Pixel Scroll 12/8/23 The File Next Time

(1) BEEP-BEEP. Deadline says the Wile E. Coyote movie might yet escape the tax accounting black hole that the head of Warner Bros. shoved it into. “’Coyote vs. Acme’: Paramount Circling, Amazon Possible Contender For Movie”.

It’s not just Netflix that made a bid for Warner Bros.’ scrapped Coyote vs. AcmeParamount, Apple and Amazon have seen the movie as well. Of those, Paramount has made a bid, and the plus there is a potential theatrical release. The Melrose lot could use it on the 2024 release calendar. Debt-laden exhibitors would want it, too.

Meanwhile, Amazon is mulling, I’m told, with no formal bid made. First, it takes longer over there to conduct business and get decisions through the proper channels. I also hear that marketing execs are trying to get their heads around the picture (seriously — there’s a lot of action scenes in the movie and hysterical jokes that easily could be used in trailers. I’ve seen the movie. Look out for the Porky Pig pant-less joke)….

(2) DIAGRAM PRIZE.“Danger Sound Klaxon! picks up the Diagram Prize gong” as the “Oddest Book Title of the Year” announced The Bookseller today.

Sound the trumpets, folks, ring the bells and most importantly crank up that old-fashioned noisemaker that goes “a-rooo-gha” for Danger Sound Klaxon! The Horn That Changed History has blown away the competition to win the 45th The Bookseller Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.

The book, in which author Matthew F Jordan charts the “meteoric rise and eventual fall” of the klaxon automobile horn, never fell out of the love with Diagramistas: it garnered 53% of the ballot, the greatest share since the award went to a public vote in 2000, and joins Is Superman Circumcised? (2022), The Joy of Waterboiling (2018) and Cooking with Poo (2011) as the only winners to ever grab a full majority of votes.

There is something of a wholesomeness to this year’s winner as voters have turned away from the slightly naughty and/or scatological tone of recent winners such as the aforementioned Is Superman Circumcised?, plus 2020’s A Dog Pissing at the Edge of a Path: Animal Metaphors in Eastern Indonesian Society and 2019’s The Dirt Hole and its Variations. And there were certainly those kinds of options to choose from on the 2023 shortlist, but Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze was a distant second, while early bookies’ favourite I Fart in Your General Direction: Flatulence in Popular Culture barely caused a stink with voters….

(3) GOODREADS REVIEW BOMBING ANALYSIS. Anne Marble provided a friends link to her Medium post “The Latest Goodreads Review Bombing Scandal” about the controversy at the top of yesterday’s Scroll.

…Every bit of information appalled me. Not only was [Cait] Corrain (“allegedly”) hurting other debut authors — she was also accused of downvoting a book from the same publishing imprint as her upcoming book. And books by authors who were with the same literary agency.

Perhaps the worst revelation of all? Corrain was in chat groups with some of the affected authors. Those authors had to be wondering what they’d shared with her in private. Talk about betrayal!

One of the targeted authors, Black author Bethany Baptiste, kept getting harassed on social media over her posts on this scandal. Why are people targeting her and not Cait Corrain?…

(4) STICK TO THE FACTS. Xiran Jay Zhao today posted a trio of videos with their own roundup about the Corrain news story, which counters some of the claims made about this debacle by some articles. 

(5) WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS.. “A Cultural Critique of the Tesla Cybertruck” at Road and Track. This vehicle sounds tailor-made to drive through the World of Null-A

…In the four years since the initial announcement of the Cybertruck and its release, Musk has doubled down on these comments. He has called the Cybertruck “what Bladerunner would have driven” and “the finest in apocalypse technology”. Press videos released by Tesla show entire MP5 magazines emptied into the doors to drive home the body’s bulletproof nature. Musk’s emphasis that the Cybertruck is an “armored personnel carrier from the future” is likely driven by his belief that “the apocalypse could come along at any moment.”

While Musk is, to say the least, well-known for outlandish statements, he does seem to genuinely believe society is on the precipice of a collapse. Over the past decade during his Tesla-fueled rise to prominence, he’s repeatedly expressed concerns that killer robots will threaten humanity in the near future and called artificial intelligence “our biggest existential threat.” His more recent embrace of right-wing rhetoric seems to have only deepened this belief; during a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, he stated that undocumented immigrants will cause “a collapse in social services,” and he believes that falling birthrates—caused, in his view, by birth control and abortion—are a “much bigger risk to civilization than global warming.”…

(6) AND THE WATER BUFFALO YOU RODE IN ON. Sergey Lukyanenko, now on a make-up trip after skipping the Chengdu Worldcon where he was a GoH, posted this photo taken in Beijing.

Sergey Lukyanenko in Beijing.

His appearances are being covered in Chinese social media. Ersatz Culture collected the following daily links. Click through and you should be able to request a computer translation. However, the dates in the translations are not always accurate – such as those with photos of an event dated four days from now.

= 2023-12-01 (Friday) =

https://weibo.com/6045346855/Nv6xbjqOM
https://weibo.com/5127624884/Nv7Omw5DD

= 2023-12-02 (Saturday) =

https://weibo.com/6045346855/NvhKUtInN

= 2023-12-03 (Sunday) =

https://weibo.com/6045346855/NvrI7Dnll

= 2023-12-04 (Monday) =

https://weibo.com/6045346855/NvCkMjFwz
https://weibo.com/6045346855/NvABLdeRJ
https://weibo.com/1649394251/NvxWndiGJ

= 2023-12-05 (Tuesday) =

https://weibo.com/6045346855/NvHA2uP5o
  (Refers to a Shanghai event on the 10th)
https://weibo.com/6386527089/NvGGb164f
  (Refers to an event on the 8th with Baoshu)
https://weibo.com/1951071703/NvH0h4fbB
  (About the previous day’s event at Sichuan University)

= 2023-12-06 =

Nothing?

= 2023-12-07 (Thursday) =

https://weibo.com/6045346855/Nw4F6wIcf
https://weibo.com/1649394251/Nw4uXBANo
https://weibo.com/1649394251/Nw3FpvNju
https://weibo.com/1649394251/Nw3yjyJBt
https://weibo.com/1649394251/Nw3qOAcTA
https://weibo.com/1649394251/Nw3e6lHHa
https://weibo.com/1649394251/Nw2Ql1lpX

= 2023-12-08 (Friday) =

(With Baoshu in Beijing)

https://weibo.com/6045346855/Nwe0rbH4j
https://weibo.com/1649394251/Nwd6toSk3
https://weibo.com/1649394251/NwcWUbR9Z
https://weibo.com/1649394251/NwcJFbue1
https://weibo.com/1649394251/NwblZhMfn

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born December 8, 1950 Rick Baker, 73. He won the Academy Award for Best Makeup a record seven times from a record eleven nominations, beginning when he won the first award given for An American Werewolf in London. It is one of my favorite horror films bar none. 

Rick Baker

The sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, which until now I didn’t know existed, was not well received by either critics or fans. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a seven, let me repeat that, a seven percent rating. 

So what else is he known for? Oh, I’m not listing everything but let’s look at some of his more extraordinary work.

One of his early gigs in the industry was on The Exorcist where he was an uncredited special effects assistant. That happened to him some early in his career as he’s uncredited as a special makeup effects artist on It’s Alive and uncredited as makeup effects on King Kong. More intriguing, he’s uncredited on The Empire Strikes Back even though he was credited on Star Wars. Interesting. 

I think his work on The Incredible Shrinking Woman where he is creator and designer of Sidney, the super-intelligent gorilla, as well as doing the makeup effects and being an actor in it is among his best ever. 

Starman. Oh one of my all-time films. He created and did the Starman transformation. May we give him a round of applause for that that feat?

Oh Beauty and The Beast. It was Baker who designed the stellar makeup that was Vincent. He was responsible for Perlman getting hired based on his previous experiences in prosthetics feeling he’d be a good fit for the role and fought hard for his casting.

I see he was special effects supervisor on the second Gremins films but not the first. 

Which that brings us to Men in Black, certainly we agree a career highly for him where he listed as special makeup effects and alien makeup effects. Cool indeed. 

I’ll finish with his work on Hellboy,  which I need not tell you I’ve watched so many times that I’m memorised it. And no, I’m not going to watch the new Hellboy film. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Hi and Lois is very educational, just not about the assigned lesson.

(9) HEIRS AND MARVEL AGREE. “Marvel Settles Fight Over Spider-Man, Doctor Strange Rights”The Hollywood Reporter says the battle is finished.

It looks like Marvel won’t be bringing its battle over the rights to Spider-Man and Doctor Strange into the new year. Attorneys for the company and the estate of Steve Ditko on Wednesday notified the court that they’ve reached an amicable settlement and expect a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice to be filed in the coming weeks.

This all started back in 2021, when Marvel filed a series of lawsuits in response to copyright termination notices from Larry Lieber and the estates of Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Don Heck and Don Rico. A very long list of characters were at issue, including Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk and Thor. In June, all but one of the matters settled….

(10) TIMEY WIMEY PRESENTS. The Mary Sue has a list of “The Best ‘Doctor Who’ Gifts for Your Favorite Whovian”. Here’s what I need – and don’t forget to fill it with homebaked chocolate chip cookies!

TARDIS cookie jar

(11) AS WITNESSED FROM AUSTRALIA. Bruce Gillespie’s SF Commentary 114 is a free download in both portrait and landscape edition at eFanzines.

Covers by Dennis Callegari. Features Denis Callegari and Jim Burns on the possibilities of AI art; wakes for people much missed (Valma Brown, Lee Harding, and Jenny Bryce); and memories of Helena Binns, who left us recently, including her fannish autobiography. Rich Horton remembers Cordwainer Smith’s first story; C. June Wolf conducts the final interview with Michael G. Coney; and Kim Huett describes the unique problems of SF readers in Australia during World War II. Book reviews are by regular Colin Steele; and Anna Creer joins SFC with her Crime File.

If you missed out on No. 113, it also is at eFanzines.

(12) GENE-EDITING ANSWER FOR SICKLE CELL. “FDA approves first genetic treatments for sickle cell disease : Shots”NPR has the story.

…In a landmark decision, the Food and Drug Administration Friday approved the first gene-editing treatment to alleviate human illness.

The FDA approved two gene therapies for anyone 12 and older suffering from the most severe form of sickle cell disease, a brutal blood disorder that has long been neglected by medical research.

The decisions are being hailed as milestones for treating sickle cell and for the rapidly advancing field of gene therapy, which is stirring excitement for treatment of many diseases….

… For the CRISPR treatment, which was developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, both in Boston, doctors remove cells from each patient’s bone marrow, edit a gene with CRISPR and then infuse billions of the modified cells back into patients.

The edited cells produce a form of hemoglobin known as fetal hemoglobin, restoring normal function of red blood cells. While not a cure for the disease, the hope is the therapy, brand name Casgevy, is designed to be a one-time treatment that will alleviate symptoms for a lifetime.

In data presented to the FDA, the treatment resolved the severe pain crises for at least 18 months for 29 of the subjects — 96.7%. The treatment has produced similar results for patients suffering from a related condition known as beta thalassemia.

(13) THE TOP 10 MOVIES & TV SHOWS IN 2023. JustWatch finds this year’s movie streaming charts are dominated by titles available on Netflix and Disney+. Netflix secured rank #1 (The Super Mario Bros. Movie) and #2 (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse) while Disney has the most original titles in the Top 10, including The Little Mermaid, Avatar: The Way of Water and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Interestingly, the three major streaming services (Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+) are not represented in the top 3 TV shows. Instead, this year’s podium belongs to MAX (The Last of Us), Peacock (Yellowstone) and AppleTV+ (Ted Lasso). [Based on a press release.]

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Daniel Dern, Anne Marble, Ersatz Culture, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

28 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/8/23 The File Next Time

  1. (10) Sorry, that’s not really a cookie jar. It’s just the TARDIS they’ve selling for at least twenty years now in one form or another. I’ve got one whose top comes off here with a Funko Pop! Thirteenth Doctor right next to it.

    I could easily put quite a few chocolate chip cookies in it. I have stashed peanut butter cups in it from time to time.

  2. (1) The concept of this movie is genius! Wile E. Coyote sues Acme because its products never worked. 🙂 Yet they’re asking $70 million for a movie they were going to put in the vault? 😐

    (2) That title is genius as well. But it looks like it had some great competition.

    (3) Thanks for the shout-out!

    (4) Those videos are great. I hope mine is not one of the articles that got something wrong. I have read some of the other articles, and ahem, somebody wrote them in a rush… And some wound up putting a target on the back of one of the POC authors affected by this.

    Edited to Add: Mark, don’t give her any ideas!

    (7) It’s hard for me to think of a favorite Dick Baker makeup.

    (12) This is great! But of course, I hope they find a way to reduce the cost. $2.2 million per patient. 🙁

  3. I have to wonder if the movie uses the Coyote vs. Acme brief that’s been floating around the ‘Net for-bloody-ever.

  4. 1) Nice to hope the Coyote vs. Acme movie might actually be available at some point. I’ll just note that forlorn hope, followed by perpetual disappointment, is the overriding theme of Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons.

    8) I was disappointed to learn Flickr’s “Your Best Shot 2023” contest has included an “AI Art” category. Pardon me, but where’s any photography, other than scraping data from actual photos, involved in AI imagery?

    This is more of a comet than a quasar.

  5. 5) When is someone going to make the truck from The Parable of the Sower? Not soon, I hope.

  6. (5) Everyone I’ve read is, shall we say, unimpressed by that vehicle.
    (Ah, the Santa Ana condition has arrived.)

  7. What really astounds me about the Corrain debacle is that all signs were pointing toward her having a much better than average debut. She had a big social media presence, ARC reviews (from real people) were good, buzz was starting to develop … it was looking really good! She should have been feeling encouraged and happy!

    Even if she was so anxious that she wanted to make sockpuppets to give herself 5-star reviews, where does this idea of downrating other writers come from? Do people talk about this on TikTok or in chats? I mean, WTF?

  8. re 5): I just finished Naomi Alderman’s The Future and wow, she really nails that billionaire mindset–though frankly, the billionaires in the book are much saner & more competent than Musk. It’s a very good book, thought-provoking, worth considering when nomination season rolls around. Biggest downside for me: the metaphor of Fox and Rabbit is built around nonsensical ideas about anthropology and ecology, and I think maybe the author buys into it, because she has a character who’s been living ba na vfynaq arne gur rdhngbe sbe lrnef guvax nobhg ubj gurl’ir nqwhfgrq gb gur plpyr bs fcevat, fhzzre, snyy naq jvagre — which is a big Nope, y’know?

    But still, very much worth reading & discussing.

  9. (3) Bad things happen to the insides of authors’ heads. We should probably put a moratorium on anybody writing any new books until scientists can work out what is happening to them. I don’t think this is even the weirdest anti-social thing an author has done this year.

  10. 1) I always though it was “Meep, Meep!”

    7) I first met Rick Baker at one of Bjo Trimble’s Equicon conventions, then later at Westercon ’80. He’s was a young, very gifted makeup artist. His appliances were so realistic that, even up close, you couldn’t tell they weren’t real flesh and blood. They even had pores! His Star Wars makeups were genius.

    He’s an eloquent speaker on the subject as well.

  11. @Mark: If you’re referring to the “Coyote v. Acme” story by Ian Frazier that was published in The New Yorker (presented as Wile E.’s lawyer’s opening statement), that is officially credited as a source for the movie. (If you’re referring to something else, I don’t know what it would be.)

  12. @mark: Is this “Coyote vs. Acme brief that’s been floating around the ‘Net for-bloody-ever” the same as the National Lampoon piece I would swear I remember but have never been able to find?

  13. Just checking– are you asking after Ian Frazier’s “Coyote v. Acme” that was in The New Yorker (and still findable with Google)?

  14. (3) thanks for the article, Anne Marble: clear and insightful.

    (4) pre-ordered Heavenly Tyrant after finishing Iron Widow.

    (6) excellent headline.

  15. (1) Who would have thought the roadrunner movie of all things would be similiary the best showcase and metaphor for the current state of the movie industry?

    (3) Really cant figure out what was going on in the head of Corrain. How to loose a book contract in 10 days? I dont figure, the publisher will be pleased about a) the stink and b) the downvoting of their other books.

    Do Filers dream of eclectic scroll titles?

  16. Paul King: What’s for sure is I’ll be bigger on the outside after I eat all the cookies in that TARDIS.

  17. I bought a book recently. It was a result of writing up Terri Windling’s Birthday. I realised that though I loved the The Wood Wife and had read it many time as I considered it one of my novels that I went to when I needed a read that I could depend on to be interesting and which I thought I always learned something new from.

    So I went to Abe Books after going first to several independent bookstores , and yes I know it’s owned by Amazon, such as Powell’s which had no copies at all. I found a fine first hardback printing there for, if I remember now, around twenty five dollars plus shipping.

    It came just now and I’d be hard pressed to believe that it hadn’t actually just come off the bookshelves as if it was still twenty seven years ago when it was published.

    I got the American edition as I very much better like the Susan Seddon Boulet cover than I do the cover art that Brian Froud did for the British edition as those aren’t the creatures in this novel.

  18. Folks – AFAIK, it wasn’t from National Lampoon. All I know is that I saw it posted to usenet – maybe on r.a.s.f. in the early nineties.

  19. (7) John Landis wrote (and directed) An American Werewolf in London, not Rick Baker. Neither, IIRC, was involved with the sequel.

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