Pixel Scroll 12/4/16 I Wept Because I Had No Pixels, Until I Met A Fan Who Had No Scroll

(1) BOLD GOING. Jason Sanford says “Space operas boldly go to the heart of the human soul”.

Only after seeing Star Wars did I begin reading literary science fiction and discover that the film not only wasn’t overly original, but that George Lucas had borrowed his themes and motifs from a number of genre sources. Among these was what is likely the first space opera as readers would recognize the genre, The Skylark of Space by E. E. “Doc” Smith, published in Amazing Stories in 1928.

There are a number of earlier stories which can lay claim to being space operas, such as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ highly influential Barsoom series, featuring his famous hero John Carter of Mars. But E.E. Smith introduced something different with Skylark: true interstellar travel and space ships combined with adventures on other planets. He continued this trend with his influential Lensman series of stories.

He also introduced mediocre writing and poor science, with the space engine at the center of his Skylark adventures powered by copper which is magically transformed when connected to an unknown “element X.” But if the heart of the ship’s space drive made no sense, the heart of the story resonated with readers. They ate it up.

As did other authors, who began playing in the space opera sandbox of stars, mixing romance with the clash of civilizations and interstellar drama and action. Authors such as Leigh Brackett (known as the “Queen of Space Opera”) and C. L. Moore filled the pulp magazines with these exciting stories.  As did A. E. van Vogt, who published the well-known novel The World of Null-A. Even Isaac Asimov space opera’ed away with his extremely influential Foundation series. These space operas and many more set the stage for the Golden Age of Science Fiction.

(2) FLINT ON THE COVER. An excerpt from his interview in the December issue of Locus, “Eric Flint: Remaking History”, has been posted at Locus Online.

‘‘I’ve been a full-time author since the end of 1999. I never had a job that lasted more than five years. I thought about it the other day. Of course, I’m 69, so I don’t know that anybody would want to hire me as a machinist. If I wanted to go back to work in a factory, I couldn’t put together a résumé because most of the places I’ve worked have gone out of business. It’s ironic for me, being a writer, but that’s partly because I stayed on topic. Jim Baen once said to me, ‘You know, I’m surprised. For a commie, you haven’t made any career mistakes.’ I said, ‘Jim, it’s because I’m never caught off-guard when capitalism lives down to my expectations.’ I’ll give him credit: he laughed. He thought that was funny. I’ve had a very successful career.

‘‘Andre Norton’s prose is pedestrian, and I hear her rough drafts were even worse, and she needed a lot of editing. Nevertheless, she had one of the most successful careers in the field, because she was a terrific storyteller. I like to think that I write better than that, but, like her, I’m first and foremost a storyteller. I can teach the craft of writing, but what I cannot do is tell someone how to make a good story. I have a good friend, a photographer, and he used to be a professional for years. It’s not his eyesight – he’s got terrible eyesight. It’s just that he can look at something, and I’ll see exactly the same thing he’s looking at, but he can see that if you framed it this way, it’d be a great picture. I can’t see the frame. That’s what a storyteller does, is frame a sequence of events in such a way that there’s a point to it, it makes sense, and you go somewhere with it. I don’t know how you teach that.”

(3) GRAPHIC NOVELS. Comixology has put together its list of 50 Essential Graphic Novels which, coincidentally, they would love to sell you.

(4) MIYAZAKI PROJECT. A BBC profile, “Hayao Miyazaki: Japan’s godfather of animation?”, includes hints about a possible upcoming film.

Miyazaki has tried to retire – reportedly at least six times – but it appears he is not finished telling his stories. Since last year he has been working on a short film called Boro the Caterpillar, based on a story in development for two decades.

Last month he said it would be turned into a full-length film, which may only be released in 2021 – he will be 80 years old by then.

(5) IN SUO ANNO. When C.S.E. Cooney won a World Fantasy Award, her hometown paper took notice: “World award is no fantasy for Westerly author Claire Cooney”

When she was in third grade, Claire Cooney wrote her first musical. When she was in sixth grade, she wrote her first novel.

When she was 33, she was nominated for a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America-sponsored Nebula Award for her first novella, “The Bone Swans of Amandale.”

In October the soon-to-be 35-year-old Westerly resident earned another feather for her colorful cap. She won the 2016 World Fantasy Award for “Bone Swans: Stories,” in the Best Short Story Collection category.

“I had no expectation of winning so I didn’t prepare any comments,” said Cooney, whose stories take readers on fantastical journeys through reimagined fairy tales and myths. “I just sat there saying ‘No way’ … until my friends started screaming.”

(6) HORROR APPRECIATION. This week on Jump Scare, Cierra breaks gives us a brief look at how gothic literature has help to inspire and shape horror. “A Brief Look at the Inspiration of Gothic Literature”

(7) BINKS STILL STINKS. Jerseys and bobbleheads galore in this article at Cut4 — “Get weird with 10 of the best Minor League promotions from 2016”.

MLB promotions are always a joy, but the Minors are where the most unique promotions are going to be. Teams routinely honor ’90s cartoons, give away weird bobbleheads and have the best and strangest between-innings contests.

But even in the world of zany promotions, we still must separate the wheat from the chaff. These were 10 of our favorite promotions from the last year….

  1. Altoona Curve – Jar Jar Binks jerseys

Given that “Star Wars” might be the most successful and profitable film franchise of all-time (somehow more than Space Jam), it makes sense that plenty of teams at both the Minor and Major League level host nights devoted to the space opera. But only the Altoona Curve, the Double-A affiliate of the Pirates, were willing to look back at that cruelly overlooked and maligned character: Jar Jar Binks.

The team would lose, 3-0, that night, though. Perhaps Jar Jar is fairly maligned.

(8) MONSTER MAINTENANCE MAN. Ray Harryhausen Podcast “Episode 11 – Conservation and Restoration with Alan Friswell”.

Episode 11 of the Ray Harryhausen Podcast sees us interview Alan Friswell, the Foundation’s official conservator, about the work he has carried out in maintaining Ray’s models for future generations.

Listen to Alan speak about how he ended up working with Ray, and the amazing models which he has restored over the years, including most recently the original latex model of ‘Gwangi!’

(9) MTV FOR MILLENNIALS. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Swann reports that MTV is rebroadcasting Clone High, a 2003 cartoon about “historical figures resurrected as part of a government experiment (that) return to high school” because it’s part of a plan to bring back any show that appeals to cord-cutting Millennials who liked to watch cartoons as kids.  The show was one of the first projects of Chris Miller, who went on to co-create The Lego Movie and The Last Man on Earth“Feeding the nostalgia beast: MTV and other networks bring back their vintage shows”.

Abraham Lincoln spent the entire summer growing out his sideburns in the hopes of impressing Cleopatra, but it was a goth-styled Joan of Arc who yearned for his attention at John F. Kennedy’s back-to-school kegger.

Such was the plot of the pilot for “Clone High,” an animated teen comedy series whose premise was so absurd — historical figures cloned as part of a government experiment return to high school — that it could have only been produced by MTV in 2003. The network was experimenting in its attempt to find a follow-up to “Daria,” which also championed teen misfits and social outcasts. But “Clone High” never caught on; it was canceled after just 13 episodes.

“It was just like the kookiest idea ever, but that show was gone, lost,” says Erik Flannigan, executive vice president of music and multiplatform strategy for MTV. He’d all but forgotten about its existence until meeting Chris Miller, the series’ co-creator (better known as co-director of “The Lego Movie”) when their children attended the same kindergarten in Los Angeles. Around the same time, MTV was undertaking a massive archiving project, working with the data management company Iron Mountain to digitize its assets, eventually spurring Flannigan and his colleagues to launch a new network centered entirely on old content.

(10) A LITTLE SUNDAY MAGIC. Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) entertained with this card trick on The Graham Norton Show.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

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48 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/4/16 I Wept Because I Had No Pixels, Until I Met A Fan Who Had No Scroll

  1. (10) A LITTLE SUNDAY MAGIC. – still not as good as his TOWIE impression.



    I really liked Clone High. Especially the rock opera episode. That show went to some surprisingly gory places near the end of the 13 episodes, including one sound effect that literally makes me shudder to think of it.

  3. Yeah, I liked what I saw of Clone High too, though I didn’t watch a lot of it. I was kind of parenting that year. A good year.

    Mind the pixels, and the scrolls will take care of themselves.

  4. Clone High and Undergrads are sadly bits of genius that could have used a couple of seasons.

  5. On the first day of Christmas Mike appertained for me,
    A ticky in a Pixel Scroll tree

    On the second day of Christmas Mike appertained for me,
    Two movie trailers and
    A ticky in a Pixel Scroll tree

    On the third day of Christmas Mike appertained for me,
    Three writer’s birthdays
    Two movie trailers and
    A ticky in a Pixel Scroll tree

    On the fourth day of Christmas Mike appertained for me,
    Four writing columns
    Three writer’s birthdays
    Two movie trailers and
    A ticky in a Pixel Scroll tree

    On the fifth day of Christmas Mike appertained for me,
    Five Chapter Fives!
    Four writing columns
    Three writer’s birthdays
    Two movie trailers and
    A ticky in a Pixel Scroll tree

    On the sixth day of Christmas Mike appertained for me,
    Six Meredith moments
    Five Chapter Fives!
    Four writing columns
    Three writer’s birthdays
    Two movie trailers and
    A ticky in a Pixel Scroll tree

    On the twelfth day of Christmas Mike appertained for me,
    Twelve Filers filking
    Eleven recommended readings
    Ten Hugos squeeing
    Nine views on writing
    Eight tsundoku falling
    Seven fans kerfuffling
    Six trolls Aristotling
    Five Chapter Fives!
    Four Meredith Moments
    Three writer’s birthdays
    Two movie trailers and
    And a ticky in a Pixel Scroll tree

    [In lieu of a ticky. It’s a bit early, but it is already December. ETA: And wouldn’t you know it, forgot to ticky.]

    ETAA: Fifth!

  6. fifth!

    A new Miyazaki would be great; in the meantime, I hope many of you saw Only Yesterday, from one of his assistants. Not SF, and not in any of the traditions of anime — it follows a twenty-something as she remembers her upbringing and makes possible life decisions — but very good.

  7. (3) GRAPHIC NOVELS. As with any such list, some great ones, some okay ones, some I haven’t heard of or haven’t read, and some missing that I would’ve listed.

    (10) A LITTLE SUNDAY MAGIC. Hahaha, that was great. I loved the expression of the woman sitting next to him (who I should recognize, but don’t) (she looks so familiar darnitall).

    @Soon Lee: W00T! Your take is great as is, including that you were fifth, the Five Chapter Fives bit, and the forgetting-to-ticky bit. We’ve all been there (some of us more than others ::blush::).

  8. Its Jennifer Lawrence, his costar in Passengers. Also played Katniss from Hunger Games and Mystique in the last 3 X-flicks.

  9. Kendall: I loved the expression of the woman sitting next to him (who I should recognize, but don’t) (she looks so familiar darnitall).

    That’s Jennifer Lawrence, his co-star in (blech!) Passengers.

  10. SF Reading: I just finished Rajan Khanna’s Falling Sky and I enjoyed it a lot! It ends satisfyingly, but the end has an excerpt from the sequel, Rising Tides, which picks up right where “Sky” left off (minutes or hours later), yay.

    I may read the excerpt and switch to City of Blades, though, since that came in the mail yesterday, then obsess (as I did with “Blades”) whether to get a print sequel to an ebook.

    Anyway, Falling Sky: The present tense only bugged me a little (good writing or I’m starting to put up with it better?). The hooks for this book are not my thing, so it’s funny that I enjoyed it. Quasi-zombie post-quasi-apocalypse? Airships? (Not steampunk, fortunately.) Granted, I’ve read little or nothing with either, but those concepts always make me yawn. But I enjoyed this (good characters and writing, engaging plot and action, good – not tedious – use of flashbacks to world-build and character-background-build). I expect a downer of a flashback in book 2 or 3 to show us what happened to Ben’s dad. Whimper.

    The bad guys are a little faceless; they’re clearly nasty folk, but we mostly just see a few thugs here. (Not the zombie analogs, but the evil humans, I mean.) I hope/expect book 2 or 3 (due out mid-2017) introduces them on-screen, however briefly.

    Anyway, I have no idea if this is a typical present/near-future-zombie-apocalypse-with-airships book (is that a recognized genre?), but it was fun and I look forward to the rest.


  11. @Brendan & @JJ: Rats, I knew I should’ve recognized her. Thanks! ::blush:: I’ve seen her in 2 (?) X-films so far, and a bazillion ads for “Hunger Games” movies (plus Honest Trailers, heh) and the “Passengers” trailer.

  12. I love the way she keeps pinching her nose to stop herself from guffawing when it looks like Pratt has messed up the trick. That makes it even more fun when her expression changes to awe and astonishment when he finally pulls it off.

  13. “I love the way she keeps pinching her nose to stop herself from guffawing …”
    It’s worth it to watch the clip first to see the trick, and then rewatch the second half while paying attention to Jennifer Lawrence’s reactions.

  14. @Kendall

    I may read the excerpt and switch to City of Blades, though, since that came in the mail yesterday, then obsess (as I did with “Blades”) whether to get a print sequel to an ebook.

    I’m the other way around. I never buy print books anymore, but for long-running series, I find myself wondering if I should buy eBook versions of volumes I already have in print just so I can do multi-volume searches when I need to remember who a character was or what was special about a location.

    I haven’t yet gone so far as to discard a physical book because I bought the eBook version. That’s a step I’m still not ready for.

  15. Rats, I knew I should’ve recognized her. Thanks! ::blush:: I’ve seen her in 2 (?) X-films so far, and a bazillion ads for “Hunger Games” movies (plus Honest Trailers, heh) and the “Passengers” trailer.

    You should give her break-out film Winter’s Bone a chance. (As typical, the book is better.)

  16. @Greg

    Me too – I keep on promising I’ll cull my print collection of e-duplicates, but I just can’t quite do it.

  17. @soon lee: Applause, applause!

    Go son , scroll down to the puppies
    And see the pixels clicking there
    Then go up to the scrolls
    The filers , they are clicking too

    Mike, why are all the pixels clicking?
    They are clicking for their scrolls
    Then why are all the scrolls there clicking?
    They are clicking back at them

    This is a clicking box
    A box in which to click
    While all the scrolls and pixels tick
    This is a clicking box
    But I won’t be clicking long

    Mike, why are all the Filers clicking?
    They are merely ticking there
    O, are they merely ticking, Mike?
    Yes, true clicking is yet to come

    This is a clicking box
    A box in which to click
    While all the scrolls and pixels tick
    This is a clicking box
    But I won’t be clicking long

    O Mike tell me, are you clicking?
    Your box seems hard to scroll
    O then I’m so sorry, Mike
    I never thought I write here so much

    (With apologies to Nick Cave)

  18. I finished “Team-Ups and Crossovers (Wearing the Cape Book 6)”. I thought this was the weakest in the series. But I don’t care for Team-ups and crossovers in comics very much either.

    I highly recommend “Wearing the Cape” (the first in the series) if you like light Superhero fiction that has a well thought out adaptation to overall society.

  19. @2 – I enjoyed reading the full Eric Flint interview. I’ve enjoyed his alt-history series (Belesarius, 1632, and Jackson series). One of the thinks I like best is his characterization of blue collar workers. I grew up with blue collar folks and worked in blue collar jobs until I finished college. We also grew most of our own food (except grains & dairy).

    His universe has a lot of twists and turns. His characters often make profound mistakes. I usually like his work better when he has co-authors.

  20. @Lis Carey:

    I’m glad you’re still here. Take even the smallest victories, sez I!

    *waves pompoms and tries to involve the cats in a mammal pyramid which goes hilariously awry*

  21. (9) I never watched that show (not sure it ran in Germany), but was a big fan of The Maxx. Too bad the VHS-version was cut too much, since episodes were about 50% Ads , Trailer, “Next time”, Previously on”… and only about half new story, I could have done with a well edited version (But then again – I dont know if I would still enjoy them…)

  22. The public radio show “This American Life” episode for the past weekend included a reading of a SF story by Scott Brown, in which a self-aware bomb disposal robot is asked to do a mission he (it?) was not originally designed for, and has regrets — “You Had One Job”. Worth a listen.


  23. @Peer Sylvester: The Maxx VHS was an abomination! That was a show that I caught sporadically on Teletoon or something. The 2nd-last episode was the one that fully piqued my interest and I taped the episodes on the next repeat. Sadly my home-brewed full-length VHS bit the dust and I replaced with the commercial version. What a disappointment.

    @Lis: oh my no! By “hilariously awry” I had in mind the following:

    Maya thinks all the commotion means she’s going to the vet. She struggles, hisses, scratches, and hides under the bed where she cannot be retrieved without moving furniture.

    Tuna is a former stray, and it’s been a delight seeing her become more comfortable with her home and fellow pride members. She’s one of the sweetest, most gentle cats I’ve had the pleasure to know. She is also a very large kitty with mighty talons. She would probably think I was playing and pounce on shadows, then walk around me a few times, possibly headbutting me for ear scritches, and then flop down and splay out and start grooming her belly.

  24. @ Joe H

    Lo, how a pixel blooming
    From tender scroll hath sprung
    Of Glyer’s laptop coming
    As SMOFs of old hath sung

    Oh fabulous! To get all the favorite buzzwords in, might I suggest a minor revision?

    Lo, how a pixel scrolling,
    From tender file hath sprung…

  25. @Heather Rose Jones — Revision most happily accepted! It’s Dad’s favorite carol, and is easily in my top five. (Along with In the Bleak Midwinter and three others to be named later, and which may or may not stay the same.)

  26. Oh come, all ye filers
    Social justice warriors
    Oh come ye to file seven seven oh
    Come ye and surf him
    Born the scroll of pixels
    Oh come let us click him
    Oh come let us tick him
    Comment the latest picks by
    Glyer our host

  27. In the bleak TBR,
    Dusty stacks of tomes,
    Sequels tall as pylons,
    Piles of standalones.
    Books I’ve purchased, books on books,
    Books on books,
    The size of this TBR!
    I’m too afraid to look.

  28. O Pixel Scroll, O Pixel Scroll,
    How lovely are thy filers.
    O Pixel Scroll, O Pixel Scroll,
    How lovely are thy filers.
    They recommend their favorite tomes,
    Tell funny jokes, write silly poems.
    O Pixel Scroll, O Pixel Scroll,
    How lovely are thy filers!

  29. I think we should have a 12 Days of Christmas Filers Filking contest.

    My contribution:

    Jingle Pixel Bell Rock

    Pixel bell, pixel bell, pixel bell rock
    Pixel bells swing and Filers will ring
    Rollin’ and scrollin’ up bushels of fun
    Now the ticky box has begun

    Pixel bell, pixel bell, pixel bell rock
    Pixel bells chime in Hugo count time
    Dancin’ and prancin’ in Seventy Square
    In the Filer air

    What a bright time, it’s the right time
    To scroll the night away
    Pixel bell time is a swell time
    To clicky box, ticky box the Best Book sleigh

    Giddy up, jingle horse, god-stalk your feet
    Scrollin’ around the clock
    Chuck is a-Tingle in the meta troll beat,
    That’s the pixel bell
    That’s the pixel bell
    That’s the pixel bell rock!

  30. A filer eyes her TBR
    Kyrie eleison
    A filer eyes her TBR
    Which seven years was never bare
    Scalzi and N.K. Jemisin

    What on her lap doth the filer bear?
    Kyrie eleison
    A fluffy cat doth the filer bear
    Right on her lap he nestles there
    Scalzi and N.K. Jemisin

    And as the two are passing near
    Kyrie eleison
    Lo! Purrs arise and claws appear
    Lo! Purrs arise and claws appear
    Scalzi and N.K. Jemisin

  31. @Greg Hullender: I dislike DRM (I know it can be stripped), so I tend to buy print for many publishers, but below a certain slightly malleable threshhold, I’ll buy the ebook. Some publishers have sales regularly! But I’ve realized this leaves me at odds with myself – if book 2 doesn’t go on sale, buy the ebook (gasp, above my threshhold!) or buy in print (gasp, I’d have two different formats!)? I painted myself into a corner. 😉 I need to rethink this, clearly.

    I don’t like buying something twice, but I can see the temptation. Searchability is so nice! There are some authors I like so much, that I’ve re-bought a book as an ebook for re-reading/portability, but I’ve only done that a very few times. I kept the print version, but I could see changing that, if I did this regularly.

    @Darren Garrison: Thanks for the rec for “Winter’s Bone.”

    ETA: Oh this was either best or worst time for me to have checked the box. ;-). I’m thinking best; great songs, y’all!

  32. @Dawn: Yeah, I really hope, someone will put out a DVD with all episodes cut together properly once (I guess they wanted to stay under 90 minutes in the VHS to save money). Or put it on Netflix, Amazon prime…

    @everybody singing: Great!

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