Pixel Scroll 1/3/19 Up Pixelscope

(1) NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON TALK SHOW PULLED. Variety’s Michael Schneider, in “Nat Geo Pulls Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s ‘Star Talk’ Amid Misconduct Allegations” says that the National Geographic Channel has suspended Neil deGrasse Tyson’s show StarTalk with only three of its 20 episodes broadcast because of the sexual harassment allegations against Tyson.  One of the unaired episodes was an interview with George R.R. Martin.  “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” the sequel to “Cosmos” is still scheduled to air on Fox starting March 4, because Tyson is such an integral part of that show that it would take massive recutting to take him out of it.

(2) BANDERSNATCH FEATURETTE. Netflix has posted an overview of its hit interactive TV production.

(3) THE FAR SIDE. China has announced that their far-side Lunar rover, Chang’e 4, has landed (CNN: “China lunar rover successfully touches down on far side of the moon, state media announces”).

In an historic first, China has successfully landed a rover on the far side of the moon, Chinese state media announced Thursday, a huge milestone for the nation as it attempts to position itself as a leading space power.

China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) landed the Chang’e 4 lunar probe at 10:26 am Beijing time on Thursday, in the South Pole-Aitken Basin which is an impact crater, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

It made its final descent from a landing orbit 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) above the moon’s surface.

State media reported the rover transmitted back the world’s first close range image of the far side of the moon. No other details were immediately available.

The 6-wheeled rover is fairly small (1.5x1x1 meters, not counting the foldable solar arrays). Communication with Earth is via a satellite put in Lunar orbit earlier in 2018. 

(4) A CITY OF COMICS CREATORS. With DC moving its headquarters to LA, and Marvel making movies there in Hollywood, there’s a rationale for caring about “The 10 Best Mainstream Comic Books By LA Creators Right Now” (LAist) even though it’s a thoroughly international industry.

Doomsday Clock goes deep into DC Comics lore, bringing back the legendary Watchmen team who had largely remained untouched since their creation by Alan Moore in the 1980s. L.A.-based writer Geoff Johns has always had a soft spot for the history of DC, bringing back the past to give new life to characters old and new.

He’s doing that again here with frequent teammate Gary Frank. Frank’s intricate style has put Doomsday Clock on an every-other-month schedule, which can make it harder to follow along, but the book looks gorgeous. It’s a meticulous art style combined with a meticulously written book, with little details to capture your imagination. It’s also bringing back other long lost DC characters, integrating them all in a giant blockbuster story that also manages to focus on character.

(5) LOSS OF A HOME LIBRARY EVOKES BOOK MEMORIES. From the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Datebook” — “Revisiting the ruins of a home — and its library of 2,000 books — lost in the Camp Fire” by Jaime O’Neill.

…The public library in Paradise was spared by the fire that leveled that town on Nov. 8. The fire that spared the town library didn’t spare mine, however. Since those books burned, I have spent some time taking a rough inventory of the books I lost, imagining the pages curling in the heat, the shelves that held them collapsing, the smoke from all those books joining with the smoke generated by everything else that was under our roof.

… There were books I’d given my wife for Christmases and birthdays, and books she’d given me on similar occasions. There was a novel I’d read more than four decades ago on a Christmas higher in the mountains, a modern ghost story by Kingsley Amis — “The Green Man” — that offered up its pleasures as I sat by the Franklin stove, snowed in, with nearly 4 feet of snow on the ground outside. There were books half-read, set aside when my fickle attentions were drawn to other books, but books I meant to return to, nonetheless, like a remarkable book about the Teapot Dome scandal by Laton McCartney, a story rich in parallels to our own time, with very rich con men pillaging at will under the stewardship of an incompetent and amoral president….

(6) STAYIN’ ALIVE. John Scalzi got a good post from interacting with points made in Lindsay Ellis’ video about “The Death of the Author” literary theory: “The Death of the Author! Maybe!” (He links to the video in his post.)

4. Authors know more about their worlds than you do, but maybe don’t have all the answers. …as it happens, sometimes writers and readers don’t find the same things important, with regard to the worldbuilding. As a result, readers sometimes think about certain things more than the authors have, and the authors get caught flatfooted when readers want to know more about that particular thing. Alternately sometimes the author kind of bullshits through something because they don’t think it’s important and later it comes back to bite them and has to be explained away. In Old Man’s War, I didn’t do any sort of real worldbuilding for Earth because I knew I was going to leave it in a chapter, and I didn’t think about whether I would ever write any sequels.

And then one day I was asked to write a sequel, and readers were asking why future Earth seemed exactly like now, and I had to recon my way out of my own laziness. It worked out okay (indeed the explanation became a seed for much of the series onward), but the point is, at the time of the original writing, there was no deep-seated reason for doing it other than “it doesn’t matter, so why bother.” Guess what! It mattered.

(7) FERGUSON OBIT. [By Guy H. Lillian III.] Eric Ferguson, Florida fan and onetime member of the Southern Fandom Press Alliance, was found deceased on January 3, 2019 in his home on Merritt Island, Florida. I personally spoke to the officer in charge, who merely told me that the investigation into Eric’s death was ongoing. No cause of death is yet known. He had been known to have suffered from severe intestinal troubles in the past, and hadn’t been active in fandom in some years.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

  • Born January 3, 1892 J.R.R. Tolkien. So what was the first work by him you read? For me, it was The Hobbit which I fell in love and still find terribly engaging in a way that I don’t, and no throwing rocks please, find The Lord of The Rings. I think it’s that it’s far me easier to lose myself in the work and enjoy what happens than struggle through the story of the latter. I’m also fond of The Road Goes Ever On, a song cycle taken from The Lord of The RingsThe Father Christmas Letters which a local Theater group enacted one year, and The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays. (Died 1973.)
  • Born January 3, 1940 Kinuko Y. Craft, 79. She is a Japanese-born American painter, illustrator and fantasy artist. True enough. So why is she here?  Because she had an amazing run of illustrating the covers of the Patricia McKillip novels until quite recently. I’m linking here to our review at Green Man of The Bards of Bone Plain for a favorite cover she did. There’s a slim volume on Imaginosis called Drawings & Paintings which collects some of her work.
  • Born January 3, 1956 Mel Gibson, 63. I know the first thing I saw was genre wise involving him was The Road Warrior  in a cinema which would some forty years ago. Likewise I saw Mad Max 2 and  Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome  in cinemas, but I admit have mixed feelings about both of those films. And I never even knew Mad Max: Fury Road existed until now, so it missed its released. He’s in FairyTale: A True Story, a look at the the Cottingley Fairy photographs of the 1920s, and voices John Smith in Pocahontas. He plays Hamlet in Hamlet but I really don’t think I can call that genre…
  • Born January 3, 1973 Dan Harmon, 46. Aside from being the creator of the hit animated series Rick and Morty, his series HarmonQuest has helped to bring Dungeons and Dragons to a new audience. Other credits include Community, Heat Vision and Jack, and Monster House. His work as a writer and executive producer for Channel 101 and Acceptable.tv has inspired many filmmakers that comedy and sci-fi/fantasy don’t have to be separate.
  • Born January 3, 1975 Danica McKellar, 44. From 2010–2013 and since 2018, she’s voiced Miss Martian in Young Justice. It’s starting its third season on the fourth of this month on the DC Universe service and it’s most excellent! She’s done far, far more voice work than I can list here, so if you’ve got something you like that she’s done, do mention it. 
  • Born January 3, 1984  — Brooke Williams, 35. For recurring roles, she’s been Catania in The Shannara Chronicles and Hannah in 12 Monkeys. She had a recurring also as Jennsen Rahl on Legend of the Seeker which is off novels by Terry Goodkind. She also played Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at  the Globe Theatre In London. Remember we agreed this was fantasy. Indeed she’s been in Sleeping Beauty and Jack and the Beanstalk, both in New Zealand productions! 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Candorville titles this strip “The Captain Pike Series Lemont Always Wanted.”

(10) FANZINE ON JEOPARDY! It happened January 1, and Andrew Porter, supplied a picture of this epic moment:

Answer: “Zine” is a short form of “Fanzine”, first associated with this genre; the Hugo Awards have honored zines since 1955.

Correct question: “What is Sci-Fi”?

And here’s the image off my TV:

(11) NO HUGOS, PLEASE. Camestros Felapton does his best to let us down easy – but he doesn’t want to be nominated for Best Fan Writer again: “So, I’m not doing an eligibility list this year…sort of…”

Put another way: the nomination etc WAS fun and nice but it made writing the blog less fun and less nice. Not in any terrible angsty torture like way but enough that I’ll skip the experience for 2019. That’s not a ‘NEVER AGAIN!’ just a ‘the view is lovely but I’m a bit puffed out from walking up this hill and tomorrow I’d like to stay in the pub and look at the next big hill from below in the beer garden, thanks’. It was also a bit like eating celery but that analogy requires more explanation and really doesn’t help get the point across.

(12) MORE NOT CHEERY STUFF. Trailer for season 2 of Marvel’s The Punisher

He isn’t the one who dies. He’s the one that does the killing. Season 2 of Marvel’s The Punisher debuts exclusively on Netflix January 18.

(13) LET’S GET THAT CLEARED UP. Snopes.com, in their “Daily Debunker” for Jan. 2nd writes:

“Did CBS Report That ‘Elites Are Lining Up to Ingest the Blood of Children’?”

A report that went viral after supposedly appearing on CBS News says that “world leaders and elite businessmen” routinely ingest the blood of human children to achieve “eternal youth.” … We feel absurd having to point this out, but no one outside of characters from mythology and vampire fiction consumes blood to keep from aging.

(14) ONE OF THE GREATEST ARGUMENTS IN POP CULTURE? SYFY Wire: “Debate Club: The 5 best sci-fi/horror remakes”:

Welcome to Debate Club, where Tim Grierson and Will Leitch, the hosts of the Grierson & Leitch podcast, tackle the greatest arguments in pop culture.

[…]  this week for Debate Club, we look at the best sci-fi and horror remakes, movies that did their own thing in their own way by working with something we already knew.

The five movies they chose are:

5. I Am Legend (2007)

4. War of the Worlds (2005)
3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
2. The Fly (1986)
1. The Thing (1982)

The article includes a rationale for each choice. Let your debates begin.

(15) BE ON THE LOOKOUT. The newest exotic Oreos flavor has arrived says Delish: “Carrot Cake Oreos Are Here So Much Earlier Than We Thought They’d Be!”

It’s a 2019 miracle! After Carrot Cake Oreos were rumored to be dropping this spring, some shoppers have taken to Instagram to share that the newest sandwich cookie flavor is already on shelves.

If we’re to take the Instagrammers’ words for fact, it’s looking like these babies are available at both Targets and Walmarts—though no word on whether they’ve hit every store yet.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsJtF6VBNuS/

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Funny or Die asks what would it be like “If The Lord Of The Rings Was A Sitcom.” For one thing, it would be called Northern Expo-Shire. For another, it would have a laugh track. Of course. And, it would be on at 8PM Mondays.

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

82 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/3/19 Up Pixelscope

  1. My first exposure to Tolkien was in 1977 — initially via the Rankin-Bass Hobbit cartoon (which is superior to the Jackson Hobbit movies in almost every conceivable way), which led inexorably to the book, which led ineluctably to Lord of the Rings, which led inevitably to … well, here I am, aren’t I?

    (This would’ve been the same year as Star Wars and Smokey & the Bandit, so: A very formative year for me.)

  2. (7) “Guy Lilliam”

    Also, there are some loose characters running around at the bottom of the scroll. No, not the hobbits: “t 1 Acce”

    Wait a minute. Those are my alphanumbers! I WIN!! See you later, ya buncha palookas!

    (Joe H., my roommate and I (living at a seedy residential hotel at the time) were looking forward to that. We hied ourselves to the TV room on our floor, and there was someone there already, watching a John Wayne movie. I don’t think I’ve managed to catch it at all. I like the BBC radio Hobbit, though it is a bit arch at times.)

  3. Kip Williams: Saying “Accio Scroll” didn’t work, but it did leave a mark.

    Correction made to Guy’s name. Appertain yourself your favorite beverage!

  4. (8) I’d call Hamlet genre fiction. Shakespeare’s literary reputation can’t bury speculative elements like ghost fathers and ear poison.

  5. I came to Hobbit through LOTR, via gatekeeping types who were very angry at me for not immediately recognizing it as a work of genius, and for not having already read it for that matter. And I didn’t really like Hobbit either, until I got ahold of a graphic novel version. Once I could see an illustrated rendering of exactly why someone might think this story was so awesome, I finally fell under its spell. Still can’t get into LOTR though, not even the movies.

  6. (8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

    Kinuko Y. Craft was Artist Guest of Honor for MidAmeriCon II, the Worldcon in Kansas City in 2016, and has a Chesley Award for Lifetime Achievement.

    Danica McKellar graduated summa cum laude with a mathematics degree from UCLA, and has a mathematical theorem, the Chayes-McKellar-Winn theorem, named after work she did with two collaborators.

  7. 8) I get confused by this one. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is one film. Is it supposed to be just plain Mad Max in the first sentence?

  8. I’m sure I read The Hobbit first, but while I’ve read it two or three times I’ve never loved it. On the other hand, I have loved LOTR every time I’ve read it. Sometimes I read it as a straight narrative, sometimes I read it constantly referring to the Appendix, filling in all the history. I enjoy it both ways.

    A couple times I have had to encourage people who were struggling with it to stick it out until the end of the first half of Fellowship, because at that point they know what it’s going to be like, and whether they should like it — which they don’t necessarily know at page 75 or wherever.

  9. Never said I didn’t read LOTR, just said I couldn’t get into it. Too many gatekeepers telling me I’ll suddenly decide I love broccoli once I eat enough of it. Kind of like how the first time I encountered 2001: A Space Odyssey it was in 8th grade Social Studies, where a teacher with a ’70s pornstache wearing a polyester leisure suit made sure we all knew the flying bone symbolized Man The Toolmaker. My deeper issues with Tolkein have to do with whether Man The Toolmaker is a positive role model or someone who needs to be thrown into a volcano.

    The Hobbit, though … that’s just a story about adventures and dragons and fun. Very enjoyable if you’re in the right frame of mind.

  10. Kinuko Y. Craft was Artist Guest of Honor for MidAmeriCon II, the Worldcon in Kansas City in 2016, and has a Chesley Award for Lifetime Achievement.

    Hasn’t Craft also been shortlisted for the Pro Artist Hugo a few times? Or am I misremembering?

  11. Morning.

    Barely.

    No sun yet.

    Even here in 7222, we haven’t yet fixed the serious problem of no sunlight at this hour, at this time of year.

  12. 13. Yet there is a (scammy) research company pushing transfusions of “young blood”, and, of course there’s that possible scandal currently being investigated by Good ol’ Jack Barron….

  13. Charon D. says The Hobbit, though … that’s just a story about adventures and dragons and fun. Very enjoyable if you’re in the right frame of mind.

    Precisely. It’s a story that I can get into and enjoy without a lot of deep underlying issues taking places. Yes, I know it’s laying the groundwork for what happens later but that’s pretty much hidden away.

  14. I read The Hobbit first, and wasn’t all that struck on it… then, a few years later, I read The Lord of the Rings and liked it a whole lot. Why? Your guess is as good as mine… file it under “some people just like different stuff”. Or like the same stuff but in different ways. Something like that. Probably.

  15. Hampus; re Mad Max
    Here in the States there was lots of confusion about the titles and sequences of the Mad Max series. The first film seen in the US was “Mad Max” subtitled “The Road Warrior”. This was actually the second production of George Miller’s series but probably for Hollywood marketing reasons the number 2 was omitted from the adverts. Later on the first film “Mad Max” appeared in video stores. I don’t believe that “Mad Max (#1)” ever had screen showings, but hanging a #2 on “The Road Warrior” retroactively goosed up video rentals by making people think “Hey, how/when did i miss #1?”
    So, the order of appearance in the States (and probably worldwide release, once they realized they had a box office winner) was not the order of production/release Down Under. The title numeration is correct but confusing, and Mad Max 4 is not a continuation but a “Revisit” according to Miller.
    If the Mad Max movies are your Cup of Gagh, i’d recommend seeing #4 “Fury Road”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Max_(franchise)

    Odd-Stalk!

  16. Steve Wright states that I read The Hobbit first, and wasn’t all that struck on it… then, a few years later, I read The Lord of the Rings and liked it a whole lot. Why? Your guess is as good as mine… file it under “some people just like different stuff”. Or like the same stuff but in different ways. Something like that. Probably.

    I do find it interesting that there are Hobbit and Lord of the Rings readers but very few who overlap in saying that they liked both of them equally. (Now I’ll get lots of replies saying “Hey, I like both!”) The Hobbit to me is one of those perfect novels that one so rarely encounters and for that I treasure it.

  17. I do like them both, but if I had to choose just one, it’d be Lord of the Rings. To quote the man himself: “It is a fair tale, though it is sad, as are all the tales of Middle-earth, and yet it may lift up your hearts.”

    (TBH, I might even slot The Silmarillion in before The Hobbit. I do like the Hobbit, but the tone sometimes has just a bit more of the Let Me Tell You a Jolly Adventure tone than I might otherwise prefer.)

    I’ll also add another recommendation for Mad Max: Fury Road, and point out (at the almost certain risk of stating the incredibly obvious) that Mel Gibson was nowhere near this one; the title role was played by Tom Hardy.

  18. So, on January 19 Netflix will announce Punisher is cancelled?

    This scroll is long and full of pixels

  19. My first exposure to The Hobbit was also the cartoon, as well as the cartoon versions of the Lord of the Rings. A local channel in NY was going to show them all in a weekend. I decided I should cram and read all the books in preparation, with just a few days warning. I was 10 or 11 at the time. I managed it, and was immediately confused with the changes, and a certain infamous earwormy song…

  20. @steve davidson of course there’s that possible scandal currently being investigated by Good ol’ Jack Barron…

    Good spot. My first thought was that “elites” is a dogwhistle and it’s just another version of the blood libel.

  21. I also read the Hobbit immediately after seeing the cartoon, then read LotR and the Silmarillion too (this was a very good year for me – I read Foundation, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the Taran books and a bunch of other stuff (did you know that the Silmarillion came out the same year as Silver on the Tree?)

    @13: Reminds me of Methuselah’s Children, in more ways than one (an apparently tolerant society turns on a small minority)

  22. Read The Hobbit first because the LR paperbacks informed me it was written 1st. I had to wait for The Hobbit, the bookstore had LR 1st in the Remington covers, ~1967. Loved The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was even better. So far LR has been the best with H not far behind.
    But I love the rest, especially Leaf by Niggle. Tolkien’s art is amazing. If you can see the Tolkien Maker of Middle-earth exhibit in NYC, starts this month.

  23. If I interpreted her Twitter feed correctly, January 3 is also Seanan McGuire’s birthday. (At least, a lot of birthday references showed up there yesterday. So it’s definitely early January.)

  24. I read The Hobbit in a day, while I was home sick from junior high. By definition, I was older when I read LoTR (and I don’t recall how much older, but I was probably reading the copy of the set that I bought for 29¢ a volume at The Book Shop). I had enjoyed the chummy Milnean narrator asides of the first book, but didn’t miss them at all (to the extent of not noticing they weren’t present) in the trilogy.

  25. While the Hobbit and LOTR are formidable, my favorite Tolkien read was the story Smith of Wootton Major. It is a tale of Faery that is probably inspired by Lord Dunsany, and it lives up to the high bar set by its predecessors.

    FYI,, there is a 1967 Caedmon LP (i.e. vinyl record) called Poems and Songs of Middle Earth. The A side features Tolkien reading the Adventures of Tom Bombadil, while the B side features Tolkien reading some Elvish as well as a musical performance of The Road Goes Ever On with Donald Swann (of the British comedy duo Flanders & Swann) on piano and William Elvin singing.

    Has anyone heard this album? I saw it once but left it for someone who loved Tolkien more.

  26. Rob Thornton said:
    FYI,, there is a 1967 Caedmon LP (i.e. vinyl record) called Poems and Songs of Middle Earth.

    There’s also an LP with Tolkien reading The Riddle Scene. I may still have it, even, ditto perhaps several other spoken word sf LPs.

  27. I’d not really considered it before but I think I’d be prepared to argue either side of Lord of the Rings vs The Hobbit. LotR is very big and messy and ambitious and has lots of things wrong with it, where The Hobbit is a very fine execution of something more limited.

  28. @Kevin Harkness re @8: I’m not sure ear poison is genre (my English class spent way too much time arguing over what this could have been in reality), but I agree that it’s a funny kind of genre-vs-mundane line that has the ghost in Hamlet on one side and the fair folk of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the other.

    @Andrew: that’s an interesting stretch of the original story; ISTM there’s a difference between “world leaders and elite businessmen” and “the people next door” (which RAH tells us the Children are — although without any of the agita more-thoughtful authors have gone through about the long-lived needing to move to new neighbors to avoid being noticed). It’s less of a stretch in @Sophie Jane’s reading.

  29. Personal tastes, evolving: I was blown away by LoTR in 9th grade. I don’t remember much of a reaction to The Hobbit whenever I finally found it, but on ~recent rereads I found it twee and LoTR overblown (and the latter without the post-movie discussion of *isms built into it). Contra the saying, I’m not sure there is a personal golden age; one never knows which work one’s personal suck fairy will visit.

  30. I honestly can’t remember when I first read The Hobbit — whether it was before LOTR or after. I clearly remember reading LOTR in junior high, walking around between classes with my nose in the book for weeks because I desperately needed to finish it. I tried a re-read of The Hobbit a few years ago and found that I now have an allergy to the intrusive-narrator style. (Although it suits the nature of the story very well, I will grant.) But then, I did a re-read of LOTR a couple decades back (I recall doing a read-aloud during a long road trip) and found that the very archaic/formal narration style wasn’t as attractive any more as when I first read it. Neither experience was what I’d call a suck fairy event, just realizing that I’d read the books at exactly the time I ought to have read them.

  31. (8) And I never even knew Mad Max: Fury Road existed until now,

    Whoever wrote this (Cat?), you’re in for a treat.

    This movie makes clear that while Max is the title character, he isn’t really the star of the show; it’s the people he falls in with. In this particular case, it’s the character played by Charlize Theron. There’s also some mind-boggling practical effects (very little CGI), and the editor (I think her name is Margaret Sixel? Director George Miller’s wife, anyway) won an Oscar for her work.

    (15) Gah. That’s taking a debatable good thing way too far.

  32. Cassy B. says If I interpreted her Twitter feed correctly, January 3 is also Seanan McGuire’s birthday. (At least, a lot of birthday references showed up there yesterday. So it’s definitely early January.)

    No, she’s January 5th.

  33. @Chip: I was also thinking of the end of Methusaleh’s Children where the people left behind invent life-extension which is based on transfusion of fresh blood. The Children were just the people-next-door, but that doesn’t mean that a world convinced that they are deliberately withholding the secret of immortality won’t paint them as a “secret elite.”

    I have tried to reread “The Hobbit” as an adult, and found that it just doesn’t work for me anymore. I’m currently rereading LotR for the first time in ages, and am still enjoying it (even if not in the same way I did when I was 13).

  34. I remember we all read The Hobbit in English class when I was around 12 or 13. We drew up a table of Dwarven runes and decoded the writing at the beginning. I also remember not liking it at first, but I think this was more a reaction against being obliged to read it rather than the story itself.

    Shortly afterwards my best friend persuaded me to read The Lord Of The Rings. As it goes, it wasn’t immediately available in the school library so, at the librarian’s recommendation, I would up reading A Wizard Of Earthsea first.

    But once I got hold of LOTR, I became obsessed. I’ve read it more times than I can remember. I’ve read The Silmarillion 3 or 4 times. I’ve read Unfinished Tales and was disappointed to find that the title was intended to be taken literally.

    For me, I prefer LOTR and The Silmarillion to The Hobbit. I think it’s the epic scale that appeals. The sense of heroism and doom and nostalgia. I don’t think I’ll read LOTR again, suspecting that I may find the style a little clunky now.

  35. Cassy B. says Cat, my mistake. Thanks for the correction.

    I had to check my sources for Birthdays to sure as I knew it was this week and it was possible I missed her which would’ve been a pity as she’s one one of my favorite authors. Right now, she’s the only author I see worth writing up for tomorrow. (Let loose the howls of protest…)

  36. @Sophie: I think that’s a reasonable suspicion given the source – News Punch is aimed at a far-right audience, and that kind of wording about “elites” is a handy way to simultaneously appeal to antisemites and people who aren’t antisemitic per se but believe basically all the same things about, say, liberals.

    The only good thing to come out of all the bad science reporting about that blood experiment was a pretty good joke on “Silicon Valley”, where a tech tycoon has been getting regular transfusions from a super-health-conscious young dude whom he has on salary for this purpose… only to discover that the dude’s clean living is a fiction: he really spends all his time getting high and eating junk food.

  37. I must have been around eight years old when I read The Hobbit. It was the version with the drawings by Tove Jansson. And while I loved it, it wasn’t that far from other fairy tales I’d read.

    LOTR had to wait a year or two, I tried at the same time, but couldn’t get into it. But when I finally read it, it blew my mind. There wasn’t a happy ending! Sure, the bad guy was defeated, there was some kind of peace, but when they came home, their own village had been affected. And Frodo never recovered. I had never read anything like that before and found it captivating. So LOTR will always be the more special for me. That one and Letters From Father Christmas with its wonderful drawings.

  38. Shakespeare:

    It’s clear to me that A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest are fantasy through and through, thus leading to Poul Anderson’s novel. Hamlet and Macbeth have supernatural elements, but don’t focus on them so much. I don’t know the entire body of plays well enough to know whether any of the others have fantastic elements.

  39. Of course Hamlet is genre. The Kenneth Branagh adaptation had Charlton Heston as the Player King, and Heston is so genre that everything he is associated with is genre by osmosis. QED.

    @Cat Eldridge
    [Seanan McGuire] is the only author I see worth writing up for [Jan 5].
    Well, there’s Michael O’Donoghue (1/5/1940 – 11/8/1994), who wrote/cowrote the famous “Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise” sketch for Saturday Night Live and the 1988 Bill Murray version of Scrooged.

    And there’s artist Russ Manning (1/5/1929 – 12/1/1981), who created and drew the Gold Key comic book character Magnus: Robot Fighter; who drew the Tarzan comic book from 1965 – 1969 and the Tarzan newspaper comic strip from 1967 – 1972; and the Star Wars newspaper strip from 1979 – 1980.

    And there’s Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (b. 1/5/1941), who created so many of Studio Ghibli’s wonderful films.

    I have not yet begun to scroll.

  40. Mad Max was definitely released in the US before Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. (The Imdb has the release date as February 15, 1980 in Seguin, Texas.) I remember seeing ads for it on TV and thinking it looked like another Roger Corman film like Death Race 2000.

    For whatever reason, they decided to release the second movie as The Road Warrior in the US. Honestly, I like that title better than Mad Max 2.

  41. There was buzz (before “buzz” was much of a Thing) about LotR when the books were available only in the UK editions–I first heard of it in, I think, an editorial in Fantastic in the early 1960s. I first laid eyes on the books in January 1965 in Foyles in Charing Cross Road–a whole table piled with the George Allen & Unwin editions. (I recall the time because I spent my 20th birthday in London.) I had neither the money nor luggage space to get them. But after I got home, the unauthorized Ace paperbacks with the Jack Gaughan covers were available, and I grabbed them and tore through them. Also bought the legal, revised Ballantine paperbacks when they appeared. (I loaned the Ace set to some friends and never got them back. Too bad–they’re quite the collectible.) For Christmas of ’67 or ’68, my sister gave me the book and record of Donald Swan’s The Road Goes Ever On settings–both are somewhere in the archives downstairs.

    In grad school, I took a seminar on the Inklings–or, as Mark Hillegas called them, the Oxford Christians–that included LotR along with work by C. S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, and Charles Williams. I recall that the title page of my seminar paper on Tolkien was rendered in tengwar script. (I was at the time a medievalist and much interested in calligraphy, runic writing, and such.) Tolkien and Lewis kept popping up in my coursework because both were medieval scholars and had written about the fantastic, and those were my areas of specialization.

  42. Count me among the folks that enjoyed both The Hobbit and LOTR. And The Silmarillion, FWIW. They each had unique features that make them worth reading, so I can see where someone might appreciate one work significantly more than the rest. They all worked for me in their own way. Re-readings continue to be satisfactory for me.

    I’ve tried some of the later works (i.e. Beren and Luthien, etc.) and was less satisfied.

    On a related note, I’ve been listening to Corey Olsen’s The Tolkien Professor podcast more regularly lately. I’m up to episode 40 and am usually equally entertained and educated as a result.

    Professor Olsen is respectful of Tolkien, his original works, as well as derivative works such as the movies.

    Regards,
    Dann
    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. John Stuart Mill

  43. David Shallcross: Hamlet and Macbeth have supernatural elements, but don’t focus on them so much.
    Sometimes genre elements are there just to move the story along. FTL gets you to the Ewoks. The Siege Perilous gets you to Witch World. The ghost gets you to revenge. Apparently, the ear poison gets you to heated discussions in English class. Now I really want to know what the verdict was on the poison’s nature.

  44. I liked LOTR and the Hobbit as a teen. Didn’t read it five times in one year, as did some of my friends.. Twice in three years was good, because there were so many other books to read. Haven’t understood the obsession some people get linking into one writer and nothing else.

    My wife didn’t like LOTR, and called it a very big and overly long boy’s book. She preferred DUNE. I read DUNE and it made me thirsty.

    I’ll go down to the computer bank and watch peaceful pixels scroll…

  45. bill says And there’s artist Russ Manning (1/5/1929 – 12/1/1981), who created and drew the Gold Key comic book character Magnus: Robot Fighter; who drew the Tarzan comic book from 1965 – 1969 and the Tarzan newspaper comic strip from 1967 – 1972; and the Star Wars newspaper strip from 1979 – 1980.

    Congrats, you’ve created a Birthday for tomorrow. I’ve even credited you as doing so.

  46. Mom says she first read LotR while she was pregnant with me, and it has definitely shows. I’m pretty sure I was in my early teens when I read her 60s paperbacks with the cool covers. From there I went on to the Fritz Lieber Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series.

    I haven’t re-read them in a while, though, so perhaps it may be time to do that. However, right now Mount TBR is reaching the sky, so I need to get through at least some of that first!

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