Pixel Scroll 11/19/16 Don’t Pixel Me, I Didn’t Scroll!

(1) BEST OF TREK. ScreenRant ranks “The 20 Best Characters in Star Trek History”. Warning: Quark is on this list.

Creating something that stands the test of time is no easy feat, let alone creating something that can stay relevant and maintain a firm, devoted fanbase that spans decades and cultures. In fifty years, Star Trek has produced 546 hours of entertainment through five TV series and thirteen movies. It has told hundreds of stories with thousands of original characters. Admittedly, not all those characters were classic— some seemed to exist just because we can’t have nice things— but Star Trek is a journey, and sometimes it’s not about the destination; it’s about who you traveled with….

  1. KHAN – the original series / kelvin timeline

Khan has made—if you count Into Darkness—only three appearances in the Trek film and television lore. Ask even non-fans and they’ll know at least the basics about who Khan from Star Trek is.

Part of the reason for Khan’s popularity is—whether fans want to admit it or not—that he is technically somewhat justified. His reasons for hating and blaming Kirk are surprisingly solid and well-considered. Imagine being exiled and having to fend for yourself when a cataclysm kills the people you loved and protected—including your wife. All those years with nothing to read but Paradise Lost and Moby Dick. So, you make it out finally, only to learn that the man you hated is even more beloved and respected than before. Remember how galled Khan was repeatedly whispering “Admiral Kirk” when he heard of his enemy’s promotion.

In the end, it isn’t even Kirk who beat Khan. Rather, Khan did it to himself. Even Joachim pleaded repeatedly that Khan had already proven his superiority by surviving and escaping, but that wasn’t enough. In a film steeped so heavily in literature and religious themes, it was Khan’s original sin that always defeated him: pride.

(2) NEXT MODERN MASTERS OF SF. Theodora Goss has been tapped to write the Ursula K. Le Guin volume of Modern Masters of Science Fiction series from University of Illinois Press.

I hope this is a little good news in the midst of so much bad. I’ve signed a contract to write the Ursula K. Le Guin volume of Modern Masters of Science Fiction, a wonderful series from University of Illinois Press. So: I’m going to be writing a book on Ursula Le Guin! It’s going to be about her life, her work, her ideas . . . which I think are especially important to us now. We need the kind of insight into political dystopias, and how to rethink/recreate the world, that Le Guin has been giving us throughout her writing career. It’s a tremendous honor to be writing this book.

Here are the subjects of the other books already released in the series:

  • John Brunner (2013)
  • William Gibson (2013)
  • Gregory Benford (2014)
  • Ray Bradbury (2014)
  • Greg Egan (2014)
  • Lois McMaster Bujold (2015)
  • Frederik Pohl (2015)
  • Octavia E. Butler (2016)
  • Alfred Bester (2016)

(3) CAN THIS BE THE END OF LITTLE RICO? The Traveler at Galactic Journey thinks John W. Campbell is washed up — [November 19, 1961] See Change (December 1961 Analog ).

Analog has had the same master since the early 30s: John W. Campbell.  And while Campbell has effected several changes in an attempt to revive his flagging mag (including a name change, from Astounding; the addition of a 20-page “slick” section in the middle of issues; and a genuinely effective cover design change (see below)), we’ve still had the same guy at the stick for three decades.  Analog has gotten decidedly stale, consistently the worst of The Big Three (in my estimation).

You can judge for yourself.  Just take a gander at the December 1961 issue.  It does not do much, if anything, to pull the once-great magazine from its shallow dive:…

(4) LEWIS THE JOVIAN. Michael Ward (Planet Narnia) decrypts planetary symbolism in “C.S. Lewis, Jupiter, and Christmas”.

How apt, incidentally, that Lewis’s favourite Oxford pub, the Eagle & Child, home to so many meetings of the Inklings, was named for an episode in the life of Zeus, the forerunner in Greek mythology of the Roman god, Jupiter. Zeus fell in love with the beautiful child, Ganymede, and sent an eagle to snatch him up to Mount Olympus where he could serve as his royal cup-bearer.

Those who knew C.S. Lewis have often noted his joviality, though not always with a clear recognition of the significance the term had for him in his personal lexicon. Paul Piehler remembers ‘a plumpish, red-faced Ulsterman with a confident, jovial Ulster rasp to his voice’. Peter Milward recalls ‘a burly, red-faced, jovial man’. John Lawlor relates how Lewis’s ‘determined and even aggressive joviality was all on the surface: within was a settled contentment’. Peter Bayley describes him as ‘Jove-like, imperious, certain, absolute’. Richard Ladborough says he was ‘frequently jovial’. W.R. Fryer speaks of his ‘jovial maleness’. Peter Philip opines that ‘his manner was jovial when he was in a good mood, which I must say was most of the time’. Pat Wallsgrove likens Lewis to ‘a jovial farmer’. Claude Rawson writes that his nickname, ‘Jack’, was ‘well suited to his jovial “beer and Beowulf” image’. Nevill Coghill recalls that, although Lewis was formidable, ‘this was softened by joviality’. Douglas Gresham remembers his step-father as ‘jovial’. The title of Chesterton’s novel, The Man Who Was Thursday, might have been coined as a description of C.S. Lewis, notwithstanding his Tuesday nativity!

But though so many people use the word ‘jovial’ of the man, only George Watson, his Cambridge colleague, explicitly recognizes how important the planetary derivation was for Lewis himself: ‘His own humour was sanguine, its presiding deity Jove, and . . . he knew that it was’ (Watson, Critical Essays on C.S. Lewis, 1992, p3). Peter Milward goes further, making a link to Lewis’s fiction. Having emphasized Lewis’s ‘sturdily jovial manner’, Milward notes an important connection: ‘he was indeed a . . . jovial man; and these qualities of his I later recognized . . . in his character of the kingly animal, Aslan.’

Aslan, Narnia’s Christ figure, brings us to Christmas and the birth of the infant Jesus. In early January 1953, Lewis wrote to Ruth Pitter remarking on what he had seen in the night-sky during the recent Christmas: ‘It was beautiful, on two or three successive nights about the Holy Time, to see Venus and Jove blazing at one another, once with the Moon right between them: Majesty and Love linked by Virginity – what could be more appropriate?’ Venus signifies love, of course, and the Moon virginity. Jupiter signifies majesty or kingliness and, as such, was a very suitable symbol for Christ, the ‘king of kings’ (Revelation 19:16).

(5) THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY. Steve Davidson borrows a File 770 tradition in his post “Appertain yourself”. (I know he’ll appreciate that I made this item #5, too.)

(6) REMINDS ME OF A CHRIS HADFIELD DEMO. Loss of ship’s gravity threatens Jennifer Lawrence with drowning in this new clip from Passengers.

(7) KAIJU T-SHIRT. Godzilla intercepts a little snack, in a t-shirt satirizing E.T.’s iconic Moon image. (For sale here, among other places.)


(8) YOUR FACTS MAY VARY. ScreenRant has scientifically researched “8  Sci-Fi Ships Faster Than The Millennium Falcon – And 7 That Come Close”, for some values of “scientifically researched”.

  1. Spaceball One (Spaceballs)

It’s only fitting that one of the ships that can travel faster than the Millennium Falcon is a ship from one of the world’s best Star Wars parodies: Spaceballs, directed by none other than Mel Brooks. In the movie, Darth Vader’s counterpart, Dark Helmet (played by Rick Moranis) is tasked by Skroob to force King Roland of Druidia to give them their air. So, Dark Helmet plans to accomplish this task by kidnapping the king’s daughter, Princess Vespa, on the day of her wedding.

Unfortunately for Dark Helmet, she fled her wedding before he and his tremendously large ship, Spaceball One, could arrive. The ship, commanded by Colonel Sandurz, is presumably the biggest and fastest ship in the galaxy, for it is outfitted with secret hyperjets. These unknown parts allow Spaceball One to travel at 1,360,000,000 times the speed of light — far greater than its Star Wars counterpart, the Imperial I-Class Star Destroyer.


November 19, 1969  — Apollo 12 landed on the moon. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean become the third and fourth humans to walk on the moon.


  • Born November 19, 1919 — Alan Young, who played two roles in The Time Machine and was also in Tom Thumb both directed by George Pal…not to mention being Wilbur.

(11) RETURN TO RURITANIA. Ann Leckie shares “Things I’ve read lately”.

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones

This is a Ruritanian fantasy. It’s also a pretty straight-ahead romance, which isn’t generally my thing, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. It takes place in the fictional tiny European country of Alpennia, and involves inheritances and wills and political intrigue. There’s also magic, very Christianity-based, a matter of petitioning saints in the right way at the right times. It’s the sort of thing that could easily turn me off, but I thought was handled very very well. Basically an eccentric wealthy baron leaves nearly everything he owns–except his title and the estate attached to it–to his god-daughter, a young woman nearly at her legal majority but being pressured to find a husband who can support her, since she has no means of her own. “Everything the baron owns” includes his bodyguard/duellist, another young woman. The bodyguard can’t be freed yet, because of the terms of the baron’s will, and besides the new young baron really resents being done out of the money he expected to inherit and will stop at nothing to get it, as well as his revenge. This is lots of fun, and Goodreads calls it “Alpennia #1” which implies there are more, so those are going on my long long TBR list for whenever I can get to them.

(12) THE FUTURE WAS HERE. Here’s Logan’s Run Official Trailer #1. Makes me remember that the futuristic city scenes were shot on location in a Dallas shopping mall. Yes, we were already in the future in 1976. Where that puts us now in 2016?

(13) THE PRIZE. This TV Guide Big Bang Theory episode rehash (BEWARE SPOILERS) reveals what Stephen Hawking feels is really important in life. For comedic purposes, anyway.

Later, Stephen Hawking himself Skypes in to talk to Leonard and Sheldon (Jim Parsons), who spent the episode consumed with jealousy of Bert’s (Brian Posehn) “genius grant.” Hawking tells Sheldon that he doesn’t need any awards to feel good about himself.

The brilliant physicist consoles Sheldon by telling him, “I’ve never won a Nobel Prize.” He’s alright with that, though, because he got something better: he was on The Simpsons.

(14) THE STAR WARS I USED TO KNOW. JJ says, “Not new… but then it’s always new to somebody, including me.” And me, too!

Here’s the original, for comparison —

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Hampus Eckerman.]

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39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/19/16 Don’t Pixel Me, I Didn’t Scroll!

  1. 1 – HEY! Why a warning? What’ve you got against Quark? Also, this list is objectively terrible, as Garak is only at #16.

  2. Lis Carey: Fifth! And purely by chance!

    One if by land,
    Fifth if by chance,
    And I on the opposite shore
    Will dance

  3. I gained a lot of insight into Star Trek characters I had watched many times, studied for a long time, and thought I understood well.

  4. @Carl: I would definitely have made room for The Doctor on this list.

    Q and Odo both feel missing, but I can live with. Weyoun’s absence is tragic, but DS9 does kind of blow the other series out of the water, memorable-character-wise, so OK.

    ENT is missing entirely, and I am shocked, I tell you, absolutely shocked 😛

  5. Yeah, Qs and Odo. Yeah, the doctor. If they can include an adroid and a Borg, surely they can include a holograph. Or is it hologram?

  6. @Standback – Q is in their list of Worst Characters In Star Trek, so….yeah

    *That* list is pretty much just VOY and movies, so seems about right (they were *barely* bothered enough by ENT to include one person there)

    On the best list, looks like the only DS9ers not too make it were Odo (a terrible oversight) and Bashir (kinda understandable).

    Rather than Weyoun, I would suggest that they should’ve had a placeholder for Jeffrey Combs characters.

  7. 1) yup, Star Trek II (and NOT Into Darkness) gets the sheer Shakespearean *tragedy* of Khan right, and that’s why we remember him.

    ” In “In the Pale Moonlight”—Star Trek’s finest episode”

    Hmm. Finest? From a certain point of view, perhaps. Depends on what kind of episode or what part of the Trek verse you really like.

  8. Whoo Dukat! I felt a little icky that two of my favourite characters in DS9 were Garak and Dukat. I think that’s at least 80% the kinda smarmy charm exuded by Andrew Robinson and Marc Alaimo.

    Recent reading: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty. A young woman in our world and a young man in the fantasy Kingdom of Cello begin exchanging letters through a crack between their worlds. I liked this; it told a self-contained story and then twisted near the end to set up the next book.

    Not getting new post notifications…I shall try subscribing again with my ticky.

  9. Who was the guy who was the narrator on the LOGAN’S RUN trailer? I always liked his voice. Didn’t he do work on SUPERMAN?

  10. I dont know why Kirk is higher than Picard or Sisko, both characters with so much more depth.
    I always wondred why Marc Alaimo didnt appear more often on TV. Or did I just missed him without the makeup?

  11. JJ: Thanks for the tip on Fluency. Saw it at Windycon last week, looked interesting, so I made a note to check the library. But $.99 is the next-best price.

  12. Glad to see some notice of the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series. I’m reading the Octavia Butler volume now and am looking forward to the Alfred Bester coming any day. Every one of them should have been on the Related Book Hugo ballot!

  13. Peer: I dont know why Kirk is higher than Picard or Sisko, both characters with so much more depth.

    Kirk is the ur-Captain. His character was used to establish the parameters of the Star Trek universe. And in the process, he revealed a much better set of character flaws. You’d probably rather have Picard or Sisko for a boss, but people find Kirk a lot more interesting to debate.

  14. 6) I’m pretty sure water in zero-g wouldn’t behave so violently. Still, an argument against large pools in a place where artificial gravity can be turned off. OSHA evidently doesn’t exist in the future.

    11) After the fruit accident, I put Daughter of Mystery away pending getting a new copy. But I’ve decided t continue anyway, and it’s well worth unsticking the pages, even though I have limited patience for Regency romances.. I’m currently up to the Truly Horrible Misunderstanding scene. It’s a lot of fun.

  15. I’m pretty sure water in zero-g wouldn’t behave so violently.

    There wouldn’t be any reason for the water to leave the pool at all unless it was being jostled somehow by the movements of the ship, which doesn’t–at least from the available footage–seem to be jostling around. Loss of gravity wouldn’t mean “everything goes flying everywhere.” Loss of gravity would mean “things sitting still will continue to sit still unless something pushes it and things already moving will continue moving until they hit something.” (As explained by this web page from 1995.)

  16. There are presumably forces acting on the water in the pool — it’s a swimming pool, not a bowl, so there are probably drains and pumps and such, keeping the water circulating and filtered. Plus, we don’t know how they produce their gravity and what forces maintaining or stopping it produce. And there’s someone swimming in it.

    In any case, it probably wouldn’t do _that._ And I doubt they’ll discuss any science behind what it does. But it’d do something.

  17. Your pixels too small to scroll with God

    Write your pixels in the sand, for the day I take your hand, in the scroll that out grandchildren knew

  18. Kurt Busiek: Oh, all right, I’ll get started on today’s Scroll so I can use this line….

  19. I’m just so disgusted at knowing the plot for Passengers and knowing that I won’t be able to see it because I would just get angry and ill.

    rot13ed Trigger Warning for Passengers with Major Spoiler,
    Read At Your Own Risk
    Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You About The Spoiler

    thl pubbfrf gb qb fbzrguvat juvpu unf n ernyyl, ernyyl njshy creznarag rssrpg ba gur yvsr bs n jbzna ur qbrfa’g xabj, sbe rkgerzryl frysvfu ernfbaf, naq fur sbetvirf uvz jura fur svaqf bhg, naq fgnlf va n eryngvbafuvc jvgu uvz

  20. JJ: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that one before. Many times.

    Kurt Busiek: Coicidentally, I heard that song this afternoon for the first time in far too long.

  21. @Kurt: when I was a lifeguard, pool water was taken from the top edges and returned through jets in the middle of the sides, turning over the water in 8 hours IIRC; a small pool might have a single return, but one that size would have enough that circulation would have minimal net effect. I can see the water rising a little over each return (because it will pile up without gravity to flatten it), but nothing at that scale. There’s also the question of why she can’t get out; she’s in the water, so whatever disturbance causes its [apparent?] motion would also move her, which should make swimming out easy. JJ’s point aside, have people heard anything suggesting this movie will be worth seeing?

  22. (6) REMINDS ME OF A CHRIS HADFIELD DEMO. I still can’t tell if this movie will be any good, make any sense, etc.

    @JJ: I haven’t read your ROT-13 text (thanks for ROT’ing, BTW) because if it has a major gimmick surprise, I’d rather not know it ahead of time. Yet I’m still not even sure if I want to see it! So I’m torn. To ROT-13 or not to ROT-13, whether ’tis nobler to be surprised, or . . . etc. I’m going to think on this and I may return to peek at your comment.

    (7) KAIJU T-SHIRT. Heh, very cute.

    (14) THE STAR WARS I USED TO KNOW. I’ve seen it before, but I still like it.

    In other news, I saw “Arrival” and it was very good! It was interesting to see what changed from the story and what didn’t.

  23. Kendall: I haven’t read your ROT-13 text (thanks for ROT’ing, BTW) because if it has a major gimmick surprise, I’d rather not know it ahead of time. Yet I’m still not even sure if I want to see it! So I’m torn. To ROT-13 or not to ROT-13, whether ’tis nobler to be surprised, or . . . etc. I’m going to think on this and I may return to peek at your comment.

    Here’s what I would say to you or anyone else: If you’ve been traumatized by an abusive or manipulative relationship, then you should probably read the rot13 before deciding whether to see it. 😐

  24. I can see the water rising a little over each return (because it will pile up without gravity to flatten it), but nothing at that scale.

    Like I said, it’d do something, but not that. Unless there are other forces we don’t know about.

    JJ’s point aside, have people heard anything suggesting this movie will be worth seeing?

    It’s got pretty people in it who are good at acting in affable, pleasant-to-watch ways, nice-looking effects and a cool set. And probably some well-manufactured suspense.

    I’ll probably be seeing it — I don’t expect Shakespeare, but if its Rotten Tomatoes score isn’t wretched, it looks like as functional a manufactured entertainment as, say, DOCTOR STRANGE. And Ann wants to see it, so I get an evening out with my wife.

    That’s about what it takes to get me to see a movie these days.

    Sometimes, if I want to see something that’s actually good in a non-manufactured way, I have to go by myself, because no one else in the house really wants to see those movies…

  25. @JJ: I haven’t read your ROT-13 text (thanks for ROT’ing, BTW) because if it has a major gimmick surprise, I’d rather not know it ahead of time.

    Having seen only the full trailer (and the pool clip) and reading JJ’s vague description, I’m fairly sure that I know exactly what happens.

    Thl trgf nppvqragnyyl gunjrq, frrf cerggl cbcfvpyr, gunjf ure gb or uvf pbzcnavba. Cerggl onfvp, cerqvpgnoyr fyrrcre fuvc gebcr.

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