Pixel Scroll 3/16/20 The Pixels Are Best, I Wouldn’t Scroll Tuppence For All Of The Rest

Everyone would be happy for a diversion from coronavirus stories, I’m sure — I’ll try and strike a better balance tomorrow.

(1) INTERRUPTING THE FLOW. John Scalzi shared some “Important News About The Last Emperox Tour” – it’s not happening.

So, let’s get right to it, folks: The book tour for The Last Emperox has to be cancelled.

Why? Well, I’m pretty sure you know why:

1. There’s a global pandemic going on as we speak.

2. Gathering in groups is not a great idea.

3. In a lot of the places where my tour stops are, gathering in large groups is currently not allowed….

(2) NO FILKONTARIO. Sally Headford, chair of FilKONtario 30, sent this message to members cancelling the con, which was to have taken place in Markham, Ontario (Canada), from April 26-29: “An Important Message From the FilKONtario ConCom”.

We know that it will come as no surprise to any of you to hear that we have decided that we have to cancel this year’s FKO.

While we may have been able to wait a while longer and see how things develop, we felt that it was our responsibility to make a decision and inform everyone sooner, rather than later, in the hopes that people are able to change their plans

We love our community, and deeply regret cancelling. However, we don’t feel that getting together at the height of a global pandemic, to sing in a closed environment, is in the best interests of that community. I’ll say no more on that point, as I am sure you are all as aware of the factors involved as we are……..

(3) MARCON. Likewise, Marcon 55, scheduled for May 8-10 in Columbus, OH “is cancelled due to government regulations about health concerns.”  Chair Kim Williams announced:

It’s official: This morning I received the email from the hotel honoring the Force Majeure clause in our contract.

To our members: your continued support is incredible. Without your attendance, this event could not have happened for the past 54 years….

(4) UNDERSTANDING CORONAVIRUS. SF2 Concatenation has advance postedJonathan Cowie’s “SARS-CoV-2, COVD-19 and the SF community. A briefing”, part of its April 20 issue. It is an overview of the science behind the virus and related disease.

…The current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak is now affecting the national and international science fiction community.  Already some SF fans living in northern Italy have experienced a few weeks of self-isolation with all but necessary travel banned by law under penalty of a three month jail sentence.  Descriptions of life from these have included as if being in an SF film.  Meanwhile, as the virus spreads, and cases of the resulting disease (COVID-19) mount, questions are being asked as to the viability of some forthcoming SF events: some at the time of writing (March 2020) have already been cancelled.  It therefore may be useful to have a basic, preliminary briefing on the science and likely fan impacts that goes a little beyond the arguably cautious, limited statements some authorities have made.  This is an on-going situation, so irrespective of the below, it is always best to seek guidance from regional health authorities and international bodies as well as, of course, your own clinician….

His qualifications for writing the post are —

Jonathan Cowie is an environmental scientist who has had a career in science communication, including science publishing and policy, working primarily for UK learned biological societies.  Then in the early 2000s he turned to focus on climate change concerns: principally the Earth system, biological and human ecological impacts.  Among other things, including writing climate change university textbooks, and his 2009 online essay, ‘Can we beat the climate crunch‘ has been somewhat prescient as demonstrated from subsequent work by others.  Since the mid-2010s he has shifted his attention to the Earth system and the co-evolution of life and planet.  Of passing relevance to this briefing, in his mid-1970s, pre-college gap period he spent 18 months working at NIRD as a junior technician.  The former National Institute for Research into Dairying was not hidden in a remote area in Nevada, concealed in the sub-basements of a legitimate Department of Agriculture research station, but was a genuine MAFF Research Institute attached to the University of Reading.  His work there included that in its SPF and Germ Free Units. One of the outputs of this was providing Specific Pathogen Free eggs for children in isolation undergoing bone marrow transplantation.  He has therefore kind of done the Andromeda Strain thing.

(5) HOME MOVIES. Via Slashdot, “Universal Makes Movies Now Playing in Theaters Available Online”.

Universal said that by Friday recently released films like “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt” and “Emma” will be available for digital rental for $19.99 in the U.S., or the equivalent value in overseas markets. Paying the rental fee will allow customers 48 hours to watch the movie. In an even bolder move, Universal also said “Trolls World Tour” will open simultaneously in theaters and at home on April 10. Universal released “The Hunt” in theaters over the weekend while “The Invisible Man” and “Emma” both came out late last month. Costing just $7 million to make, “The Invisible Man” has already had a successful run in theaters, grossing $122.4 million globally in three weekends.

(6) POSTER CHILDREN. PropStore displays lots of great art in “Featured Lots | Cinema Poster Live Auction March 2020”.

This year’s Cinema Poster Live Auction has over 300 posters, including an amazing selection of posters and original artwork from the collections of well-known comic-art artist Jock, Academy Award®-winning special effects cinematographer, Richard Edlund, former Lucasfilm Executive and Assistant Director Howard Kazanjian, and so much more!

So, sit back, relax, and get up-close and personal with some of our featured lots from the auction…

Here’s one example:

US One-Sheet Poster, INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN (1957)

“See Earth attacked by flying saucers! See teenagers vs. the saucer men!”. Examples of classic 1950’s B-movie science fiction don’t come better than this superb 1957 country of origin US One-Sheet for Samuel Z. Arkoff’s 1957 production “Invasion of the Saucer Men”. Truly outstanding Albert Kallis artwork that features the alien “cabbage head” invaders from space. Originally folded, this is now presented linen-backed with light restoration and it looks ‘out of this world’. Any paper ephemera from this movie is scarce and far more difficult to obtain than other examples from the more famous 1950s horror/sci-fi titles as it played in far fewer theaters than Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still, or other more mainstream science fiction titles.

Artist: Albert Kallis

Estimate: £3,000 – 5,000

(7) THE STORY OF THE FUTURE. In “The Big Idea: Ann VanderMeer” at Whatever, she explains “The goal: To use storytelling to intrigue and inspire the public about our possible futures, brought about by the work XPRIZE is doing today.”

…We face many challenges in the modern world, what with climate change, health issues, global conflicts, access to education, and poverty. At XPRIZE, people are working together to find solutions for the future. And the stories being expressed with the XPRIZE anthologies give rise to the imagination. Indeed, storytelling is often used for applied creativity in problem solving.

The relationship between science fiction stories and actual science has always been there. Many scientists who became involved in the Space Program at NASA were early readers of science fiction and were inspired to make a career of science. It’s not just that certain technologies and ideas that originated from science fiction stories become real in our modern day, but also that some SF readers go on to pursue careers in the sciences and make an impact in the world.

I was first approached last year to edit the Current Futures anthology to promote World Oceans Day. I had the opportunity to bring in new voices and work with other writers that I knew and admired. It was a dream project and I was thrilled to see writers like Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Deborah Biancotti and Karen Lord get excited about stories and work with them again. I was also thrilled to work with other writers for the first time, including Malka Older, Madeline Ashby and Gu Shi….

(8) TOOTHSOME FICTION. Vanity Fair interviews the author of Sharks in the Time of Saviors: “How Kawai Strong Washburn Opened Up the Legends of Hawaii for Mainlanders”.

Were you very conscious of balancing those spiritual or fantastical elements with realistic fiction?

I love “genre” fiction like speculative and fantasy fiction. Those are fun books to read, but a lot of times a deeper exploration of the human condition is lacking. So while I really enjoy the freedom of genre fiction—you can push the boundaries of a story in interesting ways—I wanted to make it feel like something that was still believable. I was very concerned about integrating these myths and legends in a way that felt experienced by the characters. I didn’t want to reinforce stereotypes about how Hawaii is some sort of exotic land. I tried to make the “magical” elements feel more realistic so that readers wonder if things are really happening or characters are just imagining them.


  • March 16, 1961 The Absent-minded Professor premiered. Yes, it’s genre at least as Disney defined it. It was based on the short story “A Situation of Gravity” by Samuel W. Taylor which was originally published in the May 22, 1943 issue of Liberty magazine, a magazine of religious freedom. It was directed by Robert Stevenson, and starred Fred MacMurray as Professor Ned Brainard. It holds a good 63% audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 16, 1883 Sonia Greene. Pulp writer and amateur press publisher who underwrote several fanzines in the early twentieth century. Wiki says she was a president of the United Amateur Press Association but I can’t confirm that elsewhere. And she was married to Lovecraft for two years. (Died 1972.)
  • Born March 16, 1900 Cyril Hume. He was an amazingly prolific screenplay writer with twenty-nine credits from 1924 to 1966 including The Wife of the Centaur (a lost film which has but has but a few scraps left), Tarzan Escapes, Tarzan the Ape Man, The Invisible Boy and Forbidden Planet. (Died 1966.)
  • Born March 16, 1920 Leo McKern. He shows up in a recurring role as Number Two on The Prisoner in  “The Chimes of Big Ben”, “Once Upon a Time” and “Fall Out”. Other genre appearances include Police Inspector McGill in X the Unknown, Bill Macguire in The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Professor Moriarty in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, The Voice of Gwent in “The Infernal Machine” episode of Space: 1999. (Died 2002.)
  • Born March 16, 1929 Ehren M. Ehly. This was the alias of Egyptian-American author Moreen Le Fleming Ehly. Her first novel, Obelisk, followed shortly by Totem. Her primary influence was H. Rider Haggard of which she said in interviews that was impressed by Haggard’s novel She at an early age. If you like horror written in a decided pulp style, I think you’ll appreciate her. (Died 2012)
  • Born March 16, 1929 A. K. Ramanujan. I’m going to recommend his Folktales from India, Oral Tales from Twenty Indian Languages as essential reading if you’re interested in the rich tradition of the Indian subcontinent. Two of his stories show up in genre anthologies, “The Magician and His Disciple“ in Jack Zipes’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: An Anthology of Magical Tales and “Sukhu and Dukhu“ in Heidi Stemple and Jane Yolen’s Mirror, Mirror. (Died 1993.)
  • Born March 16, 1961 Todd McFarlane, 59. Best-known for his work on The Amazing Spider-Man and Spawn.
  • Born March 16, 1971 Alan Tudyk, 49. Hoban “Wash” Washburne in the Firefly universe whose death I’m still pissed about. Wat in A Knight’s Tale. (Chortle. Is it genre? Who cares, it’s a great film.)  He’s K-2SO in Rogue One and yes, he does both the voice and motion capture. Impressive. He also had a recurring role on Dollhose as Alpha, he voiced a number of characters in the Young Justice series streaming on DC Universe, and he was a very irritating Mr. Nobody on the Doom Patrol series.


(12) WELL, THERE YOU HAVE IT. The highly scientific BBC Radio 4 “Out of the Ordinary” series has determined “Aliens are the size of polar bears (probably)”.

There are millions of planets out there that could contain intelligent life. We can’t look at them all, so which should we focus on? Using nothing but statistics, astronomer Fergus Simpson predicts the aliens will be living on small, dim planets, they’ll have small populations, big bodies, and will be technologically backward.

This goes against many astronomers’ working assumption that the earth is typical of inhabited planets – and that our sun is an ordinary star in an ordinary galaxy. Fergus argues that this is an example of the “fallacy of mediocrity” which we fall for time and time again, whether it’s in our assumptions about gym membership, taxi drivers, or train overcrowding.

(13) WAITING FOR… BBC reports — “Coronavirus: Daniel Radcliffe play off as entertainment activity winds down”.

Daniel Radcliffe’s new play Endgame has become the first major London production to be cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Samuel Beckett play started at the Old Vic theatre in January and had been due to run until 28 March.

The venue said it was scrapping the final two weeks “with great sadness”.

It comes as a long list of other plays, TV shows, gigs and movies have postponed performances and film shoots as the virus continues to spread.

Citing travel and other restrictions, the Old Vic said it was “becoming increasingly impractical to sustain business as usual at our theatre”.

The show also starred Alan Cumming, Jane Horrocks and Karl Johnson.

The theatre said: “We are very sympathetic to people’s personal circumstances, as we are to the audiences who are still excited to visit the theatre and see our productions. We are also extremely aware of our employees’ financial dependence on work being presented and tickets being purchased.”

The theatre warned that giving full refunds for all lost performances would be “financially devastating for us”, so asked ticket-holders to consider the ticket price as a donation.

In return, those who do not ask for their money back will receive a filmed recording of the play from earlier in the run and a private video message of appreciation from the cast.

Meanwhile, the Young Vic theatre has cancelled all remaining performances of Nora: A Doll’s House.

(14) NEW TECH TO THE RESCUE. “Coronavirus: 3D printers save hospital with valves”.

A 3D-printer company in Italy has designed and printed 100 life-saving respirator valves in 24 hours for a hospital that had run out of them.

The valve connects patients in intensive care to breathing machines.

The hospital, in Brescia, had 250 coronavirus patients in intensive care and the valves are designed to be used for a maximum of eight hours at a time.

The 3D-printed version cost less than €1 (90p) each to produce and the prototype took three hours to design.

(15) SEATS WITHOUT BUTTS. The New York Times says these are the times that try a theater owner’s soul — “Movie Crowds Stay Away. Theaters Hope It’s Not for Good.”

For most of last week, movie theater executives clung grimly on.

At issue, among other things, was CinemaCon, an annual Las Vegas event intended to bolster the most fragile part of the film business: leaving the house, buying a ticket and sitting in the dark with strangers to watch stories unfold on big screens. The National Association of Theater Owners was under pressure to call off the convention because of the coronavirus pandemic, but worries abounded about potential consumer fallout.

What message would canceling the confab send to potential ticket buyers, including those increasingly likely to skip cinemas — even in the best of times — and watch films on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus? American cinemas, after all, were staying open in the face of the pandemic.

Reality eventually made the association pull the plug on CinemaCon, another example of how seemingly every part of American life has been disrupted because of the coronavirus. For movie theaters, however, the pandemic could be a point of no return.

The National Association of Theater Owners has insisted that streaming services are not a threat. “Through every challenge, through every new technology innovation over the last twenty years, theatrical admissions have been stable and box office has consistently grown,” John Fithian, the association’s chief executive, said in a January news release titled “theater owners celebrate a robust 2019 box office.” Ticket sales in North America totaled $11.4 billion, down 4 percent from a record-setting 2018.

Many analysts, however, see a very different picture. Looking at the last 20 years of attendance figures, the number of tickets sold in North America peaked in 2002, when cinemas sold about 1.6 billion. In 2019, attendance totaled roughly 1.2 billion, a 25 percent drop — even as the population of the United States increased roughly 15 percent. Cinemas have kept ticket revenue high by raising prices, but studio executives say there is limited room for continued escalation. Offerings in theaters may also grow more constrained. Even before the pandemic, major studios were starting to route smaller dramas and comedies toward streaming services instead of theaters.

And now comes the coronavirus, which has prompted people to bivouac in their homes, theaters to put in place social-distancing restrictions and studios to postpone most theatrical releases through the end of April. Rich Greenfield, a founder of the LightShed Partners media research firm, predicted that the disruption would speed the ascendance of streaming….

(16) GATES REFOCUSES. “Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board to focus on philanthropy” – BBC has the story.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is stepping down from the company’s board to spend more time on philanthropic activities.

He says he wants to focus on global health and development, education and tackling climate change.

One of the world’s richest men, Mr Gates, 65, has also left the board of Warren Buffett’s massive holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Mr Gates stepped down from his day-to-day role running Microsoft in 2008.

Announcing his latest move, Mr Gates said the company would “always be an important part of my life’s work” and he would continue to be engaged with its leadership.

But he said: “I am looking forward to this next phase as an opportunity to maintain the friendships and partnerships that have meant the most to me, continue to contribute to two companies of which I am incredibly proud, and effectively prioritise my commitment to addressing some of the world’s toughest challenges.”

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

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56 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/16/20 The Pixels Are Best, I Wouldn’t Scroll Tuppence For All Of The Rest

  1. (10) Here’s to Leo McKern! Great as Number 2, and the living embodiment of Rumpole

  2. @5: well, maybe that will be useful; Boston libraries are now closed for the duration. (And I foolishly didn’t go down after seeing the announcement; two books I had reserved arrived between then and final closure.)

    @9: I don’t think Disney’s definition (whatever it is) of genre is necessary; a flying jalopy is not mimetic, and neither is negative entropy.

    @10: Before The Prisoner, McKern was developing his cheerfully grumpy persona as the high priest of ?Kali?Kaili? in Help, which I’d call genre (magic ring, shrinking potion — ISTR this came up a while ago).

    @15: I suppose that’s why AMC theaters are converting to the uncomfortably monster seats — they don’t actually lose sales except for very high-demand shows, and those just get put on more screens. By my count, there are ~3 times as many screens around Boston than there were when I moved here in 1971, even though every screen open at that time, and at least that many opened since, have now closed; I’m not surprised the market is oversupplied.

  3. I will have plenty of time to read, listen, and stream, having gotten a firm talking-to from my cardiologist about exactly how high-risk I am. 🙁

  4. 10) Help is definitely genre. Back in the day, Help was one of the very few movies my high school had on video. Most of the videos they had were educational programs. Help and an episode of Fawlty Towers were the only entertainment videos. And so every year or so, a teacher would decide to show a movie in the last lesson before the summer holidays and dig up that old Help video again.

    However, a double lesson is ninety minutes (minus the time needed to get the ancient VCR running) and Help runs longer than ninety minutes. So I’ve seen the first three quarters of Help a lot, but I’ve never seen the end and I still have no idea how Ringo Star escaped being sacrificed to Kali. I assume he did escape, since he’s one of only two Beatles left alive.

  5. @9: Walter Tevis wrote a story about a flubber-like substance (“The Big Bounce”) in 1958 – I wonder if “A Situation of Gravity” influenced it.

    P.S. Today’s Galactic Journey mentions a story in the May 1965 “Worlds of Tomorrow” by a John Sutherland. Could this be the same John Sutherland who wrote such books as “Was Heathcliff a Murderer?” The ISFDB page http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?17375 doesn’t say so explicitly but credits the SF Sutherland with an essay called “What Does Edward Hyde Look Like” – which is precisely the kind of thing that this Sutherland would write https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sutherland_(author) .

  6. Cora Buhlert on March 16, 2020 at 7:29 pm said:

    10) Help is definitely genre. Back in the day, Help was one of the very few movies my high school had on video. Most of the videos they had were educational programs. Help and an episode of Fawlty Towers were the only entertainment videos

    OK, now I am very worried about exactly which episode of Fawlty Towers your school had…

  7. @Camestros Felapton: “Don’t mention the war!”
    with apologies to Cora etc.

  8. (14) That’s the most encouraging thing I’ve read in days.

    (10) I was going to say the same thing about Help!, which I proudly own on VHS. (Also starring Eleanor Bron of Bedazzled.) I wonder how their version of Lord of the Rings would’ve turned out if they’d been able to obtain the rights. And in the ’70s Lennon was reportedly interested in filming The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch to which he was introduced by Paul Williams.


    Normally hospital equipment is highly regulated; you can’t buy a part from your local hardware store & insert it into hospital equipment without that part certified for hospital use for example.

    I expect COVID19 has thrown some of these regulations out the window.

  10. (9) Given how much space File 770 has devoted to highlighting the online piracy of writers’ IP, why does virtually every ‘pixel scroll’ include links to pirated material hosted on YouTube?

  11. So this happened: the music store I had lessons at Saturday sent out email today saying that Idris Elba had been in on Tuesday and had now tested positive, so they are closing for the duration. I informed my boss, who informed HR, who told me to take two weeks off sick. At least I have loads of unused sick leave and am at the far periphery of high risk. Now if I can find someone to slide pancakes and pizzas under my door…

  12. Second what Hampus said about Gates’ education “charities”; his immunization efforts are noble, but he’s typical of millionaires who don’t understand the day-to-day challenges of public schooling, and go in for “fixes” which are worse than the original problem.

  13. @Patrick Morris Miller–Stay well!

    Gates is at least trying to do good things with his wealth. He isn’t taxed appropriately, but he knows that and has said so. He’s not one of the billionaire whiners about how awful it is that he’s taxed at all.

  14. @Lis Carey and @Patrick Morris Miller, sorry to hear that; hope that you respectively stay healthy.

  15. @Andrew

    No it’s a different John Sutherland also employed in academia.

    There’s a story “THE STRULDBRUGG REACTION” in the July 1963 F&SF. The introduction notes “John Sutherland, Associate Professor of English at Colby College”. A little further shaking of the internet reveals things like :” JOHN H. SUTHERLAND is Professor of English at Colby College, and editor of CLQ. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He edited Mr. Spectator’s London (Boston, 1959), and he has published numerous articles and reviews about Blake and other eighteenth century writers. He is at work on a longer study, tentatively entitled Blake’s Zoas.”

    This is not the British John Sutherland of “Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in Nineteenth-century Fiction”, “Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?”, Booker prize judge, and provider of numerous articles to the newspapers on fiction. But I wondered the same thing a couple of years ago

  16. Meh. Suffering an ordinary everyday cold (Husband and younger kid also sniffly. Elder kid is as usual benefitting from her preference to hide away in her room and/or keep intense distance from her sibling).

    Except that I’ve had a chest congestion issue for… well, it precedes Covid-19, but has been growing slowly for a while. So my breathing feels extra uncomfy. And I am reminded why I am very much in the category of “should stay home” for this pandemic even more so than I like.

  17. @Cora Buhlert: why should Ringo not surviving in the movie make a difference in real life? Penn and Teller were killed in a 1989 movie, but they kept touring. (I suppose you could say they’re a lot … stranger … than the Beatles.) What happened is in the Wikipedia entry, in case you’re still curious.

    @Soon Lee: a hardware-store part might or might not fit — the impression I got was that this was something unusual — but the point was that an exact duplicate was made, rather than a replacement being kluged as for Apollo 13. Also: can anyone comment on whether Italy under normal circumstances is as regulated about equipment as the US? US developers/manufacturers frequently complain about overregulation, but I don’t know whether they get away with more in other developed countries.

  18. @Matthew Davis: Thank you for this. Looks like the ISFDB has attributed the “Edward Hyde” article to the wrong Sutherland.

  19. My library has closed (I picked up my held books last Saturday, thank goodness) but they’re going to reopen later on this week with limited “drive-thru” service: you can reserve items online, then drive by and an employee will bring them out to you. That won’t help all the patrons who use their computers for other things though.

  20. @Lenora Rose: yep. I had a cold two weeks ago, which left me with a lingering cough – nice time for it. At least it’s mostly gone away. And my temperature has gone from a degree high to a degree low, possibly courtesy the antibiotic I just started for an unrelated matter (which itself seems to be finally going away).

  21. @JJ —

    Ladyhawke! Loved that movie. 🙂

    Before the movie came out I answered a phone survey from some movie company or other, asking me what I thought the title “Ladyhawke” would imply about the movie and its content. My one claim to fame. 😉

    Born March 16, 1971 — Alan Tudyk, 49. [….] He also had a recurring role on Dollhose as Alpha

    I am wondering what a “Dollhose” would look like — or function like. 😉

    In coronavirus news, the Nashville Public Libraries closed yesterday.

  22. While I expect most hereabouts to have a TBR stack of prodigious proportions, I’m glad to share books via Kindle if anyone runs out of something good to read. Not everything is “shareable”, but I’ll lend anything that is.


  23. @Soon Lee: I’d say so; if nothing else, he was hanging out with (and buying from) people I know.

  24. The membership of Concellation 2020, “the con that’s been cancelled before it was announced”, is now over eight thousand.

    Oh, you don’t know about that yet? It deserves a story in the next Scroll.

  25. You write it and send it to me, and I’ll post it. mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com

  26. You were supposed to wait until you could announce membership at “over nine thousand!”.

    (I think that meme is a Dragonball reference, but it has gone feral by now.)

  27. I suspect everyone here is also at Concellation, so: meetup in the large ballroom?

  28. @Jon Meltzer–Sure! Just remember to go AROUND, not through, the Shoggoth Room. It’s been closed for reasons the police refuse to disclose.

  29. If you go around the Shoggoth Room make sure that you walk in a circular path. NO ANGLES.

  30. (10) I too was upset about Wash’s death.

    @Lis and Patrick: I hope you both stay healthy!

    Meredith Moment: Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky is on sale for $2.99 at the large South American river.

  31. OK, everything else may be horrible, but they’re actually proceeding with the Kindle release of Roger Zelazny’s second Amber chronicles. (I know, I know, but I still think they’re better than nothing.) Knight of Shadows, #9, just showed up. so the end is in sight.

    (And I’m hoping that they follow up with more of his back catalog once Amber is finished — Dilvish the Damned and Creatures of Light & Darkness are high on my wish list.)

  32. Comfort reading in a time of Coronavirus? Just completed ‘Resurgence’, the 20th (I think) Foreigner novel. Nothing more challenging that train trips to the mountains in a railcar without windows! Plus meetings and dinners and lots of tea drunk. Business is conducted over brandy of course. There was snow in the mountains but no mention of a tavern. Fits like a comfortable old pair of slippers.

  33. @microtherion: I can certainly see problems with the sort of cheap plastic used in cheap 3D printers, but the ?thread owner? seemed content with the version of the respirator story that was posted. One thing I did not see explained in either was the technique. Cheap printers deposit bits of melted plastic, but very fine work can be done by ?polymerizing? what looked like a thermosetting resin out of a solution via lasers. (The reaction happens where beams on 2 axes intersect; the bath containing the solution slowly drops to provide the 3rd axis.) I heard this called stereolithography when I saw sample outputs ~25 years ago, but that probably has too many syllables for a news story. And that’s a very crude description — we were shown the devices briefly as an example of what our CAD software could drive — but IIRC it’s not outright wrong.

  34. Ken Richards: Just completed ‘Resurgence’, the 20th (I think) Foreigner novel. Nothing more challenging that train trips to the mountains in a railcar without windows! Plus meetings and dinners and lots of tea drunk. Business is conducted over brandy of course. There was snow in the mountains but no mention of a tavern. Fits like a comfortable old pair of slippers.

    Every year I do a full read of one or two series I’ve never read, which has had a new installment come out. This year I decided to do Foreigner. I’m halfway through the second book, Invader. I’m not sure what I expected, but this is definitely not it. But I’m really enjoying it! Very intricate and sophisticated politics and strategy, and a really interesting alien race and culture.

  35. I’m getting together a bardic circle in one of the function rooms. Just follow your ears.

    And my thanks for all the well wishes.

  36. @JJ, Ken, et al —

    I’m not sure what I expected, but this is definitely not it. But I’m really enjoying it! Very intricate and sophisticated politics and strategy, and a really interesting alien race and culture.

    I’ve read the first two trilogies of the Foreigner series now. It’s amazing to me that those books can be so interesting when there is often so little happening in them. 😉

  37. “so interesting when there is often so little happening in them” is why I love Cherryh (although I still haven’t read the Foreigner books; there are so MANY of them).

  38. @Joe —

    (although I still haven’t read the Foreigner books; there are so MANY of them)

    Fortunately, they are organized into fairly self-contained trilogies — so you really only need to commit to three at a time.

  39. … except that after 5 trilogies there are two 2-book stories; I got caught by this on a trip and was not happy to find that the last book I had ended in the middle (although I should have realized that the previous book reasonably wrapped up its part of the epic). Not that that stopped me from getting the next book as soon as I could; I’ve been a Cherryh fan for over 40 years.
    Does Resurgence actually tell a complete story, or should I wait for another book or two? I hate breaking a story in the middle of a story . and trying to pick it up again a year later. (This is a bit less of an issue with the first two trilogies, which have what could be a free-standing book followed closely by a pair.)
    wrt Cherryh’s lack of happenings: ISTM there is a lot going on in all the books, but a lot of it is maneuver, dealing, planning, and maturing (and dealing with the consequences of not having done enough of those in the previous books), all of it for serious stakes; readers who demand continuous action should be given Merchanter’s Luck, or maybe Tripoint, or Finity’s End instead — but even those are tight focus. Another analog comes out of (of all people) Niven, in his off-hand mention of a wizards’ duel that involved staring into each other’s eyes for ?half a year?, followed by two fingertips touching: ~”where the duel took place is now known as the Marianas Trench.”

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