Pixel Scroll 12/7/21 Darfstelllllllaaaaa!

Think of this as the Emergency Holographic Scroll. I spent six hours today accompanying my mother to her eye doctor appointment. No problems out of the ordinary for a 95-year-old, but we were in the office for three of those hours. Thank goodness for Cat’s birthdays!

(1) IT’S GETTING EASIER BEING GREEN. “Tatiana Maslany Confirms That Her SHE-HULK Will Be Completely Computer Generated” at GeekTyrant.

When you think of the character Hulk over the years, you may think of Lou Ferrigno, who played him in CBS’s series The Incredible Hulk from 1978 to 1982, and in three made-for-TV movies from 1988 to 1990. This was a classic ‘80s TV imagining of Bruce Banner’s alter-ego, and the best they could do at the time. Since then, we have gotten a much more advanced version, with Mark Ruffalo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to computer generated technology.

This is the best way for us to see a character that grows so massive in size, and so it makes sense that the new series She-Hulk will utilize that same tech. Star of the series, Tatiana Maslany, recently sat down with the Scott Hasn’t Seen podcast (via The Direct), and she said:

“It’s all CG… I’m in mo-cap the whole time. I’m on platforms with mo-cap where I have a little head on the top of my head…”

(2) ON SHOGGOTH TIME. Literary Hub reports “A novelist is suing Amazon for selling “centuries-old” copies of his book for over $1000”. Will R. suggests, “Maybe it was written in the dating system used by the File 770 comment box?”

As the New York Times reported in a larger piece, Boland found copies of his book Hominid listed on Amazon as having been published in the seventeenth-century and priced between $907 and $987. (The book’s actual price is $15.) Another book of his was listed on Amazon for $1008, when Boland himself sold the book for $7.

In the suit, Boland says Amazon breached its publishing services agreement with him, and allowed him to be defamed by selling fake editions of his books: “When a seller claims to have a 1602 edition that it’s charging nearly $1,000 for, it’s defaming me by implying that the book existed before I wrote it — i.e., that I’m a plagiarist,” Boland told the Times….

(3) CHANGE IN DATE. The SFWA Board of Directors has postponed the organization’s Winter Business Meeting to January 15. Members were provided a link to connect with the meeting.

Due to a scheduling conflict, we are unable to provide closed captioning for our planned business meeting on this Saturday, December 11. To make sure the meeting is accessible for as many of our members as possible, and to honor the holiday season, we’re postponing the meeting until Saturday, January 15.

…We will livestream video of the business meeting at the above link, and all members will be able to ask questions in real-time via the text chat on that same page, in addition to the closed captioning we will provide. 

(4) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1990 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Thirty-one years ago on this evening, Edward Scissorhands premiered. It was directed by Tim Burton. It was produced by Burton and Denise Di Novi, and written by Caroline Thompson from a story by her and Burton. The cast was Johnny Depp, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price, and Alan Arkin. 

Reception for it was quite positive with the Rolling Stone saying of it that: “Burton’s richly entertaining update of the Frankenstein story is the year’s most comic, romantic and haunting film fantasy.”  That it won a Hugo Award at Chicon V where Marta Randall was Toastmaster isn’t surprising. (Other nominated works were Total RecallGhostBack to The Future III and The Witches.) The box office was very good, it made nearly ninety million against a cost of twenty million. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a near perfect rating of ninety one percent. 

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 7, 1915 Leigh Brackett. Let’s us praise her first for her Retro Hugo at CoNZealand for Shadow Over Mars, originally published in the Fall 1944 issue of Startling Stories. Now surely her scripts for The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye are genre adjacent? Why not? Ok then her very pulpy Sea-Kings of Mars is? Being rhetorical there. And I love her Eric John Stark stories! (Much of these were written with her husband Edmond Hamilton.) And yes, she completed The Empire Strikes Back script just before she died. Is that the actual shooting script? And she was the first woman nominated for the Hugo Award at NYCon II for The Long Tomorrow novel.  (Died 1978.)
  • Born December 7, 1923 Johnny Duncan. Was the Sixties Batman the first Batman series? i know you know better. Johnny here was Robin on Batman And Robin, the1949 series for Columbia Pictures Corporation. It ran for fifteen episodes of roughly fifteen or so minutes apiece. Robert Lowery was Wayne / Batman. He has only one other genre appearance, an uncredited one in Plan 9 from Outer Space as Second Stretcher Bearer. He does show up in the genre adjacent Thirties and Forties Charley Chan series in several roles. (Died 2016.)
  • Born December 7, 1945 W.D. Richter, 76. As a screenwriter, he’s given us Invasion of The Body SnatchersDracula, and one of my most loved films, Big Trouble In Little China.  As a director, he gave us Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension, another of my most loved films. He’s not getting love for the reboot of Big Trouble In Little China with Dwayne Johnson that he’s apparently involved with. Grrrr! (Update as of September this year though Dwayne is being stubborn and says he’s still trying: Carpenter’s legal team axed it as he has full veto rights over any remake. Yea!) 
  • Born December 7, 1947 Wendy Padbury, 74. She’s Zoe Heriot, a Companion to the Second Doctor. She first appears in “The Wheel in Space” where she is the librarian on board the Wheel. Big Finish has made use of her character rather well. Her only genre film was Cathy Vespers in The Blood on Satan’s Claw (not on my to be viewed list), and she was regular cast member Sue Wheeler in the Freewheelers series which is at least genre adjacent. Think Avengers only younger. 
  • Born December 7, 1949 Tom Waits, 72. He’s got uncredited (but obviously known) roles in Wolfen and The Fisher King. He is in Bram Stoker’s Dracula as R.M. Renfield, and he shows up in Mystery Men as Doc Heller and in Mr.Nick in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He’s simply Engineer in The Book of Eli. He also shows up in the recent zombie film The Dead Don’t Die which also has Danny Glover, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Iggy Pop and Carol Kane to name a few of the performers involved.
  • Born December 7, 1953 Madeleine E Robins, 68. I’m very fond of her Sarah Tolerance series which starts often Point of Honour, it features a female PI in an alternate version of Georgian London. The Stone War set in a post-apocalyptic NYC is quite interesting as well, and she has quite a bit short fiction, though only three have been collected so far in Luckstones: Three Tales of Meviel
  • Born December 7, 1985 S. A. Chakraborty, 36. Her eighteenth century set Daevabad Trilogy with its djinns is quite excellent. It has been nominated for a Best Series Hugo this year. In the past, the series or the individual novels have been nominated for a number of other Awards including a BFA, a World Fantasy Award and a Compton. So far, I don’t see any other novel length fiction from her. 

(6) ANOTHER BIRTHDAY BOY. Also born December 7, singer Louis Prima. See rare footage here of Prima and the story behind the song, “I Wanna Be Like You” from Walt Disney’s animated feature The Jungle Book (1967) where he voiced the raucous orangutan King Louie. He also recorded two albums with Phil Harris: The Jungle Book and More Jungle Book and other such works for Disneyland Records. 

(7) VIDEO OF THE DAY. On Monday’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host referenced Keith Laumer’s Bolo during his Cyborgasm segment on killing machines.

In this edition of “Cyborgasm,” Stephen Colbert examines the U.S. military’s decision to test robotic tanks while New Zealand urges the world to ban the deployment of killer robots.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Rob Thornton, Will R., Jeffrey Smith, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Streetcar-Named-Dern.]

28 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/7/21 Darfstelllllllaaaaa!

  1. First!

    (7) VIDEO OF THE DAY. I still remember Keith Laumer’s Bolo stories fondly even though it’s been decades since I’ve read any of them, so it’s long overdue for me to read some of them again. Any suggestions from y’all where I should begin?

  2. Never go to the eye doctor in December.

    2) it’s an original approach to the someone else is selling my book on Amazon approach. One of these Amazon may do something about it.

  3. Cat, you left out the most important cast member of “Edward Scissorhands,” Winona Ryder! Quel fromage!

  4. What would we do without Emergency Holographic Stand-Ins?

    (2) That is an interesting approach to stealing someone’s work. I wonder if any effort has been put into providing a product that at least superficially looks that old.

  5. @Lis: None whatsoever. It’s just a gimmick to trick Amazon’s algorithms into classifying it as a separate edition.

  6. (7) I have been remiss in my File770 following for some while now – sporadic at best. When I saw that Bolo reference I was sorely tempted to send off an email to OGH, but then figured a good number of fans probably immediately fired off a link. Still, it reminded me to come check back in, so thank you Colbert.

  7. @bookworm1398
    Yeah, I did that the Monday before Thanksgiving. What I did today was spend four hours at the car dealer while they were doing minor service on the car. (They have to order a couple of parts. Gas caps aren’t things they deal much in; the gasket is dead.) But I got most of the way through the book I was reading.

  8. (2) This is something that’s happened to a lot of books, with no discernible pattern. Even I have had occasions when a copy of one of my books turns up with an outrageous price and a peculiar assigned publication date. I’ve never found a satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon. For the “outrageous price” one theory is that it’s an artifact of an automated bidding/price-setting feedback loop gone wild. Another (more speculative) theory is that it’s a money laundering scam. For the peculiar publication date, it could be as simply as poor data entry on the part of a third party seller.

    That said, if someone wants to leverage a glitch of this type to hold Amazon’s feet to the fire about shoddy business practices, I’m not going to complain.

  9. CAT asks:

    I still remember Keith Laumer’s Bolo stories fondly… Any suggestions from y’all where I should begin?

    Every decade or so I reread the original short story collection: “Bolo: Annals of the Dinochrome Brigade”, and wonder why Hollywood hasn’t optioned any of them. Seems like a no-brainer.

  10. 4) Edward Scissorhands: Given that the item starts off with “Thirty-one years ago”, I think the date should be 1990 rather than 1979?

    5) Birthdays: I wanted to note also Tom “tyg” Galloway, longtime convention and online fan. (Also a Starfleet admiral in a Peter David-written Star Trek comic.)

  11. @Mike Glyer: Oh no, I’m sorry! UGH what a drag, but I’m glad she has no out-of-the-ordinary problems for her age. Thanks for the EHS, Emergency Holo-Scrollo!

    @Daniel Dern & @Mike Glyer: Great Pixel Scroll title!

    (5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS. Happy Birthday to S. A. Chakraborty! 🙂 I loved her series, which was superb in audio!

  12. David Goldfarb: Yipes! I neglected to write a new date when I borrowed yesterday’s draft as a template!

  13. (5) Also among Tom Waits’ genre credits has to be the play/album “The Black Rider”.

  14. 2 & @Heather Rose.

    If money laundering or some other way to transact illegal money transfers, the date of the publication could be part of the code as in “pay the base fee times the pub date”. or merely an identifier (pay the fee for the 1817 version) or some such.

    Or maybe there’s some arcane tax dodge where taxes on those dollars are reduced because its an “antique” or something like that

  15. Someone should write the definitive Amazon dating money laundering but actually time travel novella

  16. (5)

    New Jersey: “What’s that watermelon doing there?”
    Reno: “I’ll tell you later.”

  17. Steve Davidson on December 8, 2021 at 4:55 am said:

    2 & @Heather Rose.

    If money laundering or some other way to transact illegal money transfers, the date of the publication could be part of the code as in “pay the base fee times the pub date”. or merely an identifier (pay the fee for the 1817 version) or some such.

    I assume the date was a way around checks against the money-laundering scam i.e. providing a superficial reason why the book was so expensive.

  18. (2) I know from experience that the ability of people to type a year into a computer accurately is sadly lacking.
    Also, I remember reading that it is a common practice among sellers listing on Amazon to list a book and then, when they sell it and no longer have a copy in stock, put a ridiculous price on the listing expecting no-one will try to buy it. Then the price is reset when the book is back in stock. This is because it is a lot less hassle than to take the listing down and then put a new one back up.

  19. @Cat. “Night of the Trolls”, Laumer’s first Bolo story, once was one of my five favorite science fiction stories. But then I read it again about a year or two ago and it showed a bit of age. Still a pretty good story, though.

  20. @Kendall – Thanks, glad you enjoyed the title. (I thought I’d already done a title riff on the source play name, a while back, but either didn’t (yet) or not giving the right search terms.) I always enjoy these double-en-genre titles.

  21. (2) Book bogosity… I see that (somebody) is still offering the second edition of my McGraw-Hill book, “Dern’s Internet Guide for New Users, 2nd Ed” — down from what had been thousands of dollars to a modest $750ish… but still problematic, given that — and I should know — I never finished that update, nor did McGraw-Hill publish it.

    I first started seeing listings before I finished/gave up on the update, and thought about buying a copy, to save me a heap of work 😐

  22. JeffWarner recommends Every decade or so I reread the original short story collection: “Bolo: Annals of the Dinochrome Brigade”, and wonder why Hollywood hasn’t optioned any of them. Seems like a no-brainer.

    Thanks much. I just purchased a copy off Apple Books.

    Now listening to Roger Zelazny’s Roadmarks. It’s one of my favorite works by him.

  23. The new Buckaroo Banzai sequel by E.M. Rauch was finally released recently. It reads like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Mircea Eliade.

  24. @PhilRM It’s clearly a labor of love, and based on what I’ve read so far will satisfy everyone who was clamoring for more Lectroid backstory. The academic affectations are courtesy of the Reno Kid and are a delight. There’s a great new villain, too.

  25. P.S. Re. S.A. Chakraborty’s birthday: I see she has a short story collection set in the “Daevabad” universe coming out March 1, 2022! The River of Silver will be audio only, narrated by the excellent Soneela Nankani again! w00t! 😀

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