Pixel Scroll 3/9/22 And A Scroll Will Never Need More Than 640K Pixels

(1) F&SF COVER REVEAL. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s March/April 2022 cover art is by Mondolithic Studios, illustrating “Dancing Litle Marionettes” by Megan Beadle.

(2) LUCKY SEVEN. Martha Wells discusses “The Nebula Nomination Decline” at My Flying Lizard Circus. By dropping out she actually pulled two extra finalists onto the ballot.

So Fugitive Telemetry did have a Nebula finalist spot for Best Novella, which after a phone conversation and email with Jeffe Kennedy, the president of SFWA, I decided to decline. Basically because The Murderbot Diaries has had three Nebula finalist spots and two Nebula wins (for Best Novella and Best Novel) in the past four years. (Plus the four Hugos.) So it just seemed like someone else could use this nomination better than I could.

Jeffe had to check and see what would happen if I declined (it’s not like the Hugo longlist where if someone drops out everybody just moves up one). If it just meant there was going to be four novellas on the ballot instead of five, I would have kept the nomination. So when she told me there was a three way tie for sixth place so if I dropped out, three more novellas would be on the ballot, that seemed like a really good deal. 🙂

(3) BY GEORGE! [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Washington Post, John Kelly reports on predictions British writer W.L. George made in 1922 about life a century in his future.  Kelly finds George was accurate in predicting improvements in transportation and communications, but he also thought people in 2022 would live on pills and homes would have papier-mache walls which would be peeled off it they got dirty. “W.L. George’s 1922 predictions of the future have stood the test of time”.

… George felt the world wouldn’t change as much between 1922 and 2022 as it had between 1822 and 1922. “[The] world today would surprise President Jefferson much more, I suspect, than the world of 2022 would surprise the little girl who sells candies at Grand Central Station. For Jefferson knew nothing of railroads, telephones, automobiles, aeroplanes, gramophones, movies, radium, etc.”

He began with technology. Planes would replace both steamships and long-distance trains. Trucks would probably replace freight trains. Communications technologies such as the telephone would go “wireless.” Wrote George: “the people of the year 2022 will probably never see a wire outlined against the sky.”…

(4) FRANKE STILL WITH US. Austrian scientist, artist, and SF writer Herbert W. Franke, age 95, suddenly appeared on Twitter yesterday. A major science fiction writer in the German language, he was a guest of honor at the 1970 Worldcon. He also is a computer graphics pioneer.

Enthusiasts of both SF and computer art responded with well over a hundred messages of welcome.

His career on Twitter is just getting started.  Here’s his follow-up message:

Why now?

The Internet Science Fiction Database says he’s been busy over the past seven decades or so. The SF Encyclopedia can fill you in about his career here.

(5) MY ONLY HOPE. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” begins streaming on Disney+ on May 25.

The story begins 10 years after the dramatic events of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat—the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader. The series stars Ewan McGregor, reprising his role as the iconic Jedi Master, and also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.

(6) WHO IS NUMBER ONE? The only show to answer that question,“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” starts streaming on Paramount+ on May 5.

STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The series will feature fan favorites from season two of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY: Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock.

(7) EARLY WITHDRAWAL PENALTY. “Black Panther director Ryan Coogler arrested after being mistaken for bank robber” reports the Guardian.  

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was mistaken for a bank robber and arrested after trying to withdraw money from his bank account. Coogler confirmed the incident, which happened in January, to Variety after TMZ first reported it.

According to a police report obtained by TMZ, Coogler, who is currently filming the Black Panther sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in Atlanta, Georgia, entered a bank in the city and handed the cashier a note reading: “I would like to withdraw $12,000 cash from my checking account. Please do the money count somewhere else. I’d like to be discreet.”

The transaction triggered an alarm, according to the report, and bank staff called the police. Coogler and two other people with him were arrested, and later released.

Coogler told Variety: “This situation should never have happened … However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.”

(8) TRAVELER FROM AN ANTIQUE LAND. Fanac.org is doing another Fan History Zoom on March 19. To RSVP, send a note to fanac@fanac.org.

Traveling Ghiants, Fan Funds from the Days of Mimeo to the Days of Zoom

with Geri Sullivan (m), Lesleigh Luttrell, Justin Ackroyd and Suzle Tompkins

Date: March 19, 2022
Time: 4pm EDT, 1pm PDT, 8pm London, 7am AEDT (Melbourne)

Fan Funds evolved to bring together in person fans from different regions who only knew each other long distance, and on paper. In these days of virtual conventions, we still long for connection. Our panel are Fan Fund winners all, representing TAFF- the Transatlantic Fan Fund, DUFF – the Down Under Fan Fund, and GUFF – the Get-Up-and-Over Fan Fund (or the Going Under Fan Fund). In addition to the travel part of being a Fan Fund winner, there’s an entire administration and fundraising side that most of us don’t even think of. Join us to hear from those in the know how Fan Funds have changed, their secret rules, and the impact of plagues and modern society on this traditional fannish charity. Expect some traveler’s tales too!

To RSVP, or find out more about the series, please send a note to fanac@fanac.org.

(9) GROWING OLD IS NOT FOR SISSIES. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Gizmodo’s James Whitbrook contrasts the approach that Star Wars and Star Trek movies have taken toward aging actors playing aging characters.  Does one let characters age along with the actors, or does one fire up the computer networks and plaster CGI versions of youth over various visages? “Star Trek and Star Wars’ Different Approaches to De-Aging Tech”.

There’s a moment in the climax of Star Trek: Picard’s season two premiere when Q, the omnipotent bane of Jean-Luc’s life, appears in the latter’s humble French estate. He has had, like so many returning figures of classic pop culture of late, the process of time smoothed out by CG, to give us a semblance of the Q we once knew all those years ago. But, he realizes: Jean-Luc Picard has gotten old. So why shouldn’t he?

“Oh dear, you’re a bit older than I imagined,” Q jokes. “Let me catch up.” In a trademark click of his fingers, and a bright flash of light, the CG-enhanced Q becomes just regular old contemporary John de Lancie. It’s a perfect way to bring Q and Picard together again, decades after they last crossed paths in the finale of The Next Generation—but it’s also emblematic of an approach contemporary Star Trek is taking to its aging heroes….

(10) ODDLY IT HAS NO BIKE PATH. But who needs a bike path when your bike can fly? “’E.T. Park’ in Porter Ranch could become official” – the LA Times has details.

A City Council committee on Tuesday backed a proposal to rename Porter Ridge Park as E.T. Park. The proposal now goes to the full council.

Director Steven Spielberg sought out the tract-house setting of the Valley for “E.T.” because it reminded him of the Phoenix suburb where he grew up, The Times reported in 1985 .

The Porter Ranch park is featured in a scene in which a group that includes E.T. and Elliott, the boy who befriends the alien, escapes federal agents. One of the park’s climbing structures — a caterpillar with big eyes — can be seen in the film.

Other San Fernando Valley locales featured in the movie include White Oak Avenue in Granada Hills, where Elliott, E.T. and others escape on bikes, and a Tujunga residence, where Elliott and his family live.

City Councilmen John Lee and Bob Blumenfield, who represent Valley neighborhoods, introduced the motion to change the park’s name.

“I think the whole community refers to it as E.T Park, and this is just making it official,” Lee said at Tuesday’s committee meeting. “Mr. Spielberg has given us the permission to use it, that name.”…

(11) KOURITS OBIT. Ukranian fan Leonid Kourits died of a stroke reports Marcia Kelly Illingworth on Facebook. He attended several Worldcons and UK Eastercons. Borys Sydiuk says he was the organizer of the first truly international SF convention in the USSR in the Koblevo, Nikolaev region in 1988. David Langford’s amusing encounter with Kourits at the 1997 World Fantasy Con is described in Cloud Chamber 79.

(12) STEWART BEVAN (1948-2022) Actor Stewart Bevan, who appeared on Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, has died reports the Guardian. Other genre credits include the horror films Burke & Hare and The Flesh and Blood Show (both 1972), and The Ghoul (1975)…

… He featured in the long-running series Doctor Who, in 1973’s The Green Death, remembered fondly by viewers as “the one with the giant maggots”. The departure of popular companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning) called for someone special to lure her away from third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, and to this end the charismatic Welsh eco-warrior Professor Clifford Jones was conceived.

Michael Briant, the director, was having trouble casting this part but was reluctant to interview Bevan because he was Manning’s fiance at the time. He finally relented and discovered that Bevan was exactly what he was looking for: handsome and with the requisite crusading zeal and lightness of touch.

Bevan’s obvious rapport with Manning also helped to make her departure one of the series’ most memorably tear-jerking. Bevan himself was an empathic anti-capitalist vegetarian, guitar player and writer of poetry – all of which contributed to making Jones a believable character….

(13) CONRAD JANIS (1928-2022) The actor who played Mindy’s father in Mork & Mindy, Conrad Janis, died March 1 at the age of 94. The New York Times tribute is here. He also was a KAOS agent on Get Smart and a space station resident on Quark.

(14) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1976 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Forty-four years ago this weekend, The Amazing Captain Nemo aired. It was based quite loosely off Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It was written by way too many screenwriters which included Robert Bloch. Scripts by committee in my opinion rarely work. (Your opinion may of course differ.) Robert Bloch and his fellow writers fleshed producer Irwin Allen’s premise that after a century of being in suspended animation, Nemo is revived in modern times for new adventures. It was intended as the pilot for a new series which didn’t happen, another project by Irwin Allen widely considered as an attempt to follow-up on the success of his Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series. 

It had a very large cast but in my opinion the only performer that you need to know about is José Ferrer as Captain Nemo. He made a rather magnificent if hammy one. Of course, a few years later he get to chew on scenery again in Dune where plays Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV.

It was aired over three nights with Bloch largely responsible for the finale. Later the miniseries would get condensed, rather choppily, into a film called The Return of Captain Nemo which generated one of the best review comments: “Best line in the film was when Hallick says Captain Nemo was a figure of fiction, and Ferrer says that Jules Verne was a biographer as well as a science fiction writer. From there get set for some ham a la mode.”

It was not particularly well received by either critics or the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes with the latter giving a very bad twenty percent rating. 

Let’s give IGN the final word: “If one comes to an Irwin Allen-produced adventure seeking a thoughtful, challenging film, they’ve come to wrong place.” 

(15) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 9, 1918 Mickey Spillane. His first job was writing stories for Funnies Inc. including Batman, Captain America, Captain Marvel and Superman. Do note these were text stories, not scripts for comics. Other than those, ISFDB lists him as writing three genre short stories: “The Veiled Woman” (co-written with Howard Browne), “The Girl Behind the Hedge” and “Grave Matter” (co-written with Max Allan Collins).  Has anyone read these? (Died 2006.)
  • Born March 9, 1939 Pat Ellington. She was married to Dick Ellington, who edited and published the FIJAGH fanzine. They met in New York as fans in the Fifties. After they moved to California, she was a contributor to Femizine, a fanzine put out by the hoax fan Joan W. Carr.  (Died 2011.)
  • Born March 9, 1940 Raul Julia. Damn, another one who died far too early. If we count Sesame Street as genre as we should, his appearance as Rafael there was his first genre role. Yeah, I’m stretching it somewhat but not that much as Muppets are genre, aren’t they?  Ok, how about as Aram Fingal in Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, a RSL production off the John Varley short story? That better?  He later starred in Frankenstein Unbound as Victor Frankenstein as well. His last role released while he was still living was in the superb Addams Family Values as Gomez Addams reprising the role he’d had in The Addams Family. (Died 1994.)
  • Born March 9, 1945 Robert Calvert. Lyricist for Hawkwind, a band that’s at least genre adjacent. And Simon R. Green frequently mentioned them in his Nightside series by having a diner in the Nightside called the Hawk’s Wind Bar & Grille. Calvert was a close friend of Michael Moorcock.  He wrote SF poetry which you read about here. (Died 1988.)
  • Born March 9, 1955 Pat Murphy, 67. I think that her most brilliant work is The City, Not Long After which I’ve read myriad times. If you’ve not read this novel, do so now. The Max Merriwell series is excellent and Murphy’s ‘explanation’ of the authorial attributions is fascinating. The Nebula winning Falling Woman by her is an amazing read as well. Her “Rachael in Love” story won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and was nominated for Best Novelette at Nolacon II. She won a World Fantasy Award for her “Bones” novella which got her a Hugo nomination at Chicon V. Her space opera version of The HobbitThere and Back Again, is I’ve been reminded, a great deal of fun. She’s reasonably well stocked at the usual suspects.
  • Born March 9, 1965 Brom, 57. Artist and writer whose best work I think is Krampus: The Yule Lord and The Child ThiefThe Art of Brom is a very good look at his art. He’s listed as having provided some of the art design used on Galaxy Quest.  His latest, Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery, riffs off witchcraft in colonial New England.
  • Born March 9, 1959 Mark Carwardine, 63. In 2009, he penned Last Chance to See: In the Footsteps of Douglas Adams. This is the sequel to Last Chance to See, the 1989 BBC radio documentary series and book which he did with Douglas Adams. In 2009, he also worked with with Stephen Fry on a follow-up to the original Last Chance to See. This also called Last Chance to See
  • Born March 9, 1978 Hannu Rajaniemi, 44. Author of the Jean le Flambeur series which consists of The Quantum ThiefThe Fractal Prince and The Causal Angel. Damn if I can summarize them. They remind me a bit of Alastair Reynolds’ Prefect novels, somewhat of Ian Mcdonald’s Mars novels as well. Layers of weirdness upon fascinating weirdness. Quite fascinating as I said. And well worth the reading time. 

(16) COMICS SECTION.

(17) LEAPBUSTER. SYFY Wire reveals that “NBC Quantum Leap reboot casts Ernie Hudson”.

An OG member of the Ghostbusters crew is making his way into the world of Quantum LeapPer Deadline, NBC’s upcoming reboot of the classic sci-fi series has tapped Ernie Hudson, best known for portraying Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters film franchise (he recently reprised the spirit-fighting hero in Jason Reitman’s Afterlife), for a key role in the pilot episode.

This is the second bit of major casting news in the last few days after Raymond Lee was cast to lead the revival as Dr. Ben Seong last Friday. Hudson is set to play Herbert “Magic” Williams, a Vietnam War vet and seasoned leader of the Quantum Leap time travel project. “Using a bit of politicking and his military know-how to keep the Pentagon at bay, Magic buys the team some time to rescue Ben, but expects answers once he’s back,” reads the synopsis of the character provided by Deadline….

(18) MORE HAPPIER TIMES. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] Another pic from a time long ago in a place far, far away… During the 2006 Eurocon in Kyiv some local members of the SF community provided domestic hospitality.

Seen here (from left) a Romanian fan, Imants Belogrivs (of the Eurocon Award-winning Hekate publisher in Riga, Latvia), a Latvian fan(?), Martin Untals (Latvia), Jean-Pierre Laigle (France), Jonathan Cowie (SF2 Concatenation), Sergei Lussarenko (former Ukrainian SF author now living in Minsk and apparently a Putin supporter.) Photo by Roberto Quaglia (Italian fan and occasional author).

(19) WISDOM FROM MY INTERNET. Declann Finn will be blessing Upstream Reviews with his recommendations for “The Dragon Awards, 2022”. In his first post there is one and only one science fiction novel on his radar screen.

…To begin with, we’re not not nominating anyone who already has an award. Most of those who have won already have the attitude of “Oh, I don’t need more dust collectors.” We’re leaving out Big Name Authors. Frankly, if you’re Jim Butcher or a Baen author, you don’t need our help. If we don’t have any other viable alternative, then yes, then BNAs are applicable….

Best Science Fiction Novel

White Ops— to my knowledge, this is the only eligible science fiction work that Upstream Reviews has covered. More will be added to the nominations as we go along….

And who is the author of White Ops? It’s Declann Finn!

(20) VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET. Bloody Disgusting has learned that the “Predator Prequel Movie ‘Prey’ Will Be Set in the Great Plains in 1719”.

… From 20th Century Studios, the return of the Predator franchise is directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane), and it’s positioned as a prequel to the original that will tell the tale of the Predator’s first journey to our planet. Amber Midthunder (“Legion”) stars as a Comanche woman who goes against gender norms and traditions to become a warrior….

“It goes back to what made the original Predator movie work,” producer John Davis previously told Collider. “It’s the ingenuity of a human being who won’t give up, who’s able to observe and interpret, basically being able to beat a stronger, more powerful, well-armed force.”

As for tone, Davis reveals that “[Prey] has more akin to The Revenant than it does any film in the Predator canon,” further adding: “You’ll know what I mean once you see it.”…

(21) COOL DISCOVERY. “At the Bottom of an Icy Sea, One of History’s Great Wrecks Is Found”: the New York Times tells how Endurance, Ernest Shackleton’s ship, lost in 1915, was found in the waters off Antarctica.

The wreck of Endurance has been found in the Antarctic, 106 years after the historic ship was crushed in pack ice and sank during an expedition by the explorer Ernest Shackleton.

A team of adventurers, marine archaeologists and technicians located the wreck at the bottom of the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula, using undersea drones. Battling sea ice and freezing temperatures, the team had been searching for more than two weeks in a 150-square-mile area around where the ship went down in 1915.

Endurance, a 144-foot, three-masted wooden ship, holds a revered place in polar history because it spawned one of the greatest survival stories in the annals of exploration. Its location, nearly 10,000 feet down in waters that are among the iciest on Earth, placed it among the most celebrated shipwrecks that had not been found.

…Shackleton never made it to the pole or beyond, but his leadership in rescuing all his crew and his exploits, which included an 800-mile open-boat journey across the treacherous Southern Ocean to the island of South Georgia, made him a hero in Britain.

Shackleton was tripped up by the Weddell’s notoriously thick, long-lasting sea ice, which results from a circular current that keeps much ice within it. In early January 1915 Endurance became stuck less than 100 miles from its destination and drifted with the ice for more than 10 months as the ice slowly crushed it….

(22) IN BLOOM AGAIN. Deadline reveals “’Bloom County’ Animated Series From Berkeley Breathed In Works At Fox”.

…Bloom County first appeared in student newspaper The Daily Texan before becoming nationally syndicated in the Washington Post. It ran between 1980-1989, and Breathed brought it back on Facebook in 2015.

Breathed said, “At the end of Alien, we watched cuddly Sigourney Weaver go down for a long peaceful snooze in cryogenic hyper-sleep after getting chased around by a saliva-spewing maniac, only to be wakened decades later into a world stuffed with far worse. Fox and I have done the identical thing to Opus and the rest of the Bloom County gang, may they forgive us.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s story adds:

…In 2015, Breathed started posting new Bloom County strips on Facebook, a move that was at least somewhat inspired by the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who Breathed regularly mocked in the strip during its original run. “He is the reverse canary in America’s gilded gold mine: When Donald Trump gets up from the dead and starts singing, you know you’ve reached toxic air,” Breathed said at Comic-Con in 2016. “He signifies something that I didn’t want to be left out of.

(23) WHEN MONTANA HAD AN OCEAN. Yahoo! declares “Octopus ancestors lived before era of dinosaurs, study shows”.

Scientists have found the oldest known ancestor of octopuses – an approximately 330 million-year-old fossil unearthed in Montana.

The researchers concluded the ancient creature lived millions of years earlier than previously believed, meaning that octopuses originated before the era of dinosaurs….

The creature, a vampyropod, was likely the ancestor of both modern octopuses and vampire squid, a confusingly named marine critter that’s much closer to an octopus than a squid. Previously, the “oldest known definitive” vampyropod was from around 240 million years ago, the authors said.

The scientists named the fossil Syllipsimopodi bideni, after President Joe Biden.

Whether or not having an ancient octopus — or vampire squid — bearing your name is actually a compliment, the scientists say they intended admiration for the president’s science and research priorities.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Gordon Van Gelder, Bill Higgins, Cora Buhlert, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel “Hard drivin’” Dern.]

41 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/9/22 And A Scroll Will Never Need More Than 640K Pixels

  1. Pat Murphy’s space opera version of the Hobbit There and Back Again is fun, too.

  2. Andrew (not Werdna) days Pat Murphy’s space opera version of the Hobbit There and Back Again is fun, too.

    Yeah and I should add that to her Birthday note as you are indeed completely right.

  3. Kudos to Martha Wells for the decline and allowing others on the ballot. Like Murderbot, she is a class act!

  4. Fifth! And I’m not surprised that (7) happened. Handing a note to a bank teller asking for money? Please.

  5. 7) I have one piece of good advice for Ryan Coogler: DUMP your mainstream, corporate bank account and invest your money in a credit union. I have for several decades and have never regretted doing so.

    AND, they know me so well that they have never had a reason to call the police when I request a withdrawal…

  6. Miles Carter: Didn’t they ever tell him never put anything in writing? Even my 95-year-old mother’s nurses know that. (Text me something? What’s that?)

  7. Number seven — what I find surprising was that he kept his hat and sunglasses on. Most major banks ask you to remove them when you enter the premises these days and have for quite some time. Interestingly my bank no longer requires you go masked unless you want to.

  8. 15) I’m pretty sure my first encounter with Brom was all of the excellent artwork he did for TSR’s Dark Sun AD&D campaign setting.

  9. @Miles Carter – How else do you withdraw 12 grand without announcing to everyone within earshot that you’re going to be carrying that much cash out of the bank? I get that it’s probably not an everyday occurrence for the bank teller, but I’m having trouble understanding how that note could reasonably be interpreted as a threat.

    @Chris Barkley – A CU probably doesn’t work so well for a director who’s regularly far from home on location shoots.

  10. Way back when my wife was a bank teller, somebody wrote “this is a robbery” on the back of a withdrawal slip and buried it back in the stack. Some poor guy filled the front of it out and handed it to a teller — who showed it to my wife who was next to her. The guy recognized that the two tellers were upset and looked over the counter and saw the note himself and freaked out. “No, no, no, not me, I didn’t write that!” He wasn’t arrested.

  11. Jon Ault: While I have no doubt that race played a role in this, it’s never a good idea to hand a teller a note, especially if you’re wearing a hat and glasses. To answer your question: you speak softly. I’ve never in my life been in a bank where people were close enough that they could here what was being said by other people unless voices were raised well above a conversational level. Also, robbers don’t generally hang around bank lobbies on the off chance that someone is going to withdrawal large sums of cash for them to steal.

    I echo the recommendation for credit unions. My CU not only knows me by sight, but they also have a picture of me on file in their computer system so if I go into a different branch they also recognize me by sight.

    As for the concern that they wouldn’t work for someone who travels a lot: this isn’t the 50s. All CUs are part of a network. They all have debit cars and online banking. I can’t imagine any transaction that I would ever have to do that a mega bank could do, but my CU couldn’t.

    Megabanks are awful and I’m amazed people still give them their money.

  12. (15) Hannu Rajaniemi’s Jean le Flambeur series is very easily explained as “Arsène Lupin on Mars during a soft-takeoff Singularity.” Lots of fun. I can also recommend Summerland, a spy novel about 1930s British and Soviet rivalry in the afterlife.

    Pat Murphy, with Karen Joy Fowler, created the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial (now Otherwise) Award. One of those inflection points that changed things much more than anyone could have imagined. Except maybe Pat and Karen knew exactly what they were doing.

  13. 6: So Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is going to be about Pike’s career as an ensign and other lower ranks prior to becoming Captain?

    “…based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise.”

    Captain’s Command the Ship. Lower ranks do the steering, so, either Star Trek’s nautical roots are beginning to rot, or the show is going to start very, very early on in Pike’s career.

    7: Idiots all the way around. Doesn’t he know about Bank managers? And yes, it could only have been the a-holes at Bank of America.

  14. Mike, are you sure you didn’t accidentally switch the titles for #19 and #20?

    More on Banks.

    My mother’s trust accounts are with a mega bank. They totally suck. The assumption seems to be “what would you like to do with OUR money? Ha ha ha ha ha!”

    My local bank (NH) is quickly joining the ranks of the mega banks, but the people at my primary branch (from when it was a local bank) still know me and are happy to intervene with other departments of the bank when needed. I did have to fly back to NH to do in person stuff I wasn’t aware needed to be done in person so that I don’t ever have to do anything in person again, but since then (if that makes any sense) – I can deposit my checks via phone, pay bills remotely, and, now, armed with my super-secret-squirrel pin number, I can even make wire transfers.

    My wife was a member of a local CU when we married and I’ve no problems with them at all; they are every bit as sophisticated as banks yet also somehow manage to remember that the money isn’t theirs. I think the general rule is that if you have a branch at either kind of institution with competent, professional and involved staff, stick with it. Otherwise, move your money – but please DO make sure that your transfers will not be encumbered by petty, “you’re taking all of our money revenge” BS. Like manually downloading all of the payment information from their bill pay service because it is conveniently (for them) not a process they deign to automate. (I’m guessing on the theory that no one wants to sit and copy names and addresses and then type them all in again. Except they forgot the equation that states that people who are sufficiently pissed off can and will do anything.

  15. (7) Yes, there are better ways to withdraw a large sum from your own account. Like getting a bank manager. (But I’m assuming not everybody knows that.) On the other hand, I’ve never heard of a bank robber using the words “from my account” in a note. Maybe it’s just me.

    Why didn’t the teller check with someone else if she was unsure? That’s what my mother did when she was a teller in a new job. A complete stranger once asked to cash a fairly large check. So she did her job and asked a fellow teller if it was OK if Mr. Un-ee-tass cashed a check. And that’s how she met famous Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas. The tellers made fun of her, of course, but Johnny Unitas kind and understanding.

  16. 11) Great story; must have read it before, but forgotten. Currently have no large fish at home, but some “Riga sprats” sent by Ort, and beer there is; I’ll toast to Kourits’ memory in the evening.

  17. (19) I just checked out that Upstream post, it looks like White Ops was there almost by default. The post says:

    “To my knowledge, this is the only eligible science fiction work that Upstream Reviews has covered. More will be added to the nominations as we go along.”

    So it seems like they’re at least open to nominating others.

  18. I am disappointed at how quickly people are finding fault with Ryan Coogler instead of the bank. He didn’t want other people in the bank to know he was taking out $12,000 in cash. Bank robbers don’t provide a withdrawal slip with their account information. The note’s meaning was crystal clear. The bank teller and manager’s correct response was to ask for his identification (if he hadn’t already provided it), not call the police about an attempted robbery.

  19. Ben Harris: So do you think I was too hard on Declan?

    That I should have skipped him and told how Upstream Reviews is running a series of spoiler reviews to undercut John Scalzi’s new book? That place is not a love feast.

  20. I clicked the link to read Dave Langford’s piece on Leonid Kourits, and not surprisingly, felt compelled to read the entire zine. Quite surprisingly, I found myself in it, as the unnamed fan harangued by Harlan Ellison at a 1970 convention (PgHlange). Harlan had prepared his remarks to attack a different fan, someone who was actively trying to annoy Harlan — but that fan read the tea leaves and decided to stay home. Rather than attack him in absentia, Harlan decided to switch gears and go after someone who didn’t attack him personally, but rather had written a lukewarm review of his latest collection. Omitting all positive remarks from the review, he read just the less positive ones, all in a “why should I have to put up with this?” frame. Afterwards, he hunted me down and said, “No hard feelings, right? You understood what I was trying to do?” I must admit that during the speech I was laughing as hard as everyone else (through my tears), because Harlan could be very funny.

  21. Mike: Yeah I saw their series on Scalzi’s new book, clearly they have feelings about the guy. But in regards to the original topic, their Dragon Award slate, I’m just saying they as much as said it was a default selection. I’m not saying treat them with kid gloves, it just seems like a bit of a non-story.

  22. Re: bank managers. I recently had to accompany my mother to the bank to get copies of her statements, and there was one overworked staff person to field all non-teller inquiries, with several people seated in the waiting room awaiting his attention. I wouldn’t blame anyone for considering the teller line would have been faster.

  23. There’s a hilarious line in the Tor review of the new Batman film that they put up just now: The issue is clear when viewed in broad strokes: If the public is going to be subjected to a new Batman: Issue #1 film every fifteen-to-twenty years, there should be a purpose to the exercise beyond aesthetic reworking and a brand new face tooling around the Batcave.

    Really? Is the public now being required to go see Batman films? I hadn’t known this. I personally haven’t watched one in, well, I think it’s been at least thirty years though I’ve seen damn near every animated one made.

    Critics may feel they are obligated to see films, the public is not so obligated. That’s why films that critics adore turn into box office bombs.

  24. Camestros Felapton: You know they gave a Dragon to that Brad Torgersen book nobody ever heard of. Do you think it will jinx Declann’s chances that we’ve heard of his?

  25. Mike says You know they gave a Dragon to that Brad Torgersen book nobody ever heard of. Do you think it will jinx Declann’s chances that we’ve heard of his?

    Wasn’t that very early on before the Dragons, as many a Puppy has been known to lament now, went mainstream? I mean The Last Emperox won a Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

    Now listening to Simon R. Green’s Once in a Blue Moon, the dramatised version from GraphicAudio. Pulp fantasy at its very best.

  26. Why didn’t the teller check with someone else if she was unsure?

    Ryan Coogler is Black.

  27. Cat Eldridge: Torgersen won in 2019. The writers who won the same category in the two previous years were James S.A. Corey and Andy Weir. It’s clear the fix was in.

  28. “At the bank, she never said it was a problem. I said hey, is that going to be OK with you? She said yeah. I put my own [debit] card in. I put my own PIN in. She asked to see my ID. I gave it to her. And she goes in the back, and I’m waiting, and people keep coming out and saying hey, they’re taking care of you. Next thing I hear Glocks. I hear Glocks being pulled out.” — Ryan Cooger on police body cam after he was detained

    A “bank robber” who provided account information, a withdrawal slip, personal identification, a bank card, and proof he knew the PIN.

  29. Woohoo! A comment (from a prior scroll) grew up to become a title! (Or, hmm, did I snark it over on FB, perhaps to one of Steve Davidson’s posts? I fergits. Well, don’t look a gift scroll title in the food intake oriface. Thanks!

  30. Msb said

    Agreeing with Sophie Jane.

    Absolutely. My first thought, banking while black.

  31. Now listening to Simon R. Green’s Once in a Blue Moon, the dramatised version from GraphicAudio. Pulp fantasy at its very best.

    I love this book. It’s so good.

    Regarding Ryan Coogler, my Dad used to work in the shipping industry and often handled large amounts of cash, because ship crews, contractors, etc… were often paid in cash (this would have been in the 1970s and 1980s). Whenever he had to get cash from a bank, he always requested the money to be counted and packaged discretely in a separate room. No problems ever, neither in the US nor in Europe, but then my Dad is white.

    Once, he and the agent of the shipping company met at an airport in the US Deep South and exchanged cash on the toilet. They were very surprised that everybody gave them weird looks, when they emerged from the toilet stall. I said, “You’re lucky that you and the other guy didn’t get arrested, because they probably thought you were gay and gay sex was still illegal in many Southern states at the time.”

    Finally, bank robbers may hand over notes, but they don’t give their account info, show their bank card and ID.

  32. Cora Buhlert says of Simon R. Green’s Once in a Blue Moon that I love this book. It’s so good.

    And it wrapped up that series quite wonderfully. Green did an amazing job of creating that particular series and the characters in it. GraphicAudio in turn created a fantastic series of full cast audio dramas for all of the works there.

    Hawk and Fisher show up briefly in the Nightside series in Stringfellows Bar.

  33. @Cat: Either you’re one of the lucky ones who has been exempted from participating in mandatory entertainment (did you get your exemption card? If not, I strongly advise you to do so – the Ushers have started carrying assault rifles) or you’re a scofflaw and lets see how much YOU like it when they sentence you to 6 months of uninterrupted airings of Ishtar….

    🙂

  34. Maybe we could use robots to watch the bad movies. Or is that how the revolution starts?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.