Pixel Scroll 12/9/21 They’d Rather Be Scrolled

(1) DIANA RIGG ESTATE. Bonhams is auctioning the Estate of the Late Dame Diana Rigg on December 14 starting at 10:00 GMT . You can inspect items online by using the search in this link: “Bonhams : Collections: Including: The Contents of Stanley House, The Estate of the Late John Schaeffer, The Estate of the Late Dame Diana Rigg”.


Early 17th century
With sharply tapering blade of triangular section graduated on one side from ‘1’ to ‘120’, hilt comprising writhen swelling iron quillons and pommel, and swelling writhen dark horn grip en-suite and set with numerous brass nails, 40cm (15 3/4in) long

(2) STOP AND SHOP. DisCon III has posted the Dealers Room Map for those who will be physically present.

(There also will be a Virtual Dealer’s Room.)

(3) CAN’T EVEN PREDICT THE PRESENT. In WIRED, Canadian sf writer Madeline Ashby denounced cyberpunk as antiquated. “It’s Time to Reimagine the Future of Cyberpunk”.

CYBERPUNK IS LIKE cyberspace: instantly recognizable, but so ubiquitous as to be intangible. An aesthetic movement and a commentary on capitalism, it can be a genre, a subjectivity, an adjective, a political approach, a time period. (Though the same could be said of the words Renaissance or Victorian.) It can tackle artificial intelligence, embodied identity, digital immortality, or simply, in the case of Pat Cadigan’s Synners, whether a marriage can survive electronic pornography addiction. Like the best fiction, cyberpunk still slips on like a pair of fingerless gloves, even if—in the 21st century, partially situated in the future it imagined—it’s hard to see where fiction ends and reality begins….

… Considering the world has caught up with, if not surpassed, the genre’s imagination, its place in fiction might be limited, or limiting, in the way that rehashing Tolkien might be limiting for a fantasy writer. This is one of the challenges of telling a future-set story: Eventually time catches up, like a rubber band snapping back into shape. And sometimes it stings. Readers often assume that authors are happy when they “predict” future events “correctly,” but rarely are we asked about the queasy feeling of watching one’s worst vision come to pass. Describing his debut novel for CrimeReads, Lincoln Michel says, “The Body Scout is an attempt to replace the ‘cyber’ in cyberpunk with flesh and look at what happens when the human body becomes the major realm of technological innovation and corporate control … These days, the greatest dystopian novel might be the evening news.”…

(4) HEX. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Sarah Hemming reviews Hex, a musical adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty” now playing at Britain’s National Theatre.

The theatre’s seasonal family show, Hex. is a new musical that flips the story (of Sleeping Beauty), reaching beyond the ‘happily ever after’ to give Princess Rose a chance to make some decisions and furnishing the prince with a back-story (his mother is an ogre with a taste for human flesh).

But most notably, Hex shifts the focus of the tale.  Here the ‘wicked fairy’ gets to tell her side of the story; it turns out that Fairy (played by Rosalie Craig) is not a mean old ratbag, but a lonely and loveable little comic oddball who longs to do good.  Rather than setting out to do mischief, she is summoned to the palace by an exhausted king and queen who are desperate to get their daughter to sleep.  What happens next depends on the subtle distinction between a blessing and a hex and is a mistake Fairy spends the next century trying to repair.

(5) CAN YOU DIG IT? [Item by Mlex.] Map a tunnel through the center of the earth in a 4D visualization. Another app you never knew you needed, and you do: SuperTunnel Simulator.

SuperTunnel is an educational tool that simulates a hole through Earth, indicating where in the world you would end up if you were to dig in a certain direction

(6) WHERE DOES THE EXPANSE GO FROM HERE? “The Expanse Season 6 Interview: Short Season, Future Plans?” at Gizmodo.

Cheryl Eddy, io9: If you had to sum up season six with a single overarching theme, what would it be?

Daniel Abraham: The necessity of normal people to do the good thing in order to get us through. I mean, so much of this is about not just one hero—not just finishing up a conflict with two guys having a fistfight on a catwalk. [It’s about] everybody just being a little bit better in order to make things better, recognizing people’s humanity, recognizing people’s place, giving room to each other, giving respect to each other—the kind of banal goodness that actually makes society better.

Naren Shankar: I think recognizing the inherent humanity in others is really part of the season in the big way. I’m trying to remember what we wrote on the board [in the writer’s room]. Remember we always would write the theme…

Ty Franck: Normally we would have had a theme looking at us every day as we worked. And this was the first year we didn’t do that. So now we’re just fumbling around like dumbasses [laughs].

(7) BURY ME NOT ON THE LONE PRAIRIE. Yahoo! reports “’Cowboy Bebop’ Canceled at Netflix After One Season”.

… The 10-episode series failed to find much love upon its debut, with both critics and audiences alike largely split on it. The show holds just a 46% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 54% audience approval. In her review for Variety, Caroline Framke wrote “Netflix’s live-action remake of ‘Cowboy Bebop’ tries to be so much all at once, and appeal to so many different potential audiences, that it ends up struggling to forge an identity of its own….

(8) OCTOTHORPE. In Octothorpe episode 46, John Coxon is afraid, Alison Scott is in Portugal, and Liz Batty is an absolute unit. They discuss Smofcon, and Worldcon site selection, and picks. “And in the middle we have a worryingly serious conversation about COVID that you can skip if you want to.”

Listen here! “Is My Head Extremely Solid, Or What”.


2006 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Fifteen years ago at L.A. Con IV where Connie Willis was the Toastmaster, Serenity, the film that wrapped up the short-lived Firefly series, won the Hugo for  Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Other nominated works that year were Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-RabbitThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeBatman Begins and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Most critics agreed with Hugo voters, with Roger Ebert in particular saying that it was “made of dubious but energetic special effects, breathless velocity, much imagination, some sly verbal wit and a little political satire.” Unfortunately, the box office for it was dismal as it made forty million against production costs of, ooops, forty million. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a near perfect ninety-one percent rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 9, 1900 Margaret Brundage. An illustrator and painter who is now remembered chiefly for having illustrated Weird Tales. Here is her first cover for them.  She’s responsible for most of the covers for between 1933 and 1938. Wiki claims without attribution that L. Sprague de Camp and Clark Ashton Smith were several of the writers not fond of her style of illustration though other writers were. She’d win the the Retro Hugo at CoNZealand for Best Professional Artist after being nominated four times before. And she’s a member of the First Fandom Hall of Fame. (Died 1976.)
  • Born December 9, 1902 Margaret Hamilton. Most likely you’ll remember her best as The Wicked Witch and her counterpart in Kansas in The Wizard of Oz. She would appear later in The Invisible Woman, along with much later being in 13 Ghosts, a horror film, and a minor role in The Night Strangler, a film sequel to The Night Stalker. (Died 1985.)
  • Born December 9, 1934 Judi Dench, 87. M in a lot of Bond films. Aereon in The Chronicles of Riddick, Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love which is at least genre adjacent, Society Lady in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Miss Avocet in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Her very first genre film in the late Sixties, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was poorly received by critics and I recall her role being a mostly nude and sexy faerie.  No, I’m not mentioning Cats. Really I’m not.
  • Born December 9, 1944 Eric Saward, 77. Script editor and screenwriter during the Sixth Doctor’s time. He wrote “Earthshock”, “Resurrection of the Daleks” and “Revelation of the Daleks”.  He was forced to resign because he was blamed for numerous scenes of graphic violence and darker themes during the first season of the Sixth Doctor.
  • Born December 9, 1952 Michael Dorn, 69. Best remembered for his role as  the Klingon Worf in Trek franchise. Dorn has appeared on-screen in more Star Trek episodes and movies as the same character than anyone else. He also played at least one other character in the Trek universe. Though rumored to be appearing in the second season of Picard, that is not happening after all. In that, he joins a long list of actors so rumored. 
  • Born December 9, 1953 John Malkovich, 68. I was pondering if I was going to include him then decided that his performance in Being John Malkovich, which won him a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, was enough for me to include him. What a strange role that is! He also shows up in the dreadful Jonah Hex film and played Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach in the Crossbones series which is at least genre adjacent. He also appeared in Mutant Chronicles, though, and there was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well.
  • Born December 9, 1970 Jennifer Brozek, 51. She picked up a Hugo nomination at Sasquan for Best Editor Short Form for the Beast Within 4: Gears & Growl steampunk anthology (she also edited numbers 2 and 3 in the series). Her novel The Last Days of Salton Academy garnered a Stoker nomination.
  • Born December 9, 1970 Kevin Hearne, 51. I have really enjoyed the Iron Druid Chronicles in its audio narrative form.  Though I’ll confess that I’ve not yet read the spin-off series, Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries I’m planning to. Yeah it really, really does exist. Sausages figure prominently, a given as Oberon is a canine. 

(11) SCROLL TITLE EGOBOO. [Item by Daniel Dern.] This (substitute “your name” for YOURNAMEHERE, of course) seems to find (many) previous winners. (https://file770.com/?s=%22contributing+editor+of+the+day+YOURNAMEHERE%22&submit=Search) or, from the top of a scroll, in the search box, including the double-quotes “contributing editor of the day YOURNAMEHERE”.

Depending on your name, you might get some false positives, since OGH sometimes tweaks the fullname, e.g. “Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Streetcar-Named-Dern”, which is why I’ve just used my first name in my search string.

(12) YOUR JEOPARDY! HOSTS. It’s not forever, but they’re sticking around for now. “’Jeopardy!’: Mayim Bialik, Ken Jennings to Host Rest of Season 38”.

Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings, who have been sharing hosting duties for season 38 following the Mike Richards debacle, will continue to serve in the same capacity into 2022. Producers Sony Pictures Television said Wednesday that the duo will remain hosts through the end of the syndicated game show’s current 38th season, which ends July 29. 

(13) BURSTING FORTH. In the Washington Post, Steven Zeitchik says that “3-D anamorphic outdoor ads” are about to become reality.  Amazon has begun advertising “The Wheel of Time” on Oceazn Outdoors’s 3-D  billboards in Picadilly Circus and  Times Square.  These ads could eventually be personalized based on “what a sensor picks up from passerrby.” “A ‘Wheel of Time’ 3D image could be the future of advertising”.

…Two weeks ago, the British agency that worked on the “Wheel of Time” spot, Amplify, brought it to Times Square. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

In that ad, actress Rosamund Pike, whose character Moiraine represents “the light,” reaches out her hand, beckoning for help. The Fade, an agent of “the darkness,” reaches out his mouth, looking for a city bus to devour. The effect can give passersby the impulse to duck and is a leap ahead of the area’s famous steaming cup of soup.

(14) NOT UNDEAD YET. Reboots: Undead Can Dance by Mercedes Lackey, just named as the 2021 SFWA Grandmaster, and Cody Martin, author of the Secret World Chronicle braided novel series, and two previous entries in the Reboots series, was released by Caezik Notables on November 30.

Say hello to Humph the Boggart, the principled, down-on-his-luck private detective, Skinny Jim the zombie, and Fred the werewolf, in this film noir style space opera.

Humans aren’t alone anymore—in fact, they share a planet with undead and near-dead beings, living in…semi-harmony, depending on who you ask!

This is the world of Reboots—where zombies, vampires, and werewolves live side-by-side with humans, taking whatever jobs they can in order to coexist peacefully. So, what better job to give almost-dead or dead beings, than one that consists of no air, cosmic radiation, and a lack of life-sustaining essentials?

In comes a cast of interesting, unique, and downright paranormal creatures as they travel through space.

(15) ADMIRATION SOCIETY. Scalzi was amused, too, and retweeted this discovery:

(16) ‘TOON BID. The facetious “Saskatoon in 2067 WorldCon Bid Progress Report 2021” begins —

Progress has been smooth, if nonexistent, on getting things in place for our filing (anticipated by the World-con Business meeting of 2062 at the latest.

We are making early preparations for a restaurant guide for the event, but have little luck identifying restaurateurs willing to commit to deals, menus, locations, or existing, in 2067.

We are currently seeking co-chair, preferably who will be under the age of 80 for the con, so born after 1987. There are a couple of candidates at the moment, but so far the youngest interested party is Jukka Halme, who will be 100 at the time of the con….

Read the whole thing at the link.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Take a virtual tour of the Toronto Library’s “Spaced Out: 50 Years of the Merril Collection” exhibit, continuing through December 31 (more info here.)

This video is a guided tour of the library’s exhibit, Spaced Out: 50 Years of the Merril Collection, in the TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library, an exhibit showcasing some of the exciting, strange and wonderful things held by our Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy.

The Merril Collection dates back to 1970, when science-fiction author and editor Judith Merril donated 5,000 books to Toronto Public Library to found what was at first called the “Spaced Out Library”.

Visit the exhibit to learn more about the collection and speculative fiction, the literature of the “what-if.” This kind of literature explores the outer reaches of human imagination — our most spectacular dreams and darkest fears.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chris Barkley, Mlex, Michael J. Walsh, Kent Pollard, Daniel Dern, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson. This is the first in his suggested series “The Hugo Pixel Scroll Winners.”]

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31 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/9/21 They’d Rather Be Scrolled

  1. (13) Mokie-Coke ads to follow soon (or Feckle Freezers?)

    Have we done “The Scroll Merchants”?

    Or “That’s no Moon – It’s a Harsh Scrollstress”

  2. Mike Glyer says Have we heard from the Trantor in 23,309 committee lately?

    No, but the Islandia in 2040 has filed an progress report on human rights in their country after a complaint was filed by a fan group that it was concerned how certain minorities would be treated by the royalist government there.

  3. I have spent many happy hours reading at Toronto’s Merril Collection. What an amazing resource for science fiction (and about a 5 hour drive from my house.) Hope to get back there in 2022.

  4. Shame. I was quite enjoying it, mainly for John Cho’s performance. And the corgi. Something pretty to look at when exercising

  5. 87) Quite miffed about that one. This was a show that got stronger with each epsidoe – which probably was the problem. The first episodes were too close to the anime, the later (from 5 or so) really found their own voice. And the decision to focus on two main characters in the first season and probaly would have the backstories of the other two (or introduce the 4th character in the first place) in season 2 was a good one. If it wouldnt have been canceled. Too bad.

  6. “ Her very first genre film in the late Sixties, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was poorly received by critics and I recall her role being a mostly nude and sexy faerie.”

    Maybe watch it again. Peter Hall converted his Jacobean-set production into a “contemporary” setting in which Dench and Ian Richardson’s costumes consisted of Vulcan ears and green body paint. Despite nearly freezing to death, they turned in good performances. And look sharp at Hermia and Helena, in their silly minidresses – it’s Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg! Definitely worth a watch, though my favorite filmed production is the 2019 Bridge Theatre one, with Gwendoline Christie as Titania.

    Happy birthday, Dame Judi!

  7. Msb says Maybe watch it again. Peter Hall converted his Jacobean-set production into a “contemporary” setting in which Dench and Ian Richardson’s costumes consisted of Vulcan ears and green body paint. Despite nearly freezing to death, they turned in good performances. And look sharp at Hermia and Helena, in their silly minidresses – it’s Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg! Definitely worth a watch, though my favorite filmed production is the 2019 Bridge Theatre one, with Gwendoline Christie as Titania.

    Happy birthday, Dame Judi!

    Did I say I didn’t like it? No, I didn’t. I said that critics at the time didn’t like it and they most definitely with attitude did not. I think that it’s quite interesting and well worth watching.

    I try in general to keep my personal opinions out of these write-ups reserving those for the comments sections. Like the Birthdays, I try to be sort of opinion free. (No, snickering from the peanut gallery now!)

    Still listening to that Midnight Louie Mystery, A Cat in a White Tie and Tails

  8. Andrew (not Werdna): “That’s no Moon – It’s a Harsh Scrollstress”

    Using that today!


    That’s disappointing but not entirely unexpected given Netflix’s penchant for cancelling series after one season. I’m thinking of any number of now beloved series that didn’t really hit their straps until after their first season: they never would have got the opportunity under Netflix.

    The days of new shows being nurtured & allowed to find their voices are gone I suppose.

    I enjoyed both the animated & live action versions. I think that any adaptation that tries to be a carbon-copy of the original story is doomed to fail. The live action version was not that, rather it was more a remix of the original & that is how it should be. And it captured the vibe of the original.

    My experience of watching “Cowboy Bebop” is unusual. I never watched the animated until the live action was nearly upon us, so the original was not a beloved series for me. I was about half a dozen episodes into the animated when the live action dropped. And then I was sort of alternating between the two. So I encountered different plots first in different formats. It was intriguing to see how the live action version remixed some of the plotlines or made different creative decisions.

    By the end, the live action had clearly diverged. I was really looking forward to where they planned to take the stories in Season 2.

  10. Robin Hobb offers writerly wisdom: how to generate unique character names.

    Thread starts here:

    Copied txt:
    “I believe that older writers, like me, have a duty to pass on the secrets and the tricks of the trade that have served us. So, here is the magic you can use to generate character names that are unique.”

    “1. Go to Starbucks. Order a coffee and a pastry or sandwich. Any flavor.”

    “2. Tip the barista a dollar and a wink.”

    “3. When asked for your name, mutter anything through your mask. ‘silvetware’ ‘aardvark’ ‘ramon’. Then take your seat and wait.”

    “4. When you are called to pick up your pastry, the new character name will be printed on the bag. It may bear a passing resemblance to what you muttered. Or it may be an entirely new name, never used in any culture.”

    “5. This always works. And you are welcome.”

  11. (11) SCROLL TITLE EGOBOO. I admit, blush, I did the search. I’m amused that one of my titles was used on my birthday! Whee!

    (13) BURSTING FORTH. I gotta say, that’s pretty cool looking, at least on my screen! Does it look that good in real life, though?

  12. 15
    I love that Scalzi pic. A truly great author photo. That cat had the most badass mojo when he wandered in out of the wilds of Ohio.

  13. Brown Robin says I love that Scalzi pic. A truly great author photo. That cat had the most badass mojo when he wandered in out of the wilds of Ohio.

    Scalzi’s cats are a definite highlight of his blog. The household has three of them, plus I believe two canines.

    Now reading Kristine Rusch’s Ten Little Fen

  14. Correcting to be polite: four cats (Zeus, Sugar, Spice, and Smudge) and one dog (Charlie).

  15. David Goldfarb saysCorrecting to be polite: four cats (Zeus, Sugar, Spice, and Smudge) and one dog (Charlie).

    Well I counting off memory, so I’m not surprised I didn’t remember all of them, and I don’t recall that there’s a listing of all the household companions on the site, so how did you account for all of them?

  16. I read the blog regularly, I occasionally look at the Scamperbeasts Twitter account, and I have a good memory for that sort of thing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    (Wow, WordPress is making it surprisingly difficult to type that shrug.)

    I also remember past pets: cats named Ghlaghghee (pronounced Fluffy) and Lopsided Cat, and dogs named Kodi and Daisy. Dogs have only been one at a time, the cats have overlapped — I can remember when Zeus was the youngest cat in the household, while now he is the senior citizen. ( I do feel like when I first started reading Whatever there might have been a third cat to go along with G. and L.C. whose name I’m not recalling. Not gonna go check past entries though.)

    I believe Ghlaghghee was the cat involved in the famous Bacon-Taping incident, but I could be wrong.

  17. @David Goldfarb–

    I also remember past pets: cats named Ghlaghghee (pronounced Fluffy)

    Yes, exactly the way it was spelled.

    I believe Ghlaghghee was the cat involved in the famous Bacon-Taping incident, but I could be wrong.

    You are absolutely correct. Ghlaghghee was persuaded not to file a formal complaint.

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