Pixel Scroll 11/9/23 If You Tape Bacon To A Pixel Scroll Does It Always Fall Bacon Side Down?

(1) WHEN GRAVITY FAILS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Chuck Jones’ rules for Coyote cartoons said it works best when gravity is what defeats him. Instead, the change in management at Warner Bros seems to be what has claimed his long-awaited film. The mixed live/animated Coyote Vs. Acme is rumored to have been consigned to the dustbin, despite being a finished product. There it will join Bat Girl and Scoob Holiday Haunt!, both already brought to an ignominious end by the Bros. “‘Coyote Vs. Acme’: Finished Live/Action Animated Pic Shelved Completely By Warner Bros As Studio Takes $30M Tax Write-off”Deadline has the astonishing story.

In another maneuver by the David Zaslav-run Warner Bros Discovery to kill movies, we hear on very good authority that Warner Bros will not be releasing the live-action/animated hybrid Coyote vs. Acme with the conglom taking an estimated $30M write-down on the $70M production. We understand the write-down for the pic was applied to the recently reported Q3.

This reps the third time that Zaslav’s Warner Bros has pulled the plug on a movie greenlit by the previous Warner Media administration; the other two being the Max destined Bat Girl and the animated Scoob Holiday Haunt!.

The difference here is that Coyote vs. Acme is a completed movie with very good test scores, 14 points above the family norm. We’re told that the cash-strapped Warners finds that it’s not worth the cost to release theatrically, or to sell to other buyers (and there are parties who are interested for their own streaming services; we hear Amazon kicked the tires). After reporting a mixed third quarter, the best means for Warners money is a tax write-off. At one point, Coyote vs. Acme was dated on July 21, 2023 for theatrical release before getting pulled; that date placed by the ultimate $1.4 billion grossing Warner Bros biggest hit of all-time, Barbie….

(2) LEAVING THE EXPANSE BEHIND. Gizmodo is on hand as “The Expanse’s James S.A. Corey Announces a New Sci-Fi Trilogy”.

… Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck—who write together as James S.A. Corey—have nixed any return to the world of The Expanse, [but] they’re still working on sci-fi projects together, as today’s big announcement attests.

Fans can look forward to the arrival of The Mercy of Gods, a space opera trilogy “that sees humanity fighting for its survival in a war as old as the universe itself,” according to a press release from publisher Orbit. This book will kick off the Captive’s War trilogy, and it will be released August 6, 2024….

(3) SOMETHING’S MISSING. Victoria Struass posts a “Contest Caution: Lichfield Institute Writing Contest” at Writer Beware.

Just about every temptation for a hungry writer is here. Big bucks for the winners. Feedback on every submission from distinguished judges–at least, one assumes they’re distinguished, since they’re finalists for important literary awards. Monthly stipends! Consideration by literary agencies! What more could a contest offer, even if it does charge a $15 submission fee?

Well…

You’ll probably already have noticed some…oddities…both in the screenshot above and on the contest page. The mis-spelling of Hemingway, to start (plus, it’s PEN–it’s an acronym–not Pen). The curious absence of judges’ names. Guidelines that fail to state when winners will be announced and how they will be notified. An entry form with a copy-and-paste box for submitting your entry (have fun reading, no-name judges)….

(4) IN A MIRROR, VERY DARKLY. “Murky reflections: why sci-fi needs to stop imitating Black Mirror” argues Adrian Horton in the Guardian.

…Black Mirror knock-offs are a scourge of the streaming era, which unfortunately incentivizes dressed-up spins on previous successes over truly cerebral or ambitious imaginations of the future….

(5) JEOPARDY! Last night’s episode of Jeopardy! devoted an entire category to science fictional worlds. Andrew Porter found these responses noteworthy.

Category: At a Loss for Worlds

Answer: Survivors escape to Bronson Beta in the 1933 Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer novel “When” this happens

Wrong question: What is “When Tomorrow Comes”?

No one could ask, “When Worlds Collide”

Same category: It’s the real name of the planet referred to in the title of a 1965 Frank Herbert novel.

He bet it all, got it wrong: “What is Dune?”

Correct question: What is Arrakis?

Same category: At the end of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End” this world is destroyed.

No one could ask, “What is the Earth?”

(6) OCTOTHORPE. Episode 96 of Octothorpe, “A Less QR-Code-Using Society”, is ready for listeners.

John Coxon didn’t, Alison Scott would’ve done, and Liz Batty tried. We round up the rest of the news we didn’t talk about in Episode 95, featuring a discussion of how the Chengdu Worldcon went, and the much-anticipated reappearance of THE LIZ BAT. Listen here! 

(7) FEED ME. “John Lewis Christmas Ad Stars a Playful Venus Flytrap” explains Adweek.

In the U.K., watching retailer John Lewis’ Christmas ad is as much of a festive ritual as decorating the tree or exchanging gifts. This year, with a different agency and marketing strategy, the brand is hoping to cement its role in both old and new holiday traditions. 

The new ad, titled “Snapper,” follows the unusual tale of a Venus flytrap. While at a flea market with his family, a boy discovers a seed packet promising to grow into the “perfect Christmas tree.” 

Instead, a carnivorous plant emerges from the soil. Though the boy loves Snapper, the mischievous plant causes disruption and is eventually banished outside after it grows too big for the house. 

On Christmas morning, the boy leaves his family’s normal tree to bring a gift to the Venus flytrap. Snapper spits out confetti and gifts in return, inspiring the family to embrace an unconventional addition to the festivities. … 

(8) FRANK BORMAN (1928-2023). “Astronaut Frank Borman, commander of the first Apollo mission to the moon, has died at age 95” reports Yahoo!

Astronaut Frank Borman, who commanded Apollo 8’s historic Christmas 1968 flight that circled the moon 10 times and paved the way for the lunar landing the next year, has died. He was 95.

Borman died Tuesday in Billings, Montana, according to NASA.

Borman also led troubled Eastern Airlines in the 1970s and early ’80s after leaving the astronaut corps….

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 9, 1921 Alfred Coppel. Have I ever mentioned how much I love pulp? Everything from the writers to the artwork to the magazines themselves are so, so cool. And this writer was one of the most prolific such authors of the Fifties and Sixties. That he was also a SF writer is an added bonus. Indeed, his first science fiction story was “Age of Unreason” in a 1947 Amazing Stories. Under the pseudonym of Robert Cham Gilman, he wrote the Rhada sequence of galactic space opera novels aimed at a young adult market. Wiki claims he was writing under A.C. Marin as well but I cannot find any record of this. (Died 2004.)
  • Born November 9, 1924 Lawrence T. Shaw. A Hugo Award-winning fan, author, editor and literary agent. In the Forties and Fifties, Larry Shaw edited NebulaInfinity Science Fiction and Science Fiction Adventures. He received a Special Committee Award during the 1984 Worldcon for lifetime achievement as an editor. His Axe fanzine (co-edited with his wife Noreen) was nominated at Chicon III for a Hugo. (Died 1985.)
  • Born November 9, 1954 Rob Hansen, 69. British fan, active since the Seventies who has edited and co-edited numerous fanzines including his debut production Epsilon. And he was the 1984 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate. His nonfiction works such as Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980, lasted updated just a few years ago, are invaluable. 
  • Born November 9, 1988 Tahereh Mafi, 35. Iranian-American whose Furthermore, a YA novel about a pale girl living in a world of both color and magic of which she has neither, I highly recommended it. Whichwood is a companion novel to this work. She also has a young adult dystopian thriller series.
  • Born November 9, 1989 Alix E. Harrow, 34. Winner at Dublin 2019 of the Best Short Story Hugo for “Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” which also was nominated for a BSFA and Nebula Award. Other Hugo-nominated work: The Ten Thousand Doors of January was nomination at CoNZealand; “A Spindle Splintered” novella and “Mr. death” short story at Chicon 8; and “A Mirror Mended” novella this year. She has three excellent novels to date, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Once and Future Witches which was nominated for a WFA and the just released Starling House.  She has a double handful of short stories not yet collected anywhere.  More’s the pity. 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Foxes in Love features a Dune crossover.

(11) BRING ME THE HEAD OF C-3PO. “Star Wars C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels is selling film memorabilia” reports BBC News.

The actor who played C-3PO in Star Wars said “it feels like it is time” to sell the costumes, props and scripts he kept from the iconic films.

Anthony Daniels, 77, is parting company with items from his personal collection via Hertfordshire-based auctioneer Propstore from Thursday.

The famous gold helmet he wore for his character in the first film from 1977 is estimated to sell for up to £1m.

Daniels said he was excited for his collection to “find a good home”.

“I realised I had these items and they’re not unloved but they are unlooked at – we don’t have them crowding the sitting room,” he said, explaining why he has chosen to sell the items now.

“Will I feel sad to part with them? No. I will enjoy the fact people will cherish and display them.”…

Propstore marked the Screen-matched Light-up C-3PO Head as sold, however, the press has not yet revealed the amount of the winning bid.

(12) FANHISTORY ART ZOOM ON YOUTUBE. Fanac.org’s two-part Zoom with a panel of fanartists now can be viewed on YouTube.

Part 1

Title: Evolution of Art(ists) (Pt 1 of 2): Grant Canfield, Tim Kirk, Jim Shull, and Dan Steffan

Description: In part 1 of this 2-part session, you’ll hear their “origin stories”, their influences, how they found science fiction fandom, and what they perceive as the unique benefits of fandom to young artists. You’ll find out why artists should avoid hecto, and torturous tales of justifying margins by hand. There are intriguing insights into adjusting one’s art to the reproduction medium, and how fandom helped people along, especially towards professional careers. Larger than life figures make their appearance, including several stories of Bill Rotsler.

There’s plenty more, including their views on Carl Barks, why Dan started “Lizard Inn”, Jim’s take on the slippery slope to having a fanzine too big to staple without an industrial stapler, Tim on his deep desire to tell stories, and Grant’s opinion of “Starling”.  The fun continues in Part 2.

Part 2

Title: Evolution of Art(ists) (Pt 2 of 2): Grant Canfield, Tim Kirk, Jim Shull, and Dan Steffan

Description: In part 2 of this 2-part session, the fan art discussion continues, with more on professional careers as well. The conversation ranges from Tolkien’s house to Harlan Ellison’s house, from “The Last Dangerous Visions” to Bill Gibson, from Harlan Ellison stories to BNFs that had an impact. There are more Rotsler stories too. You’ll hear about silent jam sessions, “Esoteric Fan Art Tales”, and the impact that conventions had on artists who worked in isolation.  A real treat is the slideshow of samples of our panelists’ art, with their live comments on what each piece represents.  

Q&A starts about 45 minutes into the video, with comments as well as questions, including Ted White’s discussion of the impact of Mondrian’s work on modern magazine design. Lest you believe that fanzines are a thing of the past, the video wraps up with a plug for an upcoming paper fanzine by faned Geri Sullivan. 

(13) A COSMIC EVENT. FirstShowing introduces “US Trailer for French ‘Cosmic Event’ Sci-Fi Thriller Film ‘The Gravity’”.

“After the alignment, the world will change forever. Everything will start over.”  Dark Star Pictures has released an official US trailer for an indie sci-fi action thriller film from France titled The Gravity, made by filmmaker Cédric Ido. This intially premiered at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival last year and it already opened in France earlier this year. Finally set for a US release on VOD starting in November. A mysterious cosmic event upsets the Earth’s gravity and sets the sky ablaze in a red hue, creating chaos in a futuristic Parisian suburb. This French “genre-busting” thriller is more of a story about street culture in the suburbs, following a local band of teenagers and their feud with other residents in the area….

(14) SPACE COMMAND. Marc Scott Zicree has dropped “Why Science Fiction Matters! Unreleased Space Command Full Scene”.

Meantime there five days remain in the Kickstarter to raise funds for “Space Command Forgiveness: Post-Production”. At this time fans have pledged almost $52,000 of the $60,000 goal.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Rich Lynch, Lise Andreasen, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, and John King Tarpinian  for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

21 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/9/23 If You Tape Bacon To A Pixel Scroll Does It Always Fall Bacon Side Down?

  1. First!

    I’m doing another listen of Stardust right now just because it’s so damn good. Of course it’s the one narrated by Gaiman which makes rather special in itself.

  2. (1) Argh! That should be against the law. Or the law should force them to have to release it to the public domain if they want to get the tax write-off. Or something.

    (9) I think Tahereh Mafi is 35 — but she is still incredibly young to have written that much. I read the first couple of books in her “Shatter Me” series (the dystopia) — and hope to someday finish it. 😉

    The text had a neat trick where some of the words were crossed out and replaced with another phrase. In the audiobook, this is done by using a “scritching” sound, like a pen scratching out the term. I imagine that would get annoying to the listener after a while. And luckily, she cuts down on the use of that effect before the first book is halfway done.

  3. (8) RIP. The only times I ever flew on Eastern, it was probably while he ran it.

    (1) If they’re not going to release or sell the finished products, why are they even in that business? They could lose money and help people buy turning their office complexes into affordable housing.

  4. (1) Yeah, no tax write-off if they don’t release it to the public domain. And yes, why are they even in this business?

    (10) This is perfect.

    (11) This way, they’ll go to someone who wants them. Maybe not who wants them most, but someone who at least values them. That might not happen if they were to become part of his estate.

    (3) Yeah, that sounds like a “contest” to avoid.

  5. 1) To make it even worse, the film was completed, and shown to test audiences and recieved high scores, but the management decided that they would make more money on a tax write off. There was even interest from other streaming services in buying it.

  6. Thomas – one of the things that I’ve been terrified of for decades is some MBA working for a major agribusiness will decide that the tax writeoff is worth it, and 10% of all US cropland is not planted one year, and worldwide famine occurs,

  7. 7) First thing I think of when you say ‘Venus flytrap’ is a Cincinnati deejay.

  8. (11) “the press has not yet revealed the amount of the winning bid.”

    Including a 25% buyer’s premium, it went for 859,375 pounds sterling, or just a smidge over $1 million.

  9. (1) You can’t make more on a tax write off than on even the smallest profit. Say you have 30M to write off. You release it instead and make 1M. Now you have a 29M write-off, plus an additional 1M in the bank. The 1M foregone write-off would not have brought in a whole 1M, so you’re ahead by doing the release, as long as you would not be incurring additional losses. (You may be able to write it off faster, I suppose – I don’t know specific film industry depreciation rules.)

    I think they either feared that there would be additional losses in the process of release and distribution – advertising costs in excess of income or something – or that the release would have interfered with something else they wanted to release at the same time. Either way, it’s frustrating.

  10. Thank you for Title Credit.

    Currently waiting to board my first international flight since 2019. (It’s delayed…)

  11. Tape the bacon to both sides.

    Thanks, you can donate my consultancy fee to the Toronto Home for Lost Mimeographs.

  12. (1) The US tax laws are a Minotaur’s labyrinth even for those of us who think a thousand dollars is a lot of money. Maybe there’s something wrong with a tax system that makes it more lucrative to throw a salable product away than to sell it.

  13. 1) Lame. I’dve taken my boys to go see that and we would’ve all had a hoot.

    2) ‘The Expanse’ was great, so I’m on board with this.

    10) One of the top three most useful things I’ve learned about relationships, with the other two being ‘apologies are rarely wasted’ and ‘if you’re going to fool around in a vehicle, put a rock behind one wheel just in case.’

    13) You had me, and then you lost me.

    @Gary McGrath: You could have put a period after ‘system’ and it still would be a vaild statement.

  14. I came across and strange and interesting thing whilst out shopping today…

    My wife was in the Post Office sending a package to Germany. I was outside waiting for her and to pass the time I was browsing the window posters. I saw this one: Barcodes on stamps .
    That’s interesting, I thought. I probably have some of the old style stamps tucked away somewhere. I wonder how easy it is to exchange them?

    My eye was then drawn to the Discworld stamp pictured at the bottom of the poster, as one of my birthday presents this year had been a first day cover of these stamps. Looking closely I could see that the Librarian’s name had been covered up by something… The Librarian.

    So, it appears that a Post Office graphic designer was searching for an image to denote that illustrated stamps were still okay to use. Instead of going to the hassle of finding the official internal image of the stamp, a quick Google search brought them to File 770. A couple of mouse clicks later and the job was done!

    There must be at least one of these posters in every Post Office in the UK, and there are around 11,000 Post Office branches. Have you noticed a significant uptick in traffic from the UK recently?

  15. Incredible — thanks to your photos I have even found a copy of this poster online! (Still waiting for that surge in traffic, though.)

  16. You can’t expect Jeopardy contestants to know absolutely everything. (I got those questions right, BTW).

  17. (5) Honestly, aside from the Dune question, I’m not sure I’d expect even a science fiction fan to come up with those answers, unless they were over 50. (I knew the answers right away, but I’m over 60, and have been embedded in fandom since before I could walk!)

    I am a little surprised that nobody came up with Arrakis, though.

    (2) Excellent news! I’m glad they’re continuing to collaborate, and glad they’re trying something new instead of continuing to mine the corpse of the Expanse. (Though I wouldn’t mind more Expanse-based games. The one we have so far is ok, but a bit underwhelming.)

  18. 1) If you haven’t read it, track down “Coyote vs. Acme” by Ian Frazier. It’s wonderful!

  19. And that is what is wrong with letting bean counters into the entertainment industry.

    It sounds like the heads of that studio saw “The Producers,” thought it was a wonderful idea, and left before the ending.

    It the ideal world they will end up in Sing Sing, selling stock in their new movie “Prisoners of Greed.”

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