Pixel Scroll 12/9 The Flounce On The Doorstep

(1) MST3K+PO. Patton Oswalt has agreed to join Mystery Science Theater 3000 as the Forrester’s newest Evil Henchman, TV’s Son of TV’s Frank. Joel Hodgson explains:

I first became aware of Patton around fourteen years ago, when he was doing “commentary” for the MTV Awards – live in the room during the event! I realized right away he was a kindred spirit, and damn funny too. Since then, obviously, he’s bloomed into this amazing comedy/internet dynamo, and I’ve gotta tell you: I’ve seen a lot of stand-ups over the years, but – no lie – Patton really is one of the best ever. And just as important, he’s a very fun, articulate and witty soul – just the kind of person who we’ve always tried to bring onboard for MST3K.

That’s probably why, when I started putting together my dream roster of special “guest writers” for the next season of MST3K, the idea of Patton kept coming back to me. I knew he was a Mystery Science Theater fan from way back – he even moderated our 20th Anniversary Reunion panel at San Diego Comic-Con)–and I thought he’d be terrific at writing riffs. Then I started to wonder if he might be a good fit on camera, too.

Remember last week, how I said my creative process usually starts with visuals, and then I work backward? Well, in this case, I first imagined Patton dressed up like TV’s Frank. I figured maybe he’d be Frank’s son, or at least a clone. But yeah: the idea of Patton wearing black lab assistant’s garb, with a big mound of silver hair and a spitcurl…? It was just really funny to me, in a visual / cross-referential / meta kind of way.

(2) HIGH CASTLE. Marc Haefele, once the editor for some of Philip K. Dick’s later books from Doubleday, praised Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle on an NPR affiliate’s show “Off-Ramp.” BEWARE MINOR SPOILERS.

Juliana (Alexa Davalos) — Frink’s estranged wife in the book, his girlfriend in the series — was that rarest of Dick characters, a strong, positive, effective woman. She is even more so on the screen. The substitution of various film reels for the original fictional novel McGuffin generally works, albeit there seem to be a few too many abandoned operating 16 mm projectors left around.

And there are some clunkers. Like when the Nazi elevated monorail from which-side-is-he-on Nazi/underground operative Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank) descends bears the label “U-Bahn.” Whoops, that’s a subway folks. The elevated is an “S-Bahn.” Or why is “Mack the Knife,” a song by a Communist  (Bertolt Brecht) and a Jew (Kurt Weill), being  sung at an otherwise terrifyingly well-imagined Aryan Victory Day picnic in occupied Long Island?

(3) BEST STAR WARS MOVIE. Michael J. Martinez marches on: his Star Wars rewatch has reached movie #5 — “Star Wars wayback machine: The Empire Strikes Back”.

In this rewatch, we have the crown jewel of the entire saga: The Empire Strikes Back. Pretty much everything we love about Star Wars is front-and-center here, and this one stands up to the test of time as well as any classic film you can think of. Yes, it’s as good as I remembered.

(4) FICTIONAL HISTORY. Jonathan Nield delivers “A defense of historical fiction” at Pornokitsch.

…Perhaps this introduction may be most fitly concluded by something in the nature of apology for Historical Romance itself. Not only has fault been found with the deficiencies of unskilled authors in that department, but the question has been asked by one or two critics of standing – What right has the Historical Novel to exist at all? More often than not, it is pointed out, the Romancist gives us a mass of inaccuracies, which, while they mislead the ignorant (i.e., the majority?), are an unpardonable offence to the historically-minded reader. Moreover, the writer of such Fiction, though he be a Thackeray or a Scott, cannot surmount barriers which are not merely hard to scale, but absolutely impassable. The spirit of a period is like the selfhood of a human being – something that cannot be handed on; try as we may, it is impossible for us to breathe the atmosphere of a bygone time, since all those thousand-and-one details which went to the building up of both individual and general experience, can never be reproduced….

(5) RIDING HIGH IN APRIL, SHOT DOWN IN MAY. We all have those days.

(6) BURSTEIN IN TRANSLATION. Michael A. Burstein had a short story in a recent issue of the Chinese prozine Science Fiction World.

I am pleased to announce that my short story “The Soldier WIthin” has been translated and published in the November 2015 issue of [Chinese characters]. (In English, the magazine is known as Science Fiction World.) This is my first time having a story translated into Chinese or published in China. I’d like to thank Joe Haldeman for having purchased the story for the anthology Future Weapons of War back in 2007, and the editor of SF World, Dang Xiaoyu (I hope I have that right), for choosing to reprint the story .

In theory, this means the story will be read by approximately 1 million people in China. That would make it the most widely read story of mine.

(7) THE BILLIONS NOBODY WANTED. Remember when no film buyers wanted Star Wars for their theater chains? Me neither. But several swear it happened in “’Star Wars’ Flashback: When No Theater Want to Show the Movie in 1977”, an article from The Hollywood Reporter.

LENIHAN I was 23 and booking country towns in Northern California for United Artists, which also owned the Coronet Theatre in San Francisco. I tease Travis all the time that the only time I ever won was when he picked The Deep for a theater in Redding, Calif., while I picked Star Wars. On opening day at the Coronet, there were lines around the block. It played there until Close Encounters of the Third Kind opened in December, and we were still hitting our holdover numbers.

(8) FAMOUS COSTUMES. The “Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibit will be moving to Denver where it will run from November 13, 2016-April 2, 2017.

Included in the show’s 60 costumes, which will be displayed in the museum’s Hamilton Building Anschutz and McCormick galleries, are such classics as Princess Leia’s bikini, Darth Vader’s menacing black uniform, and the royal red gown Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) wore in 1999’s ” Star Wars: Phanton Menace.”

In addition to featuring costumes and conceptual art, the exhibit includes videos with designers, actors and George Lucas talking about the creative process.

(9) UNHEARD OF. New York Magazine discovered it takes less than 90 seconds to repeat all the dialogue spoken by women other than Princess Leia in the entire original Star Wars trilogy.

(10) STAR CHOW. And if that doesn’t give you a case of Star Wars-related indigestion, here’s a couple more things to try.

You’ll need:
Donut holes
12 ounces white candy melts
Black icing
Blue icing
Orange Icing
Lollipop sticks


When it comes to setting up a holiday dinner table, why not make it more festive by incorporating Star Wars! Flavored butter can be made to be savory or sweet. Pumpkin Spice and Cranberry orange butters are warm and seasonal and taste great with breads and scones. Garlic Herb and Sriracha Lime have a kick that goes well with crackers and sandwiches made of leftovers.

By shaping them into stormtrooper helmets the butter becomes a unique and fun way to add Star Wars to your traditional holiday meal.

(11) HOLY ANDY WARHOL! Or failing that, an entire line of Campbell’s products in Star Wars-themed cans.

star wars campbell soup cans COMP

(12) HOUSE CALL. Should you need an antidote, try paging through Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland.

Your taste buds are about to take a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey adventure through the 2005 Doctor Who reboot. Megafan and food writer Chris-Rachael Oseland spent a year rewatching all of series one through six and experimenting in her kitchen to bring you a fresh recipe for every single episode. There are recipes in here for every level of cook. If you’re terrified of the kitchen, there are things so simple even Micky the Idiot couldn’t get them wrong. For the experienced chefs, there are advanced fish and beef dishes that wouldn’t be amiss on the Starship Titanic. Along the way, you’ll also find plenty of edible aliens to decorate the table at your next Doctor Who viewing party.

This book is a treat for any Whovian who wants to offer more than a plate of fish fingers and a bowl of custard at your next viewing party. Want to host an elegant dinner party to show off your new Tardis corset? Start the evening with a Two Streams Garden Cocktail followed by Baked Hath, Marble Cucumber Circuits with Vesuvian Fire Dipping Sauce, Professor Yana’s Gluten Neutrino Map Binder, Slitheen Eggs, and some of Kazran’s Night Sky Fog Cups for dessert.

(13) PARODY. Ed Fortune wrote and produced a homage to the world of sci-fi fandom called This Is Not The Actor You Are Looking For, the story of an actor from a popular movie franchise with a confession to make.

(14) THEY MIGHT BE. The BFG official trailer #1. A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.

(15) INSTANT CLASSIC. Kyra’s lyrics to “Old Man Zombie”

Old man zombie,
That old man zombie,
He don’t say nothing
But won’t stop moving —
He just keeps shambling
He just keeps shambling along.

It might be fungal,
It might be viral,
We might be trapped in
A downward spiral,
But old man zombie
He just keeps shambling along.

You and me, we sweat and swear,
Body all aching and racked with fear,
Bar that door!
Hide that pit!
I wandered off alone
And I just got bit.

I’m infected
Your brain I’m eyeing,
I’m scared of living
And tired of dying,
I’m old man zombie
And just keep shambling along!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Josh Jasper.]

239 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/9 The Flounce On The Doorstep

  1. Kyra on December 10, 2015 at 2:44 pm said:

    Look, it’s very simple —


    I can’t top that but I feel I must respond along the lines of unit taxonomies.

    Grimdark fantasy: it is half a day’s march across a battlefield of torn bodies
    High fantasy: it is three leagues hence over yonder battlefiled
    Urban fantasy: it’s 9 miles that way through a rough goblin neighborhood
    Steampunk: it’s 8 thousand fathoms past the clockwork dirigibles!
    Science fantasy: it’s nearly 15 kilometers through the Empire’s laser cannons
    Mil-SF: It is over 14 klicks through the bug-controled zone
    Hard-SF: 14.4841km’s to our destination

  2. @Standback:

    I always reviewed under my real name. It was why I got alarmed for my family members when Goodreads authors started threatening them.

    I never reviewed self-published authors. My interests were mostly nonfiction and older classics. I kept to areas on Goodreads where community policing worked only because the history fans and nofiction afficionados I mingled with weren’t rabid self-promoting crazypants.

    I did start complaining when self-published authors would insert their books inappropriately onto lists I had started and get their buddies to vote their books to the top of the list.

    (Seriously, a self-published young adult novel about a kid at magic food school does not belong at the top of my list of books on food history. And the ten new members who all voted it their number one choice and never voted on another book anywhere, they annoyed me too.)

    Those complaints, and commiseraring with other reader-reviewers, are what got the self-published whackjobs on my tail.

    I rated thousands of books, uploaded thousands of scanned covers, created useful lists, and wrote hundreds of detailed reviews for Goodreads.

    I’m kind of sorry I did, because the place is a snakepit with almost criminally nonexistent moderation. The trolls have free rein.

  3. Al, Darren:
    Saving space on the Kindle will only make it fill again faster. Wishlisting, buying and downloading books takes a lot less time than actually reading them…

  4. I have now read both Beagle’s complete complaint, with attached documents, and the response from Cochran (though I stopped after the first page of character witness statements). “My client has neurological and memory problems” isn’t actually a defense against accusations including that Cochran messed up Beagle’s finances badly enough that he was almost evicted, or of overworking him on publicity tours to the point of causing him physical pain.

    Disclaimer: I am neither a lawyer nor a medical professional.

  5. I’m on Booklikes; I copied most of my Goodreads reviews over there after hearing other people’s horror stories, even though I never had a problem myself. I don’t review anything on Goodreads any more but have left my existing reviews there since people are still “liking” them. I don’t know what sort of moderation Booklikes has; it isn’t very frequented, so presumably of less interest to rabid self-pub warriors.

  6. @Peace: (bad indie authors on GR)

    I’m a librarian over there, but I don’t have a lot of free time to spot-check stuff. I mainly keep to things like fixing errors I find when adding books to my shelves, adding missing versions of books while doing same (such as when there are Paperback and Kindle editions, but no ebook listed for the EPUB I just bought), and addressing anything that’s been brought to my attention.

    The indie author I’ve mentioned here, the one I work with in the noble field of smut peddling, also has an account. He’s* more conscientious about actually reviewing stories than I am, and gives out more one- and two- stars, but she* hasn’t mentioned anything about getting harassed. Hir* reviews and ratings strike me as honest, and they mention the quality of the editing and grammar as well as the content of the story.

    * The author is intentionally vague about their gender, so I run with it by being random with their pronouns. No objections yet…

  7. @Vicki: “accusations including that Cochran messed up Beagle’s finances badly enough that he was almost evicted”

    That would mesh neatly with the very recent ebook offering of The Lost Unicorn, which said something about moving expenses. Not definitive, of course, but it’s a point in Beagle’s favor.

  8. I recently saw someone refer to Warhammer as “low fantasy” so I’m pretty sure a lot of people are confused about that term.

    @Greg Hullender

    Worked fine on iPad using Safari (latest version) and Maxthon (also latest version). Also worked fine on an oldish Macbook Air running Yosemite using Safari and Maxthon. I’d test it on other ones but Firefox hates me and I hate Opera, so, um, I don’t have them. And I haven’t got my or my partner’s phone in bed with me so the workingness on an (extremely old) iPhone and a (much newer) Windows phone will have to remain a mystery for now. 😉

  9. GiantPanda: Saving space on the Kindle will only make it fill again faster. Wishlisting, buying and downloading books takes a lot less time than actually reading them…

    E-books are like cats. Every time you turn around, you’ve got another one sitting there looking at you, only you don’t remember agreeing to take it on, and you’re pretty sure there’s a gremlin somewhere signing your name to things.

  10. @Greg H: It’s correctly upside down on my Chromebook with whatever is the latest build of Chrome.

    @Camestros: You should put that on your blog (after typo-check) so that everyone can refer to it easily rather than have it buried here on pg. 4 of a random scroll. It might even become a meme.

  11. Jon F. Zeigler, junego: As I continue backward in my quest to read all of the Hugo and Nebula nominees (I’ve read almost everything from 2000 forward now), I have no doubt I’m going to encounter more of this.

    But yes, I agree that it is actually good that reading all that casual sexism and racism, that most of the books coming out today are much better in that regard. We’re not there yet… but we’re making progress.

  12. @Kyra: we need your definition of fantasy genres saved for posterity too. Do you have a blog? Or could Camestros host it?

  13. My graveyard-shift security job mostly involves a lot of repetitive checking of building and doors spread over a fairly large property (40 acres). Doesn’t take much brainpower, and sometimes it would be hard to stay awake even if the job was interesting. Fortunately I’m allowed to use my smartphone and a Bluetooth earpiece to listen to audiobooks while patrolling. (I also download a number of short-fiction podcasts as part of my long-running futile attempt to keep up with the state of science fiction.)

    That works out to about 20-25 hours of effective listening each week, enough for many full audiobooks. (Most of the books I listen to fall into the 14-18 hour range.)

    I’m trying to save for full retirement in a few more years, so I skip a monthly sub to Audible and use Overdrive to borrow audiobooks from Great Phoenix Digital Library, the local ebook/audiobook co-op between about a half dozen city libraries in the Phoenix Metro area.

    I’ve had very few unsatisfactory experiences with audiobooks. (Though just today I gave up halfway through the audiobook for Laurie King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, first in her Mary Russell series. The narrator gave Sherlock Holmes such a languid, effete voice it just grated on me.)

    – – – – –

    May I suggest a term for fantasy (or other fiction) “about a man living alone in a forest”?


    I got to that term because the story premise of a goblin living by himself in a forest made me think of various of the Grimm’s fairy tale (Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, etc.), which made me look up the German word for forest: “Wald”.

    “Well DUH,” I thought, since that immediately evoked Thoreau’s Walden Pond, which seemed eminently apt for such stories.

    (Googling, I also find there’s a Waldensian Christian sect, but it’s name came from its 12th Century founder, Peter Waldo.)

  14. @Kyra: Brilliant description of the subgenres! I’m saving that for later use….

    Regarding SW and women: I note that the film clip limits itself to human woman. No sign at all of Greedo, for example. (What? You didn’t think she was male, did you?) 😀

  15. Oneiros:

    Thank you for the story about Sun Wukong. Much enjoyed it. The animated movie was my favourite when I was a kid. Still is.

  16. *quickly saves the Youtube link* wow, I had no idea that even existed, thanks! At least I know what I’ll be watching this weekend. Always good to meet other fans of the Monkey King.

  17. @Kyra: ROFLMAO at your run-down of genre definitions. I think a few were even serious (or, at least, accurate).

    @Camestros Felapton: LOL at the unit taxonomies, that was great. 🙂

    @JJ: LOL, thanks for the link to Wilde’s guest post – hilarious. I’m sending the link to a couple of friends in publishing.

    @Various re. Audible/Audiobooks: I’m weird; I almost never listen to any books except those I’ve already read. I love audiobooks as a form of re-reading, but I listen on a 30-minute commute (and the rare long trip alone, and occasionally random short 5-minute errands). I doubt I could keep focused on something totally new. But when so-called “podiobooks” started to be a thing, I did listen to several of the first ones – so, these were books entirely new to me, in audio form – and that worked well. I should probably stop buying audiobooks I’ve already read, and try using it as a way to absorb more books.

    @Lydy: I also tend to prefer single-narrator books, but since I only listen to fiction, there’s rarely a choice. I occasionally like multiple-narrator works, but very rarely dramatization stuff. I only buy unabridged fiction, which isn’t dramatized as much with “full cast + music + sound!” stuff anyway (methinks). A few seconds of music between chapters doesn’t bother me, but sound effects frequently make it tougher to understand what the people are saying! Which defeats the purpose of listening to the book! I loved the Harry Potter books – one of the few narrators I’ve found who does many distinct voices very well.

    /ramble, sorry – I love audiobooks, and Audible

  18. Generally, I need narrative in my audiobooks. That doesn’t necessarily mean fiction, but it is one way to be sure. 😉

    History is often good for narrative, as are popularizations of various fields of science.

    Currently listening to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, because Audible has decided I am good for reviews of Audible Studios books.

  19. Re. audio: I wish I could do fiction in audio form, I might make a dent in the TBR. I’m a complete podcast junkie, but all non-fiction, all the time. Big long non-fiction books mostly don’t work, either, I loose focus too quickly.

    Now great courses totally work. But the budget and the Mountain of Books… But there’s new courses from Michael Drout…And the house would be really, really clean if I listened to a bunch of those… But work…


    I’ve learned to work to audiobooks, too.

    This is mind-boggling to me. I know people can do it, the beloved listens to radio and reads at the same time, but it seems like running in opposite directions at once. I can’t pat my head and rub my tummy, either.

    @Kyra, Camestros: You two probably have all the internets you need, so you won’t mind sharing this one.

    @Meredith: Welcome back!

  20. Hampus Eckerman on December 10, 2015 at 9:14 pm said:

    Thank you for the story about Sun Wukong. Much enjoyed it. The animated movie was my favourite when I was a kid. Still is.

    This is part of a series of smart, funny explanations of mythology and the classics made by a brilliant young person of my acquaintance:

  21. I also am on Goodreads.

    And I’m a big fan of Punkpunk which is lots of shouting and punching, but it’s all powered by shouting and punching.

  22. Peace Is My Middle Name:

    Yay, thank you for that video! I actually started to translate Journey to the West into swedish once when I was bored. That was before I knew that everything had already been translated and published a few years before. Sigh.

  23. @Nigel:

    I thought in punkpunk, the shouting and punching were fueled by punching and shouting…

  24. ARRRRGH IT WAS ONLY PART ONE OF TWO AND THE OTHER IS NOT DONE!! *me angrily bashing head against wall*

  25. @Nigel:

    No, see, you’ve got the shouting powering the shouting and the punching fueling the punching. That doesn’t work so well. Switch the wiring around so S -> P and P -> S, and you can get a vicious cycle going. A Sid Vicious cycle, if you will.

  26. Rev Bob, you try telling them that. They’re punk, see, and the inefficiencies of scientific illiteracy are their nut to the head of the so-called elegance of cycles which perpetuate the system rather than explode it in the violent beauty of ANARCHYYYYYYYYYYY. It’s all held together with safety pins, anyway.

  27. Peace mentioned “smart, funny explanations of mythology”.

    Allow me to recommend The Boeotian Sow, a blog by one Korinna, who teaches the classics at a Midwestern university. Charming, funny essays on Greek mythology, written with an arched eyebrow and a feminist sensibility.

    Sadly, Korinna only updates the blog about once every month or so. But still well worth bookmarking.

    (I actually discovered her blog via a comment she left on Comics Curmudgeon, of all places.)

  28. God, I miss Reginald Hill.

    I do too. Bitterly. Now that Ruth Rendell is gone too, what will I read?

  29. I have a Goodreads account that I almost never use. I do most of my book cataloging on LibraryThing, which I have found to be superior for my purposes in almost every way.

  30. Peace Is My Middle Name on December 10, 2015 at 9:20 am said:
    Macchiavelli is easier to read when you realize it is satire.

    I suppose you mean The Prince. I very much doubt it for a lot of reasons, one being that he’d already been tortured once by the Medici, and those were not stupid people. No, he was being economic with his own political predilections, but the idea was to present himself as a technician, somebody who knew how this politics business worked, honest guv, and therefore could be employed by the nice, noble, absolutely fair-handed new lords of the city, even if he was a bit of a bloshie underneath it all.

  31. I also have a LibraryThing account, but I use it separately from Goodreads. LibraryThing is mainly for me to keep track of exactly which books I own, so in case (not to sound too morbid) the house burns down, I can start re-buying them. This is a necessity now that I’ve ordered two new bookcases and filled them up. 🙂

    Goodreads is for writing and reading reviews. (waves to all the Filers newly found on Goodreads)

  32. @redheadedfemme: I write most of my reviews on LibraryThing. I’ve thought about copying them over to GoodReads, but that’s a chore that will take a lot of time, so I keep putting it off. Which means that it becomes larger with each passing week.

  33. When I first set up a Goodreads account (which, I confess, I only did when my own first book was published) I copied over all the reviews I could find on my blog. A bit laborious, but part of my principle of giving back when I expect to get (reviews, that is). Given my habits, they were mostly reviews of rather obscure non-fiction reference works and quite a few of them were pre-ISBN so I had a lot of data entry to do.

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