Pixel Scroll 3/17/22 If You Can’t Handle Me At My Pixel, You Don’t Deserve Me At My Scroll

(1) PLEASE, MAY I HAVE SOME MORE? “Editorial Resignations At Big Houses Spark Reckoning” reports Publishers Lunch. Of the four departed editors, one worked for Tor and two for Orbit.

Multiple resignations from the editorial departments at two big houses caused an online reckoning on Friday. Four editors, Angeline Rodriguez and Hillary Sames at Orbit, Erin Siu at Macmillan Children’s, and Molly McGhee at Tor all announced their resignations, leading to a discussion about the workload of junior and mid-level employees and the difficulty of advancement across the industry. The online exchange brought into the open the frustrations of increased workload, burnout and turnover that have been brewing as the pandemic continues. Those feelings are intensified as big publishers report record sales and earnings, even as multiple people report on Twitter they believe their employers are not sufficiently reinvesting those proceeds in additional staff, systems and raises.

At the heart of the discussion was McGhee’s resignation letter which she posted on Twitter….

McGhee’s interview with the New York Times ran under the headline “When Will Publishing Stop Starving Its Young?”

… On March 11, McGhee joined a group of junior and midlevel employees who exited the publishing industry, blaming low pay, unrealistic workloads and burnout. For context: It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to live in or near New York City (epicenter of bookmaking) on an entry-level publishing salary. Add school loans, subtract a second job or additional subsidy and you risk being factored out of a career in letters before the ink on your college diploma has had a chance to dry.

“As some of you may have heard, today is my last day at Tor Books,” McGhee wrote in the resignation letter she shared on Twitter. “My promotion request was denied, and as such I am leaving as my first acquisition (the marvelous THE ATLAS SIX by Olivie Blake) debuts at number three on The New York Times Bestsellers List.” She goes on, “Making the NYT is a career high for an editor. It is rare for an assistant to do so and, by all accounts, this should be ‘a great beginning’ and not a heartbreaking end.”

McGhee also cites “the invisibility of the junior employee’s workload” as one of her reasons for leaving Tor. As Blake writes in her novel, “We are the gods of our own universes, aren’t we?” Indeed we are. But gods cannot live on ramen alone….

The text of McGhee’s March 11 message follows:

(2) ESA AND ROSCOSMOS BREAKUP. The European Space Agency has suspended the ExoMars rover after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ESA ruling council “acknowledged the present impossibility of carrying out the ongoing cooperation with Roscosmos on the ExoMars rover mission with a launch in 2022” – “ESA – ExoMars suspended”.

As an intergovernmental organisation mandated to develop and implement space programmes in full respect with European values, we deeply deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the aggression towards Ukraine. While recognising the impact on scientific exploration of space, ESA is fully aligned with the sanctions imposed on Russia by its Member States.

ExoMars

ESA’s ruling Council, meeting in Paris on 16-17 March, assessed the situation arising from the war in Ukraine regarding ExoMars, and unanimously:

  • acknowledged the present impossibility of carrying out the ongoing cooperation with Roscosmos on the ExoMars rover mission with a launch in 2022, and mandated the ESA Director General to take appropriate steps to suspend the cooperation activities accordingly;
  • authorised the ESA Director General to carry out a fast-track industrial study to better define the available options for a way forward to implement the ExoMars rover mission.

Space Transportation

Following the decision by Roscosmos to withdraw their personnel from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, all missions scheduled for launch by Soyuz have been put on hold. These concern essentially four institutional missions for which ESA is the launch service procurement entity (Galileo M10, Galileo M11, Euclid and EarthCare) and one additional institutional launch.

Consequently, the ESA Director General has initiated an assessment on potential alternative launch services for these missions, which will include  a review of the Ariane 6 first exploitation flights.  A robust launch manifest for ESA missions’ launch needs, including for spacecraft originally planned for launch by Soyuz from Kourou, will be submitted to Member States.   

Likewise, “Russia’s War in Ukraine Threatens Joint Missions to Mars, Venus and the Moon” reports Scientific American.

… The strife is impacting otherworldly missions as well: Consider Russia’s nascent Venera-D mission, a proposed orbiter and lander meant to blast off for Venus in 2029. The U.S. had been considering allowing NASA to collaborate on Venera-D, perhaps by contributing scientific instruments. But, citing retaliatory sanctions, Russia’s space leadership deemed continued U.S. participation in the project “inappropriate.”…

(3) RUNAWAY SUCCESS. Brandon Sanderson’s record-breaking Kickstarter, “Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson by Dragonsteel Entertainment”, had raised $29,710,529 when I checked today. With 14 days remaining it will obviously break $30 million and then some.

(4) MS. PRESIDENT. “Stacey Abrams makes surprise appearance on Star Trek as president of Earth”Yahoo! has the story.

Stacey Abrams just boldly went where no Georgia gubernatorial candidate has gone before.

Abrams, the Georgia politician who’s running for governor of the state this year, had a surprise cameo in the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery, appearing as the president of United Earth.

A scene at the end of the season four finale, “Coming Home,” introduces the United Earth president, and Abrams gets several lines, announcing that “United Earth is ready right now to rejoin the Federation, and nothing could make me happier than to say those words.” She also has a discussion with Discovery‘s main character, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), about Earth rejoining the Federation, and this scene closes the episode….

(5) MOFFAT’S NEXT SHOW. “The Time Traveler’s Wife shares trailer for new Steven Moffat series”Radio Times sets the frame.

Sky has released the official teaser trailer for Steven Moffat’s adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife, which will air on Sky Atlantic and NOW in May.

… The six-episode series is the second major adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s popular novel of the same name, following the 2009 film starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, once again telling the story of a marriage that threatens to be torn apart by time travel. Alongside Leslie and James, the cast also includes Desmin Borges, Natasha Lopez, Kate Seigel and Michael Park.

Of course, it’s not Moffat’s first time dealing with time travel – following his hugely successful stint as Doctor Who showrunner between 2009 and 2017 – but he’s been on record to explain that the two shows share little in common beyond that superficial similarity.

(6) I’VE SEEN THAT FACE BEFORE. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Well, this will certainly be out of the price range of us mere mortals… Virgil Finlay’s “Portrait of Robert A. Heinlein” will be up for auction on April 15. “This lot is accompanied by a letter signed by the artist and dated August 5, 1953.”

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

2006 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Doctor Who ended back in 1989 when the Seventh Doctor as played by Sylvester McCoy had his final story, “Survival.” No indication was given beforehand that the show was being cancelled. 

A year after the BBC revived by the show in the UK, Doctor Who returned in the U.S. “Rose” was broadcast in the States on March 17, an episode named for the Billie Piper character who was the first modern companion. Christopher Eccleston played the Ninth Doctor.  Briefly. Note that there is no regeneration scene here. Of course as we know there were other Doctors between the Seventh Doctor and this Doctor. Indeed the numbering is suspect, isn’t it? 

So how was the reception for this new Who? The New York Times liked it: “In most previous versions of the show, so little was going on between the Doctor and his female companions that fans took to making up sex scenes on the Internet, much the way ‘X-Files’ buffs tried to fantasize a little action between Scully and Mulder. But between the Doctor and Rose there is genuine, old-fashioned chemistry, and their interaction, which occasionally takes on the aspect of screwball comedy, is much the best thing in the show.” 

And Radio Times succinctly put it, “Think big. Think bold. Think fantastic! For the very first time, Doctor Who achieves a perfect blend of big screen and small screen.”

Season One over at Rotten Tomatoes holds a near perfect ninety-six percent rating among audience reviewers. 

The entire new series is streaming on HBO Max. The older series is on a number of streaming services of a British nature.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 17, 1846 Kate Greenaway. Victorian artist and writer, largely known today for her children’s book illustrations. So popular was she and her work that the very popular Kate Greenaway Almanacks appeared every year from 1883 to 1895. Among her best-known works was her edition of Robert Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Rosa Mulholland’s Puck and Blossom and Bret Harte’s Pirate Isle. (Died 1901.)
  • Born March 17, 1906 Brigitte Helm. German actress, Metropolis. Her first role as an actress, she played Maria and her double, the Maschinenmensch, plus several uncredited roles as well.  She’s got some other genre credits including L’Atlantide (The Mistress of Atlantis) and Alraune (Unholy Love). Her later films would be strictly in keeping with the policies of the Nazis with all films being fiercely anti-capitalist and antisemitic. (Died 1996.)
  • Born March 17, 1945 Tanya Lemani, 77. Iranian-born actress who is one of the victims of Star Trek’s “Wolf in the Fold” as the dancer Kara. She has appeared on the original Fantasy IslandGet Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, The Bionic Woman, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in one-offs.
  • Born March 17, 1933 Penelope Lively, 89. I’ve actually mentioned her before as Catherine Butler did a work in part on her, Four British fantasists: place and culture in the children’s fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper. She’s here because I’m very fond of one of her novels, The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, having a great liking for fiction about that story. She’s won the Booker Prize for Moon Tiger and the Carnegie Medal for British children’s books for The Ghost of Thomas Kempe.
  • Born March 17, 1941 Paul Kantner. A founder of Jefferson Airplane which would become Jefferson Starship. The Dragonfly album, particularly “All Fly Away” and “Hyperdrive” is very genre as well as much of the Jefferson Airship output is genre. “Hyperdrive” would be used in the opening ceremonies at MidAmeriCon (1976). (Died 2016.)
  • Born March 17, 1947 James Morrow, 75. Author of the most awesome Godhead trio whose first novel, Towing Jehovah, won a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award and was nominated for a Hugo at Intersection. I’m also impressed by The Last Witchfinder as it’s told by a sentient book, Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica
  • Born March 17, 1948 William Gibson, 74. I’ve read the Sprawl trilogy more times than I can remember and likewise the Bridge trilogy and The Difference Engine. He won a Hugo at Aussiecon Two for Neuromancer, his only such win, though he had other nominations including for the other two novels in the Sprawl trilogy.
  • Born March 17, 1951 Kurt Russell, 71. I know I saw Escape from New York on a rainy summer night in a now century-old Art Deco theatre which wasn’t the one I later saw Blade Runner in. I think it’s much better than Escape from L.A. was. Of course there’s Big Trouble in Little China, my favorite film with him in it. And let’s not forget Tombstone. Not genre, you say. Maybe not, but it’s damn good and he’s fantastic in it.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) YOU BE THE JUDGE. All Squaxx dek Thargo may want to know there’s going to be a “Star-studded online convention to celebrate 45 years of 2000 AD”. It’s free and happening on March 26-27.

Featuring celebrity fans and legendary creators, The Galaxy’s Greatest will stream online and for free on 26 and 27 March on 2000 AD’s social media channels and YouTube, and Rebellion’s dedicated Twitch stream.

The two-day show will feature top flight guests on more than a dozen panels, all discussing the impact of 2000 AD on comics and culture over almost half a century, as well as announcements and new merchandise.

… The event will throw a spotlight on the people who have helped make 2000 AD the galaxy’s greatest comic, with creators both new and legendary sharing their stories and insights on the comics-making process — including a feature interview with the co-creator of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, John Wagner, as well as panels with Garth Ennis (The BoysPreacher), Rob Williams (Suicide Squad), Alex de Campi (Archie vs Predator), Sean Phillips (Criminal), Anna Morozova (Judge Anderson), John McCrea (Hitman), Dan Cornwell (Rok of the Reds), Aleš Kot (Zero), and more to be announced.

The next 45 years of 2000 AD will also be discussed with owners and publishers Chris Kingsley OBE and Jason Kingsley OBE, and current editor Matt Smith – now the longest serving editor in 2000 AD history….

(11) SQUELCH THAT RUMOR. Radio Times eavesdrops while “Catherine Tate addresses Doctor Who return rumours”.

…The Donna Noble star has been heavily linked with a return to the sci-fi show in recent months, with rumours that she might rejoin the cast for the upcoming 60th anniversary special.

And she addressed those rumours during an appearance on The One Show to promote her new film The Nan Movie, telling Jermaine Jenas that she “probably started a lot of them” herself.

“What can I tell you? No, I wish it was [true],” she said. “Well, no one’s been in touch.”

But she added: “I’m on the same number, I’d just like to say. So, if you’ve got the money, I’ve got the time.”

(12) OCTOTHORPE.  John Coxon has COVID, Alison Scott wanted to do a podcast, and Liz Batty had no better offers. So it’s a short episode of the hosts answering Cora Buhlert’s questions. Listen to Octothorpe 53  here: “It Was John’s Idea”.

(13) BREAKFAST IS SERVED ON ARRAKIS. The New York Times was initiated into “The Secret Sounds of ‘Dune’: Rice Krispies and Marianne Faithfull”.

…We were at Zuma Beach on the kind of warm March afternoon that New York readers would surely prefer I not dwell on, and Villeneuve’s Oscar-nominated sound editors Mark Mangini and Theo Green were nearby, pouring cereal into the sand. This wasn’t meant to provoke any sea gulls; Mangini and Green wanted to demonstrate the sound-gathering techniques they used to enliven Arrakis, the desert planet where the “Dune” hero Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) discovers his destiny.

 “One of the most compelling images in the film is when Paul first steps foot onto the planet,” Mangini said. Since the sand on Arrakis is laced with “spice,” a valuable and hallucinogenic substance, the sound designers had to find an audible way to convey that something special was underfoot.

By way of explaining it to me, Mangini ground his work boot into the soft patch of sand that he had dusted with Rice Krispies. The sand produced a subtle, beguiling crunch, and Villeneuve broke out into a big smile. Though he’d heard it plenty of times in postproduction, he had no idea what the sound designers had concocted to capture that sound.

“One of the things I love about cinema is the cross between NASA kind of technology and gaffer tape,” Villeneuve said. “To use a super-expensive mic to record Rice Krispies — that deeply moves me!”…

(14) FLY LIKE AN EAGLE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future… At least that’s what the Steve Miller Band assured me in their 1976 hit Fly Like an Eagle. Perhaps they assured Elon Musk the same thing (though he’d only have been 5 at the time).

In 2016, Musk told us that humanity would land on Mars by 2024. In late 2020, he revised the landing date to 2026. Now he’s telling us 2029. This is hardly the first time that Musk has been forced to change projections for one of his ventures. Nor is it the first time a targeted date for anyone’s space launch has slipped.

To me, 2029 still seems ambitious given where we are. But, if Musk (or someone else) does manage to hit that date, it’ll be 60 years after the Eagle landed on the Moon. Assuming I live that long (and am still compos mentis), it’d be extraordinary to witness both landings in one lifetime. “Elon Musk Has New Estimate for When Humans Might First Step on Mars” at CNET.

… Starship, which SpaceX is designing to take astronauts to the moon for NASA and eventually to Mars, has made some successful high-altitude flights, but has yet to make it to space.

Musk has made noise over the past two years about federal launch regulations slowing the process of reaching Mars and recently even floated the specter of bankruptcy if SpaceX isn’t able to produce Starship’s raptor engines more rapidly.

Unsurprisingly, getting to Mars takes planning. As Mars and Earth move around the sun, the two planets move closer to one another and then farther away again. To take advantage of the times when the trip between the two worlds is shortest requires launching during certain windows. The ideal Mars launch windows for this decade are later this year, late 2024, late 2026 and late 2028/early 2029. 

It’s looking as though Musk’s initial ambitions may have been overly optimistic. If his target date slips much further, into the 2030s, it will be more in the ballpark of when NASA has always been aiming in terms of sending the first astronauts to Mars…. 

(15) BEHIND THE LINES. Enjoy Greener Grass a Star Wars short film made with Unreal Engine 5.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Pitch Meeting” Ryan George says in the third Harry Potter movie, Voldemort isn’t around but Dumbledore still gets to give his annual address on the many ways Hogwarts students can die.  And when asked why Hogwarts could produce a book of monsters that is an actual monster, the writer answers, “It’s clear wizards don’t have any consumer protection laws.”

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Rich Horton, Gary Farber, Olav Rokne, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Olav Rokne.]

72 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/17/22 If You Can’t Handle Me At My Pixel, You Don’t Deserve Me At My Scroll

  1. I remember Russell’s early days as a “Jungle Boy” on Gilligan’s Island, and in several genre-ish Disney movies (The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, for example). He was also great as a superhero in “Sky High.”

  2. Man that exit letter from McGhee was something. I feel so badly for all those mid-tier workers that are just grist for the mill. This’ll be just another nail in Trad Pub’s coffin, I think. Between stories like this and Sanderson’s kickstarter success, a lot of writers are going to question what the point is to even try to query anymore.

  3. (1) I’ve been following the reports of editors resigning. Apparently, there was resignations in departments such as marketing as well. Sadly, it says a lot about the way publishing houses are set up and about the amount of work editorial assistants and others are expected to put in for low pay. 🙁

    (3) You can still see the numbers rise when you click on the link! By the way, Brandon Sanderson has been posting sneak peeks of some of the books on his website — and on YouTube.

    (4) What a cool idea!
    Of course, some alleged “fans” of Star Trek are already complaining because someone added politics to the show. The only logical response to that is:
    “Illogical. Illogical. All units relate. All units. Norman, co-ordinate.”

  4. 8) The Hugo-nominated album “Blows Against the Empire” (released in December 1970) was primarily a Paul Kantner project. It was allegedly done by the “Jefferson Starship,” long before the Jefferson Airplane mutated into that incarnation, and featured Grace Slick and other Airplane members. Plus Jerry Garcia and one or two others from the Grateful Dead, as well as cameo appearances by other lights from the Bay Area music scene. Prior to publication, Kantner formally requested (and was granted) permission from Robert A. Heinlein, as “Blows Against the Empire” was based loosely on RAH’s prewar novel “Methuselah’s Children.” I am unsure what terms were involved in this; however, Kantner sent Heinlein a copy of the album, which the author listened to, enjoyed, and kept (per the Patterson biography, RAH also owned a number of other Jefferson Airplane records).

  5. Ben Harris says Man that exit letter from McGhee was something. I feel so badly for all those mid-tier workers that are just grist for the mill. This’ll be just another nail in Trad Pub’s coffin, I think. Between stories like this and Sanderson’s kickstarter success, a lot of writers are going to question what the point is to even try to query anymore.

    Oh really? Trad publishing isn’t going anywhere as the vast amount of revenues is concentrated in a handful of companies which are the ones being complained about here.

    They do no doubt have some abysmal policies at times that hurt their clients and I could tell tales but I can’t as I was told those stories in confidence but for the vast majority of writers and illustrators they are source of good, steady income.

    And the structure of the publishing industry isn’t likely to change radically either. It’s built on a handful of senior staffers and a lot of largely disposable junior staff who know going in that they indeed disposable. No one should be surprised that they work long hours for not much pay as that’s how it’s always.

  6. Jeanne (Sourdough) Jackson on says The Hugo-nominated album “Blows Against the Empire” (released in December 1970) was primarily a Paul Kantner project. It was allegedly done by the “Jefferson Starship,” long before the Jefferson Airplane mutated into that incarnation, and featured Grace Slick and other Airplane members. Plus Jerry Garcia and one or two others from the Grateful Dead, as well as cameo appearances by other lights from the Bay Area music scene. Prior to publication, Kantner formally requested (and was granted) permission from Robert A. Heinlein, as “Blows Against the Empire” was based loosely on RAH’s prewar novel “Methuselah’s Children.” I am unsure what terms were involved in this; however, Kantner sent Heinlein a copy of the album, which the author listened to, enjoyed, and kept (per the Patterson biography, RAH also owned a number of other Jefferson Airplane records).

    Good points all. And much longer than I could squeeze into a Birthday note obviously.

    It may or nay not have actually have been done by Jefferson Starship, but then the entire history of that band is, to say the least, somewhat unclear at points.

    I’ll admit that I’ve listened to a lot of their music down the years. And I do mean a lot. Some of it is quite permanently stuck in my mind such as “White Rabbit”, “Lather” and “Dragonfly”.

    And no, I didn’t know that he’d passed on. Pity that.

  7. Brigitte Helm: Helm’s films of the 1930’s were hardly National Socialist propaganda. Helm made her last film in 1935, a version of Oscar Wilde’s “An Ideal Husband” (Ein idealer Gatte) which was a faithful version of the play and was partly filmed in London. After completing filming she married a Swiss businessman and moved to Switzerland where she lived the life as the wife of a prosperous Swiss Businessman and mother of his children. Hitler was an admirer of her work and supposedly personally appealed to her to return to film work, but she disliked the Nazis and opted to stay in Switzerland. Only in the years before her death would she make appearances at film festivals and agree to be interviewed about her movies.

    She appeared in both versions of “Alraune” in the 1927 silent version and the 1930 sound version. She also co-starred in “Gold” in 1934 opposite Hans Albers (who would go on to star as Baron Munchausen) “Gold” is pure SF, it concerns a scientist who is attempting to turn base metals into Gold using a nuclear reactor.

  8. Paul Weimer says The weirdest movie I remember Russell in was a bit part in the wildly uneven INTERSTATE 60

    In a not weird at all role, he shows up in “The Finny Foot Affair” episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Now there’s a series I’d love to watch all the way through!

  9. Charon Dunn says Jefferson Starship was also in the Star Wars Holiday … I’ll show myself out.

    Not so fast. What did they play in it?

    Ok, I’ll admit that I’ve never seen it. Have I missed anything?

  10. @Cat: They played a song.

    You’ve certainly missed something – whether it was something a sensible person would want to have missed is a question for wiser heads (I saw it – before I actually saw SW)

  11. Andrew (not Werdna) says They played a song.

    You’ve certainly missed something – whether it was something a sensible person would want to have missed is a question for wiser heads (I saw it – before I actually saw SW)

    Yes, but which song did they play? Or are you saying that you’ve forgotten after all these years what the song was?

    So who else has an opinion on whether I should watch this?

  12. Blows Against the Empire was the first thing to use the “Jefferson Starship” name, but it only bore a superficial resemblance to the band that later became Jefferson Starship. What it did resemble was The Planet Earth Rock & Roll Orchestra (PERRO), an informal “supergroup” that consisted of members of the Airplane, the Grateful Dead, CS&N, and Quicksilver. In addition to Blows, the band played on David Crosby’s first solo album, Graham Nash’s first solo album, Mickey Hart’s first solo album, and several more.

  13. Sadly, the Jefferson Starship ultimately morphed into just Starship, which brought us the infamous We Built This City on Rock and Roll, to their eternal shame.

  14. I remember quite enjoying the Star Wars Holiday Special. When it first aired. I was 10 years old and squarely in the target audience.

  15. I always love a Doctor Who anniversary; but Rose was first shown on 26 March 2005 in the UK, and the following day in the USA, not ten days earlier. IMDB is wrong on this one!

  16. Nicholas Whyte: Several things to straighten out here. First, I typoed the boldfaced year in Cat’s piece, which should be 2006. Doctor Who first aired in the US on March 17, 2006.

    Second, as you say, the show first aired in the UK on March 26, 2005.

    But it did not air the next day in the USA. I consulted both the LA Times archives and in Shaun Lyon’s Outpost Gallifrey note here and the contemporaneous sources confirm March 17, 2006.

  17. @rochrist: Fortunately, our birthday boy, Paul Kantner, was not involved with the just-plain Starship, so none of the shame for that single falls on him. 🙂

  18. 8: so many films and television shows have featured the OK Corral, the Earps, the Clantons and Tombstone (including at least one actor who portrayed an historical figure in both a film and a television episode of a show that not infrequently featured time travel and dimensional rifts) that I believe that locale and time in history has got to be one of those nexus points, which means that in at least one alternate reality, Kurt Russel really IS Wyatt.

  19. 14: I’m with the author – it would be awesome to witness both the Moon landing(s) and a Mars landing in the same life time…a life time that has consisted of the first and waiting impatiently for the second.

  20. 14: I’m with the author – it would be awesome to witness both the Moon landing(s) and a Mars landing in the same life time…a life time that has consisted of watching the first and waiting impatiently for the second.

    (and Yes, Barry, I know – NOW – that the first was a political stunt and never destined to be followed by 1950s SF’s visions, but I didn’t know that back THEN and no amount of cynicism based in realty can take that sense of wonder and excitement away from me – even despite the fact that I like your work.)

  21. Xtifr says Fortunately, our birthday boy, Paul Kantner, was not involved with the just-plain Starship, so none of the shame for that single falls on him.

    Was not Slick involved?

    I’ve heard exactly one song, “We Built This City”, that I know of by Starship and it was epically awful even by commercial, not really anything special pop standards.

  22. Cat Eldridge on March 18, 2022 at 5:48 am said:
    I’ve heard exactly one song, “We Built This City”, that I know of by Starship and it was epically awful even by commercial, not really anything special pop standards.

    IIRC, Grace Slick was 45 when We Built This City hit the charts, making her one of the few women over the age of 40 to have a Number 1 hit. I believe she held the record as the oldest woman to top the pop charts up until Cher recorded “Believe” when she was 50 or 51.

    So I have a fondness for We Built This City, just because I dislike ageism, and I dislike the erasure of middle-aged women from the pop landscape.

    (Bonus points if you can name the only woman over the age of 40 to have topped the charts in the past 20 years…)

  23. “Pixelators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who scroll down to some perfectly contented fans and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why pixelators are so absolutely necessary.”
    – Oscar Filed

  24. @Cat Eldridge:
    I’m gonna be the annoying former union activist here and holler about this statement regarding the publishing industry:

    a lot of largely disposable junior staff who know going in that they indeed disposable. No one should be surprised that they work long hours for not much pay as that’s how it’s always.

    “That’s how it’s always [been]” is an inadequate excuse for bad corporate behavior, much less a rationale for why a particular unjust corporate industry’s structures are unlikely to change. If anything, it’s a call for change. It’s already clear that the gatekeeping functions of traditional publishing are problematic with regard to representation, especially as the industry moves toward monopoly at the higher levels.

    Sure, “no one should be surprised.” It’s well-known that teachers (for example) work extra hours and go the extra mile as a requirement for the profession. But they’re leaving the profession in droves these days, because conditions crossed a line (in this case, safe working conditions). I’m a former teacher. Had working conditions been better, I’d have stayed longer (I left the profession eight years ago).

    Note: less-heralded but also happening is the loss of a lot of support staff–i.e. teaching assistants and aides–in schools, for similar reasons as the teachers.

    I hear a lot of similarities in problematic working conditions coupled with pay between the editors/agents leaving the profession and teachers leaving theirs. The buildup to this point is roughly equivalent in both professions. The fact is that if we want good people coming out of schools, and good books coming out of publishing houses, we need to treat all levels of workers fairly. If only those with a side income are privileged enough to be able to work in either profession, then…there is something hugely wrong.

    And at that point, change will happen. Whether it’s the type of change we want to see or not–is always going to be the question.

  25. 1) Holy cats, “be a low paid assistant for 5 more years and maybe we’ll think about letting you do something else”– yeah, I can’t really blame them for blowing that pop stand.

    And I liked “We built this city”…

  26. ja says Holy cats, “be a low paid assistant for 5 more years and maybe we’ll think about letting you do something else”– yeah, I can’t really blame them for blowing that pop stand.

    Nor I.

    But they are immensely large, global undertakings that have no reasons at all, despite anything we think they should do, to change their internal practices of how they treat their staffers. They pay a handful of senior staff well and the rest not very well — a practice that you can find in fiction going back to least the Thirties.

    Expecting to be some well paid, appreciated and upwardly mobile in the publishing industry is I’d say rather naive.

    (Same holds true of the music industry, particularly at the folk level. Green Linnet went bankrupt for very good reasons and more than one musician wanted to perform a scatological act upon that grave.)

  27. Joyce-Reynolds Ward says And at that point, change will happen. Whether it’s the type of change we want to see or not–is always going to be the question.

    No, it doesn’t have to happen. These structures have very old corporate histories that are very resistant to chance. Individuals count less to them than continuity does. They can create imprints, say Firebird Books, let it run for awhile, and terminate them at their will even if the Editor is considered to be one of their brilliant ones. Even being praised by Yolen won’t protect you. So how can a junior staffer expect to survive there?

  28. @Xtifr Yes, Grace Slick sang on it. It might even have been her swan song.

    @ja We all have our guilty pleasures.

  29. @rochrist

    Sadly, the Jefferson Starship ultimately morphed into just Starship, which brought us the infamous We Built This City on Rock and Roll, to their eternal shame.

    I would love to have the shame of the royalties brought by We Built This City.

  30. Cat: But right here, right now, we’re hitting this exact crossroads in most industries all at once. It’s currently much more of a worker’s market than it was even 2 years ago, as businesses used to squeezing every extra hour out of every lowest dollar discover people…. just won’t go back to that. And it’s an opportunity to leverage that into actual change. Starbucks and other places are unionizing in droves. Virtually every food packaging place seems to be running a strike or have just settled a strike or be preparing for a strike. White collar businesses are forced to raise their pay or have key roles go unfilled until the whole thing collapses.

    So “Ah, they had these issues in the Great Depression” (ignoring all the dates between when unions were stronger and we didn’t have them as much as we do now) isn’t nearly as convincing a stance as it was even in March 2020, and the agitation for raising minimum wage, improving pay or conditions, and unionization was already a steady and rising theme two years ago.

  31. Lenora Rose: Anything the publishing house employees want to organize for their betterment would be great. The continuous merging of corporate publishers, however, just looks to me like a fist squeezing hard to get every last nickel– and indie is where those squeezed out will look for their future.

  32. @bill Eh. It never got higher than 14 in the Billboard top 100 and it wasn’t there long. Rolling Stone named it one of the 10 worst songs of the 80s. Blender magazine put it in the 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs of All Time, and GQ named it the worst song ever.

    Some of the JAGs in the band at that point may have appreciated the royalties, but Grace’s royalties from the real Airplane stuff will have dwarfed them.

  33. Grace Slick still had one big hit with Starship after “We Built This City” — “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” Also a smaller hit with “Set the Night to Music.” Then she left Starship. She did join with other original Airplane members for the Jefferson Airplane album, which was mildly successful but didn’t really generate hit singles.

  34. I didn’t know so many people were invested in hating “We Built This City.” When it was popular I mostly thought the message was “You kids aren’t worshipping us geezers enough.” God knows how much of same we see in sff today.

  35. @BGrandrath:

    Estravan climbs the ice field, listen to the Ansible, don’t you remember?
    We built this genre, we built this genre on Files and Scrolls.

  36. Actually, it was -supposed- to be a down song about commercial interest taking over all the live performance spaces, but then Peter Wolf got ahold of it and rearranged it into something light and poppy.

  37. Mike Glyer says I didn’t know so many people were invested in hating “We Built This City.” When it was popular I mostly thought the message was “You kids aren’t worshipping us geezers enough.” God knows how much of same we see in sff today.

    I don’t hate it as that would mean I had something invested in the song. I just thought it was a really, really bad song. And terribly disappointing given how great in general the band that they came out had been. Sort of like drinking a fine stout then being handed one of those calorie free, flavor free near beers.

  38. “We Built This City” is as terrible as it is inescapable. I feel like I heard it 1,000 times the year it came out.

    As I type this comment I’m watching Tennis Channel at the Indian Wells tournament. The song just played during a switchover.

  39. @Olav Rokne: I haven’t been following the pop charts, but I think Bonnie Raitt has been doing well in whatever genre she is classified as.

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