Pixel Scroll 3/28/21 The Pixel On The Edge Of Scrollever

(1) HOME ON THE CIMMERIAN RANGE. Horror author Stephen Graham Jones shares his love for the Conan stories and how he identifies both with Conan and with his creator Robert E. Howard in “My Life With Conan the Barbarian” in Texas Monthly.

… But Conan the Barbarian.

Imagine you’re a Blackfeet kid growing up in the windswept pastures twenty miles east of Midland, with no other Blackfeet around. Like Conan the Wanderer, -the Adventurer, -the Outcast, I was out in the trackless wastelands, far from civilization. The way I saw it, we’d come up the same. Conan’s homeland of Cimmeria was high and lonely? From our back porch in West Texas, I couldn’t see a single light. Cimmeria was packed with formative dangers? Every third step I took, I found myself entangled in barbed wire or jumping back from a rattlesnake. And when I mapped Cimmeria—the land Conan spent decades away from—onto my world, it could have been Montana, where the Blackfeet are….

(2) NAMING POLICY. At the FANDOM-run Wookieepedia editors are voting on an “Amendment to naming policy for real-world transgender individuals”.  

For about the last decade or so, the naming policy for real-world people on Wookieepedia has been “Articles for real-world people, such as actors and authors, shall be titled according to their actual credited name in a Star Wars work, whether that be an abbreviation/stage name or pseudonym,” with a handful of exceptions.

In recent years, it’s become apparent that this policy is inadequate for transgender individuals and an additional exception needs to be made so that their articles are titled according to their chosen name, whether or not they return to Star Wars after coming out, as a matter of respect. As our society evolves, so too must Wookieepedia.

To that end, I propose the following addition to the naming policy, to be added alongside the three existing exceptions:

“If a real-world person is transgender and has changed their name since working on Star Wars, their article may be titled by their chosen name and the credited name turned into a redirect.”

For anyone unfamiliar with transgender issues, and how it relates to naming articles, these pages on Wikipedia and GLAAD should help (ctrl+f “name”) Toqgers (talk) 04:35, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

Here’s some of the discussion from supporters.

(3) KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH KICKSTARTER ENDING. [Item by rcade.] Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith have a current KickStarter project ending on Wednesday to fund Rusch’s first new work in 20 years in the world of The Fey: “The Return of the Fey by Dean Wesley Smith” — Kickstarter.

The project, which has rocketed past its funding goal by raising over $25,000 from 400 backers, is for a new novella of undetermined title. A $30 pledge receives all seven The Fey novels as ebooks along with the new work. A $250 pledge takes home the book Lessons from Writing of The Fey and a class taught by Rusch about  “the writing and publishing of a major epic fantasy series, and all the good stuff and mistakes along the way.”

The Fey series comprises seven books — a five- and two-book series that each tell complete stories. On the Kickstarter funding page, Smith dishes on the frustrating publication history of The Fey:

Bantam put Kris under contract for seven books in total. The first five were called The Fey Series, the next two were the Black King and Black Queen Series. 

They were two separate stories set in the world of The Fey. And the readership continued to grow until the year 1999, with the 5th book just published and the 6th book ready to come out. All four of the first books were in multiple printings. But Bantam Publishing, for reasons no one ever said, let the 4th book go out of print. And kept it out of print, even with an intense demand for it. Not kidding. 

By the time the 7th book came out in late 2000, the 4th book in its original mass market paperback edition was selling for hundreds and hundreds of dollars in collector’s markets because fans just wanted to read it.

Rusch regained the rights from Bantam and the novels are published today by WMG Publishing. They even publish book 4!

(4) THE ASKING PRICE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Isaac Asimov says in his autobiography In Joy Still Felt that in 1961 he was invited by the MIT Science Fiction Society to give a talk.  They asked what his fee was and he decided to charge them a hundred dollars.  After the talk, they took him to dinner at Joseph’s, “one of Boston’s posh eating places…it was very expensive and I had never eaten there.”

My conscience smote me.  They were being very nice to me after I soaked them for a hundred dollars.

I said, deeply troubled, ‘Where the heck do you kids get the money to pay speakers?’ because I gather my talk was one of four for the year.

I expected them to say they gave up lunches or sold pencils on the corner,  and I was quite prepared to force the hundred dollars back on them.

But one of them said, cheerfully, ‘We show first-run movies and collect lots of proceeds.’

‘Lots of proceeds?’

‘Sure.  Up to five or six thousand dollars for the year.’

I mentally divided that by four and said, ‘That means you must pay some of the speakers more than a hundred dollars.’

‘Of course,’ said the spokesman, apparently unaware of the enormity of what he was saying.  ‘Wernher von Braun, who was the speaker before you, got fourteen hundred dollars.

I stared at him for quite a while, and then he said, ‘Was he fourteen times as good as I was?’

‘No.  You were much better.’

Asimov says he subsequently went to several MITSFS picnics, which concluded with a trip to the school’s observatory, which is at the top of a big hill.  Asimov dutifully climbed the hill every year, even though he didn’t like to exercise.

(5) THE WORLDCON YOU DESERVE. Seanan McGuire shared this dream with Twitter. The commenters took the idea and ran with it. Thread starts here.

(6) REMEMBERING. “A poem by Jane Yolen in remembrance of her friend Norton Juster (1929-2021)”has been posted by The Horn Book: “Norton Passes Go”.

Jane Yolen receives the 2009 Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy, presented by its namesake. Photo: Seth Kaye Photography.

(7) BOOK WITHDRAWN, AUTHOR APOLOGIZES. Publisher Scholastic has made the decision to pull Dav Pilkey’s 2010 graphic novel The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future due to its perpetuation of “passive racism.” “From Scholastic Regarding The Adventures of Ook and Gluk”.

On Monday, March 22, 2021, with the full support of Dav Pilkey, Scholastic halted distribution of the 2010 book The Adventures of Ook and Gluk. Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism. We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake. Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.  

Throughout our 100 year history, we have learned that trust must be won every day by total vigilance. It is our duty and privilege to publish books with powerful and positive representations of our diverse society, and we will continue to strengthen our review processes as we seek to support all young readers.

Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series, shared an apology that was posted on YouTube.

About ten years ago I created a book about a group of friends who save the world using Kung Fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution. But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery. I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people….


  • March 28, 2003 — On this day in 2003, Tremors: The Series premiered on Syfy. It followed three Tremors films and starred Michael Gross, Gladise Jimenez, Marcia Strassman and Victor Brown. Created by Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson who brought us the entire Tremors franchise, it lasted but thirteen episodes. It was followed by Tremors 4: The Legend Begins whichstars Michael Gross as Hiram Gummer, the great-grandfather of the character Burt Gummer. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born March 28, 1483 – Raphael.  (In Italian, more fully Rafaello Sanzio da Urbino.)  Painter and architect; with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, one of the masters of the High Renaissance.  Here is his Portrait of a Young Woman with a Unicorn on the cover of the Mar 05 Asimov’s.  Here is The Triumph of Galatea.  Part of The School at Athens is on the cover of The Philosopher Kings.  (Died 1520) [JH]
  • Born March 28, 1918 – Robert Stanley.  A dozen covers for us.  Here is Universe.  Here is our next-door neighbor Rocket to the Morgue.  Here is When Worlds Collide.  Also ArgosyDime DetectiveThrilling Western, publishers e.g. Bantam, Dell, Popular Library, Pyramid.  (Died 1996) [JH]
  • Born March 28, 1922 A. Bertram Chandler. Did you ever hear of popcorn literature? Well the Australian-tinged space opera that was the universe of John Grimes was such. A very good starter place is the Baen Books omnibus of To The Galactic Rim which contains three novels and seven stories. Oh, and I’ve revisited both to see if the Suck Fairy had dropped by. She hadn’t. (Died 1984.) (CE) 
  • Born March 28, 1930 – Barbara Ninde Byfield.  Wrote and illustrated five novels for us; also The Glass Harmonica – nonfiction; there was one at the Millennium Philcon, 59th Worldcon.  (Died 1988) [JH]
  • Born March 28, 1932 Ron Soble. He played Wyatt Earp in the Trek episode, “ Spectre of The Gun”.  During his career, he showed up on a hunger of genre series that included Mission: ImpossibleThe Six Million Dollar ManShazamPlanet of The ApesFantasy IslandSalvage 1 and Knight Rider. His last genre role, weirdly enough, was playing Pablo Paccasio in Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills. (Died 2002.) (CE)
  • Born March 28, 1944 Ellen R. Weil. Wife of  Gary K. Wolfe. She wrote a number of works with him including the non-fiction study, Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. They wrote a fascinating essay, “The Annihilation of Time: Science Fiction; Consumed by Shadows: Ellison and Hollywood,” which can be found in Harlan Ellison: Critical Insights. (CE)
  • Born March 28, 1946 Julia Jarman, 75. Author of a  children’s book series I like a lot, of which I’ll single out Time-Travelling Cat And The Egyptian GoddessThe Time-Travelling Cat and the Tudor Treasure and The Time-Travelling cat and the Viking Terror as the ones I like the best. There’s more in that series but those are my favorites. (CE)
  • Born March 28, 1955 Reba McEntire, 66. Her first film role was playing Heather Gummer in Tremors. Since then, she’s done voice work as Betsy the Cow in Charlotte’s Web and as Etta in The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave. She also voiced Artemis on the Disney Hercules series. (CE)
  • Born March 28, 1958 – Davey Snyder, F.N., age 63.  Chaired Boskone 34, co-chaired World Fantasy Con 25.  Bibliography for The Neil Gaiman Reader (the 2007 one, “Essays and Explorations”).  Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award).  [JH]
  • Born March 28, 1960 Chris Barrie, 61. He’s as Lara Croft’s butler Hillary in the most excellent Tomb Raider franchise films. He also shows up on Red Dwarf for twelve series as Arnold Rimmer, a series I’ve never quite grokked. He’s also one of the principal voice actors on Splitting Image which is not quite genre adjacent but oh so fun. (CE) 
  • Born March 28, 1964 – Gloria Oliver, age 57.  Half a dozen novels, as many shorter stories.  Sparked by the Gatchaman apa Bird Scramble, attending ConDFW, and her husband.  [JH]
  • Born March 28, 1983 – Josephine Angelini, age 38.  Half a dozen novels.  Has read The Once and Future KingAs I Lay DyingSiddhartha, two by Jane Austen, Fagles tr. The Iliad and The OdysseyThe Count of Monte CristoFrankenstein.  “Dreams are messy and they don’t make sense, but what works for me is to take the feeling that I have from a dream and try to re-create it on the page.  If I can get one or two images from a dream to work in a story I feel satisfied.”  [JH]


  • Bizarro finds some stars shouldn’t get wet.
  • Off the Mark reveals a delivery mistake with major fairy tale implications.
  • Non Sequitur transports a babysitter into an unexpected pulp adventure

(11) SERIAL SUPERHERO. Comic book superhero movies made their debut in theaters 80 years ago today. At least this one did: “Adventures of Captain Marvel”.

(12) NEXT SUPERHERO. The Black Adam movie is slated for a July 29, 2022 release.

(13) ALWAYS WINTER, BUT SOMETIMES CHRISTMAS. In the Washington Post, Shannon Liao says that Animal Crossing:  New Horizons was released on March 20, 2020.  She interviews people who have played Animal Crossing for over 1,000 years in a year and how the game provided a lot of comfort during the worst part of the pandemic. “Meet the Animal Crossing users who spent up to 2000 hours in game”.

Snow topped trees, ice sculptures and the sound of rushing waterfalls. Susana Liang built out her “Animal Crossing” island complete with a Christmas dinner, various shops, a wedding reception, an igloo campsite, a picnic, a mini version of the Greek island Santorini, elaborate walkways and a cozy home with plenty of Christmas trees.“Winter makes everything covered in snow and it’s all white, so it makes it feel a bit more ethereal and dreamy. It’s one of my favorite seasons in the game,” said Liang, who works in health science in New York and has spent over 2,300 hours playing Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” since a few weeks after the game’s release. It’s always winter on her island. Every time winter is about to end, she time travels back to the beginning of January to stay in the season…

(14) GETTING WARMER. “A Warmer Superconductor Found” reports New Energy and Fuel.

The team at the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry (Mainz, Germany), the University of Chicago (USA), and the Soreq Nuclear Research Center (Yavne, Israel) used a variety of analytical methods to refine the phase diagrams for hydrogen sulfide in the H(3)S form and D(3)S, its deuterium analogue, in relation to pressure and temperature, and to shed additional light on their superconducting properties.

The scientists have now introduced new findings that show the materials become superconducting at the relatively high temperatures of -77 and -107 °C, respectively.

(15) ANDY! ANDY! Yesterday’s photo of Captain Kirk and Edith Keeler on the set in front of an identifiable Mayberry landmark prompted a Filer to point out MeTV’s Star Trek / Andy Griffith Show mash-up commercial.

Kirk and Spock travel to Mayberry! And Barney looks to nip it in the bud. Explore strange new worlds on MeTV!

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Mark Evanier hosts a virtual panel on Jack Kirby with Jonathan Ross and Neil Gaiman for WonderCon@Home 2021: “Jack Kirby Panel”.

Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics) talks about the man some call “The King of the Comics” with author Neil Gaiman (American Gods) and TV host and mega-Kirby fan Jonathan Ross. They will attempt to discuss what was special about the work of Jack Kirby and why, long after we lost him, he seems to be more popular than ever.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John Hertz, N., Cora Buhlert, Bill, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Rich Horton, Andrew (Not Werdna), Martin Morse Wooster, Brian Z., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

24 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/28/21 The Pixel On The Edge Of Scrollever

  1. First! Continuing onward with Law and Order: Criminal Intent while reading the first in the new series from Simon R. Green, The Best Thing You Can Steal.

  2. Amal El-Mohtar did a story on a year of Animal Crossing New Horizons for NPR.

    It’s also Nick Frost’s birthday. Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, World’s End, Paul, and Attack the Block. Also some voice work in The Adventures of Tintin and Boxtrolls. Can’t say I’ve seen Hyperdrive or Truth Seekers. Just saw a trailer for The Nevers which looks really promising.

  3. Pre-Amazon, I fondly remember putting a tad too much pressure on staff at a very, very good local bookstore to obtain a hard to find collection by a favorite author, John Banville. The acerbic, exasperated bookseller finally said, “Have you considered that maybe Banville doesn’t WANT you to read his early stories?”

    On our former friends Ook and Gluk, Pilkey is clearly lying. He didn’t become aware “this week” (!) that there are racist undercurrents in Ook and Gluk. The entire Kung Fu movie/comics/etc. genre is predicated on recognizing and at least taking a stab at rising above the racist stereotypes present in the development of that genre. Even the jokes within Ook and Gluk are structured around this awareness: in the scene the teacher blathers on with an intentionally boring pseudo-eastern mystical lecture saying things like “those who truly desire peace must not carry weapons… so every finger must become a dagger,” young Ook and Gluk get bored and after several pages blurt “When do we get to learn the nunchucks!”, turning the tip of joke back on the students.

    Due to its implications for other authors, the seemingly active coordination/planning by Scholastic Corporation is worriesome. At least their lawyers chose a slightly more neutral phrasing, “We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision” over Pilkey’s letter’s statement that Scholastic is “actively working to remove existing copies from retail and library shelves.”

    Pilkey not long ago drew and voiced a Banned Books Week promotional video mockingly lecturing the angry Republicans and various other assorted disgruntled old farts who object to the content of this books. He instructs them to change “I don’t want children to read this book” to “I don’t want MY children to.” “That book does not belong in the library” to “It doesn’t belong in MY HOME.” “I should complain about that book” to “I should READ AND DISCUSS THAT BOOK WITH MY FAMILY.”

    I’m reminded that one of the heirs of the Suess Estate finally broke her silence to object to the removal from publication by a shadowy entity plus Bertelsmann. In that case, it seems, the Seuss heirs have lost meaningful control over the estate and the corporations just are doing whatever they want to make money. In this case Pilkey is playing to the ultra-PC choir (as it were) by pretending he never knew there were racial stereotypes in crude Kung Fu tropes drawn in stick fictures and donating all profits from that particular book that (unlike 99.999% of writers) he doesn’t need to pay the rent with any more to charity.

    What will happen with the next author? I mean, this could keep going for a while.

  4. Warning: The Internet haters are back in full force trying to make my life miserable.

    5) Seanan is delightfully creepy sometimes (I am most reminded, recently, of her Cheerleader stories in the context of her thread).

  5. Here is some interesting comment on the petition that apparently caused Ook and Gluk’s memory-holing:

    In a petition at Change, a Korean American father wrote that his two children are huge fans of Pilkey’s books… he wrote:

    “Upon close inspection, I realized the book relied upon multiple instances of racist imagery and stereotypical tropes, including a “Kung Fu master” wearing what’s purported to be a traditional-style Tang coat, dashes for eyes for the Asian characters, stereotypical Chinese proverbs, and a storyline that has the Kung Fu master rescued by the non-Asian protagonists using their Kung Fu skills (despite the fact that they were taught said skills from the supposed master).”

    The father reached out to Scholastic and they had several conversations. Scholastic agreed to pull the book from retailers, but, Scholastic and Mr. Pilkey refused to publicly acknowledge and apologize for the book, and declined to donate proceeds from the book’s run as a bestseller (it was on the NY Times bestseller lists for 33 weeks) to AAPI.

    Those refusals, I gather, are what led the Korean American father to launch a petition on the Change site. I cannot find date/time stamps on the petition at the Change site that would tell me when it was posted. In the update tab dated March 26, the Korean-American father reported that Pilkey had apologized and that Scholastic was going to do so, too.

    Dav Pilkey’s spouse and business manager made several long comments on this blog post (without getting any engagement), about the third of which is:

    After over 10 years… [the petition’s author] Billy Kim on March 22nd, 2021, is the first and only person who complained about the book. I am Asian. I thought Dav depicted the Asians as heroes. The head of We Need Diverse Books, Ellen Oh, loved the book. Dav had 2 Asian editors working on the book. In this long period of almost 11 years, not one person had brought up the passive racism against Asians to Dav or to me. This is the problem. No one noticed until now. Other than intentional misspellings, what are other problems you see in the book? It’s a perfect time to continue this dialogue. Again, Dav and I have continued to support organizations for change long BEFORE any of this happened. Dav gave all of his earnings to several organizations in the past. He isn’t looking for publicity. We hope we can continue to discuss and learn and grow. Thank you for the work you do for children’s literature. Sayuri Pilkey (Dav Pilkey’s business manager and partner)

    “No one noticed until now” is baloney. Everyone knew it was there and they thought no one cared. Not after that movie where Jack Black saves a Chinese village made all that money.

  6. @Paul Weimer, I’m very sorry to hear this. I just don’t understand people sometimes. Why work to make a stranger’s life awful? It’s incomprehensible to me. <hugs> if welcome.

  7. @Paul: Don’t let them get to you. Always remember the good thinks. (I hope that helps)
    Btw what Cheerleader storys by Seanan?

  8. It’s funny, but the titanic ubiquity of comix movies these days makes it seem weird that there was a time when there weren’t many comix movies. I’m redefining and detoxifying the phrase “senior moment,” as the act of correctly remembering–and barely recognizing–the past due to change.

    Thanks for this link.

    I remain disappointed that there are people who see apologies for hurtful behavior as a sign of weakness or cultural decay, or whatever. It’s never too late to make amends, it’s never too late to stop being a problem, it’s never too late to accept responsibility for your actions. Surely we all agree that hurting others is not acceptable.

    Then again, sorry to hear about your new troubles, Paul. I guess you’ll have to keep fighting, alas.

  9. Thanks its Seanan McGuire, there is allways a new book to discover, but I don’t think I can buy that one in Germany.

  10. Meredith moment: Clifford Simak’s A Choice of Gods which was a finalist for a Hugo at Torcon II is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine.

  11. @Jack Lint: Season One of Truthseekers was immensely entertaining; Nick Frost heads a uniformly excellent cast.

  12. (7) Can someone explain, with a little more specificity, what the problem with the book was? What, for example, is “passive racism”?

  13. @bill

    My last comment may have got stuck in moderation!

    I’m curious what you think on this one. The book should have been done much better, of course. If I were the author, I’d have suggested scholastic do a revised issue with a kickass Asian kung fu hero in it and a better epilogue (Since it is popular and would sell). But I’m less worried about this book’s fate than the next one, and the next…

  14. @Paul Weimer

    Ignore the dirtbags. They add so little to the world while you add so much more.

    1) A prime example of something I tried to say a couple years ago. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about RE Howard or NK Jemisin. Some First Nations kid living in Texas, a sixth generation kid whose family came from northern Europe, some kid living in Soweto, Bogata, or Shanghai. Or some old fart living in Anytown. Anyone can get inspired by anything.

    No cultural “expression” belongs to any one group. What readers should expect is a well told story. A well told story doesn’t require that the author’s genetics/history match the narrative of their fiction.

    Congrats to Stephen Graham Jones for finding genre works that spoke to him.

    TRC eht edisni deppart ma I !pleH

  15. Josephine Angelini, age 38. Half a dozen novels. Has read The Once and Future King, As I Lay Dying, Siddhartha, two by Jane Austen, Fagles tr. The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Count of Monte Cristo, Frankenstein.

    Has recorded these for Audible out librevox or something like that? I’ve read most of them, indeed I imagine most of us have.

  16. (2) is at least resolved appropriately as a matter of Fandom’s terms of service:

    Having reviewed the situation, and in keeping with the evolving understanding of these issues, Fandom has determined that, while it may not have been the intention, knowingly using a deadname in an article title is a violation of our Terms of Use. This is a global determination, meaning it applies to all wikis—including Wookieepedia. Since this supersedes local policies, this vote should be closed and policies should be updated to reflect the Terms of Use. The policy proposal here fits with our Terms of Use. Returning to the previous status quo (deferring to credits despite someone stating what their chosen name is) does not.

  17. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 3/29/21 Listen, Billy Pixel’s Come Unscrolled In File | File 770

  18. Just to set a couple minor details straight on (4):

    The MIT Student Group that invited Doctor A and paid him with proceeds from viewings of first run movies was most likely LSC, the Lecture Series Committee, which is the MIT student group responsible for bringing lecturers onto campus, not MITSFS — although if the lecturer was related to SF, students from MITSFS were probably helping out (as we did when I was there and Harlan Ellison and George Takei were guests.) Also there has typically been a LOT of membership overlap between LSC and MITSFS so confusion on Dr. A’s part is understandable.

    The Annual Picnic is in fact a MITSFS event, but the observatory that Dr. A went to was probably the Blue Hill Observatory at the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, which is the traditional location of the MITSFS picnic. MIT’s observatory is the Haystack Observatory up in Westford.

    Admittedly 1961 was before I was born, not just before I was college-aged, so things might have been different when he visited, but I thought I would attempt to speak the truth as I knew it when I was at the Tute.

    — Maytree, HonSec and Vice of MITSFS, quite some years ago.

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