Pixel Scroll 10/26/17 He Came Scrolling Across The Pixels With His Godstalks And Guns

(1) BEAMING UP OR BEAMING DOWN? How likely is The Orville to stick around? Follow the ratings chart and compare it to the competition. Although interest has tailed off since the first couple of episodes, its audience is comparable to a lot of other shows in its time slot.

(2) DUD DAD. The first glimpse of Ambassador Sarek in 1967 did not prepare us for this. But Emily Asher-Perrin is persuasive: “We Can Safely Say That Sarek of Vulcan is Sci-fi’s Worst Dad”.

Look, I have been waiting years to say this and I just can’t hold back anymore. Science fiction is full of horrible dad figures. We know this. There are so many that we’d be hard pressed to decide the winner of that Battle Royale, particularly given the scope of their terribleness. Anakin Skywalker Force-choked his pregnant wife and tortured his daughter. Howard Stark emotionally abused his son into creating the “future” he wanted to bring about, and never managed to utter the words I love you. Admiral Adama made his eldest son feel totally inferior to both his dead son and his surrogate daughter, and then left him alone on a new world so he could spend three minutes with his dying paramour. Sci-fi dads are generally bad at their jobs.

But you know who it the absolutely worst? Spock’s dad.

Yeah. I’m looking at you, Sarek of Vulcan…

It’s a great hook for an article. It’s even greater if you’re old enough to remember that Jane Wyatt, the actress who played Spock’s mother in TOS, had spent years playing the mother in that ultimate patriarchal sitcom Father Knows Best.

(3) SCARY METER. The “2017 Halloween Poetry Reading” is up at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association website, with soundfiles of the poets reading their works.

This year’s Halloween poems are being curated by our own Ashley Dioses, who recently released her new book, Diary of a Sorceress. Congratulations, Ashley!

Already, poems are available by emerging and award-winning poets such as Melanie Stormm, F.J. Bergmann, John C. Mannone, Angela Yuriko Smith, Richaundra Thursday, Joshua Gage, Adele Gardner, Gary Baps, Celena StarVela, Marie Vibbert, and Deborah Davitt. Others will be added as Halloween comes closer!

(4) BREAK IN THE ACTION. Paul Cornell says “The Future of the Shadow Police” isn’t rosy.

Readers have been asking me for a while now about when the next Shadow Police novel is coming out.  The unfortunate answer is: I don’t know, verging toward never.  I’m afraid Tor UK have dropped the line.  Now, this is no cause for anger at them.  I serve at the pleasure of publishers.  I’m used to the ups and downs.  (And I know I have several ups coming my way soon, so I feel strong enough to write about this.)

I might, at some point in the future, consider using a service such as Unbound to publish the last two books in the series.  (There were always going to be five.)  And if a publisher were to get in touch, seeking to republish the first three, then go forward, I’d have that conversation.  But the aim right now is to continue with the flourishing Lychford series, and look to use the next non-Lychford novel to move up a league division or two, and then return to Quill and his team from a position of strength.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  I’ve loved the reader reaction to the Shadow Police books.  I promise I will finish that story when it’s possible to do so.  I thought you all deserved an explanation.

(5) AS SEEN ON TV. Today, Jeopardy! obliquely referenced the various Puppy campaigns in a question:

Any member of the World Science Fiction Society can vote for this literary award, which has led to some drama.

Rich Lynch says nobody got it. Steven H Silver called it a “Triple stumper.”

(6) ROCK’N ROLL IS HERE TO SLAY. In Slate’s Definitive Ranking of Songs in Which Aliens Exterminate All Life on Earth”, the downbeat is really down.

#2: “The Last Transmission,” The Comas

Now that’s what I call “music about aliens systematically wiping out humanity!” This song, bone-deep in its pessimism, explains in some detail why we’ve got this coming: we’re oblivious to everything around us; we’re afraid for reasons we don’t understand; and above all, we’re gonna be a cakewalk for the aliens to conquer. And has there ever been a lyric that crystalized this particular moment in time as well as “At this time, sirs, I recommend that we proceed to Phase Three: Eradicate them all for the glory of our interstellar queen”? Probably. But once the interstellar queen arrives and starts eradicating us, this is going to be the hottest jam of the summer.


(7) DRAGON ART. Hampus calls this a “Meredith painting” – an artist paints an elaborate dragon in one stroke. Apparently this is a thing in Japanese art.

(8) BATTLE ROBOTS. The culmination of a series of robotic brawls — “Two Giant Robots Enter a Steel Mill for a 3-Round Slugfest. Which One Leaves?”

Back in 2015, American startup MegaBots Inc challenged Japanese company Suidobashi to a Giant Robot Duel–a knock-down dragout, totally-not-staged fight between the US and Japanese robot teams. On Tuesday night, the final fight went down. Here’s the breakdown, starting with Round 1:

Iron Glory (MK2) is fifteen feet tall, weighs six tons, has a 22-foot wingspan at full extension, a top speed of 2.5 miles per hour, a 24 horsepower engine, and is armed with a missile launcher and a six-inch cannon that fires 3-pound paintballs. Iron Glory is described as favoring a “Western” combat style, with an emphasis on distance and ranged weaponry….


And if that’s not enough coverage for you, there’s also “USA and Japan’s giant robot battle was a slow, brilliant mess”.

(9) SAGA FIGURES. Funko is working with Skybound Entertainment to produce figures from the Saga graphic novel series. Nine figures have been announced, which include a couple of variants and one exclusive to Barnes and Noble: “Funko SAGA Pops are Coming!” The figures will be available in February of 2018.

It’s no secret that we here at Skybound LOVE Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples’ Eisner Award winning comic SAGA. We love it so much that in the past couple years we’ve teamed up with Brian and Fiona to bring you a ton of amazing merch for the series. Today, we’re happy to announce that everyone’s favorite space opera is OFFICIALLY get the Funko Pop! vinyl treatment.

We’ve got Marko, Alana, The Will, Prince Robot & Lying Cat coming your way and they’re adorable! These guys will be dropping at a shop near you in February. Make sure to keep an eye out for retailer exclusives (like Izabel at Hot Topic) and chase variants. You can see the first images for the figures below. Let us know in the comments which Funko pop you’re most excited for (the correct answer is: ALL OF THEM. Just fyi).

(10) BIRD UPDATE. In October 2015, File 770 linked to a GoFundMe appeal by science fiction writer RP Bird (RP’s Cancer Survival Fund). Terhi Törmänen has news about a new appeal for help:

RP Bird survived cancer treatment but is not in good health and still suffers from chronic and almost debilitating pain. He’s actually currently quite desperate as you can read from his latest appeal.

He’s been able support himself through a low-paying part time job that he’ll probably lose in very near future.

He’s launched a new appeal to raise money to be able to go trough further facial and dental surgery to improve his ability to e.g. eat properly and lessen the pain and other health issues stemming from the cancer and its treatment. The state will pay for the operations but he does not have any savings to pay rent for his one-room accommodation and other very modest living expenses while he’s going through the operations and recovering from them. His appeal is quite reasonable $ 2000.

I think that if you’d mention his desperate situation in the File 770 the appeal might have a chance to succeed and a life could be saved.

(11) SOPHIA THE SAUDI ROBOT. The BBC asks, “Does Saudi robot citizen have more rights than women?”

Meet Sophia, a robot who made her first public appearance in the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh on Monday.

Sophia was such a hit she was immediately given Saudi citizenship in front of hundreds of delegates at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on 25 October.

But as pictures and videos of Sophia began circulating on social media many started to ask why a robot already seemed to have secured more rights than women in the country

Sophia, created by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, addressed the audience in English without the customary headscarf and abaya, a traditional cloak which Saudi women are obliged to wear in public.

“I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction,” she said. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”


(13) SJW CREDENTIAL RENEWED. Bruce Arthurs tells “My Best True Cat Story” at the Undulant Fever blog.

…Hilde and I exchanged looks as we drove slowly by, but didn’t want to upset Chris before church. So I drove them to church, then came back, retrieved the body, took it home, and buried it in the back yard, with a lot of tears. (He may not have been THE World’s Best Cat, but he was a contender.)…

(14) IT’S IN THE BAGON. “Do you have a hoard that needs guarding? A dragon could be your greatest ally,” says the person behind the Dragon Bagons Kickstarter.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch Bagthulhu’s conquest of the globe, Wayward Masquerade is back with a range of CR10 cuties that want to hoard all your dice. They’ve raised $6,216 of their $18,260 goal as of this writing, with 26 days left in the appeal.

(15) CEREAL JUSTICE WARRIOR. Saladin Ahmed’s tweet in protest yielded an immediate promise from Kellogg’s to change some art.

USA Today reports “Kellogg’s revamping racially insensitive Corn Pops boxes”.

Kellogg’s will be redesigning Corn Pops cereal boxes after a complaint about racially insensitive art on the packaging.

The Battle Creek, Mich.-based cereal and snack maker said on Twitter Wednesday it will replace the cover drawing of cartoon characters shaped like corn kernels populating a shopping mall. The corn pop characters are shown shopping, playing in an arcade or frolicked in a fountain. One skateboards down an escalator.

What struck Saladin Ahmed was that a single brown corn pop was working as a janitor operating a floor waxer. Ahmed, current writer of Marvel Comics’ Black Bolt series and author of 2012 fantasy novel Throne of the Crescent Moon, took to Twitter Tuesday to ask, “Why is literally the only brown corn pop on the whole cereal box the janitor? this is teaching kids racism.”

He added in a subsequent post: “yes its a tiny thing, but when you see your kid staring at this over breakfast and realize millions of other kids are doing the same…”

Kellogg’s responded to Ahmed on the social media network about five hours later that “Kellogg is committed to diversity & inclusion. We did not intend to offend – we apologize. The artwork is updated & will be in stores soon.”

(16) BREAKFAST IN SWITZERLAND. Newsweek reports experiments at CERN still cannot explain how matter formed in the early universe: “The Universe Should Not Actually Exist, Scientists Say”.

David K.M. Klaus sent the link along with this quotation:

“Don’t you see, Tommie?  I’ve explained it to you, I know I have.  Irrelevance.  Why, you telepaths were the reason the investigation started; you proved that simultaneity was an admissible concept…and the inevitable logical consequence was that time and space do not exist.”

I felt my head begin to ache.  “They don’t?  Then what is that we seem to be having breakfast in?” ”Just a mathematical abstraction, dear.  Nothing more.  She smiled and looked motherly.  “Poor ‘Sentimental Tommie.’  You worry too much.” Time For The Stars by Robert A. Heinlein, 1956

(17) BREAKFAST IN WAUKEGAN. The Chicago Tribune says you can find some alien eats in Bradbury’s birthplace: “Waukegan eatery gets its moniker from famous son Ray Bradbury”.

Science fiction author and native son Ray Bradbury wrote about 1920s Waukegan as “Green Town” in three books, “Dandelion Wine,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “Farewell Summer.”

Bradbury died in 2012. A park, two arts festivals, and a tavern downtown bear his name

Robert Sobol, owner of Green Town Tavern in Waukegan’s downtown district, originally opened the place under a different name in 2006. His business partner left and Sobol took over the bar two years later. Sobol was looking for a new name, so he held a contest asked his customers to think of one. Green Town was declared the winner with the most votes….

Green Town Tavern offers a Saturday Happy Thyme Breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon and features breakfast dishes like the Green Town Omelette — three eggs, bacon, sausage, onions, peppers and cheddar cheese with hash browns — and “Waukegan’s Finest Bloody Mary.”

(18) KINGPIN. If you follow Daredevil, this will probably be good news for you: “‘Daredevil’ Brings Back Vincent D’Onofrio For Season 3; Erik Oleson Joins As New Showrunner”. Deadline has the story.

Vincent D’Onofrio has been set to reprise as Wilson Fisk for the third season of Daredevil, I’ve learned. As the Kingpin crime lord, the Emmy nominee was the main villain in Season 1 of the Netflix series and made an imprisoned appearance in last year’s Season 2. The ex-Law & Order actor hinted to fans recently that official word on his Daredevil return was in the cards with a banner photo of the Fisk character up on his Twitter page

(19) KARLOFF AND LUGOSI: A HALLOWEEN TRIBUTE. Steve Vertlieb invites you to read his posts about the iconic horror actors at The Thunder Child website.

He was beloved by children of all ages, the gentle giant brought to horrifying screen existence by electrodes and the thunderous lightening of mad inspiration. Here, then, is my Halloween look back at the life and career of both Frankenstein’s, and Hollywood’s beloved “Monster,” Boris Karloff.

Here is my affectionate Halloween tribute to Bela Lugosi…his “horrific” career ascension, as well as its poignant decline…as we remember The Man Behind Dracula’s Cape.

(20) OHHHKAYYYY….. Polygon reports “Boyfriend Dungeon is all about dating your weapons, and it looks rad”.

We’ve already found our favorite mashup of 2019: Boyfriend Dungeon, a dungeon crawler from indie team Kitfox Games (Moon Hunters, The Shrouded Isle), which combines hack-and-slash gameplay with very, very cute guys and girls.

Boyfriend Dungeon is exactly what it says on the tin, based on the first trailer. Players are a tiny warrior fighting through monster-ridden areas. Scattered across the procedurally generated dungeons are a bunch of lost weapons — which, once rescued, turn out to actually be extremely cute singles.

That’s when the dungeon crawler turns into a romance game, and it’s also when we all realized that Boyfriend Dungeon is something special. Every romance option has their own specific weapon to equip, from an epee to a dagger and then some. Players work to level up those weapons, but also to win over these sweet babes during dialogue scenes. If this isn’t the smartest combination of genres we’ve seen in some time, we don’t know what is.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, JJ, David K.M. Klaus, Dann, Steven H Silver, Rich Lynch, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Acoustic Rob.]

70 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/26/17 He Came Scrolling Across The Pixels With His Godstalks And Guns

  1. @Jack Lint. They live in infamy! Maybe it’s not “fair” to single out Fox, but they have the rep. Plus Firefly is #1 on almost every “cancelled too soon” list, and the way those eps were shown out of order (and only 10 out of 13 aired at all) is not a mark in Fox’s favor. Sure, owning The Orville (which I enjoy) means they have more skin in the game, but Fox’s Friday Night Death Slot is a thing for a reason (lucky The Orville airs on Thursdays–for now).

    Wayward Pines (2016) on the brink.
    Almost Human cancelled 2014.
    Terra Nova cancelled 2011
    Dollhouse cancelled 2010.

    Older genre shows in the Fox graveyard include Tru Calling, John Doe, Strange Luck, Brimstone, Millennium (sob!), The Tick, Wonderfalls, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Space: Above and Beyond.

  2. Maybe we could not paint a religion with 2.4 billion followers with quite such a broad brush?

    Besides, I would really prefer it if the Puppies didn’t start up their “… and our enemies are anti-Christian!” schtick again so it would be nice if people didn’t provide evidence to support it.

  3. I, for one, have never understood the theory that eliminating religion will suddenly make all humans entirely rational creatures who will use only the latest science to make all their decisions. This doesn’t describe any of the atheists that I actually know any more than any other human.

  4. Quickie Amazon UK sale: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol 1 is currently 1.99 so if (like me) you’ve been wanting to try it out, now is a good time.

    (7) DRAGON ART

    I’ve seen these before and I love them – very clever. Also, dragons.

    (14) IT’S IN THE BAGON

    OMG. *grabby hands*

    (20) OHHHKAYYYY…..

    I do like the surreal takes on dating sims lately. Actually, gaming in general has been getting really interesting now that smaller games are back in fashion – more experimental.

  5. microtherion on October 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm said:
    (I think the minister of the church I went to as a kid would have appreciated that.)

  6. People, we can argue about religion.

    Or we can go back and watch the video of the baby wombat again.

    I know which I choose.

  7. @World Weary as also a white person, I don’t want to suggest any expertise, but here’s how I see it:

    All the anthropomorphic cereal in the picture is bright yellow with cartoon eyes, which on its own has no racial connotations – sure, you could make the argument that they are the same colour as white coded characters in the Simpsons, but they are really obviously not human so it would be more like arguing Pac Man has a race. Or sonic the hedgehog. The frame of reference just doesn’t apply based on colour alone.

    When the designer added one single brown cereal character, that automatically implies that all the other characters also have a race and that it’s” default”, which in the US means white. So now you have all white cereals (including the one in the salon having cornrows put in) except the one highly stereotyped janitor brown cereal. Oof.

    The problem for Kellogg’s is that the racial coding they have introduced is not easily reversible. Now they have implied that we should read the yellow cereals as white, so if they simply remove the one brown cereal then they open themselves to complaints about whitewashing, because now the box only has “white cereals” represented. A potentially more attractive solution is to draw more diverse characters into future scenes, but then you have a bizarre situation in which the cereal which actually looks like the product (but with angry cartoon eyes) is “white” and all other cereals have to be drawn with human skin tones. The best idea would probably be to throw the design out entirely and come up with something new, but I don’t know this cereal and how important their weird yellow cartoons are to them.

    So, no the box wouldn’t have racist implications if all the cereals had been bright yellow from the start, but that doesn’t mean a box with all yellow cereals NOW wouldn’t be read as such. The best solution would be to not have your cartoonist add such a bizarre feature into your box art to start with – think we could lend out the time machine to stop this from having happened?

  8. it would be more like arguing Pac Man has a race. Or sonic the hedgehog.

    Sonic is a hedgehog. In a world of anthropomorphic animals, that seems like a race.

    With you on Pac Man, though.

  9. “What I find offensive is the continued propagation of a mistaken anti-environment pro-genocide theistic religion that keeps people in bondage. It’s necessary to refute such by any means available.”


  10. If you like SFF about magical cocktails, two different books are on sale for $1.99 with that hook: Paul Krueger’s Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge (Quirk Books; uses DRM) and Kate Karyus Quinn’s Down With the Shine (HarperTeen; uses DRM).

    Er, and Lee Kelly’s A Criminal Magic (Saga Press; DRM-free) is also $1.99. Okay, that’s weird – make it three books with that hook.

    These sales aren’t all new – maybe not any of them. I just happened to notice the first two (on my “check it out” list), then checked Kelly’s book (which I already own) out of curiosity. I think there’s some other book with magical cocktails in it out there (a relatively recent book); I wonder if it’s on sale for $1.99, too! 😉

    Heh, themed sales, great.

  11. (7) DRAGON ART. Cool! 😀 I love this style of dragon (hence my tattoo, for those who saw it at Worldcon 75). The one-stroke (not really) is really groovy and makes a lovely scale pattern, too.

    (20) OHHHKAYYYY….. Uh, wut. One of the shadowy figures was a cat, BTW, towards the end of the video. (grin&shrug)

  12. I hate to get involved in an argument about religion, but (6) completely leaves out Hendrix’s Third Stone from the Sun. How could that happen? It should be in the number one slot.

    Strange beautiful grass of green,
    With your majestic silver seas
    Your mysterious mountains I wish to see closer
    May I land my kinky machine?

    Although your world wonders me,
    With your majestic and superior cackling hen
    Your people I do not understand,
    So to you I shall put an end
    And you’ll never hear surf music again

  13. (1) As far as The Orville is concerned, it may be competitive for its slot, but the real problem SF shows have always had to face is that they’re generally more expensive to make than other shows. Advances in computer technology may have made special effects cheaper than ever before, but they’re still more expensive than not having SFX….

    It’s not just the raw number of eyeballs the studios and networks will be concerned with–it’s eyeballs divided by production dollars. (Which is a rather creepy image, but never mind that…)

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