Pixel Scroll 3/8/18 Stay Tuned For Pixels As They Break

(1) ELVES FOREVER. Olga Polomoshnova explores Elves’ immortality in “Who wants to live forever?” at Middle-Earth Reflections.

By their nature the Elves are bound to Arda, with their bodies being made of  “the stuff of Earth”. They live as long as the world endures….

What Men crave for and desire with all their hearts is, in fact, a burden. More accurately, this serial longevity becomes a burden with time. The Elves age very slowly, but during the course of their long lives they know death of wounds or grief, though not, like Men, of old age, and they fear death, too. Elvish ageing shows in their ever-growing weariness of the world. One of the best descriptions of this state was provided by the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who experienced such longevity due to his possession of the One Ring. He compared his unnaturally long life with being “all thin, sort of stretched, […] like butter that has been scraped over too much bread” (Fellowship of the Ring, p. 42). So probably that is exactly how the Elves could feel many thousand years into their lives.

(2) HAMILL’S WALK OF FAME STAR DEDICATED. Star Wars icon Mark Hamill is now a star in the Hollywood firmament: “Mark Hamill Gets ‘Overwhelming’ Support From Harrison Ford & George Lucas at Walk of Fame Ceremony”.

On Thursday, some of the actor’s closest friends and colleagues came out to honor him as he was immortalized in Hollywood with the recognition befitting a cultural icon like himself.

Hamill got some sweet support from his former Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford, Star Wars creator George Lucas, recent Last Jedi co-star Kelly Marie Tran, as well as a pair of Storm Troopers and the iconic droid R2-D2. His wife of nearly 40 years, Marilou York, was also to celebrate the honor.

(3) CROWDFUNDING WILL REVIVE AMAZING. Steve Davidson has launched a Kickstarter to hasten “The Return of Amazing Stories Magazine!”

Amazing Stories is an institution. It is an icon of the field. Over the years it has represented both the best and the worst that this genre has to offer. It has inspired the careers of authors, artists, editors, academics, scientists and engineers. Its presence proved that there was a viable market for this kind of literature, a fact not lost on other publishers who quickly followed suit. By 1930 there were four magazines in the field, eventually many more. And the fans? They bought every single one of them.

Amazing Stories deserves to be an ongoing part of our community. It may be a bit worn around the edges, the spine may be cracked a little and it may shed bits of pulp here and there, but those are love scars. Amazing Stories is not just our progenitor, it is the embodiment of the heart and soul of the genre.

We love it. We love what it’s done for us, what it represents, what it created. How can we not, when we love Science Fiction?

We know you share that love. Please show that love. It’s time for Amazing Stories to live again.

On the first day Steve’s appeal brought in $5,079 of its $30,000 goal.

Here’s how the money will be used. (Experimenter Publishing is Steve’s company.)

Experimenter plans to publish its first new issue for a Fall 2018 release and will be distributing the magazine at Worldcon 76 in San Jose CA. Professional, SFWA qualifying rates of 6 cents per word will be paid and Experimenter intends to become a fully SFWA qualifying market within its first year of operation. Several stories by well known authors have already been contracted, as has cover art by a highly respected artist.

Following five years of growth and development as an online multi-author blog serving the interests of science fiction, fantasy and horror fans, the publication of well-regarded articles produced by over 175 contributors, read by over 40,000 registered members, and following the publication of three special editions, a comic book and a growing selection of anthologies, classic novels and facsimile reprints, Experimenter believes the time is right to launch the quarterly magazine.

(4) ABOUT THE BARKLEY PROPOSAL. What were signers of Chris Barkley’s YA Award name proposal told? One of them, Shawna McCarthy, wrote in a comment on Facebook:

I was a signatory and do not feel misrepresented to other than not knowing the name of the award had already been decided. It’s possible the sponsor thought I was more up on the state of WC business committee work than I was.

(5) COMIC-CON’S QUASI-MUSEUM. Kinsee Morlan, in “Don’t Call Comic-Con’s Balboa Park Digs A museum–At Least Not Yet” for Voice of San Diego, says that Comic-Con International is upholding its nonprofit status by building a museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park (which will replace the San Diego Hall of Champions) and is hiring British museum designer Adam Smith to create it.

Smith said specifics are still hazy, but a few things are starting to become clear. For starters, he’s not ready to dub the new space a museum just yet. He’s toying with calling it a center or something else that better communicates its mission of showcasing contemporary exhibits that focus on what’s happening now or in the future — think virtual reality demos or participatory immersive television experiences (yeah, that’s a thing).

Smith also obliterated the traditional curator-led exhibition model. Instead of experts organizing most of the shows, he said, super fans will be likely be generating exhibitions and events. That’s a move taken from Comic-Con’s convention playbook, where fan-generated panels have always been a big part of the offerings.

David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of communications who’s been with the nonprofit for decades, fielded some of my questions, too.

Civic leaders are perpetually terrified that Comic-Con will pack up its bag and head to Los Angeles or another city if San Diego doesn’t expand its Convention Center soon. Glanzer said folks should not assume that won’t happen now that Comic-Con’s new center is opening in Balboa Park. He said they’re two separate projects and the convention could still relocate in the future if its space problems start impacting the quality of the convention.

(6) LOVED THE BOOK, HATED THE FILM. LitHub list of “20 Literary Adaptations Disavowed by Their Original Authors” has plenty of sff:

  • Earthsea (2004) – Based on: Ursula K. Le Guin, Earthsea cycle (1968-2001)

Le Guin hated the Sci-Fi Channel’s adaptation of her books, and she had quite a lot to say on the subject, but the biggest problem was that the miniseries completely whitewashed the original text. Early on, she was consulted (somewhat) but when she raised objections, they told her that shooting had already begun. “I had been cut out of the process,” she wrote at Slate.


  • Mary Poppins (1964) – Based on: P. L. Travers’s Mary Poppins (1934)
  • Hellraiser: Revelations (2011) – Based on: Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart (1986)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (2003) – Based on: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
  • Charlotte’s Web (1973) – Based on: E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (1952)
  • Solaris (1972, 2002) – Based on: Stanis?aw Lem’s Solaris (1961)
  • The Last Man on Earth (1964) – Based on: Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (1954)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Based on: Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange (1962)
  • The Shining (1980) – Based on: Stephen King’s The Shining (1977)
  • The NeverEnding Story (1984) – Based on: Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story (1979)
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) – Based on: Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)

(7) LOPATA OBIT. Steve Lopata’s daughter announced that he passed away March 5, peacefully, at the hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sammi Owens said:

…I deeply regret to inform you that his heart was failing and Worldcon 75 Helsinki was his last trip. He had heart surgery and despite valiant efforts he succumbed to his heart disease on March 5, 2018…. My mom Frances and I want the scifi community and all his friends to know how much he dearly loved you all. His all time favorite activities were working Ops for Worldcons and having an audience for his tales- umm, I mean true stories…. Peace be with you all and thank you for your friendship to our beloved man.

Patrick Maher was one of many fans who worked Ops with Steve with good words about him:

I didn’t know Steve very long, only since he walked into Shamrokon in 2014 and offered to help out. We didn’t know who he was but, as he said he had just come from Loncon III, we asked James Bacon who he was. James described him as Steve ‘Awesome Ops Guy’ Lopata. He sat in Ops all weekend and offered sage advice. When I took over Ops for Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, he was the first person I went to for advice.

Lopata also did volunteer work with big cats, as he explained in an article for Mimosa in 2001.

One of the first questions I am asked when I tell people about working with lions and tigers is, “How did you get involved?” There are two answers. First the short, “I like kitties;” and the longer one, “I was at a convention and saw this guy walking a tiger on a leash. I asked if I could pet the tiger and about half an hour later, I was a volunteer at the breeding park.”


  • Chip Hitchcock calls this too bad not to share: Arlo and Janis.
  • And here’s an International Women’s Day item from Bizarro.

(9) INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY. Headstuff’s Aoife Martin celebrated the day by analyzing “Author Pseudonyms” used by women. A couple of instances came from sff —

Closer to modern times we have the case of Alice Bradley Sheldon who wrote science fiction under the pen name of James Tiptree Jr. In an interview she said that she chose a male name because it “seemed like good camouflage. I had the feeling that a man would slip by less observed. I’ve had too many experiences in my life of being the first woman in some damn occupation.” It’s interesting that Sheldon should have felt the need to do this but she was a successful science fiction writer – so much so that she won several awards including a Hugo for her 1974 novella, The Girl Who Was Plugged In and several Nebula awards. Her secret wasn’t discovered until 1976 when she was 61. Throughout her career she was referred to as an unusually macho male and as an unusually feminist writer (for a male). Indeed, fellow writer Robert Silverberg once argued that Tiptree could not possibly be a woman while Harlan Ellison, when introducing Tiptree’s story for his anthology Again, Dangerous Visions wrote that “[Kate] Wilhelm is the woman to beat this year, but Tiptree is the man.” Suitably, the James Tiptree Jr. Award is given annually in her honour to works of science fiction and fantasy that expand or explore one’s understanding of gender.

(10) A NEW KIND OF BARBIE. The Huffington Post reports Mattel is honoring a few living legends this International Women’s Day: “Frida Kahlo And Other Historic Women Are Being Made Into Barbies”. Genre-related figures include Katherine Johnson and Patty Jenkins.

Kids around the world will soon be able to own a Barbie doll bearing the likeness of Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart or Katherine Johnson.

All three women made herstory in different industries: Earhart was the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean; Mexican artist Kahlo was known for her unique painting style and feminist activism; and Johnson, who was highlighted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” broke boundaries for black women in mathematics and calculated dozens of trajectories for NASA, including the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon.

The dolls, which are part of Mattel’s new series called “Inspiring Women,” will be
mass produced and sold in stores….

(11) ANOTHER STAR WARS SERIES. A well-known name in superhero movies will be responsible for a Star Wars series to appear on Disney’s new streaming platform: “Jon Favreau hired for ‘Star Wars’ series: Why fans have mixed feelings”.

The director whose film launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to a galaxy far, far away. Jon Favreau, the filmmaker behind Iron Man, Elf, and Disney’s live-action Jungle Book and Lion King, will write and executive-produce a live-action Star Wars series for Disney’s new streaming platform. Lucasfilm announced today that Favreau, who is also an actor with roles in the Clone Wars animated series and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story,  will helm the new show. While Favreau has a strong fanbase (going all the way back to his 1996 debut film Swingers), many on social media are wondering why Lucasfilm has hired yet another white man to steer the diverse Star Wars universe — and announced it on International Women’s Day, no less.

(12) STORYBUNDLE. Cat Rambo curated The Feminist Futures Bundle, which will be available for the next three weeks.

In time for Women’s History Month, here’s a celebration of some of the best science fiction being written by women today. This bundle gathers a wide range of outlooks and possibilities, including an anthology that gives you a smorgasbord of other authors you may enjoy.

I used to work in the tech industry, and there I saw how diversity could enhance a team and expand its skillset. Women understand that marketing to women is something other than coming up with a lady-version of a potato chip designed not to crunch or a pink pen sized for our dainty hands. Diversity means more perspectives, and this applies to science fiction as well. I am more pleased with this bundle than any I’ve curated so far.

In her feminist literary theory classic How to Suppress Women’s Writing, science fiction author Joanna Russ talked about the forces working against the works of women (and minority) writers. A counter to that is making a point of reading and celebrating such work, and for me this bundle is part of that personal effort, introducing you to some of my favorites. – Cat Rambo

The initial titles in the Feminist Futures Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:

  • Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling
  • Alanya to Alanya by L. Timmel Duchamp
  • Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith
  • The Birthday Problem by Caren Gussoff

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular titles, plus SIX more!

  • Starfarers Quartet Omnibus – Books 1-4 by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
  • Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth
  • The Terrorists of Irustan by Louise Marley
  • Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard
  • To Shape the Dark by Athena Andreadis

(13) FAIL HYDRA. Cory Doctorow updated BoingBoing readers about a publisher accused of questionable practices: “Random House responds to SFWA on its Hydra ebook imprint”

Allison R. Dobson, Digital Publishing Director of Random House, has written an open letter to the Science Fiction Writers of America responding to the warning it published about Hydra, a new imprint with a no-advance, author-pays-expenses contract that SFWA (and I) characterize as being totally unacceptable. Dobson’s letter doesn’t do much to change my view on that:

(14) BEARING WITNESS. Lavie Tidhar has tweeted a noir Pooh adventure. Jump on the thread here:

(15) ANDROIDS AT 50. Here’s a clipping from Nature: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Ananyo Bhattacharya toasts Philip K. Dick’s prescient science-fiction classic as it turns 50.” [PDF file.]

When science-fiction writer Peter Watts first opened Philip K. Dick’s 1968 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, a word caught his eye. It was “friendlily”. How had Dick got that past an editor? As Watts told me: “I knew at that point that Dick had to be some kind of sick genius.”

(16) CURRENT EVENTS. This sounds like a job for Doctor Who: “A Political Dispute Puts A Wrinkle In Time, Slowing Millions Of European Clocks”.

For the past few weeks, something strange has been happening in Europe. Instead of time marching relentlessly forward, it has been slowing down imperceptibly, yet with cumulatively noticeable results, so that millions of clocks the Continent-over are now running behind.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity released a statement Tuesday saying that since mid-January, Europe’s standard electrical frequency of 50 hertz has fallen ever so slightly to 49.996 hertz.

For electric clocks that rely on the frequency of the power system — typically radio, oven and heating-panel clocks — the cumulative effect was “close to six minutes,” according to the agency.

(17) TAINT FUNNY MCGEE. The BBC says “Amazon promises fix for creepy Alexa laugh”.

Amazon’s Alexa has been letting out an unprompted, creepy cackle – startling users of the best-selling voice assistant.

The laugh, described by some as “witch like” was reported to sometimes happen without the device being “woken” up.

Others reported the laugh occurring when they asked Alexa to perform a different task, such as playing music.

“We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” Amazon said.

(18) CUBE ROUTER. Meanwhile, at MIT, they’re wasting their time saving time: “Rubik’s robot solves puzzle in 0.38 seconds”.

Ben Katz, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, collaborated with Jared Di Carlo to create the robot.

“We noticed that all of the fast Rubik’s Cube solvers were using stepper motors and thought that we could do better if we used better motors,” said Mr Di Carlo in a blog post.

Mr Katz said in his blog the 0.38 seconds included “image capture and computation time, as well as actually moving the cube”.

Their contraption used two PlayStation Eye cameras from the old PS3 console to identify the configuration of the cube.

However, mistakes often resulted in a cube being destroyed.

(19) DARK MATTER. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination released a video of a recent guest presentation: “Sir Roger Penrose: New Cosmological View of Dark Matter, which Strangely and Slowly Decays”.

Sir Roger Penrose joined the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination on January 19, 2018, to give a talk on his latest research and provide an insight into the thinking of a modern day theoretical physicist. Is the Universe destined to collapse, ending in a big crunch or to expand indefinitely until it homogenizes in a heat death? Roger explains a third alternative, the cosmological conformal cyclic cosmology (CCC) scheme—where the Universe evolves through eons, each ending in the decay of mass and beginning again with new Big Bang. The equations governing the crossover from each aeon to the next demand the creation of a dominant new scalar material, postulated to be dark matter. In order that this material does not build up from aeon to aeon, it is taken to decay away completely over the history of each aeon. The dark matter particles (erebons) may be expected to behave almost as classical particles, though with bosonic properties; they would probably be of about a Planck mass, and interacting only gravitationally. Their decay would produce gravitational signals, and be responsible for the approximately scale invariant temperature fluctuations in the CMB of the succeeding aeon. In our own aeon, erebon decay might well show up in signals discernable by gravitational wave detectors.


(20) HANDY HINTS. And in case you ever have this problem: “Here’s How You Could Survive Being Sucked Into a Black Hole”. The article is honestly kind of useless, but I love the clickbait title.

OK, so maybe you aren’t going to get sucked into a black hole tomorrow. Or ever. Maybe even trying to imagine being in such a situation feels like writing yourself into a Doctor Who episode. But, for mathematicians, physicists, and other scientists attempting to understand cosmic strangeness in practical terms, these thought experiments are actually very useful. And they may be more practical in and of themselves than we’d realized.

At least, that’s what a team of researchers led by Peter Hintz at the University of California, Berkeley found through their study of black holes, recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters

[Thanks to Standback, Will R., John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, J. Cowie, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH.]

87 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/8/18 Stay Tuned For Pixels As They Break


    Shawna McCarthy also posted these comments on that thread:

    I was approached to be a signer and I agreed. I had NO idea all this was going on. I don’t have any objection at all to naming the award after LeGuin, but I was not aware that this was a point of contention among board members. I’m so far removed from the business end of Worldcons that I’m not sure if my name being included will help or hurt either the award process or me.

    I have decided to remove my name even though I continue to support the idea. I just don’t want to be part of what appears to be an end run around a a decision that’s already been made.

  2. 6) It’s no secret that Earthsea was a flippin’ travesty… as for Solaris, one story I’ve heard is that Lem and Tarkovsky repeatedly butted heads over the project, until Lem decided he’d had enough, called Tarkovsky whatever is Polish for “bloody idiot”, and caught the next flight back to Lvov.

  3. 6) I didn’t know that Lem had disavowed the original Solaris. The remake, I could see, since it is so very much not the book.

    12) Rut roh, I hear my wallet calling… 🙂

  4. I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my scroll all pixels yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

  5. (10) seems to me to be stretching the definition of “living” legends, since that only applies to 1/3 of the ones headlined. (I grant several later announced releases survive still, but I had to nitpick when they’re leading with Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart as well as the still surviving Katherine Johnson…)

  6. 6) Thoughts on the ones I have some knowledge about:

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — It’s a decent enough movie, but the book is notably better. Ken Kesey is reasonably in the right.

    Earthsea — The adaptation was a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a travesty of two mockeries of a travesty of a sham. Le Guin is entirely in the right.

    Mary Poppins — I have not read the original book. The movie was pretty good but I can see how it might be a flawed version of a better work. Based on this, I may give the book a try. I suspect Travers is probably reasonably in the right. (Incidentally, I had no idea until now she was queer and also wrote erotica.)

    Charlotte’s Web — I can understand White’s objections, and the movie isn’t as good as the book, but it’s still a pretty good movie. White, however, is reasonably in the right.

    Solaris — Neither movie is a literal adaptation of Lem’s probably unfillmable work (the Tarkovsky is, perhaps, somewhat closer.) Both are very good movies (yes I liked the Soderberg I will fight you.) Lem is technically correct, but I do not agree with him. Great films inspired by his great book are not a travesty, even if they are not the book.

    The Last Man on Earth — No movie adaptation has really had the guts to go where Matheson was going with the book. Matheson is largely in the right.

    American Psycho — Ellis, from his comments, somehow did not even understand this excellent movie based on his book. (The article is suspicious that his comments are more about the gender of the director than the quality of the film, and presents some evidence that this is true.) Ellis is in the wrong.

    A Clockwork Orange — This is a pretty good movie, but the book is better. Burgess is reasonably in the right.

    The Shining — This is a very good movie (one of the few by Kubrick I like unreservedly, actually), but King’s criticisms of it are nonetheless pretty spot on. Hmm, tricky. I’m going to say King is somewhat in the right, but the movie is better than he thought it was.

    Das Boot — Both the movie and the book are great, and the movie seemed like a pretty accurate adaptation. I didn’t think it was a “shallow action flick” at all. I think Buchheim is in the wrong here.

    The NeverEnding Story — The adaptation was a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a travesty of two mockeries of a travesty of a sham. It is crap compared to the book. Ende is entirely in the right.

    Breakfast At Tiffany’s — I disagree with Capote that Hepburn was obviously bad casting, but he’s right that the movie basically takes the whole point of the book, balls it up, and throws it away. Capote is mostly in the right.

    Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory — I disagree with Dahl that Wilder was miscast and the music was trashy, but while the movie has its moments, the book is much, much better. Dahl is pretty much in the right, although for the wrong reasons.


    Finding hard to agree with “hated the film” from the ones I know…

    Mary Poppins (1964) – Based on: P. L. Travers’s Mary Poppins (1934)

    Saw film first. Read book. Film better mostly, book better in some ways not all or most.

    Hellraiser: Revelations (2011) – Based on: Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart (1986)

    Did not like either much.

    Solaris (1972, 2002) – Based on: Stanis?aw Lem’s Solaris (1961)

    1972 film good. Book better, but film still good.

    A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Based on: Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange (1962)

    Book unreadable. Film “good” but horrid.

    The Shining (1980) – Based on: Stephen King’s The Shining (1977)

    Film ok. Not read book but don’t like King’s work that I have read.

    The NeverEnding Story (1984) – Based on: Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story (1979)

    Film terrible. Not read book.

    Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) – Based on: Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)

    Film ok, book better.

    Overall, book better than film, but I like books more than film so expected. Not finding much hate.

  8. Anyone collect old magazines?
    The local Oxfam shop has acquired three shelves of magazines from the late 60’s to mid 70’s.
    Analog, Galaxy and If (I think).

    It’s the shop in Low Petergate, York, if you’re in the area, but if you asked me very nicely I could find out about postal rates etc for you. nickpheas (at) googlemail dot com.

  9. (6) Interesting article. The Lem quotes are fantastic.

    (14) Great stuff.

  10. Dog bites man remains banal but a movie that exceeds the sum of it’s book is news. The first that comes to mind is The Bedford Incident ( mainly because of a conversation while packing books earlier this week). The screenwriters, plus Poitier and Widmark take a wooden book, polish it down to the essential nub, and turn it into art. What others stand out to Filers?

    ( also belated Yay!!! for title credit yesterday 🙂

    Scroll’em, Danno

  11. “What others stand out…?”

    Roger Rabbit. They took a book that was tedious and made, as a fellow Apatooner said, “the worst movie you’ll want to see ten times.” They threw out creaky plot devices and acres of minute explanations of each bit of furniture and made a new story with the little bit that was worthwhile.

    THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) was different from the book, and I find it hard to fault any part of it. RETURN TO OZ did a nice job with plot elements from the second Oz book. I read ten or so of those in junior high, and they’re really kind of arch and wooden. I guess it’s a matter of taste, but it feels to me like the changes they made helped more than they hindered. Except the ‘moral’ of the 1939 Oz, where Dorothy agrees that mind-numbing servitude on a failing farm beats magic adventures with faithful friends (and the line about heart’s desire is nonsensical) gets a cynical snicker from me instead of the ‘awwww’ response.

    A couple where the movie did justice to the book: THE MALTESE FALCON, much of whose script was simply pages of the book pasted into a binder. NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, breathtakingly atmospheric (like a silent movie that happened to have sound) and unwaveringly faithful to the novel.

  12. (3) Great news regarding Amazing.

    Do not Scroll up that which you can not Scroll back down

  13. JJ on March 9, 2018 at 12:31 am said:

    Shawna McCarthy also posted these comments on that thread:

    I was approached to be a signer and I agreed. I had NO idea all this was going on. I don’t have any objection at all to naming the award after LeGuin, but I was not aware that this was a point of contention among board members.

    As I’ve suggested elsewhere, even a lot of so-called “insiders” don’t know how WSFS is run. They assume there’s a small Board of Directors that makes all of the decisions.

    This is not intended as a criticism of Shawna McCarty. It’s a common misconception. If you surveyed every member of Worldcon, I bet you’d find that a large number of them — possibly most of them — are completely unaware that they have a potential voice in the governance of the society, despite all of the stuff in the convention publications, web site, etc. telling them about it.

  14. @6 An interesting list, but it should either have not mentioned Saving Mr. Banks or get the facts right (Disney is not presented as the hero). I do wonder what Cuckoo’s Nest would have been like purely from Bromden’s view — but IMO showing him breaking out of his alleged un-sanity would have been … difficult. And Ellis’s complaints about the adaptation of his novel (which TNH so thoroughly trashed that I’ve never been interested in reading it) do nothing to improve my view of him. I’ve heard of all of these but only seen 4, for which I should perhaps be grateful. I do wonder what Willy Wonka would have been like with either an underplayer like Sellers or a manic like Milligan as Wonka (especially instead of Depp playing a louche version of himself); does anybody have a paratime traveler in their garage?

    @Takamaru Misako: from the bits I’ve heard/seen of the Poppins move it turns a story about magic-amidst-rigor into cotton candy; it doesn’t misrepresent its time as vilely as Song of the South, but there’s a thick layer of sugar hiding the reality of English bourgeois childhood.

    In case anyone missed it (this even made the local paper, whose science coverage is spotty): Juno has found that Jupiter is even stranger than guessed — including rings of cyclones around both poles.

  15. (10) There is some backlash against this series of Barbie dolls in that Mattel has “Barbie-ized” away some of the distinctive features of the real-life inspirations. Examples: the Frida Kahlo doll has has two separate eyebrows, and also missing is her mustache. Kahlo embraced her facial hair. The Barbie of plus-sized model Ashley Graham, while more curvy than the standard Barbie, is significantly thinner than Graham is.

  16. 6) — I thought the film version of The Shining was a technical masterpiece, and I do enjoy it (well, except for Wendy, who was like fingernails on a chalkboard), but I can pretty much agree with all of King’s criticisms of the film as an adaptation of his book.

    As far as Willy Wonka goes, Mr. Dahl & I are going to have to agree to disagree.

    Not mentioned: Jurassic Park, which movie I love (because dinosaurs!), but they did a bunch of things for the adaptation that served to streamline the story but made no actual sense (mostly, when a hurricane is bearing down on the island and the owner & lawyer & experts & children are coming to visit, sending away all of the park staff except for the marquee names).

    As far as old magazines go, I was very happy to recently discover this:


    I’d always had a vague memory of encountering Lovecraft’s story The Outsider (I think my first Lovecraft, although I didn’t know who he was at the time) in a magazine I got while in elementary school; it turns out it was an issue of Weird Worlds, a Scholastic magazine companion to Dynamite and Bananas, which only lasted eight issues. And which was edited by R.L. Stine!

  17. The movie of Silence of the Lambs is better than the book.

    The NeverEnding Story (1984) – Based on: Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story (1979) … Film terrible. Not read book.

    I’ll advocate for the book. It’s a legitimate classic. The movie takes the first half of the book, dumbs it down considerably, and presents that as the whole thing, while literally and completely throwing away the second half which contains such minor elements as THE ENTIRE POINT.

  18. The film of Jaws is orders of magnitude better than the novel, which is a pretty trashy soap with a great white shark tossed in.

    Philip Noyce’s The Quiet American is a brilliant adaptation of a great novel.

  19. The film The Princess Bride, while, of necessity, eliding much of the glorious snark of the book, yet managed to an excellent job of capturing the SPIRIT of the novel.

  20. @Cassy B

    I suspect having Goldman write both the book and the screenplay helped (and I fully agree with your assessment.)

  21. The film L.A. Confidential is not necessarily better than the book, but it’s certainly more digestible.

  22. Having just seen The Brave Little Toaster for the first time, I’m wondering if Thomas Disch ever publicly expressed an opinion of the movie. I understand they took quite a few liberties with the story, and the musical numbers were jarring to me, but there were places where I thought his authorial voice came through.

  23. Also, I’m reminded of what Kurt Vonnegut said about the movie of Slaughterhouse-Five: that the only two writers who should be grateful for their Hollywood adaptations were him and Margaret Mitchell.

  24. 6) Can anybody clarify the objections to A Wrinkle in Time. I remember it as being fairly faithful to the book and pretty watchable. What am I missing?

  25. (3) I would call it “Young Adult Award”

    (6) Neverending Story was probably my favorite book growing up. Must have read it at least five times. The movie should never have been made. The only good thing about is that “The never ending story part 2” is one of the best unintentional funny titles ever.
    By total coincidence I watched Return to Oz three times in the cinema in the 80s. Dont know why (I think friends birthday partys” and recall I did like it. But I havent read the books back then, Oz not really being “a thing” here in Germany”

    Pixel 1, Scroll 0

  26. If I remember correctly, The Shining was a deeply personal book for King, dealing with his alcoholism and how he behaved towards his family. I can understand him being upset with Cubrick changing it.

    Cuckoo’s Nest is a wonderful book, I think I’ve read it four or five times. It is much better than the movie. Having said that, I still feel it is a good movie and that Ken Kelsey should feel ok with it.

    Echo Kyra’s opinion of Neverending Story.

    Bud I did prefer the movie A Clockwork Orange to the book. I blame Malcolm McDowell.

  27. @Hampus Eckerman: “Cuckoo’s Nest is a wonderful book, I think I’ve read it four or five times.”

    Have you read Sometimes A Great Notion? It’s probably my favorite novel. Beautifully written and an even better story. Warning: It sprawls.

  28. Now that I think about it, I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest before I saw the movie, and was pretty disappointed. I’ve watched it since then and didn’t mind it so much, but it still feels like they threw away the most important bits. I read Sometimes a Great Notion too, and it kept me absorbed all the way through. There’s a movie based on it: NEVER GIVE AN INCH, with Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, Michael Sarrazin, and Richard Jaeckel. If I have seen it, it’s gone out my head. Two Oscar noms.

  29. I quite liked the Neverending Story the movie. No, it isn’t the book, it even fails a key moment of the half of the book it covers (Can YOU understand what he yells as the Childlike-Empress’s name?), but as a fantasy movie of that era for a kid the age I was, it was exactly the sort of thing I wanted *more* of. (I did think it was wrong to have the Luck Dragon show up in the real world even briefly — and before knowing that this was flat out impossible in the worldbuilding of the book).

    Maybe I would feel differently if I had read the book first instead of later, but because I absorbed the movie as itself first, I could like it; movies that vary widely from the source material seem to go over much better to audiences not so thoroughly attached to the original.

    (I shunned the sequels as blatantly badly done even from a kid perspective).

  30. Stoic Cynic a movie that exceeds the sum of it’s book is news… What others stand out to Filers?

    The Bridges of Madison County. The book was appallingly bad — like something written in a 3-ring binder by a junior high student — and Richard LaGravenese deserved an Oscar for turning it into a watchable movie with great heart, but without the acres of smarm in Waller’s book. Streep and Eastwood helped with that, of course.

  31. I read at least three Mary Poppins books before I saw the film, and I can see why PL Travers didn’t like the film. I enjoyed the books more, but the film has some parts that I thought were very good. (And I still know all the songs.)

    One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest was a great book. And a great film. And the two only had a slight connection with each other.

  32. The in-name-only adaptation of Zelazny’s Damnation Alley was probably the single biggest disappointment of my teenage years. I don’t think I ever heard Zelazny’s opinion, but I suspect it was mostly unprintable. 🙂

    What’s really tricky, though, is finding cases where an author thinks the adaptation improved on the original. The only one I know of off the top of my head is Fight Club. (Which isn’t exactly a genre work, but had some fairly Dickian overtones.)

  33. @John Lorenz: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest was a great book. And a great film. And the two only had a slight connection with each other.
    I’d make the same claim for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner.

  34. I don’t think I have ever read any of Travers’ Mary Poppins books. I greatly enjoyed the Disney movie, and still do (though not as much), but I do sympathize with anybody who feels they messed up a book or story. In general, most anything I read first feels messed up by Disney, and I don’t object to any Disney picture I saw before reading the property it’s based on. There’s a dead giveaway of something.

    Things I read first include The Sword in the Stone (and that one I read largely because I had wanted to see the Disney film so much and didn’t get to till years later, when it was a letdown, even compared to the comic book based upon it);

    Alice in Wonderland (which I also read because I’d been doused in ancillary Disney merchandise, and I had re-read it, as well as Carroll’s manuscript version, and had come to appreciate all of them more than I would enjoy the movie when I finally saw it—though I have to add that the scene where Alice is getting weepy with the animated novelty items felt like a nice takedown of Disney by Disney);

    The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, which I read repeatedly because of the superb Classics Illustrated version, adapted by Alfred Sundel and illustrated by Reed Crandall and George Evans, which remains the only faithful adaptation of the book I’ve ever encountered. Needless to say, the Disney version was not faithful in any way. Not only that, it inverts the plot points and characters so carefully set up by Hugo that it feels like conscious sabotage of the story, as if it was actually the version of the story that [SOB’s name redacted to avoid spoiling kick-ass book] would go around telling to make himself look like a hero.

    I’ll let these stand as samples instead of trying to inventory every festering annoyance and resentment. You’d hardly know it, but I really am a Disney fan, and that’s with a fan’s degree of knowledge of the flaws and tics of the studio that has been and continues to be so ambitious and even idealistic about the medium itself. (Why, just today, I was mentally objecting to some of the standard complaints about SONG OF THE SOUTH… though not all.)

  35. The Tarkovsky film is what made me read Lem but I prefer the book to the film. I really disliked the Soderberg film – Clooney is a fine & versatile actor but he just felt out of place in it. Also THE BIGGEST CHARACTER IN THE STORY ISN’T A CHARACTER IN THE FILM – i.e SOLARIS the FLIPPIN PLANET! It’s like making a film of Hamlet and him just being an inaminate object everybody is arguing about.

    However, I’ve only seen it the once and I haven’t tried watching it as film regarded as distinct from the book or the Tarkovsky version. Also I think Kyra could probably beat me in a fight…

  36. The great movie/great book only tangentially related thing also applies to Howl’s Moving Castle too. I adored the book as a kid and I adored the Miyazaki films I had seen but first contact with the movie was rough. It took me a while until I got the headspace to sort out the only points of contact were some names and background. I still can’t read/watch them too close together in time but enjoy them both.

  37. I think I’m in a minority here in disliking the book The Princess Bride, since most people I know really like it. Then I saw the movie and enjoyed the hell out of it. I can’t explain why, since they were both written by William Goldman. Part of it was that Buttercup didn’t have any agency at all in the book, just someone to be saved countless times by Wesley, and in the movie she seemed a real character doing stuff on her own (and Robin Wright was terrific).

  38. @Elisa — That’s also kind of my reaction to the Ghibli version of Tales of Earthsea — I can enjoy it mostly to the extent that I can completely divorce it from the source material.

  39. Under the heading of guilty pleasure I like the movie Practical Magic but I found the book to be a hot mess. This was the first time a really ran into a situation where I thought the book was way, way worse than the movie and it wasn’t a ‘movie novelization’ train wreck.

  40. (6) I only read the Mary Poppins books after I’d seen the movie, which I had loved, except for Bert. As for Saving Mr Banks, I thought it was some of the best work Emma Thompson has done.
    But Travers was right, the books are magical, where the movie was cute. And I still like the Wilder Wonka very much.
    The only adaptation I’ve seen that was better than the original is The Black Stallion (directed by Coppola, I think), especially the first 2 thirds. The book is a dreary, clunky boy’s adventure story, focusing on Alec saving himself by eating seaweed. The movie was a magical story of loss and love, with extra gorgeous horses and settings.
    I’m still very fond of Branagh’s film version of Henry V. He’s an excellent adapter for screen. One example is the film-set setting for the opening, a nice visual parallel with Shakespeare’s ironic stress on the inadequacy of theatre to portray history and a nice way to reassure moviegoers nervous about watching Shakespeare. I know Olivier did something similar, but his version looks its age.

    (12) want whole bundle!!

  41. PhilRM: I thought Arrival was a terrific adaptation of The Story of Your Life.

    I absolutely agree. Both that, and Predestination (based on Heinlein’s “–All You Zombies–“) were cases where I thought that the writers and directors took a rather slim story and managed to make a spectacular full-length feature which was still true to the source.

  42. Well, I don’t have that version of Hamlet, but I do have this one. A Night in Elsinore, by Richard Nathan.

    Hamlet turns to face the audience, and we see his face for the first time. Hamlet has a big, black mustache that looks as if it might have been painted on, and he smokes a cigar.

    Nay, I am too much in the sun! Get it? That’s a joke. My real father just died, and now I’ve got you for a father, so I’m too much in the sun! Boy, that Shakespeare sure could write. I’d like to see Francis Bacon pull off a joke like that.

    Hmmmmm. Come, Hamlet, my son, how is it the clouds still hang on you?

    I don’t know. Maybe it’s because you’re reigning.

    Good Hamlet, I know full well the love you bore your father. But cast thy nighted color off! If he were here today, do you think your father would want us to mourn on and on, wearing the same customary suit of solemn black, day in and day out?

    Well, he’d probably ask you to change your socks.

  43. John A Arkansawyer:

    “Have you read Sometimes A Great Notion? It’s probably my favorite novel. Beautifully written and an even better story. Warning: It sprawls”

    No, I haven’t, but now I shall.

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