Pixel Scroll 1/20/21 Along The Alpha Ralpha Boulevard Where You Live

(1) POET FOR TODAY. In the LA Times profile of inauguration poet Amanda Gorman she references the influence of an LA sff author — “Who is Amanda Gorman, Biden inauguration day poet from L.A.?”.

Amanda Gorman ’20, the first Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, is pictured at Harvard University. Poet Amanda Gorman, 22, read at President Joe Biden’s inauguration
(Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University)

…Her relationship with poetry dates at least to the third grade, when her teacher read Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine”to the classShe can’t recall what metaphor caught her attention, but she remembers that it reverberated inside her….

…Gorman, all of 22, became the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles at age 16 in 2014 and the first national youth poet laureate three years later. On Wednesday, she became the youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a presidential inauguration, following in the considerably more experienced footsteps of Maya Angelou and Robert Frost

In Bradbury’s book, Zen in the Art of Writing, Bradbury recommended that everyone start off their morning by reading poetry.

(2) TIME TO EXHALE. Connie Willis shared “Some Thoughts On Inauguration Day” on Facebook:

…Seeing the Capitol with broken windows, smashed doors, blood streaked on statues, and feces smeared on the floors and walls was something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, even having watched Trump in action for four years, so it’s no wonder I’ve been holding my breath ever since January sixth and especially watching the inauguration, afraid something even worse would happen.

When Biden finished taking the oath of office, I took my first easy breath in four years. I thought of John Adams in 1776 murmuring, “It’s done. It’s done,” after the Declaration of Independence was passed.

(3) NEW BEGINNING. N.K. Jemisin was momentarily surprised:

(4) IN HIS WAKE. John Scalzi lists the legacies of “The Unlamented Man” at Whatever.

…Not just bad, of course: In fact, the worst. A recitation of his moral failures and actual probable crimes would have us here all day, so let’s pick just one: 400,000 dead, so far, from COVID during his presidency. He is not responsible for the virus. He is responsible for denying its seriousness; for choosing to downplay it because he thought it would make him look bad; for making something as simple and useful as wearing a mask a political issue; for bungling a national response to it and then the distribution of medical supplies and, later, vaccines; for spreading misinformation and lies about it; for, fundamentally, not caring about his fellow Americans, and viewing the pandemic through the lens of him, not us. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who are now dead would be alive under a better president. Their deaths are on his hands, and he simply doesn’t care. He never will.

(5) TALKIN’ ABOUT MY REGENERATION. Radio Times speculates “Why the next Doctor could be a surprise”.

… While the BBC has yet to officially confirm Whittaker’s exit, the regeneration rumour mill has already begun, with all sorts of actors (Michaela Coel! Kris Marshall!) put forward by fans to succeed her ahead of any official recasting.

Assuming, of course, that the next Doctor is announced – because recently, we’ve been wondering. Could the next Doctor actually, for the first time in history, be a total surprise in Whittaker’s last episode, only revealed to viewers when he or she first appears?

… Sadly, production considerations have meant that this has never really been possible, with the new Doctor usually filming their first series publicly before the previous Doctor has moved on (and so making it nigh-impossible to keep secret). But this year, something’s a little different.

When Doctor Who kicked off series 13 filming in November 2020, many assumed that the 10-month shoot would debut in early 2022, giving the series plenty of postproduction time before it came to screens. But surprisingly, the BBC have instead confirmed that series 13 will kick off in late 2021 (presumably in October/November), giving quite a quick turnaround between the end of filming (estimated to be around August) and the airing.

With this in mind, assuming a new Doctor is revealed in Jodie Whittaker’s final episode it’s extremely unlikely that filming for the next series would have begun already. Filming on series 13 would have only wrapped a few months before and the production team would likely be on a break.

In other words, the next Doctor wouldn’t be at as much risk of discovery – and this could offer a golden opportunity.

(6) IS SCIENCE FICTON PLAID? Scotland’s Press and Journal calls 19th-century writer Robert Duncan Milne “The Victorian sci-fi pioneer who imagined our world then vanished in time”. I didn’t know he was the “father of American science fiction.” I’m not sure I know it now, but with some Milnes in my family tree I’m willing to listen.

Based in San Francisco at the height of his writing career, Milne has been hailed as the father of American science fiction and is now the subject of intensive research at Dundee University to restore his place in Scotland’s literary history and landscape – including republishing his stories.

“If he didn’t exist you would have to invent him because there is this kind of Milne-shaped gap between Scotland and the history of science fiction which he fits into absolutely perfectly,” said Dr Keith Williams, a Reader in English at Dundee University’s School of Humanities.

“Scotland appears to punch way below its weight in relation to early science fiction pioneering, yet in actual fact it has this really extraordinary and amazingly rich, lost presence who has just slipped through the cracks of the canon by a series of historical accidents.”

First and foremost was an actual accident. Milne, who had published most of his stories in San Francisco literary journal The Argonaut was on his way to a meeting to discuss bringing out his magazine works as a book.

“Then during one of his spectacular benders, because he was a heroic drunk, he was run over by one of San Francisco’s new electric street cars. He had this head-on collision with modernity himself.

“Ironically, that cut his career short and basically meant his work was never edited together into a single volume or even a selection of material in his lifetime.”

This tragedy meant Milne and his trailblazing work – he inspired not only the science fiction genre but some actual scientific advancements as well – was all but forgotten, while writers who came after him are still lauded to this day.

(7) CARBON COPIES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster, Designated Financial Times Reader.] In the January 12 Financial Times, gaming columnist Tom Faber looks at how game developers deal with environmental issues.

Games have flirted with environmentalism over the years.  In 1990, a decade after Will Wright made the first Sims game, he incorporated global warming into Simearth, threatening players’ planets with rising temperatures that could melt ice caps and cause oceans to boil away.  The next year, in the first Civilisation, rising pollution levels could turn plains into deserts, a concept revisited in 2018’s Gathering Storm expansion for Civilisation VI.  A recent add-on for Minecraft introduced carbon dioxide to the game, which rises to dangerous levels if you smelt ore, but diminished when you plant trees.  Several new games set for release this year also tackle environmental themes:  We Are The Countdown tasks players with protecting huge animals in its Afrofuturist world, while Endling casts you as a mother fox protecting her cubs from threats such as climate change and pollution.

There are also games that prioritize environmental messaging over the fun of their gameplay.  These include Plasticity, an elegant platformer where you traverse a world drowning under plastic waste, and the work of Earth Games, a studio which releases educational projects with laboured titles such as  Soot Out At The O C Corral, in which you attempt to catch falling soot particles before they contaminate the snow.

(8) BEYOND STOP-MOTION AND GO-MOTION. A recent acquisition for the Academy Museum’s collection, a Jurassic Park T. rex Dinosaur Input Device will be on display inside “Invented Worlds & Characters,” a set of galleries dedicated to the history of animated films, special and visual effects: “Making Digital Dinosaurs: The Dinosaur Input Device”.

Few pieces of filmmaking technology encapsulate their particular moment as thoroughly as the Dinosaur Input Device. Developed for Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking Jurassic Park (1993), the Dinosaur Input Device (or DID, pronounced dee eye dee) was an innovative answer to that film’s core creative problem: how to bring an array of prehistoric creatures to life on screen in a way that felt fresh and believable.

Jurassic Park’s DID provided a physical interface that allowed traditional stop-motion animators to produce the seeds of digital graphics. Like many innovations, the DID was born on the fly. With the film already underway, an interdisciplinary effects team created and used it to push the boundaries of then-established practice. Today, almost 30 years later, the DID continues to claim our attention, not only because of the awe-inspiring images it helped create, but also because it marked a paradigm shift in visual effects, bridging practical and digital techniques in a way few tools had before—or since….

(9) SAHLIN OBIT. Olle Sahlin (1956-2021), a Swedish translator, editor, graphic designer, and photographer died January 9. Regarded as a “nerd icon,” he was active in RPG, LARP, SCA, Forodrim (the Stockholm area Tolkien society), and fanzines. From 1986-1993 Sahlin worked at Target Games (Adventure Games) as editor. Over the years he was editor-in-chief of Sinkadus magazine, and later published the journals Centurion and Fëa Livia. His literary translations include Stephen Donaldson’s Mordant series, Philip Pullman’s The Dark Matter series, and nine of Terry Pratchett’s novels.

Hospitalized in a coma several years ago, Sahlin never fully recovered, and lost his life earlier this month. He is survived by his wife, Karolina, for whom a GoFundMe has been started:.

And for Karolina, these are difficult times. She has not only lost her lifelong partner, she is alone with all the practical things that must be taken care of, and a broken financial situation. Being freelancing translators is a challenge and income varies, and with Olle being ill for a long period, they have not been able to work as much as usual. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born January 20, 1884 A. Merritt. His first fantasy story was published in 1917, “Through the Dragon Glass” in the November 14 issue of All-Story Weekly. His SFF career would eventually consist of eight novels and fifteen (I think) short stories. I’m sure that I’ve read The Moon Pool, his novel, and much of that short fiction, but can’t recall the other novels as being read by me. In the digital release, Apple Books is clearly the better place to find his work as they’ve got everything he published whereas Kindle and Kobo are spotty. (Died 1943.) (CE)
  • Born January 20, 1920 DeForest Kelley. Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Trek and a number of films that followed plus the animated series. Other genre appearances include voicing Viking 1 in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (his last acting work) and a 1955 episode of Science Fiction Theatre entitled “Y..O..R..D..” being his only ones as he didn’t do SF as he really preferred Westerns. (Died 1999.) (CE) 
  • Born January 20, 1926 Patricia Neal. Best known to genre buffs for her film role as World War II widow Helen Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still. She also appeared in Stranger from Venus, your usual British made flying saucer film. She shows up in the Eighties in Ghost Story based off a Peter Straub novel, and she did an episode of The Ghost Story series which was later retitled Circle Of Fear in hopes of getting better ratings (it didn’t, it was cancelled).  If Kung Fu counts as genre, she did an appearance there.  (Died 2010) (CE)
  • Born January 20, 1934 Tom Baker, 87. The Fourth Doctor and my introduction to Doctor Who. My favorite story? The “Talons of Weng Chiang” with of course the delicious added delight of his companion Leela played by Lousie Jameson. Even the worse of the stories were redeemed by him and his jelly babies. He did have a turn before being the Fourth Doctor as Sherlock Holmes In “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, and though not genre, he turns up as Rasputin early in his career in “Nicholas and Alexandra”! Being a working actor, he shows up in a number of low-budget films early on such as The Vault of HorrorThe Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The MutationsThe Curse of King Tut’s Tomb and The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood. And weirdly enough, he’s Halvarth the Elf in a Czech made Dungeons & Dragons film which has a score of 10% on Rotten Tomatoes.  (CE)
  • Born January 20, 1948 Nancy Kress, 73. Best known for her Hugo and Nebula Award winning Beggars in Spain and its sequels. Her latest novel is If Tomorrow Comes: Book 2 in the Yesterday’s Kin trilogy. (CE)
  • Born January 20, 1958 Kij Johnson, 63. Writer and associate director of The Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas English Department which is I must say a cool genre thing to be doing indeed. If you’ve not read her Japanese mythology based The Fox Woman, do so now as it’s superb. The sequel, Fudoki, is just as interesting. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is a novella taking a classic Lovecraftian tale and giving a nice twist. Finally I’ll recommend her short story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories. She’s will stocked at the usual digital suspects. (CE) 
  • Born January 20, 1964 Francesca Buller, 57. Performer and wife of Ben Browder, yes that’s relevant as she’s been four different characters on Farscape, to wit she played the characters of Minister Ahkna, Raxil, ro-NA and M’Lee. Minister Ahkn is likely the one you remember her as being. Farscape is her entire genre acting career.  (CE)

(11) CREATOR BIOPIC. Moomin.com cheers because “Tove Jansson’s first biopic TOVE heading to US”.

The first ever bio-pic drama about Moomin creator Tove Jansson, TOVE, has been sold to over 50 territories across the world and is heading to the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom amongst others….

TOVE broke box office records in Finland in 2020 in spite of the pandemic, and now ranks as the highest grossing Swedish-language Finnish film in the last 40 years.

TOVE is also Finland’s official Academy Award entry and will be a part of the Nordic Competition at the 2021 online edition of Göteborg Film Festival.

(12) BYTE-SIZED COMICS POPULAR. Publishers Weekly reports “Tapas Sees Big Gains for Digital Comics”.

Digital comics delivered via mobile devices are starting to take significant creative and commercial steps forward. Last year Webtoon, owned by Korean tech giant Line, posted dramatic user and revenue growth, driven by large investments in attracting new customers. That was not a fluke: Tapas, a smaller U.S.-based mobile comics startup, has also announced impressive recent growth, along with plans to partner with traditional print publishers like Scholastic.

Founded in 2012, Tapas has grown a dedicated community of readers and creators through a popular mobile app, Tapas.io, which features “snackable” vertical-scroll episodic webcomics and stories. In the last year, the privately-held company announced it had reached 100 million episode-unlocks (paid content transactions) and saw total 2020 payments to Tapas creators rise to $14 million…. 

(13) NERDS OF A FEATHER. Cora Buhlert covers one of the top sff review sites in “Fanzine Spotlight: nerds of a feather, flock together”.

Who are the people behind your site or zine?

The site’s founder The G started the site in 2012 with co-editor Vance K, and we’ve added co-editors Joe Sherry and Adri Joy in the last few years. In addition to the editors, who also contribute content, our current team of writers includes Aidan Moher, Andrea Johnson, Chloe N. Clark, Dean E. S. Richard, Mikey, Paul Weimer, Phoebe, Sean Dowie, Shana DuBois, and Spacefaring Kitten.

Why did you decide to start your site or zine?

At the time, I was reading a lot of SF/F and – being an opinionated person – felt the need to blast those opinions out into the ether. But I also didn’t think running a blog on my own sounded like as much fun as running one with other people. So I asked Vance if he wanted to start one with me (it didn’t take him long to say yes). After that we gradually added more people – some we knew personally, and others we met online. — The G, founder

G and I were next door neighbors in Los Angeles for about three years — both transplants from places with robust and storied BBQ traditions. There was a lot of grilling in our shared courtyard as a result, and over the course of many beers and cooked meats, we talked a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. After we’d both moved to new spots, he got the idea for a blog, and I think the night he reached out about it, I had just watched a deeply odd French psychological horror movie, and I was like, “I know just what to write about.” — Vance K

(14) ACROSS THE CHANNEL. “Review: Lupin (Netflix)” at Camestros Felapton.

The obvious comparisons made about Netflix’s French language hit is with Sherlock: a modern day re-imagining of a turn-of-the-century character. The first episode suggests a slickness of form suggestive of Sherlock but Lupin as a show is less impressed with its own cleverness and more interested in the central character. The bold choice is that central character is not Arsène Lupin Gentleman Burglar but Assane Diop, the son of a Senegalese immigrant who has reshaped his life to emulate the famous (at least in France) character….

(15) NOISY RED PLANET. We’ll soon know “What Mars sounds like” says CNN.

Mars is about to be a very busy place when three separate missions arrive at the red planet in February.

One of those missions includes NASA’s Perseverance rover. When it lands, we’ll be able to hear the sounds of Mars for the first time, thanks to microphones riding on the rover.

new interactive experience shared by the agency will prepare our ears for a key difference in the sounds of Mars: the atmosphere. The thin Martian atmosphere has only 1% of the density that we experience of Earth’s atmosphere at the surface. It also has a different atmospheric composition. Mars is also much colder than Earth. All of these factors will affect sound on Mars, even though the differences may be subtle.

The NASA interactive compares sounds as we hear them on Earth versus how they may sound on Mars, like birds chirping or music. If you were speaking on Mars, your voice would sound more muffled and it would take longer for others to hear you.

So what will we be able to hear on Mars? The microphones are expected to pick up the sounds of the rover landing and working on Mars, as well as ambient noises like wind. One of the microphones is located on top of the rover’s mast, so it can pick up natural sounds and even activity by the rover — like when the rover’s laser zaps rock samples and turns them into plasma to learn more about their composition.

The NASA webpage about the “Sounds of Mars” has full details.

…The Perseverance rover carries two microphones, letting us directly record the sounds of Mars for the very first time. One, an experimental mic, may capture the landing itself. The other mic is for science. Both mics may even capture the sounds the rover makes.

Even though Earth and Mars are entirely different planets, it may be comforting to know that if you were on Mars, you might still sound pretty much like yourself. If you were standing on Mars, you’d hear a quieter, more muffled version of what you’d hear on Earth, and you’d wait slightly longer to hear it. On Mars, the atmosphere is entirely different. But, the biggest change to audio would be to high-pitch sounds, higher than most voices. Some sounds that we’re used to on Earth, like whistles, bells or bird songs, would almost be inaudible on Mars….

(16) BIG BONED. CNN says “Dinosaur fossils could belong to the world’s largest ever creature”.

…Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia, in thick, sedimentary deposits known as the Candeleros Formation.

The 24 vertebrae of the tail and elements of the pelvic and pectoral girdle discovered are thought to belong to a titanosaur, a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, characterized by their large size, a long neck and tail, and four-legged stance.

In research published in the journal Cretaceous Research, experts say they believe the creature to be “one of the largest sauropods ever found” and could exceed the size of a Patagotitan, a species which lived 100 million to 95 million years ago and measured up to a staggering 37.2 meters (122 feet) long….

(17) BEHIND THE SCENES. Slate’s Riley Blackis surprisingly enthusiastic that “We Finally Know What a Dinosaur’s Butthole Looks Like”.

For the entirety of my career as a journalist covering paleontology, I’ve been wanting to know: What does a dinosaur’s butthole look like? When I wrote My Beloved Brontosaurus, a book about dinosaur biology, the chapter on reproduction required a lot of time imagining the nature of a Jurassic behind; one had yet to be found preserved. Even dinosaur models and sculptures often demur on the point of the dino butt, leaving the terrible lizards with terrible constipation.

Now I finally have a clearer view, thanks to a fossil of a horned dinosaur called Psittacosaurusdescribed in a paper online earlier this month…

Of course, Chuck Tingle was sure he knew already.

(18) TAKE AWAY. “Little Free Art Gallery in Seattle tells patrons to take a piece and leave one” – the Washington Post tells how it works.

Stacy Milrany probably runs the only art gallery in the country where visitors are encouraged to walk away with the art.

And as far as she knows, her Little Free Art Gallery in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood is likely the only museum where all of the works will fit neatly in a pocket.Milrany’s miniature gallery, which opened for public view on Dec. 13, sits five feet off the ground inside a white wooden box in front of her house.

The head curator and painter said she based her idea on the popular Little Free Libraries in neighborhoods coast to coast.

“The idea is pretty simple — anyone is welcome to leave a piece, take a piece or just have a look around and enjoy what’s inside,” said Milrany, a painter who runs a small, appointment-only gallery featuring her works. … Nearly 100 pieces have come and gone since the gallery opened last month, she said, with most small enough to be displayed on tiny shelves or seven-inch easels.

I’ve heard the name of this neighborhood before and wouldn’t be surprised if some fans live nearby.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, Hampus Eckerman, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, JJ, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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38 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/20/21 Along The Alpha Ralpha Boulevard Where You Live

  1. (10) Happy Birthday to my Doctor!

    (1) I heard an interview with Amanda Gorman yesterday on NPR and was very impressed.

  2. Andrew (not Werdna) says ) Happy Birthday to my Doctor!

    If you’ve not caught his work on Big Finish Productions, I highly recommend that you do so as he does an absolutely superb job of playing the Fourth Doctor there. I think, saving the present Doctor, all of the performers who have played the Doctor from him onward have reprised that role at Big Finish.

    My acquisition of the week of the week was Doctor Who Bad Wolf tshirt.

  3. (15) Good to know Mars is no longer a “silent planet.” C.S. Lewis would be pleased.

  4. 10) He’s my Doctor, too!

    And I had completely blocked from my memory the fact that he was in that godawful D&D film which, however bad you think it is, no, it was worse.

    Golden Voyage of Sinbad, by contrast, is an unalloyed masterpiece.

  5. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson on January 20, 2021 at 6:58 pm said:
    (15) Good to know Mars is no longer a “silent planet.” C.S. Lewis would be pleased.

    Err…. the “silent planet” in C.S. Lewis is Earth, it’s literally what “Thulcandra” means.

    4) Of course, your Mr. Trump wasn’t even good at being bad; the nation with the highest COVID-19 death rate is, under the world-renowned leadership of Boris Johnson, the UK. I just mention this in passing, for no particular get that overpriviliged Old Etonian buffoon out of Number 10 before he can do any more damage reason.

  6. @Steve Wright,
    The implication in the news story was that, until now, our universe’s Mars was effectively a “silent” planet, at least to our direct knowledge. Not in the way Lewis meant it, of course. Alas for Malacandra and Perelandra–Lewis’s wonder-worlds have been swept away with the ones of Burroughs, Heinlein, and others.

    So we live on a noisy planet–internally, our world isn’t the least bit silent, except perhaps in the way Lewis viewed it. Although, spiritually, I HOPE we aren’t really “Thulcandra.”

  7. (6) When the gold rush happened San Francisco was the 19th century equivalent of a Mars colony. It was very high-tech for its time. Science fiction was regularly published in the newspapers. And the literary quality was better than the pulps that came later.

  8. 8) My supervisor at ILM wrote the software that made the dinosaurs’ skin animate according to the motions the skeleton underneath. By the time I got there this was a pretty common technique in computer games, but it was still really cool to see the original code :). And I was lucky enough to see a lecture by Dennis Muren on how they did the speeder bike chase for Return Of The Jedi.

    10) Speaking of name-dropping, the lady who runs the Bed And Breakfast near my brother’s place gets a mention in Tom Baker’s autobiography.

    18) My wife and I used to live in Queen Anne before we moved to the UK three years ago – that looks to be about 5 minutes walk away from our house.

  9. OGH, for one, is a huge Merrit fan. I’m sure he can answer any questions.

    Tom Becker speaking of frontier\early modern San Francisco, anybody name sf stories set there? The only one that comes to my mind is William Sanders’ “Sitka,” which features Jack London, but I’m thinking earlier 19th century. Surely there’s a Twain-based novel. Was Gloss’ Wild Life see near there? It does seem like a natural setting for a sci-fi story.

    I grew up watching Tom Baker as the Doctor: he benefited from a production team dragging the franchise kicking and screaming toward mature stories. I prefer Pertwee, with Liz Shaw as comp, but the writing wasn’t quite as distinguished. My favorite T baker story is my favorite DW story, The Seeds of Doom. Great villain, great cameos, great plot with the serial numbers filed off.

    Speaking of nice things (1-4): nice inaugural poem, nice day for a new executive to start the gig, nice clean, fresh day of sunshiney disinfectant…which will come in handy cause we have so much work ahead. I can relate to Willis here: not anywhere near in the clear, but it’s still nice.to have a cloud dispersed. It does help.

    Sorry to read about Sahlin… that’s a rough exit for his loved ones.

    Nancy Kress is a perennial favorite. I have read the first volume of that Kin trilogy, it’s old-fashioned with modern touches. I recommend it. I have her novel Alien Light in my pocket. My favorite Kress story is “Savior.”

  10. @Brown Robin
    Hambly’s “Ishmael” has a section set in SF, but it’s a bit later – late 1860s or maybe the 1870s. Still a roaring young city – the first rush was over, but it wasn’t gone.

  11. Brown Robin on January 21, 2021 at 8:58 am said:

    speaking of frontier\early modern San Francisco, anybody name sf stories set there?

    (Obviously), Emperor Norton in Gaiman’s The Sandman #31 – Three Septembers and a January,
    Ambrose Bierce (whose story, Occurence At Owl Creek Bridge, was an early Twilight Zone episode, IIRC), wrote a lot of journalism in San Francisco… not sure if he wrote any fantasy or sf while in, or taking place in, SF.
    At least one of Jack Finney’s stories takes place in SF, it looks like.

  12. 10) Nancy Kress – Book 3 of the Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy, Terran Tomorrow, was released in 2018, and isfdb lists two 2020 novels for her as well.

  13. “But what we found out is that each one of us is a Data… and an Tribute …and a PKD protagonist, … a Leia, and a Stainless Steel Rat…
    Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, File770 Club.”

  14. Seven Footprints to Satan is probably my favorite A. Merritt novel, though it’s deliberately genre ambiguous.

  15. @Cat Eldridge–Thank you!

    Will soon be reviewing A Remedy in Time, by Jennifer Macaire, of whom I have never previously heard. Really enjoyed it. Yes, it’s time travel.

  16. Mark Twain, time travel, Jack London and San Francisco turn up in Star Trek TNG,

    One of Kage Baker’s novels features time travel and San Francisco as well, though not Twain, as I recall.

  17. @Brown Robin,

    San Francisco is an important location in Kage Baker’s Company series. The (can be read as a stand-alone) novella “Son Observe the Time” is kinda/sorta a time travel/salvage operation taking place just before the 1906 earthquake that also has significant ramifications to the main series plot.

  18. Soon Lee says San Francisco is an important location in Kage Baker’s Company series. The (can be read as a stand-alone) novella “Son Observe the Time” is kinda/sorta a time travel/salvage operation taking place just before the 1906 earthquake that also has significant ramifications to the main series plot.

    We were going to do a Concordance for that series in which I interviewed the characters but she got too sick before we could get it started unfortunately. It’d have been a very cool undertaking. She was particularly interested in having them express their opinions on chocolate as booze didn’t effect them at all.

  19. OGH says If you enjoyed it a lot, then it must not be To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

    That remains the only novel by him that I’ve never finished reading. I’ve started three or four times, but just can’t the frelling thing. Even I Shall Fear No Evil got finished and I’d never suggest that was a masterpiece of literary undertaking.

  20. Andrew (not Werdna) on January 21, 2021 at 2:45 pm said:

    Mark Twain, time travel, Jack London and San Francisco turn up in Star Trek TNG,

    All these (except ST/TNG) appear in one or another episodes of THE MURDOCH MYSTERIES (here’s the San Francisco citation). But the ST cite gets restored! because Mark Twain is played by William Shatner. Other episodes — the show was set in Toronto, ~1895-1905 — include Harry Houdini, H.G. Wells, Emma Goldman, Nicholas Tesla, Thomas Edison, and (either really or apparently) Martians, robots, Verne-grade rocket launches, cryogenics, X-ray photography, and more.

  21. Cat Eldridge: Even I Shall Fear No Evil got finished and I’d never suggest that was a masterpiece of literary undertaking.

    That’s one I bounced off of when it was serialized in Galaxy. When I came back to the book years later I had no trouble finishing it, I just didn’t like it very much.

  22. @Daniel Dern: The idea of Shatner as Twain is somewhat mindboggling. Maybe I’ll give Murdock Mysteries a try.

  23. Mike Glyer says That’s one I bounced off of when it was serialized in Galaxy. When I came back to the book years later I had no trouble finishing it, I just didn’t like it very much.

    It’s certainly not a likable book. Nor was a book that I felt the least urge to go back to. Heinlein certainly could be a very distasteful writer at times.

  24. @Cat & @Mike:
    I’d missed some issues of Galaxy when I broke into “I Will Fear No Evil” in the middle. This did not help. Picking up the first half cleared a few things up, but failed to improve the experience. It remains among my least favorite Heinlein books, right down there with “Farnham’s Freehold,” “Starship Troopers,” “The Puppet Masters,” and “Sixth Column.” Due to editorial interference, of course, the last two (as initially published) were effectively uncredited collaborations with Horace L. Gold and John W. Campbell, Jr., respectively.

  25. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson: Despite my reflex action being to do so, maybe I won’t rush to defend “The Puppet Masters.” I have strong memories of having enjoyed it several times, however, I haven’t reread it for 25 years at least, so who knows?

  26. @Mike,
    I probably ought to try reading the unedited version of “Puppet Masters,” as a copy of that came with my set of the Virginia Edition. As for the other three, “Farnham” left a very bad taste in my mouth on first reading when I was in 8th grade, and hasn’t improved with age (its or mine). “Sixth Column”–RAH wrote a perfectly good alien invasion story, but Campbell insisted on turning his space aliens into Asians (this was in 1941). I might have had a better response to “Starship Troopers,” but I’d already read Harry Harrison’s novella, “The Starsloggers,” a satire on the novel, and decided Harrison made more sense. I think the only common ground Harrison had with Heinlein was that their surnames began with the letter H. Later on, when I found fandom, one of my new friends always referred to the novel as “Stormship Troopers,” which I thought was apt. Calling it that in the earshot of Bill Patterson, who was a member of our club, was a sure-fire way to get a rise out him.

  27. @Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson: “I probably ought to try reading the unedited version of “Puppet Masters,” as a copy of that came with my set of the Virginia Edition.”

    I think it’s better cut. The protagonist is less likable and the one scene of horror that was added is strictly gratuitous (though memorable) in the unexpurgated version. Heinlein is better at writing Travis McGees than he is writing Mike Hammers, and the versions of this book demonstrate it.

    But don’t let me stop you! It’s a very good book in either version.

  28. I have neglected Baker’s company stories.

    Shatner. I know two people who despise the Shat, like on a personal level, and I have to respect that as I have not met the man. But as a performer…Shatner doing Twain? Of course. Fearless performer. Commit to the bit. If he were wired differently, he’d be the ultimate SNL guest. He is the best thing in bad movies. He is sometimes the best thing in good movies. He almost walked away with Miss Congeniality,.which is a hoot of a flick. Ah, Shatner.

  29. Shatner is capable of fine acting (he did an amazing bit of work in the “Son of the Defender” episode of Boston Legal, which used 50 year old footage of him for flashback scenes and I love his TW episode “Nick of Time”). But for some reason, I can’t picture him as Twain – I’ll have to check Youtube for a clip.

  30. @Brown Robin: “If he were wired differently, he’d be the ultimate SNL guest.”

    Shatner was a really good guest host, don’t you think? I’d love seeing him again.

  31. Andrew (not Werdna) said:

    The idea of Shatner as Twain is somewhat mindboggling. Maybe I’ll give Murdock Mysteries a try.

    Note, before the long running (Season 14 any month now, plus 3 Xmas movies and some webisodes), there was a short-lived season with a different cast. I’m referring to the 200+ episodes starring Yannick Bisson as Detective Murdoch.Readily available, as a JustWatch search will show, on Acorn, Hoopla, and Hulu — and on disc from many libraries. I urge you start with Season 1, Episode 1 (with Nicholas Tesla). You could go directly to the Twain episode, but without all character backstories, it won’t be as interesting, I think.
    For the most part, plots are done-in-one (episode), with a few two-parters and even fewer-three-parters. For a long while, these was a blessed absence of Moriarty-type nemesis/plot arcs, but of this I will say no more.

  32. One might remember that Ambrose Bierce was a San Francisco writer, though in the era of the Silver Rush rather than the Gold Rush: a time of much greater wealth.

    Mark Twain’s book “Roughing It” includes a lot of material about San Francisco, but I don’t take any of it to be science fiction: though how you define fantasy may make it marginal. But Twain did write “A Connecticut Yankee…” which is clearly a time travel story whose dark tone is usually glossed over in favor of the broad comedy. –And a lot of clear cut science fiction and genuine fantasy to boot.

    The Star Trek story in which Twain appears is grossly flawed by the fact that Twain left The City right after the Civil War and only came back once, two years later, to negotiate some contracts. I think he was about 35 when he came back that time, and his hair was still flaming red. People do want to place Old Twain in The City, but he still, even at the end of his life, had bitter feelings about the only job he got fired from, working at “The Call.” Only the Young Twain fits. –But that episode was saved for me by the flawless beauty of Whoopi Goldberg and her brilliant negotiation of a very difficult to present character.

    I really have to follow up and see Shatner as Twain.

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