Pixel Scroll 11/28/23 Scrollmas Won’t Be Scrollmas Without Any Pixels

(1) WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION 2025 ACCESSIBILITY. Karen Fishwick, Chair of World Fantasy Convention 2025, responded to Mari Ness’ comments about accessibility issues at the 2025 WFC hotel quoted in yesterday’s Scroll.

There have been some very valid concerns raised on social media about the accessibility of World Fantasy Convention 2025. 

Some of these concerns are based on experiences at a previous WFC held at the same Hotel, so I wanted to make sure that these were put into context. 

  • The hotel has recently undertaken some renovations in the front/lobby area, which has improved access. 
  • The bedrooms have been renovated since 2013. 
  • We are not using function rooms in the hotel that are not accessible to people in wheelchairs (including the mezzanine room on the staircase). The function rooms we are using are on the lower ground floor and the upper ground floor. We do also have options to use rooms on Floor M as well.
  • Details of the entrances to the hotel are on our Accessibility Audit https://worldfantasy2025.co.uk/accessibility-audit/

There are still some things we are working on:

  • Parking for high sided vehicles – this particularly affects dealers, event organisers and people with larger mobility vehicles – There is space to drop people/unload at the venue, but the car park is height limited. We are looking for parking options. If these are further away from the venue, we will look at the logistics of getting drivers to and from that site. Details of the current provision and height limits are on our Accessibility Audit. https://worldfantasy2025.co.uk/accessibility-audit/
  • We will be talking to adjacent hotels to identify options for people with different budgets and access needs to make sure that people have a range of options to choose from. 

We would very much like people to read our Accessibility Policy https://worldfantasy2025.co.uk/accessibility-policy/ that sets out the measures we are taking to improve the accessibility of our event. We will add any additional measures/accommodations to this page as they are confirmed. 

If anyone has specific concerns or have a question about the venue, they can contact me directly on [email protected]

On a personal note, I myself am physically disabled, so we do take these concerns very seriously and want to work with our potential attendees to ensure they enjoy the event. 

(2) OF COURSE THERE WERE VFX. “No Visual Effects in ‘Barbie’? Glen Pratt Reveals the Truth”Animation World Network sets the record straight.

Much has been made of Barbie and Oppenheimer sharing the same theatrical release date to the point that clever fan posters were created to promote a possible double bill coined Barbenheimer. Both productions also notably shared the declaration that they contained no visual effects when in fact, the famed physicist’s biopic, directed by Christopher Nolan, utilized digital compositing; and there are full CG shots as well as CG augmentation used to bring the adventures of a Mattel doll to life by Greta Gerwig. 

Caught the middle of the controversy are Glen Pratt and Andrew Jackson, the visual effects supervisors responsible for the two projects. Their presence on the credit list highlights the ludicrous nature of the public statements….

… “Even if you look at the sets that were physically built like the Barbie Dream House,” Pratt continues. “We shot clean plates of that for certain shots and in those clean plates, when you looked at them without any actors or crew in them, it looked like a toy.  We were taking that and extrapolating further upon that language.”

There are over 20 fully CG shots in the film. “In the Dawn of Women sequence, which is Greta’s version of 2001: A Space Odyssey there is an entirely CG shot of the original Barbie doll which doubles as the monolith,” Pratt reveals. Framestore did concept art, visual development, previs, postvis, and virtual production, totalling 1,300 shots, while Chicken Bone FX, FuseFX, UPP, and Lola VFX contributed 300 shots. 600 of the 1,600 shots required extensive visual effects work.  “When Barbie is first driving out onto the open road environment and you have the big Barbie Land rainbow, all of that was essentially bluescreen,” Pratt shares. “There was a tiny bit of set and pink road but the car had to be moving.  The sky, distant vista of Barbie Land and the mountains were created digitally from reference photography of the sets that were built.  We created an entirely CG environment.”…

(3) LIST OF PRIORS. [Item by Jim Janney.] Ars Technica has a long dive into movie time travel, from George Pal to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, with separate scores for entertainment and science. Includes some I haven’t seen and some I hadn’t even heard of.  “The Ars guide to time travel in the movies”.

…Even without scientific accuracy, we can still ask for logical consistency. Alas, that is also pretty thin on the ground, although in this case, there are true exceptions. The most straightforward way for travel to the past to make sense is if you can visit but you can’t actually change anything—“Whatever happened happened,” in the memorable formulation of fictional physicist Daniel Faraday in the TV show Lost. Physicists have dubbed this the “Novikov self-consistency principle,” but it can really just be summed up as “making sense.” Somewhat more ambitiously, we can imagine one or more alternative parallel timelines that are created by a sojourn into history. For the most part, however, our cinematic heroes make a cheerful hash of logic and narrative sense as they traipse through their pasts….

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

…You will not be surprised to learn that Hot Tub Time Machine doesn’t work too hard to maintain scientific plausibility in its portrayal of time travel….

(4) EGGSCLUSIVE. [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Did you there was an Alien series? I didn’t.

But Deadline does: “’Alien’: Timothy Olyphant Cast In Noah Hawley’s FX Series”.

Timothy Olyphant is reuniting with Noah Hawley and FX, signing on for a major role in the upcoming Alien series. Olyphant, who recurred on Season 4 of Hawley’s FX anthology series Fargo, is set to star opposite Sydney Chandler in Hawley‘s prequel to the Alien franchise, sources tell Deadline.

Details about Olyphant’s character are not being disclosed. I hear he plays Kirsh, a synth who acts as a mentor and trainer for Chandler’s Wendy who is a hybrid, a meta-human who has the brain and consciousness of a child but the body of an adult….

(5) GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. “From Local, to Global, to Gone: On the Rise and Fall of Borders Books” — an excerpt from Among Friends: An Illustrated Oral History of American Book Publishing & Bookselling in the 20th Century, edited by Buz Teacher and Janet Bukovinsky Teacher — at Literary Hub.

… Rookie Mistake #2: they ordered some new books and mixed them with used books on the same shelves. Customers were confused, not knowing if a slightly worn new book was “used,” or if a gently used book was “new.”

Rookie Mistake #3: They finally understood that Ann Arbor was a readers’ town and that antiquarian books were of marginal interest to the local avid readers. All the used books were culled from the shelves. After surviving three moves in two years, Borders Book Shop was in a good location with enough space to make a splash, and selling the kind of books people wanted. Their ambitions were rekindled.

That year, Joe Gable, fresh from Madison, Wisconsin, swaggered into Borders Book Shop. During a stand-up job interview in front of the fiction section Tom asked him “What do you know about books?” Sounding a bit like Marlon Brando, looking straight into Tom’s eyes, Joe said humbly: “I know more about books than anyone in this store.” Tom was momentarily stunned by the hubris of the comment. But he took the insult like a man, and after a few pointed questions, he hired Joe on the spot. In fact, Joe did know more about books than anyone in the store. And he proved it over the next quarter century….

(6) RECOMMENDED CLASSICS. The Martian Chronicles and Lord of the Rings are on Her Campus’ list of “ Classics That Are Worth The Read”.

Often it feels like to consider yourself a true reader, you have to know the classics. But the most classic of classics can feel impossible to read. I’ve read my fair share of incredibly boring classics, but have also managed to find some entertaining and important stories among them. Here is my list of five classics that are absolutely worth the read….

(7) DAVID ELLIOTT (1931-2023). Director David Elliott, who worked on several Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series, died November 10. Stephen La Riviere paid tribute in the Guardian.

Like many film back-room boys, my friend David Elliott, who has died aged 92, was not a household name, although he had seven decades worth of credits. Many thousands, however, will remember the happy childhood images he created as a director on the classic 1960s puppet TV series Thunderbirds, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.

David first met Gerry Anderson while they were both working on feature films in the 50s. When Anderson went on to become a producer of puppet series for the fledgling medium of television, he brought David over to picture edit. A back-breaking schedule saw him cut one episode of The Adventures of Twizzle (1957-58) a day. The work paid off and soon a marionette empire was born.

David then started directing, shooting puppet stars as if they were film stars. Each production brought greater worldwide success. Four Feather Falls (1960), Supercar (1961-62), Fireball XL5 (1962-63), Stingray (1964-65) and Thunderbirds (1965-66) entertained and pushed the boundaries of TV. At one point, Anderson’s production company AP Films was the largest consumer of colour film, when TV was still black and white. It was a far-sighted decision that ensured new audiences for their work for decades….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born November 28, 1946 Joe Dante, 77. He started off as one as us as he wrote columns and articles for fanzines and APAs.  

Now let’s look at what he’s done that I find interesting.

The first would be his collaboration with John Sayles when they completely rewrote the first draft of Gary Brandner’s The Howling novel for that film. Brandner was said to extremely angry with the film that was produced.

Because of The Howling, Speliberg offered up Gremlins, one of my all time favorite films, to him. I’ve watched it more times than I can count and I enjoyed it each time. Gremlins II, not so much. 

Spielberg also brought him on as one of the directors on John Landis’ Twilight Zone: The Movie. Dante’s segment, a remake of the original Twilight Zone “It’s a Good Life” episode as written by Serling. That story was based off a Jerome Bixby story published in 1953 in the Star Science Fiction Stories anthology series, edited by Frederik Pohl.

Ahhh, Innerspace with Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, and Meg Ryan. The Studio  hated it, Dante made the film he wanted to despite the Studio and audiences stayed home. I thought it was sweet. 

I hadn’t realised to now that Dante was responsible for Small Soldiers, an interesting film. Not a great film but it have a possibility of being something. Not sure what that something would have been. Dante says that there were twelve writers involved in writing the script. Ouch. 

So Dante directed Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Moving on.

Finally Dante came back to Gremlins by serving as a consultant on the Max Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai prequel series. Don’t get too excited as this is an animated series and I’ll give you the promo poster of this kid friendly series as I take leave of you.

(9) PROTEST DAMAGE TO LIBRARY. “New York Public Library facing steep graffiti cleanup costs after protests”Gothamist forecasts the bill.

…Protesters have caused at least $75,000 in graffiti damage to the famous New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building, where some carved reliefs may need to be replaced.

The damage was caused by at least three separate pro-Palestinian protests over the last few weeks, officials said. The worst damage, however, occurred on Thanksgiving Day when protesters sprayed “Free Palestine” in dark green paint and smeared red handprints on the steps, fountain and facade.

The graffiti damage from Thursday covered parts of marble where donors’ names are engraved with delicate crevices that can be easily eroded by cleanup efforts, said Garrett Bergen, director of facilities for the library.

Cleaning dark paint from the building requires applying a number of applications of solvent for days at a time, he said.

“We could have to replace certain elements if a rosette is too damaged for the paint to be removed. So it’s a little unclear,” Bergen said….

(10) SNAKES, IT HAD TO BE SNAKES. “Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Beating ‘Wish’ With $43M, ‘Napoleon’ $30M+ Over Thanksgiving” reports Deadline.

Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes won Black Friday and Saturday at the box office, respectively with $11.4M and $11.2M, soaring above a Disney animated movie (Wish) which are typically the champs of Thanksgiving weekend, and big streamer Apple’s $200M war epic, Napoleon, for a No. 1 win over the holiday stretch with a 3-day $28.8M and 5-day of $42M….

… Disney Animation’s Wish came in third on Friday and Saturday (eeks) with respectively $8M and $7M, behind Apple Original Production’s Sony-distributed Napoleon, which earned an estimated $8.4M on Friday and $7.5M [Saturday]…

(11) PAYING IT FORWARD. “Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s advice to writers from advice given to him by Robert Heinlein” – a Writers & Illustrators of the Future video from a number of years ago.

(12) LAUGHING WITH BARBIE. “’Barbie’ Gotham Awards Tribute: Watch Greta Gerwig & Margot Robbie Get Silly” – an invitation from Deadline.

Barbie writer-director Greta Gerwig and star-producer Margot Robbie showcased their comedy chops in a one-two bit tonight, thanking the Gotham Awards for a Global Icon & Creator tribute. Watch their speech above.

“We love a restaurant in a bank!” said Gerwig of the Cipriani Wall Street locale, which is just that. 

The duo was lovingly introduced by Laura Dern. …… “Four years ago, I asked Greta to come and write Barbie with me,” said Robbie. Gerwig and her husband and co-writer Noah Baumbach “took an object — a doll with no character or story — and cooked up the most ridiculous, outrageous, bananas script in an attempt to conjure back what they loved about the movies.”

Said Gerwig about making the film during the Covid lockdown: “We figured that if no one was making movies anyway, they might as well not make this one. And we showed it to everyone. And Warner Bros., miraculously, said yes, and Mattel, miraculously, said yes.” 

Robbie: “Essentially. Mostly. With some notes, which Greta and Noah ignored.”

Gerwig: ”We carefully considered the notes. And then we presented our case.”

Robbie: “You ignored them.” …

(13) THE EVOLUTION OF THE BOOK. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] This is a charming, and surprisingly informative 15 minute documentary from the one and only Moid Moidelhoff over at  Media Death Cult. Actually, this came out a couple of weeks ago, but I have only just watched my downloaded copy. Trust me, I think you’ll find two or three things you did not know. (Have you ever heard of the paperback original revolution of the 1950s?…) In the middle of domestic chaos, Moid took the trouble to make this the week before he moved house.  So make a mug of builders and join Moid…

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, Jim Janney, Steven French, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian,  for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

26 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/28/23 Scrollmas Won’t Be Scrollmas Without Any Pixels

  1. 5) Borders was a classic case of the idiot CEO who thinks that since he has an MBA he can manage any company without any knowledge of the product. I watched Borders decline as they failed to stock all the books in a series, especially the first one so that no one would buy subsequent ones without the first of the series. I watched them replace books with puzzles, games, stuffed toys, anything but books. My favorite Borders in Houston came up with an amazing way to chase customers away on their best nights: Have live music in the coffee shop area, heavily amped, that you couldn’t escape from even on the 2nd floor. Sadly, I’ve been seeing similar mistakes made by Barnes and Noble.

  2. @Troyce
    The Borders I went to had all that stuff on the ground floor, along with the sale books. The new books and the music section were upstairs – and so were the seats. Was there one day and saw a train conductor from the line I rode. (Nice guy. Got killed in a big wreck in 2005.)
    Still miss that store, and the nearest B&N is 10 miles away and hard to get to from here. Went once, and it was full of tchotchkes and short on non-bestsellers.

  3. Wonderful. Mike, I’ve solved the problem. When it fails, I have to enable doubleclick.net, which I hate with a fiery passion. Not sure if it’s WP or jetpack that requires it (this is using developer tools in firefox).

    So, before I was so rudely interrupted (and prevented from getting an unexpected first….
    (3) Anyone else instantly think of Mike Jitlov and the original Time Machine film?
    (4) But I never got the Alien film I expected when I walked out after watching Aliens: they’d sent a military expedition, send a battle fleet, find out where the things had come from, and go there… I mean, they could have genengineered navigators and pilots, and those things could be coming out on their own…. (to be continued in a following post)

  4. (5) I moved to Michigan in 1979. I occasionally visited Ann Arbor and I always made a trip to Borders while I was there. Then in 1985 I moved to Ann Arbor and lived there for three years. I still miss the old local Ann Arbor Borders store.

  5. (5) Borders. One of my daughters worked there in NOVA, between graduating from college and her first professional job. And yeah, MBAs screw the pooch.
    (9) I’ve been at more than my share of protests… but damaging something that people care about is counterproductive. (Now, if they’d let us completely circle the Pentagon, and levitate it, that would have been different….)
    (11) As many things as I disagree with Pournelle, he’s dead on with this. If your precious words are that precious, you’re not ready to publish. I was eagerly waiting when my editor said “this is a great story, and here’s how you make it better, so that I can buy it”. Also, see my long comment the other day about copy editors.

  6. (13) Thank you for this. And yeah, I do forget that not everyone is aware of the paperback original revolution. (Librarian. Got my master’s in the mid-80s at Simmons Graduate School of Library & Information Science. One of the excellent grad schools that were the tails wagging the dog that was then Simmons College. It’s now Simmons University, but for all I know, it may still be a fine finishing school for the daughters and nieces of alumnae. WAIT! I had a point! I took a wonderful course in the history of the book while I was there. The first murmurs about electronic books in the future were starting to be heard. The real thing was still in the far future.)

  7. 11) “Use good grammar and proper spelling. Know the rules before you break them.”

    If only such wisdom was tattooed on the forehead of every author. I will read further into a marginal book with solid grammar and spelling than a book with a better premise, but terrible grammar and spelling.

    Regards,
    Dann
    CENSORED BY THE TAGLINE POLICE

  8. (4) I think there is a word missing in the first sentence. Probably Them Aliens!

    (Does the expression “There is gold in them hills” mean : There is gold in the hills from the feature film Them?)

  9. (2) It depends on how you define “visual effects.” Even “The King’s Speech” used CGI. The scene where the two leads talk in a foggy park used CGI — to conceal signs of the modern world. From what I remember from the commentary, they used CGI to add layers of fog — and that’s how it inadvertently turned out to be the most expensive scene in the movie. (And to think that same director went on to direct Cats. Ouch! And the reports of his behavior toward the visual effects people… Ouchier!)

    (5) Many people blamed the weekly Borders discount coupons for its demise. IIRC you could use the same coupon multiple times a week, so you could get 30% off on a book on Monday and 30% off another on Tuesday — so some employees blamed the customers for getting discounts. But that all points to management. And there were also deeper management issues most people didn’t know about. For example, closing all the mall bookstores even if some were more profitable than the bigger stores. Replacing knowledgeable store management who made stores profitable because they knew what to order for their area with outsiders who followed the corporate line instead.

  10. Thanks for the Title Credit. Having a stressful day today so no other comments at the moment.

  11. Dante’s Matinee is arguably genre-adjacent due to the inclusion of scenes from 1950s horror pastiche Mant! and John Goodman’s character clearly being inspired by William Castle.

  12. 6) Fahrenheit 451 doesn’t actually seem to be on the list, although Martian Chronicles is. Also, too: the description of LOTR as ‘three novels that function as one story’ is painfully inaccurate. It was one novel, that was broken up into three volumes because of printing restrictions.

  13. (11) There are exceptions to some of this advice: Edgar Pangborn and Avram Davidson both had a wonderful ear for dialect, and Ann Leckie made using “she” for everyone work. But I count those under “after you know the rules, then you can break them”.

    @rochrist: yes, I defy anyone to read The Two Towers as a separate complete novel.

  14. 1) I hope the WFC realizes how tired !, for one, am of hearing “sorry for your inconvenience” yet again. (rest of rant elided for profanity)

  15. He started off as one as us as he wrote columns and articles for fanzines and APAs.

    Now let’s look at what he’s done that I find interesting.

    Gee, remember when fans were more interested in columns and articles for fanzines and apas than they were the making of professional movies?

    I do. I know, I’m an ancient outlier now. (More than 50 years active in fandom!)

    But I find it depressing that in FILE 770 — which I still think of primarily as the fanzine — anyone else remember PREHENSILE? — nobody these days is presumed interested in mere fanzines and apas.

    We couldn’t find out even a little about Dante’s fannish career? You know, the part that once would have interested sf fans? Were they strictly monster fanzines? SF fanzines? Dittoed? Mimeoed? Circulation size? How many zines did he do? What were the apas involved? Etc.?

    Okay, tottering away on my cane now….

  16. “File 770 — which I still think primarily as the fanzine…” And God bless you for it. I think that way myself.

  17. I did as a youngfan do the collation procession (and some of the friends who were next to me are now attendees of AfterlifeCon, hopefully keeping a place for me). But the generation after me probably has no idea what I’m talking about.

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