Pixel Scroll 3/27/16 (I’ll Never Be Your) Star Beast of Burden

(1) DANGER WILL ROBINSON! “’Lost in Space’ robot saved from Valley Village fire” reports Daily News.

TV and movie props that included a robot reportedly from TV’s “Lost in Space” were saved from destruction late Wednesday in Valley Village due to the efforts of Los Angeles firefighters.

The LAFD responded about 11:30 p.m. to a garage fire in the 5100 block of Whitsett Avenue. Firefighters attacked the blaze, which was electrical in nature, a fire department spokesman told a photographer at the scene.

The home belongs to a prop designer and special effects artist who was out of town at the time, according to a caretaker who woke to the smell of smoke.

(2) JOCULARITY. Two Easter hams are heard from.

(3) HEARSAY. Mark Evanier’s friend has convinced him this weekend’s blockbuster is “Not the World’s Finest” – as he explains at News From ME.

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in seeing the new Batman Vs. Superman movie, a film which has achieved something I didn’t think was possible. It actually caused my dear friend Leonard Maltin to use the word “sucks” in his review. Even Rob Schneider never managed that and lord, how he tried.

(4) PARAGRAPH FROM A FUTURE TRIP REPORT. GUFF delegate Jukka Halme outlined how he spent the day.

Sunday at Contact 2016 has been a small whirlwind. Moderated my first panel (Through New Eyes), which went really well. Chatted way too long at the Fan Fund table with the Usual Suspects. Bought books. Just a few. Waited ages for my Pad Thai at the hotel restaurant, that was brimming with people and not too many employees, Presented a Ditmar, with a little bit of Bob Silverberg routine (VERY little) to Galactic Suburbia. Held an auction for fan funds, which went smashingly well. And missed the bar, since this is a dry state and while it is apparently OK to sell alcohol during Easter Sunday, places either close up really early, or everybody had left the bar.

(5) AN AUTHOR’S USE OF NAVAJO CULTURE. “Utah author features Navajo characters, history in new science fiction thriller” in Deseret News.

After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Robison Wells, who lives in Holladay, fell in love with both the area and the people he served. When he wrote his newest book, “Dark Energy” (HarperTeen, $17.99, ages 13 and up), which features several Native American characters and is scheduled to be released March 29, he worried about portraying them in the correct way.

“I wanted to show respect for the culture,” he said. “I didn’t want to appropriate their culture or their traditions.”

He sent his manuscript out to a lot of Navajo readers to get their reactions and tried to adjust his book accordingly. He knew writing a story centering on Native American characters and history would be a difficult and controversial thing to do, but he felt that it was such a compelling story that he had to tell it.

(6) ADDRESS FOR HAMNER CONDOLENCES. Anyone wishing to send a letter or card to the family may do so at the address below.

Jane Hamner
P.O. Box 220038
Newhall, CA 91322


  • Born March 27, 1963 — Quentin Tarantino

(8) TODAY’S BLOOD-PRESSURE BOOSTER. Jason Sanford says “The Retro Hugo Awards must be fixed”.

If any particular Worldcon wants to give out Retro Hugos, then e-book and/or online anthologies of eligible authors and stories must be made available to those nominating for the awards. And that must include works which are not in the public domain. Yes, it would take time to do this but I imagine most publishers and/or author estates would be willing to make the stories available for members at no cost.

But even if voters have access to stories from decades ago, it’s still unlikely that as many people will take part in the Retro Hugo nominating process as takes part in nominating for the regular Hugos. This, unfortunately, leaves the Retro Hugos open to missing important works and to being gamed.

To fix this here’s my next suggestion: Use a combination of juries and regular Worldcon members to nominate works for the Retro Hugos. 

I know juries seem like the ultimate insider power play, but when you’re dealing with stories published 75 or 100 years ago it can be useful to have experts in that genre time period also nominating stories. Perhaps the jury could nominate two of the five works in each category, and Worldcon members could nominate three of five. This also seems like a sensible way to make sure the nominated stories are truly the best that year has to offer.

(9) CAN MUSK AFFORD A MARTIAN ODYSSEY? “Neil deGrasse Tyson to Elon Musk: SpaceX Is ‘Delusional’ About Mars”. A writer at The Motley Fool explains Tyson’s reasons.

In less than 10 years from now, SpaceX may or may not beat NASA in the race to Mars. Astrophysicist, Hayden Planetarium director, and host of the National Geographic Channel’s StarTalk Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is placing his bet on “not.”

“The delusion is thinking that SpaceX is going to lead the space frontier. That’s just not going to happen…” Tyson said in an interview with The Verge. Tyson laid out his arguments for why fans of a solo SpaceX trip to Mars suffer from a “delusion.” According to Tyson, there are three main reasons SpaceX cannot go to Mars on its own.

Reason 1: Cost

“So if you’re going to bring in investors or venture capitalists and say, ‘Hey, I have an idea, I want to put the first humans on Mars.’ They’ll ask, ‘How much will it cost?’ You say, ‘A lot,'” Tyson said in the interview.

Tyson says it’s “very expensive” to go to Mars. How expensive? Some estimate $30 billion, but a bill of $160 billion isn’t out of the question, and critics in Congress charge that the total cost could reach $500 billion….

(10) CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE? Camestros Felapton is away traveling for a month. During their absence, Timothy the Talking Cat has taken over the blog, and has been busy posting such literary gems as “Timothy retells Dune”.

…Now there was this posh elitist liberal progressive family called the Artyfarties. They like super sucked at making money. The dad was a real wimp and the mum was in some sort of feminist cult. The son looked like the crazy guy in Agents of Shield but younger and more wimpy. The kid Artyfarties thought he was so much smarter than everybody but was a big wimp.

Now Boss Harkonen took pity on the Artyfarties. Big mistake! But he had a kind heart and he hated to see the Artyfarties suck so badly at businessing. So Boss Harkonen says to Dad Artyfarties: “You can run this planet for me. It is the only place you get Old Spice Magic which makes people young and makes spaceships run. It’s a classic monopoly, you can’t go wrong. Just don’t screw it up!” ….

(11) MEASURING SUCTION. Which is worse? Timothy the Cat’s retelling, or David Lynch’s? It’s close. Here’s Jonathan K. Dick’s evaluation of the movie at A.V Club, Dune can’t capture the novel’s incalculable brilliance”.

So what the hell is wrong with Lynch’s Dune? Before the collective “everything” echoes through the internet, it’s important to understand that the phrase itself “Lynch’s Dune” should already throw up the kind of red flags usually reserved for impending, air-raid level danger. Four years removed from his time behind the chair as director for the spirit-lifting biopic The Elephant Man and its eight Academy Award nominations, Lynch received the go-ahead from producer Raffaella De Laurentiis to direct the film adaption of Dune. This after 20 years, no less than 10 directors, producers, screenwriters, scripts, and general filmmaking anxiety that included the likes of Ridley Scott, Rudy Wurlitzer, Robert Greenhut, and of course the brilliantly documented attempt by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

(12) FIRST SEASON FLINTSONES COSPLAY? The Traveler from Galactic Journey amusingly interprets cosplay at this weekend’s WonderCon in terms of what fans knew in 1961 — “[March 27, 1961] What A Wonder! (WonderCon)”.

These are generally smallish affairs compared to their business-oriented cousins, with attendance running into the hundreds.  But for the fan who normally has a local community of just a half-dozen fellows (and perhaps many more as pen pals), going to a convention is like a pilgrimage to Mecca.  One meets people with completely different experiences, different perspectives.  There is the opportunity to get news from far and wide on exciting new projects, both fan and professional.  And the carousing is second to none, both in the heights of enthusiasm and creativity.

Take a look at my newly developed roll of shots from “WonderCon”, a sizeable affair held last weekend in Los Angeles.  These are some dedicated fans, some fabulous costumes, and some terrific times!

First off, a few attendees who came in street clothes: …

(13) MILESTONES ABOVE THE SKY. Motherboard advises that “‘In Space We Trust’ is a Beautiful History of Exploration”

In the timeline (which for all its beauty will entirely monopolize your CPU usage) you navigate the history of space as a young cosmonaut. The timeline begins with the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik and takes the user through all the major space milestones: first spacecraft, journeys to other planets, landings on celestial bodies.

Each milestone is accompanied by a series of stunning animations, a brief description of the event and a link to a Wikipedia page on the topic in case you want to read more. Your journey is orchestrated with an ethereal soundtrack that is overlaid with sounds from space like cosmonauts on a radio or rocket engines igniting.


 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

324 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/27/16 (I’ll Never Be Your) Star Beast of Burden

  1. @Tasha Turner: No, I don’t think so. (It’s been many years since I read it but I think I would recall.) Nor does the chief female character want to pump out a lot of babies and have group sex with her man.

  2. If Glyer isn’t going to tell us what the best Heinlein really is I’ve got some other points.

    1. This discussion is really interesting and informative, so I’m glad I trolled you.

    2. The collection of the same title as the novella may have been my first introduction to Heinlein and it did blow me away, or it must have, at about 11.

    3. I was talking about whether a Worldcon “jury” might curate ebook retrospectives on the golden age pulps, not late stages of Heinlein’s career. Of course, I read them all, because I already loved Heinlein, but I wouldn’t push Friday etc. on the kids these days either – not because they’re terrible, though that’s objectively true, but because I’m not sure what positive contributions, if any, most of them made to the genre conversation, other than demonstrating that it is no longer advisable to write “liberated” female characters who talk like they stepped straight out of the 1920s women’s rights movement.

    But is there interest in doing retrospectives on the question what if there had been a Hugo in 1942-45? (Unless the rules can be changed to give out awards for the WWII period, which I want.) Turning that into a reading guide for the remaining Retro Hugo Awards? Or even potentially 100 year anniversary Hugos for the 20s or 30s. (In my view the question is would people be interested in reading and voting for them, not “did a Worldcon occur in that year.”)

    Turns out one potential juror stepped up to the plate before the idea was even mentioned (not having scrutinized the Retro eligibility rules before posting).

    This was his preliminary list, which looks pretty good though not evenly distributed across the fiction categories.


    Second Stage Lensmen by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith
    The Vortex Blasters by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith
    Goddess of Fire by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    The Living Dead by Edgar Rice Burroughs
    Jorge Luis Borges – The Garden of Forking Paths (El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan) for short story
    Nightfall by Isaac Asimov
    Seesaw by A.E. van Vogt (Weapon Shops of Isher)
    Not the First by A.E. van Vogt
    The Howling Tower by Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story)
    Jay Score by Erik Frank Russell
    Reason by Isaac Asimov
    Liar! by Isaac Asimov
    Not Final! by Isaac Asimov
    Half Breed by Isaac Asimov
    Logic of Empire by Robert Heinlein
    We Also Walk Dogs by Robert Heinlein (Future History)
    By His Bootstraps by Robert Heinlein
    Universe by Robert Heinlein
    Common Sense by Robert Heinlein
    Solution Unsatisfactory by Robert Heinlein
    Elsewhen by Robert Heinlein (aka Assignment in Eternity)
    Sixth Column by Robert Heinlein
    –And He Built a Crooked House by Robert Heinlein
    The Incomplete Enchanter by L. Sprague de Camp , Fletcher Pratt
    The Iron God • novelette by Jack Williamson
    L. Sprague de Camp – Lest Darkness Fall (novel)
    Robert A. Heinlein – Methuselah’s Children
    C. S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters

    A collection of stories attempting to answer the question “What if there had been a Hugo in 1942?” prepared for members of Worldcon75 would be totally awesome.

  3. @Brian Z
    You are aware that we are doing a Retro Hugo this year and and someone (sorry I’m drawing a blank but thank you) has spent quite a bit of time putting together an ebook in multiple formats of eligible short works (short stories, novelettes, novellas) right? Links have been posted periodically on File770. In addition a number of people have talked about their favorites here on File770 and on a number of other blogs and possibly a magazine or two.

    What are your personal favorites for this year’s Retro Hugos?

  4. @Mike: Ah, excellent point. I had missed that in my “TRACKING-DOWN-RIGHTS-OF-DEAD-AUTHORS-DOESN’T-*WORK*-THAT-WAY” rage and my “WORLDCON-IS-ALL-*VOLUNTEER*” rage. My story, from when I was in college, of trying to get the rights to make a short film of the late Donald Barthelme’s “Game” is… well, it’s not particularly exciting, per se, but it’s sure as heck illuminating as to how difficult the process can be for *one* relatively recent story.

  5. Xtifr said:As someone who has read all but two of Heinlein’s novels, and all of his short fiction, let me just say that a lot of people who seem to leap to his defense strike me as people who probably haven’t read much of him! Like the Puppies: most of the ones who mention him sound to me like the only thing they’ve probably read of his is Starship Troopers.
    I’ve noticed that people who really really dislike Heinlein usually talk about this or that novel which leads me to think that maybe they’ve skipped his short works.
    Just sitting here without checking my shelves I can tell you “. . .We Also Walk Dogs” is one of my favorites as is “The Man Who Traveled in Elephants” and “It’s Good to be Back”.

  6. @Rev. Bob: “Derelict” is also available on Google Play, which is where I got mine. Oddly, only the sequel is on B&N. The third book is scheduled to come out in June.

    The self-promotion of people saying they’re nominees, okay… but I’m continuing to point and laugh at the guy who’s still claiming he has a friend on the “nominating board” even after Kevin explained it to him.

    I think I had the mark on my library card allowing me to check out things from the adult section from age 10 at the latest, wherever we moved to. As a teen, I read all the trashy paperbacks the neighbor bought, which Mom didn’t forbid… I think she was considerably more upset with the repetitive plots and lack of literary quality than with the sex and drugs and cussing.

  7. Tasha, that was a great contribution and proves that fans are interested in doing this sort of thing. It’s an attempt to compile every story now out of copyright. In printed form it could be stacked against your door to help keep zombies out.

    I’m thinking of a couple dozen shorter works and some kind of review essay of longer ones. One book. A lot of the best work is under copyright. One would either seek permission to distribute the stories free to Worldcon members in digital form (there is an obvious precedent for this) or publish it as an ebook and pay for them (this would be a great book to own and tell your friends about).

    I’d say my personal favorites in 1940 are the Theodore Sturgeon stories.

  8. @Lurkertype As a teen, I read all the trashy paperbacks the neighbor bought, which Mom didn’t forbid… I think she was considerably more upset with the repetitive plots and lack of literary quality than with the sex and drugs and cussing.

    My parents biggest complaint when I started reading mostly Harlequin and historical romance was also lack of literary quality and repetitive plots. But when I pointed out my brothers Conan books had a similar problem mom stopped saying anything. She was very happy with the private HS school I went to, on scholarship (10-12 grade/age 15-18), as my reading broadened again. I discovered The Russians as well as French Philosophers.

  9. Jim Henley:

    “Heinlein’s greatest work is in fact the novella, The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag. “

    I absolutely agree! A fantastic horror story. 😉

  10. Nice to see from the JCW-list that there is a lot good stuff to look forward to re-reading if there is a 1942 RetroHugo. I would skip out on Heinleins Sixth Column though. It was racism on order. When I read it as a kid, I actually thought the “panasians” mentioned where aliens from some planet called Panasia, because they clearly didn’t behave like humans.

    Heinlein himself was forced to write like that because of John W Campbell and didn’t like it at all.

  11. Harold Osler: I reread one of those paperback collections of Heinlein short stories to jumpstart my imagination when I was drafting a review of a Dave Lanford novel — Glow-in-the-Dark Comedy. Working in references to all the stories helped make more fun a project I’d been procrastinating about for years.

  12. @Jim: (Hoag)

    I liked that story, but I keep coming back to The Door Into Summer (novel, song) and Assignment in Eternity (collection) for roughly-annual rereads. “Gulf” is one reason I like Friday so much, and I identified with both as a “gifted kid” in grade school. I can still tell you precisely where I acquired both books…

    However, I would be remiss if I did not mention “…And He Built A Crooked House” as one of my favorites. Not much to it, but you’ve gotta love the idea. (Seriously, you have to. Otherwise, a Hugo Board Member will call Security to take you to Official Hugo Jail.)

    @lurkertype: “Oddly, only the sequel [to Derelict] is on B&N. The third book is scheduled to come out in June.”

    The same is true on Kobo, and the author’s website doesn’t mention the first book being available anywhere besides Amazon. (Hence the “contact me if you want the EPUB” offer.) Combined with the Countdown deal, I believe that it has been enrolled in the Select program and is therefore supposed to be exclusive; its Play availability would thus be an oversight.

  13. In addition to being a fabulous story, “…And He Built a Crooked House” contains one of my favorite comments about my home state. I don’t remember the exact phrasing, but it was something like, “People come to California expecting climate. What they get is weather.” 🙂

  14. Heinlein could definitely turn a phrase. I don’t share Rev Bob’s love for The Door Into Summer (the writing fell flat for me overall and there was some squick factor too) but, man, the first couple pages that set up the title are just some gorgeous writing.

  15. @Rev. Bob:

    However, I would be remiss if I did not mention “…And He Built A Crooked House” as one of my favorites. Not much to it, but you’ve gotta love the idea. (Seriously, you have to. Otherwise, a Hugo Board Member will call Security to take you to Official Hugo Jail.)

    I actually do love “…And He Built a Crooked House,” which I first encountered in the Fantasia Mathematica anthology. But if I was going to not love it, I would wait until the Hugo Board Members were all busy nominating authors, and get away clean.

  16. (da da, da da) SCROLL LOOKS LIKE A PIXEL
    (da da, da da) SCROLL LOOKS LIKE A PIXEL

    /apologies to Aerosmith

  17. @Kendall:

    Pixels gotta scroll
    Pixels gotta scroll
    Hugos come undone
    All the Puppies are on the run…

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