Pixel Scroll 1/16/19 Right After I Graduate, I’m Gonna Cut The Scrolls Off My Shoes, Sit In A Blog, And Learn To Play The Pixelhorn

(1) GHOSTBUSTERS 3. Though few details seem to be available, it looks like there will be a fourth live-action Ghostbusters movie (Variety: “Jason Reitman to Direct Secret ‘Ghostbusters’ Movie”), with a new generation of Reitman taking over in the director’s chair.

Sony Pictures is getting the wheels in motion for the next installment in the “Ghostbusters” franchise, and it knows who it’s going to call to direct: Jason Reitman.

Sources tell Variety that Reitman, whose father, Ivan, directed the first two “Ghostbusters” movies, will direct the latest pic in the famous franchise.

Reitman has also co-written a screenplay with Gil Kenan and plans to shoot the film this summer, with Sony planning to release the latest sequel in summer 2020. Insiders say this film will be a continuation of the 1984 sequel and will not be connected to the 2016 film. Sources couldn’t say if that means that the original cast members will be back, as exact story details are still being kept under wraps but sources say Reitman has begun testing teenagers for four mystery roles.

ScienceFiction.com quotes Reitman:

 “I’ve always thought of myself as the first Ghostbusters fan when I was a 6-year-old visiting the set. I wanted to make a movie for all the other fans. This is the next chapter in the original franchise. It is not a reboot. What happened in the ‘80s happened in the ‘80s, and this is set in the present day.”

(2) KOWAL DECLARES SFWA CANDIDACY. Mary Robinette Kowal announced on her blog: “Dear SFWA members: I’m running for the position of President.”

…I believe that SFWA is an important organization and that volunteering for it is a way that we can each help to pay it forward by making the field stronger.  As a group, we can improve things within the industry in ways that individuals cannot, but we are dependent on our volunteers. We are dependent on you. I would very much like to help SFWA move forward so that it can continue to inform, support, promote, defend and advocate for our members.

Besides health care, what else am I interested in accomplishing?

  • New opportunities to help our members diversify their income streams
  • Strengthening the Nebula Conference as a professional development conference
  • Protecting our rights for free speech
  • Outreach to underserved and underrepresented writers in the SFF community
  • Taking full advantage of our 501c3 status to apply for grants that will allow SFWA to be a more active and useful organization for our members

John Scalzi threw his support behind her in a post today at Whatever: “Mary Robinette Kowal is Running for SFWA President and I Endorse Her Candidacy”.

…Some of you may recall that I was SFWA president once, from 2010 to 2013. Mary Robinette was my vice president for two of those years, 2010 through 2012, and was secretary of SFWA for two years before that. In my role as president, I got a chance to see her work for SFWA up close. She was, in a word, excellent. As my VP she gave me sound advice and counsel (up to and including telling me when I was wrong), she executed on policy and strategy in ways that were smart and effective, and she was my not-so-secret weapon in instances that required tact and delicacy. She was, in sum, the very best of vice-presidents….

(3) NEXT STAR WARS COMICS ON THE WAY. Marvel’s “celebration of Star Wars characters” continues in April, with epic one-shots of heroes and villains of the original film trilogy in Age of Rebellion. For more information, visit StarWars.com.

Following the legendary sagas of the Jedi, the Sith, and more from AGE OF THE REPUBLIC, join writer Greg Pak (The Incredible Hulk, Weapon H) and artist Chris Sprouse (Black Panther) for new tales about some of the most iconic Star Wars heroes and artist Marc Laming (Beckett, Star Wars Annual) for new stories about the galaxy’s most dangerous villains. With covers by Terry and Rachel Dodson, these are stories you don’t want to miss! 

Also in April, discover brand new sides of some of your favorite – and deadly – heroes and villains in AGE OF REBELLION SPECIAL #1, written by superstar team Marc Guggenheim (X-Men Gold), Jon Adams (The New Yorker, Love Romances), and Si Spurrier (Doctor Aphra), and drawn by Adams, Caspar Wijngaard (Doctor Aphra Annual), and Andrea Broccardo (Star Wars), with cover art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Guru-eFX!

(4) SFWA READINGS. There are four SFWA readings coming up in the Seattle/Portland area:


Seattle events are held at the Wilde Rover Irish Pub and Restaurant, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033. Phone: (425) 822-8940. Readings start at 7pm and go until 8:30

  • January 29, 2019. KG Anderson, Joe Follansbee, Edd Vick
  • April 23, 2019. Rebecca Roanhorse, Kari Maaren, Sam J. Miller
  • September 10, 2019. Ted Chiang, Jack Skillingstead, Daryl Gregory
  • November 12, 2019. Jeff Grubb, Shanna Germain, Caroline M. Yoachim


Portland events are held at Lucky Lab on Hawthorne. 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd.  Portland, OR 97214. (503) 236-3555 Readings start at 7pm and go until 8:30

SFWA Link: https://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-readers/reading-series/sfwa-northwest-reading-series/

(5) OOPS. You could be forgiven for thinking that yesterday’sTor’s promotional message contains a premature prediction, although I think it was just intended to be a list of the author’s accomplishments. See if you can spot the issue. (Image comes from here.)


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 16, 1903 Harold A. Davis. Notable as another writer of the Doc Savage novels under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson. He was the first ghostwriter to fill in for Lester Dent on Doc Savage.  Davis would create the character of  Ham’s pet ape Chemistry in Dust of Death. (Died 1955.)
  • Born January 16, 1927Anne R. Dick. Author of Search for Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982: A Memoir and Biography of the Science Fiction Writer. Her importance to Philip despite their short marriage can be appreciated in this New York Times obit for her. (Died 2017.)
  • Born January 16, 1946 Graham Masterton, 73. English horror writer with numerous titles to his credit. I want to to single out Rules of Duel, a short novel from the early 1970s that he wrote with William S. Burroughs. And The Manitou film based off his novel is a lot of bloody fun.
  • Born January 16, 1948 John Carpenter, 71. My favorite films by him? Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York.  His films include the Halloween franchise, The Thing, Starman (simply wonderful), The Philadelphia ExperimentGhosts of Mars and many other films. What do you consider him to do particularly well?
  • Born January 16, 1949 Caroline Munro, 70.Active in SF and horror films in the Fifties and Sixties. Amongst her many  films are Hammer Horror films such as Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter and Dracula A.D. 1972. Later films include Starcrash (Christopher Plummer is in it so it can’t be that bad, can it?) and At the Earth’s Core. She appeared also as Tammy, a nursing employee of a sinister health farm, in “The Angels of Death” of The New Avengers, a vastly underrated show in my opinion if only for the fact it had the young and quite sexy Joanna  Lumley on it .
  • Born January 16, 1980 Lin-Manuel Miranda, 39. Sometimes I find that the Birthday honorees have the oddest genre credits but this is the first singer and composer I’ve run across.  His first genre credit is voicing Shag Kava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but he also gets credited as special featured composer. Next up is as composer and singer for the animated Moana film. His most recent, and I’ve no idea if he sings in it but I assume he does, is in Mary Poppins Returns 

(7) THEY’RE DEAD JIM (OR WHATEVER YOUR NAME IS). Easy come, easy go? Newsweek lets us know that, “China’s Moon Plants That Sprouted Are Already Dead.” The experiment kicked off just before the mission’s landing site on the back side of the Moon did its monthly thing and earned the otherwise misleading title Dark Side of the Moon, (No, not that Dark Side.)

Yesterday the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that cotton seeds carried to the far side of the moon by its Chang’e 4 lander had sprouted, marking the first time that humans had successfully grown living material on the surface of another world.

But just a day later, it has emerged that the sprouting cotton buds died as night fell over the lunar far side, bringing the brief experiment to an end. The cotton seeds formed part of a “mini-biosphere” experiment aimed at understanding how plants and animals can grow and live on the moon.

The experiment involved a “mini-biosphere” consisting of a sealed metal canister filled with water, soil and air, which was designed to be its own self-sustaining ecosystem. To this mix, scientists added yeast, fruit fly eggs and the seeds of cotton, rapeseed, potato and rock cress—a flowering plant in the mustard family.

The biosphere was powered by natural light from the Sun, so the death of the sprouts as the canister entered the lunar night—where temperatures can dip to as low as -280 degrees Fahrenheit—was anticipated by mission planners.

“Life in the canister would not survive the lunar night,” Xie Gengxin, leader of the experiment from Chongqing University, told Xinhua, China’s state-run, English language news agency.

(8) DISSENTING OPINION. Don’t count Abigail Nussbaum among the fans of Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch: “The Illusion of Free Will: On ‘Bandersnatch’ and Interactive Fiction” at Asking the Wrong Question.

After seven years, four seasons, eighteen episodes and two specials, the conversation around Black Mirror seems to have settled itself into distinct camps. There are those who see it as a meaningful commentary on the growing role of technology in modern society and the pitfalls of our growing dependence on it. And there are those who decry it as a cynical, reflexively anti-tech exercise in nastiness. I tend to think of myself as falling between the two extremes—there are a lot of ideas in Black Mirror that I find interesting and unique, especially when it comes to the intersection of technology and capitalism; but I often feel as if many of them have happened largely by accident. The show’s latest foray, however, the interactive movie “Bandersnatch”, written by series creator Charlie Brooker and directed by David Slade, has shaken my indulgence. Not only does it revel in some of Black Mirror‘s worst excesses, it’s also an extremely bad example of interactive fiction, at a moment when the form is enjoying a creative flowering.


January 16, 1939 — The comic strip Superman appeared. Robert Kerr writes:

80 years ago today the first Superman daily strip appeared in the Houston Chronicle. This was the first place Superman had appeared outside of Action Comics. His own solo comic book was still a couple of months away. The daily strip was where Krypton was first mentioned by name and the first place Superman got a more detailed origin. This was full circle for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Before DC Comics bought Superman for Action Comics #1, Superman was rejected by every major newspaper syndicate in the country. Before Superman pretty much created the comic book industry, cartoonist wanted their strips to be in newspapers.

(10) IT’S NOT THE WESTERN. Digg has some graphs that show “How Movie Genres Have Changed In Popularity Since 1910, Visualized”. Guess which genre is the perkiest?

The graph reveals several interesting trends. Some genres, for instance, have evidently fallen out of favor, such as musicals and westerns. In the 1930s, 15% of the movies released were musicals, while in 2018, the figure has fallen far below 5%. And although westerns saw a resurgence in the ’70s after its decline in the ’60s, the genre has had scant representation in recent years.

(11) TREK TRIVIA. ScienceFiction.com invites you to show your mastery of Star Trek and “Match The First Officer To The Starship”. The quiz is at the link.  It was tougher than I expected – I scored only 3/10!

The ships of the United Federation of Planets have a long history of service, exploration, and combat in the Star Trek Universe.  While the Captains of these ships usually end up getting most of the glory, it takes many, many crew members to effectively maintain a starship’s operations, and while the Captain is usually busy calling the shots, much of the administrative and personnel work falls to the First Officer.

This quiz will test your knowledge of those brave souls assigned to ships as the XOs.  In some cases, these characters may have only served the First Officer role for a short while; in other cases, you may see names  of officers whose adventures have squarely shown them in the second-in-command role.  This will be no easy task, but hopefully you are up for the challenge.  Engage! 

(12) ST PHONE HOME. Do you want a better ST:TOS cosplay phone? Or do you miss your flip phone? Standing on the shoulder of the Wall Street Journal (whose story is behind their paywall), Mashable proclaims that, “A rebooted Razr with a foldable smartphone screen is coming in February, report says.”

Hellooo, 2004 is calling, and it is STOKED!

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Lenovo and Verizon are soon to reboot the iconic aughts Razr flip phone, with a 2019 twist — or should we say…. fold!!!

The report claims that Lenovo Group, Inc. has teamed up with Verizon as an exclusive partner to sell a new version of the Razr, based on the word of “people familiar with the matter.” 

The new Razr will be a smart phone, but it will be able to retain its flip phone form because the screen will be a foldable. It will reportedly become available as soon as February (!!!), and cost $1500. Which, ouch. But that’s maybe worth it for retro foldable screen glory?

(13) WILL THE U.S. RETURN TO SPACE THIS YEAR? The Verge: “How SpaceX’s first astronaut crew is preparing to take on a brand new spacecraft” — “If schedules hold, SpaceX could fly people this summer.”

2019 may finally be the year when American astronauts launch to orbit from American soil again, ending an eight-year drought that started when NASA’s Space Shuttle program shut down in 2011. The inaugural flights of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program are slated to take place in the coming months, and the launches will see privately owned vehicles carrying space agency astronauts for the very first time. If the current schedules hold, California-based SpaceX may be the first one to send its vehicle to space with two NASA astronauts on board.

For this Verge Science video, we visited SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to meet those astronauts and see what one possible future of American crewed spaceflight looks like.

(14) BUT THEN HE GETS GOOD REVIEWS.  A paper in Maine will not be ditching its book reviews after all: “Stephen King persuades newspaper not to scrap its book reviews”.

Author Stephen King – and his readers – have persuaded his local newspaper to reverse a decision to axe its book reviews.

The Portland Press Herald, based in his home state of Maine, had decided to stop running reviews of local books.

After King expressed dismay, the paper challenged him to get 100 followers to buy digital subscriptions.
His fans did not disappoint him, prompting the paper to pledge that “book reviews will return”.

(15) DISNEY MUSIC. “A Place Called Slaughter Race” from Ralph Breaks the Internet. Performed by Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, and Cast Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Phil Johnston, and Tom MacDougall

[Thanks to Paul Weimer, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Bill, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing Firesign reference editor of the day Kip Williams.]

37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/16/19 Right After I Graduate, I’m Gonna Cut The Scrolls Off My Shoes, Sit In A Blog, And Learn To Play The Pixelhorn

  1. (5) I dunno, I prefer to think of it as prophetic. Or at least I hope so.

    Birthdays: John Carpenter: And the great They Live, of course. (Also, I had no idea “gums” was a synonym for “films.”)

  2. Bonnie McDaniel says Birthdays: John Carpenter: And the great They Live, of course. (Also, I had no idea “gums” was a synonym for “films.”)

    Ahhhh severe head trauma. Sometimes my brain just doesn’t recognise words as what they should be. I sent a note to OGH to fix it.

    It’s worse some days. Today was a particularly bad day and it resulted in my meds getting adjusted yet again as one of them was making my blood pressure way too low.

  3. 15) The Disney princess-related segments of Ralph Breaks The Internet were far and away my favorites, especially this clip (which is a good example of how the creative team manages to parody, salute, and comment on Disney princesses at the same time).

  4. My favorite John Carpenter movie will always be Escape From New York because Snake Plissken (I heard he was dead!) is such a dreamboat. But I was particularly impressed by Carpenter’s In The Mouth Of Madness, where he handled an Old Ones invocation scene not with artsy FX, not with actors tossing foam tentacles around, but with an actor reading/yelling a creepy passage from Lovecraft into an abyss. Which I thought worked far better than all the FX/foam tentacles I’ve seen in the past.

    That was some nice Busby Berkleying in the Pixar clip.

    Sitting at home in the middle of a ferocious rainstorm, wearing fleecy socks and sharing pulled pork with my credential. It’s the only human food he likes.

  5. X-9 update: The Big Little Book of the Alex Raymond comic strip is only partly there, starting around page 168. Oh, well.

    I see I’ve started using my full name here! Well, it wasn’t exactly on purpose. It’s because I have to fill out my info every time I post here, and I’ve been relying upon the auto-fill to make it 2/3 less tedious. No big deal, and I’ll just keep it that way, unless my computer decides I should do something different.

    Lucky 10,000 moment: Learning that Ham Brooks’s ape, Chemistry, was invented by a ghost writer. Now I feel a little better about my general feeling that the creature was sort of incongruous (as was Monk’s pig, really—they don’t stay small for such a long time). It’s probably just a recent feeling, since I bought into all that stuff when I was devouring the series the first time in junior high.

    Baby scroll, doo doo doo doo doo doo…

  6. (5) Yeah, I noticed. A brief moment of, “Oh, really,” and then realizing that it was likely true for the author, just not this one work.

  7. @7: that’s odd — I thought they’d tried to make the growing container more protective against the hostile Lunar environment. Chalk it up to more misreporting of science, or my misreading.

    @9: another fascinating bit of trivia — the family name was originally “L”, not “El”. Wikipedia says the change happened in a spinoff novel 3 years later. Makes an interesting reflection on the theory that “El” was a quiet piece of Judaica.

    @Cat Eldridge: low seems better than high (AFAICT much more common) — until you’ve dealt with low, says the person who sometimes grays out when they stand up. Let’s hope this adjustment lasts you a while.

  8. 6) — Yes, Starcrash can be that bad. It really can.

    Caroline Munro was also in Golden Voyage of Sinbad, which is probably my favorite Ray Harryhausen film.

  9. (11) I got 9 out of 10, and I’m more embarrassed than proud…

    (Some answers had to be inferred; it’s never explicitly stated in Star Trek VI that Rand is Sulu’s first officer, for example.)

  10. I am mildly miffed (though only mildly) at having bought The Only Harmless Great Thing very shortly before Tor offered it to me for free. Oh well.

  11. (1) Apart from wondering why Sony thinks this is a good idea in the first place, the numbering seems like erasure of the 2016 film. I’m reminded of how some articles about the DCEU movies seems to forget about Wonder Woman as well.

  12. I remember when They Live was satire, not a documentary.

    Learn to scroll the pixelphone // I file just what I feel // Drink straight Tully all night long // And filk behind the wheel…

  13. We have gotten the weirdest government ever in Sweden where every party is in opposition. Two parties make up the government. They are in opposition to their own budget, because that budget has been chosen by four other parties. That are in opposition. They are also in opposition to two of those opposition parties, because they have decided the future economic policies. To the right of all parties is an opposition party. That opposes the governent and all its policies, even if it supports the policies. To the left is a party that supports the government because it has been promised influence, but opposes its policies that says it will never get any influence.

    And you think US politics is a mess.

  14. (21) I was all excited until I got to “this will be a continuation of the original two movies”. I would MUCH prefer a sequel to the reboot than a sequel to Ghostbusters II, set 30-35 years later

    (11) I am shocked, shocked I say, to report that I managed to achieve a lofty 3/10, without having an active interest in Star Trek (I’ve seen it, I don’t mind watching it, but I am also perfectly OK without doing so).

  15. 8) She makes some interesting points, but….

    “the conversation around Black Mirror seems to have settled itself into distinct camps….” and “I tend to think of myself as falling between the two extremes”. The one suggesting a binary, the second contradicting that and suggesting a range of opinions.

    “it’s doubtful that any game publisher would hand their biggest release over to a developer who did not already know this extremely basic fact of narrative design” Actually, in 1984, most people weren’t really thinking about narrative design. Programmers were also designers, and rarely had the same degree of skill at both tasks. As often as not, an individual developer would write a game themselves and then present it to a publisher for release, rather than working on commission. I think she underestimates the bedroom-coder nature of the industry at that time. When watching Bandersnatch, I was thrown out by the anachronism near the beginning of the publisher having an HR person.

    “The conclusion is inescapable: the impression of control and agency is much more important, when creating interactive fiction, than the actual ability to determine the story’s direction and conclusion.” Yet she arrives at that conclusion by comparing several games, which she enjoys and which provide just the impression of agency, with a single example of actual determination. I don’t think there’s sufficient evidence there for an inescapable conclusion. (Although on a gut level I think I agree with her.)

    There are also technical reasons why games can provide the kind of experiences that Nussbaum prefers over those provided by Bandersnatch. For many years now games have taken place in environments that are modelled such that the player’s avatar can move about the environment, the camera pov can move about the environment also, and animated images can be synthesized at interactive rates. Movies and TV use pre-recorded footage. It’s not possible to capture all the possibilities of motion and points-of-view, even if all of this freedom of movement amounts to zero effect on the narrative outcome. The benefits, though, of pre-recorded (or pre-rendered for CGI) is that the images can be that much more composed and beautiful.

  16. Chip Hitchcock says low seems better than high (AFAICT much more common) — until you’ve dealt with low, says the person who sometimes grays out when they stand up. Let’s hope this adjustment lasts you a while.

    Yeah there’s that. And in my case, strong nausea. Really strong nausea .The offending agent was Verapamil, one of the cardiac meds I take. Jenner halfed the dose. Severe head injuries are complex to deal with, and the meds used to deal with them cause their own problems.

  17. 11) 6/10, but that included several lucky guesses. And it would’ve been nice if when they provided the answers they also gave a bit more context.

  18. Oh dear. 10/10 on the First Officer quiz. I may be spending too much time on Star Trek.

    (It was tougher than I’d expected, but vague half-memories and some lateral thinking pulled me through – I didn’t remember which ship Jellico was XO of, for example, but given a choice of four, and sound reasons to exclude three of them, I was OK there.)

  19. 11) Seven for ten but mostly inspired guesses.

    @Charon D

    Of our two feline companions – one thinks people food is just that weird stuff the servants eat and beneath her dignity. The other though is passionate about anything containing tomatoes… Well that and vanilla ice cream… And string cheese… She knows what offerings she wants.

  20. Hey, a scroll item credit!

    My favorite Carpenter movie is indeed IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS. Not that I dislike THEY LIVE or ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK or THE THING, but it’s MOUTH that I rewatch the most, with PRINCE OF DARKNESS in second place.

  21. Prince of Darkness also had Alice Cooper stabbing a man to death with a bicycle, and if that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

  22. @Hampus Eckerman: political systems under stress tend to make other political systems more attractive. I remember a Brit speaking of envying the stability of the US system — when we were thinking how much easier it would be to get rid of that crook Nixon in a parliamentary system. But yours sounds extreme — possibly they need to look up the definition of “opposition”? In such a mess, who picks the prime minister? And is anything (e.g. budget) getting decided? And wrt comparisons, do you have an unremovable spoiled brat in charge?

    @Joe H: A whole bicycle?

  23. Hmm. I always assumed the attraction of interactive fiction – and the bulk of my limited experience has been in books – is that different choices lead to different, unforeseen, unpredictable outcomes and stories. My experience with interactive choices in games is that they cause the character to interact differently with the same story, (you can play as a man or a woman or an alien or you can be good or you can be bad or some degree between) with major story differences arising at occasional junctures without necessarily altering the fundamental narrative structure (though certainly the tone, and atmosphere is very important in games), and perhaps a few alternative conclusions.

    I’m remembering Kim Newman’s brilliant choose-your-own-adventure novel Life’s Lottery, where trivial choices could lead to completely different stories, though often with thematic links, moral inversions and lots of echoing. There was one that turned into a western in the West Country, one where you became a terrorist, others that were heavier on the science fiction, horror, romance or noir aspects. But the very first choice you made was whether you preferred Ilya Kuryakin or Napoleon Solo, and you had no idea how such choices could possibly shape the narratives that followed. It also rewarded the inevitable flicking about and looking for bits you may have missed after a few read-throughs.

    So I agree with her – to my mind, interactive fiction isn’t at its best when it’s trying to pretend you the viewer/reader/player are making or shaping the story, because that’s as ridiculous as the illusion that the characters have free will, but that your choices can send the story down multiple different variations and discover wildly varying outcomes that are not necessarily apparent in the initial choices.

    I haven’t watched Bandersnatch yet, figuring, perhaps unfairly, that the writer would cruelly weight viewer’s choices to assorted grim outcomes, but I don’t expect it to be as shallow as she makes it sound along with it.

  24. (11) I got 10/10. A few of the answers are actually from the books: #6 (Ship of the Line, and it’s actually a Horatio Hornblower reference), #8 (though he was shown commanding that ship on TNG), and #9 (she was an ensign on that ship in the films). So without some good deduction or lucky guesswork, the best you can do off TV/films alone is 7/10.

  25. @Joe H: ah, only half a bicycle — that’s more plausible. Now I just have to erase that scene from my mind….

  26. (5) @Camestros Felapton: As the original tweeter (twit?), I got around to reading it last night and it will definitely at least be on my longlist. I particularly liked how we got quite a lot about elephant culture without getting bogged down in exposition.

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