Pixel Scroll 12/16/22 I Think There Is A World Market For About Five Pixel Scrolls

(1) BAD NEWS FOR SFF MAGAZINES. [Item by rcade.] Neil Clarke posted on Mastodon that Amazon has informed Clarkesworld that it is ending Kindle Subscriptions in 2023 and trying to get magazines to move to Kindle Unlimited:

In an absolutely devastating announcement (right before the holidays) Amazon has informed us that they are ending their Kindle Subscription program in 2023 and trying to get magazines to switch to Kindle Unlimited. Asking for more details, but this is bad. Magazine subscriptions are guaranteed revenue from each subscriber. KU is not like that. It will effectively cancel thousands of subscriptions since there’s no migration path.

It’s hard to even say how much we’d get from a single subscriber. This completely removes our ability to control our price if we want to be in the dominant ebook ecosystem.
I’ve scheduled an appointment to talk with Amazon later this afternoon. Have many questions. Fellow editors of mags on Amazon: feel free to DM/email me. We should be talking.

(2) LOTS OF BUZZ. Cora Buhlert returns with a new “Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre: ‘Honeypot’”.

This story is called “Honeypot” and the star is not He-Man for once, but another member of the Masters of the Universe (which was originally just the name of the toyline, until the 2002 cartoon made it the name of the heroic warrior team, something most subsequent versions kept), namely Buzz-Off.

(3) AN INTERVIEW WITH MATT RUFF. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] An interview with Matt Ruff by Moid over at Media Death Cult. Despite discouragement Matt Ruff has always been a writer, it’s what he was born to do. His novel Lovecraft Country was adapted into a HBO TV show.

Matt Ruff, as he says at the start of the interview, is largely unknown in Great Britain, unlike his native US, but originally was most popular in Germany. I certainly never heard of him (though was aware of the show Lovecraft Country) so I did a word search on SF2 Concatenation’s news section on the basis that the majority of the specialist genre imprints – and a few ancillary ones – send their catalogues for their titles to be added to its news pages’ forthcoming books sections. I only found the novel Lovecraft Country listed in awards news as well as the book listings. It is published over here by Picador. Picador is a respected imprint in the UK but not especially noted for having an SF/F focus (despite having published some very worthy SF/F – they have a broader ‘literary’ camp). Picador’s PR folk don’t normally proactively reach out to us, though they are good at responding when we hear of relevant news and get in touch with them. Picador belongs to the Macmillan group and Matt Ruff might want to consider moving to Macmillan’s Tor (UK) if he wants more attention from Britain’s SF/F reading community…? (Just saying.) (Don’t know who publishes him in the US.)

(4) EXCELSIOR AWARD NOMINEES. Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden are shortlisted for Excelsior Awards for Hellboy: The Bones of Giants, and Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran are shortlisted for Chivalry, both published by Dark Horse Comics. “Excelsior Award Red 2023”.

The Excelsior Awards are chosen by students in over 200 schools in the UK. The Excelsior Award is split up into four different shortlists: Access the entire range of Excelsior Award shortlists 2023 at the link.

  • Excelsior Award White, for students aged 9 and over (Key Stage 2)
  • Excelsior Award Blue, for students aged 11 and over (Key Stage 3)
  • Excelsior Award Red, for students aged 14 and over (Key Stage 4)
  • Excelsior Award Black, for students aged 16 and over (Sixth Form)

Each shortlist consists of five books (graphic novels and/or manga) that will cost no more than £65. 

(5) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to dive into dim sum with Randee Dawn in episode 187 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Randee Dawn

Randee Dawn’s debut novel, the humorous pop culture fantasy Tune in Tomorrow, was released in August by Rebellion Publishing. She’s a former editor at The Hollywood Reporter and Soap Opera Digest, and these days covers show business for VarietyThe Los Angeles TimesEmmy Magazine, and Today.com. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and online publications such as Stories We Tell After MidnightEven in the GraveAnother World: Stories of Portal Fantasy, and more.

She co-edited the anthology Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles. Her love of all things Law & Order led her to appear in one episode and later co-author The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion. Once a month she hosts Rooftop Readings at Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn.

We discussed the way her soap opera and gaming backgrounds led to the creation of her fantasy debut novel Tune in Tomorrow, what made her decide it was time for her to write funny, why her first instinct is always to turn her ideas into novels rather than short stories, how Law & Order fan fiction conquered her fears of showing her writing to others (and eventually led to her appearing as extra on the franchise), the reason she doesn’t read her reviews, and much more.

(6) SIMULTANEOUS TIMES. Space Cowboy Books’ Simultaneous Times podcast episode 58 features these stories:

“The Hand, The Face” by Megan Engelhardt
music by Fall Precauxions

“Cave Art” by Xauri’EL Zwaan
music by Phog Masheeen

Find the podcast here.

(6) RECOMMENDED. “Avatar: On The Cutting Edge” – movie critic Leonard Maltin is very positive about the sequel.

I surrender. It’s easy to poke holes in James Cameron’s films because of awkward dialogue or glib characterizations or his propensity for staging climaxes to his climaxes. But I was completely taken in by Avatar: The Way of Water and overwhelmed by its fluid, kinetic action scenes, eye-popping production design and propulsive storytelling….


1991 [By Cat Eldridge.] Eeyore, Piglet, Winnie the Pooh and the Hunny Pot, Newton Free Library, Newton, Massachusetts 

You didn’t think we’d pass this up, did you? It’s a most stellar group of statues of Eeyore, Piglet, Winnie the Pooh and the Hunny Pot at the Newton Free Library in Newton, Massachusetts.

They were sculpted by Nancy Schön who is best known for the  “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture in the Boston Public Garden (which has had two stolen since it was first installed — bad people! Yes, she sculpted new ducklings to replace them.)

All are in honor of young children who have departed us. Piglet was commissioned by a woman who wanted us to celebrate the quite short life of her much-loved brother. She thought her brother was very much just like Piglet. He was timid, yet brave and he was quite able to conquer his fears, according to her, facing the reality of dying. 

Nancy notes of Pooh and the Hunny Pot that, “Sarah died on February 14, 2001. Her parents asked me to design a sculpture of Winnie-the-Pooh in her memory. I added a hunny pot for children to sit on, possibly to cheer Eeyore up. The sculpture was installed on May 12, 2002 with a plaque reading “For The Children of Newton From Sarah Oliver”.

Eyeore was the original statue that she did and was there alone for almost a decade as he was cast in bronze as they all were in 1991, and Pooh and the Hunny Pot in 2002. Piglet would join them eleven years later.

These are based the original illustrations in the A. A. Milne’s books which were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. They are closer in appearance to stuffed animals than the awful Disney version of these characters. For one, Pooh doesn’t have a shirt in the statue. (And of course those were Disney copyright.) 

Here they are with sculptor Nancy.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 16, 1917 Arthur C. Clarke. When I was resident in Sri Lanka courtesy of Uncle Sam in the early Eighties, nearly every American ex-pat I ran into was reading The Fountains of Paradise. The tea plantations he described therein are very awesome.  I never saw him but he was well known among the small British community there and I passed by his residence one day. I’ll admit that I’ve not read that much by him — Childhood’s EndRendezvous with Rama  and that novel are the only long form works by him I’ve read. I’ve read a lot of short fiction including of course Tales from The White Hart which I’ve read over and over. I’m certain I’ve read The Nine Billion Names of God collection as well. And I’ve seen 2001 myriad times but I’ve never seen the sequel. (Died 2008.)
  • Born December 16, 1927 Randall Garrett. Ahhh, Lord Darcy. When writing this up, I was gobsmacked to discover that he’d written only one such novel, Too Many Magicians, as I clearly remembered reading reading more than that number. Huh. That and two collections, Murder and Magic and Lord Darcy Investigates, is all there is of this brilliant series. Glen Cook’s Garrett P.I. is named in honor of Garrett.  I’ll admit I’ve not read anything else by him, so what else have y’all read? (Died 1987.)
  • Born December 16, 1928 Philip K. Dick. Dick has always been a difficult one for me to get a feel for. Mind you Blade Runner is my major touchstone for him but I’ve read the source material as well, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said which won a John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and I’ve read a lot of the shorter works, so I’d say that saying he’s a challenging writer is a Good Thing. I was surprised his only Hugo win for his fiction was for The Man in The High Castle at Discon though Blade Runner would pick up one at ConStellation.  (Died 1982.)
  • Born December 16, 1927 Peter Dickinson. Author who was married from 1991 to his death to Robin McKinley. He had a number of truly great works, both genre and not genre, including EvaThe Tears of the Salamander and The Flight of Dragons. His James Pibble upper class British mystery series are quite excellent as well. (Died 2015.)
  • Born December 16, 1957 — Mel Odom, 65. An author deep into mining franchise universes with work done into the BuffyverseOutlandersTime PoliceRogue Angel (which I’ve listen to a lot as GraphicAudio as produced them as most excellent audioworks) and weirder stuff such as the Left Behind Universe and Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers, both I think game tie-ins. 
  • Born December 16, 1961 — Jon Tenney, 61. He’s best known as Special Agent Fritz Howard on The Closer and continued in its spinoff Major Crimes, but he does have genre creds. He played Jimmy Wells in The Phantom, Martin Jordon in Green Lantern, and Lt. Ching in two episodes in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He also showed up on Tales from the Crypt, Outer Limits and neXt
  • Born December 16, 1967 — Miranda Otto, 55. She was Éowyn in the second and third installments of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film franchise. (I stopped watching after The Fellowship of The Rings.) She‘s Zelda Spellman in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Mary Ann Davis in Spielberg’s version of The War of The Worlds. She also played Wueen Lenore inI, Frankenstein which had an amazing cast even if the tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes gives it a five percent rating meaning the critics really didn’t like it.

(9) KGB. Ellen Datlow has posted her photos from the December 14, 2022 gathering of the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series where Richard Kadrey and Cassandra Khaw each read sections of the forthcoming collaborative novel The Dead Take the A Train coming out from Nightfire.

(10) YIPPIE-AI-OH. David D. Levine has been making this sound pretty interesting – “Die Hard the Musical Parody” which will be a Funhouse Lounge streaming event on Christmas weekend.

In 2017, Funhouse Lounge presented its first original work of its kind, Die Hard the Musical Parody. It was a live stage version of the 1988 Willis/Rickman action classic, re-imagined as a musical. During its 3-year sold out run, it became a holiday tradition for many who came to see it.

We are happy to say it has returned this year, live on stage, for another sold-out run. However, we understand that given the current situation, many of you may not be comfortable gathering to see it. Or, you waited too long and didn’t get tickets. Or you don’t live nearby, but still like stuff that kicks ass. Or maybe you want to enjoy it with friends and family on that big screen TV at home. If any of these describe you, we have what you need.

We will have a recording of this year’s performance and it will be available to view streaming Christmas weekend. Showtimes are December 24th, 25th and 26th,

So, treat yourself to a present you deserve after another long hard year. Gather your family around the TV. Make your favorite hot drink, remembering that the drunker you are the funnier we are.

Levine also got a kind of onstage credit for donating to the production.

(11) TIME VS. GRAVITY. “Time rules everything around you. It’s also an illusion” explains NPR.

… The best-known force that stretches time is gravity. The more gravity somebody experiences, the slower time passes for them when compared to someone in a lower gravitational field.

The effect is miniscule compared to a human lifespan, but it is real and measurable. Boulder, Colo. is a mile above sea level. That means the gravitational field is slightly weaker, and time ticks by a little faster.

But modern technology can’t deal with flowy time like this. As a result, the timekeepers at Boulder and elsewhere make corrections to ensure these different flows of time look like they’re ticking in lock-step….

(12) ALSO SPRACH MATTEL. The Barbie teaser trailer is a hilarious take on 2001: A Space Odyssey. Margot Robbie is Barbie, Ryan Gosling is Ken in the new film.

(13) TANGLED UP IN BLUE. Perhaps the sequel to the Avatar skit we ran yesterday from The Late Late Show With James Corden: “Zoe Saldaña Is Crazy About Anything Blue”.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Dariensync, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Scott Edelman, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

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31 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/16/22 I Think There Is A World Market For About Five Pixel Scrolls

  1. 11
    Technically, everything is an illusion. Or a delusion. Including this graffito, I suppose.

  2. Are there alternatives to Kindle Subscriptions for receiving SFF magazine subscriptions electronically? I just learned from discussions with to some SPSFC authors that Kindle Unlimited requires exclusivity. That sucks. I started using Unlimited as a contest judge but I don’t want to keep paying for something that locks authors in Amazon’s trunk.

  3. rcade ssks Are there alternatives to Kindle Subscriptions for receiving SFF magazine subscriptions electronically? I just learned from discussions with to some SPSFC authors that Kindle Unlimited requires exclusivity. That sucks. I started using Unlimited as a contest judge but I don’t want to keep paying for something that locks authors in Amazon’s trunk.

    Yes, email. iLocus sends a notification when my new issue is ready for download, I enter my password and it automatically loads into Apple Books. No doubt that you could specify which e-reader that you want to be loaded into.

    Most of the publishers i deal with deliver galleys the same way.

  4. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel, not the other Campbell Award that was renamed the Astounding Award. I hope this isn’t just irritating nitpicking.

  5. (1) For now, it looks as if some publishers are not even being given the “option” of moving into Kindle Unlimited. So that truly sucks.
    Another thing that sucks is that the publishers don’t have access to the subscriber information for the Kindle subscriptions — so they can’t tell them what’s going on. Let’s hope that changes.

    From more recent tweets, it looks like the KU option for magazine subscriptions has different rules than those for regular KU authors. Magazine publishers won’t be forbidden from selling their magazines through other outlets, and it won’t depend on page views. Still, the fact that they would be forced into it is terrible. I’d be willing to bet that most people who subscribe to genre magazines via Kindle aren’t on Kindle Unlimited, and they’re unlikely to join just to keep getting subscriptions.

    A number of SFF magazines are available on Weightless Books — but not in the UK and EU (because of VAT). 🙁 Some of the magazines use Patreon as a subscription option, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

    The Penny Press digest magazines are not available on Weightless. So the only non-Amazon options for those magazines are Barnes and Noble Nook and Magzter. (I just heard of Magzter today. Does anyone use them?)

  6. StephenfromOttawa says Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel, not the other Campbell Award that was renamed the Astounding Award. I hope this isn’t just irritating nitpicking.

    No, not at all. Thanks much for the correction. I’ve passed it to World’s Greatest Host. Really he is.

  7. Anne, do the magazine publishers have access to the list of subscribers who bought their magazines through Amazon, or did Amazon keep that information in-house? It wouldn’t surprise if Amazon did the latter.

  8. @12: We clearly had different reactions. Is it funny? Why yes, it is. But it’s also very very creepy with the little girls bashing their dolls’ heads in. I know it’s a big overreaction, but I can’t help feeling a bit like there’s proxy infanticide going on as the girls now begin worshiping their new idol. (It’s an emotional reaction, not a logical one. Nonetheless valid, I’d claim.)

  9. (8) I’m a fan of Sir Arthur’s fiction. The first science fiction novel I ever read, back in my pre-teen years, was his YA novel Islands in the Sky. My favorite by far is Earthlight and although it has aged over the past seven decades since it was published it would still (with a bit of updating) make for a very spectacular miniseries.

    And, by the way, I also consider his short story “The Sentinel” to be the finest science fiction story ever written. I found an upload of it here:

  10. 1: Agreed. Amazon never had google original motto of “do no evil” (though they’ve dropped that). They started hard, and got more and more evil.

    And stats? After Eric published my novel under the RoF Press logo, I set up an author page. Amazon would tell me hard copy sold, it WOULD NOT tell me ebooks sold. I still have no idea how many sold before RoF Press shut down in August.

    Maybe it’s time to set up a co-op to compete.

    Arthur C. Clarke. That’s… all you’ve read? GO, and read City and the Stars/Against the Fall of Night (a number of years after it was published, he had second thoughts, and rewrote a lot of it. You can read both, and enjoy them separately.) (What, some of that flavor with the aliens in 11,000 Years? Nahhhh…..) And then there was one – I think it was by him, about a kid who tries to build a rocket using matchheads, it explodes, he gets amnesia (anyone remember that?)

    The Barbie trailer is… very odd.

    Miranda Otto – oh, good, someone else had the same reaction as I did, and no, I have no desire to see the second and third parts of Jackson’s LotR. See “a collection of pedantry…” https://acoup.blog/tag/lord-of-the-rings/

  11. I like Dick’s protagonists because they are usually just ordinary little guys muddling through the best they can, even if that makes them unlikely movie heroes. I do think he was better at shorter lengths, partly because his particular mode of story telling is hard to sustain at longer lengths, and partly because a lot of his novels were written in a hurry because that was where the money was (such as it was). Besides Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, I recommend Ubik and We Can Build You. Spoiler for Ubik:

    Rirelobql qvrf n guveq bs gur jnl va, ohg vg’f n Qvpx abiry fb gung qbrfa’g fgbc nalguvat.

    I don’t think I’m in the target audience for the Barbie movie, but that trailer almost makes me want to see it.

  12. Amazon lets you update books whenever you want. Someone who has bought the book on Amazon can always upload the most recent version. Amazon does not charge for the number of books you have out. I put out a book titled MY MAGAZiNE: Jan 2023-Dec 2023, which contains my January issue. Next month I update it so that it has my February Issue and an archive with the January issue. Also I add a new book, MY MAGAZINE Feb 2023-Jan 2024 which contains the February issue. Inside each issue, I’m inviting people to subscribe to my email mailing list which is used to send out reminders to reload the book to get the latest episode. In March I update the previous books to start with the latest issue and have an archive of the back issues for that subscription and start the MY MAGAZINE March 2023-Febuary 2024 issue. After the time period for a particular book has expired, I stop updating it, except for updating an ad in the front that promotes the book which starts with the subscription starting the current month. All this takes some editing but it can be automated.

    Easy Peasy.

  13. 11) Another way of looking at it, gravity is the gradient from where time runs faster towards where it runs slower.

  14. [3] Matt Ruff is a favorite of mine, partly because he never writes the same book twice. I’m currently reading a galley of Destroyer of Worlds: Return to Lovecraft Country, out in February, which is a rare sequel for him (and probably a more commercial decision). I like especially Bad Monkeys and Sewer, Gas, and Electric.

  15. I know many magazines have digital versions that you can subscribe to and download directly from a password protected part of their website. I suspect more magazines will do that now, though they loose the exposure from being on Amazon. Considering the dominance Amazon has in the ebook market, I think it’s overdue for government regulation (yes, I don’t support laissez faire capitalism. The correct term for this today is predatory capitalism).

  16. Mm-re the movie sequel to “2001” ie “2010”, it is not a bad film in itself. Of course, it was always going to be compared to Kubrick’s magnum opus. Certainly when this film was made by Peter Hyams (in 1984), SFX had moved onward (from Kubrick’s matte-ing etc there in MGM Borehamwood in the mid 1960s). And IMO certainly the sequence where they use the solar wind to go round Jupiter is excellent. And for fen who do not know, Arthur C makes 2 small cameos therein: when two of the movie’s characters are talking on a bench (outside the White House), at the other end of that bench is an old man reading a newspaper.: it is ACC himself. He also appears in a photo as the then US President! best wishes..

  17. mark, the reason you don’t get that info from Amazon about ebooks if you are published by someone else is because they tell your publisher, not you. Been there, done that, won’t deal with a press again unless I get a really decent advance offer. I still have no idea exactly how many ebooks my one book with a small press sold, even though I now have the rights back. I suspect there were more than I ever knew or was paid for.


    1.) My immediate reaction as an indie/hybrid is to think about how to pivot with this latest information. From the beginning of my indie career I have been suspicious of ever putting all of my publication eggs in one basket. Annoyingly, I’ve just started submitting short works again.

    The one thing I hope is that this latest bit doesn’t drive SFF mags to start trying to charge for reading/submission fees. But it also makes me wonder if this means that the meaningful markets will move more toward anthologies rather than periodicals.

    Hopefully, a different subscription manager methodology will arise. But it’s likely to take a year or two in the making, and in the meantime–chaos.

  18. I agree with Bob Roehm about Matt Ruff’s writing, though aside from Lovecraft Country, my faves are Mirage, about a world in which US terrorists flew planes into Middle East landmarks on 9/11, and Set This House in Order about multiple personalities.

  19. I loved Ruff’s Fool on the Hill but have been shockingly remiss in reading other of his books (I did read Sewer, Gas, Electric). 2023 resolution: set.

    Ps: have we ever done: “I can Scroll for Files and Files”?

  20. We really need a better distribution system for short SFF that allows the publisher to see who their reader is. The rule in marketing is that, if you don’t own access to your audience, they’re not really yours, they belong to the platform. Amazon has provided so many wonderful opportunities for SFF and for truly creative work, yet I can’t help but feel like this is the part where the scorpion stings the frog because they are, after all, a scorpion.

  21. We clearly had different reactions. Is it funny? Why yes, it is. But it’s also very very creepy with the little girls bashing their dolls’ heads in. I know it’s a big overreaction, but I can’t help feeling a bit like there’s proxy infanticide going on as the girls now begin worshiping their new idol. (It’s an emotional reaction, not a logical one. Nonetheless valid, I’d claim.)

    What annoyed me about those smashed baby dolls is that those look like vintage baby dolls from the 1950s and are therefore quite rare and – at least in good condition – valuable. So in short, not something you smash just to make a stupid movie

    And while Barbie may have popularised the fashion doll concept, fashion dolls have existed for 200 years before Barbie came along in 1959. True, most of them were aimed at adults, but the Madame Alexander Cissy and Cissette were aimed at children, though pricier than Barbie. Nor was Barbie an original design, but her look was borrowed from the German Bild Lilly novelty doll.

    Finally, baby dolls and fashion dolls ae not really in competition with each other, but fulfill different needs and many kids play with both.

    That said, I applaud Greta Gerwig for making Margot Robie look like the original 1959 Barbie. I’m also happy to see at least some acknowledgement of that fact that Barbie was not always as overwhelmingly pink and blonde as most people believe. The early Barbies came in multiple hair colours and styles and Barbie didn’t become exclusively blonde and associated with the colour pink until 1977.

    Nonetheless, I wonder who the target audience for this movie is. Kids who play with Barbies are unlikely to get Kubrick references and adult collectors will nitpick any inaccuracy. Never mind that there aren’t enough adult collectors to justify a movie. Also, Barbie isn’t really a character, but a blank slate who can be whatever a kid wants her to be. In fact, this is what makes the toy so enduringly successful, that Barbie can be or do anything. However, blank slates rarely make for good movies.

  22. Cora: I’ll see the Barbie movie because I’m a Greta Gerwig fan. Lady Bird and Little Women were both great.

  23. (1) I think it’s hilarious when people, who have probably read and written most about how evil mega-corps are, are surprised when one of these mega-corps turns out to not have their best interest in mind and finds a way to screw them in the end. Who would’ve thunk?

  24. Randall Garrett wrote a lot of interesting stuff, beyond our genre.

    He told of being asked by a publisher to write a book of saint’s days during the Kennedy Years (because Roman Catholicism was big at that point). Being a man of great religious breadth he complied, but when the publisher (who happened to be Jewish) received the manuscript he wanted it to be revised to include ‘St. Guadalupe,’ because Kennedy had visited the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

    Randall was unsuccessful at explaining that there was no St. Guadalupe, so he obligingly revised the manuscript. However, he added another small revision: and that is why April 1st is listed as the feast day of St. Simon the Templar.

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