Pixel Scroll 10/12/16 The Baloney Weighed The Maguffin Down

(1) HAPPY TENTH BIRTHDAY. Neil Clarke has a great article about the birth of Clarkesworld  — Clarkesworld Turns Ten – Part Four – The Beginning.

A lot of people were willing to provide advice. The most common thoughts were “don’t do it” and “it will be dead in a year.” A certain level of stubbornness, foolishness, and passion are required to enter this field and I was already over the edge. I doubt that anything said–unless it was from Lisa–would have deterred me at that point. There were a number of things that did help though, including the advice that I tell people to this day: “know how much you are willing to lose and don’t cross that line.”

(2) YOUR LACK OF FAITH IS DISTURBING. John King Tarpinian thinks this makes a suitable successor to the lava lamp – the Star Wars Death Star 3D LED Light Lamp.

(3) MYTHOPOEIC AWARDS: Here’s another bit of news I never put in the Scroll. It did get listed in comments while I was sick, but since I used to be a Steward of the Mythopoeic Society I like to put a spotlight on these awards when they come out….

The winners of the 2016 Mythopoeic Awards were announced at Mythcon 47 in San Antonio, Texas, on August 7, 2016.

Fantasy Awards

Adult Literature

  • Naomi Novik, Uprooted (Del Rey)

Children’s Literature

  • Ursula Vernon, Castle Hangnail (Dial Books)

Scholarship Awards

Inklings Studies

  • Grevel Lindop, Charles Williams: The Third Inkling (Oxford Univ. Press, 2015)

Myth & Fantasy Studies

  • Jamie Williamson, The Evolution of Modern Fantasy: From Antiquarianism to the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

(4) BRITISH INTELLIGENCE WITH STEPHEN HAWKING. Creativity Online covered this in March —  “Professor Stephen Hawking Is Jaguar’s Latest ‘British Villain’”.

Jaguar’s “British Villains” campaign, which kicked off at the 2014 Super Bowl, has starred some distinguished British actors: Tom Hiddleston, Mark Strong, Nicholas Hoult and Ben Kingsley among them. Now, the campaign introduces a new evil mastermind, played by Professor Stephen Hawking.

Directed by Smuggler’s Tom Hooper, who helmed the original “British Villains” ad, the global ad promotes Jaguary’s first SUV, the F-PACE, and introduces the new theme of “British Intelligence” to the campaign. The spot opens with young man drives the SUV up an mountain road to a modernist lair redolent of a Bond villain. He’s off to meet his master: revealed to be Hawking. As they walk into an underground control room, the pair exchange some quips about the laws of time and gravity. “We are the masters of time and space,” says his underling and before Hawking finishes: “And we all drive Jaguars. Ha ha ha.”


(5) MAKES YOU WONDER. ScienceFiction.com has the scoop: “Lynda Carter’s President On ‘Supergirl’ Gets A Name”.

Carter, who also appeared on an episode of ‘Smallville’, is returning to superhero prime-time action in the third episode of ‘Supergirl’ which will air in two weeks.  Carter will play the President of the United States, Olivia Marsdin, a name that would appear to be a tribute to William Moulton Marsden, the psychiatrist who created Wonder Woman back in 1942 as an alternative to the testosterone-heavy male superheroes appearing at the time.

… In the episode, entitled “Welcome To Earth,” President Marsdin will need Supergirl’s protection as the humans vs. aliens debate boils over with Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) suspecting that Mon-El (Chris Wood) could be a threat.  Meanwhile, her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) will team up with new character Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima).



(6) ESCHEW OBFUSCATION. Sarah A. Hoyt, in “Keeping It Real”, has interesting advice about striking a balance to help keep stories believable for the reader.

However, imagine how much better it could be if you wrote well.  How many more people you could reach.

So, to begin with, what are the elements of “real.”….

2 – Do not obscure the writing with a lot of your opinions, philosophies and views of life.  Save that for the blogs.  Okay, this is not true.  You can do it, if it fits the character voice, which is what I try to do in DST and Earth Revolution, and which Heinlein did pretty well.  BUT do not do it as an omnipresent, omniscient, not-in-the-story narrator.  The more you do go on, the more we get tired of reading unmoored stories.

This is not even just for politics, morals, etc.  I’ve found the main difference between Heyer and modern regency writers is that Heyer never felt the need to talk at LENGTH about how her characters felt about each other every minute.  Yeah, sure, she gave us hints, but most of it was showing not telling.

We’ll discuss how you can be fooled into thinking telling is showing, how to port-in your telling when absolutely needed, etc.


  • Born October 12, 1968  — Hugh Jackman

(8) LOOK BACK AT WORLDCON MASQUERADES. The “A Look Back” series of videos features clips from science fiction and costuming convention masquerades and other events from the past 30+ years in the International Costumers Guild Pat & Peggy Kennedy Memorial Library.

This episode features highlights from the MidAmeriCon 1 masquerade held in Kansas City in 1976, using the video recording from the Scott Imes archives.

(9) GIVE MY REGARDS TO SHATNER. The New York Post knows “Why Broadway wasn’t William Shatner’s final frontier”.

You can see him Friday at Montclair, NJ’s Wellmont Theater in “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It.” It’s a sharper, tighter version of the one-man show he performed on Broadway in 2012.

Full of anecdotes and a couple of songs, this autobiographical show grew out of off-the-cuff speeches he’d given for years at comic conventions. After an Australian producer suggested he put together a show, Shatner says he thought, why not?

“If the audience grew restless or I failed, I could quit and it would remain buried Down Under,” he says. “But it didn’t fail, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

“Shatner’s World” delves into his theater career and his first “42nd Street”-like break, when he went on at the last minute and saved the show.

The show was “Henry V” at the Stratford Festival in 1956 and Shatner was the understudy for its star, Christopher Plummer. Plummer woke up one morning and collapsed to the floor, felled by a stabbing pain in his groin. As Plummer writes in his memoir, “In Spite of Myself,” what he thought was venereal disease turned out to be a kidney stone.

Plummer tried to break out of the hospital to get to the theater, but “the thought of Shatner or anyone replacing me in that part instantly brought back my pain.” He screamed for help. A nurse jabbed him with morphine and he was down for the count….

(10) GUNN CENTER. Starbridge: A Visual Blog highlights books pulled from the shelves of our lending library at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas.

This week’s post features an entry in Andre Norton’s Forerunner series. These books feature characters discovering and interacting with the artifacts of a powerful but long-lost alien race.  Andre Norton published over 300 titles over the course of her seven-decade career. She was the first woman the SFWA named Grand Master, and also the first to be inducted into the SFF Hall of Fame.  The cover art was illustrated by artist and educator Charles Mikolaycak, whose work was frequently influenced by his Polish and Ukrainian heritage.


(11) POWER RANGERS TEASER TRAILER. The Power Rangers are high school kids, but getting top billing are Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks and Bill Hader. Who have probably all been through high school, I admit.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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85 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/12/16 The Baloney Weighed The Maguffin Down

  1. (3) Interesting tidbit: Ursula Vernon has now won Mythopoeic Awards in both the Children’s and Adult (Digger, 2013) categories. Only 2 other authors have done so before: Jane Yolen and Delia Sherman.

  2. (2) YOUR LACK OF FAITH IS DISTURBING. Woah, it looks like magic. Or possibly science. Either way, it comes in purple, so my other half might be intererested.

  3. Thanks to whoever it was (bad memory, sorry!) who recommended the Michael Kurland “Lord Darcy” sequels to Randall Garrett’s originals. I enjoyed the Ten Little Wizards audiobook and just bought the last one.

    Not-Really-Unrelated: I also just listened to a cute, humorous short story with a touching ending, from 2012 by Adam-Troy Castro: “My Wife Hates Time Travel”, courtesy of “Lightspeed.” The “Listen” link is to the right of the story title; it’s narrated by Rajan Khanna. Recommended.

  4. @Lee, my thanks as well. I had recently re-read all of Garrett’s Lord Darcy stories and I was a little apprehensive, but Kurland’s writing was close enough so as not to be jarring.

  5. (5) As a long-time Super* fan, I cannot express how happy “Supergirl” makes me. It gets right everything the current movies get wrong about the Super-franchise.

    That Melissa Benoit is so cute I should hate her, but I love her. Jimmy James Olsen is easy on the eyes, and there’s a real nice family feeling between all the characters. We met cousin Clark this week and he was charming and not tortured or murdery — he saved people from disasters and did some investigative journalism. I’m eager to see what Carter (also still gorgeous) brings to the role, and I like the name that references the origin of WW.

    I SO wish some combo of the DC TV people were in charge of the movies. Oh well, I save money by not buying movie tickets and watching the free TV shows.

    (8) Oooh, I’d like to see the 1984 Masquerade again — over 100 entries, and I wasn’t bored a bit.

    (9) That story was good — dug into some backstory you don’t often hear, not the same old Trek tales. Christopher Plummer? Edward G. Robinson? Who knew?

    @Kendall: that’s a very nice story. Funny, but with an unexpectedly touching end.

  6. Silly ebookstore story of the month: I bought an ebook from Kobo. On the “thanks” page confirming my order, there were recommendation at the bottom. One was for the ebook I bought in that very transaction! Um, good to know they have a handle on what I like?! 😉

  7. Peer: Nothing ever changes, sadly. Those guys’ sons were probably the ones complaining about Heimdall being played by Idris Elba.

    (oh no I just read 7 and Hugh Jackman is younger than me by more than I thought, agh, pass the Werther’s Original.)

  8. 3) Congrats to the winners, especially our own Red Wombat. Felicitations on your award, Ursula!

  9. lurkertype
    Some things change. In 1969, I could well have come down on the side of those who thought that any black character in a comic was an unnecessary and contrived token, perhaps a virtue-signalling one, thanks to the worldly cynicism I thought I had from reading MAD faithfully. So at least the cast has changed some.

  10. @8: I’m surprised there’s video from that far back; I remember MAC dropping lots of money on what were then considered inessentials (that play…) but don’t know whether this was official. (It’s definitely up on a platform, but that could have been luck/persistence rather than official support.) I hadn’t remembered the Niven costume; perhaps it was overwritten by the closeup I got of another Teela Brown when I worked the 1979 show (memorable not just for the sketchy garb but because the wearer said “I’m getting married so I won’t be able to do this any more”!?!). Interesting to note the effect of runway-style platform on presentations — just walking down the runway was reasonably effective then, where it doesn’t convey on the large, mostly-proscenium-style stages used now — and the presence of microphones even after their abuse in 1974. This may have been the last show to have mikes; I remember Ctein and Avedon singing a year later but possibly without help, and in 1978ff people mostly had to use tape.

  11. @Lurkertype – The CW is a world of beautiful people. Even more beautiful than the rest of the television world. Every CW show has this.

    And every superhero fan agrees with you that the DC movie people in general stink, but the DC TV people usually do a much, much better job.

  12. Paul: Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

    Hmm — why? Why now?

    And I say that as someone who enjoys Dylan’s music a lot.

  13. Regarding Marston and and his non-traditional family, there’s an excellent book about them and the creation of Wonder Woman, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore. It’s well worth reading.

  14. Mike Glyer said:

    Hmm — why? Why now?

    Because he’d be ineligible after he dies?

  15. (11) I … I watched a lot of the original Power Rangers. In my defense, I was only seventeen when it debuted, and I was home and bored and had read all of the books in the house and it was raining (I’m in Seattle – it’s always raining). It also aired just after Animaniacs did, and we didn’t have a remote control for our TV.

    So I guess it was background noise for my homework.

    I never liked the show, but it did have a certain charm to it. Of course, I have always been a fan of kaiju. I watched a ton of Godzilla and Ultraman and any number of other (cheesy and awful) TV shows and films.

    This teaser has done most of what was intended. It has me almost willing to spend the money to go see the film. The cast that they’ve lined up has definitely grabbed my interest.

  16. @Mike

    That’s a good question I don’t have any clue to. Maybe the chaos and strangeness of our year 2016 seemed to resonate.

    Has anyone here asked from me seen, or tried to watch, MASKED AND ANONYMOUS? You can call it SF by means of alternate world/AH if you squint at it the right way.

  17. @OGH

    Hmm — why? Why now?

    According to the Nobel committee: “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,”

    That’s the why. Why now? There have been a lot of people pushing for this for Dylan specifically for quite some time, as well as a contingent pushing for the definition of literature to be broadened.

    I doubt there’s anyone that would argue that he’s not just as much of a poet as a songwriter.

  18. The Nobel feels like an odd fit for Dylan, and vice versa, but surely they’re giving it to him as a songwriter rather than as a poet – otherwise they’d be ripping his art in half.

  19. Now would be a great time to start pushing for Ursula K. Le Guin to receive the award next year.

  20. @El Pistolero – agreed.

    The real question, of course, is How Many Scrolls Must A Pixel File Down?

  21. The Nobel Prize news brings to mind a couple intersections between Bob Dylan and geekdom.

    First, Weird Al’s style parody of him.

    Second, an old filksong by Mitchell Burnside-Clapp about a musician with a particular hatred of Dylan. I remember the refrain went:

    No! No! A thousand times no!
    I’d rather see my lifeblood spillin’!
    I can play anything from Beethoven to Sting,
    But I just won’t sing any Bob Dylan!

    (In fact, it’s earworming me at this point. I figure it’s obscure enough to share safely, though.)

  22. Although I think we went through a Dylan phase with the titles before. I think we won the Nobel Prize For File 770 Titles and all.

  23. I went to an Arlo Guthrie concert some years back. It was as much storytelling as singing, and I particularly remember Guthrie saying, with a certain degree of ruefulness, something like: if folk-singers were fishermen, Bob Dylan fished upstream of everyone else, and he (and other folksingers) only got the fish that Bob Dylan either didn’t bother catching, or threw back…

  24. So, does the Nobel Prize lend any retrospective weight to the future Dylanists of Anne McCaffrey’s The Ship Who Sang?

    I hope Dylan performs at the ceremonies; moreover, I hope he performs “Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat.”

  25. @Petréa — It’s actually a song by the great Eric Bogle; or at least that’s where I first heard it:

    Also, I am now checked in to NerdCon. I love having a convention that’s within walking distance … It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to last year; they’ve shifted the format quite a bit, it appears.

  26. Sadly, the spice will not flow to allow me to attend Nerdcon. A shame, since people I know are going to be there, including my fellow S&F podcast mate Michael Underwood, among many many others

  27. @ Peer: Did you notice that down in the comments on that tweet, someone complained that “they doxxed him”? Yes indeed, they printed his full name and street address, as was standard operating procedure for both comic books and newspapers of the period, and was one of the things which led to the development of fandom, as it allowed fans who lived in the same area to find and communicate with each other.

    This was, of course, before RWAs developed the habit of terrorizing anyone who dared to say something they disagreed with in a public forum. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    @ Petréa: Heh. I wrote a filk of that song, on the topic of dental phobia.
    No, no, a thousand times no,
    I’d rather see my life’s blood spilling;
    I’m not scared of the things that have teeth, claws, or stings —
    But I just won’t go in for a filling!

  28. El Pistolero:

    “Now would be a great time to start pushing for Ursula K. Le Guin to receive the award next year.”

    At least one swedish journalist did so this year.

  29. Joe H. said:

    It’s actually a song by the great Eric Bogle; or at least that’s where I first heard it:

    D’oh! And I expect that something to that effect was said when I heard it, which was… yikes… probably approaching 30 years ago when I was a kid attending a Bayfilk. Apologies to all involved.

  30. @ Petrea Mitchell

    Through some very unfortunate oversight, I am sure, you missed including Keijo!!!!!!!! in you write ups. I merely wish to help you save face so that years from now when you look back on this transformative anime you will not have to say I missed out on the chance to cover this show before it took the world by storm.

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