Pixel Scroll 11/3/17 Third Pixel To The Right And Scroll On ‘Til Morning

(1) DISCLAIMERS. Daniel Dern noticed this disclaimer on latest 30-second Justice League trailer (at the very end): “Sequences of Sci-Fi Action and Violence”

“Accurate. Intriguingly specific,” he says. “Makes me wonder what other disclaimers might be.” And he suggests —


“Cussing, pouting, and attitude. Do not attempt these magic experiments without proper protective gear and spells.”


“Warning: If you’ve read the rest of the books, you know things keep getting worse.”


“Warning: It’s not Bob who’s your uncle.”

(2) KINGS OF THE PUBLISHING WORLD. The family that sells together rings cash register bells together…. “Stephen and Owen King and Joe Hill are all on the New York Times bestseller list right now”.

In what’s a first for the Kings, three out of five members of the family are all on the New York Times bestseller list as of this week.

Stephen King and his youngest son, Owen, collaborated on the highly entertaining horror yarn “Sleeping Beauties,” about a mysterious mystical occurrence that puts all the women of the world to sleep — and if they wake up, well, watch out. That book came out on Sept. 26 and immediately shot to the top of the hardcover fiction list; it still remains at number four, five weeks in.

Meanwhile, Joe Hill, the eldest of the King kids, last week released “Strange Weather,” a collection of four novellas about the supernatural and horrific. It debuted this week at number nine on the hardcover fiction charts.

(3) GRIPE SESSION. ComicsBeat’s Heidi MacDonald covers the complaints about the Central Canada Comic Con held in Winnipeg: “When a con goes badly: Area man claims C4 Winnipeg was ‘The Worst Convention I Have Ever Attended’”. According to webcomics creator Michael McAdam —

Blanket statement that remained true for the entire weekend: No volunteer anywhere could answer any questions. They were confused, lost, disjointed, or had incorrect information. In fact, a Facebook friend of mine tried to attend on Saturday- and was given so many incorrect directions to registration that he gave up and left without entering the con! Think about that: a paying attendee, who wants to come in and spend his money, can’t even get directed to the proper entrance due to absolute incompetence and ignorance. How many people do you think gave up? How much in terms of potential earnings was lost due to stupidity?

Followed by lots more like that.

(4) THIS JUST IN. Meanwhile, back at World Wombat HQ….

(5) BINTI MEETS TED. Tor.com tells how “Nnedi Okorafor’s TED Talk Explains Afrofuturism vs. Science Fiction Using the Octopus Analogy”, including this quote from Okorafor:

This idea of leaving but bringing and then becoming more is at one of the hearts of Afrofuturism, or you can simply call it a different type of science fiction. I can best explain the difference between classic science fiction and Afrofuturism if I used the octopus analogy. Like humans, octopuses are some of the most intelligent creatures on earth. However, octopus intelligence evolved from a different evolutionary line, separate from that of human beings, so the foundation is different. The same can be said about the foundations of various forms of science fiction.

(6) ORIGINAL CUT DISCOVERED. Bradbury scholar Phil Nichols made a discovery:

In the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies today I discovered the original release version of SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, previously considered lost. The film previewed badly in 1982, and the Disney studios panicked and decided to rework the film. The lost version has never been released, and is believed never to have been screened since that preview.

(7) PARK PLACE. There was a summer groundswell of public support to name a Tacoma park after Dune author Frank Herbert. Metro Parks Tacoma Public Information Officer Michael Thompson answered Andrew Porter’s request for an update with this statement:

Still under consideration, still no decision. Our planning department is dealing with several construction projects, so the decision probably will be pushed back to later in the year instead of “fall.”

Herbert was born in Tacoma in 1920 and lived there as an adult. The idea to name a newly developed park for him was first suggested in 2013.

(8) RUSSELL OBIT. Pioneering television director Paddy Russell (1928-2017) has died at the age of 89. Doctor Who News paid tribute:

Patricia Russell, known to all as Paddy, had a long and distinguished career as one of the first female Directors in British television….

In the 1950’s Television was crying out for theatre staff to work in the new medium and Russell was recruited as a production assistant, working with the famed director Rudolph Cartier. Acting as the director’s eyes and ears on the studio floor, Russell worked on some of the most innovative and pioneering dramas of the day including the Quatermass science-fiction serials as well as the 1954 adaptation of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four starring Peter Cushing.  …Her first encounter with Doctor Who came in 1966 when she became the first female Director to work on the show. She helmed the First Doctor story The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve.

…It was eight years later that Russell returned to the show working on the six-part Jon Pertwee story Invasion of the Dinosaurs. It was a story fraught with technical difficulties in the attempt to bring dinosaurs to London using the primitive methods available in the early 1970’s. While not always successful it was a story Russell was very proud of.

…Two more stories followed, both staring the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. In 1975 she directed the fan favourite Pyramids of Mars, followed in 1977 by the Horror of Fang Rock. She had a prickly relationship with the lead actor whom she found increasingly difficult to work with….


International Speculative Poetry Day

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association persuaded the State of Minnesota to declare November 3 to be International Speculative Poetry Day.

International Speculative Poetry Day seeks to highlight the vibrant legacy and extraordinary achievement of speculative poets. It seeks to introduce communities to the delights and benefits of reading and writing speculative poetry as well as make speculative poetry an important and innovative part of our cultural life.  Speculative poetry has produced some of the nation’s leading creative artists and influential books, performances, and exhibitions, inspiring other artists, educators, and community builders around the world.


  • November 3, 1957 – Laika becomes the first dog in space.

And the bards of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association have put up a page of verse honoring the pioneer, “Remembering Laika”.

This year, November 3rd coincides with the 60th anniversary of Laika’s historic mission into outer space. (That’s 420 in space dog years!) She advanced Earth’s knowledge and paved the way for space exploration and much of our modern world today.  Several of our SFPA members recently shared poems inspired by Laika and our canine companions to mark the day. A special thanks to them and Dr. Suzie GeeForce for illustrating the occasion! You can also find additional poems by our members in our list-serv.

  • November 3, 1976 — The original Carrie debuted


  • Born November 3, 1954 Godzilla. (I think this means it’s the day the film was released.)

(12) WAVES. Lela E. Buis questions whether some TV participants are “Asking for contradictory things?”

I’m probably going to get into serious trouble with this post, as it touches on third wave feminism. Various people have urged me to address the topic before and I’ve just not gotten to it. Up front, let me say I’m a second wave feminist, and I have opinions that sometimes diverge sharply from the current platform.

Here’s the issue: A while back I watched a panel discussion on the Weinstein scandal, and I was struck with some contradictions. This show was Friday, Oct. 13, Third Rail with Ozy asks: Is sexual harassment inevitable in the workplace? Along with Colorado College Professor Tomi-Ann Roberts, the panel included three younger women.

Roberts related her personal experience with Weinstein as a 20-year-old and her subsequent decision that she wasn’t cut out for work in Hollywood. The panel then went on to define sexual harassment in the workplace to include compliments on appearance and beauty. Hm. Okay, second wave question here: Roberts looks professional. She’s got on a boxy jacket and restrained hair and makeup, but the other women look like they’ve spent hours on their appearance, plus a big chunk of change. They have on form-fitting clothing, heavy make-up and trendy hair styling. Why?

If we assume appearance is expression and therefore a type of speech, what are they saying?…

And she continues from there with her analysis.

(13) ANOTHER ATWOOD IN DEVELOPMENT. This one is based on a historical novel: “Margaret Atwood’s ‘Alias Grace’ adapted as Netflix series”.

Another Margaret Atwood novel is getting the Hollywood treatment, this time on Netflix.

In “Alias Grace,” a six-episode Netflix miniseries starring Sarah Gadon, an Irish immigrant working as a maid in Canada in the 1840s is accused of murdering her boss and his mistress. Her case is covered with breathless scrutiny, making the young woman infamous.

Based on Atwood’s historical novel, Gadon plays Grace, who recounts her life story to a young psychiatrist trying to help jog her memory.

(14) IT IS TO BLUSH. Slate’s Sam Adams declares “Stranger Things’ “Punk” Episode Is Unbelievably Awful”

The second season of Stranger Things—or, if we must, Stranger Things 2—effectively recaptures the meme-spawning magic of its first. But for a season that mostly follows the template of “What if that thing you liked, but more?” the new episodes make a pronounced departure in splitting Millie Bobbie Brown’s Eleven off from her group of demogorgon-fighting pals, most of whom think she’s disappeared or dead. As the series’ breakout character, played by its strongest young actor, Eleven is a natural candidate to carry her own largely self-contained storyline, but the strain of building a new world for her to inhabit taxes the Duffer brothers’ self-mimicking skills to the limit, and finally exhausts them altogether in its seventh episode, “The Lost Sister.” The result is an unmitigated embarrassment…

(15) BRINGS THE HAMMER. NPR’s Chris Klimek says “‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Is Hela Good”:

Ragnarok, an incontrovertibly bitchin’ word that refers in Norse myth to the final, winner-take-all smackdown between good and evil, is an awfully heavy subtitle for a movie as affably insubstantial as The Mighty Thor’s mighty third.

Catching us up on what your friendly neighborhood Thunder-God (and your friendly neighborhood Incredible Hulk) were doing while they were absent from last year’s Captain America: Civil War, the movie earns the backhanded compliment of being the best Thor picture by an Asgardian mile, and the more sincere one of being not in the least a chore to sit through. It’s funnier and prettier than most of the other Marvel movies, having figured out that adopting the visual palette of Frank Frazetta’s glossy swords n’ monsters n’ muscles fantasy paintings — rather than trying to cross that uncanny valley into photorealism — is a good way to make the wall-to-wall CGI less fatiguing. Half the frames in this film would look right at home airbrushed on the side of a 1978 Ford Econoline “shaggin’ wagon” van, which would almost certainly be blasting Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” a vintage headbanger that the Thor 3 soundtrack Ragna-rocks twice. (I am getting choked up thinking about all the 10-year-olds who will see this thing and shortly thereafter download their very first Led Zep.)

(16) GOURD EMERGENCY. Or, why they call it “felonious abandonment of zucchini”: German man believes 11-pounder is unexploded bomb, calls police: “German police find ‘WW2 bomb’ was big courgette”.

The 5kg (11-pound) courgette had probably been thrown over a hedge into the 81 year old’s garden, police said.

Luckily no evacuation was required in Bretten, a town near Karlsruhe in south-west Germany.

The last part is by no means a joke — On 3 September 65,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Frankfurt, so that a 1.4-tonne British bomb could be defused. It was the biggest evacuation in post-war German history for an unexploded bomb alert.

(17) THIRSTING FOR ACTION. SyFy Wire looks forward to seeing “Beer-loving giant ants terrorize teens in trailer for It Came from the Desert

New levels, man — new levels. In the never-ending quest to escalate campiness to heights that beggar irony, here comes a movie. A movie, based on a Commodore Amiga video game from the late 1980s, about giant ants; ants that live in the desert; ants who enjoy beer straight from the keg and can only be vanquished — at great personal cost — by a mostly-expendable cast of libidinous teens.

You know how these things make us feel.

If you gamed in the ‘80s, you may remember It Came from the Desert, an Amiga title that drew heavy inspiration from Them! and other B-horror flicks from the 1950s. As the game’s protagonist, Dr. Greg Bradley traversed the Nevada desert landscape, staging desperate battles against radioactively-mutated ants in a variety of interesting locations.

Now Cinemaware, the game’s original developer, is teaming with Finnish VFX effects studio Roger! Pictures to revive the goofy premise in a live-action format. The trailer for the eponymous movie seems to lie somewhere between a proof of concept and an enticing synopsis of what we’re (admittedly) hoping will end up as a finished product.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]

55 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/3/17 Third Pixel To The Right And Scroll On ‘Til Morning

  1. 15) The impression I am getting (not seen it yet!) is popcorn fun, not a movie that changes your life, but lots o fun.

  2. (12) WAVES.

    And it surprises me not one iota to see Buis jump on the victim-blaming bandwagon. 🙄

  3. (14) I don’t think “The Lost Sister” was that bad. It was definitely a turning point in Eleven’s character development. The placing of the episode is what was wrong to me, as it completely wrecked the tension and suspense that was building all through ep. 6. The Duffer Brothers should have switched the episode order. (Also, maybe someone’s thinking about a spinoff series focusing on Kali’s gang.)

  4. Ha!

    I ordered the “Sleeping Beauties” sample and, for the first time ever, Uncle Stevie bored me. So I haven’t read the whole book.

    (He’s made me mad enough to throw his books across the room but never before has he bored me.)

  5. (14) I liked the Lost Sister episode
    – firstly it wouldn’t be a 1980s movie without garish street punks
    – secondly Luke has to go to Dagobeh, train his mind powers and leave when he realizes his friends are in danger
    – Eleven deserved her own completely Eleven centered episode

  6. (9) Is it typical for states to proclaim international days? Or is this a generally recognized day that I have previously missed?

    (12) Yeah, Buis continues true to form.

  7. 6) I watched the officially-released version on Sunday and was generally entertained; Jonathan Pryce was wonderfully sinister in it.

    I admit, though, to never having read the book, after which admission I should probably delete my account and/or try to erase all traces of my online presence.

  8. (2) I kinda want to read Joe’s book because I really liked The Fireman. On the other hand, I hated Owen’s book so much that I’m planning to avoid reading whatever his grandkids write, assuming my brain jar is still intact.

  9. We come from the land of the files and scrolls,
    From the laptop screens where the pixels glow . . .

  10. 16) Certainly no joke – there are parts of Europe which still have regular scares over unexploded munitions from the First World War, never mind the Second. So, yes, caution with regard to unexpected large round things is often justified.

  11. 16) My parents actually did find an unexploded grenade in their garden once. They called the police, who took it away. Even as late as the 1990s (and probably still today, for all I know), kids were still being cautioned about mysterious round and oblong objects.

    Mass evacuations still happen from time to time. The one in Frankfurt/Main was the biggest, but the worst was in Augsburg where thousands of people had to leave their homes on Christmas Day 2016 because of an unexploded WWII bomb. When asked whether it wasn’t possible to defuse the bomb after Christmas – after all it had lain unexploded in the ground for more than seventy years – the authorities said that Christmas was ideal, because it was a holiday, so they wouldn’t have to close down businesses and factories, too.

  12. And rusty grenades or bombs that have been buried for seventy plus years, can look a bit like a zucchini.

    I never found a grenade or anything like that – apparently the one my parents found in the garden was the only one. But as a kid, I found rusty bullet casings in the garden, big ones that likely date from WWII (the casing from modern hunting and sport shooting weapons are smaller). I still have them, too.

  13. As Winnipegger, I’ve been skipping C4 for years. Before that I was there as part of SCA booth and presentations a few times (we usually got a discount for doing a lot of pre show set up) and once as an artist. It’s always been mostly a shakily run trade show with some media guests and add ons, and that style of con has never appealed but I heard other artists bitching about increasingly draconian contracts, bad placements and decreasing booth/tables for a while now. And hearing fewer invites from people to come volunteer with them because it’s fun “and surely they’ll iron out the kinks from last year/ the last few years”, and more and more about unreasonable demands from the two people most in charge.

    The people who seem to still enjoy going are people who have been doing it for years and know where to go and what to do without asking volunteers. They go, do their thing and are happy.

    A note of history, possibly indicative; Wizard World picked up the con to add to their circuit for a while. Then dropped it again.

  14. I left a comment on Lela’s post but I tried not to say she’s acting like the current run of feminists are the ones who INVENTED the contradictory rules of fashion vs harassment even as she literally says “where were {people protesting harassment} 40-50 years ago?” Then complains THEY are wanting contradictory things.

  15. “Alias Grace” isn’t “in development.” It’s been released and has been reviewed.

  16. @Cora: apparently the police agreed that calling them was sensible. This does raise the issue of who was prat enough to toss this lookalike over the fence….

  17. @Chip Hitchcock
    Might have been kids who didn’t realise what the zucchini looked like to the elderly man. Might have been a neighbour with too many zucchinis (and you always have too many of them, though November is a bit late for zucchinis in Germany) who wanted to hand of some of his surplus zucchini to his neighbours. Though usually, you ring the bell first.

  18. Woo, title credit!

    I saw the new Thor movie yesterday and agree with the good reviews– not only the best of this series (can anyone think of another series where the third was the best?) but probably the best Marvel movie yet.

  19. I think the case can be made that Goldfinger is the best Bond movie, or at least a lot of folk’s favorite.

  20. (7) I’m not going near the sandbox in the playground!

    (16) My late uncle had a home that was literally backed by Bull Run, and the main battlefield was within a quarter-mile. He found hundreds of bullets, buttons, even a few rusted rifles and leather objects all on his property.

  21. I didn’t see all the Harry Potter movies, but Prisoner of Azbakan was pretty good.

  22. Myself, I’m of the opinion that removal by trained ordnance disposal experts is the proper response to a large zucchini.

    Also, big thumbs up on Thor: Ragnarok.

    As for third movies in a series that are better than their predecessors, maybe Mission: Impossible III?

  23. 12) I wonder how Luis would deal with racism: “Well, if those black people didn’t wear those clothes… ”

    14) There was a recent Twitter stream which looked at the punk episode in terms of the fact that Stranger Things isn’t set in the 1980s, but in TV 1980s. So the punks aren’t actual 1980s punks, but TV punks, of the sort you would see on say, an episode of Chips.

    TV reality explains why things always feel off in that series to me: it’s really “1980s Happy Days with monsters.” It’s also why there will likely never be any queer content in that series, outside of a “Very Special Episode of Stranger Things.”

  24. My grandmother used to love telling the story of her friends who had a watermelon party and when they cut open said watermelon it turned out to be an overgrown zucchini. I forget the details of how this was all possible but it pretty much sums up life.

  25. @Rose Embolism

    14) There was a recent Twitter stream which looked at the punk episode in terms of the fact that Stranger Things isn’t set in the 1980s, but in TV 1980s. So the punks aren’t actual 1980s punks, but TV punks, of the sort you would see on say, an episode of Chips.

    Anyone else remember watching the “punk rock” episode (https://tv.avclub.com/a-cult-favorite-quincy-episode-warned-of-the-dangers-of-1798246996) of Quincy back in the day? “Pixel-Rock Scrolled this kid!”

  26. I Nth the recommendations for “Thor Ragnarok”! It was great – lots of fun! I got a lot more Hulk than I expected, but that’s okay.

    And yes, discovering I don’t own Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (all I own is, yes, “Stairway to Heaven”), I’m about to buy it. 😛

  27. @Andrew

    Anyone else remember watching the “punk rock” episode (https://tv.avclub.com/a-cult-favorite-quincy-episode-warned-of-the-dangers-of-1798246996) of Quincy back in the day? “Pixel-Rock Scrolled this kid!”

    I remember that episode. We didn’t get much US TV when I was a kid, but Quincy was on TV all the time and is probably still being rerun somewhere. And it was almost always enjoyable. But the punk rock episode was just bad. Ditto for the episode where someone dies of an overdose of marihuana. Yes, really.

    Someone must have pointed out to the writers that dying of a marihuana overdose isn’t really possible, so it turned out that the marihuana had been treated with a toxic fertilizer or something. That episode was mindblowingly stupid, even when I was a teen.

  28. @Cora–

    Someone must have pointed out to the writers that dying of a marihuana overdose isn’t really possible, so it turned out that the marihuana had been treated with a toxic fertilizer or something. That episode was mindblowingly stupid, even when I was a teen.

    There was a period–and it would have been when Quincy was still in production–that the US government was spraying marijuana fields with, I don’t now remember exactly what, but it was indeed something toxic. The idea was that it would kill the crop, but it didn’t, not reliably. And the surviving crop that reached its market was indeed dangerous to its users.

    I don’t know if it ever actually killed anyone, but no, that plot wasn’t nearly as stupid as you assumed. It was spinning off from something that was really happening, not from the ignorant belief that you could overdose on marijuana.

  29. Lis Carey on November 4, 2017 at 7:24 pm said:
    There are US politicians who do believe that you can OD on marijuana, and some also believe that users become violent and super-strong.

  30. @PJ Evans–

    There are US politicians who do believe that you can OD on marijuana, and some also believe that users become violent and super-strong.

    Yeah, but that’s not what Cora describes. It’s what she concluded about it, that Hollywood writers and directors were that stupid, but in fact she includes the crucial detail that the marijuana was sprayed with something toxic, and then she concludes that that was a quick save of a stupid plot.

    But in fact, during that time period, some marijuana was in fact being sprayed with a toxic substance that made it a bad idea to smoke-and there was no convenient labeling to let you know if what you were purchasing might be affected by that.

  31. @Lis Carey– Yes, you are thinking of the herbicide paraquat. The practice of spraying marijuana fields with it spawned a protest chant:

    We like pot!
    We like it a lot!
    Stop spraying it
    with paraquat!

  32. Paraquat was the herbicide that was sprayed on marijuana crops. TV shows used it for plot points, comedians used it for punchlines

  33. Paraquat was the herbicide that was sprayed on marijuana crops. TV shows used it for plot points, comedians used it for punchlines.

    Nancy Sauer and BGrandrath–Thank you!

  34. Kendall on November 4, 2017 at 5:21 pm said:
    I Nth the recommendations for “Thor Ragnarok”! It was great – lots of fun! I got a lot more Hulk than I expected, but that’s okay.

    So did Thor.

  35. @Andrew: I missed the Quincy episode, but the Twitter thread reverted it. Come to think of it, this was the heyday of MTV, so The Misfits could have come right out of a music video.

    In all waiting for 08 to Don a helm and purple cape…

  36. Jack Lint, I have learned from Oor Wombat that melons are extremely promiscuous; they will pollinate with any other melon anywhere near them. So that watermelon incident you describe means that the watermelon patch wasn’t far enough from the zucchinis…

  37. @Cassty B:

    Or maybe not. Watermelons are Citrullus lanatas, and zucchini are Cucurbita pepo–I don’t think melons are quite promiscuous enough to pollinate another genus.

  38. Nancy Sauer, fair point. Perhaps the zucchinis were too near some other squash that gave them the size and external look of a watermelon, then….

  39. @Wombat’s Mom: “I wrote about a pageant in a slaughterhouse.”

    @Nancy Sauer: “[anti-paraquat chant]”

    @Cassy B: “melons are extremely promiscuous”

    Everything I ever needed to know, I learned from File 770. 😛 😉

  40. @Cassy

    That’s a real possibility. C. pepo ranges from pattypan to acorn squash to certain pumpkins, so crossbreeds have a lot of possible shapes and colors.

    (I’m not really an expert on this stuff; I just try to keep track of it so that I can make half-hearted attempts to practice crop rotation in my garden.)

    UNRELATED: weren’t you looking for the cheese with the lamb riding a motorcycle? It’s Lambchopper by Cypress Grove.

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