Pixel Scroll 1/20/17 Try A Little Pixelness

(1) ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. GoodEReader reports “Audio Realms is out of business”.

Audio Realms has gone out of business and they have taken their main website and Facebook Page offline. They have provided no indication on what prompted their company to suspend operations. Some of their audiobook content remains available on Audible and Overdrive.

Some customers are irate who purchased Audio Realms content on Audiobooks.com. It seems that when the company want out of business all of the purchased content has disappeared from customers libraries and they have no way to access them.

The Horror Show podcast from November has info on how affected creators can stop further sales of their work (apparently AR was not paying creators what they were owed), around the 36:58 mark.

(2) GORN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Fifty years ago this week Captain Kirk dueled the Gorn.

The lumbering green guy appeared in the original series’ 18th episode, “Arena.” The episode was based on a short story written by Frederic Brown and published in Astounding magazine back in 1944.

In the memorable Star Trek version, Captain Kirk is transported to a rocky planet (aka California’s alien-appearing Vasquez Rocks) to duke it out to the death with the Gorn captain. We won’t give away the ending in case you’re saving all the original episodes for a rainy day or something, but let’s just say that there is not one thing about the Gorn that is not awesome…

(3) SFRA CALLS. The Science Fiction Research Association has put out a call for panel and presentation proposals for its SFRA Annual Conference, June 28 to July 1, 2017 at University of California, Riverside.

The conference theme will be Unknown Pasts / Unseen Futures and our keynote speaker is Nnedi Okorafor. This theme grows out of the 2016 conference, whose conversations reminded us that there is so much about the history of science fiction that has yet to be sufficiently addressed in scholarship, including marginalized or otherwise neglected bodies of work. The future of scholarship in the field can be opened up to new possibilities through this return to under examined elements in our genre’s past, opening it up to futures that are as-yet unanticipated in existing fictional and scholarly visions. This conference theme also reflects UCR’s commitment to science fiction scholarship that is focused on imagining and creating sustainable and inclusive futures. Thus our focus is equally on new voices in the field and the new kinds of futures that emerge from this broader sense of the field’s membership.

(4) BLINTZ BLITZ. Scott Edelman’s 27th episode of his Eating the Fantastic podcast features Ellen Datlow and Ukranian cuisine.

This first to be recorded this visit took place at the Ukranian restaurant Veselka, which turns out more than 3,000 pierogi each day, and has been around since 1954. My guest that afternoon was editor Ellen Datlow, who for more than 35 years has brought readers amazing stories in magazines such as Omni, on sites such as SCI FI Fiction, and in anthologies such as Fearful Symmetries, The Doll Collection, and more than 90 others.

We discussed why reading slush is relaxing, which editors she wanted to emulate when she began editing, how she winnows down her favorite stories for her Year’s Best anthologies, the complexities of navigating friendships when making editorial decisions, how Ed Bryant challenged her to become a better editor, and much more.


(5) FERRER OBIT. Actor Miguel Ferrer (1955-2017) died January 19. Geek Chocolate explains why you would know that famous sci-fi face:

In another shocking loss, we say goodbye to the actor who went from the helm of the USS Excelsior to the labs of OCP where RoboCop was built, from aiding Agent Dale Cooper in the town of Twin Peaks to Vice President of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

His first major role having been in Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop, he also had roles in William Friedkin’s The Guardian, Jim Abrahams’ Hot Shots! Part Deux, and as a voice actor in Disney’s Mulan and Justice League: The New Frontier as Martian Manhunter, but it was on television that he created the roles for which he is most famous.

Other television roles included Magnum, P.I., T J Hooker, Miami Vice, Tales from the Crypt, David Lynch’s On the Air, Will & Grace, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Robot Chicken, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Lie to Me, Psych, Desperate Housewives and most recently a long-running role as Assistant Director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles, and it has been confirmed that he will be seen again later this year as Albert Rosenfield when Twin Peaks returns this summer.

The son of singer Rosemary Clooney and actor José Ferrer, the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV in David Lynch’s Dune, his cousin George is also in the acting business.

(6) SMITH OBIT. Renowned convention bookseller Larry Smith (1946-2017) died January 20 from a dissected aortic aneurysm.

SF Site News recapped his fannish resume:

Columbus book dealer Larry Smith (b.1946) died on January 20. Smith co-chaired the Columbus in 1976 Worldcon bid as well as chairing Marcons III-XII. He served as a vice-chair for Chicon IV in 1982. He also co-charied OVFF in 1998 and World Fantasy Con in 2010. In the early 1990s, he purchased Dick Spelman’s book business and, along with his wife, Sally Kobee, has sold books and most conventions in the Midwest and East Coast. He has managed the dealer’s room at numerous Worldcons and other conventions.

Smith and his friend Robert Hillis suffered repeated frustrations trying to get a WSFS convention for Columbus, OH – a city which was not very many fans’ idea of a tourist mecca. Later they did get to apply their talents to winning a 1982 Worldcon bid (led by Larry Propp and Ross Pavlac) for Chicago, a city fans would vote for.

In the past couple of decades Smith became an iconic convention bookseller, together with his wife Sally Kobee. If the business didn’t make them rich, just the same it did get them noticed by Forbes Magazine.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.

Larry Smith and Sally Kobee at Readercon 25.


  • January 20, 1936:  Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi face off in The Invisible Ray.


  • Born January 20  — Nancy Kress


  • Born January 20, 1896  — George Burns, who once played God, is best known to fans as the actor who stood next to young Ray Bradbury in this photo.
George Burns and Ray Bradbury.

George Burns and Ray Bradbury.

  • Born January 20, 1926 – Harry Glyer
  • Born January 20, 1930 – Buzz Aldrin
  • Born January 20 – Jared Dashoff

(10) OH POOH. Five days left for you to bid on a drawing of Pooh and Piglet by the canonical illustrator. The minimum bid is $45,000.

Beautifully rendered watercolor and ink drawing of Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet by E.H. Shepard, the illustrator chosen by A.A. Milne to bring his literary characters to life. Here, Shepard draws Pooh and Piglet upon a letter to his agent, allowing the characters to express his feelings of gratitude and joy.

Pooh drawing

(11) RED PLANET, BLUE PLANET. NPR reviews Carrie Vaughn’s novel — “’Martians Abroad’ Is An Optimistic Glance Into Humanity’s Future”.

It’s perfect timing, then, for the publication of Martians Abroad. The novel is the latest from New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn, best known for her Kitty Norville urban fantasy series. But rather than involving werewolves in modern-day America, Martians Abroad sets its sights on the human-colonized solar system of tomorrow.

That said, most of Martians Abroad — as the title states — doesn’t take place on Mars at all. The majority of the action takes place on Earth. Polly Newton is a typical teenager — that is, a typical teenager living on Mars’ Colony One, where her mother is the director of operations. She sends Polly and her twin brother Charles to Earth to attend Galileo Academy, a prestigious school full of the scions of the most powerful families in the solar system. Polly and Charles are the first Martians to enroll at Galileo, partly because Mars is less wealthy and seen as a bit of a hick planet. (Not that Polly wants to go to Earth in the first place — she’s forced to abandon an upcoming internship as a starship pilot, something she desires more than anything.)

Chip Hitchcock sent the link with the gratuitous plea, “I hope they’re wrong about it being an homage to Podkayne of Mars, one of Heinlein’s more repellent books.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Christa Cook Sinclair, David K.M. Klaus, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day IanP, who never gets woolly.]

71 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/20/17 Try A Little Pixelness


    That’s rather concerning, particularly purchases on an independent site being lost. Is there an equivalent to Calibre for audiobooks? I don’t get audiobooks myself, but if I did I’d be making sure my library was backed up against this sort of thing.

  2. @Camestros

    Perhaps a Unifowl?

    Are you back from the wilderness? I’ve been enjoying Beware the Cat.

  3. RE: Podkayne and Martians Abroad. Maybe I read Podkayne way too long ago, so I don’t remember a lot about the more questionable things James David Nicoll (thanks for the link JJ) points out.
    My next Heinlein re-read is going to be Friday (for SFF Audio, we’re going to do a podcast one it). We’ll see how *that* goes.

  4. (1) Is there an equivalent to Calibre for audiobooks?

    I don’t know a simple one.
    It would be easy, if time consuming, to play the book and record it using Audacity.

  5. @Paul Weimer I used to enjoy Friday with the understanding that I had to look past Heinleinisms and stick to empathizing with a character who finds people strange and feels like an outsider no matter how well she can superficially blend in. What geeky scifi reader doesn’t know that feeling?

    But going back to it now? Reread Saturn’s Children instead. Stross did it better.

  6. I could swear I had something to say, but reading Nicoll’s article on Podkayne, and the comments, knocked it so far out of my head that even re-reading the entire post doesn’t bring it back. So it goes!

    Scroll on, thou doughty filer;
    And, as thy pixels flow,
    Scroll messages of media
    To every fan below.

  7. Indeed. If our solo goose speaks parrot it would, of course, be a:

    Pollyglot Monogoose

  8. @Paul Weimer

    Honi soit qui mal y pense (1)(2)

    OK, maybe not! I don’t want to bias your re-read so won’t write an in depth opinion. Basic thoughts though – Friday is both the best of late Heinlein and at the same time very flawed with his tics and biases. It’ll be interesting to hear your thoughts.

    (1) Or as autocorrect wanted it: Joni slot quick mail you sense

    (2) Actually a quote from Friday. It was a lot harder pre-Search Engine to find out what it meant so it stuck in my head…

  9. @6: Smith and his friend Robert Hillis suffered repeated frustrations trying to get a WSFS convention for Columbus, OH – a city which was not very many fans’ idea of a tourist mecca. That’s a very one-dimensional assessment; if fans look for tourist meccas, how did Spokane beat Orlando for 2015? (Yes, there is tourism \around/ Spokane, in the wildernesses of eastern Washington and western Idaho; what percentage of the fans you know are hunters or fishers? (Yes, there are probably some fannish hikers.)) Or what tourism did KC have to offer over Columbus in 1976? (Food, \maybe/ — but MAC 1 didn’t run on barbecue.)

    I’m used to seeing Sally without Larry at some regionals, but it will be very strange never seeing Larry again — and I’ll miss his frank assessments.

    Thanks for repeating the Forbes link, even if Larry got rather short shrift; I wasn’t following regularly then and missed it.

  10. @1 – Another reason why I’ll pay a price premium to get my ebooks/audio books/ and computer games from a source without DRM. Also why I download and have a backup copy.

  11. 11) My hope is that Martians Abroad is set up to look like an homage to Podkayne but will in fact go off in an entirely different direction — that it will be more like the book Heinlein would have written if he had not endorsed so many damaging stereotypes about women. Sort of a fix-it fic with the serial numbers filed off.

    @ Chip: I know that when I’m looking at Worldcon bids, tourism is not one of the top priorities in my evaluation. Even when I was going just as a fan, there was too much to do at the con itself to make going out and doing other things practical (with the exception of strolling the French Quarter for dinner at NolaCon). I voted for Spokane because (1) the con-runners sounded as if they knew what they were doing and (2) the city was solidly behind the bid — we weren’t going to be playing second fiddle to other major tourist draws in the area.

  12. @Podkayne of Mars – Not Heinlein’s best book. But I reread it within the last 3 years because of a ebook deal and enjoyed it.

    I can see merit in some of JJs criticisms. The Uncle put the kids into danger as part of a diplomatic cover. But the Uncle does realize and regret what he did. The parents are part of the object lesson. If you don’t raise your kids and socialize them – who will? Clark is a sociopath. Could this have been prevented if the parents had paid more attention – quite possibly.

    How did Clark hide the mini-A-bomb? Even as a pre-teen reading the book for the first time I saw that plot hole.

    But JJs other observations were not things that ruined the book for me. But read his observations and decide for yourself. He spent a lot of time on this and backs up his thoughts with lengthy quotes from the text and Heinlein’s comments. He makes his points clearly and has good reasons for them.

  13. @airboy

    The reviewer is James Davis Nicoll, not JJ.

    Liz Bourke has an interesting review of Martians Abroad given this discussion:

    It feels, in fact, rather like Vaughn set out to write a modern Heinlein juvenile—and the finished product has some of the flaws, as well as the virtues, of the form.

  14. James David Nicoll

    Davis, not David. The unusual middle name serves two purposes: it distinguishes me from all the other people named James Nicoll (“James” is a very popular name in my family) and it commemorates my maternal uncle Davis Strachan.

    My review of Martians Abroad.

  15. James David Nicoll – I apologize for not giving you proper credit.

    I’m impressed with the detailed reviews of the 14 Heinlein YA books. I disagree with your take on some of them, but your work is detailed and you have thought through your opinions.

    As an FYI – Starship Troopers is still very popular in the US military and among wargamers. I know influential wargamers who use quotes from Starship Troopers in their tag lines.

  16. Gorn – I always wondered why there arent featured more in the later series (There is one epsidoe in Enterprise where one is featured, but Enterprise is set before the first meeting of the Gorn, not after). I kind of hoped they would use them as the antagonists in Beyond, but that was not the case.

    “The enemy can not scroll a pixel… if you disable his File.”

  17. When I first got into fandom in 1966 and joined the N3F, Larry Smith was one of two people who sent me a Welcome letter (the other was Chris Couch). Larry and I exchanged many letters during my first two or so years of fannish activity. I’m glad he helped to socialize me, fanwise.

  18. Have to wonder if the roll-over accident that happened to Larry Smith in his van back in 2015 was something that led up to the aortic aneurysm that killed him. I’ve read that chest trauma can cause such an aneurysm.

  19. Gorn with the Wind
    Gorn in 60 Seconds
    Gorn Girl
    The Gornies

    You wonder what a modern Star Trek would do with the Gorn. Still strong and lumbering or take advantage of CGI and make for something different. Maybe something like Randall Boggs.

  20. Mark on January 21, 2017 at 3:36 am said:


    Perhaps a Unifowl?

    Are you back from the wilderness? I’ve been enjoying Beware the Cat.

    Yes, back!
    Glad you enjoyed Beware the Cat! I still can’t believe it isn’t more well known – I’d never heard of this proto-novel until this year. Even the unedited original Tudor-English version is readable(ish) and very funny once you get into the rhythm of it.

  21. Camestros Felapton: Love it! Just wondering, though, if that question mark beginning the last line is a typo, or some kind of e e cummings punctuation.

  22. I’ve read that the Star Trek episode wasn’t really based on the Brown story: rather, Gene L. Coon came up with a similar idea on his own, and then Desilu’s legal department noted the resemblance in plot, so to forestall any possibility of lawsuit they called it an adaptation (and presumably paid Brown something). Really the two are similar only at the highest level of plot summary. When you look at the actual details of setting, character, and story they are quite different.

  23. Mike Glyer on January 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton: Love it! Just wondering, though, if that question mark beginning the last line is a typo, or some kind of e e cummings punctuation.

    And when I’m typing,
    And you know my typing,
    Hitting that same old mac keyboard, (yeah, yeah)
    But when I typo,
    I type a little question mark, yeah, yeah

  24. Among other things, as I recall, genocide turns out to be the answer in the Brown story. Also, the aliens bear a striking resemblance to Japan’s Rising Sun flag. Note that the story came out in 1944.

  25. When I first bought a Kindle, about six years ago when I joined Amazon, “Podkayne of Mars” and “Glory Road” by Heinlein were two of the first books I read on it. Although I’d read nearly everything by Heinlein (starting with “Time for the Stars” back in the fifth grade 40 years earlier), I had somehow missed those two.

    And they were awful. I mean, really awful. This-is-stuff-that-gives-SF-a-bad-name awful. Unbelievable characters. Plots that use suspension of disbelief as a punching bag. Narrators who stop to lecture you on the author’s pet political beliefs.

    I went back and reread “Space Cadet,” (which I’d loved so much as a kid I’d reread it in my 20s), and I still liked it. (I also decided that Heinlein stuck in all sorts of hints that Oscar and Pete were a gay couple.) So it’s not that I just grew out of his stuff.

    I wonder if it’s that by the time he wrote those stories, he was so well-established that he felt he could ignore editors.

  26. Girls gorn wild
    My fifteen year old self read and reread Podkayne, but my almost seventy self will not read it again because she is too afraid of the suck fairy: I would prefer to keep the feel good memories

  27. @James Davis Nicoll: Among other things, as I recall, genocide turns out to be the answer in the Brown story. Not in my recollection; the whatsis that stages the single combat torches the enemy fleet, but I don’t think the civilian population is gone. OTOH, I wouldn’t put such past Brown; his positions were very … mainstream.

  28. Ok, I tried to see the horrow movie It follows and have to accept it, I can’t see psyhological horror movies any more. They are just too much for me. Interesting to see what ages does with you.

  29. (11) Huh. I remember reading Podkayne of Mars, I must have been 13 or so, and it was part of a boxed set of Heinlein my parents gave me for Christmas. (It also included Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, Orphans of the Sky, Farnham’s Freehold, and Glory Road. The only one I didn’t get through was Glory Road, for some reason.) I remember reading Podkayne, but I honestly don’t know whether I liked it or not. I was mostly at an age where I’d read anything SF-related.

    The first book I bought as a kid with my own money was The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. The second book (okay, my mom might have paid for it) was The Puppet Masters, by Heinlein, which I read over and over again, possibly because of the nudity (Heinlein liked nudism, I guess, and I was just starting to get interested in . . . various things.)

    (6) Sorry to hear about Larry Smith. I bought many books from him at Windycon, Capricon, and Chicon7. I’ll miss him.

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