Pixel Scroll 1/27/21 On The AT-Atkitchson, Twinpeaka, And The Scrollta-Fe

(1) WEIMER IS BACK. The sff community rallied around and helped get Paul Weimer’s Twitter account restored after trolls got it shut down. He tells the full background on his Patreon: “The Trolls and the Twitter Ban (PUBLIC)”. Now Paul has a new honorific:

And Paul took a visual victory lap in a thread that starts here.

And yes, He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!

(2) LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS. Two items of non-Patreon-locked news from Ellison executor J. Michael Straczynski —

Three authors who will have a new story in LDV have been named. The first one is

As noted, several high-profile writers have stepped up to show support for TLDV by offering to contribute stories. The first was announced Monday exclusively to those on Patreon, and can now be conveyed here: the amazing NEIL GAIMAN!

And the other two

Also: I’d like to announce another significant contemporary writer who has decided to lend his name to THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS by contributing a story: CORY DOCTOROW, who is known as not just an amazing writer but a pioneer in the realm of electronic rights and privacy and a scholar of the internet.

And of the original writers who contributed stories, “Rundown” by the highly regarded SF and fantasy writer John Morressy has been selected to be included in this volume.

Also, one unpublished writer will have a story accepted for LDV – the submission window will be open for one day on March 31:

…That announcement included word that a slot would be open for one previously unpublished writer, one new voice, to see their story included in the book alongside some of the most well-regarded writers working in the field of SF and Fantasy over the last 50 years.

Because it will take time for those interested to come up with something appropriate to TLDV, I wanted to get the word out now that submissions will be taken for only 24 hours on Wednesday, March 31st, and must be no longer than 3,500 words. The email address for submissions will be provided the day beforehand, along with a release form. All submitted stories remain the property of the writers responsible for them, and the one chosen for inclusion will be exclusive for just a two-year period, as with all the other stories in the planned volume.

Harlan believed passionately in helping to bring new voices into the field, and I share that conviction. I think if you have any success at all, you have a moral obligation to send down the elevator for the next person. With luck, this will bring a new voice into the world.

(3) HISTORICAL DICTIONARY OF SF  MAKES SPLASH. In addition to File 770’s “Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Goes Live”, a lot of sites are covering the HD/SF today:

The game gets played between writer and reader, for sure, but also among writers, and between all the writers and all the readers. Some words get used again and again, becoming a meta-canonical corpus as allusive as classical haiku. It’s a game so complicated that it’d be nice to know the rules, maybe see the shape of the pieces. That’s where a lexicographical mad scientist named Jesse Sheidlower comes in. His creation, the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction came to life online this week—1,800 entries dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, with not only definitions but the earliest known uses, links to biographical information about the writers, and links to more than 1,600 scans of the original pages where the words appeared. It’s a wormhole into not just one alternate universe but a lexicographic multiverse, where time-traveling canons overlap in unexpected ways with each other and with whatever universe the reader happens to be sitting in. Cool concepts from your favorite movies turn out to precede those movies by decades; science fiction gets things right before science. It’s a trip, and it might just lead to some answers about what science fiction is and what it means. It’ll definitely start—and finish—some arguments.

… Even without Ewoks, the result is generally both amazing and astonishing. In just a few minutes of reconnaissance, for example, I learned that the first person to pilot a jet car was not, as I hoped, Buckaroo Banzai, but in fact a character in Bryce Walton’s 1946 short story “Prisoner of the Brain Mistress.” I figured that Han Solo wasn’t the first person to make the jump to “hyperspace,” but I didn’t expect the concept to first come up in 1928, in Kirk Meadowcroft’s story “The Invisible Bubble” in the germinal pulp Amazing Stories. Nor did I expect big names like E. E. “Doc” Smith, Isaac Asimov, Samuel Delaney, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and David Brin to have also used the idea. And let’s say you wanted to go back in time and kill the person who came up with the idea of the grandfather paradox. You’d have to assassinate Hugo Gernsback, arguably the coinventor of the modern iteration of the genre, before he published his essay “The Question of Time-Traveling” in Science Wonder Stories in 1929.

The fact that so many of these terms have examples of their use from a dozen different writers across decades of history proves that sometimes writers aren’t neologizing so much as digging into the genre lexicon. Well, newish. “You leverage off of other people’s work, but really you’ve activated decades of associations that other people might or might not be bringing,” [Charles] Yu says. “That’s something really rich about science fiction in general. There’s this overlap, or this tangent point. This dictionary is kind of trying to be placed squarely in that region, the overlap.”

There’s no denying the profound influence that the Star Trek franchise has had on our shared popular culture. But it turns out that some of the best-known terms associated with the series—transporter, warp speed, and the famous Prime Directive—actually predate Star Trek: The Original Series by a decade or more. According to Jesse Sheidlower, a lexicographer and editor of the newly launched online Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction (HDSF), the first mention of those terms appeared in 1956, 1952, and 1940, respectively.

The entry for each word or phrase includes a brief definition followed by a timeline of its occurrences in literature, film, and criticism, with quotations. For instance, if you’re a US Senator who wants to crow about how the cancellation of his book contract is “Orwellian,” you might be interested to note that the word appeared in a 1949 edition of the St. Alban’s Daily Messenger: “Almost all the Orwellian techniques of a future totalitarianism are found here.” Or if you want to give your endless Zoom meetings some historical context, you can note that in the 1944 book Television, R.E. Lee predicted your current misery in his writing about the “videophone”: “We shall undoubtedly see videophones replacing telephones in common usage.”

(4) AWARD-WINNING MERMAID AUTHOR. The Mermaid of Black Conch, an SFF novel, won the 2020 Costa Book Award. The Guardian interviewed author Monique Roffey: “’I’m flabbergasted’: Monique Roffey on women, whiteness and winning the Costa”.

After two decades of splashing around in the shallows of success, Monique Roffey was taking no chances with The Mermaid of Black Conch. The novel, which won the Costa book of the year award on Tuesday, is written in a Creole English and uses a patchwork of forms, from poetry to journal entries and an omniscient narrator, and “employs magical realism to the max”. Even its title was against it, she realised. “You’re either going to read a novel about a mermaid or you aren’t.”

Any one of these, she says, would scare away most publishers….

(5) ANNUAL IN MEMORIAM LIST. Steven H Silver’s 2020: In Memoriam article is now on-line at Amazing Stories.


  • January 27, 1980 — The Saga of a Star World started again when Galactica 1980 aired its very first episode on ABC.  The tale picked up years after the events depicted in the original Battlestar Galactica with Commander Adama still in charge as the lead vessel of the Thirteen Colonies finally found way to Earth. It was created by Glen A. Larson, and starred Lorne Greene, Kent McCord, Barry Van Dyke and Richard Lynch. The series would last for ten episodes before it was cancelled due to extremely poor ratings.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born January 27, 1756 – Wolfgang Mozart.  When I’ve happened to be teaching on this day, I’ve handed out Mozartkugeln.  Please consider you’ve received one virtually.  Had WM, a good candidate for greatest composer ever, written only Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute, it would have been enough for us.  The relations between WM and Salieri in the film Amadeus are (ahem) highly fictionalized.  WM may be the best part of Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf, but – I’d better stop.  (Died 1791) [JH]
  • Born January 27, 1832 – Lewis Carroll.  Another glorious – differently – illumination of this day.  Had LC written only the two Alice books – and I must add The Hunting of the Snark – it would have been enough for us.  What’s that?? Do you suppose it might be a boo-  [JH]
  • Born January 27, 1950 Michaela Roessner, 71. She won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer for Walkabout Woman. Her The Stars Dispose duology is quite excellent. Though not genre, her two historical novels, The Stars Dispose and The Stars Compel, about Catherine de Medici are excellent.  ISFDB lists two additional novels of genre status, Walkabout Women and Vanishing Point. None of her fiction is alas available digitally. (CE)
  • Born January 27, 1956 Mimi Rogers, 65. Her best known known SFF role is Professor Maureen Robinson in the Lost in Space film which I did see in a theatre I just realized. She’s also Mrs. Marie Kensington in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and she’s Orianna Volkes in the Penny Dreadful hitchhiker horror film. She’s got one-offs in Tales from The CryptThe X-FilesWhere Are You Scooby Doo? and Ash v. Evil Dead. (CE)
  • Born January 27, 1957 Frank Miller, 64. He’s both an artist and writer so I’m not going to untangle which is which here. What’s good by him? Oh I love The Dark Knight Returns, both the original comic series and the animated film, though the same not so true of Sin City where I prefer the original series much more. Hmmm… What else? His runs on Daredevil and Electra of course. That should do. What’s your favorite? Do tell. (CE) 
  • Born January 27, 1966 Tamlyn Tomita, 55. I’m fairly sure I first saw her in a genre role on  the Babylon 5 film The Gathering as Lt. Cmdr. Laurel Takashima. Or it might have been on The Burning Zone as Dr. Kimberly Shiroma. And she had a recurring late on Eureka in Kate Anderson, and Ishi Nakamura on Heroes.  She’s been in a number of SFF series in one-off roles including HighlanderQuantum LeapThe SentinelSeven Days, FreakyLinks, Stargate SG-1 and a recurring as late as Tamiko Watanabe in The Man in The High Castle. (CE) 
  • Born January 27, 1970 Irene Gallo, 51. Creative Director for Tor.com and Tor Books. She’s won an amazing thirteen Chelsey Awards, and two World Fantasy Awards, for art director of Tor.com and for the Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction anthology. She also co-wrote  Revolution: The Art of Jon Foster with Jon Foster and Cathy & Arnie Fenner. (CE) 

(8) WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE GREEN THINGS. Ursula Vernon was briefly tempted by a catalog:

(9) SOMETHING IN THE INK. The Comics Journal reminds fans about “The Strange Case of D. Bruce Berry”, a terrific artist who was once confined to a mental institution, and later in a 38-page rant entitled A Trip To Hell claimed Chicago fan Earl Kemp and science fiction editor and writer Harlan Ellison, wearing masks, had held him up at gunpoint on a Chicago street on Labor Day night, 1958. An extensive history of Berry’s history in SF fandom, with tons of his fanzine and pro artwork.

Bruce Berry is best known as Jack Kirby’s controversial inker, who took over from Mike Royer during Kirby’s ‘70s run at DC. Perhaps Berry suffers in his close proximity to Royer, Kirby’s most faithful and therefore considered by many, his best inker. Conventional wisdom is that Berry worked for decades as an advertising product/mechanical artist before Kirby brought him on board, thus beginning his comics career.

Truth be told, Berry was an often-published pulp and fanzine illustrator, science fiction author and novelist, dating back to the 1940s. He was also a brought to court for threatening others in the science fiction community and had been confined to a mental institution as a result.

…[In] the 1948 Fantasy Annual, published by Forrest J Ackerman, Berry was ranked 3rd in the list of Top Fan Artists.

…Advertising work having dried  up in Chicago, Berry relocated to Southern California in the late 1960s. Richard Kyle helped set him up in an apartment and introduced him to professional cartoonists working in the area, which included Mike Royer. Royer had recently begun inking and lettering Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” series of comics for DC and soon afterward he employed Berry to ink backgrounds to help keep up with the voluminous flow of work. Berry took over the full inking and lettering chores with Kamandi #17 in 1974 and remained as Kirby’s inker for most of the rest of his DC run. According to Berry, “Mike said to me, “You won’t have any problems. Just follow the lines.” Keep in mind I came out of the advertising business. When an art director tells you the way a thing should be done, it’s the rule of the game. Mike said, “follow the lines,” and that is exactly what I did.” (10) Trying to remain faithful to Kirby’s pencils as Royer had been, Berry approached the inks like a schematic, using mechanical pens and tools, which produced a static even line width (unlike Royer who employed brushes for a robust result.) The end result was that he broke Jack’s pencils into shapes and patterns, an earmark of product illustration, to mixed effect. Oddly, none of these techniques are evidenced in Berry’s own artwork.

(10) NAME OFF. “UC Berkeley removes Kroeber Hall name, noting Native Americans” reports the Los Angeles Times. Alfred Louis Kroeber was Ursula K. Le Guin’s father.

A UC Berkeley campus building will be stripped of its name because of the legacy of its namesake, an anthropologist whose work included the “immoral and unethical” collection of Native American remains, the university announced Tuesday.

Kroeber Hall, named after Alfred Louis Kroeber, will be stripped of its name in a year’s time and will temporarily be called the Anthropology and Art Practice Building.

The university’s Building Name Review Committee announced the decision Tuesday after unanimously voting to remove the name last fall. Last year, the university renamed two other buildings over their namesakes’ controversial legacies of promoting racist rhetoric and colonialist ideas…

(11) BONGING TOGETHER. John Scalzi pointed readers at this video in “I Was Gonna Complain About Something Today, But This Video of an Acapella Group Doing Windows Sounds is Much Nicer”.

(12) THE HORROR. In “Pee -wee Park – The Full Horror Trailer” on YouTube, Pixel Riot asks what would happen if all the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were replaced with Pee Wee Herman!

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Cora Buhlert, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

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42 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/27/21 On The AT-Atkitchson, Twinpeaka, And The Scrollta-Fe

  1. 1) FIRST

    Yeah, I was gobsmacked that half of SFF twitter went to bat for me

  2. 9) The D. Bruce Berry article really takes me back.

    Though it was Richard Geis’ SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW (in 1968, iirc) that got me really involved in SF fandom, I’d been aware of comics fandom for several years before that (my oldest brother and I both liked comics, to the point of smuggling them into the house past our disapproving mom), including sampling some of the comic fanzines being published back in the mid-60’s. I remember that Berry art from FANTASY ILLUSTRATED and STAR-STUDDED COMICS.

  3. (10) “Alfred Kroeber: A Personal Configuration” by Theodora Kroeber might give some additional dimension to that decision. By this, I do not mean that his actions didn’t cause harm, or that his name should remain on that building, but he was a better person than his times demanded of him.

  4. Jeff Smith: Fair enough — to avoid shocking any more Filers I’ve changed the header to something less abrupt.

  5. Fifth?

    7) Even thinking about Galactica 1980 hurts my brain, but I thought that Lorne Greene was not playing Adama from the original series, but was playing his son Apollo from the original series all grown up and having taken on the mantle of leadership for the fleet?

    Or am I misremembering a terrible, terrible show?

  6. Joe H. says Even thinking about Galactica 1980 hurts my brain, but I thought that Lorne Greene was not playing Adama from the original series, but was playing his son Apollo from the original series all grown up and having taken on the mantle of leadership for the fleet?

    Or am I misremembering a terrible, terrible show?

    Yep you’re misremembering as it’s the same character. And yes, it was a terrible, terrible show. It gets a thirty three percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.

  7. 2) Is there a standard definition of “published”? Like, is “had a story in a small anthology that paid $25 for it” published? Or if it’s SFWA-rates, at what point in the process are you considered published? Like, if I’ve received notice of acceptance for my first thing at SFWA rates but the contracts aren’t happening until everyone undergoes an edits-and-final-versions round and the publication and payment aren’t happening for months, when am I a published writer? (There are a few things for unpublished writer where this has unexpectedly become relevant for me…)

    This is also, of course, all assuming that the anthology itself actually gets published this time. Which given its history is not a given.

    8) I am reminded of the class I took in college about America’s myths about farms, which included all of us alternating between laughing at and analyzing the significance of the extremely shiny and expensive Williams-Sonoma chicken coop.

  8. Kit Harding: The Hugos use words like “appeared” and “published”, and don’t supply any special definition, which strengthens my belief the dictionary definition of published applies to them —

    (of a book, journal, piece of music, etc.) prepared and issued for public sale or readership.
    “the collection includes the complete published works of Benjamin Britten”
    (of information) printed or made available online so as to be generally known.

    However, for purposes of being a professional writer, getting paid trumps everything, right? So you could be earning without yet being published.

  9. 6) “The Return of Starbuck” was rather good. As for the rest of Galactica 1980… well, not even me being nine years old could help it much.

    (Had the show gotten another season, Larson had a story in the works that was based on the Book of Enoch. Now that would have been my kind of weird shit.)

  10. Paul Weimer on January 27, 2021 at 6:52 pm said:

    1) FIRST

    Seriously, if I had the time and patience to do one of the big network diagrams of who is connected to who, I bet you would be right at the centre of it. 🙂

  11. (3) Last night I sent a correction to the SF dictionary – and received a reply email in five minutes and saw the correction made in 15. Very responsive!

    @Patrick Morris Miller: Yes, that’s the legendary “one good episode” of G:80. I suspect it was a left over script from the original BSG.

  12. What I remember most vividly about Galactica 1980 is Cylons being vulnerable to interference from microwave ovens. Which, I mean, I also remember when we’d use our microwave it’d throw interference lines across the TV that was two rooms away, so …

  13. Paul Weimer: Welcome back 🙂


    And I looked and behold a pale pixel, and their name who sat on them was ´Scroll title´”

  14. I interviewed Mimi Rogers in 1987 for the UT-Arlington student newspaper during her press tour for the movie Someone to Watch Over Me. It was at her hotel in Dallas with four other reporters. She had married Tom Cruise earlier that year.

    As the rest of us asked questions about the movie, one of the other reporters only wanted to ask questions like “What is it like to be married to Tom Cruise?” and “What is it like to look up at a movie screen and see the giant face of your handsome husband Tom Cruise?”

    He also didn’t wait for her to finish answering questions. He kept interjecting what he anticipated she would say. So when she started a response, “Doing a movie for Ridley Scott was a great chance for me to grow,” he said “as an actress?”

    I left the interview with a notepad full of useless sentence fragments and the full quote, “I don’t have to see him on the screen because I can see him at breakfast.”

  15. @Andrew (not Werdna)

    (3) Last night I sent a correction to the SF dictionary – and received a reply email in five minutes and saw the correction made in 15. Very responsive!

    The editor, Jesse Sheidlower, is a decent and cool guy. If you are into mixology and cocktails, his “Threesome Tollbooth” is another project you might find interesting.

  16. Re: “published.” Seems to me that for literary/journalistic purposes, there are two crucial components: 1) the text is made available to the public and 2) someone other than the originator chooses to do so. Variations on these requirements are indicated by modifiers such as “self” or “privately.”

    Even before the explosion of on-line publication, a great deal of fiction and poetry in the “little magazines” was “paid for” in contributor’s copies. The current on-line descendants of the littles can’t offer that perk (though some do have print incarnations and will supply a copy or two). But their contents are still edited–that is, the contributors are not the choosers. Such publications don’t meet SFWA-style standards for professional publication, but the material is out in the public, chosen by some gatekeeper/tastemaker. This is significantly different from putting one’s work up on one’s own blog or selling one’s own work via one’s own imprint. (Though if one sells enough, the “professional” descriptor can kick in pretty hard. Money changes everything, eh?)

  17. Addendum on publication: Academic writers are still not directly compensated for work appearing in scholarly journals (the payoff comes, theoretically, in the form of career points for job retention or promotion), but the acceptance and vetting process can be long and arduous. I used to get two copies of the journal–though sometimes it was only tearsheets for my files. Writing for reference books was more immediately rewarding monetarily–sometimes as much as $100 and a copy of a pretty pricey book.

  18. @Russell Letson:

    Reminds me of this interview with Stephenson https://slashdot.org/story/04/10/20/1518217/neal-stephenson-responds-with-wit-and-humor

    a while back, I went to a writers’ conference. I was making chitchat with another writer, a critically acclaimed literary novelist who taught at a university. She had never heard of me. After we’d exchanged a bit of of small talk, she asked me “And where do you teach?” just as naturally as one Slashdotter would ask another “And which distro do you use?”

    I was taken aback. “I don’t teach anywhere,” I said.

    Her turn to be taken aback. “Then what do you do?”

    “I’m…a writer,” I said. Which admittedly was a stupid thing to say, since she already knew that.

    “Yes, but what do you do?”

    I couldn’t think of how to answer the question—I’d already answered it!

    “You can’t make a living out of being a writer, so how do you make money?” she tried.

    “From…being a writer,” I stammered.

    At this point she finally got it, and her whole affect changed. She wasn’t snobbish about it. But it was obvious that, in her mind, the sort of writer who actually made a living from it was an entirely different creature from the sort she generally associated with.

  19. There’s a kind of lit’ry person** who will observe, marvelling, that Wallace Stevens was also an insurance executive, of all things. (Hey, so was Charles Ives. Whooda thunkit.)

    **I suspect that most of them have not yet finished college.

  20. @Kit Harding
    As far as I know, the Hugos don’t really care where something was published. Even if it was published on the author’s website or in a university journal with a circulation of 200, which pays in copies, it still counts as “published in the year 20XX”. It is possible to get an eligibility extension for a work that only saw very limited distribution, e.g. if the story published in a university journal with a circulation of 200 is later picked up by Lightspeed or Uncanny or whatever, but you need to submit a respective proposal to the Business Meeting in time. There have been a few of those eligibility extensions over the years, mostly involving movies which were only show at festivals.

    For the Astounding (formerly Campbell) Award, the rules are a little different, because the clock starts ticking with your first pro sale to a qualifying market. That sale to the university magazine with the tiny circulation doesn’t count or a lot of previous winners would have been ineligible.

    SFWA membership also requires sales to qualifying publishers or pro markets or making X amount of money from a self-published work within a year.

  21. There’s a kind of lit’ry person** who will observe, marvelling, that Wallace Stevens was also an insurance executive, of all things. (Hey, so was Charles Ives. Whooda thunkit.)

    So was Franz Kafka. And some time ago, some scholar dug up never before published Kafka manuscripts which turned out to be accident and risk reports for his day job.

    Should I ever get famous enough that scholars will scrutinise every bit of paper I ever wrote, I guess the world will eventually see the publication of the “Operation Manual for the SEPCON 40 oil/water separation unit” with scholarly annotations.

  22. Cora Buhlert: Years ago I heard a couple of scholars planned a paper based on what Tolkien wrote on recycled blue books from student exams.

  23. 7) Mimi Rogers co-starred with David Duchovny in the extremely strange movie ‘The Rapture’ from 1991. Pretty sure even practicing Christians would label this film a Fantasy.

  24. @Cora I shudder at the things that Scholars will find of mine to scrutinize, in a similar vein.

  25. William Carlos Williams was a physician in northern New Jersey (my parents knew him as Doctor Willliams (before I was born).

  26. @Cora Buhlert: The Astounding Award has laid out neat and clear criteria, which is nice of them.

    What I’m gathering from everyone’s responses is that there’s a way some large organizations do thing but there’s not a universally-accepted term of art and JMS going “one slot for an unpublished writer” is in fact just as vague as it sounds.

  27. @Andrew (not Werdna)

    (3) Last night I sent a correction to the SF dictionary – and received a reply email in five minutes and saw the correction made in 15. Very responsive!

    How does one do this? I didn’t see a pertinent link on the site.

  28. @Colin H: Sorry – I should have mentioned it was under that menu (up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t heard the term “hamburger menu” – I guess I’ve been out of the loop somehow).

  29. I was today years old when I discovered the term “hamburger icon”. Thanks; that’s a useful term!

  30. I learned that those three lines are called Hamburger Icon yesterday from my nephew. It is virtually identical to one of the trigrams of the I Ching, which I believe predates both computers and hamburgers.

    Another use of the term ‘publish’ occurs in the phrase ‘publish the bans’ and such, meaning the making public of some thing, in that case the intention of people to marry one another: it is traditionally done by reading aloud that intention three times on successive Sundays in the church where their friends and neighbors are likely to be in attendance.

  31. Jon DeCles: ‘publish the bans’

    I always thought it was “banns”. I think I learnt this from reading the gothic historical novels from my grandma’s book room, which I was allowed to raid from a very early age without adult interference. I’ve only just now looked up its etymology, though:

    Old English (ge)bann is a derivation from the verb bannan “to summon, command, proclaim” from an earlier Common Germanic *bannan “to command, forbid, banish, curse”

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