(1) SOMETHING IN THE AIR. Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer interviews Lois McMaster Bujold at Tor.com: “Fanzines, Cover Art, and the Best Vorkosigan Planet: An Interview with Lois McMaster Bujold”. Everyone will have a favorite section – here’s mine.
ECM: You published a Star Trek fanzine in the 1960s, while the series was still on the air. It’s the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek, so I can’t resist asking you about it. What was it like to be a fan writer in the 1960s?
LMB: It was a lonelier enterprise back then than it is now. I go into it a little in this recent interview.
Other than that, I expect it was like being a newbie writer at any time, all those pictures and feelings churning around in one’s head and latching on to whatever models one could find to try to figure out how to get them down on a page. Besides the professional fiction I was reading, my models included Devra Langsam’s very early ST fanzine Spockanalia, and Columbus, Ohio fan John Ayotte’s general zine Kallikanzaros. It was John who guided Lillian and me through the mechanics of producing a zine, everything from how to type stencils (ah, the smell of Corflu in the morning! and afternoon, and late into the night), where to go to get electrostencils produced, how to run off and collate the pages—John lent us the use of his mimeograph machine in his parents’ basement. (And I just now had to look up the name of that technology on the internet—I had forgotten and all I could think of was “ditto”, a predecessor which had a different smell entirely.)
Fan writing, at the time, was assumed to be writing more about SF and fandom, what people would use blogs to do today, than writing fanfiction. So an all-fiction zine seemed a novelty to some of our fellow fans in Columbus.
John Ayotte! There’s someone I haven’t heard of since I was a young fan.
(2) A GR8 NAME. It’s only fitting that the official Star Wars site be the ones who tell us: “The Official Title for Star Wars: Episode VIII Revealed”.
THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.
(3) BUMPER CROP. The Razzie czars, explaining the extra nominees this year, said, “The crop of cinematic crap in 2016 was so extensive that this year’s 37th Annual Razzie Awards is expanding from 5 nominees to an unprecedented 6 contenders in each of its 9 Worst Achievement in Film categories.” Genre films stank up the shortlist, for example —
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
- Dirty Grandpa
- Gods of Egypt
- Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
- Independence Day: Resurgence
- Zoolander No. 2
- Ben Affleck / Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
- Gerard Butler / Gods of Egypt & London Has Fallen
- Henry Cavill / Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
- Robert de Niro / Dirty Grandpa
- Dinesh D’Souza [as Himself] Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
- Ben Stiller / Zoolander No. 2
- Megan Fox / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
- Tyler Perry / BOO! A Medea Halloween
- Julia Roberts / Mother’s Day
- Becky Turner [as Hillary Clinton] Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
- Naomi Watts / Divergent Series: Allegiant & Shut-In
- Shailene Woodley / Divergent Series: Allegiant
The “winners” will be announced February 25, the day before the Academy Awards.
(4) CLARKE ESTATE SUES. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the works recast as a “study guide” for elementary school readers. Publishers Weekly has the story: “PRH, S&S Sue Moppet Books’ KinderGuides for Infringement”.
Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster have joined with the estates of Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac and Arthur C. Clarke to file a lawsuit against Frederik Colting, Melissa Medina, and their publishing firm, Moppet Books, charging copyright infringement.
Filed January 19 in the Southern District of New York, the suit alleges that Moppet Books’ KinderGuides, a line of illustrated children’s adaptations that feature versions of The Old Man and the Sea, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, On the Road, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, with “willful copyright infringement of four acclaimed copyrighted classic novels.” The suit notes that PW wrote about the launch of the KinderGuides in August 2016.
The suit charges that the KinderGuides seek “to capitalize on the [classic] Novels’ enduring fame and popularity,” describing the titles as “a transparent attempt to recast their unauthorized derivatives as ‘study guides’ intended for the elementary school set.”
(5) ’69 IS DEVINE. Martin Morse Wooster uncovered a hidden gem. “That Nature profile of Sir Arthur C. Clarke linked to a 1969 New Yorker profile of Clarke by Jeremy Bernstein that I haven’t seen before. (The New Yorker has been putting some of its older pieces online.) It’s called ‘Out of the Ego Chamber’ and is well worth breaking the paywall for. You learn how Clarke’s experiences in fandom in the 1930s and 1940s informed his fiction, how he wrote many books about the sea even though he never really learned to swim, and how a 16-year old doofus asked Clarke in 1968 to write a scenario for a short film for free in the hopes he would be paid back when the doofus ‘became famous.’”
However, it is only in the last few years—especially since he and Stanley Kubrick wrote “2001: A Space Odyssey”—that he has become widely known to the general public. He became even more widely known, of course, during the recent flight to the moon, when he served as one of the commentators assisting Walter Cronkite in his coverage of the event for the Columbia Broadcasting System. Cronkite has been a Clarke fan for many years, and Clarke has done a number of television broadcasts with him, beginning as far back as 1953. In following the Apollo 11 flight, Clarke made some dozen appearances. During an early one, Cronkite asked him if he would mind explaining the ending of “2001,” and Clarke answered that he didn’t think there was enough time—then or later. He went to Cape Kennedy with the C.B.S. team, and at the moment of the launch, as he told a friend on his return, he, like everyone around him, burst into tears. “I hadn’t cried for twenty years,” he said. “Right afterward, I happened to run into Eric Sevareid, and he was crying, too.” After the launch, Clarke returned with the rest of the C.B.S. crew to New York and spent most of the next several days in and out of the C.B.S. studios, watching the flight and, from time to time, going on camera. The actual landing on the moon was, in many ways, the fulfillment of a life’s dreaming and prophesying. “For me, it was as if time had stopped,” he said later.
(6) 2001 ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR. Sci-Fi writer-director-producer Marc Zicree went to Stan Lee’s Comikaze Convention for his Space Command panel and ran into 2001: A Space Odyssey star Keir Dullea, who shared a scene cut from the film — and re-enacted it!
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- January 23, 1957 — Machines at the Wham-O toy company roll out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs–now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
- January 23, 1923 – Walter Miller, Jr., author of A Canticle for Leibowitz.
- Born January 23, 1954 – Craig Miller, animation writer, and early leader of the Official Star Wars Fan Club.
(9) BELATED BARBARIAN BIRTHDAY
- Born January 22, 1906 – Robert E. Howard
(10) THEATER OF THE IMAGINATION. Turner Classic Radio hosts vast quantities of Golden Age shows, which evidently are free to listen to. Includes lots of superheroes (Superman, The Green Hornet) and suspense (Suspense, what else?).
(11) SEVENEVES? Mental Floss compiled a list of “86 Books Barack Obama has recommended during his presidency”, including the Harry Potter series, Seveneves, and The Three-Body Problem.
(12) SIGNERS OF THE TIMES. The Change.org petition to “Repeal California Assembly Bill 1570” (the new law about sale of autographed items) now has 1,612 signatures.
Nearly everyone in California is impacted by AB 1570, California’s new autograph bill, because it affects everyone with a signed item in their possession, whether it’s a painting passed down through generations, an autographed baseball, or a treasured book obtained at an author’s book signing. Under the new law, when a California consumer sells an autographed item worth $5 or more, the consumer’s name and address must be included on a Certificate of Authenticity. This requirement applies to anyone reselling the item as authentic, be it a bookseller, auction house, comic book dealer, antiques dealer, autograph dealer, art dealer, an estate sales company, or even a charity.
AB 1570 is fatally flawed and must be repealed with immediate effect. It is rife with unintended consequences that harm both consumers and small businesses. It has been condemned by newspaper editorial boards and the American Civil Liberties Union.
(13) EXPLORE SPACE IN THE DISCOMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME. A BBC reporter speaks of the “lucky” people who have been to ISS, but discovers in just 48 hours that it’s not the least like fun and games: “My unhappy 48 hours as an astronaut”.
Yet, it is not always necessary to travel into space to experience what it is like living as astronauts do. It may come as a surprise to discover on Earth, dozens of people all over the world have spent months, and even over a year, living in specially built confined spaces that mimic life in space. These simulation pods are found in places like China, Hawaii and Russia, giving researchers the ability to study the effects of long-term isolation and confinement on people in preparation for long-haul space travel.
While we can glean plenty of information from astronauts’ experiences in the ISS and its predecessors, the challenges faced by astronauts will change as space agencies set their sights on the Red Planet. A mission to Mars will mean spending approximately three years in space – six-to-eight months to travel there, several months on the surface, and six-to-eight months to return. The long-term nature of the trip is expected to pose several psychological challenges for those picked to make it
To find out what it might be like, for 48 hours, I tried to live just as astronauts do – attempting to keep up with the schedule of crewmembers on the ISS. As it turns out, they have a very tightly packed workday. I woke up, drank coffee, ate not-so-great food directly from the bag, worked out, worked and repeated the pattern until the day was done. Oh, and I had to spit into a towel twice a day after brushing my teeth.
(14) NO. 1 SHOULD BE NO SURPRISE. Blastr lists “The top 11 composers who have created musical masterpieces for geeky properties”.
- Murray Gold
If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you know the music of Murray Gold. Gold has been the composer for the popular series ever since it returned to television in 2005. Composing for such distinguished Doctors as Christopher Eccleston to Peter Capaldi, he’s created some of the best themes and music in the series’ more than 50-year history. His unforgettable work includes “The Doctor’s Theme,” “Doomsday,” “This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home,” and “I Am the Doctor.” His music has made us feel like we’re on other planets, in a different time period, and traveling through time and space in the TARDIS. Gold also created the themes for the spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Notable piece: “A Good Man? (Twelve’s Theme)” from Doctor Who
Out of all of Gold’s work, his theme for the current Doctor stands out from the rest. It’s like nothing we’ve heard before in the series and captures Capaldi’s Doctor perfectly, more so I think than a theme has fit any of the previous Doctors. Listening to it, you get a sense of mystery, danger, wonder, adventure and determination. There’s gravity to it as well as playfulness. Gold laces it all together into a complex, catchy piece that makes it hard not to picture everything the Doctor has been through, all he has done and all he will continue to do.
(15) FICKLE FINGERS. Atlas Obscura claims: “One Danger of Flashing the Peace Sign Could Be Stolen Fingerprints”. Cat Eldridge sent the link with a comment, “Brunner was right: the future indeed does arrive too soon and in the wrong order.”
Have you ever posed for a photo with your index and middle fingers raised, indicating your desire for world peace? Probably, since the sign has become shorthand for the sentiment after Vietnam War activists popularized it in the 1960s.
But researchers in Japan warned this week that those flashing their exposed fingertips were at risk of fingerprint theft, which in turn could be used for any number of things, like unlocking your iPhone.
Isao Echizen, a researcher at the National Institute of Informatics, said that he and his team were able to lift the fingerprints from someone’s fingers from a photo taken about nine feet away, according to Phys.org.
(16) MAKE AMERICA SMART AGAIN. Owning this shirt will give you an IQ bonus.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Stephen Burridge, Steven H Silver, Arnie Fenner, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mark-kitteh.]
But they did teach you in middle school, which was my point. And like Chip said, it may not be desirable, but it could become necessary.
I live atop a relatively tall hill in a valley ringed by mountains, but we’ve had to deal with tornados twice in my memory – and although I’m not worried about flooding at my home, there’s a big river only a few miles away that the city straddles. Nobody really thinks about it flooding, as we’ve got a dam set up to keep that under control, but it was only a decade or two ago that the downtown area flooded to (IIRC) about six feet deep. It was unimaginable, yet it happened; the torrential rain overwhelmed the dam’s ability to manage the water.
Granted, now we have the opposite problem of drought conditions, but my overall point is that you never know. Your home may well be safe from flooding, but if you ever travel… your destination may not be.
Okay, SF pros, someone needs assistance with identifying a story collection:
A collection of stories.. Some of them had to to with the travels of a man accross the USA, he carried some weapons for self defense. like an H&K Christian Assault Rifel and a Christian Defense Knife.
As I recall in this series the Masons were .. Well, the good guys.
The Country had been taken over, by a man who said “I CAN FIX IT” (Sound like anyone we know) and sure enough he did.. Oh boy did it.
In the end the “Temple Virgins” took care of him.. Real good care.
What I need is the name of the collection and the author. Thanks in advance.
Well, no Dazzler. She’s over in the Marvel universe.
My copy of “About the Universe” (Pixel Scroll 11/7/2016 (5)) has arrived!
I am in book (or in love with it)!
The teacher of the 6th-grade class which received a set of Fahrenheit 451 in graphic form with help from Filers through DonorsChoose has posted a new update:
One of the privileges of teaching is that I get to introduce children to some great works of art. Thanks to you, I have had a memorable experience introducing them to one of the greats: Ray Bradbury and his masterpiece Fahrenheit 451.
Although I have taught All Summer in a Day and The Veldt, this is the first time I have done Fahrenheit 451 with sixth graders and, I have to say, reading it with them has really allowed me to see this particular piece of art with new eyes. I read this graphic novel for my own pleasure last summer, but the kids have revealed more of its genius as we read it together.
I always teach kids that writing in the genre of science fiction allows writers to hold a mirror up to society, and Bradbury does that here. Kids totally got how this society is structured and were able to compare it to our own culture and other cultures we have studied; I fully expected that. I did not expect, however, how deeply they would relate to the tension Montag feels between his emerging beliefs and the cultural norms. I was looking big picture at the setting and plot, but Bradbury really went behind my back and talked to kids about the human condition of being an outsider. I should have realized how they all feel different and can identify with someone who doesn’t fit in!
The other thing that I didn’t predict is that they’d have a heightened appreciation for books themselves. I was really thinking about how censorship impedes the flow of information. Montag, I forgot, is reading the greats of literature. This really made kids think about the pure pleasure of reading and how it allows them to inhabit a character and see through her eyes.
I think you’ll see from the letters that this experience of reading Bradbury is turning into a powerful experience with literature for them. It’s not something I would ever had attempted if I did not have the graphic novel version. Thank you for making it possible.
15) This has only really become an issue with high-res images, so if your peace-sign (or “V for Victory”) photos are more than 10 or 15 years old, you don’t have anything to worry about. However, tangentially related, if you plan to attend a protest and you have your phone on biometric lock, it’s a good idea to change it to PIN or password lock instead. The police can forcibly press your finger onto the screen to unlock your phone, but they can’t force you to enter a password or PIN.
Or, when the police approach, just power your phone off. I can’t testify on Android devices, but iOS requires entering your PIN after power-up before it’ll accept a Touch ID unlock… and mashing the power button’s easier than navigating a settings menu.
@Lee The police can forcibly press your finger onto the screen to unlock your phone, but they can’t force you to enter a password or PIN.
(but it’s still good advice, for the jurisdictions that agree with Lee)
You mean, the one with Yor-El And The Gang Singing:
Oh yes, it’s Kryptonite
And the feeling’s right
Oh what a night
Luthor, he’s got the one
A rock that’s special everywhere
From Gotham to Metropolis
It’s Kryptonite, and Superman is down
Wonder Woman, Lois Lane
You mothers both named “Martha”
Come here you hostage lady
Yeah, stay with me tonight
If you hear any gats
It’s just the Bat
Gonna use that Kryptonite
Use that Kryptonite
Gonna use that Kryptonite
Use that Kryptonite
@JJ: that sounds like a very confused description. Some of the specifics (good-guy Masons, Temple Virgins offing the tyrant) appear in Heinlein’s “If This Goes On–” (1940), but that’s a single novella rather than a series. (It was reprinted in Revolt in 2100, but the other stories take place years or decades later and with completely different characters.) The narrator could have been carrying Xian this-and-thats since the tyrant is a Fundamentalist — but I’ve just skimmed the story and confirmed my memory that RAH wasn’t doing weapons porn (and that weapons would have attracted more attention than they would have solved since the narrator was traveling as a civilian). I wonder whether somebody pastiched this, “modernizing” it the way Scalzi “updated” Little Fuzzy; I’ll be interested to see any answers he gets.
Chip Hitchcock: I’ll be interested to see any answers he gets.
I know! I posted it here, because after reading it, I thought, “okay, now I want to know what that story collection is”.
7) The Frisbee I acquired 1958-ish had “Pluto Platter” and a row of portholes embossed on it. Also the names of the planets. I was nuts for any kind of spacecraft. (Still am, actually.)
I suspect this isn’t it but maybe the Quantrill series by Dean Ing? Post apocalyptic, Mormon government (not masons), survivor turned government assassin then rogue. Haven’t read it in a million years but my first thought. It’s a series of novels not short stories though. It looks like James Davis Nicoll actually reviewed the series:
It may be a needle and haystack situation. I can think of a few pulp post-apocalypse series that came out of the 70’s and 80’s and I generally wasn’t even a huge fan of the genre (lots of them donated to Navy ship libraries though and once you’ve read everything else…).
Russell Letson, we had a “Pluto Platter” as well. I didn’t remember who made it or when we got it. Probably picked it up at Goodwill, but I remember seeing it in the yard around 1965, so it sounds like it was already vintage. We had another that simply called itself a Flying Saucer, and which came to a bit more of a point in the center. I don’t think we preferred that one—it was sort of mean.
Looks like there is a website entirely devoted to the post-apocalyptic genre:
No hits for Masons or Freemasons in their site search engine though.
@Rev. Bob: how good is the fingerprint scanner in the new iPhone (and Androids) anyway? I think for me it would just be a completely useless feature to be honest – I climb 3-5 times per week and it does horrendous things to my hands. I’ve read of other climbers having problems with similar touch ID tech, too.
I read requests for story ids in several Reddit forums, and I’ve seen at least one case where someone mixed up two or more stories with each other. That may be the case here. One of them sure seems to be “If this goes on–” but I’ve got no clue what the other might be.
I suppose it could be “Coventry,” which would make it easy for it to feel like a series. But there really isn’t that much weapons fetishism in “Coventry” — the lead carries (and almost immediately loses) a rifle, but it’s not an H&K Christian Defense rifle, it’s just a “rifle, vintage last century.”
Surely someone’s suggested this, but Google says no (I tried “ya” and “you”): Scroll ’em if ya got ’em! (Apologies if my Google-fu just bites and this has come up before.)
@Oneiros: “how good is the fingerprint scanner in the new iPhone (and Androids) anyway? I think for me it would just be a completely useless feature to be honest – I climb 3-5 times per week and it does horrendous things to my hands. I’ve read of other climbers having problems with similar touch ID tech, too.”
As sedentary as I am, I can’t really provide feedback on that complication. All I can say is that on my iPad mini 3, I almost never have problems with it recognizing my thumbprint. Ditto with the fingerprint scanner on my HP laptop, although I have to be a little more careful with that because I actually have to slide my finger across the scanner. (The iPad button is static; you just put your thumb on it for a second.)
Hampus Eckerman on January 24, 2017 at 12:32 am said:
I knew that you like manga, but didn’t know that you like diving. You might like this (and possibly this.)
Haha, almost from the beginning it starts with “you can dive even if you can’t swim”. 😀
“you can dive even if you can’t swim”
It’s just surviving the dive that’s difficult.
Well, swimming requires you to stay on top of the water and diving doesn’t, so I can see it not being a technical prerequisite… but I’m not sure I’d trust myself in the water, given that I can’t swim, despite several attempts at formal lessons in my childhood.
They always started with ‘dead man’s float’, which never worked for me, and just taught me to panic. I suspect I might be able to learn now that I am old and overweight instead of young and underweight. But after a lifetime of not swimming, I’m really not interested.
It’s not exactly disco, but I’m suddenly reminded of the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld, with members such as ‘Sunshine Superman’, ‘Magic Lantern’, and ‘Speed Freak’. Not sure what their version of Batman would have been like.
(Yes, this was a real thing from Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man: http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Sunshine_Superman_(Dreamworld) )
“Sunshine Superman” is a reference to a real song. (The other two, not so much.)
Re: iPhone fingerprint recognition
My experience is that the recognition is very good unless my finger is damp, in which case it doesn’t work at all. Regarding interference from injury or scarring, I have no idea. (Changes due to permanent scarring could be addressed by resetting the fingerprint image.) I believe it’s set up to be able to recognize a variety of subsets of the digit, so one might experiment with using uninjured parts of the finger.
My biggest recognition problem is with my iPad…because it’s too old to have fingerprint recognition, but as I use my phone much more often, I always try that first!
Oh, I know it’s a reference to a real song. I’ve got the song in question on tape somewhere. (Yes, tape, not CD. I think it was a gas station freebie, but I’d have to double-check, and the Cruisin’ Classics list doesn’t contain that song. The Cruisin’ Classics pictures that come up in a search don’t look like the one I had either, with a speedometer going from 60s to 90s over a tire, and why the heck do I still remember this when I haven’t even had a working tape player in a decade?)
Just the ‘disco’ comment made me think of that version of Superman, who was drawn as a big black man with an afro and the S logo on his suit inside a sunburst.
@Rev. Bob, Heather Rose Jones: Yeah, I have a feeling that climbing will destroy my fingerprints most days. Although the print scanners at airports either don’t flag up when my prints don’t seem to match or they’re a great deal better than what gets put in phones (probably the latter). When I upgrade to the new Pixel phone (or whatever Google are calling them by the time I need one) I’ll probably let y’all know if my fingerprints are usable. If nothing else, at least when climbing in a gym my thumbs don’t get wrecked so I’ll have at least one usable print.
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