The Costume Designer Tutorial” on Screen Rant, Tyler Lemco plays costume designer Dode L.who took off Superman’s underwear for Man Of Steel and says “I knocked Thor’s dumb helmet off his dumb head and never looked back”  Among his suggestions:  black leather jackets always work and make sure all male superheroes have abs built into their costumes; but don’t ask him about “that credit card thing” that got him into trouble with Willem Dafoe. This was written by Seb Decter.  Ryan George has a brief cameo.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Daniel Dern, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Janney.]

49 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/29/21 I Should Have Been A Pair Of Ragged Pixels, Scrolling Across The Floors Of Silent Files

  1. First!

    MEDIA BIRTHDAY) I remember My Favorite Martian rather fondly though rather hazily given how long ago I saw it. I don’t think I will rewatch lest the Suck Fairy judge it harshly.

  2. P J Evans says I agree. The antennae were fun, though!

    It was a great example of minimalism in makeup to create the illusion of a character being alien. Certainly it took a lot less effort than Nimoy’s makeup would involve a mere five years later.

    Now listening to Simon R. Green’s An Ishmael Jones Mystery: Death Shall Come

  3. (11) I have vague memories of “My Favorite Martian” being a favorite show of mine (in reruns) when I was four or five.

    Currently reading Invisible Sun by Charles Stross.

  4. Andrew (not Werdna) says Currently reading Invisible Sun by Charles Stross.

    So how is it? I assume it’s awesome.

    The audiobook was supposed to be out today but it didn’t drop so I expect it out soon and I’ll be listening to it next. It’s going to be a good month for SF novels for me as Alastair Reynolds’ Inhibitor Phase comes out as an audiobook in two weeks.

  5. I am currently reading SCHOLARS OF NIGHT by John M. Ford – Charlie Stross wrote the introduction.

  6. Paul Weimer: FYI, you’re comments would go online immediately if you logged in with both first and last name. WordPress is treating the first-name-only as a new registration that has to be approved.

  7. Steve Wright says Both Ian McShane and Isla Blair had guest spots in Space: 1999 – like it or loathe it, you can’t ignore it!

    You may not have, but I did. I don’t think that I ever saw even one episode of the series when it ran. From what I read of it since then, I’m convinced that I didn’t miss anything.

  8. 18} Amazon seems a bit confused. Astro is the dog’s name. Rosie is the robot.

    Also, nice title today, which suggests as follow-up “I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my pixels scrolled,”

  9. 2) That is the most “agh, the SJWs” comment I have ever seen not actually use the term “SJWs.”

    7) See, on one hand, yay, someone with money is actively going after websites that probably have more than just illegal textbooks on there and are probably hurting authors. On the other hand, educational publishing is a massive racket who I very much feel has brought it on themselves by having a business model involving bringing out a new edition every few years to deliberately kill the used book market so as to be able to have a captive audience for an absurdly high markup.

    14) In which I am cheering and applauding a Mad Genius Club article. That’s… unusual. This article is extremely on point.

  10. Before the Doctor Who reboot, Nicholas Briggs produced “Nebulous” – a radio show which is both a parody and love letter to low-budget British SF of the ’70s & ’80s.

    Mark Gatiss stars as Professor Nebulous, the head of KENT (the Key Environmental Non-Judgmental Taskforce). He and his assistants deal with all manner of threats to society while also serving as a laundry (to offset poor government funding).

    I believe there’s an official recording of the first season, but you can find most of the episodes online if you search. I’m an unabashed fan of the show, and hope this will tempt at least some of you into trying it, just so I have more people to talk about it with.

    You’re looking at the man who invented the baser – as a recycling aid for cutting up scrap metal. The baser: a hyper-caustic acid beam housed in a handy gun shaped dispenser. How could I have possibly known the military would turn it into a weapon?

    I’m drifting…

  11. Elseweb I saw that this is also the anniversary of the first episode of “Macgyver”, in 1986.

  12. (2) FLAME ON.

    I would buy that the chronic mispronunciation of finalist and winner names was the result of non-malicious arrogance, disinterest, and lack of respect, but there’s no one who will be able to convince me that the excessive, continuous repetition of Campbell’s name and stories about him was anything other than malicious retribution for the renaming of the Astounding Award.

  13. 12) I wouldn’t say favorite genre role (that might be Winston, if we’re considering John Wick to be genre), but I’d be remiss in not pointing out that Ian McShane was in an episode of Space: 1999. And, scrolling through his filmography, I see he was in a 1970 film called The Ballad of Tam Lin, which I’m guessing was at least genre-adjacent, depending on whether it brought in any of the supernatural elements from the actual ballad of Tam Lin.

  14. JJ: …the excessive, continuous repetition of Campbell’s name and stories about him was anything other than malicious retribution for the renaming of the Astounding Award.

    I’ll mark my vote down in that column, too.

  15. 2) Well, someone has a sad. And didn’t read the article, because it was pretty decently written but for the title (which I wouldn’t have chosen, but meh… I’m not the author of it and I’ll defer to their creative choices). They clearly have “feelings” about the direction of SFF fandom, and as Kit pointed out, there but for the word SJW they go.

    18) The developers of the Amazon bot has said it’s not ready at all and will literally throw itself down stairs. Might want to name them all Marvin and stay ahead of the curve on the robot depression game. Also fragile, can’t do most of what they claim, is surveilling owners using facial recognition tech that works poorly, and isn’t worth the $1000 to $1500 it’ll cost. Which is why they are currently available by “invite” only, so Amazon can hand pick best-case scenarios to make it look good. Again, this is all from leaks by the actual DEVELOPERS of the darned thing.

  16. 12) I wouldn’t call it my favorite McShane outing, but I would like to have seen more of Kings, an odd duck of a show whose network didn’t seem to have the first clue what to do with it.

  17. 2) self-righteous, perfervid, strident… nasty little article… unable to marshal her argument with calm logic… strident… volatile… unwarranted and totally over-the-top… spilled over… hate-mongering… braying, vociferous… tantrum

    What fascinates me is how much you can infer about the writer and their target just from the choice of adjectives

  18. Astro is the dog’s name. Rosie is the robot.

    Could be a reference to Astro Boy, in which Astro is the robot. (Also, the boy.)

    Both Ian McShane and Isla Blair had guest spots in Space: 1999 – like it or loathe it, you can’t ignore it!

    (Claps hands over ears) LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

  19. @JJ
    Not to mention the weird way he stressed “Astounding”, whenever he was forced to say the word.

    Anyway, GRRM was at least partly responsible for the worst and longest Hugo ceremony in recent memory. And even though part of the responsibility lies with CoNZealand, who were too starstruck to reign him in, Martin bears a lot of the blame, too.

    The mispronunciation thing is apparently a known issue with him, he’s simply bad with unfamiliar names and words. But CoNZealand had phonetic spellings of all the names and titles and should have made sure Martin got them. Especially since according to Mary Robinette Kowal, he was perfectly willing to rerecord mispronounced names, when he presented a Nebula.

  20. Cora Buhlert: Not to mention the weird way he stressed “Astounding”, whenever he was forced to say the word.

    The word you’re looking for is “sneered”.

    Imagine being given the honor of hosting a hugely prestigious award ceremony, and not having enough professional pride to ensure that the organizers provide you with correct pronunciations which you then practice and use. And turning what should have been an hour of introductions honoring the finalists and winners into 2.5 hours of making it all about yourself.

    I just can’t fathom what sort of thinking lay behind that. It’s just a total disconnect from… pretty much everything.

  21. GRRM was a complete and absolute ass, period. I had the Hugo ceremony on one iPad while checking email and doing other work on my other iPad so that was the only reason I didn’t decide to somewhere else in horror.

    There was no doubt in my mind that things like the mispronounced Astounding were deliberately being done because he was pissed because the Award had been renamed. The turning an hour long introduction into something that went on seemingly forever was simply inexcusable. And that falls on the Hugo admin as they could edited that down.

  22. Cat Eldridge: And that falls on the Hugo admin as they could edited that down.

    Just to be clear, it was the responsibility of the Hugo ceremony chairs, not the Hugo Award administrators, to provide expectations for the host’s performance and oversee the footage (and editing of it, if necessary) which was provided for the ceremony.

    It’s hard to understand how no one who saw the time lengths on the provided segments raised an alarm about it in advance. But then, no one would have realistically been expecting the host to do something so incredibly selfish and over-the-top.

  23. I think trying to rein in Mr. Martin once he got his head of steam up would have been a fraught experience, so the least bad option was to let him do his thing. Which was awful enough–but imagine if the Hugo ceremony chairs had muted him or cut away or stopped him? That would have been bad on different axes and in some ways worse.

  24. JJ says Just to be clear, it was the responsibility of the Hugo ceremony chairs, not the Hugo Award administrators, to provide expectations for the host’s performance and oversee the footage (and editing of it, if necessary) which was provided for the ceremony.

    Yeah I should have been clearer in who I meant was responsible. My bad.

    It’s hard to understand how no one who saw the time lengths on the provided segments raised an alarm about it in advance. But then, no one would have realistically been expecting the host to do something so incredibly selfish and over-the-top.

    That certainty is true. And I really don’t think that the recorded segments added significantly to the value of the Hugo ceremony.

    I’ve seen a lot of ceremonies down the years and GRRM in my opinion was the single most selfish, arrogant and inept Host I’ve ever experienced bar none. Actually I think calling him Host is giving him far too much credit as that implies that he actually did what he was supposed to do which he really didn’t in the end.

  25. (6) The Odonians are anarcho-socialists, and not Marxists. Not just because they haven’t heard of the specific Terran writer Karl Marx, but because they don’t have, or don’t accept, Marx’s ideas about history. Le Guin has made clear that she was drawing on anarchist writers. including Kropotkin and Proudhon, when writing The Dispossessed.

    Similarly, some early Christian groups were internally communist, but not Marxist.

    This would feel like a nit-pick except that the person described says he’s using science fiction to teach political theory. OGH’s title for that scroll item

  26. (3) Absolutely! I was really disappointed at the Dublin Worldcon that I was unable to attend most of the panels that I wanted to attend because the rooms were too damn small.

  27. 9) Please tell me that I’m not the only one who thought that maybe that illustration is from the Lovecraft edition of Everybody Poops.

  28. @JJ

    It’s hard to understand how no one who saw the time lengths on the provided segments raised an alarm about it in advance. But then, no one would have realistically been expecting the host to do something so incredibly selfish and over-the-top.

    At one point, still before the winners in the fan categories had been announced, though the Astounding winner may have been announced already, Alan, the tech person responsible for running the whole thing behind the scenes, sent a message to all finalists waiting for their categories to be called, that the next video would take 17 minutes. Not 1 minute and 7 seconds or 7 minutes but 17 minutes. I suspect the groaning among the finalists could be heard all the way in New Zealand.

    Alan, the tech person, is a true hero BTW, because he had to stay to the end of that whole painful ceremony, when everybody else had already tuned out.

  29. Steve Wright on September 29, 2021 at 6:42 pm said:

    Both Ian McShane and Isla Blair had guest spots in Space: 1999 – like it or loathe it, you can’t ignore it!

    I don’t quite understand, Steve. Why did your post abruptly end after “guest spots in”? Were you planning to mention the name of a show and just forgot? 🙂

  30. (the article’s writer was unable to marshal her argument with calm logic…)

    Hey Kettle, this is Pot. You’re black!

  31. (2) I remember GRRM stating at some point that he was thinking about going into journalism instead of being a full time writer but attending a Worldcon changed his mind – “I want to be a part of that world.” I wonder if he still does.

  32. Paul Weimer: I think trying to rein in Mr. Martin once he got his head of steam up would have been a fraught experience, so the least bad option was to let him do his thing. Which was awful enough–but imagine if the Hugo ceremony chairs had muted him or cut away or stopped him? That would have been bad on different axes and in some ways worse.

    Most of GRRM’s 2.5 hours of screen segments were pre-recorded. The reining-in should have been done before the ceremony.

  33. JJ says Most of GRRM’s 2.5 hours of screen segments were pre-recorded. The reining-in should have been done before the ceremony.

    And much of that material could have either been edited down or eliminated altogether. It not only wasn’t necessary, it was dammed distracting when watching the proceedings.

  34. JJ says In Elizabeth Bonesteel’s latest newsletter, she announces that there will be 4th Central Corps novel out next year. The Bad News is that it’s not until next year. But the Good News is… a new Central Corps novel! Yay!

    Damn, I’d forgotten all about that most excellent series. Quick look over at ISFDB… it’ll be five years since the last novel in this series came out by the time this is published. No wonder I’d forgotten about it.

  35. Re: CoNZealand Hugo ceremonies

    I was in Wellington with a bunch of people who had made it there in person & we were in the same room for the viewing. I hoped for a good Hugo ceremony. Heroic efforts had been made to put together the first virtual Worldcon & things had been running reasonably well.

    I was concerned when I found out the Hugo ceremony team had been replaced late in the game but was still feeling optimistic. My heart sank the longer the ceremonies went on. I was not the only person facepalming & eyerolling in that room. Not only was it painful to watch, it was embarrassing. I felt really sorry for the finalists who had to endure it. I didn’t watch all of it at the time as I had to get away to do tech support for panels. I finished watching the ceremony later which made it a tiny bit better than watching it live as I knew what to expect. It’s such a shame that while CNZ made history as the first virtual Worldcon, it will more likely be remembered for its Hugo Ceremony fiasco.

  36. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 10/3/21 - Amazing Stories

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