Pixel Scroll 4/1/22 This Title Contains A Non-Fungible Tribble

(1) DIAL Q FOR MOCKERY. It may be April 1 but calling 323-634-5667 gets you the message: “Star Trek Picard Easter Egg: Real Phone Number Lets You Call Q” reports Gizmodo.

Which, of course actually works. Turns out, calling the number and not being fictional rogue geneticist Adam Soong however, just gets Q mocking you for trying to call the mighty, incomprehensible society that is the Q Continuum. Check out our recording of the phone message below:

If you can’t hear the message, here’s a transcript:

“Hello! You have reached the Q Continuum. We are unable to get to the phone right now, because we are busy living in a plane of existence your feeble, mortal mind cannot possibly comprehend.

“Furthermore, it’s pointless to leave a message, because we of course already knew that you would call, and we simply do not care. Have a nice day.”

(2) A FOOLISH CONSISTENCY. Daniel Dern sent this link with the caution – “Note, (Stardate) April 1, 2022.” “Timekettle New Cross-Species Translator Supports Klingon and Dog&Cat”.

The Timekettle team has launched cross-species language translation through its self-developed translation engine on April 1st, 2022. It is now possible to chat with aliens from the Klingon Empire, as well as with your pets via Woof or Meow.

Dern also suggested trying it on this: “GreenEggsAndHam” at the Klingon Language Wiki.

(3) PRESSED DOWN, SHAKEN TOGETHER, AND RUNNING OVER. What was Brandon Sanderson’s final take? According to CNBC, “Author’s record-breaking Kickstarter campaign closes at $41.7 million”.

Brandon Sanderson asked Kickstarter fans for $1 million to self-publish four novels he wrote during the pandemic. Thirty days later, his campaign has topped $41.7 million from more than 185,000 backers and is the most-funded Kickstarter in the crowdfunding site’s history.

Sanderson’s campaign surpassed the previous record holder in just three days, topping the $20.3 million in funds that smartwatch company Pebble Technology generated in 2015.

With the project successfully funded, Kickstarter will take a 5% fee from the funds collected, or more than $2 million….

(4) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to pig out on pork BBQ with Paul Witcover in episode 168 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Paul Witcover

Paul Witcover‘s first novel, Waking Beauty (1997) was short-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. He’s also written five other novels: Tumbling After (2005), Dracula: Asylum (2006), The Emperor of All Things (2013) and its sequel, The Watchman of Eternity (2015), plus most recently, Lincolnstein, just out from PS Publishing.

His 2004 novella “Left of the Dial” was nominated for a Nebula Award, and his 2009 novella “Everland” was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His short fiction has appeared in Twilight Zone magazine, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, Night Cry, and other venues. A collection of his short fiction, Everland and Other Stories, appeared from PS Publishing in 2009, and was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. He’s been a frequent reviewer for Realms of FantasyLocusNew York Review of Science Fiction, and elsewhere. He teaches fiction at UCLA Extension and at Southern New Hampshire University, where he is the Dean of the Online MFA program.

We discussed the reason the pandemic resulted in some of the best years of his freelance career, the way he thrives as a writer when dealing with the boundaries of historical fiction, why his new novel Lincolnstein is “exactly what you think it is,” how he writes in yesterday’s vernacular without perpetuating yesterday’s stereotypes, what can and can’t be taught about writing, the reasons he felt lucky to have attended Clarion with Lucius Shepard, the effect reading slush at Asimov’s and Twilight Zone magazines had on his own fiction, what Algis Budrys told him that hit him like a brick, and much more.

(5) PATREON EXPLAINS IT TO JDA. Jon Del Arroz, who as usual says he didn’t do nothin’, asked Patreon to explain why they killed his account. They answered and he has posted their response letter — which mentions that “our guidelines apply equally to off-platform activity.” It would be ironic if Patreon bounced him for the racist and misogynistic tweets and YouTube videos he posts which those platforms permit to go undisciplined despite their own community guidelines.  

(6) AGING ORANGE. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Check out BBC Radio 4’s Front Row arts programme. Last night’s episode includes an item on A Clockwork Orange, it being the 60th anniversary of the novel. It was very interesting. Apparently there was an unpublished sequel which was basically having a message that art does not spread violence though society. Front Row – “A Clockwork Orange, the National Poetry Competition winner announced, Slow Horses and Coppelia reviewed”.

(7) WESTWARD HO. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Financial Times behind a paywall, Tom Faber reviews Horizon Forbidden West.

The one-line pitch is that you’re a hunter-gatherer fighting robot dinosaurs across a post-apocalyptic US.  With such a fun hook, nobody needed Horizon Zero Dawn to have a good story, yet its narrative proved unexpectedly compelling.  The game takes place a thousand years after rampaging machines have wiped out most of humanity.  Survivors have clustered into tribal communities who view relics of technology as objects of either suspicion or religious reverence.  The dramas of warring clans are narrated alongside the tale of how our world came to ruin. Guerillas struck gold with flame-haired heroine Aloy, who balances grit and tenderness as one of the most memorable new characters of its console generation…

Forbidden West is the first truly eye-popping flex of the PS5’s muscles, with graphics so beautiful that I have often found myself halting the adventure just to gawp at the landscape, whether dust clouds careening across the desert or forest leaves quivering in the breeze.  The robot enemies are ingenious works of biomechanical clockwork, shaped like snakes, hippos, ferrets, rams, and pterodactyls, with electric cables for sinew and gleaming steel for ligaments.

(8) CLARION WEST CLASSES. Registration for Clarion West’s Spring online classes and workshops is now open. Full information and ticket prices at the links.

This workshop aims to give you practical tools for evaluating publishing contracts. While it’s impossible to teach you everything there is to know about the legal side of publishing in a single class, it is possible to gain a general understanding of the rights involved and the practical mindset needed to protect your interests.

After a brief lecture on common publishing contractual terms, instructor Ken Liu (a lawyer and an author) will lead participants in interactive exercises to spot potential issues in language taken from actual contracts. Whether you’re looking at your first pro short story sale or an offer to adapt your novel into a TV show, the exercises in this class will help you.

Depending on the contracts used in the exercises, topics covered may include publishing rights (print, web, electronic, audio, etc.), performance rights, foreign language rights, media rights (gaming, film, and TV), royalties, advances, taxes, indemnification, etc. There will also be a Q&A period to address specific questions from participants.

This class is provided for educational purposes only, and none of the content should be construed as professional legal, tax, or financial advice.

With demand for transgender and nonbinary narratives on the rise, more cisgender (non-trans/nonbinary) people are adding trans and nonbinary characters to their stories. But what can you do to make sure you’re providing accurate representation? In this session, we will explore the “Three Es” of writing a trans/nonbinary character, the best craft approaches for each, and their potential pitfalls. We’ll also go over (in)appropriate reasons to write a trans/nonbinary narrative, general dos, and don’ts, and an overview of the experiences most often used incorrectly in stories.

This class for intermediate to advanced writers focused on craft to help you flex your funny muscles (since bones don’t flex). We’ll cover new ways to look at your funny fiction, techniques, exercises, the odd hack and trick- and culminate in a small mini-workshop where we’ll go over a piece you worked on!

This class meets three times: April 12, 16 and May 10, 2022, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Pacific.

This class will give an overview of the tools libraries use to discover materials and what makes a title more likely to be ordered for a library’s collection. We will also discuss the challenges and opportunities librarians face in acquiring materials and how authors can position themselves to be in a library’s line of sight when it comes to getting their books included in library collections.

We’ll cover physical materials (books and audiobooks) as well as the prickly digital (ebooks and audiobooks) library landscape.

Finally, we’ll also cover a little bit about doing library programs, like readings and classes.

Attendees will come away with a better understanding of how libraries locate and purchase materials and the limitations and differences between the library and the consumer markets.

You know it’s possible to be a successful short story writer with a full-time job, family, and hobbies. The question is, How? How do you get beyond the slush pile? How do you find the time to write when you have a million other obligations? This class will cover how to level up your craft as a short story writer and how to find the time, motivation, and persistence to stick with it while living a full life.

Suitable for writers at all stages of their careers, this class will emphasize self-compassion and give you ideas for how to level up your stories!

(9) HE WAS AN INFLUENCE ON BRADBURY. [Item by Alan Baumler.] Loren Eisley was a prolific science writer, and at least one sf writer liked him. About his book The Star Thrower Ray Bradbury wrote, “The book will be read and cherished in the year 2001. It will go to the Moon and Mars with future generations. Loren Eiseley’s work changed my life.” In “Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,059”, Erik Loomis traces the author’s life for readers of Lawyers, Guns & Money.

…As Ray Bradbury said of Eiseley, “he is every writer’s writer, and every human’s human.” This is a great description and his combination of interest in science, human origins, evolutionary theory, and what it means to be a human being continued to lead to best sellers. He quickly moved on his popularity to become the leading interpreter of science in the United States. Darwin’s Century followed in 1958. I haven’t read that one. I have read his 1960 book The Firmament of Time. This was an attempt to give people hope to live with science in an era of such astounding advances that it threatened human beings, particularly nuclear science….


1995 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Twenty-seven years ago this evening on BBC One, the Bugs series first aired. The series was created by Brian Eastman and producer Stuart Doughty with input from writer and producer Brian Clemens who is best known for his work on The Avengers which is why he considered this “an Avengers for the 1990s”. No idea if that was true having not seen it.

It lasted, despite almost being cancelled at the end of series three, for four series and forty episodes. It had an immense, and I do mean that, cast including Jaye Griffiths who was on Silent Witness early on (I’m watching all twenty-one series of it right now), Craig McLalachlan who was the lead in The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Jesse Birdsall who played Fraser Black in the very popular soap opera Hollyoaks and Steve Houghton who’s Gregg Blake in the London Burning series.

So how was it? I couldn’t find any contemporary reviews, but this later review suggests that it was a mixed bag: “Bugs is a mid-1990s British techno-espionage TV series, intended to be The Avengers (1960s) for a new decade. Wikipedia has the facts. Absolutely laden with Hollywood Science tropes, and quite prone to So Bad, It’s Good.” Another review noted that, “The show does have a cult following in the UK and in 2005 was released on DVD. The main cast have also spoken very highly of the show and the work they did on it, expressing that Bugs was deliberately ahead of its time and set a bench mark for other shows to come.” 

JustWatch says it is not streaming anywhere at the current time.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 1, 1883 Lon Chaney. Actor, director, makeup artist and screenwriter. Best remembered I’d say for the Twenties silent horror films The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera in which he did his own makeup. He developed pneumonia in late 1929 and he was diagnosed with bronchial lung cancer which he died from. (Died 1930.)
  • Born April 1, 1917 Sydney Newman. Head of Drama at BBC, he was responsible for both The Avengers and Doctor Who happening. It’s worth noting that Newman’s initial set-up for The Avengers was much grittier than it became in the later years. (Died 1997.)
  • Born April 1, 1925 Ernest Kinoy. He was a scriptwriter for such stories as “The Martian Death March” to Dimension X and X Minus One as well as adapting stories by Isaac Asimov,  Ray Bradbury,  Philip K. Dick for the both series. He also wrote an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” for NBC’s Presents: Short Story. (Died 2014.)
  • Born April 1, 1926 Anne McCaffrey. I read both the original trilogy and what’s called the Harper Hall trilogy oh so many years ago when dragons were something I was intensely interested in. I enjoyed them immensely but haven’t revisited them so I don’t know what the Suck Fairy would make of them. I confess that I had no idea she’d written so much other genre fiction! And I recounted her Hugo awards history in the March 7 Pixel Scroll (item #9). (Died 2011.)
  • Born April 1, 1930 Grace Lee Whitney. Yeoman Janice Rand on Star Trek. She would reach the rank of Lt. Commander in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Folks, I just noticed that IMDB says she was only on eight episodes of Trek, all in the first fifteen that aired. It seemed like a lot more at the time. She also appeared in in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. By the last film, she was promoted to being a Lt. Commander in rank. Her last appearance was in Star Trek: Voyager’s “Flashback” along with Hikaru Sulu. Oh, and she was in two video fanfics, Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. (Died 2015.)
  • Born April 1, 1942 Samuel R. Delany, 80. There’s no short list of recommended works for him as everything he’s done is brilliant. That said I think I’d start off suggesting a reading first of Babel- 17 and Dhalgren followed by the Return to Nevèrÿon series. His two Hugo wins were at Heicon ’70 for the short story “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” as published in New Worlds, December 1968, and at Noreascon 3 (1989) in the Best Non-Fiction Work category for The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965.  I will do a full look at his awards and all of his Hugo nominations in an essay shortly. 
  • Born April 1, 1953 Barry Sonnenfeld, 69. Director of The Addams Family and its sequel Addams Family Values  (both of which I really like), the Men in Black trilogy and Wild Wild West. He also executive-produced Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which I’ve not seen, and did the same for Men in Black: International, the recent not terribly well-received continuation of that franchise.
  • Born April 1, 1963 James Robinson, 59. Writer, both comics and film. Some of his best known comics are the series centered on the Justice Society of America, in particular the Starman character he co-created with Tony Harris. His Starman series is without doubt some of the finest work ever done in the comics field. His screenwriting is a mixed bag. Remember The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Well, that’s him. He’s much, much better on the animated Son of Batman film. And I’ll admit that James Robinson’s Complete WildC.A.T.s is a sort of guilty pleasure.

(12) IT CAUGHT ON IN A FLASH. Cora Buhlert has a new story out. A flash story called “Rescue Unwanted,” it appears as part of the flash fiction Friday series of Wyngraf Magazine of Cozy Fantasy“Cozy Flash: ‘Rescue Unwanted’”.

After a lengthy and laborious climb, Sir Clarenbald the Bold finally reached the summit of the Crag of Doom. The cave of the dragon lay before him, its mouth a dark void in the grey rock….

(13) WHERE IT’S AT. The Movie District has mapped out the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) Filming Locations” with a combination of stills from the movie and contemporary Google Maps images. This is pretty damn interesting to me because I used to live two blocks from a few of the places in Sierra Madre.

(14) RAZZIES REVERSED. “Razzie Awards Backtrack, Rescind Bruce Willis Award – and Shelley Duvall Nomination as Well”The Wrap explains why.

The Razzie Awards have reversed their decision to stand by their “Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in 2021” award. “After much thought and consideration, the Razzies have made the decision to rescind the Razzie Award given to Bruce Willis, due to his recently disclosed diagnosis,” a statement by co-founders John Wilson and Mo Murphy says.

“If someone’s medical condition is a factor in their decision making and/or their performance, we acknowledge that it is not appropriate to give them a Razzie.” Willis’ family announced on Wednesday that the actor had been diagnosed with the cognitive disorder aphasia and was stepping away from acting.

The Razzie Awards came under fire on Wednesday for refusing to rescind the special award for Willis, and for making an inflammatory Tweet. “The Razzies are truly sorry for #BruceWillis diagnosed condition,” the parody awards ceremony wrote on Twitter. “Perhaps this explains why he wanted to go out with a bang in 2021. Our best wishes to Bruce and family.”

In addition, the organization took the opportunity to rescind another previous nomination – Worst Actress for Shelley Duvall in “The Shining.”

“As we recently mentioned in a Vulture Interview, extenuating circumstances also apply to Shelley Duvall in ‘The Shining.’ We have since discovered that Duvall’s performance was impacted by Stanley Kubrick’s treatment of her throughout the production.  We would like to take this opportunity to rescind that nomination as well.”…

(15) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter says tonight’s Jeopardy! contestants struck out on this one.

Category: Books and Authors

Answer: In “The Story of” this man, his friends include Too-Too, an owl, Chee-Chee, a monkey, & Dab-Dab, a duck.

No one could ask, “Who is Doctor Dolittle?”

(16) JUSTWATCH – TOP 10’S IN MARCH. JustWatch says these were the “Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies and TV Shows in the US in March 2022”.

Rank*MoviesTV shows
1Spider-Man: No Way HomeSeverance
3The Adam ProjectUpload
4After YangResident Alien
5Spider-Man: Far From HomeDoctor Who
6Spider-Man: HomecomingRaised by Wolves
7Venom: Let There Be CarnageSnowpiercer
8Spider-ManStar Trek: The Next Generation
9InterstellarThe X-Files 
10The Matrix ResurrectionsBattlestar Galactica

*Based on JustWatch popularity score. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Hancock Pitch Meeting” Ryan George explains that Hancock has a scene where one character destroys her house to prevent her husband from knowing she has super powers.  But the producer is troubled by another scene where Hancock becomes enraged and violent after he is taunted.  “How could that happen?” the producer asks.  “That’s just not in Will Smith’s character!”

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Alan Baumler, Scott Edelman, Michael J. Walsh, Dennis Howard, Dan Bloch, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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47 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/1/22 This Title Contains A Non-Fungible Tribble

  1. 6) “Aging Orange”? At 68, I resemble that remark! (But I’m leaving for my 2020 TAFF trip on Tuesday anyway!)

  2. (9) I read quite of bit of Eiseley: The Star Thrower, Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X, and some others too (though I have to remember not to confuse him with Lewis Thomas, another essayist I read a lot of).

    (11) Sidney Newman also produced the movie that was remade as “Zero Hour” and was then remade again as “Airplane!” – and the star of Newman’s version of Ted Stryker was a fellow named James Doohan. Small world.

  3. Andrew (not Werdna) says Sidney Newman also produced the movie that was remade as “Zero Hour” and was then remade again as “Airplane!” – and the star of Newman’s version of Ted Stryker was a fellow named James Doohan. Small world.

    That I did not know. He also produced, or was credited as such though he was long dead, a spin-off of Doctor Who focused on the daughter of the UNIT officer that showed up with the Third Doctor, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. It lasted six episodes.

  4. Andrew (not Werdna) says PS: Sydney with two ‘y’s I think

    Sigh… you’re right. Damn spellcheckers. Well fix that. Thanks much.

  5. (11) Barry Sonnenfeld was important to the series Pushing Daisies, in particular as (Emmy Award-winning) director of the pilot “Pie-lette.”

  6. gottacook says Barry Sonnenfeld was important to the series Pushing Daisies, in particular as (Emmy Award-winning) director of the pilot “Pie-lette.”

    Huh. I never watched that series. So how is it? Worth investing my time at some point?

  7. 10) I remember liking Bugs a whole lot at the time, though 28 years later, I remember very little of it, except that most of the exterior scenes took place on the Isle of Dogs, whiich would have looked very modern and futuristic at the time.

  8. Cora Buhlert says I remember liking Bugs a whole lot at the time, though 28 years later, I remember very little of it, except that most of the exterior scenes took place on the Isle of Dogs, whiich would have looked very modern and futuristic at the time.

    I don’t think it’s realistic for any of us to remember series such as these that we see three decades ago. I loved Max Headroom but I’ll be frelled if I remember much about it thirty three years after I watched it. Farscape I remember more of but not much.

    I’m watching the forensic series Silent Witness right now which is quite superb but I suspect I’ll remember not much of it later on. Mind my post-trauma brain is as good as a feline at forgetting things anyways.

  9. 11) Wow, Samuel R. Delany, just wow. Happy birthday, Mr. Delany. “To wound the autumnal city….”

  10. Ok, I’ve confessed that the Morrow edition of Neverwhere Is the most expensive genre related item I’ve ever purchased at two hundred dollars.

    So what’s the single most costly genre related thing you’ve purchased? Needn’t be a book, it could be something else as there’s artwork out there that easily could be more than that. And if you’re embarrassed at saying the price, you can skip revealing that.

  11. @Cat — I’ll also recommend Pushing Daisies. It was one of my favorite series the brief time it was on.

    I binged Silent Witness a couple years ago, and like you, enjoyed it thoroughly.

  12. I don’t think it’s realistic for any of us to remember series such as these that we see three decades ago. I loved Max Headroom but I’ll be frelled if I remember much about it thirty three years after I watched it. Farscape I remember more of but not much.

    I’m watching the forensic series Silent Witness right now which is quite superb but I suspect I’ll remember not much of it later on. Mind my post-trauma brain is as good as a feline at forgetting things anyways.

    I usually have a good memory for books and movies and can occasionally remember plot details of a book or a movie or TV show I read or watched longer ago than Bugs. However, those are usually works which personally affected me in some way, whereas Bugs was fun entertainment, but not something that particularly affected me. And yes, I liked and watched Max Headroom, but I barely remember anything about it.

    Though it’s also interesting what people will remember. For example, I eagerly watched the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra – Princess of Power cartoons as a kid and remember quite a lot of character and worldbuilding details, more than I remember about Bugs, which I saw more than ten years later.

    Mattel is currently producing Masters of the Universe toys again and I have been buying some of the action figures, which I didn’t have as a kid. My parents have seen my collection, but they both have zero memory of the cartoons or the figures and don’t recognise them, even though they were in the same room with me, when I watched them. However, what was very important to me was just, “Some weird show on TV, which the kid really likes” to them.

    Silent Witness is very good BTW, even though again I don’t remember a lot of plot details except that the German broadcaster unwisely changed the title to the name of the main pathologist character and then had to change it repeatedly, when a new main pathologist took over.

  13. Pretty sure my most expensive genre-related purchase was the Vance Compact Integral Edition (when they reprinted his entire collected works in 6 large hardcover volumes with very tiny print), which I never actually read because shortly after I purchased them, Spatterlight Press started publishing his works as eBooks.

    Runner-up, which I haven’t yet received yet, is probably the reprint of the Ray Harryhausen: Master of the Majicks set, which I haven’t completely abandoned hope on because I occasionally get an email update.

  14. (9) Eiseley’s melancholy, poetic essays are like nothing else; it’s no surprise Bradbury admired them. I think my favorites of his books are The Night Country and The Unexpected Universe.

    (11) For Delany I think I’d suggest Babel-17 followed by The Einstein Intersection and then Nova.

    Pushing Daisies was brilliant, it’s a shame it was so short-lived.

    My most expensive genre-related purchase has to be the Centipede Press edition of Powers’ The Anubis Gates.

  15. (11) The original trilogy of Pern books meant a lot to me in my youth, but a revisit showed that the Suck Fairy had hollowed them out quite a bit.

    (14) Razzies setting a good example. Let’s see if anybody follows it.

    My most expensive genre-related purchase was three early hard-back editions of Lord Dunsany novels. Beautiful and easy on the eyes while reading. My best bargain, in contrast, was a 1950s hardback copy of Islandia, which I got at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris for 10 francs (some time ago, as the currency shows).

  16. So what’s the single most costly genre related thing you’ve purchased?

    Since I’m a filker, do my guitars count? After my house, my car, and my longcoat, three of them are the next most expensive things I own.

  17. One of my extremely minor claims to fame is have name checks in 2 Bugs episodes. I was a guard walking the dog in ‘Down Among The Dead Men’ and the villain in ‘Stealth’.

    I also had a script idea in for Season 3. It was a an odd show that got odder over time. Lot of fun though.

  18. What is so funny about the title? Everyone knows that a tribble is not a mushroom.

  19. I used to review old TV shows for a now-defunct message board, and while most of the stuff I wrote disappeared (gone, half my coverage of The Tomorrow People! Gone, my deeply-considered dissection of Cleopatra 2525!), I’ve still got the one I did for Bugs. (Short version: often looked good, but let down by dire scripts and very variable acting – stylish, but hollow.)

  20. The one thing I remember about Bugs is, that it came out closely after Antz, which I liked more and had similiar beats.

    Ive read everything from McCaffrey, even the early non-universe-stuff (even if some later merged into bigger universes like the dinosaur planet). I always liked the why she wrote “pageturners”. Her Pern books were the best though.
    She also had a lot of co.writers later in her career with quite some differences in quality, so I always suspected she had an idea for a story and gave it to someone else to write and just advised here and there. But I might be wrong of course

  21. In retrospect, I feel that McCaffrey was a decent writer but in the end she was overrated. It was if she found a winning combination on the genre roulette wheel but kept on doubling down instead of taking her winnings elsewhere. Think Robert Jordan or Mercedes Lackey.

  22. (3) w00t!
    I’ll receive my first eBook in January.

    (11) Happy belated birthday to Lon Chaney. I sure wish someone would find a copy of “London after Midnight.” (There is a restore edition that used stills to put together the movie, and that’s as close as we have.)

    There are elements in older Anne McCsffrey books (not just Pern) that don’t play out as well now. (Really, F’Nor?) But for some reason, I find I can make some excuse and read them anyway. Maybe because of her first name! Or maybe because there’s so much else there — her early books are short but packed with cool stuff throughout. OTOH, I also like reading newer responses to the books from all POVs.

    And can I give a shout-out (sing-out) to the Crystal Singer trilogy? I don’t know why no collaborators were brought in to write more Crystal Singer books. 🙁

  23. @peer

    The one thing I remember about Bugs is, that it came out closely after Antz, which I liked more and had similiar beats.

    Different Bugs. This is not the animated movie about anthropomorphic insects, but a 1990s British TV series about a team of hacker spies.

    @Kathryn Sullivan

    (12) Thanks for that! Well done, Cora!

    Glad you liked it.

  24. My most expensive genre purchase probably was winning an auction for the Folio Society issue of DUNE that 4th Street Fantasy put up a few years ago. Scott Lynch (whose copy it was) was completely unsurprised that I pushed hard to win, even as he desperately tried to get someone to bid more than the $250 the auction had gotten up to.

  25. 11) I read the original Dragonriders trilogy (I had ex-library copies of the first two that still had the library sticker wrapped around them, which at the time seemed kind of … subversive?) back in junior high or high school, and at least a couple of the Harper Hall books, but then just kind of fell away from Pern. (And I was young enough that some of the more … dubious aspects of the stories or the settings just kind of whizzed past me.)

    Early this year, I reread Robert Silverberg’s Legends anthologies, both of which included Pern stories, and I did like them, but probably not enough to go back and revisit the books at this point. But maybe someday.

  26. (11) I have a softcover copy of the first Pern book. Autographed. (Not losing it.)

  27. Meredith Moment: Simon R. Green’s Shadows Fall (which is a standalone, although loosely affiliated with the Nightside, Drood et al. books) is currently $2.99.

    And Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Tiger and the Wolf is $1.99.

  28. Tom Becker wrote

    Everyone knows that a tribble is not a mushroom.

    Unless they are tribblii from Yuggoth.

  29. Prooobably a retired World of Warcraft server blade that hosted part of the server where my partner and I met, from the charity auction that Blizzard did when they upgraded their server architecture.

  30. The most expensive genre thing I’ve bought relative to my income was when I was a teenager, ca. 1977. Minimum wage was $2.30, and the rule from my parents was I had to save half of what I earned, but could spend the other half as I saw fit. I was at a comic convention in Indianapolis, working in a booth (I worked for a store in Nashville that sold comics). My favorite artist was Neal Adams, and someone had a page of original art by him for $70. Which I bought.

    My folks allowed as to how that may not have been the best thing to spend it on, but I was otherwise pretty responsible with money and they didn’t give me too hard of a time over it.

    A few months later, at a different show, from a different dealer, the splash page from the same comic showed up for sale for $75. I took my parent’s lack of rage as license to get this one too.

    And not long after that, the promoter of a comic convention in Nashville wanted to have a display of original comic art as part of it, and asked me if I would loan my pages. My dad went to K-Mart and got some poster board and cut out mats with an Xacto, and some cheap plastic frames to put them in. They weren’t the nicest things in the show (Donald Ault loaned some Donald Duck oil paintings by Carl Barks, and they were the highlights), but I was quite chuffed to see “On Loan by bill” on the little cards on the wall. I’ve still got them, downstairs in the basement.

  31. (13) If you like this sort of thing, John Bengtson has a great blog on silent movie locations. For example, he locates a single alley in Los Angeles where three of the greatest silent comedies — The Kid by Charlie Chaplin, Cops by Buster Keaton, and Safety Last! by Harold Lloyd — all had shots filmed.

  32. My most expensive purchase occurred when I willingly embraced the financial vampires at Subterranean Press and bought a signed version of The Varigated Alphabet by Caitlin R. Kiernan. I went back to find the amount I paid and I cannot believe I spent that much on a book. Maybe the first printing was cheaper? I hope so.

  33. I’m really fond of Delany’s humorous but still moving novella, Empire Star. It’s one of my favorite examples of out-of-order storytelling, combined with time travel which ensures that there is no possible in-order telling of the story’s events. It’s set in the same universe as Babel 17, and the two were recently republished together as a single volume.

  34. @Xtifr: Do I recall correctly that “Babel-17” mentions “Empire Star” by name (as an in-universe novel)?

  35. @Andrew (not Werdna): I’m not Xtifr, but yes. Ron mentions them at the party.

  36. 3) Sanderson Kickstarter: My first e-book also arrives in January! I managed to resist the temptation to upgrade to the swag box subscription — if I had, that would probably be my biggest genre-related purchase. But I asked myself, “Is this merch gonna be worth $40 a box to me?” and I answered “Almost certainly not”.

    11) Birthdays: Not correct that Delany’s only Hugo was for “Time Considered as a Helix…” — he also won a Hugo for his book The Motion of Light in Water. Excellent book.

    My own actual biggest genre-related purchase? Possibly $300 for a copy of the board game “Terraforming Mars”, at a time when it was hard to get: that was part of a charity auction, so made the higher price a bit more palatable. I also bought the series of Babylon 5 script books that JMS put out a long time ago; I honestly don’t recall what I paid for them.

  37. David Goldfarb says Birthdays: Not correct that Delany’s only Hugo was for “Time Considered as a Helix…” — he also won a Hugo for his book The Motion of Light in Water. Excellent book.

    Thanks much. Now fixed. Good catch.

  38. SFWA has been much nicer to Delany than WSFS, giving him four Nebulas, plus awarding him the title of Grand Master. Focusing only on his Hugos seems to miss the point a bit. I mean, I know there’s more WSFS members here than SFWA members, but still…

  39. Xtifr says SFWA has been much nicer to Delany than WSFS, giving him four Nebulas, plus awarding him the title of Grand Master. Focusing only on his Hugos seems to miss the point a bit. I mean, I know there’s more WSFS members here than SFWA members, but still…

    Ok, once more with feeling and some grace. The Birthday notes are fairly short (hint: OGH doesn’t want essays here) so I decided that I would emphasis the Hugos. I also noted that I would writing up an essay on him shortly that would cover all of his Awards and include note of those Hugos he got nominated fir but didn’t win.

    I could write on and on about how wonderful he is as a writer and just as himself.

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