Pixel Scroll 9/9 The Scrolls Must Roll

(1) Blastr reports the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum needs photos or film of the original Enterprise model to assist them in replicating what the Enterprise looked like during and after the cult-classic episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.” That apparently was the last time the model was altered while the series was in production.

The National Air and Space Museum is opening its hailing frequencies and asking fans for help. They need original pics or footage of their original Enterprise model — which has already gone through eight different restorations ever since it was built in 1964, by the way — so that they can restore it to all its August 1967 glory. Yep, it’s that specific.

Star Trek fans made first contact with the ship in 1972, when a model was featured at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif., during Space Week (a 10-day gathering of space-related activities). Then, in 1974 through 1975, the ship was put on display in the Smithsonian’s Arts & Industries Building in Washington, D.C., while the National Air and Space Museum’s new home base was being built on Independence Avenue.

(2) And while we’re discussing Classic Trek, should anyone ever ask you how Roddenberry came up with “Sulu” as the character’s name, George Takei explains:

In an interview with the website Big Think, he revealed that his character is based on the Philippine Sulu Sea. According to him, show creator Gene Roddenberry wanted a generic Asian name for the helmsman. He thought that most Asian last names were country-specific, like Tanaka, Wong, and Kim. In 1966, Asia was dealing with issues like warfare, colonization, and rebellion, and Roddenberry didn’t want to reference any of that.

(3) A few days ago I posted about the new BB-8 robot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now someone has dissected a BB-8 with photos and commentary worthy of a medical examiner. You sicko!

(4) And on Force Friday, that glorious excuse to sell toys from the new Star Wars franchise, the rarest collectible was a mis-packaged Kylo Ren action figure – found on the shelves in Glendale, John King Tarpinian’s home town. And specialized collectors are always on the lookout for funny/funky slipups like this.

That’s when eagle-eyed shoppers might have spotted Kylo Ren—the helmeted, crossguard lightsaber-wielding new villain played by Adam Driver in The Force Awakens—being sold as lady storm trooper Captain Phasma after an apparent packaging error placed the new Star Wars villain in the wrong box that got shipped out for the massive retail push.

Misprinted, misshapen, and mis-packaged memorabilia occupy a niche spot in the world of collectibles, particularly in the long history of the Star Wars franchise. And while packaging errors are known to occur “more often than people think,” according to Toy & Comic Heaven’s James Gallo, it’s the production errors and discontinued design variants that yield more highly prized value to collectors….

There’s the infamously naughty 1977 Topps C-3PO #207 trading card, in which the Force appears to be very strong in C-3PO’s chrome junk, an aberration that Topps quickly corrected in subsequent printings. A bizarre yellow-hued discoloration on Kenner’s 1997-era Luke vs. Wampa set made the “incontinent” Hoth beast a curious find for Star Wars collectors. “Yak Face” (never distributed in the U.S.), “Vinyl Cape Jawa (later reconfigured with a cloth cape), “Rocket Firing Boba Fett” (cancelled on the eve of production for fear of a choking hazard) and versions of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi bearing telescoping lightsaber accessories have reportedly sold to hardcore collectors over the years for thousands of dollars.

(5) Amazon says The Man in the High Castle: Season 1 will be available November 20, 2015. The first episode was teased in January. This trailer debuted at the San Diego Comic-Con.

(6) For a limited Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is offering guests the rare opportunity to see the new Batmobile from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice before the movie debuts in March. Here’s a video of Batman’s new set of wheels.

(7) “Alien Nuclear Wars Might Be Visible From Earth” writes Ross Andersen in The Atlantic.

A team of astronomers recently tried to determine whether Trinity’s light might be cosmic in a different sense. The Trinity test involved only one explosion. But if there were many more explosions, involving many more nuclear weapons, it might generate enough heat and light to be seen from nearby stars, or from the deeper reaches of our galaxy—so long as someone out there was looking….

I asked Jill Tarter what she thought of the paper. Tarter is the former director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute and the inspiration for Ellie Arroway, the heroine of Carl Sagan’s Contact, played by Jodie Foster in the film adaptation. Tarter told me the paper was “getting a bit of buzz” in the SETI community. But she also urged caution. “The problem is the signatures are detectable for cosmically insignificant amounts of time,” she said. Distant stars burn for billions of years, sending a constant stream of light toward Earth, but the flash from a nuclear war may last only a few days. To catch its light, you have to have impeccable timing.

(8) There’s a tad too much science fictional truth here for this cartoon to make a successful motivational poster. “Shoot for the Moon” on The Oatmeal.

(9) Let’s not forget one other award given last weekend at Dragon Con. Larry Correia and “Brando TorgersOn” were the first to win the “super prestigious LaMancha award.” Says Correia —

The fact that the gnome is tilting at that windmill with a nazi tank is just one of the added touches that make the LaMancha so prestigious.  It is crafted out of the finest southern bass wood and delicately hand carved with a poignant message.

La Mancha Award

La Mancha Award

(10) “We Watched That (So You Didn’t Have To): John Cusack and Jackie Chan’s VOD Historical Action Epic, ‘Dragon Blade’” by Shea Serrano on Grantland —

I sit here before you a man, a man who has watched Jackie Chan in any number of films — in a near countless number of films. There was one where he played a man who operated a fast food van and had to become a hero. There was one where he played a man in South Africa with amnesia who had to become a hero. There was one where he teamed up with a white man to become a hero and also one where he teamed up with a black man to become a hero, not once, not twice, but thrice. And now I have seen him wear a very thick wig and a poet’s goatee and a very generous amount of makeup and sing about racial harmony and total peace and then make a deathmobile out of shields and spears and then become a hero. I sit here before you a man, a man who has seen Dragon Blade.

(11) Your reality may vary!

(12) An especially good installment of SF Signal’s Mind Meld, curated by Paul Weimer, calls on participants to discuss the best deaths in science fiction and fantasyT. Frohock, Richard Shealy (sffcopyediting.com) , John Hornor Jacobs, Ramona Wheeler, Richard Parks, Alasdair Stuart, Martha Wells, Tina Connolly, Susan Jane Bigelow, Christian Klaver, Joe Sherry, and Gillian Polack.

(13) While researching today’s scroll I found a few more things I needed to report about Sasquan. Such as – the silly PA announcements.

And photos of the Other Awards winners including David Aronovitz.

Then, someone recorded Filthy Pierre playing the Superman theme on his Melodica.

And finally, whatever the opposite of comic relief is –

(14) Just how scientifically accurate is The Martian? This short video on Yahoo! lets Andy Weir, Matt Damon and others make their case.

(15) Sometimes a battle between a giant space jaybird and the Enterprise is just a battle between a giant space jaybird and the Enterprise.

[Thanks to Susan de Guardiola, Martin Morse Wooster, Mark, Will R., Colin Kuskie, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Programming Just Ain’t That Easy

I’ve been on panels that drew single digit audiences where we were just too stubborn to quit: “What, and give up show biz?” (Can you believe people wouldn’t get out of bed at Loscon on Sunday morning to listen to Marty Cantor and I talk about fanzines?)

Last weekend at Lunacon the fans caught in a similar predicament made a higher quality decision.

Michael Walsh notes “So This Is Your First Con,” Friday at 4 p.m., had Ben Yalow and three other fans slated to participate. Only Ben showed, while Perianne Lurie was added at the last minute. There was an audience of one: Filthy Pierre Strauss, who probably went to his first con during the Kennedy administration. All decided that perhaps canceling would be best. 

They were very wise.