Pixel Scroll 11/20/18 Maybe The Real File Was The Pixels We Scrolled On The Way

(1) BACK TO BACK. The Hollywood Reporter asked, the fans answered: “Which Movie Franchise Should Return? ‘Back to the Future’ Tops New Poll”. They don’t care that director Robert Zemeckis declared three years ago that he would try to block a reboot of the franchise, “even after his death.”

Of the 2,201 adults surveyed between Nov. 8 and 11, 71 percent said that they’d be likely to watch another outing for Marty McFly and Doc Brown ahead of other franchises like Pixar’s Toy Story (69 percent), Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones (68 percent) and Universal’s Jurassic Park (67 percent).

Back to the Future also polled well when it came to the question of which franchise has been most closely followed by the public. Fifty-four percent of those polled reported having watched the entirety of the series, compared with just 36 percent for the ever-growing Star Wars series. As with the earlier question, both Toy Story and Indiana Jones performed well, with 47 percent of those responding having followed each series faithfully.

(2) FIREFLY. The Verge’s Andrew Liptak tells Firefly fans where to find more of the good stuff: “Big Damn Hero is a familiar trip back to Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe”.

In December 2002, Fox gave the ax to a little-known science fiction show from Joss Whedon called Firefly. The series gained a cult status when it hit DVD the following year, and its story continued in the 2005 film Serenity and a handful of comic books — but a planned massively multiplayer game based on the series never materialized, and Firefly has been weirdly left out of the recent surge of rebooted TV shows. Now, for fans who have been missing the franchise, there’s a new glimmer of hope — or at least an opportunity to revisit the ‘Verse, with James Lovegrove and Nancy Holder’s new novel Big Damn Hero.

Big Damn Hero is the first of three novels being published by Titan Books in the coming months, under the guidance of Whedon, who serves as a “consulting editor.” Like Firefly, the book follows the crew of the spaceship Serenity, led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a veteran of a failed rebellion against the authoritarian Alliance government. The result is a new bona fide adventure in the story — one that could be an extended episode from the series, but which also fleshes out the characters and world just a bit more.

(3) WOKE ON A COLD HILL SIDE IN GALLIFREY. The Daily Mail (of course!) is all over this story: “Exterminate! Fans’ backlash over Doctor Who’s latest transformation- into TV’s most PC show”

One fan wrote: ‘There should be a clever story line, not a rehash of history. There’s also an underlying feeling the focus has been forcing inclusiveness by having such obviously diverse characters.’

Another said: ‘Please keep the PC stuff for documentaries and serious drama and let the Doctor help us escape to a fantasy world.’

(4) SAYS WHO? Stylist tells how “Jodie Whittaker brilliantly hits back at all those saying Doctor Who is “too PC””.

Now, Whittaker – who’s the first ever female Doctor – has addressed the backlash.

“What’s the point of making a show if it doesn’t reflect society today?,” Whittaker said while switching on the Christmas lights at London’s Regent Street on Monday 19 November. “We have the opportunity with this show like no other to dip to future, to past, to present, to new worlds and time zones. There is never going to be a drought in the stories you can tell.”

Whittaker continued: “It’s always topical. Chris is a very present-minded person who is very aware of the world he lives in and is passionate about storytelling. It would be wrong of him to not have used the past. He does it in a really beautiful way.”

(5) BOMBS AWAY. Those of you who don’t think Robin Hood is sff can skip this review, and those who do may want to skip this movie after reading what The Hollywood Reporter says about it in “‘Robin Hood’: Film Review”.

Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx and Ben Mendelsohn lead the cast in the latest big-screen iteration of the classic adventure story.

Guy Ritchie’s idiotic, leathered-up, fancy-weaponed take on King Arthur worked out so wonderfully for all involved last year ($149 million worldwide box office on a $175 million budget) that someone still evidently thought it would be a good idea to apply the same preposterous modernized armaments, trendy wardrobe and machine-gun style to perennial screen favorite Robin Hood.

Well, it’s turned out even worse than anyone could have imagined in this all-time big-screen low for Robin, Marian, Friar Tuck, Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, not to mention for Jamie Foxx as an angry man from the Middle East who’s gotten mixed up on the wrong side of a Crusade, or maybe just in the wrong movie. Leonardo DiCaprio can rest easy in the knowledge that this fiasco will come and go so quickly that few will remember that it even existed, much less that he produced it. In a just world, everyone involved in this mess would be required to perform some sort of public penance.

(6) RESOURCES FOR AN IRISH WORLDCON. Fanac.org’s Joe Siclari turns the site’s attention to Retro-Hugo-eligible zines and classic Irish fanwriting.

Retro Hugos: We have a guide to 1943 fannish publications online for your Retro Hugo nominating pleasure. We’re not done adding links to it, so there’ll be even more to read. The guide shows all the 1943 fanzines, including the ones we don’t have, and will let you know what’s eligible for best fanzine. Even if a fanzine had too few issues to be eligible, it can give insight for nominations in the Best Fan Writer and Best Fan Artist categories. In addition to FANAC.org hosted zines, there are links to materials on efanzines and the University of Iowa’s Rusty Hevelin collection. The printed fanzines are rare, not readily available, and physically frail, so we’re especially glad we can make them available to you online.

The Irish Project: As part of our effort to promote our fannish history, FANAC makes a priority of adding material that is pertinent to current fan events (like our push to make fan source material available for the Retro Hugo Awards). With the very first Irish Worldcon scheduled for 2019, we are making available classic Irish fan publications from such luminaries as Walt Willis, Bob Shaw, James White, and the Englishmen often identified with Irish Fandom (IF), John Berry, Chuck Harris, Arthur Thomson (Atom), etc.

The Wheels of IF had extensive interaction and influence in fandom, and so we are including English and American zines where that influence was often seen. There are publications included by Lee Hoffman (Quandry), Shelby Vick (Confusion), Vin¢ Clarke, Ken Bulmer (Steam), and others.

We have fanzines, apazines, trip reports and fabulous one-shots (like John Berry’s “This Goon For Hire”). Publication dates range from the 50s to the 90s, with more current pieces coming. Our

Wheels of IF directory (http://www.fanac.org/fanzines/Irish_Fandom/) now has nearly 200 zines available with dozens more in the pipeline.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • November 20, 1929 – Jerry Hardin, 89, Actor famous for his character roles, whom genre fans know as the informant Deep Throat in The X-Files, or perhaps as Samuel Clemens in the Star Trek: The Next Generation double episode “Times’s Arrow”. Other TV series guest appearences include Star Trek: Voyager, Sliders, Brimstone, Time Trax, Lois & Clark, Quantum Leap, Dark Justice, Starman, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The (new) Twilight Zone, and The Incredible Hulk, and he had roles in Big Trouble in Little China and Doomsday Virus (aka Pandora’s Clock).
  • November 20, 1932 – Richard Dawson, Actor, Comedian, and Game Show Host. I debated including him, as he really had but one meaty genre performance – but oh, was it oh so great: in the Saturn-nominated film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Running Man, as the self-referential, egotistical and evil game-show host Damon Killian who came to a deservedly bad end; he won a Saturn Award for his dead-on performance. Other genre appearances include Munster, Go Home!, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Outer Limits. (Died 2012.)
  • November 20, 1923 – Len Moffatt, Writer, Editor, Conrunner, and Member of First Fandom. He became an SFF fan in his teens, and was a founder of the Western Pennsylvania Science Fictioneers. He produced numerous fanzines over the years, and was deeply involved in several fan associations, including the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F), for which he produced the Fan Directory. He and his wife June, who was also an ardent fan, organized many Bouchercons (mystery fandom conventions) and were recognized with that con’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A member of the LA Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) since 1946, he was honored with their Forry Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Moffatts were the TAFF delegates in 1973 to the UK Natcon, and Fan Guests of Honor at many conventions. (Died 2010.)
  • November 20, 1944 – Molly Gloss, 74, Writer and Teacher from the Pacific Northwest who is known for both science fiction and historical fiction. A close friend of Ursula K. Le Guin, many of her works touch on themes of feminism and gender. Her novel Wild Life won a Tiptree Award, her novelette “The Grinnell Method” won the Sturgeon Award, and her short story “Lambing Season” was a Hugo finalist.
  • November 20, 1963 – Ming-Na Wen, 55, Actor from Macau who is currently appearing as Agent Melinda May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She has also had main roles in the series Stargate Universe and the short-lived Vanished, and a recurring role in Eureka. Her breakthrough genre role was providing the voice for Disney’s Mulan, for which she won an Annie Award (awards which recognize voice actors in animated productions). This led to a lengthy career providing voices for animated features and series, including Spawn, The Batman, Adventure Time with Finn & Jake, Phineas and Ferb, Robot Chicken, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as a plethora of Mulan spinoffs, offshoots, tie-ins, and video games. Other genre appearances include the films The Darkness, Starquest (aka Terminal Voyage), Tempting Fate, and Rain Without Thunder.


(9) BOOK TWO. Camestros Felapton does a “Proper Review of the Consuming Fire”.

…There’s a lot of talking and plotting and counter-plotting that is important because this is supposed to be a world of plotting and counter-plotting. However, it feels inconsequential even at the time. Of course it is MEANT to be futile in the face of a systemic collapse of the hyperspace routes that hold the Empire together. Meanwhile, the story is plotting a new course and warming up its engines….

(10) IMPERIAL WALKER TOLD TO TAKE A HIKE. Some people just have no sensawunda. Officials in Devon have ordered a 14 foot replica of a Star Wars All-Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST) be taken away from its spot near the A38 (Hollywood Reporter: “Officials Order Englishman to Remove ‘Star Wars’ AT-ST Replica”).

The 14-foot homage will no longer be on display. […]

Star Wars fan living in the southeast county of Devon, England, has been ordered by the local government to remove a 14-foot-tall AT-ST replica that he hoped would bring attention to his town.

The monstrous attack vehicle, which sits near a road, was initially built by Dean Harvey for his children.

“The reason why I built it was a den for my daughters,” he told the BBC. “It’s all made of out [steel] and weighs about two-and-a-half tons.”

After his kids outgrew the AT-ST, he gave it to a man named Paul Parker, who is now being ordered to get rid of it.

(11) SPACE HAWAIIAN STYLE. The side of Mauna Loa have been the home, these past few years, of a Mars habitat simulation. Now, after a major glitch in the sim, it’s being repurposed as a Moon habitat simulation. (The Atlantic: “Hawaii’s Mars Simulations Are Turning Into Moon Missions”)

For the last five years, a small Mars colony thrived in Hawaii, many miles away from civilization.

The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS, was carried out in a small white dome nestled along the slope of a massive volcano called Mauna Loa. The habitat usually housed six people at a time, for as long as eight months. […]
In February of this year, something went wrong. The latest and sixth mission was just four days in when one of the crew members was carried out on a stretcher and taken to a hospital, an Atlantic investigation revealed in June. There had been a power outage in the habitat, and some troubleshooting ended with one of the residents sustaining an electric shock. The rest of the crew was evacuated, too. There was some discussion of returning—the injured person was treated and released in the same day—but another crew member felt the conditions weren’t safe enough and decided to withdraw. The Mars simulation couldn’t continue with a crew as small as three, and the entire program was put on hold.

But the habitat on Mauna Loa was not abandoned. While officials at the University of Hawaii and NASA investigated the incident, the wealthy Dutch entrepreneur [Henk Rogers] who built the habitat was thinking about how the dome could be put to use.

[…] Under Rogers’s direction and funding, the HI-SEAS habitat will reopen this year—not as a Mars simulation, but a moon one.

(12) STAYIN’ ALIVE. “Elon Musk renames his BFR spacecraft Starship” Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

Elon Musk has changed the name of his forthcoming passenger spaceship from Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) to Starship.

The entrepreneur would not reveal why he had renamed the craft, which has not yet been built, but added its rocket booster will be called Super Heavy.

In September, Mr Musk’s SpaceX company announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa had signed up to be the first passenger to travel on the ship.

The mission is planned for 2023 if the spaceship is built by that time.

It is the craft’s fourth name – it started out as Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) and then became Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) before becoming BFR.

(13) SHARPER IMAGE. Japan is on the cutting edge of space technology: “A samurai swordsmith is designing a space probe”.

If you wanted to slice stuff up in space, what would you bring with you? ‘Samurai’ swords, which have been made in Japan for centuries, might be on your list because the tempered steel used in them is notoriously tough. There are plenty of videos online showing these Japanese swords, also called ‘katana’, cutting up everything from thick boards of wood to metal pipes.

Now, a trio of engineers have teamed up with a master Japanese swordsmith to design a rock-sampling device made with the same steel used in these blades – and the plan is to use it on an asteroid.

Japan’s Hayabusa missions have so far sent spacecraft, rovers and sampling tools to a one kilometre-wide asteroid called Ryugu, which orbits the sun between Earth and Mars. Hayabusa2’s rovers recently sent back stunning images of the asteroid’s black, rocky surface. But bringing fragments of Ryugu back to Earth is an enormously tricky task, which is why novel ideas are being suggested for how to do it

(14) SAY WHAT? Brenton Dickieson tells what a shock it is to go a lifetime assuming a word you’ve only seen in print would be pronounced a certain way – and then someone actually says it out loud another way… “C.S. Lewis’ ‘Dymer’… or is it Deemer? (or Can Someone from the Buffyverse be Wrong?)” (He has a lot more to say about the poem, of course.)

After five years of avoiding the book, I decided to reread Alister McGrath’s biography of Lewis. I am listening to it as an audiobook this time, and Robin Sachs pronounces Dymer as “Deemer.” It has shattered my vision of the entire piece. All along, I have been pronouncing Dymer as “Daimer,” so that “Dym” rhymes with “rhyme.” McGrath’s bio of Lewis is one of the last things that Sachs read in a long career of acting. Who am I to question someone who studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art? More than anything, Robin Sachs had a recurring role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Clearly, I must be wrong. After all, Robin Sachs is British. How could he be wrong?

(15) DOOMED TO GO BOOM. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] A new article in Nature (caution, paywall: “Anisotropic winds in a Wolf–Rayet binary identify a potential gamma-ray burst progenitor”) about a pinwheel-shaped star system that may go boom in a big way has received a good bit of notice in the press. (CNN: “First-known ‘pinwheel’ star system is beautiful, dangerous and doomed”; Popular Mechanics: “Two Young Stars On a Death Spiral Are Acting Very Strangely”)

The close binary star system has the stars in a death spiral of sorts creating an image that in the infrared looks startlingly like a child’s toy pinwheel. This one, though, would be no fun at all to any being close enough to really experience it. The PM story explains:

The stars, located about 7,800 light years away, are in what’s called a Wolf-Rayet stage. That’s when massive stars begin to shed their hydrogen, burning certain elements in their atmosphere like carbon and nitrogen. A sort of nebula that forms around the stars makes them easy to spot.

But something peculiar is happening here: These two Wolf-Rayet stars are causing the nebula to move a bit like a pinwheel in interactions that are also producing gamma ray bursts—high energy events usually generated by massive objects like black holes. By finding a source of the particular kinds of gamma ray bursts produced in these stars, astronomers have a laboratory right in our backyard to test long duration gamma ray bursts.

The system was named Apep after the Egyptian deity of chaos, often depicted as a snake. One of the co-author of the study, Dr. Peter Tuthill (University of Sydney), is quoted in the CNN article as saying, “The curved tail is formed by the orbiting binary stars at the center, which inject dust into the expanding wind creating a pattern like a rotating lawn sprinkler. Because the wind expands so much, it inflates the tiny coils of dust revealing the physics of the stars at the heart of the system.” Another co-author, Benjamin Pope (New York University), was quoted as saying, “The only way we get such a system to work is if the Wolf-Rayet star is spewing out gas at several speeds. One way for such different winds to happen is via critical rotation. One of the stars in Apep is rotating so fast that it is nearly ripping itself apart. On its equator, the rotational forces make the gas basically weightless, so it slowly floats off the equator.”

(16) SERIES INTERRUPTUS. The following tweet struck me as a poorly constructed defense.

The cultural impact of George R.R. Martin’s series is huge. Of course its fans are invested in seeing it finished. “Entitlement” doesn’t enter into it. And despite being kindly intended, Naruto’s idea that attention should instead be paid to authors who do finish their series is identical to the logic Dave Freer and Richard Paolinelli used when they attacked Martin to gain attention for themselves.

Anyway, we all know Martin is perfectly capable of speaking for himself, as he has done in several recent interviews to publicize his new Westeros history book Fire and Blood.  Here’s what he told Entertainment Weekly

Before we go, here’s a standard question I missed asking you at the start: What excites you most about Fire and Blood?
The book is a lot of fun. The people who are open to reading an imaginary history and not a novel — which I realize is not everybody — have enjoyed it so far. But honestly, the single thing that excites me most is that I finished it. I know there are a lot of people out there who are very angry with me that Winds of Winter isn’t finished. And I’m mad about that myself. I wished I finished it four years ago. I wished it was finished now. But it’s not. And I’ve had dark nights of the soul where I’ve pounded my head against the keyboard and said, “God, will I ever finish this? The show is going further and further forward and I’m falling further and further behind. What the hell is happening here? I’ve got to do this.” I just got the [Fire and Blood] copy and, holding it in my hand, it’s a beautiful book. The illustrations by Doug Wheatley are great. It’s been a long while since I had a new Westeros book and nobody knows that as well as I do. I know that just as much as the angriest of my hardcore fans. And I have continued to publish other things. It’s not like I’ve been on a seven-year vacation. I have Wild Cards books coming out every six months. But not like this, one that’s entirely my writing. So to finish a book that I’m proud of and excited by was emotionally a big lift for me.

And an hour-long video “In Conversation: George R. R. Martin with John Hodgman” was posted today on YouTube.

George R. R. Martin talks with John Hodgman about his new book FIRE & BLOOD, the first volume in a two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros. Filmed at the Loews Theater in Jersey City, NJ.


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

61 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/20/18 Maybe The Real File Was The Pixels We Scrolled On The Way

  1. Re: #14, One of the few things that still annoy me about audiobooks, which I’ve started to consume a lot of, is when I read an audiobook of a book in a series which I’ve previously only read in print – and suddenly i hear pronunciations of character/place names that throw me for a loop. I usually try to read series entirely in one format as a result, but that’s not always possible.

    Still, more annoying is when audiobooks in the same series switch pronunciations between different books (the Blackstone Audio audiobooks of the Vorkosigan Saga are notorious for this, with at least two names (Galeni, Dendarii in particular) getting 2-3 different pronunciations over the course of the series, which drove me crazy)

  2. “fantabulous Andrew”

    Thank you, very much!

    (3) This season of Doctor Who has had ratings that range from 7.5 million to 11 million. The last season had ratings ranging from 4.75 million to 8 million. The season before that ranged from 6.75 to 9.2. Clearly ratings are plummeting; Jodie Whittaker’s lowest rated episode is getting slightly fewer viewers than Peter Capaldi’s highest rated episode….

    Never Pixel or Scrollardy. Never Click up, never File in

  3. (1)

    Of the 2,201 adults surveyed

    Mm, a) what’s their definition (or at least starting age) for “adult”?
    b) what did the pre-adults vote for?

  4. (3) @Andrew–Thank you. That’s the question I wanted to ask.

    (5) Without clicking through, and without expressing an opinion on a movie I know nothing about, I wonder if in this reviewer we have yet another case of someone who has no idea how much people really moved around in the Middle Ages.

    (15) The sad truth is that it all happened a long time ago. We just haven’t gotten the news yet.

  5. @1: the second paragraph is comparing apples to kumquats, unless there are half a dozen McFly features I haven’t seen; having watched 3 movies, none of them with unintentionally repulsive characters, is a lot easier to achieve than having watched ?10? OTOH, outdoing some more recent triples is noticeable; I wonder how that happened, and how good the age spread was among those polled (considering that the last Future was a quarter-century back).
    Edit: I see @Daniel Dern has put this more precisely.

    @12: I assume it’s about publicity — the renaming gets him more electrons (and maybe even ink) — maybe mixed with preventing more people from mistaking the BFR for a BUFF or otherwise mutating the name.

    @15: who needs fantasy when you can have physics? OTOH, “a safe distance” here seems rather further than for the usual blue touchpaper.

  6. (3) It’d be lovely for Jeremy if this was borne out by the facts. Whittaker’s series so far is doing much healthier numbers than the last few. It’s almost as though Dr Who fans aren’t exclusively old angry white men.

  7. 3) One of the hosts of the Skeptics with a K podcast used to run Dr Who conventions. After showing the lie to the ‘backlash’, he gives many examples of early-run Dr Who episodes with progressive attributes for the time.

  8. 3) Complaints like these make me wonder if those folks ever watched Doctor Who, particularly the old series, because Doctor Who was often very political indeed, commenting on the Vietnam war, Britain joining the European Union (the Doctor was in favour), miners’ strikes, excessive taxation, environmental destruction (in 1974), Margaret Thatcher’s policies, etc…

    The problematic “Britain is the greatest” subtext, complete with uncritical portrayals of figures like Winston Churchill and umpteen patriotic WWII episodes only crept in in the new series, particularly during the Moffat era (cause some of the Russell T. Davis episodes were pretty leftwing and the most reactionary patriotic RTD episode happened to be written by Moffat). And this wasn’t unpolitical either, it was just politics the Daily Mail happened to agree with. So if anything, the Whittaker/Chibnall era of Doctor Who is a return to tradition.

    I was with him up to “Hey, why complain about this one series being not finished, when there are so many other books and series to read out there?” But the smug undertone of “And other authors can actually finish series, so who cares about GRRM?” really put me off. Reading isn’t a zero sum game and it’s perfectly possible to enjoy many other books and series in the meantime and still be first in line for a copy once The Winds of Winter comes out.

  9. (11) (I should read the whole scroll before posting)

    Anyway there’s a cool podcast called The Habitat which follows one of the “Mars” missions there – might be of interest to people here.

  10. 13) ” ‘Samurai’ swords, which have been made in Japan for centuries, might be on your list because the tempered steel used in them is notoriously tough.”

    Am I missing something? I thought samurai swords were known to be notoriously brittle, due to being made by low quality steel.

  11. I was a bit late to the Firefly game. I never saw it when it broadcast. I did a rewatch recently though. Not bad.

    (14) as per audiobooks, which I have started to consume more of, I always feel silly when I realize how often I’ve mispronounced things.

  12. @Hampus Eckerman: a “proper” traditional Japanese sword is actually made from two different grades of steel – the outer edge of it is harder and more brittle (better for holding an edge) and the inner core is more flexible so it has some give in the event of weapon-on-weapon collisions. I’ve actually used swords that this particular swordsmith has made and they are very nice; very much the high-end of Japanese craftsmanship.

    The lower end, eg the “pressed” gunto (army swords) from WW2 or whatever weapons were hammered out for the ashigaru (footsoldiers) in feudal Japan won’t be anywhere near that level of quality and would be brittle and break more often. My own sword is a simple forged blade and while it’s very usable it’s not really as good, functionally or aesthetically, as a traditionally folded sword.

    But everything above about relative quality of weapons is true of, eg, European weaponry too.

  13. I reread my paperback of The Odyssey frequently as a kid. I had figured out how to say Odysseus, but always thought his wife’s name was PEN-eh-loap. When I finally heard someone pronounce it — fortunately before I said it aloud to anyone myself — I started mentally saying tel-EFF-o-nee, too, just for the hell of it.

  14. I still remember someone laughing in my face the first time I said hyperbole aloud (‘hyper bowl’)

  15. 3)

    Ratings have dropped, with fans complaining the story lines, including a man giving birth, are just too PC. Do you think that’s the case?

    Um, the least-watched (so far) 13th Doctor episode had more viewers than all bar 6 episodes of the 12th Doctor’s 40 episodes.Although that’s views, not sure what they mean by “ratings”.

  16. Ingvar says Um, the least-watched (so far) 13th Doctor episode had more viewers than all bar 6 episodes of the 12th Doctor’s 40 episodes.Although that’s views, not sure what they mean by “ratings”.

    Both ratings and viewings have to be considered by region. Overall the Thirteenth Doctor is doing overall better in all regions than any previous Doctor imcluding Capaldi so the arguments of male fanboys that she’s cussing the ratings to go into the deepest corner of the TARDIS are blantant lie.

    You can’t measure ratings like you used to as BBC overnights are just a small aspects of the viewership, ie I purchase my copies off iTunes and I’m willing to be there’s other streaming sources as well.

    And my Funko Pop Thirteenth Doctor figure is standing front of the TARDIS I have here, I think it’s the Seventh Doctor’s, until I get the one they did of hers.

  17. (10) If the Hollywood Reporter thinks Devon is in the south east of England they need to buy a map. Then again, maybe they think California is one of the south eastern states in the US.

  18. @Stuart: Being originally from the west of the county (where one of my friends was named Penelope so no doubt as to pronunciation!) I’d suspect there’s an “of the” gone missing between “southeast” and “county”. Ashburton is on the bit of the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth which could be considered the south east if you squint a bit and ignore the right hand end of the county.

    Mind you, I think it was an episode of “Sanctuary” that introduced a change of location during an episode with a picture of wooded rolling hills overlaid by the caption “Essex, England”…

  19. #3: My biggest complaint about the new characters is that I sometimes can’t understand their regional accents. They also seem to speak very fast. I have to rewind and listen two or three times in order to understand them.

    Having said that, I find the sentence, “What’s the point of making a show if it doesn’t reflect society today?” absolutely hilarious. I guess that means we should stop having things like Downton Abbey, or Poldark, or anything else that’s not about now.

    Including all written fantasy and most SF.

  20. I’m convinced that the reason J.K. Rowling had the character in … was it Goblet of Fire? who kept saying, “Hermy-own” was so that she’d have an excuse to get “Her-MY-oh-nee” into writing for the benefit of her many readers who’d never encountered such a name before.

  21. Some of my IT friends insist on pronouncing Kali Linux as “CALI” Linux not “KA-LEE” Linux, which irks me to no end. (They don’t pronounce LEE-NUX right either, but I think that’s a lost cause here in the States.)

  22. On a trip to upstate New York I once amused the locals by pronouncing the town of Skaneatles as “Ska-neetles.” Quoth they, “That’s a funny way to say Skinny Atlas!”

  23. @Joe H.: Someone was bound to be right on the Internet one of these days, and you were the lucky one.

    P.S. Now regarding the pronunciation of “telephony” I must cite

    “Once there was an elephant,
    Who tried to use the telephant—
    No! No! I mean an elephone
    Who tried to use the telephone” https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/eletelephony

  24. @Oneiros: It’s almost as though Dr Who fans aren’t exclusively old angry white men. One of the things that gets certain old white men angriest is that they aren’t the universe, or even the power thereto, any longer. A bit like a section of the US throwing a 4-year snit fit when it found it could no longer control the election of the President….

    Hampus Eckerman: Am I missing something? I thought samurai swords were known to be notoriously brittle, due to being made by low quality steel. There’s a link in the story to a photo essay on how the good swords are made; it’s not a cheap or simple process. I’m not surprised by @Oneiros’s point that there are crappy knockoffs of all good weapons (or of almost anything else good-but-expensive, for that matter — see allegedly-Ruskin’s dictum).

    @various: why am I not surprised that the they-trampled-on-my-childhood school are outright lying about Dr. Who ratings?

  25. I also saw an article (on Facebook? Twitter?) pointing out that the ratings (in the 1-5 star sense, not the # of viewers sense) for the new Dr. Who episodes tend to start off on the low side (as they’re immediately tanked by people who probably aren’t even watching the episodes) but climb back up to normal levels as ratings are added by actual viewers.

    Unless this is something I’m wrong on the internet about.

  26. Stuart Hall on November 21, 2018 at 7:48 am said:

    (10) If the Hollywood Reporter thinks Devon is in the south east of England they need to buy a map. Then again, maybe they think California is one of the south eastern states in the US.

    And why even mention the broader location? It’s not like that helps colour the report – like if this was an event that was somehow typical or atypical of southeastern counties (or correctly southwestern counties).

  27. (16) Read his entire thread. It seems entirely reasonable to me.

    Peter V. Brett said something similar during a local appearance last year with respect to fans crossing the line into unreasonably demanding that authors finish a series. GRRM is the largest target (no pun intended) of such criticism, but he isn’t alone.

    There are indeed lots of other authors out there that are also writing and completing series based works. Many of those series are worth having wider readership.

    Whether or not the works of Messrs Freer and Paolinelli fall into that group being a separate question that is beyond my experience.

    Oddly enough, my time-traveling is limited to 7 hours and 45 minutes in the past….

    Coolidge is dead – “How could they tell? – Dorothy Parker

  28. Interesting Meredith Moment: The ebook version of the latest Sandman Slim novel (Hollywood Dead) is on sale at Amazon for a mere $2.99. I don’t know about other outlets, though.

  29. One reason Firefly was nevervrebooted was that nobody really wants to mess with it. You cant just continue it (actors are older, having a falling out or their characters are dead. And Glass is no longer with us), reboot might alienate the original fans, new stories in old universe might work, but would aleays be in the shadows. I also doubt Whedon would want to Mess with it.
    At least thats my theory:)

    Dear pixels, please dont scroll in the attic. Thank you

  30. Andrew Porter: if you think Downton Abbey or “all written fantasy” don’t reflect just as much of the society their creators are working in as they do the society they are ostensibly about, there’s no help for you.

    Especially when you already know Whittaker is talking about a show which has had episodes set in 1950s Alabama and during the partition of Pakistan, as well as in the far future.

  31. 10)
    Growing up, the AT-AT was deemed cooler among my peers than the AT-ST because it was bigger and badder. I had a fondness for the AT-ST though, and so I was delighted to see them in Rogue One. See, I thought, here is where an AT-ST is clearly superior. Patrol vehicle in urban environments

  32. The name “Penelope” is actually a modern adaptation of the name of Odysseus’s wife: in the original Greek it’s always “??????????” (Penelopeia). In later Greek dialects the suffix “-???” got shortened to “-?” or even “-?”.

  33. My copy of Consuming Fire just arrived, so I should be in a position to read some of these reviews (and parodies) soon! 🙂

    I have to say that I don’t want another BttF movie. Mostly because think the odds are near-100% that it would be crap.

    But I suppose an all-female version might be fun, if for no other reason than the number of complete a-holes who would end up dying of apoplexy were such a thing to happen. People the world would surely be better without. 😀

    I learned how to pronounce “Penelope” as a kid via the cartoon The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. I found it odd enough that I actually asked my parents to confirm that they weren’t either misspelling or mispronouncing the name of their own show. 🙂

  34. I posted this over on the 2018 Recommended Books thread, but I wanted to post it in the daily Pixel Scroll as well to help spread the word on this one.

    The Breath of the Sun, by Rachel Fellman


    HIDDEN GEM ALERT. Published by the well-reputed but not widely-advertising Aqueduct Press, this book deserves a LOT more attention than it’s been getting. It seems like it’s virtually unknown right now, and I sincerely hope that changes.

    When Lamat Paed was young, she climbed partway the mountain that is God. It went … poorly, leaving two members of the expedition dead and a third excommunicated. But years later, the charismatic priest Disaine convinces Lamat to join her on a second attempt.

    I liked this book. A lot. There’s so much to chew on here. It examines belief, truth, and both the impossibility and necessity of touching the numinous. And mountain climbing. A lot of beautifully written mountain climbing. It’s the kind of book that grows on me more and more the longer I think about it, and I hope it gets the audience it deserves.

    Highly recommended.

  35. (3) You can trust The Daily Mail to provide you with ill-informed petty bourgeois odium about literally any subject.

    The diversity of the cast is a strength. The casting of Jodie Whittaker is perfect. Visiting historical moments that are relevant to our understanding of human rights is a good choice. Tackling labour as a subject is really interesting (and reminds me of the cosmic-Che-Guevara 7th Doctor). The author of this article in the Daily Mail is stunningly wrong about everything.

    This article is just excessively stupid. And I say that as someone who doesn’t much like most of the Doctor Who that has aired since 2009.

    There are problems with Doctor Who (infantile plots, weak dialogue, reliance on deux et machina), but they are endemic to the series and have not changed in the past decade.

  36. Penelope’s one of the (many, oh so many) family names that gets reused a bunch on my mother’s side so I grew up knowing that one. It didn’t get me any closer to getting Hermione right on first read, though. I was 7 or 8 at the time.

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