Pixel Scroll 1/1/23 Billy Pixel Has Come Unscrolled In Time

(1) COMING UP. Nicholas Whyte researched the genre so he could tell you “What to expect in 2023, according to science fiction” at From the Heart of Europe.

I wasn’t able to find a single film set in 2023. I did find eight novels, one video game, and two Japanese anime series (and a third set in 2023 but missing my usual twenty-years-before deadline as it was made in 2004)….

…The one video game set in 2023 is Perfect Dark, originally released by Nintendo in 2000 but remastered since and still on the market, about special agent Emma Dark heading off an alien-led conspiracy to Take Over The World. The trailer is visually impressive if the script is a bit cringe (“the only person man enough to handle the job … is a woman!”)

(2) THE GOOD GUYS. Cora Buhlert has posted the companion piece to the Darth Vader Parenthood Award, “The 2022 Jonathan and Martha Kent Fictional Parent of the Year Award”.

While I have been awarding the Darth Vader Parenthood Award for Outstandingly Horrible Fictional Parents for 42 years now, the Jonathan and Martha Kent Fictional Parent of the Year Award is a new prize that I only introduced in 2020 as a companion piece to the Darth Vader Parenthood Award.

As for why I felt the need to introduce a companion award, depictions of parenthood in popular culture are currently undergoing a paradigm shift with more positive portrayals of supportive and loving parents and fewer utterly terrible parents. Personally, I believe that this shift is a very good thing, because the reason that I started the Darth Vader Parenthood Award in the first place is because I was annoyed by all the terrible parents in pop culture. For while most real world parents may not be perfect, at least they do their best. Maybe, the conditions that gave rise to the Darth Vader Parenthood Award will eventually cease to exist and we can permanently retire the award….

(3) CENTENNIAL-LEE. Sideshow celebrates “Stan Lee 100: Stan the Man’s Amazing, Fantastic Centennial!” with an extended profile.

This year marks one hundred years of Stan Lee! To some, he’s known as the King of Cameos. To others, Stan the Man or True Believer. No matter what you call him, Stan Lee is a beloved figure in the world of comic books and super heroes.

Over time, Stan Lee became a larger-than-life character all his own. Marvel is celebrating 100 years of Stan Lee with plenty of history, quotes, and collabs from one of the most famous faces in comics. In honor of his enduring legacy, let’s look at Stan Lee’s life, starting with his origin story up until his endless string of pop culture cameos….

(4) KSR AND CLI-FI. Oliver Brackenbury interviews Kim Stanley Robinson for the Unknown Worlds of the Merril Collection podcast: “Climate Fiction”.

(5) MEMORY LANE.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Our next set of essays is concerned with food and drink, and where better to start than in Ellen Kushner’s Riverside during the Winter and with their obsession with hot chocolate.

IN THE MORNING, THERE WAS CHOCOLATE.

Betty seemed recovered from the previous day’s excesses. She must not have been working the party. The tray barely rattled as she set it down by the bed, and a heavenly rich scent filled the room.

I got up at once to engage with the little pot of bitter chocolate, set out with an entire jug of hot cream, as much sugar as I should care to put into it and, oh, the loveliest china cup to mix it in! I wished my mother were there to share it with me. I poured slowly, watching the cream swirl in the cup. It made the confusions and indignities of last night seem a little more worth it; I felt even better when Betty said, “And your new clothes have come, too.”

The chocolate was marvelous, but I gulped it down, assuring myself, There will be more again tomorrow, and tomorrow, and again the day after that.

— The Privilege of The Sword

Now it’s not going to surprise you that the fans of Riverside have created a cuisine for it, all the result of a contest from The Fall of the Kings audiobook launch.

And Ellen being Ellen has kindly collected those recipes including of course those for hot chocolate on on her excellent site. As she puts it there, “you’ll find everything from recipes and menus created by fans of the series to delight the Mad Duke Tremontaine and his Riverside friends, to ones created by friends of the author to keep her at her desk.” 

And yes, I’m deeply, madly in love with both Swordspoint and The Privilege of The Sword. I’ve read them many, many times and even the Suck Fairy gets a warm fussy feeling every time she reads them. 

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 1, 1854 James George Frazer. Author of The Golden Bough, the pioneering if deeply flawed look at similarities among magical and religious beliefs globally.  He’s genre adjacent at a minimum, and his ideas have certainly been used by SFF writers a lot both affirming and (mostly) critiquing his ideas. (Died 1941.)
  • Born January 1, 1889 Seabury Quinn. Pulp writer now mostly remembered for his tales of Jules de Grandin, the occult detective, which were published in Weird Tales from the Thirties through the Fifties. Surprisingly, at least to me, there’s a lot his fiction at the usual suspects. (Died 1969.)
  • Born January 1, 1933 Joe Orton. In his very brief writing career, there is but one SFF work, Head to Toe which the current publisher says “is a dream-vision allegory of a journey on the body of a great giant or ‘afreet’ (a figure from Arabic mythology) from head to toe and back, both on the body and in the body.”  Orton was murdered by his lover. Unlike his other novels, Head to Toe is not available at the usual suspects. (Died 1967.)
  • Born January 1, 1926 Zena Marshall. She’s Miss Taro in Dr. No, the very first Bond film. The Terrornauts in which she’s Sandy Lund would be her last film. (The Terrornauts is based off Murray Leinster‘s The Wailing Asteroid screenplay apparently by John Brunner.) She had one-offs in Danger ManThe Invisible Man and Ghost Squad. She played Giselle in Helter Skelter, a 1949 film where the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, played Charles the Second. (Died 2009.)
  • Born January 1, 1954 Midori Snyder, 69. I was most impressed with The Flight of Michael McBride, the Old West meet Irish myth story and hannah’s garden, a creepy tale of the fey and folk music. She’s seems to have been inactive for a decade now. Anyone know why?
  • Born January 1, 1965 Jennifer Hale, 58. She’s a voice actor primarily showing up on such series as Green Lantern: The Animated SeriesStar Trek: Lower Decks and all over the Star Wars universe. She played Killer Frost in Batman: Assault on Arkham, the animated Suicide Squad film that was infinitely better than the live ones were.
  • Born January 1, 1971 Navin Chowdhry, 52. He’s Indra Ganesh in a Ninth Doctor story, “Aliens of London“.   I also found him playing Mr. Watson in Skellig, a film that sounds really interesting.  He was also Prince Munodi in the BBC Gulliver’s Travels series, and oh, and I almost forgot to mention that he was Nodin Chavdri in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Born January 1, 1976 Sean Wallace, 47. Anthologist, editor, and publisher known for his work on Prime Books and for co-editing three magazines, Clarkesworld Magazine which I love, The Dark, and Fantasy Magazine which is another fav of mine. He won an impressive three Hugo Awards and two World Fantasy Awards. His People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction and Fantasy with Rachel Swirsky is highly recommended.

(7) COMICS SECTION.

(8) THREE BY BUHLERT. Cora Buhlert has had a story and two articles published lately.

….I wasn’t enamoured with John Norman’s debut novel Tarnsman of Gor and didn’t plan on reading the sequel. However, December 6 is St. Nicholas Day and since St. Nick was kindly enough to put a copy of Outlaw of Gor into my stocking, I of course felt obliged to read and review it….

(9) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Screen Junkies’ Honest Trailers brings us “Every Star Wars Movie (Compilation)” beginning with “Star Wars the first one (we are not calling it a New Hope)” that has grown into an industry “where every single person, place, or thing on screen has at least a 1000-word Wikipedia article about it.”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Cora Buhlert, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day MrDalliard.]

20 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/1/23 Billy Pixel Has Come Unscrolled In Time

  1. (9) Lois Lane and Clark Kent are doing well as parents in Supermsn and Lois (Superman’s half-brother got a really bad parent though in the same series)

  2. (8) THREE BY BUHLERT. It’s not just that Norman was bad at writing the disgustingly sexist Gor novels, but that he was appallingly prolific at doing them. There thirty seven of them, repeat, thirty seven of those truly awful novels.

    Now strangely enough, the usual suspects lists far more than that. Hmmm…

  3. 1) Killing time may not be a very good book but it seems to have hit the mark on predictions.
    Also, no automatic cutlery is getting anywhere near me, wtf?

  4. Seabury Quinn was that rare person who was a native Washingtonian, having been born in Washington DC and was a life long resident and died and is buried in DC

    Just before the Pandemic began I found a volume of the Jules DeGrandin stories at a local Closeout chain (Ollies Bargain Outlet) I hit all the locations and managed to find all the volumes. (At a significent discount from the cover price)

    I find it funny that professionally Quinn was the Editor of “Casket and Sunnyside” which was the leading magazine of the Funeral Industry. The Magazine ceased publication about 1980. I have seen back issues online and they are quite something to see with the ads for Hearses, Caskets, Grave Vaults and Cremation Urns hawked much as Coca Cola and Pepsi in other magazines.

  5. (2) It’s an excellent thing to see change in a positive direction.

    (8) I think the only justification for Norman’s writing career is that it funded sff anthologies and othe fine sf Don Wolheim wanted to publish but didn’t think would pay for themselves.

  6. (1) Eurogamer just released a video on video game predictions for 2023. Some of them are not the main setting for the game (e.g. Cyberpunk 2077, which is, unsurprisingly, set in 2077, has a flashback sequence set in 2023), but Perfect Dark, Crysis 2, and Gunbuster are three video games all properly set in 2023.

  7. @Cat Eldridge
    By December 1967, there were only two Gor books thankfully. I have also told Gideon that I will not review any more Gor books, even if there will be a lot more of them.

  8. 8) I read the first Gor-book and found it to be a kind of bad copy of Burroughs John Carter books. There’s been quite a few better knockoffs, even among the cheap erotica. And I think that category is where to place the Gor-books as there now exists an entire BDSM subgroup based on using the symbolism and imagery from the books.

    As such, people mostly looking for good quality fiction aren’t really the target group. These books are more about creating scenes corresponding to a specific fetish for people to fantasize around. And its no wonder that people who don’t share that fetish instead get annoyed or pissed off by them. Norman himself wasn’t connected to the BDSM community and didn’t seem to understand it, but has acknowledged that his books would be for “highly sexed adults” and found the master-slave relationships in them “beautiful”.

  9. I get scrolled down, but I scroll up again,
    And you’re never gonna keep me down!

    …pixeling the night away…

  10. @Hampus
    That’s more or less what I wrote in the review. If you want Burroughs pastiche, there are better books out there. If you want erotica, there are better books out there as well.

  11. The Jules de Grandin stories are all collected in a five volume hard cover set titled, shockingly, The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin. They are available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble at least. I have all of them, though I haven’t read all the stories yet. Pretty interesting stories.

  12. (8) I also found the writing in the Gor books boring — at least what I read of them. Somehow, John Norman managed to make his form of BDSM dull. Also, from what I have heard from other readers, the “Gorean” stuff got worse after the first few books. They started out as adventures with the BDSM “on the side,” but then, the BDSM and “Gorean philosophy” took over the books.

    I remember seeing them in stores when I was in junior high and high school. Then, one day, I picked up a copy in the used book area at the library (one of the much later ones). Well, that certainly raised my eyebrows… I made it into a few pages before I put it down. I wasn’t sure if I should be more horrified by the sexual politics or by the way the hero wouldn’t shut up. 🙂

  13. For anyone who has not already seen it, I recommend a web search on “Houseplants of Gor”.

  14. I read the first several chapters of the first novel. I am reasonably sure that it was, and remains, the worst beginning to a novel that I’ve ever encountered in my entire reading experience. And as someone who reviews fiction, I’ve encountered more bad fiction than I probably should have I realise.

    It’s not just the bad sex which was appalling though it truly it was. The story there was truly annoying in its petty cliches, the setting was truly awful and the characters weren’t cardboard, they were pieces of wet newspaper that had been rotting in damp earth.

  15. The first Gor novel has 75 pages of endless infodumping before you even get a hint of action, let alone sex. Honestly, that thing was dull as dishwater. I only read it, because I promised to review it for Galactic Journey.

    I honestly have no idea how someone who bought that first Gor book blind in 1967 and doesn’t know about the books’ reputation and that there is supposed to be sex ever got past the endless infodumps to the “good stuff”.

    The popularity of this series is just baffling. Not that I mind kinky fiction, but it’s not even good kinky fiction.

  16. Yeah I read my usual hundred or so pages that I did of any novel it those days. How many chapters that is I’ve no idea. (As I no longer can read novels because I can no longer remember long passages of text, only listen to them, this is no longer something I do.)

  17. Read the first Gor novel, back in the day. That was enough. More because it wasn’t written well enough to maintain any interest in reading more in the series than because of the BDSM elements, which I gather got more blatant in later novels.

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