Pixel Scroll 11/1/22 IOU A Title

(1) MERGER DERAILED. “Court Blocks Penguin Random House, S&S Merger” reports Publishers Weekly.

A federal court has blocked Penguin Random House’s acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster. At press time, Judge Florence Y. Pan’s opinion was not yet public as the parties still need to agree on redactions to protect confidential information, but in a brief two page order Pan enjoined the merger.

“Upon review of the extensive record and careful consideration of the parties’ arguments, the Court finds that the United States has shown that ‘the effect of [the proposed merger] may be to substantially to lessen competition’ in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books,” Pan’s order states. “Accordingly, judgment shall be entered in favor of the Plaintiff and the merger shall be enjoined.”…


1982 [By Cat Eldridge.] Tonight’s essay is about Evil Under the Sun which premiered forty years ago and is the second film with Peter Ustinov as the Belgian detective Poirot, after Death on the Nile.

Evil Under the Sun was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in 1941. (I do love the name of that publisher!) It would published across the pond here by Dodd, Mead and Company in the same year.


The novel has Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot, taking a rare holiday in Devon. During his stay, he notices a young woman who is flirtatious and attractive to the mean there including some who are married, but not well liked by a number of guests including of course their wives . When she is murdered during his stay, he finds himself drawn into investigating the murder.

(That makes it to the film though in a radically different manner.) 

The film adaptation wasn’t that faithful to Christie’s work and truncated scenes for time constraints, removed minor characters, and added comical elements (Christie — comical?) that were not present in the novel. 

Moreover However the novel here is set on an Adriatic island in the fictional kingdom of Tyrania and Christie’s original tale got meat-cleavered in relation to the characters so that Rosamund Darnley and Mrs. Castle were merged creating Daphne Castle, and the female character of Emily Brewster was written as a man named Rex Brewster. Totally unnecessary in my opinion.


I will admit that Ustinov is not my favorite Poirot but that is because I don’t think that he looks like him as described by her in the stories. Mannerism wise, he’s spot on in these films. 

The screenplay was written by Anthony Shaffer who had worked on Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile with an uncredited Barry Sandler. You might recognise another film of his, The Wicker Man. It was directed by Guy Hamilton who was responsible for the Sixties Bond films. 

It cost ten million, give or take. It made only six million. Ouch. 

Do critics like it?  Oh, yes they do. As JR Southall of the Starburst movie newsletter says, “Perhaps less celebrated and well-remembered than the earlier Brabourne and Goodwin Christie adaptations beginning with Murder on the Orient Express in 1974, Evil Under the Sun is easily their equal and possibly even the best of them.”

It holds a seventy two percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. Not bad at all.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 1, 1883 Edward Van Sloan. He’s best remembered for his roles in three Thirties Universal Studios films of DraculaFrankenstein and The Mummy. He was Abraham Van Helsing in the Dracula, a role he’d done in touring production of Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. He would be in a number of other horror films though none remembered as well as these. (Died 1964.)
  • Born November 1, 1917 Zenna Henderson. Her first story was published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1951. The People series appeared in magazines and anthologies, as well as the stitched together Pilgrimage: The Book of the People and The People: No Different Flesh. Other volumes include The People Collection and Ingathering: The Complete People Stories. She was nominated for a Hugo Award at Detention for her novelette “Captivity.” Her story “Pottage” was made into the 1972 ABC-TV Movie, The People.  “Hush” became an episode of George A. Romero’s Tales from the Darkside which first aired in 1988. (Died 1983.)
  • Born November 1, 1923 Dean A. Grennell. Writer, Editor, Firearms Expert, Conrunner, and Fan who edited numerous fanzines including La Banshee and Grue, which was produced sporadically from 1953 to 1979 and was a finalist for the Hugo Award in 1956. He published several short fiction works, and even dabbled in fanzine art. He ran a small U.S. gathering held the same weekend as the 1956 UK Natcon which was called the Eastercon-DAG, and another called Wiscon, which preceded the current convention of that name by more than twenty years. He is responsible for the long-running fannish joke “Crottled Greeps”. (Died 2004.) (JJ)
  • Born November 1, 1933 Gordon R. Dickson. Gordon R. Dickson, Writer, Filker, and Fan who was truly one of the best writers of both science fiction and fantasy. It would require a skald to detail his stellar career in any detail. His first published speculative fiction was the short story “Trespass!”, written with Poul Anderson, in the Spring 1950 issue of Fantastic StoriesChilde Cycle, featuring the Dorsai, is his best known series, and the Hoka are certainly his and Poul Anderson’s silliest creation. I’m very fond of his Dragon Knight series, which I think reflects his interest in medieval history.  His works received a multitude of award nominations, and he won Hugo, Nebula, and British Fantasy Awards. In 1975, he was presented the Skylark Award for achievement in imaginative fiction. He was Guest of Honor at dozens of conventions, including the 1984 Worldcon, and he was named to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Filk Hall of Fame. The Dorsai Irregulars, an invitation-only fan volunteer security group named after his series, was formed at the 1974 Worldcon in response to the theft of some of Kelly Freas’ work the year before, and has provided security at conventions for the last 34 years. (Died 2001.) (JJ)
  • Born November 1, 1940 Robert Foxworth, 81. He’s been on quite a number of genre shows including The Questor Tapes,seaQuest DSVDeep Space NineOuter LimitsEnterpriseStargate SG-1 and Babylon 5. His first genre role was as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein where Bo Swenson played the monster. 
  • Born November 1, 1942 Michael Fleisher. Comics writer best known for his DC Comics work of in the Seventies and Eighties on Spectre and Jonah Hex. He also has had long runs on Ghost Rider and Spider-Woman early which pulling it them on the Marvel Unlimited app shows that he is a rather good writer. (Died 2018.)
  • Born November 1, 1959 Susanna Clarke, born 1959, aged sixty three years. Author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which I think wins my award for the most footnoted work in genre literature. It won the World Fantasy, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and a Hugo. It was adapted into a BBC series and optioned for a film. The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories collects her short works and is splendid indeed. Her latest novel, Piranesi, was nominated for a Hugo at Discon III but did not win. 
  • Born November 1, 1984 Natalia Tena, 38. She played Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter film franchise, and was the wildling Osha in Game of Thrones. She was also Lana Pierce on the YouTube SF series Origin which lasted one season. And, to my amazement, she was Fevvers in the stage adaptation of Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus which took place at the Kneehigh Theatre. The latter might been bloody awesome! 


(5) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers: The House of the Dragon” the Screen Junkies say this prequel to Game of Thrones has “goth albno sociopaths” who, when they come close to capturing a crown, come down with “ranging throners.” There are lots of bad medical problems, including “parts-falling-off disease.”  And the dragons continue to surprise people when they show up, even though they’re “as big and loud as a 747.”

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Steve Vertlieb, Joey Eschrich, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title debit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH.]

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14 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/1/22 IOU A Title

  1. (3) Zenna Henderson and Susanna Clarke – a good day for authors.

    “Please send in two Hypercube tops as proof of Ob, to receive your free Pixel Scroll Title”

  2. Random Penguin and not Simon and Schuster – hallelujah.

    Zenna Henderson – the NESFA Press has a lovely hardbound volume (of which I own a copy) of all of her People stories.

    Goth Albino (?) sociopaths… so, Elric of Melnibone?

  3. 3) May be a typo–was Zenna Henderson born in 1907? Or was it 1917? Wikipedia says 1917, but they aren’t always correct.

  4. Jeanne Jackson says May be a typo–was Zenna Henderson born in 1907? Or was it 1917? Wikipedia says 1917, but they aren’t always correct.

    They’re right. I goofed. I’ve told Mike

  5. I didn’t fact check any of today’s birthdays. So how come I have to fix them? 😉

  6. Oh Mark, I thought I was the only one calling them Random Penguin!

    In honor of that, let’s hear Penguin Cafe Orchestras’ “1-4” which is legally up on Green Man courtesy of the band.

  7. I ordered some chicken soup from Ma Kosti, but it might take a few centuries to get here.

    (1) Yay! And I’ve been calling them Random Penguins. 🙂

    (3) I didn’t realize Edward Van Sloan lived into the 1960s! I have a sudden urge to see if Bela Lugosi has a reflection in my fancy snuff box.

    (4) That could be a Dune joke!

    Don’t mind me. My 91-year-old mother and I just dealt with smoke alarms going off for no reason a couple of times, I’m too short to reach them safely, and we’re both cranky and loopy. They stopped a while ago, but now, we’re both on edge. We texted my firefighter nephew for help, and he suggested vacuuming them. So picture me awkwardly holding a Dyson up to three different fire alarms if you want some fun imagery! 🙂

  8. 3)

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which I think wins my award for the most footnoted work in genre literature.

    You might care at some point to have a look at Mark Danielewski’s “House of Leaves”, which is a haunted house story of sorts, and glories in its footnoting.

  9. Graham says You might care at some point to have a look at Mark Danielewski’s “House of Leaves”, which is a haunted house story of sorts, and glories in its footnoting.

    Oh I’m intrigued. Do tell me about it please.

  10. House of Leaves is a clever-clever horror doorstop with several nested stories. Johnny Truant lives in LA and acquires a box of of papers from his late neighbour, which describe and comment on a film called the Navidson Report, which does not seem to exist. Johnny’s psychological disintegration while he reads this may or may not be coincidental. The alleged film is a documentary about a photographer called Navidson who documents his family’s move to a house in (I think) Eastern Virginia. After a while he finds that an extra room has appeared, and then that the house is slightly larger on the inside than outside. After that point, things get rather strange and worrying. There’s a labyrinth and (maybe) a minotaur. As well as text and footnotes from each source, Johnny and his late neighbour have footnoted what they read, distinguished by different typefaces. These contain an awful lot of information and at one point pretty much take over the page for some time.

    There’s more than that, obviously. There’s a component to the story I haven’t mentioned because I don’t remotely understand it and I wouldn’t know what to say.

    I liked it. I found it really compelling. I have friends who loathed it.


  11. Bonny Doon Vineyard published some truly epic newsletters with lots of footnotes, including footnotes on footnotes, and wordplay in German, French, Italian and Latin. The greatest maybe was Vinferno, an epic poem that went on for several pages and was fully illustrated. When Randall Grahm, the winemaker, took up blogging, his blog posts would often have over a dozen footnotes.

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