Pixel Scroll 12/24/18 One For My Pixel And One More For The Scroll

(1) A NEW YORK MIDDLE AGES MINUTE. The New York Time discovers the Society for Creative Anachronism: “The Weekend Warriors of the Crown Province of Ostgardr (Otherwise Known as New York City)”.

King Wilhelm and Queen Vienna — a Connecticut couple whose real names are Jackie and Brian Van Ostenbridge — reign over the East Kingdom, which encompasses the Northeast and parts of Canada.

It is one of the society’s 20 kingdoms in North America, each of which is subdivided into provinces, baronies and shires. There is the Crown Province of Ostgardr, which includes all five New York City boroughs and several surrounding counties, many of which also have their own medieval names.

Manhattan is known as Whyt Whey, a reference to Broadway’s White Way. Brooklyn is Brokenbridge, a reference to the Brooklyn Bridge. Westchester County is known as Northpas, and Nassau County is Lions End. Southwest Connecticut is the Barony of Dragonship Haven, while the rest of the state is the Barony Beyond the Mountain.

(2) INTRO TO ART. The Washington Post’s Philip Kennicott discusses Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth, reprinted by the New York Review of Books, which he thinks is an ideal introduction to the complexities of art: “Think you don’t understand art? This is the one book you’ll need.”

“The Labyrinth” has been republished by the New York Review of Books press, and looking back into it is a revelation. The book opens with an extended, tour-de-force version of a Steinberg classic, the Line, seven pages unified by a single horizontal line that functions in myriad ways, as a timeline of history, a horizon line, the line dividing water from land, the edge of a table, the top of a bridge, a topographical mark and a clothesline (with socks, towels and shirts appended). From there, the book unfolds as a set of interlocking mini-essays on Steinberg’s favorite and recurring subjects: music and musicians, architecture, the chatter of socialites, the vanity of power and ambition, and the iconography of mid-century America.

(3) LIT HISTORY. Princess Weekes draws her own “A (Brief) Timeline of Female Authors’ Influence on Sci-Fi and Fantasy” at The Mary Sue.

However, it’s because of the works of Leigh Brackett, who was the first woman to be shortlisted for a Hugo and worked on the original screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back, that we have certain concepts of the Space Opera in both literature and film.

Pop culture has downplayed a lot of Brackett’s additions to the Star Wars storyline, since George Lucas apparently didn’t like that screenplay, but as io9?s co-founder and award-winning author Charlie Jane Anders brought up years ago, “the basic story beats are the same,” and Brackett came up with the concept of Luke Skywalker having a twin sister.

Brackett was also a mentor to Ray Bradbury, and despite being mocked for writing “space fantasy,” rather than “hard” science-fiction, her influence on the genre still holds up.

(4) YOU BETTER NOT WATCH, YOU BETTER NOT SIGHT. FirstShowing.net tells us how to “Ring in the Holidays with Fox’s Stop-Motion ‘Predator Holiday Special'”.

“Looks like someone’s staying on the naughty list… Larry, light him up!!” What the craziness is this?! 20th Century Fox has released an extra-violent, stop-motion animated short film titled The Predator Holiday Special. And it’s actually all kinds of awesome. The funny short is just a new mash-up of Predator and the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated TV movie, telling a story about a Predator invading the North Pole – but Santa has an elite defense force of his own that jumps into action and fights back….


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 24, 1910 Fritz Leiber. I can say that my fav work by him is The Big Time which I either read or listen to every year. And yes I’ve read the Change War Stories too, difficult to find as they were. Yes I know it won a Hugo — much, much deserved!  I’m also fond of Conjure Wife, but otherwise I prefer his short fiction to his novels. (Died 1992.)
  • Born December 24, 1945Nicholas Meyer, 73. Lovely novel, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is.  Much better Ithan the film I think. Now his Time After Time film is spot on. And let’s not forget his work on the Trek films,  Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (much of which went uncredited), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • Born December 24, 1964Mark Valley, 54. He made my Birthday list first by being the lead, Christopher Chance, in Human Target, a short-lived series created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino for DC. He was also John Scott In Fringe as a regular cast member. He voiced Clark Kent / Superman in the second part of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  • Born December 24, 1966 Dietrich Bader, 52. I know him best as the voice of Batman on The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. No, he’s not Kevin Conroy but his Batman is quite enjoyable and interesting in his own right. He’s best cast as Batman / Brace Wayne in the forthcoming Harley Quinn series on the DC Universe service.
  • Born December 24, 1969 Mark Millar, 49. Comic book write whose resume is long at both house so I’ll like of his work. The Millar/Quitely era on The Authority was politically edged and often got censored by DC as it commented on the Iraq War — well worth your reading. His run on Swamp Thing from 142 to 171 has a lot of other writers including Morrison. He the Ultimates at Marvels and a lot of the superb series ended in the Avengers film. Finally his excellent Civil War was the basis of the Captain America: Civil War film and his not to missed Old Man Logan was the inspiration for Fox’s Logan film.


(7) SMALLER ON THE INSIDE. As a fellow blogger, let me applaud GeekTyrant for figuring out a way to get an entire post out of this little item –“GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Star Karen Gillan Responds to Being Featured on Jeopardy”.

There are some trademark signs in the industry that you’ve truly “made it.” Like if you’re a musician, and you hear your song on the radio, or even moreso, when that song gets remade by Weird Al Yankovic. Or if you’re an actor, and you get a beefy role in a Marvel movie, or get nominated for an award, or you get to go on Saturday Night Live, or in Karen Gillan’s case, you’re featured in a question/answer on Jeopardy! What a fun and exciting treat!

(8) UNEMPLOYED MEN TELL NO TALES. In case there was any doubt the other day – he’s out. The Independent has the tale:

Johnny Depp’s tenure as Captain Jack Sparrow has officially come to an end, following a Disney executive’s confirmation that the actor will no longer be a part of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The studio’s production chief, Sean Bailey, was speaking about the previously announced reboot – set to be written by Deadpool‘s Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese – when he was asked whether the series could survive without Depp.

Rather than deny the reports, Bailey told The Hollywood Reporter: “We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with.”

(9) FRANKENSTEIN (1910) RESTORED. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Slate shines a little light on the fact that “The First Film Adaptation of Frankenstein Has Been Restored, and You Can Watch It Right Here”. The 1910 silent movie by Edison Production was restored by the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center from the sole remaining print (and other source material) and posted on their site in 2017. It is also available on YouTube. Music for the restoration was composed and performed by Donald Sosin. The Edison Production title card bills it as “A liberal adaptation from Mrs. Shelly’s famous story” and indeed significant liberties are taken. (Then again, cramming the full story into about 13 minutes would have been difficult, though IMDb clams the original was about 16 minutes.) The LoC site describes the film thus:

“While he is in college, Frankenstein decides he must attempt to make a perfect human being. The being he creates is given life in a vat of burning chemicals. On the day Frankenstein weds his sweetheart, who has been living patiently at home, he sees the monster he created reflected in a mirror. Having disappeared, the monster returns to his creator to gain acceptance. However, when the creature is in front of the mirror he disappears again, with only his slowly vanishing reflection left. When Frankenstein arrives and stands in front of the same mirror he witnesses the fading image, signifying the monster’s destruction in the face of Frankenstein’s increased love for his wife and life.”

(10) TIS THE SEASON. New holiday, a new mission: “McEdifice: Ghosts of X-mas Past” at Camestros Felapton.

“Please sit down,” he said gesturing to a wooden crate marked “cheap tobacco”.

“I’m sorry,” he continued, “but all our furniture was replaced with old shipping crates due to budget cuts. I understand you’ve come out about the role we advertised?”

“Sure,” I responded, “the assistant to ‘Mr Scrooge’.”

I’d heard rumours of this Scrooge guy. A man of old but indeterminate age. Misanthropic, holed up inside an ageing house. A nexus of supernatural events. Everything about this Scrooge guy’s profile said ‘vampire’….

The End.

Straw Puppy: Um, isn’t the title ‘Ghost of X-mas Future?

Tiny Tim the Cat: Oh crap. Too late now, we’ve published it.

Chiseled McEdifice: Nooooooooo!!!!!!!

(11) NICE TRY. Another not-ready-for-prime-time app: the BBC tests “How well does Zozosuit measure up?” [Video.]

Japanese retailer Zozo, which operates Zozotown, the country’s largest online fashion marketplace, has developed a figure-hugging bodysuit featuring lots of uniquely patterned dots.

As you turn slowly round, your smartphone takes photos, building up a 360-degree image of your body shape. Then you can order clothes that really fit.

At least, that’s what the company claims. But how well does it work?

(12) MORE TO WATCH FOR. They have to worry about more than the name-brand seismic activity: “Indonesia’s tsunami shows the need to research unexpected dangers”.

Nobody had any clue. There was certainly no warning. It’s part of the picture that now points to a large underwater landslide being the cause of Saturday’s devastating tsunami in the Sunda Strait.

Of course everyone in the region will have been aware of Anak Krakatau, the volcano that emerged in the sea channel just less than 100 years ago. But its rumblings and eruptions have been described by local experts as relatively low-scale and semi-continuous.

In other words, it’s been part of the background.

And yet it is well known that volcanoes have the capacity to generate big waves. The mechanism as ever is the displacement of a large volume of water.

Except, unlike in a classic earthquake-driven tsunami in which the seafloor will thrust up or down, it seems an eruption event set in motion some kind of slide.

(13) TOP COMICS ARTIST. Complex shares “Spider-Man to Spawn, How Todd McFarlane Became the Biggest Comic Book Artist Ever.”

Todd McFarlane opens up about his career as a comic book artist that includes making Spider-Man cooler and creating the Spawn character. He also shares his blueprint to launching Image Comics and McFarlane Toys.

(14) BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS OTHER GUY? CBS Sunday Morning took viewers “Inside the studio of legendary comic book artist Alex Ross.”

In the world of comic book artists, Alex Ross is a superhero. He’s been called the Norman Rockwell of comics and has put his imprint on Superman, Spiderman, Aquaman and Captain America. Ross wields his superpower in his paintbrush and he allowed “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Anthony Mason into his secret lair.

(15) WW84 WRAPS. USA Today says “Gal Gadot posts heartfelt message after production wraps on ‘Wonder Woman 1984′”.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Iphinome.] ked0 C

61 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/24/18 One For My Pixel And One More For The Scroll

  1. Darn, I should’ve waited a few more minutes.

    Happy Christmas/Merry Yuletide/Most Excellent Winter Holiday Of Your Choice, everyone!

  2. 9) Victor Frankenstein entered a bodybuilding contest and discovered he had not quite understood the concept.

  3. (5) I’ve enjoyed a lot of Leiber – in addition to the Change War stories and novel, there’s Gather, Darkness, and You’re All Alone.

  4. Lis Carey on December 24, 2018 at 3:10 pm said:

    Happy winter holiday of your choice!

    Happy summer holiday of your choice! 🙂

    It’s Christmas morning already here and I’ve opened my present:
    Its the Books of Earthsea collection by Ursula le Guin illustrated by Charles Vess !

  5. 12
    I first heard about the potential for underwater landslides causing tsunamis some years back, connected with volcanoes on islands in the Atlantic.

    Steinberg’s work is worth it.

  6. Love your title, Iphinome! I will put another nickel in that there machine in your honor.

    I’ve got nothing else to contribute, so I’ll just say that I hope Hampus is feeling better and everyone else is enjoying a jolly holiday of whatever kind suits them best.

  7. Camestros, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to exclude you. It’s just that so few of my friends have access to summer at this time of the year. Happy summer holiday of your choice!

  8. @1: typical sloppy start to a story about the SCA; there are 20 kingdoms total, of which 2 are entirely outside North America.

    @5: There has been at least one staging of The Big Time; unfortunately I didn’t see the tape that was run at a Westercon 30+ years ago. There may well have been more, as it’s essentially a play written out as a short novel. Leiber’s short work is frequently interestingly strange, and includes the earliest genre story I know of to feature a cat (“Space-Time for Springers”, 1958)

    Latest on drones:
    Gatwick ‘no drone’ police comment ‘miscommunicated’

    Australia to set up drone-identifying systems

  9. (5) Dietrich Bader also: costarred in The Drew Carey Show, which genre-wise staged “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror in the episode “New York and Queens”, and he had some of the best lines in Office Space (“Watch your cornhole.”).

  10. 13-14) I’ve never liked McFarlanes work and it almost made me stop reading Spider-Man altogether. It was just too exaggerated and caricatureish for me. I can see the talent he has and his influence, but I vastly prefer Alex Ross.

  11. For those of yule sitting by the softy glowing pixels this holiday eve, the low crackle of the keyboard bringing virtual cheer…

  12. Season’s Greetings!

    Christmas Day is winding down here. We’ve had a wet day & have kept things low-key catching up with family & friends. I have (once again) eaten more than I should have.

    It feels later than it is: after 8 in the evening, but as we’ve just had the Longest Day (yay for living in the Southern Hemisphere), it is not yet dark outside. I’m off to bed shortly.

    Hope you all have as wonderful a Christmas day as possible (and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, hope it was as wonderful a day as possible too!).

  13. Seems like most cultures in the northern hemisphere above the tropics have a winter solstice-ish feast/holiday. It’s dark, it’s getting colder; we need a party! I celebrate Christmas, sang in the choir at Midnight Mass a couple of hours ago, and wish a Merry Christmas to all who observe it in any way, and Happy Holidays to everyone. And while those in the southern hemisphere may not need a party quite as badly, the start of summer’s a good excuse too. And may the new year be a good one for all of us!

  14. Is there anyone here who has an e-subscription to Analog, who might be in a position to loan me a couple of novellas for the Novellapalooza?
    jjfile770 [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. Hampus, I hope that you’re feeling better.

    Best wishes to all of the Filers, wherever you may be, for much joy and laughter and time spent with your loved ones, during the holiday season and in the coming year.

  16. For those who may not be aware: Transformative works fandom has a yearly secret santa gift exchange called Yuletide where people write small-fandom fanfiction for each other, and book fandoms usually make quite a good showing. This year’s collection can be found here.

    (It’s also one of several fannish endeavours founded by Astolat, who also writes some really excellent and Hugo-nominated books when she’s not writing fanfic.)

  17. feel better Hampus. 🙂

    and a merry merry to all!


    [psst…Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser]

  18. Merry Christmas everybody from one of the non-observing parts of the world.

    I’ve taken the day off work, did the food shopping this morning and my wife’s present arrived in the mail just after we got up. Very efficient, I thought.

  19. @JDN: Walter Jon Williams and Ted Reynolds have their backlist on Smashwords, so there may be good deals for them today.

  20. As of this moment, it doesn’t seem that Walter Jon Williams is participating in the sale.

  21. I think Gather, Darkness is probably my favorite Leiber. Yes, it’s somewhat reminiscent of Heinlein’s “If This Goes On…”, but for my money, it’s the better story.

    I’m also quite fond of the Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser stories. You probably wouldn’t have guessed, but part of the reason for the extremely peculiar way I spell my name is bizarre homage to Fafhrd. 🙂

    (3) The article sounded promising, and did have a few good points, but ended up being sadly myopic in many ways. Brief is fine, but sometimes, too brief can end up being actively misleading. Overall, I’d rate it disappointing. What looked like it might be combating erasure actually ended looking more like it was contributing to it.

    Happy/Merry whatever to whomever might be celebrating something as we start this winter season. (Or summer season for those farther south.)

  22. Xtifr saysI’m also quite fond of the Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser stories. You probably wouldn’t have guessed, but part of the reason for the extremely peculiar way I spell my name is bizarre homage to Fafhrd.

    Damn I forgot those stories! Wonderful stories for the most part that I should’ve singled out for special praise. Were some of them turned into a graphic novel?

  23. 5) Fritz Leiber’s stories were many, and not all of them have been reprinted in book form (oh, some of them were terrible), but I always though well of his atmosphere of greens and greys. And I had a file of the SCIENCE DIGESTS he edited and wrote for from the early sixties.

    YOUR ALL ALONE was PKD before the term got scrolled. And the first paperback edition of it was rewritten by editorial hands to add some (for the times) spicy sexy details. The Gregg Press edition reprinted it.

    He lived long and well, but did not reap the rewards of a good career..

    Hope not to leave it that dark…

    Enjoy your holidays. I opted to work, and stay out of my wife’s way while she cooks. And will have roast beast.

  24. …it does appear that there are some graphic novels by Fritz Leiber and they are the Farfhrd and Grey Mouser stories. I didn’t google it. I Amazon’d it.

  25. Yes, at least some of the Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser stories got graphic novel adaptations with art by Mike Mignola, who also did cover art & illustrations for the White Wolf omnibus collections. I’m certain there were other graphic novel adaptations as well, but I don’t know any details.

    Happy Holidays! and here’s a lovely a capella rendition of possibly my favorite Christmas carol:

  26. Finished reading The Gradual today. I’m glad I persevered with it. I mentioned I was struggling a little while ago. Turns out I was only 30 pages in and very shortly afterwards it hooked me with the intrigue of the narrator’s plagiarist. After finishing it I went searching for reviews to see what others made of it. Dan Hartland’s review on Strange Horizons is excellent, and managed to enunciate many feelings I had about the book – eg “There is a structural strain that proceeds from time and tedium” – as well as perspectives that had not occurred to me. Now I think about it, the style reminded me a little of Julian Barnes’ Staring At The Sun.

    @JJ I remember you saying that for you it was more fantasy than science fiction. To my mind, because of its use of relativity as a central conceit – despite the mechanisms of its manipulation remaining unexplained – a conceit used to underline human experience (someone described it as making the metaphorical literal)… to my mind it’s science fiction. For what that’s worth :).

  27. People talk about Hard SF, and sometimes about Hard Fantasy. So I think there definitely has to be a category of Hard Science Fantasy. 🙂

  28. Joe H says Yes, at least some of the Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser stories got graphic novel adaptations with art by Mike Mignola, who also did cover art & illustrations for the White Wolf omnibus collections. I’m certain there were other graphic novel adaptations as well, but I don’t know any details.

    That’s the ones I was thinking I read long while ago. Thanks! I’ll need to see if they’re available for a reasonable price on Amazon as I know that they’re long out of print on White Wolf.

  29. Cliff: Finished reading The Gradual today. I’m glad I persevered with it.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed it more that I did. It just seemed really stupid to me that at the start of their tour, the musicians were given the “mechanism” to prevent the loss of years of their lives, but not told how to use it. And then much later, he just magically knows how to alter the mechanisms to make them work for other people… WTF.

    Xtifr: People talk about Hard SF, and sometimes about Hard Fantasy. So I think there definitely has to be a category of Hard Science Fantasy.

    I would agree with you, but I don’t think this book could be considered “Hard” anything, since none of the science fantasy is ever explained — the explanation, to me, being what makes the fiction “hard”.

  30. “The explanation being what makes the fiction ‘hard’” sounds like a good definition.

    Agreed that the failure to have the staves’ usage explained to the musicians seems odd. I was similarly struck towards the end, after it was pretty clear what was going on, and the narrator had witnessed the reversal of a sunset, that he was still flabbergasted when he saw adepts seemingly arriving in port ahead of him. As for him magically learning how to manipulate the staves, I took this as some deepening of his creative abilities after his experiences at the volcano. There seemed to be a parallel between the inexplicability of the gradual calculations and the creative process.

  31. @Robert Whitaker Sirignano:

    And the first paperback edition of [You’re All Alone] was rewritten by editorial hands to add some (for the times) spicy sexy details. The Gregg Press edition reprinted it.

    There are at least three texts. The first was You’re All Alone. Then a few years later, a much longer version (which Leiber had actually written before the shorter one) came out as The Sinful Ones—that’s where the publishers made some changes of their own as you mentioned. Eventually Leiber got back the rights to that one, undid most of the changes (and rewrote the sexy bits more to his liking, making IMO some odd choices in the process), and that version got published under the same title of The Sinful Ones. I think that’s what Gregg Press reprinted. It also looks to me like it’s been reissued since then under the original title.

  32. I hope everybody had/is having a lovely Christmas day or is otherwise enjoying the holiday. I’m currently very content and very full with the traditional family holiday menu of sailor’s curry for lunch and herring salad made according to my grandmother’s recipe for dinner.

    Plus, Santa bought me a bunch of nice books (and a Rocket Raccoon t-shirt), including Astounding by Alex Nevala-Lee.


    I’m also quite fond of the Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser stories. You probably wouldn’t have guessed, but part of the reason for the extremely peculiar way I spell my name is bizarre homage to Fafhrd. ?

    I very fond of the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories as well and just reread most of them this summer. Initially, I only wanted to reread “The Sunken Land” for the Retro Hugos and then wound up rereading the whole bunch. For those who need a copy, Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks has a two volume edition that’s still in print. There are also some Open Road Media editions.

    @Joe H.
    That’s a lovely version of “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”. And I’m not the world’s biggest fan of traditional German Christmas carols.

    Smashwords is having a big sale but I have no idea where to start with it.

    You could always start with some of mine. 😉

  33. @Rob Thornton: I found a book of Williams though, that I didn’t have already, and bought it even without a sale.

    @Cora: And got some of yours too. Thanks.

    @Xtifr: I like Hard Fantasy (a category which I consider to include things like “Magic, Inc,” “Operation Chaos,” the Lord Darcy stories, Niven’s manna stories and Walter Jon Williams’ Metropolitan).

  34. @Andrew: I’ve always thought of what you call Hard Fantasy as a type of Science Fantasy. I’m going to think about the distinction. It seems useful.

    Today’s Christmas was great fun. I received the Marvel 1602 book, which I liked but would have liked better with more historical figures, and the New 52 Batman/Superman first (I think) book, which was good but not as good as the Tom King Superfriends two-parter which was so great.

    I also got to read about half of the Spiderwoman Baby Talk book before its owner cruelly took it away. It was cracking me up over and over. Now I really want to finish it!

  35. Robert Whitaker Sirignano:

    YOUR ALL ALONE was PKD before the term got scrolled.

    Thanks for mentioning that. That was the first story of Leiber’s I read, back in high school. It greatly impressed me, but I had long forgotten the name of it and I never ran across it in the years since. (ETA: Now I wonder what the book was that I read it in. My classmates and I passed around a lot of collections discovered in second-hand bookstores, and now I wish I had a list of them at hand. Sounds like time for a quick online search.)

  36. @Anne Sheller: It’s dark, it’s getting colder; we need a party! The oldest traditional celebrations that I know of were built around “It’s stopped getting darker” — a sign of hope (at least in cultures that tracked the sun’s motion carefully) even if the coldest weather was likely still to come. St. Lucia Day looks like an obvious exception, but Wikipedia claims that it was originally associated with solstice due to Julian slippage.

    In case there’s anyone who doesn’t know it already: Susan Cooper’s “The Shortest Day“(*). My mind’s ear will always hear the late Robert J. Lurtsema’s leisurely-but-not-mannered recitation, very much in character. I send best wishes to everyone as the year turns and re-turns.

    (*) this appears to be a reasonably licit copy; if anyone knows a better (and correct) text, please post a link.

  37. @Ferret Bueller:

    Now I wonder what the book was that I read it in

    ISFDB says it was included in a Leiber collection also called You’re All Alone, so it could be that, assuming you were in high school after 1972. They don’t show any other anthology appearances and I’d be surprised if there were any, since even the short version is 40,000 words long.

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