Pixel Scroll 12/23/17 Pixels Sold Separately. Some Scrolling Required

(1) POPULAR SF ART INSPIRES FILM, Simon Stålenhags’ art book is becoming a movie reports Swedish news source Boktugg. Thanks to Hampus Eckerman for the translation:

The right to film Simon Stålenhag’s latest art book The Electric State has been sold to Russo Brothers Studio. The sale was preceded by a bidding where several studios showed their interest.

Simon says that it feels very exciting.

–        This has never been a goal, but I have loved movies since I was a kid, so it is a little bit of a dream actually. An unexpected dream!

The Passage (in English The Electric State) was released in December 2017 by the publisher Fria Ligan (The Free League). The release was preceded by a kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2017, which attracted over 3 million Swedish crowns. It is Simon Stålenhag’s third art book, his first two titles Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood have made him a world-famous visual storyteller.

Russo Brothers Studio is run by the brothers Joe and Anthony Russo who directed several Marvel films. The film director is expected to become Andy Muschietti (who made the new film based on Stephens Kings It).

What do you think about them winning the bidding?

– They felt very good in our conversations. But above all, I’m very happy to have Barbara and Andy Muschietti with me, I loved It and they are absolutely amazing people. We just had the same picture of what is important in the book, and in movies in general, says Simon.

Simon Stålenhag himself will be an executive producer for the film, which means that he will be involved in all important decisions, such as role crew, scriptwriting and selection of managerial positions.

Will the story work as it is in the movie format or does it need to be adapted?

–        I suspect we will want to get a little more drama to fit the long-film format. With emphasis on “a little”, everyone in the team really agrees that the characters and the journey they make in the book is what we’re going to make a film about, says Simon Stålenhag.

(2) CHRISTMAS IN THE COLONIES. Cora Buhlert’s holiday fare includes a work in English: “Two new releases just in time for the holidays: Christmas on Iago Prime and Weihnachtsshopping mit gebrochenem Herzen”

Let’s start with the English language story. Back during the first July short story challenge in 2015, I wrote a little story called Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime, in which a couple attempts to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a new settled space colony.

I’d assumed that this was the first and last time I’d ever visit the colony of Iago Prime. However, I try to write a holiday story every year. And when I searched for ideas for a holiday story for this year, I suddenly thought “Why not write a science fictional holiday story about Christmas in a space station or interplanetary colony?” And then I thought, “Why not reuse the Iago Prime setting?”

The result is Christmas on Iago Prime. The protagonist this time around is Libby, a little girl whose scientist parents are due to spend a whole year on Iago Prime, including Christmas. Libby is not at all thrilled about this, at least at first. Kai and Maisie from Valentine’s Day on Iago Prime also appear and they have big news to share.

Available on Amazon and plenty of other ebook sellers for .99 USD/GBP/EUR.

(3) THE LONG RUN. A New York college made a video showing off its science fiction collection:

The City Tech Science Fiction Collection is held in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library (Atrium Building, A543C, New York City College of Technology, 300 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201).

This large collection comes to City Tech from an anonymous donor. It includes nearly full runs of every professional science fiction magazine from 1950 to 2010, and an almost comprehensive collection of science fiction until 2010. There is also a significant amount of science fiction criticism, and selections of fringe texts, including horror and the supernatural.


(4) SFPA LEADERSHIP. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association announced the selection of two officers, F.J. Bergmann as Vice-President and Renee Ya as Secretary.

F.J. Bergmann (Madison, Wisconsin, USA) has been a member of SFPA since 2007, its webmaster since 2010 and recently stepped down from 5 years as Star*Line editor…

Renee Ya (Bay Area, California, USA) is a Hmong American writer, photographer, and space shamen who has been volunteering at SFPA for the last three years with varying capacity from keeper of the voting forms to periodic updates to the website.

(5) PARADIGM SHIFT. A revolutionary interpretation: “Physicists negate century-old assumption regarding neurons and brain activity”.

Neurons are the basic computational building blocks that compose our brain. Their number is approximately one Tera (trillion), similar to Tera-bits in midsize hard discs. According to the neuronal computational scheme, which has been used for over a century, each neuron functions as a centralized excitable element. The neuron accumulates its incoming electrical signals from connecting neurons through several terminals, and generates a short electrical pulse, known as a spike, when its threshold is reached.

Using new types of experiments on neuronal cultures, a group of scientists, led by Prof. Ido Kanter, of the Department of Physics at Bar-Ilan University, has demonstrated that this century-old assumption regarding brain activity is mistaken.

In an article published today in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers go against conventional wisdom to show that each neuron functions as a collection of excitable elements, where each excitable element is sensitive to the directionality of the origin of the input signal. Two weak inputs from different directions (e.g., “left” and “right”) will not sum up to generate a spike, while a strong input from “left” will generate a different spike waveform than that from the “right”.

“We reached this conclusion using a new experimental setup, but in principle these results could have been discovered using technology that has existed since the 1980s. The belief that has been rooted in the scientific world for 100 years resulted in this delay of several decades,” said Prof. Kanter and his team of researchers, including Shira Sardi, Roni Vardi, Anton Sheinin, and Amir Goldental.

(6) BACK FROM BOSTON. Marcin Klak’s conreport — “Smofcon 35 or what do you do when you are not organizing a con”.

Handling Feedback panel was not related to programming only, but the programme feedback is important for the development of the convention. There were some discussions concerning the methodology of collecting feedback, but one thing that got stuck with me the most was how to determine whether we should resign from inviting a panellist for the next year. It is obvious what to do when we receive negative feedback about the panellist’s skills. It is more complicated if we have a good panellist who is not behaving properly or who makes racist or homophobic comments during the panel. Nchanter’s solution of checking the negative feedback with co-panellists and finally basing our decision on the reaction of the person in question is a really good and fair approach. It makes sure that we verify the situation and it allows us to predict whether the same situation is likely to happen again in the future.

(7) HELL ON WHEELS. RedWombat saw a reference to “Jane Austen’s Fury Road” and started riffing….


Sheldon and Leonard of The Big Bang Theory were named after the actor/producer Sheldon Leonard.  He played Nick the Bartender in the Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  Also, producer of The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Spy.

The Muppets, Bert and Ernie, were also named after two characters from It’s a Wonderful Life.  Bert the policeman and Ernie the cab driver.


  • December 23, 1823 A Visit From St. Nicholas, attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, first published.
  • December 23, 1947 Beauty And The Beast hit theaters
  • December 23, 1952 – The original The Day The Earth Stood Still premiered in Spain.
  • December 23, 1958 — Ray Harryhausen’s The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad premiered in theatres.
  • December 23, 1960 — Art Carney starred in a Christmas-themed episode of The Twilight Zone.


(11) FULL KIT WANKER. For the three of you who haven’t seen this yet –

(12) BY YNGVI. Kim Huett of Doctor Strangemind knows it’s the time of year to send up a traditional favorite: “‘Twas Night Before Christmas”.

…At one point Harold Shea and the Norse god Heimdall are imprisoned by Frost Giants after losing a fight with them. While there they encountered a fellow prisoner who comes to the front of his cell every hour on the hour to yell, “Yngvi is a LOUSE!”

Thus began a debate which fascinated science fiction fandom for decades. Was this Yngvi indeed a louse or had his good name been falsely besmirched? At the Denvention, the 1941 worldcon, Milton Rothman (who went on to become a nuclear physicist and science fiction author) put forward a motion at the business meeting to the effect that Yngvi was not a louse only for it to be defeated. A subsequent motion was then passed stating that Rothman himself was a louse….

…So I sat back in my chair to wait for my guest
To reveal himself fully and the why of his quest

It took a few moments of squirming and kicking
Before he appeared rather than sticking

It was Yngvi of course, I could tell by his dress
An amazingly scrofulous, glorious mess…

(13) FUNGUS AMONG US. “When this old world starts getting me down….”: “‘Remarkable’ truffle discovery on Paris rooftop raises hopes of more”.

There was celebration among French foodies after a wild truffle was discovered on a Paris rooftop.

The discovery, at the base of a hornbeam tree in a hotel roof garden near the Eiffel Tower, is thought to be a first for the city.

Truffles usually grow further south, in more Mediterranean climes, and are dug up by specially-trained pigs or dogs.

Prices for the aromatic fungi have recently doubled to more than 5,000 euros ($6,000) a kilo.

(14) LAST JEDI. Marc Scott Zicree (“Mr. Sci-Fi”) offers the opinion of a “Star Trek Writer on The Last Jedi.”

(15) THE MALL’S MY DESTINATION. I don’t doubt it. Mine could be up there somewhere.

(16) SAVING HUMANITY. If anything can … “H.G. Wells and Orwell on Whether Science Can Save Humanity”.

…Wells foresaw many of the landmarks of 20th-century scientific progress, including airplanes, space travel, and the atomic bomb. In “The Discovery of the Future,” he lamented “the blinding power of the past upon our minds,” and argued that educators should replace the classics with science, producing leaders who could foretell history as they predict the phases of the moon.

Wells’ enthusiasm for science had political implications. Having contemplated in his novels the self-destruction of mankind, Wells believed that humanity’s best hope lay in the creation of a single world government overseen by scientists and engineers. Human beings, he argued, need to set aside religion and nationalism and put their faith in the power of scientifically trained, rational experts….

…Orwell was not bashful about criticizing the scientific and political views of his friend Wells. In “What is Science?” he described Wells’ enthusiasm for scientific education as misplaced, in part because it rested on the assumption that the young should be taught more about radioactivity or the stars, rather than how to “think more exactly.”

(17) THE SHAPE OF BEER. From The Hollywood Reporter: “Guillermo del Toro on Seeing a UFO, Hearing Ghosts and Shaping ‘Water'”.

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s taste for sci-fi and fantasy doesn’t come from nowhere. When he was younger, the acclaimed director recalls, “I saw a UFO.”

“I know this is horrible,” del Toro continues. “You sound like a complete lunatic, but I saw a UFO. I didn’t want to see a UFO. It was horribly designed. I was with a friend. We bought a six-pack. We didn’t consume it, and there was a place called Cerro del Cuatro, “Mountain of the Four,” on the periphery of Guadalajara. We said, ‘Let’s go to the highway.’ We sit down to watch the stars and have the beer and talk. We were the only guys by the freeway. And we saw a light on the horizon going super-fast, not linear. And I said, ‘Honk and flash the lights.’ And we started honking.”

The UFO, says del Toro, “Went from 1,000 meters away [to much closer] in less than a second — and it was so crappy. It was a flying saucer, so clichéd, with lights [blinking]. It’s so sad: I wish I could reveal they’re not what you think they are. They are what you think they are. And the fear we felt was so primal. I have never been that scared in my life. We jumped in the car, drove really fast. It was following us, and then I looked back and it was gone.”

(18) ALTERNATE SOLOS. Will Lerner, in “Harrison Who? Here’s The Actor Who Almost Played Han Solo” for Yahoo! Entertainment. profiles Glynn Turman, who came This Close to being Han Solo, which would have meant that Han Solo would have been played by an African-American actor.

Before Star Wars started filming in 1976, director George Lucas auditioned dozens of actors for the first episode of his space saga, since rechristened as A New Hope. Over the years we’ve learned that Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Kurt Russell all read for the part of Han Solo before the role went to Harrison Ford. But there was a lesser-known candidate who almost scored the gig: Glynn Turman.

Turman, 70, started his career on Broadway, when he was cast as a 13-year-old in the original production of A Raisin in the Sun alongside legends Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee. Steadily picking up more and more screen roles through the ’70s, Turman finally got his chance to shine in 1975 as the lead of Cooley High. In the slice-of-life feature, Turman played a proxy of sorts for screenwriter and Good Times creator Eric Monte — a gifted young writer who aspires to a life beyond his housing project. Cooley High showcased Turman’s ability to play a scoundrel capable of great achievements. It’s no big surprise that performance captured the attention of Lucas.

(19) WALLY WOOD SANG? The comics artist seems to have branched out. It’s collectible, if not very listenable.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Hampus Eckerman, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

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35 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/23/17 Pixels Sold Separately. Some Scrolling Required

  1. I’m being told to write this post-apocalyptic Regeny—you know, in my copious spare time—but it’s so hard to find an apocalypse that hasn’t been done to death. After reading one where the Golden Horde survived and invented nanotechnology and zombies, I hardly know where to go.

  2. it’s so hard to find an apocalypse that hasn’t been done to death.

    It should be a Regency apocalypse, right?

    Maybe Napoleon unleashed the dread secret magics of the Sun King rather than lose at Fuentes d’Onoro. Or poisoned ink supplies in a way that turned readers of the new scandalous novels into hungry ghosts.

    Maybe the Year Without A Summer froze the world, or set off a cascade of volcanic hell worldwide.

    Maybe it was the Macadam disaster, as the new roads turned out to be carnivorous, and devoured travelers, cutting communities off from other towns.

    The Elgin Marbles came to life, grew to monstrous size and slew millions.

    The Little Ice Age ended but the Frost Giants did not go quietly.

    It was a mystic apocalypse that spread from the castle of Otranto. Giant helmets and other bits of armor falling from the sky without warning!

    Luddites broke the wrong damn thing, and the ancient evils held back by the secret uses of technology were free once more.

    Or dragons. Dragons are always good.

  3. (3) Impressive! Though a wonder what is meant by “an almost comprehensive collection of science fiction until 2010”?

    (4) Bergmann? Why does that sound familiar? *googles*

    Ah, the Other WisCon Harassment fail.

    I have no idea on what actually transpired there, but it doesn’t bode well for an organisation when they knowingly elect a person who so many people they want to organise have negative strong feelings about.

    (12) *applause*

  4. I appreciate that the aesthetic of the monster is a solitary one but Frankenstein would be both period appropriate for a Regency apocalypse. I don’t think I’ve seen an apocalypse from a population explosion of Frankenstein Monsters (aka ‘Frankensteins’)

  5. House cleaned up. Why do I have a dead lizard in a kitchen drawer and why were there two stuffed owls in one of my wardrobes? Well. back to cooking.

  6. The boring way to do this would be to have Frankenstein keep his word to the monster and build a mate for it.

    A more interesting way, perhaps, would be for Henry Ford to rediscover Frankenstein’s original notes, and team up with Young Rossum to mass-produce them. I’ll leave it to other people to devise the advertising campaign.

  7. Regency apocalypse? China and India cut off the tea supply and then there is NO TEA. Societal collapse (though not the manners of Society) would follow shortly thereafter

  8. You want a Regency scarcity apocalypse so some sort of Marriage Plague making it impossible to marry anyone without mutating into a person of the lower classes throwing society into chaos as the Wedded go to war with the Unwedded and rogue matchmakers roam the leafy back lanes and Anglican churches become Thunderdomes.

  9. These are some excellent apocalypses (apocalypti?) but the one without tea is far too grimdark for me to write.

  10. (11) MIND THE GAP
    I think this one goes in the file labelled “seemed like a good idea at the time.”

  11. Cassy B: #11 is not playing for me. Can someone post the youtube link?

    Twitter videos don’t always seem to play when the tweets are embedded in posts on other sites — but usually, if you go to the actual tweet (by clicking the date/time stamp on the tweet, which is a hyperlink to the original tweet), they wiil play. In this case, the link to the tweet is:


  12. Something I read recently has high tech/biotech roads that keep themselves clean by eating debris. They definitely consume slow moving animals and people worry they may also eat the odd unlucky human.

  13. Merry Christmas, everyone, and may there be lots of books in your gift heap!

    (Or not too many, for those of us who’s already buried under avalanches from Mount Tsundoku.)

    For an alternate history-not-SF Regency apocalypse, I second Kurt’s suggestion about making the Year Without a Summer much more severe. A more fantasy-based one could see Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt unleash some Mummy-like dread.

    And as I’m just going out for the family dinner, I’ll drop off this link: Neil Gaiman reads A Christmas Carol.
    (My own time have run away so I haven’t actually gotten around to listen to it myself, so I can’t promise it’s good. But I really intend to find time. Tomorrow.)

  14. @ Iphinome

    China and India cut off the tea supply and then there is NO TEA. Societal collapse

    With an unreal air of stoic desperation, people continue to heat water and pour it into fine china dishes, all politely pretending that the result is darker and more aromatic than it actually is.

  15. Since we’re sharing familial holiday customs…

    The traditional Jones family gathering for gift-giving, food-consumption, and endless games of Settlers of Catan has been augmented this year by an unexpected plumbing catastrophe somewhere under the basement slab of my brother’s enormous three-story house in Maine. As best we can figure, a collapsed sewer line was tragically overwhelmed by the abrupt increase in load from two to six people and rapidly moved from “draining sluggishly” to “raw sewage overflowing into the basement.” Initial professional attempts and more desperate amateur ad hoc solutions having proven inadequate (and the next professional appointment to even provide a work estimate not being available until next week) the visitors have largely decamped to a local hotel and it’s likely that the planned home-cooked feast of Roast Beast will be deferred indefinitely. The inability to wash dishes in the sink could have been improvised around. The smell in the house wasn’t too bad with the cellar door closed and insulation packed into the cracks. But eventually one has to pee and only 67% of the people involved could theoretically take advantage of the woods out back for immediate relief.

  16. @RedWombat – you don’t need to write it, just announce you’re taking submissions for an anthology and let everyone else do the work.

  17. an unexpected plumbing catastrophe
    I remember my mother saying that if the well-pump was going to go out, it would do it when you had company. (And it did – but it was the wiring shorting out where it went through the top of the well casing, not the pump itself. Made it a much quicker, easier repair job.)

  18. 1) Awesome. Simon Stalenhag’s artwork always looks like movie concept art anyway.

    2) Thanks for the link, Mike. 🙂

    7) I’d definitely read that.

  19. @Heather Rose Jones: my sympathies. (Details excised.) Here’s hoping your schedules will support Roast Beast (and all the sides) another time.

    @11: I could almost call that impressively stupid, if I hadn’t seen Lance Burton do an escape from an onrushing roller coaster; instead, I’m just wondering whether that idiot has made himself one of the rare living winners of the Darwin Award.

  20. @James Davis Nichols
    Is that Jasper Fforde’s ‘Shades of Grey’? My favourite of his many books and tragically un-sequalised.

  21. @Iphinome: ” . . . cut off the tea supply . . . “- NOOO! Is this a horror novel concept?!

    @Hampus Eckerman: Thanks, I’ve sent both Darth Santa videos to my other half. 😀

    @Heather Rose Jones: EEK! I’m sorry for the holiday catastrophe!!!

  22. Something between (5) and (16) suggests a likely and unkind future where “the science is settled” has a more malevolent right to it.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all. Wishing you all of the best in the genre to be found in your respective pile of gifts.


  23. @Dann: “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all. Wishing you all of the best in the genre to be found in your respective pile of gifts.”

    Back atcha! One of my gifts is a Barnes & Noble gift card (and I have a couple of 20% off coupons to help stretch it), so I think that means I do, indeed, have the best of the genre – because I get to pick. 😉 Thanks, Mom & Dad!

  24. 300 Jay Street is about a five minute (walking fast) trip from where I live. Well, it’s not my collection; I have no idea whose it is. I’ll have to go over and see if there are any identifying notes in any of the books…

    I wonder if they’ve got any of my stuff in the collection; perhaps they’ll take donations.

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