Pixel Scroll 9/23/16 Is There In Pixel No Scrolling?

(1) WOKING UNVEILS WELLS STATUE. H. G. Wells only lived in Woking for 18 months, but the city’s theory is the time there had a big impact on his work, so they’ve put up a statue. This week saw the unveiling of unveiling of a seven-foot statue of the author, to honor his 150th birthday on September 21.


Stephen Baxter, president of the British Science Fiction Association and vice president of the HG Wells Society, said: “HG Wells was in this very small town for a very brief period but in that time he produced a novel that changed forever mankind’s view of our infinite future in infinite space.”

Woking was a landing site for the Martian invasion in *War of the Worlds*; some years ago, sculpture illustrating the novel appeared around town. One can see a Martian tripod, a crashed interplanetary cylinder, and [SPOILER ALERT] a bacillus.

In a video on the *Get Surrey* site, sculptor Wesley Harland explains notable features of the work.

On the back of Wells’s chair is “802,701 AD,” the year his narrator visits in *The Time Machine*. Beneath the chair, the red weed from Mars creeps across the ground, as in *War of the Worlds*. And in his hand he holds a model of Professor Cavor’s spherical antigravity vessel, from *The First Men in the Moon*. Harland’s sculpture is made of bronze and, presumably, Cavorite.

(2) COWS IN SPACE. I discovered this on the back of a lunch-sized milk carton – the Cows in Space ttp://www.dairypure.com/cows-in-space game.

(3) THERE’S A HOLE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. Mark Leeper had a little fun deconstructing the 1959 movie based on Jules Verne’s novel Journey To The Center of the Earth.

Last week I wrote an evaluation of JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (1959), one of my favorite movies of the 1950s and what I consider one of the great adventure films of all times. I find what is wrong with the film forgivable. But I would not feel right about just ignoring the many problems I saw watching the film recently. This is effectively an appendix to that essay listing problems with the writing of JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

Jules Verne’s novel leaned rather heavily on lucky coincidence. He started with a note falling out of a book where just the right person could read it. But that is a small coincidence compared to those in the 1959 adaptation. Walter Reisch’s and Charles Brackett’s screenplay seems to consider this a carte blanche and ver and over has fortuitous accidents pushing the story forward. Consider Arne Saknussemm who, knowing he would not return from his expedition, scratched his message into a plumb bob. Somehow this tool made its way back up to the surface from near the center of the earth. Along the way somehow this tool was lightly coated in lava so it look much like another rock. It managed not to fall into the sea surrounding the volcano. Then someone found the rock and sold it individually to a shop in Edinburgh where a student volcanologist found it. What do you figure are the chances of all that happening? Later an explosion blows off the lava jacket and the plumb bob is left shiny and legible once the lava is removed.

(4) THE BIG BOOK OF BIG BOOKS. John Scalzi’s latest piece for the LA Times takes off from Alan Moore’s epic Jerusalem.

Writer Alan Moore, perhaps best known for the classic “Watchmen” graphic novel, has this month released a novel, “Jerusalem,” to generally very positive reviews. There are many words to describe the novel (“epic,” “Joycean,” “vast,” and “show-offingly brilliant” are some of them) but the one word I think that every reader and critic of the work can agree is accurate with regard to the book is “long.” “Jerusalem” clocks in at over 600,000 words, a length that dwarfs such monster books as “Ulysses” (a mere 265,000 words), and exceeds  “Shogun,” “Infinite Jest,” “War and Peace” and either the Old or New Testament individually (but not together).

… When a single word encompasses such a wide range of objects, it has the effect of skewing people’s expectations. I’m a fairly standard working novelist, in that I publish about a novel a year. In one decade, from 2006 to 2016, I wrote eight novels; Alan Moore wrote one. In terms of novel-sized objects, it appears that I have ­vastly outpaced Moore, by a ratio of 8 to 1. But my novels ranged in length from about 75,000 words to about 130,000 words, with an average of about 90,000 words. So across eight novels, I’ve written — or at least, had published — about 720,000 words in novel form. Moore, on the other hand, published more than 600,000.

(5) SELF-PUBLISHED PATRONUS. A lot of Filers were mildly grumpy about the patronus that Pottermore picked for them, but unlike most, RedWombat was ready to solve the problem herself…

I got Chestnut Mare which left me with questions–like how you know it’s chestnut when it’s SILVER!–and also I’m not that fond of horses, so I took it again with a different email, got completely different questions…

And got Bay Stallion.

Filled with burning rage, I drew my own.

(6) TRILOGY TRAILER. Tor/Forge has posted a trailer for Cixin Liu’s Three Body Trilogy on YouTube. I watched it to find out why I should buy the books I’ve already bought. (Reminds me of that cabinet member in Dave justifying the budget to buy advertising that makes people feel better about the American autos they’ve already purchased.)

(7) ROCKET ARRIVAL. Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo arrived.

So maybe this is a good time for me to thank Elayne Pelz fo dropping off my Hugos this week. And I had John King Tarpinian shoot a photo:


(8) YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE. Atlas Obscura pays a nice graphical tribute to “Places You Can No Longer Go: Ray Bradbury’s House”, which includes one frame based on John King Tarpinian’s iconic photo of the shattered garage published in news services in January 2015.

(9) LONG TIME FRIEND. Scoop hosts Maggie Thompson’s tribute: “In Memoriam: David Kyle”.

That’s some of what a formal obituary would say, but I have to add that David was one of the fan friends I’ve always known: He and Ruth were friends of my mother and father and then of Don and mine, and their kids—Kerry and AC—grew up as friends of my daughter. In fact, our families even “traded daughters” some summers, and Valerie moved to New York City to room with Kerry the year she graduated from high school.

In recent years, David has been acting grandfather to Valerie’s son—and every time I’ve seen David, he’s been the same delightful friend I’ve known for years. His body grew weaker, but his wit continued to entertain friends and fans alike.

The post also tells some of the byplay between ultimate comics fan Thompson, and Kyle, who didn’t care for comics.

(10) SF-THEMED CAT SHOW. The Cat/SF conspiracy continues. Mark-kitteh reports, “The UK’s Supreme Cat Show (yes, this is a real thing) will have a SF-themed competition for Best Decorated Pen, and the theme continues with special guests appearing including Colin Baker, Paul Darrow, Michael Keating, John Leeson & Peter Purves.”

[Thanks to Bill Higgins, Mark-kitteh, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

105 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/23/16 Is There In Pixel No Scrolling?

  1. @Nancy Sauer: (10): Am I the only person who finds the phrase “The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy” vaguely ominous? Nope!
    @Darren Garrison: The original, now mostly lost meaning of “awful” was “something that inspires awe”, as in “awful majesty”. The word “awesome” seems to be undergoing a similar shift in meaning, to the colloquial sense of “great”.

  2. @RedWombat:

    No need to apologize, as it was obviously meant to invoke the ooglies to a certain extent. I wouldn’t be surprised if everybody can recognize and empathize with an aspect of that scene, as even the best parents are human.

    (Zl zbz jnf zhpu jbefr, naq V fnqyl raivrq Fhzzre ure novyvgl gb hfr n fpevcg. V unq gb vzcebivfr fvghngvbaf yvxr gung, naq ebyy nsgre rirel npgvba gb frr vs V nppvqragnyyl uvg gur Natel Ohggba.)

    Glad your mom’s enjoying the serial, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming swashing and buckling! 🙂

  3. @PhilRM,

    It seems that the phrase “awe-inspring” is the current replacement for previous meanings of “awful” and “awesome”.

    I’ve always thought that the most appropriate word form something that is extremely cute – such as the obligatory pictures of adorable kittens, which should no doubt please a recent Hugo-winning protagonist – would be “awwsome”.

  4. @Kyra :

    Today’s read — An Accident of Stars, by Foz Meadows

    Portal Fantasy; a teenager goes to another world, and finds herself in the middle of a brewing coup attempt.

    I misinterpreted that on the first read and imagined the coup attempt involved a clash between different tea manufacturers and culturally favored, or not-so-favored, brewing methods.

    @JJ : Desperate Filers are resorting to dozens of open browser tabs, favorite bookmarks, and sticky Post-It notes.

    Desperate? Feh. Dozens of open browser tabs has always been my procedure. That plus the Session Manager add-on so that I can close the window with all the File770 tabs and open it again later at my leisure.

    I’ve never clicked the ticky-box because the resulting deluge of email doesn’t sound fun to me. (I do not have the healthiest relationship with email at the moment.)

  5. I misinterpreted that on the first read and imagined the coup attempt involved a clash between different tea manufacturers and culturally favored, or not-so-favored, brewing methods.

    To be fair, I would read the hell out of that book.



  7. @Mark (kitteh): Interesting, I’d forgotten about comment feeds. And hey, there’s also a Comments feed for individual posts – even better! But both versions only list the last 10, but I see my reader has a setting for retaining older items, so I wouldn’t miss things. Hmm, this sounds better than my “check multiple bookmarks when I’m bored” method. 😉 Of course this means I’ll have to remember to open my feed reader, but I’m behind in other blogs anyway, so that’s probably a good idea. /ramble TL;DR: Thanks for pointing this out!

    @Bruce Arthurs: “engrossed-out” – Very nice!

  8. Christian Brunschen: I think ‘awe-inspiring’ is indeed the nearest approximation to the required meaning, but it doesn’t get the tone quite right: it is too clinical. While both ‘awful’ and ‘awesome’ in their traditional senses express one’s own feelings, ‘awe-inspiring’ just comments: ‘yes, it inspires awe, you know’.

  9. Maybe it’s just me, but something about the angle of the Wells statue and the mustache makes me think he’s wearing one of those creepy full-face-except-for-your-mouth-and-chin masks.

  10. @JJ
    I nudged the Bradbury along, too. Really hope it happens. Getting young, disadvantaged children interested in reading sff and/or critical thinking is especially important. Obviously it’s important for all kids, but the parents of these kids can find it near impossible to give them an enriched environment many take for granted. Plus, Fahrenheit 451 as a graphic novel is a really cool idea. :^]

    Fahrenheit 451 graphic novel for 6th graders

  11. @Mark (kitteh)

    Thanks for reminding me about the comments feed. I’ve plugged it into my Newsblur now, so I’ll be able to keep up.

    (But I’m still weeping for the ticky-box.)

  12. Mark: I’m resorting to the comments rss feed. It’s a bit firehose-like but it’s usable.

    What are you using for that?

  13. junego: I nudged the Bradbury along, too. Really hope it happens. Getting young, disadvantaged children interested in reading sff and/or critical thinking is especially important.

    Thank you! 🙂

  14. Tired, to the point of almost no reading the last couple of days. Pet sitting for a bird and an elderly greyhound. With my own two dogs with me. Need the filer community to keep talking!

    Did I mention very little sleep?

    Looking forward to my own bed tomorrow night.

  15. @JJ, dunno about @Mark, but I’m using Feedly – it’s free, and it’s both web based as well as an app.

    It’s been my goto since the demise of Google Reader.

  16. @Bruce Arthurs: I’m not disgusted by it, but “engrossed-out” is a useful word for other occasions (like autopsies). Thanks!

  17. snowcrash: I’m using Feedly – it’s free, and it’s both web based as well as an app.

    How do you get it to show a list of comments, rather than just posts?

  18. @JJ: You can improve things by using individual comment feeds – there’s one per thread, like this:


    That’s helpful for (a) keeping it less confusing (one feed per comment thread) and (b) retaining more (10 per thread, not just 10 for the whole site). But it still limits you to 10 per thread, unless you use something that keeps older items. I believe you use Windows, so this probably won’t help you, but NetNewswire on the Mac lets me set (per-feed or app-wide) a # of days for retaining comments, instead of only showing me what’s in the latest feed. You may be able to find a site or Windows program with a setting like this.

    I’m actually liking this so much, I may use this even after Godstalk e-mails return. I don’t subscribe until threads start getting less busy – before that, I use bookmarks anyway. Using the comment feeds automates what I’ve been doing manually anyway.

    BTW you said 9 most recent comments; in both Firefox’s built-in feed reader and NetNewswire, I saw 10.

    Anyway, good luck in this time of chaos! 😉

  19. P.S. Hmm, maybe @JJ will never see my comment because of the Crisis on Infinite Comments. Schrödinger’s Comment?

  20. I confess I don’t get the attraction of subscribing to have File 770 comments e-mailed. I sign up for follow-up comments when I comment on individual low-traffic blogs elsewhere, but that’s a case where there’s a high chance that any comment will be a response to mine.

    For File 770 I just keep a separate browser window open with a tab for each Pixel Scroll (or other posts that become discussion points), refresh as necessary, and close the tab when there have been no new comments in a day or so. I miss things that come in long after the rush, but I’m willing to accept that.

    I find when I get comment threads e-mailed to me, I pretty much never go back and respond to anything. Somehow the experience of reading through email is emotionally distancing.

  21. Heather Rose Jones, you and I manage it the same way. The only thread I’ve subscribed to is the 2016 recommended reading list, because I knew that particular one would be added to irregularly throughout the year.

  22. @Kendall – ooh. Subscribing to individual threads is fantastic! Never thought of that, thanks.

    @Heather Rose Jones – I keep my “active” F770 threads in a folder on my Chrome bookmarks – one centre click and they all open up. Any thread that becomes quiet – ie less than 5 posts overnight – gets the bookmark deleted, and the email subscription is activated at that point, to catch up on any later posts.

  23. I have a tab open for every post, and after 5 days without posts, I delete the tab. I also keep an eye on the sidebar to catch older stuff that gets commented on once in a while. Completist? Moi?

  24. @Heather Rose Jones

    I’m the opposite; for me it’s much easier to read and comment from my Gmail. Right now I have the Comments RSS feed in my Newsblur (great feed reader, by the way; after Google Reader died I tried Feedly, The Old Reader and a few others, and settled on Newsblur). It’s manageable, and I’ll stick with it if I have to, but I’m crossing my fingers that this gets fixed.

  25. For my part, I go through the list of recent comments at the right of the main page, and open up each different thread represented there in a new window. For me this also means that I might miss something posted on a mostly-inactive thread from a while ago.

    I do much the same at Making Light, but there’s a comment history there that goes back 1000 comments long, so by using that I’m sure not to miss anything. (It’s a little less necessary now, since traffic there is down noticeably.)

  26. I could not EVEN deal with having an email each time there’s a new comment. I’d never see any of my other email. I just check on the last few posts (a max of 3 Pixel Scrolls, plus any other items that seem to get a lot of comments, as you can see by the number in the balloon next to the title) and there it is. This means I miss any later conversations, but there aren’t many. I glance over at the side to see if an old Scroll has suddenly become hot again.

    So the absence of ticky box doesn’t bother me.

  27. Kendall: P.S. Hmm, maybe @JJ will never see my comment because of the Crisis on Infinite Comments. Schrödinger’s Comment?

    I did see it, and thank you!

    I have created a separate tab in igHome just for File770, and have set up an RSS for the comments on the last 5 Pixel Scrolls.

    This is a big help; thank you.

  28. Really, BazQux is great to follow comments, since they’re (seamlessly) integrated in the post feed.

    I started using bazqux when google reader was discontinued. I’m not a big commenter (anywhere – having a discussion on internet is far too much time consuming for me, and often too stressful), but there’s a lot of interesting comment on certain blogs and feeds.

  29. I gotta say, this thread is great for hearing from other Google Reader refugees! Got a few recommendations that I should check out I guess.

  30. @Heather Rose Jones: that’s exactly how I handle it; refreshing a page of mostly-text is a \lot/ faster than reading through dozens of emails. (Maybe somewhere there’s a ~free email system without bulky ads, with a reasonably transparent interface, and with enough CPUs that it doesn’t clog periodically; I haven’t found it.)

    I’ve checked back on a couple of slow posts that I did tick the box on and not seen any followups, so I couldn’t swear that ticky is down. However, I’m no longer getting email every time OGH makes a new post; that can also be worked around but is more annoying.

  31. @lurkertype, Hal Winslow’s Old Buddy:

    it’s like thinking Shakespeare is all clichés ’cause we’ve heard them before!

    Reminds me of when I sat a University friend of mine down to watch Casablanca (for the first time, for him) in 1989. He literally said afterward, “I kept thinking to myself, ‘That is such a cliché’, and had to keep reminding myself, ‘This is the movie that made it a cliché!'”

  32. I got two e-mail alerts this evening, for the last two comments on this Pixel Scroll! Is @JJ’s long nightmare finally over? Enquiring minds want to know – like @JJ’s! And, uh, mine. 😉

  33. Kendall: I got two e-mail alerts this evening, for the last two comments on this Pixel Scroll

    Me also! Yay! First round at Happy Hour at Paulk’s Tavern is on me!!!

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