Pixel Scroll 1/9/23 Pixeling The Night Away

(1) CHENGDU WORLDCON WSFS MEMBERSHIPS. The Chengdu Worldcon website has posted this description of its process for dealing with non-Chinese credit cards: “About Credit Card”.

Currently, you can purchase WSFS membership and admissions by transfer fees directly to our collaborator.

1.Please note the Order Number on the the transfer form.

2.Please upload a screenshot of the transfer receipt by clicking any of the “Receipt” buttons. We will check it and confirm your Order.

“WSFS membership” is the newly ratified terminology for memberships that come with Hugo voting rights and qualify the holder to buy a site selection voting membership.

The deadline to acquire a WSFS membership in Chengdu is 22 days away (based on WSFS 3.7.1) if you want to nominate for the Hugos.

(2) CAPTAIN FUTURE’S FUTURE. Allen Steele says he’s returning to Captain Future in 2023, beginning with these two items:

…The first is a new web site dedicated to my Captain Stories novels as well as Edmond Hamilton’s original. Here’s the link:

It’s still a work in progress and there’s not much there right now, but if you’ll toggle the tab marked History, you’ll find a brand-new essay, “The Original Captain Future”, about the genesis and history of the Hamilton series. Other items to be added soon will be an illustrated Captain Future bibliography featuring scans of the 40’s pulp covers, a short bio of series creator Edmond Hamilton, and — wait for it — an upcoming podcast featuring yours truly reading the Captain Future books I wrote as a series of regular installments.

The other major CF project I’m planning will be writing a new Captain Future novella. This will be a standalone story, told in one installment and unrelated to the previous stories. I’m not going to say much about it (I haven’t even settled on the title) but I’ll drop a hint: it has to do with a NASA Apollo mission of the 70’s that was tentatively planned but never flown….

(3) WELLES REMEMBERED. Steve Vertlieb invites you to read his article “Xanadu: A Castle in the Clouds: The Life of Orson Welles at The Thunderchild.

Celebrating the genius of this extraordinary artist with my published look at the turbulent life and career of Orson Welles, the fabulous, visionary film maker whose personal demons sadly overshadowed his staggering talent, and finally, tragically destroyed him.

Yet, in spite of his personal failings or, perhaps, because of them, Welles rose to become one of the most remarkable film makers of his, or any other generation.

From his groundbreaking first feature length motion picture “Citizen Kane,” regarded by many still as the greatest single film in motion picture history, to “Touch Of Evil,” his remarkable “Cinema Noir” tale of a squandered life and legacy corrupted by bribery and temptation, Welles remains one of the most extraordinary directors in the history of film.

His is a story of unwitting sabotaged achievement and haunting, incomparable genius.

Here, then, is “Xanadu: A Castle In Clouds … The Life of Orson Welles.”

(4) SCALZI SCOFFS. John Scalzi explains something about SFWA.

(5) FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES. [Item by Daniel Dern.] CNN’s Chris Wallace interviews Hugh Jackman on signing up for another round of Wolverine  (this time with Deadpool).

Some interesting stuff; mostly, I’m amused by this being a medium-long CNN segment.

(6) GENRE LOVE. The “Art Directors Guild Awards 2023 Nominations” in Variety cover film and TV in 14 categories. This isn’t one File 770 devotes standalone posts to, however, the award does boast a separate Fantasy Feature Film category. The nominees are —

FANTASY FEATURE FILM

“Avatar: The Way of Water” (Production Designers: Dylan Cole, Ben Procter)
“The Batman” (Production Designer: James Chinlund)
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Production Designer: Hannah Beachler)
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (Production Designer: Jason Kisvarday)
“Nope” (Production Designer: Ruth De Jong)

Winners will be named at the ADG Awards ceremony on February 18.

(7) FREE READ. The Library of America’s “Story of the Week” is “A Scarab in the City of Time” by Marta Randall.

“I wasn’t going to be the one stuck at home baking cookies,” Marta Randall tells readers on her website. “I was going to be the one balancing on the raft in the lashing seas, gripping the mast with one hand while the other held on to the cookies somebody else had baked.”

Fifty years ago, in 1973, Randall published her first story in New Worlds Quarterly 5, a paperback series edited during the 1970s by British science fiction writer Michael Moorcock. (Despite its name, the “quarterly” came out only once or twice a year.) That summer, she attended a science fiction convention in San Francisco and met Robert Silverberg, whose novel A Time of Changes had recently won the Nebula Award. The two authors had a friendly argument about short stories; as Silverberg remembered it, she “preferred the sort of stories with an identifiable beginning, middle, and end,” and he responded that he did as well—but he didn’t “necessarily require that they happen in that order.” He wrote, “As is usual in such debates, neither of us held as extreme a position as it might have seemed to the other.” Six months later, Randall shared with him, “with some trepidation,” her second piece of fiction; “I read it on the spot and rather to her surprise accepted it then and there.” The story, “A Scarab in the City of Time,” was published the following year in the fifth issue of New Dimensions, an annual publication that Silverberg edited between 1971 and 1981….

(8) MORE ON PARTINGTON. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] SF2 Concatenation has published its Charles Partington tribute, an expanded and more illustrated version of the File 770 tribute last month. Charles was a lifelong SF aficionado, an SF fan, conrunner, fanzine editor, publisher, prozine editor and an all round, good egg.

Charles Partington

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1980 [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

So let’s talk about tea. Tea has described by Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I’ve had tea served to me on a tea plantation high in the mountains of Sri Lanka by some of the Hindu population there that has been harvesting tea by hand for centuries now, so I can sympathize with Arthur when the machine doesn’t understand tea. The English, wherever they are, love tea.

Then he decided he’d be damned if he’d give up.

“No,” he said, “look, it’s very, very simple … all I want … is a cup of tea. You are going to make one for me. Keep quiet and listen.”

And he sat. He told the Nutri-Matic about India, he told it about China, he told it about Ceylon. He told it about broad leaves drying in the sun. He told it about silver teapots. He told it about summer afternoons on the lawn. He told it about putting in the milk before the tea so it wouldn’t get scalded. He even told it (briefly) about the history of the East India Company.

“So that’s it, is it?” said the Nutri-Matic when he had finished.

“Yes,” said Arthur, “that is what I want.”

“You want the taste of dried leaves boiled in water?”

“Er, yes. With milk.”

“Squirted out of a cow?”

“Well, in a manner of speaking I suppose …”

“I’m going to need some help with this one,” said the machine tersely. All the cheerful burbling had dropped out of its voice and it now meant business.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 9, 1890 Karel Čapek . Author of the 1936 novel War with the Newts and 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), which introduced the word robot. R.U.R.was a dystopian work about a really bad day at a factory populated with sentient androids. ISFDB shows two additional works by him, Krakatit: An Atomic Fantasy and The Absolute at Large which I’ve not heard of. (Died 1938.)
  • Born January 9, 1931 Algis Budrys. I think I remember reading his Some Will Not Die which I remember because of the 1979 Starblaze edition cover. I’ve also read and enjoyed his Rogue Moon. Setting aside his work as a writer which was exemplary, he was considered one of our best genre reviewers ever reviewing for GalaxyMagazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and even in Playboy. He edited a number of the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future anthologies. (Died 2008.)
  • Born January 9, 1950 David Johansen, 73. He’s the wisecracking Ghost of Christmas Past in the oh-so-perfect Scrooged, he played Halston in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie in “The Cat from Hell” episode, and he appeared as a character named Brad in Freejack. I think the brief Ghost of Christmas Past riff in the aforementioned Scrooged is enough to earn him as Birthday Honors here.
  • Born January 9, 1955 J.K. Simmons, 68. You may know him as J. Jonah Jameson in the various Spider-Man films but I find his more interesting genre role to be as Howard Silk in the Counterpart series where he plays two versions of himself in two versions of parallel Berlins in a spy service that may or may not exist. He also portrayed Commissioner James Gordon in Justice League.
  • Born January 9, 1956 Imelda Staunton, 67. Voice of the Snow Queen in The Snow Queen’s Revenge, A Nurse in Shakespeare in Love, Polly in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dolores Jane Umbridge In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which I thought was a so-so film at best) and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as well and Knotgrass In Maleficent and the sequel. 
  • Born January 9, 1957 Greg Ketter, 66. A Minneapolis SF bookstore owner, Dreamhaven to be precise in its new incarnation, a huckster, and con-running fan as well. He is a member of MN-Stf. He’s been involved in myriad regionals and Worldcons. He‘s chaired Minicons and World Fantasy Conventions alike.
  • Born January 9, 1976 Jenna Felice. Tor Books Editor. She suffered what the doctors are called a massive allergic reaction compounded by asthma. She died having never emerged from her coma. There’s a memorial page for her here. (Died 2001.)

(11) MERGER MANIA. Put ‘em together and what do you get? “Marvel Comics Celebrates 100 Years of Disney with Variant Covers Starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and More”.

…The variant program in honor of Disney100 will celebrate Marvel’s past, present, and future through the classic “What If” lens with a fantastic reimagining of Marvel’s most classic comic book covers. While the initial trio of these first-of-its-kind art pieces paid homage to the foundational stories of the Marvel Universe, the next set will celebrate some of Marvel’s more modern game changing stories! See Disney’s iconic characters immersed in pivotal moments of the Marvel mythos including the earth-shattering 90s event Infinity Gauntlet, the debut of the lineup of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that would define the 2000s in New Avengers #1, and the transformative journey Tony Stark went on in the pages of Invincible Iron Man.

With 12 covers in total, fans can look forward to a new Disney100 variant cover (also available in Black and White versions) hitting stands each month of 2023 at local comic book shops. The variant covers will be found on select upcoming issues of Amazing Spider-Man starting with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #17 on January 11….

(12) HERE’S WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF NEXT. The Guardian tells about “Chameleon cars, urine scanners and other standouts from CES 2023”.

From colour-changing cars, dual-screen laptops and satellite emergency texts to AI-ovens and a urine-scanning smart toilet upgrade, the annual CES tech show in Las Vegas had more concepts of the future on show than ever before….

Asus glasses-free 3D display

Asus’s Vivobook Pro laptop with a 3D screen hopes to succeed where 3D TVs failed – as no glasses required. Using an eye-tracking camera system and a lenticular lens built into the 16in OLED screen, the laptop can accurately display a different image for each eye giving the impression of 3D, including objects that jump out of the screen. It will play 3D movies and games but is most impressive with creative software, for which Asus has developed plugins to take advantage of the screen.

The laptop is expected be available later this year and joins rival devices from Acer and Sony in trying to make glass-free 3D computer screens a reality….

(13) BIRDS DON’T DO IT, BEES DO IT. CNN is there when “USDA approves first-ever vaccine for honeybees”. So how do you administer that anyway? Is this another take on Digby’s lyric, “Like you need teeny tiny branding irons for ants”?

The United States Department of Agriculture has approved the first-ever vaccine for honeybees to prevent American foulbrood disease, a fatal bacterial disease that can destroy honeybee colonies, officials say.

The USDA told CNN that it issued a conditional vaccine license to Diamond Animal Health, the collaborating manufacturer for Dalan Animal Health, on December 29. The agency said that it was its “first licensure of a honeybee product.”…

(14) PAUSE AND EFFECTS. “Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’ in Peril As Crew Exits”The Hollywood Reporter tells why.

Francis Ford Coppola’s latest movie, the sci-fi-tinged Megalopolis, has descended into chaos, according to multiple sources. The movie, currently halfway through shooting in Atlanta, has in the last week lost key creative talent including its production designer and supervising art director. That’s on top of losing the entire visual effects team in the first part of December.  

To many insiders, the production is giving severe Apocalypse Now redux vibes, and it’s one on which the iconoclastic 83-year-old director is breaking a cardinal Hollywood rule: Never spend your own money.

…Sources say Coppola, who has never made an effects-heavy movie, fired almost his entire visual effects team Dec. 9, with the rest of that department soon following. Mark Russell, a veteran whose credits include In the Heights and The Wolf of Wall Street, was leading the team as visual effects supervisor. (Coppola famously fired his visual effects department on Dracula 30 years ago.)…

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Eleanor Morton plays both authors as C.S. Lewis tells J.R.R. Tolkien about his new book.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Olav Rokne, Peer, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

26 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/9/23 Pixeling The Night Away

  1. (4) Just what a behind-the-scenes mastermind would say.

    (10) I think there’s a duplicate sentence in the JK Simmons entry

  2. Having a duplication of that JK Simmons info was thematically appropriate, being about him playing two versions of a character, however, I will take it out anyway.

  3. (5) FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES.
    I woulda thought more like “There Ain’t No Sanity Claws” or “Seventy-Snikt Trombones.” Or “Two healing factors, no waiting.”

  4. Truthfully I did consider the possibility that the duplication was a joke I wasn’t quite getting.

  5. (13) I think I can hear my father cheering for this. (He had bees as a hobby. Once he spent the night destroying an infected hive. This is a nasty, nasty disease.)

  6. Andrew (not Werdna) days Truthfully I did consider the possibility that the duplication was a joke I wasn’t quite getting.

    I still like that wording given the roles(s) he was playing. And we don’t know that there was only two different versions of that world, do we? It’s assumed that there was, but…

  7. 9) one thing should be made clear. Random leaves boiled in water are not tea. Only yea leaves boiled in water are tea. The milk is optional.

    12) I can’t imagine who would want to buy a color changing car. Maybe it would help in your alibi for the murder? ( my car is green, the murderer drive a red car)

  8. 5) I believe that is Chris Wallace interviewing
    Hugh Jackman, not Jake Tapper.

  9. I saw a blurb somewhere about the bee vaccine that actually took a moment to say that it was administered by mixing it into sugar water. An oral vaccine, not an injected one. (Don’t remember where, sorry. Maybe the NYT daily newsletter?)

  10. 10) Simmons has been doing voice work too, including superhero Omni-man in the animated Invincible… and the voice of a talking glory hole (which may also be a god) in the visceral horror film Glorious.

  11. Found another link. Right about it being an oral vaccine, wrong about the sugar water:

    administering the drug involves mixing it in with the queen feed worker bees eat. The vaccine then makes its way into the “royal jelly” the drones to feed their queen.[sic] Her offspring will then be born with some immunity against the harmful bacteria.

  12. As a kid enjoyed the Anime Captain Future, mainly because of the aestehtics. I cant remember much of the plot. So Im vaguely interested in the orginal pulp stories for nostalgia reasons. Are the stories somewhat readable?

  13. One of the Edmond Hamilton Captain Future stories came up on the Retro Hugos, so I read it… given that the science and the attitudes are very much of their time, it’s OK overall. Hamilton is one of those pulp writers who get overlooked and under-rated these days – he can be a genuinely effective, evocative storyteller when he’s allowed to be.

  14. @Peer,

    yes, they are very readable, move along quickly and I enjoyed them.

    The unique thing that Allen has done is to retain the pulp-era feel, while updating the story/sensorium surrounding it for contemporary audiences. I refer to it as Neo Pulp to distinguish it from New Pulp.
    The difference is that New Pulp takes old pulp properties and creates new adventures for them. If the story was written in the 1930s, that’s the background, as are the assumptions & etc. (All fine, that’s not a negative criticism.)
    Neo Pulp takes those properties and then updates them for modern sensibilities, while preserving the “feel”; in New Pulp, for example, you’ll find hard boiled detectives smoke cigarettes. In Neo Pulp, there will be a sensible backgrouded explanation for why they don’t. In New Pulp, the battle of the sexes is usually translated directly to the new tale. In Neo Pulp, a character might be misogynistic, but it’s a character trait, not a base assumption of the entire background world.

    Allen has been quite serious about the series. For example, on the cover of the very first issue of the Captain Future magazine, Newton is shown firing a “blaster” (laser, or whatever a “future gun” is called) that is emitting rings of some kind.

    Allen went to physics resources and came up with a reason for how and why the vortex gun works. It’s not just “pulp” SF, it’s SF with research based world building set in a pulp milieu.

  15. Is anyone else concerned about sending “transfer fees” to a third party that will send you tokens? And you are cautioned to take a screen shot of the “transaction”?

    I’m not comfortable with any of that.

  16. (10a) My college put on a performance of R.U.R. while I was attending. (Sadly, by now, all I remember is that my biology teacher even played one of the robots.)

    (1m0) And Algis Budrys also put out Tomorrow: Speculative Fiction Magazine. How did he find the time? I can tell you from personal experience that he even found the time to send out personalized rejection slips. 🙂

  17. (4) Now Scalzi has me wondering whether the SWFA presidential transition involves some Ticket to Tranai like ceremony with a presidential seal being transferred from one neck to the next?

  18. @microtherion: or that episode of “The Prisoner” with the similar setup.

  19. 10 : Karel Capek also wrote War With the Newts, in which humans discover intelligent newts and encourage them because they’re useful, until the newts find that we get in the way.

  20. Graham says Karel Capek also wrote War With the Newts, in which humans discover intelligent newts and encourage them because they’re useful, until the newts find that we get in the way.

    So what’s the first work of his I mention in the Birthday write-up? Hint: it’s that work.

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