Pixel Scroll 10/24/19 Is He In Dublin Or Is He In Well-(ington), That Fifth And Filed Pixelnel

(1) EXTERMINATE REPAIRS! We know what to look for next season: “Daleks spotted on Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge ‘closed for inspection'”.

Daleks have been spotted on Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge ahead of a new Doctor Who TV series.

The bridge website had published an advanced closure notice saying it would shut overnight on Tuesday for an inspection of the chain anchorages.

But photos of Doctor Who’s nemeses with production crew on the structure have been widely shared by fans online.

A spokeswoman for the BBC programme refused to say why they were on the bridge but said: “Watch this space”.

(2) DANGER TOY. When it goes up for auction next month, “Rare, ‘holy grail’ Star Wars toy could be worth $500G”.

The “Boba Fett J-slot rocket-firing prototype” was never produced because of safety concerns from the shooting mechanism, SWNS reports. However, between 80 and 100 of them were made for testing, but only 24 of them are believed to have survived, adding to the collectible’s scarcity value.

(3) WHEEL OF TIME JEWELRY DEADLINE. Badali Jewelry makes officially licensed jewelry for fantasy authors — Jim Butcher, Pierce Brown, Naomi Novik among others — however this is the last weekend they can sell their Wheel of Time jewelry before the license ends because of the new TV show. October 28 is the last day. Badali’s designs were approved personally by Robert Jordan. They are a family-owned business and everything is hand-crafted. 

(4) BEZOS THE TREKKER. A profile of Jeff Bezos by Franklin Foer in the November Atlantic: “Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan”.

Before Bezos settled on Amazon.com, he toyed with naming his unlaunched store MakeItSo.com.  He entertained using the phrase because he couldn’t contain a long-standing enthusiasm.  The rejected moniker was a favored utterance of a man Bezos idolizes: the captain of the starship USS Enterprise-D, Jean-Luc Picard.

Bezos is unabashed in his fanaticism for -Star Trek- and its many spin-offs.  He has a holding company called Zefram, which honors  the character who invented warp drive.  He persuaded the makers of the film Star Trek Beyond to give him a cameo as a Starfleet official.  He named his dog Kamala, after a woman who appears in an episode as Picard’s ‘perfect’ but unattainable mate.  As time has passes, Bezos and Picard have physically converged.  Like the interstellar explorer, played by Patrick Stewart, Bezos shaved he remnant strands on his high-gloss pate and acquired a cast-iron physique.  A friend once said that Bezos adopted his strenuous fitness regime in anticipation of the day that he, too, would journey to the heavens.

(5) WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO TURN GREEN. Kevin Polowy, in the Yahoo Entertainment story “‘Deadpool 3’ is ‘still in the works’: Writers give us MCU update, envision ‘Pool opposite Peter Parker” has an interview with Deadpool screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (who also wrote Zombieland: Double Tap) who say that Deadpool 3 has not been greenlit but they have hopes of working within the MCU eventually.

“It still is,” Reese, who with his writing partner has another new sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap, currently in theaters. “We sat with [Marvel Chief Creative Officer] Kevin Feige before the merger and we’re not allowed to talk to him about it. I think Ryan sat down with him more recently. But it’s still in the works. … They’re trying to work something out and then hopefully we can come through with something cool.”

“I think the promise is that Deadpool will live in his R-rated universe that he was living in at Fox,” Wernick added. “And then over time hopefully we can play with some of those MCU toys in the sandbox, and bring that into his world and have him brought into their world. So we’ll see, it’s a fun, exciting time.”

(6) ATTENTION FUTURE ASTRONOMERS. The Planetary Society is encouraging people to support the Kickstarter for The Search for Planet X game. The makers have reached their funding goal but there are fun stretch goals and rewards in store (especially for Society members). The campaign ends on 30 October.

Inspired by Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin’s “Planet Nine” hypothesis, Foxtrot Games has created a game capturing the thrill of discovery and the puzzling process of astronomical investigation.

You’ll play the role of an astronomer making observations and using deduction to determine the location of a hypothetical planet. The board game uses a companion app to randomly determine the location of the objects each game, and players interact with the app during the game to conduct their research.

Our partners at Foxtrot Games are committed to providing engaging, interpersonal experiences through beautiful and approachable tabletop games that celebrate what’s good in the world(s).


  • October 24, 1997 Gattaca premiered. Starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, it was written, directed and co-produced by Andrew Niccol who did the same for The Truman Show save directing it. It did exceptionally well with audiences and reviewers rating 82% at Rotten Tomatoes. It lost to Contact in the Best Dramatic Presentation Award at the 1998 Hugo Awards given out at BucConeer. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 24, 1915 Bob Kane. Writer and artist co-creator with Bill Finger of Batman. Member of both the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. (Died 1998.)
  • Born October 24, 1939 F. Murray Abraham, 80. Setting aside Star Trek: Insurrection which you know he’s been in, he’s had a fair amount of other work as well appearing in SlipstreamBeyond the StarsLast Action HeroMimicMuppets from SpaceThe All New Adventures of Laurel & Hardy in For Love or MummyThirteen Ghosts and Robin Hood.
  • Born October 24, 1952 ?David Weber, 67. Without doubt, best known for the Honor Harrington series which is most excellent. I really can’t say I’m familiar with his other work, so do chime in and tell what I’ve been missing. 
  • Born October 24, 1955 ?Jack Skillingstead, 64. Husband of Nancy Kress, he’s had three excellent novels (HarbingerLife on the Preservation and The Chaos Function) in just a decade. I’ve not read the new one yet but I’ve no reason not to assume that it’s not as good as his first two works. He’s due for another story collections as his only one, Are You There and Other Stories, is a decade old.
  • Born October 24, 1958 Liz Mortensen, 61. An LA con-runner fan. Chair of Loscon XXV.  She’s been involved in many LA area conventions. She’s a member of LASFS and SCIFI.  She was one of the organizers of the Roswell in 2002 hoax Worldcon bid. LASFS awarded her the Evans-Freehafer Trophy in 1998 and she was the Artist Guest of Honor at, and I kid you not, Fa-La-La-La-La-La-La-La Con, #7, a relaxacon.
  • Born October 24, 1971 ?Dervla Kirwan, 48. Miss Hartigan in “The Next Doctor”,  a Tenth Doctor story.  She’s Maeve Sullivan in the Shades series, and she played Petra Williams in the “Painkillers” episode of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased).
  • Born October 24, 1971 Sofia Samatar, 48. She’s the author of the novels A Stranger in Olondria, winner of William L. Crawford Award, British Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Award, and The Winged HistoriesTender (short stories)and Monster Portraits, a collaboration with her brother, the artist Del Samatar. 
  • Born October 24, 1972 Raelee Hill, 47. Sikozu Svala Shanti Sugaysi Shanu (called Sikozu) on Farscape. Genre wise, she’s also been on The Lost World series, Superman Returns, BeastMaster and Event Zero.


  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto have an unexpected conversation in Bizarro.

(10) DRAWN THAT WAY. SYFY Wire tries to untangle “The complicated legacy of Batman co-creator Bob Kane”.

Should October 24 be a day of celebration in the comics world?

That happens to be the birthday of Bob Kane, the co-creator of Batman. Kane, who died in 1998, helped bring to life one of the most popular characters in popular culture. That type of achievement should merit an annual parade being thrown in one’s honor.

Except that according to nearly all accounts, the man who reaped the greatest rewards for the creation of the Dark Knight did so at the expense of others. To say Kane’s legacy is complicated is to massively understate things.

…Kane’s early vision of the character included red tights and a winged costume. It was Bill Finger, who worked at Kane’s studio as a ghostwriter, who would help create the visual aesthetic that would define Batman for all time. The cowl, the cape, and the darker color scheme for the costume all came from Finger. He came up with Gotham City, the Batcave, and the Batmobile, as well as Robin, Catwoman, and Commissioner Gordon. Finger even came up with the origin story of Bruce Wayne.

You tell me: Remove all those elements, and is the Bat-Man still Batman? …

(11) HOW DO YOU GET THIS OUT OF SECOND GEAR? Connor Hoffman, in “Porsche ad Star Wars Teaming To Build Taycan-Inspired Starship” in Car and Driver says that Porsche engineers are teaming with Star Wars to come up with a Porsche-inspired starship that will both be in The Rise of Skywalker and a subtle product placement for the Porsche Taycan, an electric sedan.

Lucasfilm creative director Doug Chiang says that the design will be a recipe featuring ingredients from the X-wing, Y-wing, and U-wing starships from the Star Wars movies, combined with pieces of Taycan design. The designers were given specific instructions: there must be two front entries, a large rear cargo door, and room for two pilots and a maximum of five crew members. It also needs to have a minimum of two and a maximum of four engines, the company said.

The spaceship will be shown off at the Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker premiere in December alongside Porsche’s very own spaceship: the 2020 Taycan.

(12) READ IT BEFORE IT FADES AWAY. Fanac.org has started uploading issues of my ancient genzine Prehensile. Say, Issue 9 has some awfully funny bits! And plenty of other bits! Read at your own peril, especially “Dark Alleys of Fanhistory” by Dan Goodman.  

(13) LAST NIGHT ON JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter tuned into Jeopardy! yesterday in time to watch the contestants bomb again.

Final Jeopardy: 1930s Novel Characters.

Answer: Prior to a murder in a 1934 book, he says he hasn’t been a detective since 1927 & that his wife inherited a lumber mill.

Wrong questions: “Who is Sam Spade?” and “Who is Dick Tracy?”

No one got it right: “Who is Nick Charles?”

(14) ALL TOGETHER NOW. “Bezos floats ‘national team’ to build Moon lander”.

Jeff Bezos has announced the formation of a “national team” that will aim to build the lander that will take astronauts back to the Moon in 2024.

Bezos’ space company Blue Origin has teamed up with aerospace giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper to bid for the landing system.

The White House has set the ambitious goal of sending a man and a woman to the lunar South Pole within five years.

Bezos outlined the plan at a meeting in Washington DC.

The Amazon founder called the partnership “a national team for a national priority”.

Nasa had originally planned to mount the Moon return mission in 2028. But earlier this year, Vice President Mike Pence announced the administration’s plan to accelerate that timeline by four years.

(15) GOING DARK. “BBC News launches ‘dark web’ Tor mirror”.

The BBC has made its international news website available via the Tor network, in a bid to thwart censorship attempts.

The Tor browser is privacy-focused software used to access the dark web.

The browser can obscure who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship.

Countries including China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes.

(16) 007 LICENSE TO DRIVE. The annual Nieman Marcus fantasy catalog offers seven Aston Martin DBS Superleggeras each personally designed by Daniel Craig, each for $700,007.  But with the car you get an edition of an Omega Seamaster limited to seven copies with 007 stuff on the watch case, two tickets to the premiere of No Time To Die in London along with airfare and hotel, and airfare (and nothing else).

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

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40 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/24/19 Is He In Dublin Or Is He In Well-(ington), That Fifth And Filed Pixelnel

  1. (10) Not to mention that when artists started to organize in order to demand fair wages, Bob Kane ratted out his friends and sided with the employer. As you might imagine, I’m not a fan.

  2. @8: IMDB says Abraham is in the upcoming wrapup to the “How to Train Your Dragon” series; it will be interesting to see whether the script is up to the talent. And I saw him step into a stage production of The Madwoman of Chaillot as the Ragpicker; that may or may not be genre, depending on what you think is intended to be real and what is just her hallucinating/imagining aspects of her late husband.

  3. 4) Except that Picard didn’t sext. And wouldn’t have approved if wage theft.
    If he really admired him you would think he would try to emulate his character rather than his physical appearance.

  4. (1) Hardly surprising the BBC is responsible for this nonevent announcement about its own franchise.

    (13) Dick Tracy and, to a lesser extent, Sam Spade are cultural icons. Nick and Norah Charles have sadly fallen into the shadows over the past sixty years. It’s scarcely a shock no one these days remembers their backstory.

  5. 13) I’ve read the book and seen all the movies, and I wouldn’t have gotten that one right, either.

    Now, if they’d asked which detective’s wife asked him if he’d gotten an erection while wrestling with a woman suspect, I’d have been home free.

    (Or, as Matt Damon said to Emily Blunt after filming a physical scene together for The Adjustment Bureau, “I apologize if I did, and I apologize if I didn’t.”)

  6. 4), 14) Someone needs to introduce Bezos to the concept of “I aim at the stars, but sometimes I hit London”.

    8) The David Weber books I’ve enjoyed most have been Path of the Fury (a nice trope-y standalone space opera) and, inexplicably even to me, Oath of Swords (breezy genre fantasy with religion). Perhaps Weber would have been at his best in the old 1950s/60s American SF magazines, writing quickly and to strict length?

  7. 13) I would have probably said Who is The Thin Man.
    Which is wrong, since that’s the bad guy in the first book I think, and yet the brand name of all the movies.

  8. (16) 007 LICENSE TO DRIVE.
    I was sceptical to spending that much money on something that is, after all, a frivoulous luxury item, but then I noticed this part:

    With the purchase of each 007 Fantasy Gift, 12% of the Fantasy Gift purchase price will be donated to The Opportunity Network, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $330,000.

    so it’s charity! That’s really nice – this way people can become great philanthropists by spending insane amounts of money on frivolous luxury!

  9. 3) Those are beautiful. I especially appreciate the battered mass market paperback prop piece, it sets off the jewelry beautifully. Now to look at more stuff I would love to buy but probably can’t afford…

    (Update before the timer runs out) Oh eff, I want everything on the Hobbit/LOTR page.

  10. 3) It would be nice if some craftspeople made jewelry for the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. It has lots of opportunities to be creative and right now no one seems to be doing much for it.

  11. Meredith Moment: The ebook version of Acendencies: The Best of Bruce Sterling is available for $1.99 and Michael Swanwick’s Tales of Old Earth is available for $2.99. Both can be found at the Usual Suspects.

  12. MDB says Abraham is in the upcoming wrapup to the “How to Train Your Dragon” series; it will be interesting to see whether the script is up to the talent.

    It is. The movie as a whole was very good (and a nice wrap-up to the trilogy), and his character was also very good.

  13. (13) I would have said The Thin Man* too or remembered Nick and Nora and not remembered their last name. I did remember they had a saw mill but only because one of the movie channels was showing the movies last month and Nick mentions it when someone asks what he’s been doing.

    Didn’t The Thin Man refer to a character from the case?

    “Oh, Nicky, I love you because you scroll such lovely pixels.”

  14. 12) Prehensile #9, 78 pages.

    “Spiro [Agnew] doesn’t count for anything. He’d have to be SMOF Zero, or something like that.”

    chuckle thanks for posting. the LOCs are great.

  15. Beth in MA: @ (11) Is that a reference to “Beep Beep” by The Playmates?

    It is indeed.

  16. I like Weber a lot, but be warned: he devolves into massive infodumps in the later works in both the Harrington-verse and the Safehold ‘verse.
    I do like his Dahak series, also Empire of Man.
    If you like alien invasion with a twist, go read “Out of the Dark”.
    List of his works here:

    David Weber:https://www.fantasticfiction.com/w/david-weber/

  17. I’ve been off having a nice long sulk, but I guess I’ll get over myself and jump back in for this one —

    Born October 24, 1952 — ?David Weber, 67.

    I had a lot of fun with 3/4 of the Prince Roger (Empire of Man) series by Weber and Ringo. It’s about a spoiled, self-centered prince of an intergalactic empire who gets stranded on a hostile planet with a… company?… of his person guard marines, and as they fight their way across the planet to supposed safety he gradually grows up. Tons and tons of bloodshed, lots of self-effacing humor, doesn’t take itself too seriously. The unit’s military chaplain is a Satanist. Unfortunately, the last book isn’t nearly as good as the others.

    OTOH, I threw the first Honor Harrington book against the wall very quickly, and never picked up the series again. So YMMV.

  18. Still not keeping up.

    On the other hand, I’ve done one successful virtual home visit for a dog adoption, and have another one at 3:30. Two dogs may get homes!

  19. (3) It’s easy to mock The Wheel of Time* but one thing I really liked about it was how it had its in-world iconography and the little logos at the start of chapters.

    *[Extra easy to mock because so many people read it and so many people, like myself, sort of hate-read it compulsively, as in ‘I hate this series…oh the new one is out (rushes to buy it, reads it in one gulp)…I hate this series’]

  20. @ Camestros Felapton

    On the Wheel of Time: I bailed after the third book because it felt like the plots were dragging in place (as if Jordan could not bring himself to end it when he could). As my friend said: “Balefire them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure!”

  21. Rob Thornton on October 25, 2019 at 2:25 pm said:

    @ Camestros Felapton

    On the Wheel of Time: I bailed after the third book because it felt like the plots were dragging in place (as if Jordan could not bring himself to end it when he could). As my friend said: “Balefire them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure!”

    Very wise. Yes, I think by book 3 it was very obvious that the plot was slowing down.

  22. @8. Once I realized that HH was another! Wars of Napoleon IN Space! I dropped it. The same with the BattleTech novels featuring the Return of Kerensky, which is, IMHO, Jenghiz Kahn IN SPACE.

  23. @Rob Thornton: I have heard that the “Wheel of Time” series was not supposed to have as many books originally, but that an editor encouraged elongation when sales went up. There have been some wonderfully snarky takes on the lack of things happening (“book 238, in which 40 seconds pass”).

  24. Yeah, I think most fans regard books 3 and 4 as high points of the Wheel of Time. If you’re not enjoying it at that point I wouldn’t continue.

    Peter Ahlstrom’s report from a Denvention 3 panel says that WoT was originally intended to be six books. And of course it ended up more than twice that.

    Of course, WoT isn’t the only epic fantasy series to grow in the writing—I’m still amused by the outline for A Song of Ice and Fire that my copy of Legends contains.


  25. I enjoyed the early Honor Harrington books because they were the French Revolution in SPAAAAACE and all the effort my junior high history teacher invested in that topic finally had a payoff.

  26. I bounced off of Honor Harrington despite more than one attempt, but enough people whose tastes I respect seem to like them that I’m willing to admit that it’s probably not because they’re bad. Just not my thing.

  27. @Xtifr
    I read a few – a friend had a lot of them – and thought that there was more weapons pr0n in them than I needed. (Plus his villains tended to have obvious names.)

  28. Weber’s “March Upcountry” books — aka Prince Roger — are a retelling of Anabasis by Xenophon. The first few Honor Harringto books are more often described as Hornblower In Space (Napoleonic Wars, French Revolution, yep); the later books become hijacked by infodumps and Libertarianism.
    The Path of the Fury was one of his first books, so it was very well-edited. That was a good read.

  29. @Ginger —

    Weber’s “March Upcountry” books — aka Prince Roger — are a retelling of Anabasis by Xenophon

    The first one, titled March Upcountry, is in part (the title “Anabasis” is itself sometimes translated as “The March Upcountry”), but it also borrows from the Battle of Rorke’s Drift (the basis of the movie Zulu). And after book 1, the series diverges quite a bit from either one and goes off on its own.

    Of course, a lot of military fiction has retold one or the other of those historical events — like, for instance, the first Lost Fleet book (Anabasis) and Valor’s Choice (Rorke’s Drift).

    Oh, PS — I forgot to mention that book 2, March to the Sea, also borrows from Sherman’s march to the sea!

  30. @Ginger: the later books become hijacked by infodumps and Libertarianism. IIRC, the Libertarianism (or at least unthought-out libertarianism) was strong enough in the first book to be one of the reasons I didn’t read any more.

    I’m looking on at the explanations of how Weber is putting historic military actions in space, and wondering “Why bother?” I understand that Yoon Ha Lee says that his revenant’s great victory was modeled on a naval battle centuries ago — but in Lee’s telling the battle was a long time ago and is retold briefly and offhandedly, rather than filling up the space that I’d expect to find a less-unoriginal story in. I also wonder how applicable any two-dimensional battle can be to three-dimensional combat — but only idly….

  31. @Chip — In the case of the Prince Roger books, and a book like Valor’s Choice, the borrowing bits take place on the surface of a planet, not in space. But in a case like The Lost Fleet, the essential elements don’t depend on dimensionality — it’s all about a betrayal that gets the action started, then fighting a read-guard action against formidable odds while fleeing towards home over long distances. You can do that in any number of dimensions.

    Tons and tons of military fiction borrows from history, so it’s just pointless cherry-picking to criticize milSF for doing the same thing.

  32. @Contrarius: then widen the focus — what is the point of an old battle in any new setting? ISTM that it’s one thing to put together workable pieces, but another (and duller) to simply recast. (Bear in mind that I’m not a reader of MilFic.) There’s a lot of SFF that resets old stories, but ISTM that something like Dean’s Tam Lin stretches the story in a way that would lose the retelling aspect of a battle.

  33. @Chip —

    There’s a lot of SFF that resets old stories

    You’ve just answered your own question. There’s a lot of sff — and a lot of lit in general — that resets old stories, and a lot of reasons for doing it. There are sometimes immortal principles embodied by historical events, and it’s human nature to mull over and revisit such things. Heck, just take a look at Shakespeare!

  34. @Contrarius: you’re dodging the question. How is it possible to recast enough of a battle to be worth retelling and still make it recognizably the same battle? A battle is certainly not a meme, and ISTM it’s not even an elemental/primal story that can be dressed in new clothes (as even Shakespeare often is).

  35. @Chip —

    @Contrarius: you’re dodging the question.

    No, you’re dodging the answer. 😉

    How is it possible to recast enough of a battle to be worth retelling and still make it recognizably the same battle?

    I already described one instance — “But in a case like The Lost Fleet, the essential elements don’t depend on dimensionality — it’s all about a betrayal that gets the action started, then fighting a rear-guard action against formidable odds while fleeing towards home over long distances. You can do that in any number of dimensions.”

    The same sort of thing applies to borrowing from something like the Battle of Rorke’s Drift — it’s a tale of a small band of soldiers who get trapped in a small area with poor defenses, unexpectedly get assaulted by an apparently overwhelming force of “natives” and appear to be doomed, yet manage to survive through courage, organization, and perserverance. You can retell that in any number of ways.

    And in the case of Sherman’s march to the sea, it’s about a relatively small but strong force marching through an already-beaten-down enemy’s territory and laying waste to it as goes in order to make a broader military and political point about domination and subjugation to the defeated enemy.

    Again — an author doesn’t have to be slavish to the details in order to create recognizable parallels.

    And again — lots of sff does this or similar. The Poppy War is based on the second Sino-Japanese war, and a climactic section is specifically based on the Rape of Nanking; The Dandelion Dynasty is based on historical events and battles; and so on. Retelling/reframings/borrowing happens all over the place.

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