Pixel Scroll 3/26/20 The Chloroquine Of The Conciliator

An abbreviated Scroll today. You might want to add your own items of interest in comments.

(1) INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The Social Distancing Festival

This is a site for celebrating art from all over the world, showcasing amazing talent, and coming together as a community at a time when we need it more than ever.

(2) PENGUINCON 2020 CANCELLED. The announcement was made today.

It is bittersweet news we bring to you today. As you know we have diligently kept our eyes on the situation surrounding COVID-19 and evaluating what we should do in the best interest of our community, our organization, and the community at large.

It is with both sadness, but also with hope, that I am able to announce that the Westin has offered to move our contract to April 2021. This means that Penguicon 2020 has officially been cancelled.


  • March 26, 1989 Quantum Leap premiered. Created by  Donald P. Bellisario (Tales of The Golden MonkeyAirWolf), it starred Scott Bakula as the  time-travelling Sam Beckett and Dean Stockwell as his holographic contact from the future, Admiral Al Calavicci. The series would air on NBC for five seasons gaining a large following after a mediocre start. It has a stellar 97% rating by the audience at Rotten Tomatoes. You can se the pilot here.
  • March 26, 2005 — The modern era of Doctor Who premiered with the airing on BBC  of “Rose”. Starring Christopher Ecclestone as the Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler with Camille Coduri  as Jackie Tyler and Noel Clarke  and Mickey Smith, Russell T Davies was the showrunner snd scriptwriter for that episode which you can see here.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 26, 1850 Edward Bellamy. Looking Backward: 2000–1887 is really the only work that he’s remembered for today. It’s interesting if more than a bit stifled in its language style. He wrote two other largely forgotten works, Dr. Heidenhoff’s Process and Miss Ludington’s Sister: A Romance of Immortality. (Died 1898.)
  • Born March 26, 1920 Alex Comfort. No smirking please as we’re adults here. Yes, he’s the author of The Joy of Sex but he did do some decidedly odd genre work as well. Clute at EoSF notes  that his “first genuine sf novel, Come Out to Play (1961), is a near-future Satire on scientism narrated by a smug sexologist, whose Invention – a potent sexual disinhibitor jokingly called 3-blindmycin (see Drugs) – is accidentally released over Buckingham Palace at the Slingshot Ending, presumably causing the English to act differently than before.” (Died 2000.)
  • Born March 26, 1931 Leonard Nimoy. I really don’t need to say who he played on Trek, do I? Did you know his first role was as a zombie in Zombies of the Stratosphere? Or that he did a a lot of Westerns ranging from Broken Arrow in which he played various Indians to The Tall Man in which at least his character had a name, Deputy Sheriff Johnny Swift. His other great genre role was on Mission: Impossible as The Great Paris, a character whose real name was never revealed, who was a retired magician. It was his first post-Trek series. He of course showed up on the usual other genre outings such as The Twilight ZoneThe Man from U.N.C.L.E.The Outer LimitsNight Gallery and Get Smart. And then there’s the matter of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.” (Died 2015.)
  • Born March 26, 1942 Erica Jong, 78. Witches which has amazing illustrations by Joseph A. Smiths is very much still worth your time nearly forty years on. ISFDB also lists Shylock’s Daughter: A Novel of Love in Venice which is a time travel story but it certainly sounds more like a romance novel to me.
  • Born March 26, 1950 K. W. Jeter, 70. Farewell Horizontal may or may not be punk of any manner but it’s a great read. Though I generally loathe such things, Morlock Night, his sequel  to The Time Machine , is well-worth reading. I’ve heard good things about his Blade Runner sequels but haven’t read them. Opinions please.
  • Born March 26, 1951 Brian Bolland, 69. Best remembered as one of the most memorable Judge Dredd artists for 2000 AD, he also did crack work on Camelot 3000 and The Killing Joke as well. The latter received an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album. 
  • Born March 26, 1953Christopher Fowler, 67. I started reading him when I encountered his Bryant & May series which though explicitly not genre does feature a couple of protagonists who are suspiciously old. Possibly a century or more now. The mysteries may or may not have genre aspects (some such as Seventy Seven Clocks are genre) but all are wonderfully weird. Other novels by him which I’d recommend are Roofworld and Rune which really are genre, and Hell Train which is quite delicious horror.
  • Born March 26, 1985 Keira Knightley, 35. To my surprise and this definitely shows I’m not Star Wars geek, she was Sabé, The Decoy Queen., in The Phantom Menace.  Next up for her is Princess of Thieves, a loose adaptation of the Robin Hood legend. Now I didn’t see that but I did see her in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl as Elizabeth Swann though I’ll be damned if I remember her role. (She’s in several more of these films. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.) I saw her as Guinevere, an odd Guinevere indeed, in King Arthur. Her last role I must note was as The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in which she was the Sugar Plum Fairy! 

(5) WHERE WILL YOU PIN YOUR BADGE? You’ll need to decide, because Adri Joy is getting a head start on badge ribbons for the virtual Worldcon.

(6) ALSO IN NEW ZEALAND, Wellington Paranormal is helping out in their own way.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Errolwi, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/26/20 The Chloroquine Of The Conciliator

  1. (3) I watched the first episode of Quantum Leap when I was in grad school and stuck with it to the end. Great stuff.

    (4) One of Nimoy’s last roles was on Fringe, playing William Bell.

  2. @Andrew —

    (3) I watched the first episode of Quantum Leap when I was in grad school and stuck with it to the end. Great stuff.

    I was so offended by the concept that I couldn’t watch it. Not the time-travel part, but the part about taking over someone else’s body and forcing that person to essentially be an involuntary passive observer to the most important events of their own lives. I couldn’t get over that.

  3. @Contrarius: I certainly can understand that reaction (and it bothered me during some of the stories), but it wasn’t enough to stop me from watching the show at the time – my mileage might very well vary if I was watching it now

  4. (4) Keira Knightley co-starred with Steve Carell in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012), which can be construed as a genre film. In fact I’ve not seen her in anything else.

    Leonard Nimoy’s transition to Mission: Impossible couldn’t have been easier; a few months after Trek wrapped, he simply returned to the same Paramount (former Desilu) lot. The two series’ sound stages as well as their production offices couldn’t have been closer together physically. He might have even had the same parking space.

    I do wish he hadn’t done the two Abrams movies, though.

    Edit: ……fifth!

  5. (4) One of the local stations, way back when, was running “Zombies”, so I’ve actually seen it. I also saw one of the westerns he was in – it was based on a Louis L’Amour novel, but it’s been long enough that I don’t remember which one. (It would be in imdb, though.).

  6. Contrarius. I assumed that the consciousness of that person went to the future to the protagonists body. I don’t know why I thought that- it’s just what I remember.

  7. @bookworm —

    Contrarius. I assumed that the consciousness of that person went to the future to the protagonists body. I don’t know why I thought that- it’s just what I remember.

    Which doesn’t really help — your own body gets highjacked and your consciousness gets kidnapped while somebody else is conducting the most important events that your life will ever have, in your own highjacked body!

  8. Contrarius: Which doesn’t really help — your own body gets highjacked and your consciousness gets kidnapped while somebody else is conducting the most important events that your life will ever have, in your own highjacked body!

    That was my take as well — that the other person’s consciousness was not present while Sam was there. And I agree that it’s still problematic.

    I think the way they excused the hijacking was that the person in question had made the wrong decision, resulting in terrible catastrophe to them and/or others, and him hijacking their body was the only way to prevent it.

  9. (4) It’s Alan Arkin’s birthday. My first thought was Peevy in The Rocketeer, but he was also the title character in both The Return of Captain Invincible and Simon. Roles in Edward Scissorhands and Gattaca and the voice of Schmendrick in The Last Unicorn.

    James Caan. I think the original Rollerball holds up pretty well. (Maybe not its choice of fonts.) I’m apparently better off for not seeing him in the 2002 attempt at Lathe of Heaven. With Misery, Alien Nation and Elf, he has a fairly strong genre or genre adjacent resume.

    Strother Martin. Managed an episode each of Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone. In Lost in Space, he was a space miner intent on blowing up the planet the Robinsons were stuck on. He also turned a subject into a snake or snake man or something in Sssssss. Best not to talk to much about Nightwing. One of my favorite bits had Strother Martin as Le Capitan of Camp Beau Soleil, a French language immersion camp.

    What we have here is a failure to pixel scroll

  10. @Jack Lint

    One of my favorite bits had Strother Martin as Le Capitan of Camp Beau Soleil, a French language immersion camp.

    All berets must be worn on a slant. If your beret is not on a slant, you spend a night in the box.

  11. bookworm1398 on March 26, 2020 at 8:56 pm said:

    Contrarius. I assumed that the consciousness of that person went to the future to the protagonists body. I don’t know why I thought that- it’s just what I remember.

    Wasn’t there some kind of waiting room? I vaguely remember something along those lines

  12. On the good news side: Yesterday was the first day, since getting corona, that I could walk around a bit in my apartment without getting short of breath when moving from one room to another. And today I got a mail from my mother that this was her first day without fever.

    So things are going the right way.

  13. I love Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May books, although they don’t seem to attract much attention in the U.S. ( too British, maybe). His two memoirs, Paper Boy and Film Freak, are wonderfully candid. I presume (hope!) there will be a third volume covering his writing career.

  14. Almost simultaneously with seeing Nimoy on reruns of Star Trek, I first saw him on In Search Of.

  15. 3) I think the only Jeter I’ve read is “Infernal Devices”, which had two or three genuinely funny scenes but never quite lived up to the promise of the narrator’s introduction in the first chapter. Still worth a look, though.

  16. I admit that I’ve never actually watched Quantum Leap, but based on the description it kind of sounds like Lovecraft’s “Shadow Out of Time”, except that instead of your body being possessed by a member of the impossibly ancient Great Old Ones (ten foot tall intelligent cones), your body is possessed by Scott Bakula.

  17. @4 (Nimoy): he was sufficiently competent as a stage actor that he took a turn as the psychiatrist in the NYC production of Equus — not genre, but notable as IIRC few genre-tagged actors of that time got stage roles.

    @4 (Fowler): I’ve been enjoying Bryant&May for some time now. I’m not convinced either is hyper-aged — Bryant seems to make things up a lot, and the recent Hall of Mirrors is a 1969 memoir that was IIRC presented as an early case — but they are definitely fun. Failure to be well-known in the US (if true — the local library system buys a handful of each) may reflect the fact that they’re ~real, rather than either all-competent or only-comically inept (or just someone the reader can feel superior to, like Stephanie Plum).

    @4 (Knightley): she has one of the best lines: (to a pirate threatening to teach her the meaning of pain) “You like pain! (BASH) Try wearing a corset.” I thought at least the first movie was great fun and reasonably plausible, even if it had a few setups for bits from the Magic Kingdom ride; I think it would have been odds-on for a Hugo if it hadn’t been up against The Return of the King. I also remember her being politely furious (in a Parade interview) about the Elizabeth “action figure” being … enhanced; the words “infantile USian obsession with bosoms” did not quite escape her lips.

    Congratulations to @Hampus and family on being on the mend. So far around here, I know at least three people who’ve had to go on 14-day quarantine, but no actual cases — although the local paper’s reaction to NYC being only 200 miles away is just short of “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” More worrying is the number of medical people who’ve tested positive — although some of that may be that testing is finally ramping up, with one local firm in production and another cleared to start.

  18. @Chip — I’m not worrying about the distance to New York City, I’m worried about the people I know there. As in, until I read your comment, it hadn’t occurred to me as relevant. Now that I read this, my hunch is that If people are thinking “New York isn’t safe, run away!” they’re mostly not going to come that far in this direction: they’re heading for Long Island, and the Orthodox Jewish leaders in Florida are saying they shouldn’t go there for Pesach.

    On the other hand, I’ve been self-isolating because of possible exposure via my girlfriend, though it now looks as though she is recovering from the flu, not coronavirus. She and I both live in the part of Middlesex County where COVID-19 cases were turning up first, because of the Biogen conference. Not very long ago, the other US hot-spots were the Seattle area and the San Francisco Bay area. This isn’t something that is spreading like flood waters: We’re a long way from Wuhan, South Korea, and Lombardy.

    Take care, everyone.

  19. @bookworm1398/@CamestrosF: Yes, the show established that the consciousness of the hijacked person when to the future (and to Scott Bakula’s body – canon of the series was that Bakula’s body remained in the future). Still problematic (though this didn’t occur to me at the time).

  20. Related to the Alex Comfort birthday, Chris Foss illustrated The Joy of Sex, early in his career. I still have the rocking chair one.

  21. @Chip
    I saw him as Holmes in a stage play in 1976. The performance was quite good.

  22. Re: Quantum Leap
    The person he leaped into took his place in the future, and was in “The Waiting Room”. In the later seasons, we saw them in the Waiting Room more, including an episode where the leapee (who was an escaped prisoner holding people hostage in 1957) escaped from the Waiting Room. So Al had to go after him and bring him back before Sam could leap.
    (Also that episode had a 1993 vision of 1999, which is particular amusing looking at from a 2020 perspective.)

  23. Glad to hear you and your mom are doing better, Hampus!

    Meredith Moment: Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Lions of Al-Rassan is on sale for $1.99, and Ursula LeGuin’s The Word for World is Forest for $2.99.

  24. I never met Nimoy but I always had the impression I would have liked him if I’d known him. Irrational, but so.

    I remember him best as the host of In Search of, which haunted my childhood with it’s moody theme. And the monsters of course.

    He was also in a movie I enjoyed about the effort to organize a Holocaust Museum.

    Glad to hear you two are improving, Hampus. The disease sounds painful, something that gets lost in all the doomsday dread. I sincerely hope not to catch it.

  25. Late to the Scroll to say:

    @Hampus Eckerman: Great and I hope you and your mother, etc., keep improving till you’re all well, and may it be soon!

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