Pixel Scroll 12/10/17 The Greatest Scroll On Earth

(1) LAST JEDI REVEW. Craig Miller attended the official world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

No Spoilers Review: A pretty amazing achievement. More emotion than most Star Wars films. And more humor (though not a gag fest like, Thor Ragnarok). Some surprises. Including a “surprise” I thought was likely yet still surprised me when it happened by the way they did it. I haven’t quite processed where I think it should go in my pantheon of Best Star Wars Movies but it’s certainly up near the top of the list. Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back still hold the top honors but this is getting near it.

His post includes a couple of sweet photos of Kelly Marie Tran (who plays Rose) seeing a fan dressed as her character for the first time.

(2) FIRST IMPRESSIONS. Mashable collected a bunch of tweets sent by people who saw the movie: “‘The Last Jedi’ first premiere reactions are here and – you guessed it – the Force is strong”.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi held its star-studded world premiere at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Saturday night, and the credits had barely finished rolling before attendees hit Twitter to share their first reactions to Rian Johnson’s take on the Skywalker saga.

While spoilers and plot details are under strict embargo until Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. PT, that didn’t stop fans from weighing in on the tone of the movie…

(3) IMPEDIMENT TO FAKE REVIEWS. Mad Genius Club’s Amanda S. Green brings news of “Amazon Review Policy Change & More”.

Since Amazon first opened its virtual doors, there have been concerns about reviews. Not just for books but for all the products sold through its site. It is no secret that authors have paid for reviews — and some still do. Or that there have been fake accounts set up to give sock puppet reviews. There have been stories about sellers and manufacturers planting fake reviews as well, all in the hopes of bolstering their product rankings and ratings. From time to time, Amazon has taken steps to combat this trend. One of the last times they did it, they brought in a weighted review system. This one differentiates between “verified purchasers” and those who did not buy the product viz Amazon. Now there is a new policy in place, once that should help — at least until a new way around it is found.

Simply put, Amazon now requires you to purchase a minimum of $50 worth of books or other products before you can leave a review or answer questions about a product. These purchases, and it looks like it is a cumulative amount, must be purchased via credit card or debit card — gift cards won’t count. This means someone can’t set up a fake account, buy themselves a gift card and use it to get around the policy….

(4) AND HEEERE’S PHILIP! Kim Huett asks, “Do you ever have those moments when you discover a different side to an author? Well of course you do. We all do. I did just the other day in regards to Philip K. Dick:” See “Straight Talking With Philip K. Dick” at Doctor Strangemind.

It’s in Lighthouse #14 (October 1966) that Carr published a Philip K. Dick article called Will the Atomic Bomb Ever Be Perfected, and If So, What Becomes of Robert Heinlein? This piece doesn’t read like a fully formed article in my opinion. It’s a series of unconnected paragraphs that feels more like a transcript of Dick’s responses to a series of questions that had been posed by a talk show host (Conan O’Brien most probably, I can’t imagine who else would enjoy interviewing Phil Dick). Take this line:

‘I have written and sold twenty-three novels, and all are terrible except one. But I am not sure which one.

That so feels like the sort of thing a talk show guest might say to set the tone of the interview. Watch out audience, I’m quirky and don’t take anything too seriously.

Mostly though Dick expresses the sort of blunt and sweeping opinions I never thought he was likely to come out with….

(5) MAKE IT SNOW. Let SyFy Wire help with your holiday shopping — “2017 Gift Guide: Beam up these great Star Trek gifts”. My favorite —

U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set

If you love Star Trek AND sushi then this awesome sushi set will hit the sweet spot. The set includes a shiny Enterprise NCC-1701 in mid-warp and propped on a wooden base, which is actually… a sushi plate. If you remove the top of the saucer section, you even get a small dish for soy sauce. Slide out the warp effects of the nacelles and voila, you have your own pair of chopsticks.

Get it for $34.99 at Star Trek Shop

(6) NO PRIZE. In the Paris Review, Ursula K. Le Guin makes a meta suggestion: “The Literary Prize for the Refusal of Literary Prizes”.

I refused a prize once. My reasons were mingier than Sartre’s, though not entirely unrelated. It was in the coldest, insanest days of the Cold War, when even the little planet Esseff was politically divided against itself. My novelette The Diary of the Rose was awarded the Nebula Award by the Science Fiction Writers of America. At about the same time, the same organization deprived the Polish novelist Stanislaw Lem of his honorary membership. There was a sizable contingent of Cold Warrior members who felt that a man who lived behind the iron curtain and was rude about American science fiction must be a Commie rat who had no business in the SFWA. They invoked a technicality to deprive him of his membership and insisted on applying it. Lem was a difficult, arrogant, sometimes insufferable man, but a courageous one and a first-rate author, writing with more independence of mind than would seem possible in Poland under the Soviet regime. I was very angry at the injustice of the crass and petty insult offered him by the SFWA. I dropped my membership and, feeling it would be shameless to accept an award for a story about political intolerance from a group that had just displayed political intolerance, took my entry out of the Nebula competition shortly before the winners were to be announced. The SFWA called me to plead with me not to withdraw it, since it had, in fact, won. I couldn’t do that. So—with the perfect irony that awaits anybody who strikes a noble pose on high moral ground—my award went to the runner-up: Isaac Asimov, the old chieftain of the Cold Warriors.

(7) TOLKIEN CANONIZATON CONFERENCE CANCELLED. The hosts of a December 18 conference in Rome to popularize the idea of canonizing J.R.R. Tolkien, an initiative of the SUPR (Student Association of Roman pontifical universities) and sponsored by the CRUPR (conference of rectors of Roman pontifical universities), say they have had to cancel the event in the face of unspecified opposition. You can see they didn’t go quietly.

(8) IMAGINING A PAST, AND A BETTER PRESENT. French novelist Jean d’Ormesson died December 6 at the age of 92 reports the New York Times.

It was only in 1971 that “La Gloire de l’Empire” — translated into English as “A Novel. A History” — secured a lasting place for him in 20th-century French literature.

The book, a fictional compendium of imagined history, won the academy’s coveted Grand Prix.

“This has to be one of the most engrossing histories ever written — yet not a word of it is true,” William Beauchamp, a French literature scholar, wrote in The New York Times Book Review when the book was published in English in the United States in 1975.

He added: “Jean d’Ormesson’s empire is pure invention; his book, fictional history. If numerous details suggest the real empires of Rome, Persia, Byzantium, of Alexander or Charlemagne, they are devices designed to achieve verisimilitude — the illusion of reality.”

When Mr. d’Ormesson entered the academy in 1973, at the age of 48, he was the youngest of its 40 members, all of them committed to maintaining the purity of the French language and to promoting French literary merit.

All were also men; the body had barred women since its founding in 1635. But that changed in 1981, when Mr. d’Ormesson sponsored Marguerite Yourcenar, a writer and classical scholar, to join the academy. Though he incurred much criticism and not a few misogynistic jibes for his championing her, she was accepted….

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 10, 2009 Avatar makes its world premiere.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY LIBRARIAN

  • Born December 10, 1851 – Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System. As a young adult he advocated spelling reform; he changed his name from the usual “Melville” to “Melvil”, without redundant letters, and for a time changed his surname to “Dui”.

(11) DOWNSIZING. Parade’s Amy Spencer, in “Sunday With…Matt Damon”, asks the star of Downsizing such novel softball questions as “What’s a situation where, in real life, you felt really small?” and “What is something small that means a great deal to you?” At least he didn’t have to answer any questions about potatoes.

(12) BEARLY THERE. Framestore animation director Pablo Grillo goes into Paddington 2: “Paddington 2: The challenges of making the film”. (Video at the link.)

(13) BEATING THE BUSHES. Botanical exploits: “How British plant hunters served science”.

Reginald Farrer (1880-1920) was one of four 20th Century botanists who made expeditions to then remote parts of China to discover and bring back plants.

He and his contemporaries – George Forrest (1873-1932), William Purdom (1880-1921) and Frank Kingdon-Ward (1885-1958) – are remembered in a new exhibition at the RHS Lindley library in London.

…Frank Kingdon-Ward, son of a botany professor, was perhaps the most prolific of the four plant collectors.

“He carried out over 20 expeditions in total – not all in China; he travelled all over, in India as well and Assam Himalayas, and really his first love was exploration,” says Sarah McDonald.

Kingdon-Ward frequently cheated death on his travels. Once, lost in the jungle, he survived by sucking the nectar from flowers. Another time, a tree fell on his tent during a storm, but he crawled out unscathed. And he survived falling over a precipice only by gripping a tree long enough to be pulled to safety.

In a letter to his sister, he wrote: “If I survive another month without going dotty or white-haired it will be a miracle; if my firm get any seeds at all this year it will be another.”

(14) MARTIAN BOG. If only Heinlein could make The Traveler happy – a magazine review at Galactic Journey. “[December 9, 1962] (January 1963, IF Science Fiction)”.

Podkayne of Mars (Part 2 of 3), by Robert A. Heinlein

Part II of Heinlein’s new juvenile(?) about Miss Poddy Fries and her space jaunt from Mars is a bit more readable than the last one, but it’s still overwritten and gets bogged in detail.  This is the spiritual successor to The Menace from Earth I’d hoped to share with my daughter, but I don’t think it’s quite good enough.  Three stars for this installment.

(15) CASTING FOR PIKACHU. Trae Dorn of Nerd & Tie reports “Ryan Reynolds Has Been Cast as ‘Detective Pikachu’ Because Why the Hell Not”.

So one of the weirdest projects out there for a while has been Legendary’s live action/cgi hybrid Detective Pikachu movie. I mean, it’s a live action/cgi hybrid Detective Pikachu movie. No one was really expecting it to happen, and now the latest news is that it has a rather unexpected star: Ryan Reynolds.

That’s right, Ryan Reynolds is going to play Detective Pikachu in the Detective Pikachu movie. I mean, it’s not bad casting – Reynolds is a talented actor – but it’s definitely weird casting. I mean, he’s a funny guy (remember, unlike most Pokemon, Detective Pikachu can talk), but it’s not a direction most people thought casting would go.

(16) DIAGNOSIS. Definitely sorry for his health problems, but how many cold sufferers inspire such a colorful description?

(17) VIRTUAL BEST OF YEAR. Jason, at Featured Futures, has posted his picks for the Web’s Best Science Fiction #1 (2017 Stories). His “virtual anthology” is a table of contents of selected links to 70,000 words of the best science fiction published online in 2017.

Web’s Best Fantasy will cover the fantasy stories. The stories for both “volumes” were chosen from fifteen markets: Apex Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld Magazine, Compelling Science Fiction, Diabolical Plots, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Flash Fiction Online, Grievous Angel, Lightspeed, Nature, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Terraform, Tor.com, and Uncanny.

(18) EDGED WEAPONS. Gary K. Wolfe reviews Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams at Locus Online.

In one of Donald Barthelme’s funnier stories, a hapless would-be writer finds that one of the questions on the National Writer’s Examination (“a five-hour fifty-minute examination, for his certificate”) involves recognizing at least four archaic words for sword. On the basis of his new novel Quillifer, Walter Jon Williams would get that certificate with flying colors. His vocabulary of antique weaponry is formidable, as well as his command of archaic military and naval terminol­ogy: the tale is packed with enough chebeks, dirks, calivers, pollaxes, and demiculverins to win a dozen Scrabble or trivia games, not to mention such neologisms as “gastrologist,” “logomania,” “poetastical,” “credent,” and others which, as Quillifer and others proudly announce, they “just made up.” As should be evident, there’s a good deal of infectious playfulness involved here, and the question that quickly arises is whether this is going to be infectious enough, or Quillifer himself ingratiating enough, to power us through what promises to be at least three hefty volumes of episodic adventures.

(19) CAT TALES AND OTHERS. In the LA Times’ Jacket Copy section, “Michelle Dean loves Ursula K. Le Guin’s cat stories. Which is a good start”:

Here we get some thoughts on publishing too, or rather, as the book calls it, “The Lit Biz.” Posts on this theme include a lament about how often people ask her “why” she writes — she calls this question “highly metaphysical.” It also includes Le Guin’s frustration with the notion that someone, somewhere has written the Great American Novel. But that argument gradually morphs into a paean to John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” the novel Le Guin evidently feels might be closest to a Great American novel. And then also segues, in a pleasingly bloggy way, into an anecdote about how Le Guin actually knew Steinbeck in her youth and hid with him in the bushes at a terrible wedding with racist guests. “We need to get away from boring people and drink in peace,” she records Steinbeck saying on this occasion. Amen, Great American Writer.

(20) LETTERS TO SANTA. The Guardian found the North Pole in an unexpected place: “Santa Claus, Indiana gets 20,000 letters a year – and ‘elves’ reply to all of them”.

The letters, sometimes addressed to Santa Claus, Indiana, sometimes to just “Santa Claus”, come from all over the US, and even from outside the country. They’re processed by a team of 300 “elves” who write personal replies – penning up to 2,000 notes a day.

“It’s an amazing thing making children happy,” said Pat Koch, the town’s Chief Elf. Koch, 86, is in charge of the mammoth effort. She’s been handling Santa’s correspondence since she was 11 years old.

“We just sit in there and laugh and cry,” Koch said.

“We get letters from children that say: ‘We learned to use the potty’ – well, their mother writes for them – ‘So we hope Santa will come’.

“Or they stopped sucking their thumb. Or some children write very sad letters: ‘I’m living with my grandma and I want to be with my daddy.’”

The elves also receive mail from older people who are lonely and want a letter from Santa, Koch said. Sometimes inmates write to Santa Claus, asking him to send a letter to their children. Post arrives from as far away as Japan, China and Malaysia. Each is read and responded to.

(21) WRATH OF KHAN REVISITED. Orange Band gives old movies the trailers they deserve.

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

84 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/10/17 The Greatest Scroll On Earth

  1. 3) Hunh, trying to limit the number of reviewers? Is Amazon learning from the problems of Goodreads?

    First?

  2. (3) IMPEDIMENT TO FAKE REVIEWS.

    Interestingly, I seem to still be able to post reviews on Amazon UK (I’ve posted a couple hundred there in the past), despite having only one purchase for £14.99 in my history; the minimum purchase there to enable reviewing is now £40. So they must have included some grandfathering in their algorithm, to retain legitimate reviewers.

  3. I’ve no idea how d’Ormesson’s magnificent “Glory of the Empire” went so thoroughly unnoted in genre circles. It certainly is no less sf/f-nal than “Islandia.”

  4. 3) Amazon has had that policy for months — at the very least since the time of publication of The Corroding Empire (March 2017). When that was published I set up a new Amazon account in order to avoid having someone doxx me through my regular account, and I had to purchase $50 of merch before I could post my review.

    Also fifth? — eta second fifth!

  5. Orange Band did an excellent job of constructing a modern trailer to the classic “Wrath of Khan”. Which goes a long way towards explaining why modern trailers are often so horrible.

  6. 3) Oh well, any Amazon review I decide to write will only appear at Amazon.de then, cause that’s my home Amazon.

    Coincidentally, my favourite reviewer of my own stories is a Brazilian fan, whose reviews I can henceforth only enjoy at Amazon.br, it seems.

    20) Here in Germany, Santa Claus can be reached in the town of Himmelspforten (Heaven’s Gate), the Christ Child (weird transgender Jesus figure as a gift bringer that’s common in parts of Germany) in Engelskirchen (angel church) and Himmelsthür (heaven’s door) and St. Nicholas, who is distinct from the Santa Claus figure in Nikolausdorf and St. Nikolaus.

    Regarding the Christ Child, the Christ Child is obviously supposed to be Jesus, but for some reason is portrayed as an angelic blonde young lady. I hail from an area where Santa Claus brings the gift, so the Christ Child – once I figured out that it wasn’t just an angel, but was apparently supposed to be Jesus – seems strange to me. Coincidentally, Martin Luther came up with the Christ Child concept to combat the worship of saints like St. Nicholas, but nowadays the Christ Child brings gifts in primarily Catholic areas, whereas Lutheran areas have Santa Claus and St. Nicholas bringing gifts on St. Nicholas Day, i.e. December 6.

    Here is the Nuremburg Christ Child BTW: http://mediaproxy.nordbayern.de/v3/image/images.nordbayern.de/ThumbnailatorAspectResizeFilter/w632dp/image/policy:1.3294232:1498369385/Montage_CKM_Barbara_Otto.jpg?f=16%3A9&h=267&m=FIT&w=550&$p$f$h$m$w=1a0a135
    She doesn’t look a whole lot like I imagine Jesus to look.

    And here, just because it’s a cute picture, we have the Christ Child kissing Santa Claus: http://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/media/thumbs/1/19e66fea69f2b7d5dc41e67428637e15v1_max_635x357_b3535db83dc50e27c1bb1392364c95a2.jpg?key=b3c78c

    Though to be fair, playing Christ Child is a nice job for female students, since Santa is traditionally played by male students. Difficult, if you aren’t blonde, though.

  7. Demixtify these filers to win no valuable pixels!

    Forecastle Postman
    Karma Punches Me
    Edible Cinnamon
    Dean Videos TVs
    Stealing Idols
    Messier Bloom
    Solo Earner
    Meek Girly
    Major Mesa
    Icy Laser

  8. Niall: The first two are Camestros Felapton and Hampus Eckerman, and I found myself lower down. Then realized I need to get to work.

    You should have included JJ, though… 😉

  9. OK, fine. And 4 is steve davidson. I guess it would have been a giveaway to leave it all lowercase.

    And Lis Carey last

  10. (6) Asimov, a Cold Warrior? I could understand calling him an old-fashioned writer, but hardly a Cold Warrior (he signed the anti-Vietnam war ad in Analog, didn’t he?).

  11. “The first two are Camestros Felapton and Hampus Eckerman…”

    Yes, we are both. Also, we are Mike Glyer. But if I have to have an anagram, I prefer Hackman Supreme.

  12. “Now bring us some pixel pudding, and a scroll of good cheer”

    If you don’t scroll your files, you can’t have any pudding!

  13. I almost said, “But Mike Glyer isn’t on the list…”

    But of course he is. Third from the bottom.
    And I should think Hackman Supreme MUCH better by any standards than
    getting punched.

    (And believe it or not, I have gotten work done. Sometimes I have things like “Hole punch this massive pile of papers” that use my hands but not my computer screen.)

  14. I’m terrible at anagrams (JJ would have been a fine choice….) so the only one I got was Mike.

  15. @4: Dick was messing with people’s heads pretty much from the beginning; I wonder how much of this he meant and how much was just being utterly random to mess with more heads.

    @6: ISTM that “Isaac Asimov, the old chieftain of the Cold Warriors” is a little harsh (my impression of him is at least centrist, and disinclined to lead movements), and there’s a degree of unreality to her dismissal of the marketing value of prizes — with so much material coming out today, some filtering can be useful — but the idea of a Sartre Prize is interesting.

    @14: “spiritual successor to ‘The Menace from Earth’ “? Puh-leeze! Holly Jones is a brilliant and athletic engineer-in-development; Podkayne claims a decent IQ and talks about being a space explorer, but she’s done nothing toward that goal and makes clear from the beginning that she’s a manipulative minx (even, ISTM, to a 1962 mindset — the website is unclear whether he’s trying to recreate that). The book gets worse — in a standard later-RAH motif, she decides that managing a creche is better than her dreams of exploration — but it doesn’t start well.

    @18: Williams used to do interesting work; this sounds like it might be an improvement on space opera, or might be just another why-are-we-supposed-to-love-this-rogue story.

  16. (3) Definitely been going on for a while. I tried to leave a review of a book a few months back, but was unable to do so, as I haven’t made a purchase there since 2003 (my purchase was more than $50, though, so it must also be time-limited in some way).

  17. 6: Isaac Asimov was a little to the right of Fred Pohl. Of course, Fred was a communist at one point. Isaac Asimov co-authored a book with him warning that we were wrecking the planet – Our Angry Earth. Isaac Asimov debated Poul Anderson in the pages of IAsfm where Anderson took the pro-Star Wars (SDI) position and Asimov argued against it. And, yes, Andrew, you’re right – Asimov is signed up against the war on the same page as LeGuin, herself. Characterizing Asimov as she did is not “a little harsh” but completely wrong. I can’t believe she doesn’t know this so I can only assume some massive typo or thinko or misquote.

  18. PS: those who can get past the N-articles-per-month firewall may be amused by a Boston Globe columnist’s tribute to Princess Leia. Sample text:

    in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, it’s clear that Leia Organa is the only competent adult on the screen: She’s a seasoned diplomat and politician; she can weld; she’s a crack shot with a blaster. She’s passionate and sharp-tempered, but when her planet is decimated, she refuses to weep. If Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi had trained Leia as a Jedi, the trilogy would be over in one movie — Leia is the use-eagles-to-fly-the-One-Ring-into-Mord[o]r option of the “Star Wars” universe. The reason they train Luke instead isn’t because they think he’s better; it’s because he’s expendable. If Vader cuts him down, they still have Leia.

  19. @Standback, I’m jealous! No sign even of a potential delivery date here in the UK.

    Am going to join in #DarkisReading – the Dark is Rising reread that the writer Robert MacFarlane is running on twitter instead. And keep hoping terra ignota 3 arrives before Xmas. Although if I spend half of Xmas day sneaking off to read again my family will not be impressed.

  20. @Chip, Andrew and Jason: If Asimov was vocal among the opponents of Stanislaw Lem’s admission to SFWA on a technicality, it would be understandable for Le Guin to group Asimov among the “Cold Warriors” group who did, and even to be somewhat bitter about them opposing someone she considered to be a great writer on political grounds.

    Remember, ‘right-wing’ then meant something very different than ‘right-wing’ now. The fact that Asimov took a pro-environmental stance then doesn’t disqualify him from that position – the EPA was proposed and established by Richard Nixon, after all. Being a pro-environment right-winger today is unthinkable, of course, but it wasn’t then. I don’t know as much about his attitude toward Vietnam, but even a devoted right-winger might have been disgusted at the way the war was being waged and lied about.

  21. @Rob Thornton: every time I see “scrod”, I am reminded of a joke my friends and I played on one of our own.

    On a trip to Boston (where he’d never been) we all observed the shore/harbor area and what looked to be some homeless gentlemen picking up dead fish along the waterline.

    Later that day, we stopped for lunch and our friend noted “scrod” on the menu. He was unfamiliar with it and we all quickly collaborated to explain that “scrod” was the name they’d given to dead fish harvested for sale and that Boston restaurants and the homeless were engaged in a help the homeless campaign by hiring them to harvest “scrod”.

    Needless to say, when the waiter extolled the virtues of their scrod special, our friend did not want to have anything to do with it.

    Many years later I tried the same joke on my wife, but her being a native new englander, it fell flat.

  22. @jayn

    @Chip, Andrew and Jason: If Asimov was vocal among the opponents of Stanislaw Lem’s admission to SFWA on a technicality, it would be understandable for Le Guin to group Asimov among the “Cold Warriors” group who did, and even to be somewhat bitter about them opposing someone she considered to be a great writer on political grounds.

    As far as I can tell, Asimov was not vocal on this issue (on either side); I don’t think he spent much time on SFWA activities at all (it would take away from his typewriter time), but I could be wrong.

  23. @Andrew: I was mainly just annoyed that the fact that Asimov was pro-environment was being used to imply that Le Guin was either lying or merely had a brain-fart about an issue she obviously feels strongly about.

    Characterizing Asimov as she did is not “a little harsh” but completely wrong. I can’t believe she doesn’t know this so I can only assume some massive typo or thinko or misquote.

  24. The Greatest Pixel Ever Scrolled.
    Rockin’ Around the Pixel Scroll
    I Want a Hippo Pixel Scroll for Christmas

    The Comet TV channel is showing Santa Claus Conquers the Martians tonight. Is it possible to sit through that without MST3K (or Cinematic Titanic or RiffTrax) commentary?

  25. It used to be possible, but maybe we’ve been spoiled by the element of actual humor. On the plus side, there’s Milton DeLugg’s music. On the minus side, just about everything else.

    I myself would spend the time watching the Mexican SANTA CLAUS instead, with St. Nick’s Orwellian surveillance apparatus and his shrine to Baby Jesus. There’s an immortal scene there with Old Scratch, the sort-of sub-Satan guy animating the dolly little Lupita wants so much, having it tell her “Dolls don’t like little girls who don’t steal!” There’s the half-hearted “Kids Of All Nations” pageant, with several songs that pertain to their places of national origin in some way.

    (And if you ever have a chance, watch other Mexican kiddie movies, especially fairy tale ones. They have way more imagination and less taste than most of our domestic product in the same vein.)

    I hope this helped.

  26. Yay, title scroll!

    (3) What botheredme on the certified buyer thing is that you are not certified, when someone else buys you a book via your wishlist. Should have been easy enough to implement.

    (German xmas stuff) Cora was faster, but since it ties a bit on the x-mas traditions from yesterday: We have Santa and Chrstkind. But we also have Nikolaus who comes on the 6th and looks exactly like Santa (which is confusing and probably the reason for the Christkind). He used to be accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, who is responsible for handing out sticks to naughty children, but it seems that tradition is phasing out a bit (atleast in the Cities?) In Souther Germany and mainly austria there is Krampus instead, basically “Knecht Ruprecht from hell).
    So christmas traditions are muddled…

    File 770 is legalizing Pixels for medical scrolling purposes

  27. jayn: @Andrew: I was mainly just annoyed that the fact that Asimov was pro-environment was being used to imply that Le Guin was either lying or merely had a brain-fart about an issue she obviously feels strongly about.

    And I’m annoyed when people read selectively and twist what I wrote. The citation of environmentalism was one of several (spur of the moment and random) examples illustrating a pattern and not the whole of the point. And nowhere in “typo, thinko, or misquote” is any imputation of lying but only of “mistake.”

    If you don’t understand that Asimov was firmly on the left please go look up any of a couple of sources on the internet besides that Le Guin quote or a couple of reputable publications or read any of Asimov’s voluminous writings or any of the writings about him before pointlessly arguing this. Disputing the point that Asimov was liberal/left is like disputing the point that Archie Bunker was conservative/right. Simply watching an episode or two makes the point indisputably.

  28. Here’s the Wikipedia version — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanis?aw_Lem#SFWA

    Lem was awarded an honorary membership in the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) in 1973. SFWA Honorary membership is given to people who do not meet the publishing criteria for joining the regular membership, but who would be welcomed as members had their work appeared in the qualifying English-language publications. Lem, however, never had a high opinion of American science fiction, describing it as ill-thought-out, poorly written, and interested more in making money than in ideas or new literary forms.[25] After his eventual American publication, when he became eligible for regular membership, his honorary membership was rescinded, an action that some of the SFWA members apparently intended as a rebuke,[26] and it seems that Lem interpreted it as such. Lem was invited to stay on with the organization with a regular membership, but declined.[27] After many members (including Ursula K. Le Guin) protested against Lem’s treatment by the SFWA, a member offered to pay his dues. Lem never accepted the offer

  29. Should I be concerned that Pixel Scroll -> Clip Sex Roll?

    Nah, It’ll just remind our boys in uniform (such as Col. Rex Spill and Corp. Lex Sill) what they are fighting for.

  30. @jason: Le Guin’s discussion of her refusal of the Nebula in protest of SFWA’s treatment of Stanislaw Lem above tells us that her refusal of the Nebula that year gave it to Isaac Asimov. Checking it out, I find that Asimov did get the Nebula for novelette that year. So it seems unlikely that her views expressed above were either a ‘typo’ or a ‘misquote’.
    I got the impression you thought she was being deceptive when you wrote (my emphasis):

    I can’t believe she doesn’t know this so I can only assume some massive typo or thinko or misquote.

    Obviously my impression was mistaken and I apologize for my implication.

    Thinking it over, I don’t think that in calling Asimov a ‘Cold Warrior’ she was in any way calling him a McCarthyite or an extremist of any stripe. Approval of the Cold War and suspicions of the motives of the inhabitants behind the Iron Curtain was widespread and not limited to Republicans in that time. I mean, Philip K. Dick apparently spearheaded the opposition to Lem.

  31. (6) From what I’ve read about the Lem-SFWA kerfuffle, a lot of it comes down to many poor decisions each making the trouble worse (starting with Poul Anderson misusing the honorary SFWA membership), and escarbated by both Lem’s personality and that I believe his English was rather poor. (I don’t have a proper source for the latter, but is not surprising at all for a Pole of Lem’s generation; I do know his German was excellent.)

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