Pixel Scroll 9/8/21 HR Pixeling Stuff! Whose Your File When Things Get Rough

(1) ABOUT TIME. At Young People Read Old SFF, James Davis Nicoll has one he’s sure the panel will like. Can that actually happen?

This month, the Old Hugo Finalist the Young People read was Samuel R. Delany’s “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones”, which was first published in New Worlds, #185 December 1968. Despite my track record of guessing wrong about what older SFF will appeal to younger people, I am pretty confident about this one. Not only did “Time” win both the Nebula and the Hugo in its category, but Delany’s fiction is objectively popular. The Bantam edition of Delany’s crowd-pleasing Dhalgren, for example, went through 19 editions and sold over a million copies. Success in this matter is therefore utterly assured…. 

(2) WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. “Edgar Allan Poe Needs a Friend” – and apparently found one – as explained by Matthew Redmond at Lapham’s Quarterly.

Type “Edgar Allan Poe” into your preferred image search engine, brace for impact, and press Enter. Instantly you hit a wall of chalk-white faces, each conveying a mixture of despair, dyspepsia, grief, wonderment, and wounded pride. Some are actual daguerreotypes, while the rest are fan art or movie stills inspired by those antique likenesses. In every case, one has the distinct feeling that misery could not ask for better company. This is Poe.

Now try searching “Poe Osgood portrait” instead. What comes up this time is a face totally different from those in the previous set. It can’t be the same person. There is color in his cheeks and light in his eyes, and his brow looks quite unburdened. The expression registers as neither menacing nor miserable, but magnanimous. This too is Poe.

It is Samuel Stillman Osgood’s more human version of the poet, novelist, and critic that interests us here. That the portrait has become emblematic of a close friendship between Poe and Frances Osgood, the artist’s wife, makes it still more surprising, because Poe is not supposed to have had friends…. 

(3) SAD POOPERS. Camestros Felapton, in Debarkle chapter 63, charts “What the Evil League of Evil (and Friends) Did Next”.

… In an apparent bid to make the historiography of the Debarkle easier, multiple members of 2014’s Evil League of Evil banded together to publish an anthology entitled “Forbidden Thoughts”. The title, evocative of Harlan Ellison’s never fully completed Dangerous Visions anthologies, was predicated on the idea that the last bastion of transgressive ideas in speculative fiction is reactionary conservatism….

(4) STONE SOUP. In “Building Beyond: Mycorrhizal Networking”, Sarah Gailey is joined by Casey Lucas and Arkady Martine to work on the writing prompt:

City planners in this civilization rely on fungus to help them do their jobs.

(5) THE END IS NEAR. Leonardo DiCaprio is part of a celebrity ensemble cast in Don’t Look Up, which tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth. On Netflix on December 24.

(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • 1966 – Fifty-five years ago on NBC, Star Trek premiered. Roddenberry had pitched a brief treatment to Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions, producers of Mission: Impossible, three years previously, calling it “a Wagon Train to the stars”. I won’t go into details here as y’all know them all too well but will note that it would spawn eleven television series to date, thirteen films, and numerous books, games, and more toys than you can possibly keep count. The series won two Hugos, one at NyCon 3 for “The Menagerie”, and another at Baycon for “The City on the Edge of Forever”.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 8, 1925 — Peter Sellers. Chief Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films which are surely genre, aren’t they? Of course he had the tour de force acting experience of being Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley and Dr. Strangelove in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Amusingly he was involved in a number of folk tale productions in various mediums (film, radio, stage) including Cinderella, Tom ThumbMother Goose and Jack and The Beanstalk. (Died 1980.)
  • Born September 8, 1937 — Archie Goodwin. Comics writer and editor with a very long career. He was the writer and editor of the horror Creepy and Eerie anthologies, the first writer on the Iron Man series, wrote comic book adaptations for Marvel of the two Star Wars sequels and edited the Star Wars line for them. For DC, he edited Starman which Robinson said he was inspiration for. (Died 1998.)
  • Born September 8, 1945 — Willard Huyck, 76. He’s got a long relationship with Lucas, first writing American Graffiti and being the script doctor on Star Wars before writing Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom before being the writer and director on Howard the Duck which, yes, is a Lucasfilm. It’s the lowest rated on Rotten Tomatos Lucasfilm production ever at 15% followed by Radioland Murders, the last script he’d write for Lucasfilm.  
  • Born September 8, 1952 — Linda D. Addison, 69. First Black winner of the Stoker Award which she has won five times. Amazingly, The first two awards were for her poetry collections Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes and Being Full of Light, Insubstantial. All five of her Awards were for poetry collections. She does write more than poetry as her story, “Shadow Dreams”, was published in the Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda anthology.
  • Born September 8, 1954 — Mark Lindsay Chapman, 67. Sorry DCU but the best Swamp Thing series was done nearly thirty years ago and starred the late Dick Durock as Swamp Thing and this actor as his chief antagonist, Dr. Anton Arcane. Short on CGI, but the scripts were brilliant. Chapman has also shown up in Poltergeist: The LegacyBram Stoker’s Legend of the Mummy, The New Adventures of Superman, The Langoliers and Max Headroom to name a few of his genre appearances.
  • Born September 8, 1965 — Matt Ruff, 56. I think that his Sewer, Gas & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy is his best work to date though I do like Fool on The Hill a lot. Any others of his I should think about reading? And of course there the adaptation of Lovecraft Country which I’ve not seen as I don’t have HBO. He won an Otherwise Award for Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls, and an Endeavour Award for The Lovecraft Country.
  • Born September 8, 1966 — Gordon Van Gelder, 55. From 1997 until 2014, he was editor and later publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, for which he was awarded twice, and quite well deserved they were, with the Hugo for Best Editor Short Form at Nippon 3 and at Devention 3.  He was also a managing editor of The New York Review of Science Fiction from 1988 to 1993, for which he was nominated for the Hugo a number of times. 
  • Born September 8, 1975 — C. Robert Cargill, 46. He, along with Scott Derrickson and Jon Spaihts, worked on the script for Doctor Strange. More intriguingly they’re writing the script for The Outer Limits, a movie based on the television show. The film, produced by MGM, will be adapted from just the “Demon with a Glass Hand” episode begging the question of what they’re writing for a script given that Ellison did write the Writers Guild of America Awards winning Outstanding Script for a Television Anthology script.

(8) TRAILER PARK. A new DCEU animated film trailer: “Injustice”.

Inspired by Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios’ popular video game, and the best-selling DC graphic novel based on the video game, Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One by Tom Taylor, the animated film Injustice finds an alternate world gone mad – where The Joker has duped Superman into killing Lois Lane, sending the Man of Steel on a deadly rampage. Unhinged, Superman decides to take control of the Earth for humanity’s own good. Determined to stop him, Batman creates a team of like-minded, freedom-fighting heroes. But when Super Heroes go to war, can the world survive?

(9) FOUR EXCUSES. Mostly not genre, but Stephen Colbert’s “Excuses Song” could be like a national anthem for introverts.

Stephen, Jon and the Stay Human band recorded this hot new jam guaranteed to make you dance, and give you some foolproof excuses to get out of social obligations this Fall.

(10) STEVE POPS BACK IN. My daughter grew up watching Blue’s Clues. Which means I watched, too. So while I don’t know about her, I needed this! “So about that time Steve went off to college…”

(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles” on YouTube, Fandom Games says this steampunk series “has almost nothing to do with what actually goes on in a courtroom” and featrues Sherlock Holmes as “an arrogant moron.”  “So strap on that katana and get ready to make objections!”

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

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/8/21 HR Pixeling Stuff! Whose Your File When Things Get Rough

  1. First!

    (6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY. I still occasionally watch an original Trek episode as I have Paramount+ as one of my streaming services. Some of the episodes are very good, some are not so good. Given their age, I’d say the Suck Fairy had been kind.

  2. @Cat Eldridge
    Some of those episodes the Suck Fairy got to before they even aired.

    But that’s a lovely picture of some of the officers. Spock is looking very Spockish.

  3. In aadition to what Cat mentioned, my favorite Archie Goodwin work took place during 1973-74 when he edited Detective Comics. In addition to writing the adventures of Batman therein, he also created (with artist Walt Simonson) and wrote the backup feature Manhunter, one of my favorite comic book characters. The comic industry apparently agreed, since Manhunter won two Shazam Awards for best short story and and one award for best full length story (“Götterdämmerung,” wherein Batman teamed with Manhunter). Goodwin also won the Shazam for Best Writer (Dramatic Division) in each of those years.

  4. Pre-fifth! Still need to finish my Hugo reading. At least we have an extended deadline. But I’ve been playing Hades and Spiritfarer and justifying it to myself as “Hugo research”, so there’s that…

  5. P J Evans says Some of those episodes the Suck Fairy got to before they even aired.

    But that’s a lovely picture of some of the officers. Spock is looking very Spockish.

    Well I was being more than a bit overly generous as I liked the series of my long ago youth. There were episodes like Spock’s Brain and The Way to Eden that even the Suck Fairy got violently ill when she watched them.

  6. Thanks for the title credit.

    (6) A very happy birthday to Star Trek!

    (7) And to Matt Ruff – I’ve read Fool on the Hill and Sewer, Gas, Electric (and maybe more). I think Ruff overlapped at Cornell with a friend of mine, so when I read Fool I imagine her somewhere in the background.

  7. (7) Matt Ruff’s Set This House in Order is very good. Not, as I recall, genre. I would very much like to know if people who are multiple feel that it is a good representation; I have only second-hand knowledge, being close to someone so described. But it was an enjoyable and compelling and, I thought, a compassionate read.

  8. (6) Desi Arnaz was no longer involved with Desilu Productions by the time Star Trek went into development; he and Lucille Ball had divorced, and he had sold his share of the company to her.

  9. (6) The suckiest episodes of Star Trek, then AND now, were “The Alternative Factor,” “And the Children Shall Lead,” and “The Mark of Gideon.”

    I enjoy “Spock’s Brain” and “The Way to Eden” and will not apologize for doing so. They’re better than a lot of 1968-69 network TV.

    One of my favorites aired tonight on H&I: “This Side of Paradise.” When the guest stars are Earth colonists rather than unaccountably human-like aliens, the stories become inherently more believable.

  10. Joshua K. Says Desi Arnaz was no longer involved with Desilu Productions by the time Star Trek went into development; he and Lucille Ball had divorced, and he had sold his share of the company to her.

    Interesting. Was that after Roddenberry pitched the idea of the series to Desilu Productions in 1964?

  11. (7) Bad Monkeys is my favorite Matt Ruff novel, with Set This House in Order a fairly close second.

  12. (7) Peter Sellers’ work in Dr Strangelove was certainly a tour de force, but his most accomplished genre work is likely his portrayal of Chance in the film version of Kosinski’s Being There.

    Archie Goodwin did not edit Marvel’s Star Wars line of comics, because Marvel did not have a line of Star Wars comics until the recent past. (It briefly published a pair of short-lived kiddie comics, which Goodwin was not involved in.) Goodwin did write and edit Marvel’s main SW title for a few years, but he was credited as editor only while he was writing it. He also was not the first writer on the Iron Man series (that was Stan Lee (plotter) or Larry Leiber (scripter)); Goodwin took over the feature a few years later, just before Marvel spun the property out of an anthology title and into its own title. He was also the first editor of Eerie magazine and the second editor of Creepy Magazine, and wrote many, but not al!, of the stories during his run.

  13. 6) I’m reliably informed that it’s also the 48th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: The Animated Series, which had definite ups & downs, but by virtue of being animated was able to do things that they never could’ve managed in the live-action series at the time.

  14. @Judge Magney

    because Marvel did not have a line of Star Wars comics until the recent past.

    Marvel started publishing Star Wars comics in the summer of 1977, when the film was released. Archie Goodwin started editing in #11.

  15. 2)

    “By the time he was ready to publish his second volume of poems, an expanded reprise of the first that included the cosmic meditation “Al Aaraaf,” Allan had cut off his allowance, leaving him no way forward. Yet that second volume, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems, appeared in 1829, after Frances died and shortly before he entered West Point. His fellow privates, sympathizing with the orphan’s disappointed hopes, took up a collection among themselves so that his book might come out as planned.”

    So, a combination Kickstarter and GoFundMe?

  16. Interesting story: Fairly early n his career, Archie submitted a story to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The editor’s bought it, but requested another by-line,assuming “Archie Goodwin” was intended as a Rex Stout tribute. When he explained that it was, in fact, his real name, they published it as such with an amused explanatory note.

  17. 1) I’m coming to think, from doing this, that New Wave is more timeless than the hard problem stories. Maybe because the hard problems change as the science does (certainly I don’t expect the stories I’m writing about the dangers of the internet of things to still hit the same way in fifty years) but philosophy is a lot more timeless.

    9) Catchy!

    10) This made the rounds in my social circle and it’s adorable and I love it. (Blue’s Clues was always something of a secret for me– my mother did not approve of it and I could only watch it when she wasn’t around. So there’s sort of a “Oh, this is adorable and I can watch it in the open because I’ve grown up too!”)

  18. I saw this and thought of y’all.

    @Joe H

    Thanks! Gotta go see that one.

    Regards,
    Dann
    This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. – Dorothy Parker

  19. What’s the inverse of the “Suck Fairy”? What do you call it when something you thought was terrible years ago now seems pretty good? I don’t know if there’s a commonly recognized shorthand for this, but I know the phenomenon is real.

  20. WHile I winced at a few of them, the only Star Trek original series episode I never made it through was Turnabout Intruder, which happened to hit my “Just no” buttons with its hack-handed gender swapping. I could recognize Spock’s Brain was bad, but it was also entertaining, which is a similar but slightly different scale. I felt a couple of others were cringy but not well enough to remember the names.

    This sealed the then-consistent thing where I would try a “classic” tv series of roughly that era, enjoy the heck out the vast majority of it, and still never finish it. (Get Smart, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Wild Wild West, Hogan’s Heroes, even Barney Miller which is a couple of decades late.)

    I think I finally did complete Man from U.N.C.L.E. years after this pattern emerged.

  21. Lenora Rose says This sealed the then-consistent thing where I would try a “classic” tv series of roughly that era, enjoy the heck out the vast majority of it, and still never finish it. (Get Smart, Man from U.N.C.L.E.,

    Wild Wild Wes

    t, Hogan’s Heroes, even Barney Miller which is a couple of decades late.)

    The only one on that list that I’ve watched every damn bit of of one order including the films is Wild Wild West. I have seen and definitely enjoyed watched a lot of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., though by no means not all of it by any means. The other ones I’ve just seen most of the episodes though I don’t remember a lot about them.

    Oddly enough I don’t remember The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. at all. Anyone here want to give me a review of it?

  22. The tenth Kencyrath novel is getting its final edit. One more book to go.

    https://tagmeth.livejournal.com/73935.html

    From Hodgell:

    “I am pleased to announce that on 9/4/2021, at 8:22am, I finished Kencyrath novel 10, Deathless Gods. Now I’m going over it making corrections. It runs about 114,000 words, which is typical for me, and covers 205 days, during which Jame goes to the Central Lands to check on strange reports from Harn while Torisen and Kindrie cope with growing trouble in the Riverland. I also still have to draw the maps and work out the lexicon. The deadline is Dec.1, but I hope to beat that. How long before it sees print? Well, my publisher usually takes about a year, but I hope for less than that, given the delay already. One novel to go to finish the series, if things stay on track. Thanks for being so patient with me over the years.

    In the meanwhile, here’s a snippet set in High Bashti. Jurik is the crown prince, a spoiled jerk. He previously expressed a desire to ride Death’s-head.”

  23. (7) I enjoyed the heck out of Fool on the Hill but I was actually attending Cornell when it came out so how could I not? My apartment wasn’t too far from the area where the chase between the motorcycle and the tractor-trailer concludes and while I never got a glimpse of any of the fairies I’m sure they were around.

  24. @Steve Leavell
    The Maturity Fairy? I realized that I took about a decade to grow up enough to love Terry Pratchett’s work. The trick appears to be to recognize the arrival as a sign of progress, rather than the end of a stage in an embarrassingly slow process.

  25. Cat Eldridge: Wikipedia says Desi Arnaz resigned his position and sold his interest in the company in 1962. He must have kept up an informal connection, because Trek producer Herbert Solow has a hilarious story about him dropping by the office one day in the book Inside Star Trek. From what I have read, Arnaz and Lucille Ball remained friendly after their divorce.

  26. Rusty tell me Wikipedia says Desi Arnaz resigned his position and sold his interest in the company in 1962. He must have kept up an informal connection, because Trek producer Herbert Solow has a hilarious story about him dropping by the office one day in the book Inside Star Trek. From what I have read, Arnaz and Lucille Ball remained friendly after their divorce.

    Ok, so he was completely out of the picture by the time that Roddenberry’s pitch was made in sixty four. So the stories that Lucy alone is responsible for Star Trek happening are indeed true.

  27. @Msb: to be fair, Pratchett himself improved a lot over the course of his career. My mom was very much not a fan until I listened to her specific complaints, suggested she should try some of his more recent books, and handed her a copy of Men at Arms She returned the next day to return the book and demand more! 🙂

  28. Xtifr says to be fair, Pratchett himself improved a lot over the course of his career. My mom was very much not a fan until I listened to her specific complaints, suggested she should try some of his more recent books, and handed her a copy of Men at Arms She returned the next day to return the book and demand more! ?

    Also to be fair, it’s hard to be consistent over a career of over forty books. Certainly Robert Heinlein wasn’t and Larry Niven certainly isn’t, nor is say, to use an author outside of the genre, James Lee Burke. Some novels are going to be very good, some not so good. It’s the nature of having a long career.

  29. I love the formatting error in one of Cat’s posts that led to Wild Wild Wes. I’ve been trying to think of who Wild Wild Wes might be, and the closest I can come is Wes Craven. He seems more Wild Wild than Wes Anderson, or Wes Montgomery, or Wes Studi.

  30. Jeff Smith says I love the formatting error in one of Cat’s posts that led to Wild Wild Wes. I’ve been trying to think of who Wild Wild Wes might be, and the closest I can come is Wes Craven. He seems more Wild Wild than Wes Anderson, or Wes Montgomery, or Wes Studi.

    Yeah. My brain didn’t catch that until after the editing window ended as I had a phone call come in. (My shoulder surgery is a go! Yea!) And I do agree that Wes Craven does make sense as a Wild West figure.

  31. @bill
    Marvel did not have a LINE of Star Wars comics until the recent past, so Archie Goodwin couldn’t have edited one. It had a single title that ran for about a decade, which Goodwin wrote and edited for a few years. (Yes, there were a handful of specials and reprints, but they didn’t amount to a line.)

  32. Jeff Smith on September 9, 2021 at 3:12 pm said:
    I love the formatting error in one of Cat’s posts that led to Wild Wild Wes. I’ve been trying to think of who Wild Wild Wes might be

    Crusher. Obvs.

  33. Steve Wright says Crusher. Obvs.

    Interesting choice. I find it fascinating that none of the later Trek shows made use of an Old West motif as a Story line (and do correct me if my faulty memory has overlooked those episodes).

  34. 6) Regarding Star Trek, the good folks at Galactic Journey are streaming the original – complete with period commercials – on the original air dates, only 55 years late. Yesterday, they did “The Man Trap”.

  35. @Cat Eldridge: I suppose it depends on what you mean by “later Trek shows”. The classic was the Original Series Season 3 “Spectre of the Gun”, at a simulated OK Corral. The Next Generation Season 6 had “A Fistful of Datas”. Enterprise Season 3 had “North Star”. I’ve only seen the first of these, but I see them all described as Western themed.

  36. (9) FOUR EXCUSES. Heh, great!

    @Andrew (not Werdna) & @Mike Glyer: Great Pixel Scroll title, of course! 🙂

    @Joe H.: WOAH! (The Trailer.) I didn’t realize there was another one in the works.

    @Dan665: Great artwork; thanks for the link!

    @P J Evans: Don’t let them know it ends after three seasons! 😉

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