Pixel Scroll 11/17/23 Walking My Sloth Named Thoth

(1) A TAFF GUIDE TO BEER. [Item by Geri Sullivan.] A TAFF Guide to Beer is now available in print on Amazon in the US and UK!

Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer published A TAFF Guide to Beer during the 2019 Eastbound TAFF race. It celebrates the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund and the ways in which in brings together and fosters connections between science fiction fans from across Europe and North America, seen through the lens of beer. It features contributions from over 3 dozen TAFF delegates as well as the 4 candidates in the 2019 race. We printed copies then, and it’s been available on Dave Langford’s splendid TAFF ebook page pretty much ever since.

When I started working on Idea #13 (being published shortly, a mere 23 years since Idea #12), Pat Virzi advised me to publish another, small project on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) since the first book you publish with them often takes a long time for them to process. 

Claire and Mark gave the go-ahead. I faffed around for longer than I like to admit, but finally figured out how to make room for the bar code on the back cover, and sent off for a proof copy. It arrived Tuesday. After I clicked the “publish” button, the fanzine spent a few days in KDP’s review process, but it’s now available for $10 or £8. TAFF will receive just over $1/£1 for each copy sold.

Note: KDP says it takes up to 3 days Amazon.com to show it in stock and up to 5 days in other marketplaces. These links are working for me tonight; you’re welcome to share them with fans who might be interested: 

And several other countries, too. 

(2) BOOKS FOR CREDENTIALS. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The Harvard Book Store was expecting a shipment of books. A pallet of boxes marked ‘haddock filets’ arrived instead — Warehouse workers panicked, but it was only a red herring.

The Boston Globe story is paywalled, so here’s an excerpt:

…Sitting before [the bookstore’s warehouse manager] were dozens of green-and-white cardboard packages that read, “FROZEN FISH” and “HADDOCK” in big block letters…but it turns out that the store’s regular distributor…simply had extra boxes lying around… [that] happened to be for a Florida-based seafood wholesaler called Beaver Street Fisheries, Inc.

The bookstore did an Instagram caption contest; entries included “Available in hardcover, paperback, and filet.”

(3) THIEVES LIKE US. “Lost Doctor Who episodes found – but owner is reluctant to hand them to BBC” reports the Guardian.

For Doctor Who-lovers they are the missing crown jewels: lost episodes of the first series of the TV sci-fi drama, shown in the 1960s. But now film recordings of not just one, but two of the early BBC adventures, both featuring the first doctor, William Hartnell, has been found in Britain by amateur sleuths.

The episodes, one featuring the Daleks, would offer viewers a chance to travel back in time without the use of a Tardis. But the Observer has learned that the owners of the rare, rediscovered footage are not prepared to hand it over to the BBC, even as the clock ticks down to the 60th anniversary of the show’s launch this month.

Veteran film collector John Franklin believes the answer is for the BBC to announce an immediate general amnesty on missing film footage.

This would reassure British amateur collectors that their private archives will not be confiscated if they come forward and that they will be safe from prosecution for having stored stolen BBC property, something several fear….

(4) EARLY JOANNA RUSS. “’It’s Not Shrill, It’s Ultrasonic’: Queer SF Pioneer Joanna Russ’s Feminist Awakening” at Library of America.

…“We started with the assumption that the woman’s problem is not a woman’s problem; it is a social problem,” [Sheila] Tobias wrote. “There is something wrong with a society that cannot find ways to make it possible for married women, single women, intelligent women, educated or uneducated, or welfare women, to achieve their full measure of reward.” Some two thousand people attended discussions on abortion, contraception, childcare, race, and sexuality. It was one of the first conferences in the United States to address sexism in an academic setting….

(5) HAND Q&A. “Elizabeth Hand on Playwriting, Haunted Houses, and Shirley Jackson” at CrimeReads.

[ELIZABETH HAND]: I just love haunted house stories. And The Haunting of Hill House is kind of the haunted house story, certainly for Americans. For me, it was just a matter of really following the template that [Jackson] created. Laurence sent me scans of the drawings that she had made, like the house plans for Hill House, some of which I think are reprinted in the Franklin bio. But I had them in like a bigger format. And so that was really cool—to see how she envisioned that space. And I had read the book multiple times over the years, and I reread it more than once when preparing to write this book [A Haunting on the Hill]. And during one of those three readings, I just went through with a highlighter to highlight all the references to doors and windows of the halls and just… spaces within it, because I thought, if I get anything wrong, people are going to call me on it! If I have the red room at the wrong end of the hallway, you know, no one’s going to let me get away with it!

(6) INVEST WISELY. Cat Rambo advises writers about “Making the Most of Your Con Budget” at the SFWA Blog.

…Decide who you want to connect with by a) looking at the guest or membership list, which is usually available online, b) joining/following the convention’s social media accounts to see who’s posting there, and c) asking among your friends, including online groups you belong to.

If the convention is non-genre-specific, find out what kind of presence your genre will have. What teachers or mentors are attending that you would like to meet? What agents are appearing and what genres do they represent? (You may need to go to their agencies’ websites to find this out.)

Look over the convention’s website and promotional materials to determine what the event’s strengths are—what does it offer that isn’t always available, such as a chance to pitch to multiple agents, or the Nebula Conference Mentorship Program that pairs newer conference attendees with experienced Nebula-goers?

Using all of the above, set your goals for the event….

(7) UNMANNERLY VISITORS. Recommended: “’The Earthlings’ by Matthew Olzmann” at Academy of American Poets.

(8) SHADES OF TRALFAMADORE. Sophie Kemp assures us “Kurt Vonnegut’s House Is Not Haunted” in The Paris Review.

… And as for me, I do not remember when I first registered that Kurt Vonnegut lived in Alplaus, a small hamlet in Schenectady County, named after the Dutch expression aal plaats, which means “a place of eels.” (There were no eels that I am aware of.) I think it was in high school. I think my hair was cut short. I think it was when I was a virgin. I think it was when I got a job as a bookseller at the Open Door on Jay. I think I was probably sixteen….

… They asked if we wanted to see inside. The thing about the house, they told us, is that it was not haunted, because ghosts are not real, but also a copy of Player Piano, sitting face out on a bookshelf, kept falling on the head of one of their kids and as a result the family had this inside joke about it being Kurt’s ghost. Obviously, I wanted to see the haunted bookshelf so they showed me the haunted bookshelf. It looked pretty normal. Also facing out was a stuffed animal gnome holding a coffee cup that said “Best Mom,” and a book about raising chickens. I cannot stress enough that the house of Kurt Vonnegut is now just a completely normal house where people live and is full of completely normal things that appear in completely normal houses. Which to me makes a lot of sense. Vonnegut in my opinion is a charming and scrappy weirdo. He is not the kind of person you think of as living on some kind of grand estate…. 

(9) THE FIRE THIS TIME. [Item by Dann.] Author and lecturer, Virginia Postrel, found herself aghast at a repeated misrepresentation of the myth of Prometheus.  The tale of Prometheus was presented as a cautionary tale about the risks of innovation and technology.  She responds by pointing out that Prometheus was a defender who loved humanity in “The Myth of Prometheus Is Not a Cautionary Tale”

…No. No. No. No.

Prometheus is punished for loving humankind. He stole fire to thwart Zeus’ plans to eliminate humanity and create a new subordinate species. He is a benefactor who sacrifices himself for our good. His punishment is an indicator not of the dangers of fire but of the tyranny of Zeus.

…The Greeks honored Prometheus. They celebrated technē. They appreciated the gifts of civilization.

The ancient myth of Prometheus is not a cautionary tale. It is a reminder that technē raises human beings above brutes. It is a myth founded in gratitude.

She points out that a similar anti-technology reading of Frankenstein is also flawed.

(10) ABANDON TWITTER ALL YE WHO EXIT HERE. Not at all trying to be a completist, but here are a few more authors who are leaving X.

Scott Edelman also wants Filers to know that he bailed from Twitter – except he did it two months ago.

Several advertisers are also applying the brakes. “Disney, Apple, Lionsgate Suspend X/Twitter Ads; White House Condemns Musk Post” according to Deadline.

Deadline has confirmed that Disney is the latest company to suspend its advertising on X/Twitter in the wake of owner Elon Musk‘s amplification of an anti-semitic post two days ago. Read more below.

…More companies are suspending advertising on X/Twitter in the wake of reports that the site has let spots run next to pro-Nazi content.

Apple has decided to pause advertising on the platform, according to a report from Axios, citing sources at the company. An Apple spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

A spokesperson for Lionsgate also confirmed a Bloomberg report that it, too, was suspending advertising on the platform.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 17, 1915 Raymond F. Jones. Writer who is best remembered for his novel This Island Earth, which was made into a movie which was then skewered in Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie. However, he produced a significant number of science fiction novels and short stories which were published in magazines such as Thrilling Wonder Stories, Astounding Stories, and Galaxy, including “Rat Race” and “Correspondence Course”, which respectively earned Hugo and Retro Hugo nominations. (Died 1994.)
  • Born November 17, 1932 Dennis McHaney. Writer and Critic. Pulp writers in particular seem to attract scholars, both amateur and professional. Robert E. Howard was not an exception. So I give you this individual who, between 1974 and 2008, published The Howard Review and The Robert E. Howard Newsletter. Oh, but that was hardly all he did, as he created reference works such as The Fiction of Robert E. Howard – A Pocket Checklist, Robert E. Howard in Oriental Stories, Magic Carpet and The Souk, and The Fiction of Robert E. Howard: A Quick Reference Guide. A listing of his essays and other works would take an entire page. It has intriguing entries such as Frazetta Trading CardsThe Short, Sweet Life and Slow Agonizing Death of a Fan’s Magazine, and The Films of Steve Reeves. Fascinating… (Died 2011.)
  • Born November 17, 1936 John Trimble, 87. Husband of Bjo Trimble. He has assisted her in almost all of her SF work, including Project Art Show. They were GoHs at ConJose. He’s a member of LASFS. He’s been involved in far too many fanzines and APAs to list here, some of which I’d loved to have read such as “Where No Fan Has Gone Before”,  a fanzine done in support of the Save Star Trek campaign which was edited by him and Bojo. You can read one of their late Fifties fanzines, which I choose because of its title, “Some Important Information Concerning Unicorn Productions”, here.
  • Born November 17, 1966 Ed Brubaker, 57. Comic book writer and artist. Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives I’d consider his first genre work. Later work for DC and Marvel included The AuthorityBatmanCaptain AmericaDaredevilCatwoman and the Uncanny X-Men. If I may single out but one series, it’d be the one he did with writer Greg Rucka which was the Gotham Central series. It’s Gotham largely without Batman but with the villains so GPD has to deal with them by themselves. Grim and well done. In 2016, he joined the writing staff for the Westworld series where he co-wrote the episode “Dissonance Theory” with Jonathan Nolan.
  • Born November 17, 1983 Christopher Paolini, 40. He is the author of the most excellent Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books EragonEldestBrisingr, and Inheritance. Several years ago, The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, the first book in a series called Tales of Alagaësia, was published. A film version of the first novel came out sometime ago but I’ve not seen it. His SF Fractulverse series, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, and Fractal Noise, is quite well crafted.

(12) WHO FAN FROM THE BEGINNING. “Russell T Davies on secrets, sex and falling for Doctor Who: ‘Something clicked in my head: I love you’” in the Guardian.

…The turning point came at the age of 11 – a huge change for me and for the show. I went to comprehensive school; the Doctor became Tom Baker. I have a crucial memory of TV Comic’s weekly Doctor Who strip printing a gorgeous piece of artwork (drawn, I now know, by Gerry Haylock) showing Tom Baker in full hat, scarf and toothy grin. And something clicked in my head. Something clicked and has stayed clicked ever since. A simple thought which said: I love you.

It’s easy to draw a link between gayness and fandom. So easy, maybe it’s true. Because as those teenage years advanced, two things synced up. I was gay and went silent, watching all the parties and fancying boys at a remove instead of getting drunk on cider, scared of giving myself away. At exactly the same time, I watched TV fiercely. Both things became closeted. Doctor Who became the other love that dares not speak its name.

It lasts, the closet. Many years later, in my late 20s, when I’d moved to Manchester and worked in TV and went to Canal Street every weekend, I copped off with a nice lad who saw a book about Doctor Who on my shelf and said: “I was in that! I was a soldier in The Caves of Androzani.” And I lied, I lied to a man I’d just had sex with, I said: “No, that book’s from work, it’s someone else’s, I don’t really know what it is.” Sorry, soldier.

I wonder now why I fell in love so hard. Though can anyone ever answer that? Some of the secret exists in what the Doctor is not. He/she/they have never had a job or a boss or even parents, they never pay tax, never do homework. They never have to go home at night. Maybe you fall in love with the show when you’re a kid because the Doctor’s a big kid, too. I could never love Star Trek in the same way because they’re the navy; when I survive to the year 2266, they won’t allow me on board. I’ll be scrubbing the floor below decks, at best. But Doctor Who’s greatest idea is that the Tardis can land anywhere. I’d walk home from school wishing I could turn the corner and see that blue box and run inside to escape everything. I don’t think that wish has quite gone….

(13) WELL, HARDLY EVER. Black Nerd Problems’ Mikkel Snyder says, “To Watch ‘Pantheon,’ I Wouldn’t Ever Promote Piracy…”

… The central point of all of this is that studios are much more concerned with not paying residuals, and you know what, in the capitalist hellscape that we exist in, I can pretend that I can understand. However, as someone who loves media in all of its forms and is a proponent of media preservation, it’s exceedingly frustrating that works of art that I could see as seminal are subject to the whims of razor thin profit margins. And I’m willing to pay to get access to this media. I immediately purchased all four seasons of Infinity Train in a desperate bid to get access to one of my favorite animated series of 2020 and 2021. Even now, I’m aware that if Prime wanted to they could wipe my entire library, and I would have next to no recourse.

But let’s flash forward to early October when thanks to a friend, I caught wind that for some reason, the second season of Pantheon was in fact airing exclusively on Prime Australia and New Zealand and had no discernable release in the States.

Now, I wouldn’t ever promote piracy. Piracy hurts hard working creatives. It denies them of any direct revenue that is generated from purchases or views, and the only thing potentially worse is completely removing any evidence that it ever existed and preventing any legitimate means of acquisition…or you know, something like that.

And it would be a real shame if the second season of a phenomenal science fiction series that may or may not conclude its story as there is no way in hell a third season is ever going to exist. And it would be completely wild if access to the episodes would be entirely dependent on the random whims of a random Prime ANZ executive. But at least *someone* would get to watch it. And at least it would be online….

(14) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter enjoyed this wrong reply on tonight’s episode of Jeopardy!

Final Jeopardy: Literary Characters

Answer: In his first appearance in 1902, he was described as “betwixt-and-between” a boy & a bird.

Wrong question: Who is Batman?

Right question: Who is Peter Pan?

(15) UPDATE TO THE ROBERT BLOCH OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Two updates to the Psycho page at the Robert Bloch Official Website.

  • A link to a video showing Psycho (film) locations and how they look today.
  • A nice behind-the-scenes shot with Hitchcock in front of the Bates home.

(16) KEEP CALM, ZACK FANS. “Both of Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon films will get their own R-rated director’s cut” says Entertainment Weekly.

For years after Zack Snyder departed Justice League in the midst of production, the filmmaker’s most passionate fans repeatedly pleaded their case: #ReleasetheSnyderCut. Eventually, they succeeded. In 2021, Warner Bros. brought the director back to their DC superhero roster one last time to complete Zack Snyder’s Justice League

That experience taught Snyder and his wife/producing partner Deborah that there is a significant subset of people who will always be interested in seeing his pure, uncut artistic vision. They took that lesson with them as they set out building their own new cinematic universe in the form of the two-part sci-fi epic Rebel Moon (which you can read all about in EW’s new cover story). 

Rebel Moon Part One: A Child of Fire hits Netflix on Dec. 22, but that won’t be the only version of the film. At some undisclosed point in the future, a longer R-rated version will be added to the streaming platform, and the same will be true for next year’s Rebel Moon Part Two: The Scargiver. But unlike the messy years-long experience with DC, these “director’s cuts” were planned from the beginning. During an hourlong Zoom interview with EW on Halloween about the making of the new films, Snyder said that Netflix producers brought up the idea very early on in the process….

(17) HISTORY FROM ANOTHER PLANET. StarWars.com reminds everyone about “The Origins of Life Day”.

Before you and your family gather your glowing orbs, don your ankle-length red smocks, and gather at the sacred tree to recite hallowed Shyriiwook verses in celebration of Life Day, let’s look back at the holiday’s origins. Not from within the Star Wars setting, mind you; rather, let’s examine its real-world history and evolution from an obscure TV source to an annual fan tradition.

The root of Life Day is found in The Star Wars Holiday Speciala star-studded 1978 prime time broadcast that aired on CBS once on November 17, 1978. After that broadcast, it was never to be (officially) seen again in the US and instead was relegated to bizarre cultural curiosity in the years that followed. The intent of the Holiday Special was to keep Star Wars in the public eye during the long three-year stretch between movies with new entertainment, using a tried-and-true television format of the 1970s: the variety special….

(18) STARSHIP HELD FOR QUICK FIX. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] SpaceX has announced it will delay the planned second launch of its “Starship“ rocket until Saturday to replace a failed or questionable grid fin actuator. The rocket has been unstacked at the launchpad to provide access for replacing the part. The four grid fins provide guidance/attitude control when returning the super heavy booster to a controlled landing. (In this case, a “land”ing in the ocean.) “SpaceX delays launch of its giant Starship rocket to swap out a part” at Ars Technica.

The launch of SpaceX’s second full-size Starship rocket from South Texas is now scheduled for Saturday, a day later than previously planned, according to company founder Elon Musk.

This 24-hour delay will allow time for SpaceX technicians at the company’s launch facility, known as Starbase, to replace a component on the rocket’s stainless steel Super Heavy booster. There is a 20-minute launch window on Saturday, opening at 7 am CST (13:00 UTC), shortly after sunrise in South Texas.

A delay at this point is unsurprising. Starship is a complex launch vehicle with a sum of 39 methane-burning engines, each producing roughly a half-million pounds of thrust, powering its booster stage and upper stage. And this is only the second test flight of SpaceX’s new full-scale, nearly 400-foot-tall (121-meter) rocket, the largest launch vehicle ever built…

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Steven French, Dann, Scott Edelman, Geri Sullivan, Rich Lynch, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

19 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/17/23 Walking My Sloth Named Thoth

  1. 2) the answer to fish being delivered to a bookstore, SEND IT TO THE LOCAL FOOD BANK! Win/Win!

  2. (10) He has a credential — a tortie, who are perhaps the most credential-y of all — so of course he’s one of us.

    (13) I don’t see at all how this is promoting piracy — there aren’t any links to how one might go about pirating.

  3. (2) Books about Captain Pike, Fin the Stormtrooper, Kilgore Trout, Theodore Sturgeon, and anyone who lives on Betta Colony

  4. (1) Don’t drink any mass market American “beer”.
    (2) Sounds fishy to me… (come on, it had to be said). I had a haddock once….
    (4) It bloody well is a social problem. Too many generations of Ah Gots To Be A Man, an’ mah Boy will too, if it kills him. An’ wimmin should know their place, and…. (no, I don’t need to go on.)
    (9) What idiots are calling it a cautionary tale?
    Birthdays: Raymond F. Jones – come on. What was SF in the movies like when This Island Earth was made? The late night creature double feature? As sf goes, that was great, compared to most other crap.
    (12) In my future universe, the Terran Confederation (first seen in`11,000 Years, and you see how we create it in Becoming Terran, which will drop in February), I guarantee you could step onto any ship you wanted…. If you’re qualified, we don’t care what you do with your private parts on your time.
    (17) Wait, there was any part of that special worth watching other than the Jefferson Starship?

  5. I think Prometheus has been (mis)used as a cautionary tale, sadly.

    I stopped posting on Twitter a while ago, and some people even noticed.

  6. (2) I hope they had copies of “The Compleat Angler” in there…

    (9j People think the Prometheus myth is a cautionary tale about the dangers of technology?! Maybe this is the fault of the Ridley Scott movie?

    (10) This was covered as a news item on Today this morning. Emerald Lad has declared he’s going to sue! (I don’t think he has a case?…) Meanwhile, the ads in Twitter are going to get even worse, if that’s possible.

    ETA: On the good news front, my mother is back from short-term rehab because of a spinal compression. (She is also fighting anemia. If you have anemia, make you you follow it up with your doctor… )

  7. 10) I’ve pretty much given up on Twitter myself; I still look in on it to see if anyone wants invite codes to BlueSky (I have some, if anybody here wants one.) I’m not actually deleting my account, just leaving it to wither on the vine, as it were.

    13) The only cautionary message I can see from Prometheus is “don’t go around improving the lot of the common people, or the powers that be will punish you for it.” Which is not a moral I care for, much.

  8. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: November 19, 2023 - Amazing Stories

  9. 1) Love a beer. Any beer, from Amber Ale to Zombie Dust. As Ben Franklin said ‘beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.’

    2) Whether or not it was done on porpoise, I imagine someone was crabby about it.

    5) I love haunted houses almost as much as I love beer. If you ever get a chance, go see the Winchester Mystery House. Also, Crimson Peak, and The Woman In Black are worth watching, as haunted house movies go.

    9) Toss it on the ‘People Missing The Point In A Comical Fashion’ pile with ‘1984’, Fight Club, Rorschach from ‘Watchmen’ and V for Vendetta.

    10) Not to be a monomaniac here, but only using it for announcements still counts as using it (like how there’s no such thing as an ‘ironic’ purchase), which means you’ve not actually left. Which means that at best you just want attention and at worst are fine still being part of what you see as a problem. Good on the other two guys for saying they were leaving and actually leaving.

    12) I can relate. Growing up in small town OK in the early ’80’s I’d occasionally catch old, out of sync episodes of Dr. Who at odd and unpredicatble hours on PBS or the weird little local UHF stations and it blew my mind because it was like nothing else around me or in my (at 10 years old considerably limited) experience. It made me wonder what else was out there past my little prairie town and to want to go see it.

    13) Physical media remains undefeated. If you can’t hold it, you don’t own it.

    16) I’m 100% on board on this. I saw his ‘Justice League’ finally and not only was it one of the best superhero/comic book movies I’ve ever seen, it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2022/23. Also the way Whedon hacked up that movie should be prosecuted as a crime.

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