Pixel Scroll 4/15/19 You Put Your Right File In, And You Scroll It All About

(1) NOTRE DAME. Notre Dame cathedral suffered extensive fire damage today.

A massive blaze…devastated large parts of the 850-year-old church. While the fire is now under control, the cathedral’s iconic spire fell during the hours it took to battle the blaze.

Many sff fans and writers who’ve been there reminisced about their visits in social media, including Samuel Delany

Like many folks, I climbed to the top of Notra Dame myself on my first trip to Paris with Ron Helstrom and Bill Balousiac. As well, we were staying on the Ilse St.-Louis in the hotel next to the Hotel Olinda, which was rumoured (in Arthur and Hope Fromers Europe on Five Dollars a Day) to be the cheapest hotel in Paris. It was a trip and a half! Some of it was reflected in my novel NOVA.

(2) WOLFE. The SFWA Blog posted a tribute to the late author: “In Memoriam – Gene Wolfe”.

…SFWA President Cat Rambo said, “When we talk about fantasy and science fiction writers who were true virtuosos, Wolfe is one of the foremost among them, and I was honored to be at the 2013 Nebula Conference where he was made a SFWA Grand Master. His Book of the New Sun is a revelation to me every time I go back to reread it and his clear, thoughtful, ever-incisive voice will be sorely missed. This year has claimed several giants in the field, and Gene is most assuredly one whose loss will hit hard across the F&SF community.”

(3) APEX REORGANIZES. In “Sleep now, Apex Magazine, you’ve earned it”, Editor Jason Sizemore says Apex Magazine is going on hiatus, but the Apex Book business will continue.

After much consideration, I’ve decided that Apex Magazine will go on an indefinite hiatus. Our last new issue will be 120–the Afrofuturism issue guest edited by Maurice Broaddus. It’s filled with incredible, diverse work and a fitting sendoff for our zine.

Why stop now?

The last few months have been difficult for me both mentally and physically. This leads to soul searching. And that leads to life decisions. One thing that became obvious to me is that I was neglecting both myself and the book side of Apex. I need to take time to exercise, take some time for my health, do more things for fun, enjoy having my kids around before they leave for college in a few years. I need time to read more books! And on the book side of Apex, I had been failing to do the minimum for success because so much of my time was being poured into Apex Magazine. The magazine flourished, while the books languished.

A flourishing magazine is a great thing, but the profit ceiling for an online zine is disturbingly low. One small press book that does really well (like, for example, Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt) will make 25 times the profit of the zine in a year.

It comes down to health and economics and family. Like most decisions in life.

… And a reminder … this is an extended hiatus, not a permanent closure. I’m a man of whims, unfortunately. After I ended Apex Digest, it was two years later that I decided I wanted to do Apex Magazine. In two years, if Apex Book Company is going strong, don’t be surprised if I have the itch to reopen the zine.

… Lesley Conner and I have not turned our backs on genre short fiction. We plan to do an open call anthology each year that will contain nearly as many words of short fiction as a whole year’s worth of zines. Keep your eyes open for our next project….

(4) A BRAND SEMI-NEW IDEA. On a day that could use some comic relief, Ian McEwan did his best, making absurd statements about sff in an interview with The Guardian: “Ian McEwan: ‘Who’s going to write the algorithm for the little white lie?”.

McEwan has an abiding faith that novels are the best place to examine such ethical dilemmas, though he has little time for conventional science fiction. “There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future, not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas of being close up to something that you know to be artificial but which thinks like you. If a machine seems like a human or you can’t tell the difference, then you’d jolly well better start thinking about whether it has responsibilities and rights and all the rest.”

However, as the humor was unintentional, it took D Franklin’s help for it to fully register–

(5) PANDA EXPRESS. Any other day this would seem a bigger loss, but I’ll miss them: “San Diego Zoo to say farewell to giant pandas”.

Whether born here or abroad, all pandas belong to China. The zoo said successful breeding and an increased awareness of conservation helped boost the wild population of pandas in China to around 2,000, downgrading the panda from “endangered” status to “vulnerable” in 2016.

Building bonds of trust with the pandas has allowed zookeepers to perform some medical tests without having to subject the animals to anesthesia. It’s also helping them crate-train the pandas for their journey back to China. Their new home will be the Chinese Conservation and Research Center, where other former San Diego pandas now live.  

(6) DUBLIN 2019 ADDRESSES AIRBNB CONCERN. James Bacon, Dublin 2019 chair, explains the issues with “Short Term Rentals (AirBnB) in Ireland” and shares the available information.

We’ve noted that some of our members have reported issues with AirBnB cancellations. We are sorry that is happening. Many of our own team are booked into AirBnB and it is an affordable option in most cases.

Unfortunately, on the 1st of June this year new legislation is supposed to come into effect that will severely limit the ability for Dublin houses and apartments to be rented out for short-term lets if they were not specifically built for the short-term market (i.e. the Key Collection and StayCity apartments that are part of the convention block are permitted).

The exception to this will probably be if the house/apartment is a person’s primary residence and then only if either let out for a maximum of 90 days per annum, and for a 14-day maximum period, or if the entire property is not rented out (i.e homeshare accommodation).

As of yet we do not know the full legislation, as it is still with the Dáil (the Irish legislature) so we cannot even be sure if the new legislation will grandfather in existing bookings.

More details at the link.

(7) AVENGERS ATTENTION DEFICIT. Daniel Dern says, “This isn’t a spoiler if you’ve seen the Avengers: Endgame. It makes more sense if you have seen the recent Captain Marvel movie, all the way to the very end (final ‘Easter egg.’)”

Dern continues

I was (re)watching The Avengers: Infinity War movie over the weekend, and the last few seconds of the final E. Egg had Nick Fury reach for something from a pocket, and dropped it as he went all Thanos-finger-crumbling-black-dusties. The camera view pans down, showing [ROT-13][ n oyvaxvat qbbuvpxrl jvgu gur Pncgnva Zneiry ybtb ba vg.”

A picture of what Dern saw is here.

Like I said, not a spoiler if you’re up-to-date in trailer and prior movie watching. But wouldn’t have been as noticeable a point, when Avengers: Infinity War first came out, other than ‘if that’s the last few seconds of the movie, it probably is significant.’

(8) FRID OBIT. Dark Shadows’s actor Jonathan Frid died April 13, 2012. (Never mind….) The Los Angeles Times reported at the time

Jonathan Frid, whose portrayal of charismatic vampire Barnabas Collins in the supernatural soap opera “Dark Shadows” turned the classically trained actor into a pop-culture star in the late 1960s, has died. He was 87.

… The campy daytime soap was a year old and struggling in the ratings in 1967 when series creator Dan Curtis took his daughter’s advice to “make it scarier.” He introduced Barnabas Collins, and the ratings took off.

Curtis intended Barnabas to be a short-term villain but soon realized that the Shakespearean actor “brought a very gothic, romantic quality” to the role, Curtis later said. Frid remained on the ABC show until it left the air in 1971.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 15, 1906 Erroll Collins. British writer whose early Forties Mariners of Space is reminiscent of early Heinlein in its plot and solar system wide setting.  Serialised in Boy’s Own Paper, it would come out later in hardback. Other genre novels include Submarine CityThe Black Dwarf of MongoliaPirates in Space and A Spot on the Sun. (Died 1991.)
  • Born April 15, 1908 Howard Browne. I’m going to call him a pulp writer for lack of a better term.  Some of his work appeared over the pseudonyms John Evans, Alexander Blade, Lawrence Chandler, Ivar Jorgensen, and Lee Francis which makes it difficult to say just what he wrote. I’m reasonably sure that under various names that these are his genre novels:  Return to LiliputForgotten Worlds and The Return of Tharn. He also was a prolific scriptwriter, mostly westerns and cop shows, but he did several Mission Impossible scripts. (Died 1999.)
  • Born April 15, 1926 Homer Nearing. He is best known for his Professor Cleanth Penn Ransom series published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the early Fifties. One story, “The Neurotic Rose”, ran in the April 1956 issue of Fantastic Universe. Some of the stories formed a fix-up novel called The Sinister Researches of C.P. Ransom. (Died 2004.)
  • Born April 15, 1940 Robert Walker, 79. Ahhh, the Charlie Evan character in the first season “Charlie X” Star Trek episode in which yet another child gets to be a badly behaving godling. I really don’t know what I think of this episode but do know the actor was rather good in his ability to wring sense out of Fontana’s script. Walker didn’t do much else for genre work, showing up on The Time Tunnel as Billy the Kid,  Bobby Hartford in Beware! The Blob, the sequel to The Blob, and in The Devonsville Terror as Matthew Pendleton.
  • Born April 15, 1947 Deborah J. Ross, 72. A friend of Marion Zimmer Bradley, she’d edited and contributed a story to the first of Sword and Sorceress series which lasted thirty volumes. Much of her fiction is set in the Darkover universe with an original series,The Seven-Petaled Shield, underway as well. She’s also edited two Lace and Blade anthologies which have such contributors as Tanith Lee and Diana Paxton.
  • Born April 15, 1952 Glenn Shadix. He shows up in two of my favorite genre films, Beetlejuice and Demolition Man. His other genre films were SleepwalkersMultiplicity and Planet of the Apes. (Died 2010.)
  • Born April 15, 1959 Emma Thompson, 60. Professor Sybill Trelawney, Harry Potter franchise. Men in Black 3 and Men in Black: International as Agent O, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle as Polynesia, Beauty and the Beast as Mrs. Potts and Treasure Planet voicing Captain Amelia. 
  • Born April 15, 1974 Jim C. Hines, 45. [Entry by Paul Weimer.] Writer, and blogger. Jim C. Hines’ first published novel was Goblin Quest, the tale of a nearsighted goblin runt and his pet fire-spider. Jim went on to write the Princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. He’s also the author of the Magic ex Libris books, my personal favorite, which follow the adventures of a magic-wielding librarian from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who happens to have the same pet fire-spider lifted from the Goblin novels as his best friend. He’s currently writing his first foray into science fiction novels, the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series. Jim’s novels usually have the fun and humor dials set on medium to high. Jim is also an active blogger on a variety of topics and won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2012.
  • Born April 15, 1990 Emma Watson, 29. Hermione Grangerin the Harry Potter film franchise. Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast. And the voice of Prince Pea in The Tale of Despereaux. 
  • Born April 15, 1997 Maisie Williams, 22. She made her professional acting debut as Arya Stark of Winterfell in Game of Thrones. She is Ashildr, a Viking woman of unique skills, the principal character of a story line, during the time of Twelfth Doctor. She is set to star as Wolfsbane in the forthcoming Marvel film New Mutants.

(10) TODAY’S CLICKBAIT. Food & Wine sounds deeply concerned that the answer was almost never Peeps: “The Most Popular Easter Candy in Every State, According to RetailMeNot”.

If you’re also on team Peeps, know that the candy company has released several new flavors this year, including Pancakes & Syrup and Root Beer Float, which you can learn more about here. As for the rest of America’s candy preferences, check out the full state-by-state breakdown below:

(11) PICARESQUE PUSSYCAT. While Camestros Felapton is in the Himalayas, Timothy the Talking Cat is favoring us with his autobiography: “Beyond the Bounds of Genius: Chapter 1”.

…This was a dark time for England. Specifically it was around 10 pm in November. I needed more light so I filled the bath full of kerosene and set light to it. And for the simple crime of wanting enough light to read by I was thrown upon the mercy of England’s archaic criminal justice system…

(12) AI MEDIC. NPR considers the question: “How Can We Be Sure Artificial Intelligence Is Safe For Medical Use?”

When Merdis Wells visited the diabetes clinic at the University Medical Center in New Orleans about a year ago, a nurse practitioner checked her eyes to look for signs of diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of blindness.

At her next visit, in February of this year, artificial intelligence software made the call.

The clinic had just installed a system that’s designed to identify patients who need follow-up attention.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared the system — called IDx-DR — for use in 2018. The agency said it was the first time it had authorized the marketing of a device that makes a screening decision without a clinician having to get involved in the interpretation.

It’s a harbinger of things to come. Companies are rapidly developing software to supplement or even replace doctors for certain tasks. And the FDA, accustomed to approving drugs and clearing medical devices, is now figuring out how to make sure computer algorithms are safe and effective.

(13) BIG BROTHER REALLY IS. “How does it feel to be watched at work all the time?” BBC reports on the consequences.

Is workplace surveillance about improving productivity or simply a way to control staff and weed out poor performers?

Courtney Hagen Ford, 34, left her job working as a bank teller because she found the surveillance she was under was “dehumanising”.

Her employer logged her keystrokes and used software to monitor how many of the customers she helped went on to take out loans and fee-paying accounts.

“The sales pressure was relentless,” she recalls. “The totality was horrible.”

She decided selling fast food would be better, but ironically, left the bank to do a doctorate in surveillance technology.

Courtney is not alone in her dislike of this kind of surveillance, but it’s on the rise around the world as firms look to squeeze more productivity from their workers and become more efficient.

(14) JEDI GAME. There’s a new trailer out for the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Cal Kestis—one of the last surviving members of the Jedi Order after the purge of Order 66—is now a Padawan on the run. Experience this all-new single-player Star Wars™ story from Respawn Entertainment and EA Star Wars on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC this holiday season, 15 November 2019.

(15) REY PARADE. Holy cats – there’s no end of them! Is this some kind of Escher thing? No, it’s the Rey Meetup at last week’s Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.

(16) BOXING DAY. I love work. I could watch other people do it for hours. (Or robots.) “Handle Robot Reimagined for Logistics” is a new video from Boston Dynamics in which a bird-like robot picks up and stacks boxes.

[Thanks to Danny Sichel, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Standback, Dann, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, ULTRAGOTHA, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/15/19 You Put Your Right File In, And You Scroll It All About

  1. (15) REY PARADE.

    I believe it was at one of the early NYC Trek cons that it was decided to put all of the Spocks on stage together, there being so many of them.

  2. @4: I see somebody has decided to fill the ecological niche more-or-less-vacated by Margaret Atwood.

    @7: I’m surprised Dern didn’t pick that up earlier; I certainly noticed it, and I’m not especially attentive to comics details. However, I don’t see why he thinks the last egg in Captain Marvel is necessary; what he’s pointing to turns up earlier.

    @9: two Potterverse stars in one day! Thompson has a huge list of good work outside the genre (plus the Nanny McPhee movies in-genre); it will be interesting to see whether Granger gets a chance to demonstrate similar range.

  3. Chip Hitchcock notes two Potterverse stars in one day! Thompson has a huge list of good work outside the genre (plus the Nanny McPhee movies in-genre); it will be interesting to see whether Granger gets a chance to demonstrate similar range.

    She’s actually done a lot of non-genre work for someone so young and remarkably varied as wel in those rolesl. Given that her early career was essentially locked into being the one Potter role, I think she’ll do wonderful things.

  4. (7) That was reported very, very, very widely. Like, if you ever read any kind of publication that might ever mention stuff about upcoming Marvel movies, they made a big deal about that when Infinity War came out. And anyone who wasn’t reading that stuff, but happened to know someone who was into Marvel comics, very likely got an earful. And the Captain Marvel ads started almost immediately, to ensure that people would see that logo.

    On many other subjects I’m the last one to find out anything, so I’m not making fun of Dern, but if that image was hard to notice it certainly wasn’t for lack of promotional effort by Marvel.

  5. Re Emma Watson – she was good in The Bling Ring (very not genre) but I haven’t seen her in much else that I can remember.

    (4) pretty sure SF has been speculating on those things since, like, Frankenstein.


    It’s not just the ignorance of McEwan, but the ignorance of his interviewer Tim Adams which is absolutely staggering. Jeebus, dude, have some professional pride and do your research before you submit something like this for publication.

    Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe Tim Adams is an inexperienced, unpaid intern for The Guardian who just doesn’t know any better. 🙄

  7. JJ says Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe Tim Adams is an inexperienced, unpaid intern for The Guardian who just doesn’t know any better. ?

    Nope, from his Guardian bio: A former editor of the Observer’s books pages and of the Review section, he has been a staff writer, contributing features, interviews, reviews and comment, since 2000

  8. Hugo finalist Lindsay Ellis has a video on the Hunchback of Notre Dame, delving into Hugo’s (the author) reasons for writing the story, partly (mostly) to celebrate the cathedral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIIWy3TZ1eI

    5) Pandas going from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ is good news!

    16) It’s cute!

  9. (3) I’m really going to miss Apex. I liked it a lot — from some absolute gems of stories, to A.C. Wise’s great monthly column.
    TBH, I feel like losing both Apex and Shimmer leaves a hole in the field; a certain scope and style of story that’s hard to find elsewhere.

    Kudos to Jason for all of Apex’s great years. All the best for coming plans 😀

  10. (4) McEwan:

    I’m a little cautious about the pull quote, since the condescending framing of “having little time for conventional science-fiction” is the reporter’s, not a direct quote. Without that, McEwan can be read somewhat more charitably.

    On the other hand, I don’t think there’s any excusing this bit, from the same interview — it sure doesn’t sound like McEwan’s actually read Mary Shelley:

    In this sense, you might say, he is coming at the AI question from the opposite angle to Mary Shelley in Frankenstein. “There the monster is a metaphor for science out of control, but it is ourselves out of control that I am interested in.”

  11. 1) This is so incredibly depressing.

    4) I will forgive McEwan for never having heard of the “Key British Work of SF” Silver Metal Lover, because neither have I.

  12. On the Deborah J. Ross entry, a small correction. Sword and Sorceress has reached 33 volumes in 2018. I bought the first one at the university bookstore my first year at college and my first time away from home. I was so excited when there was a second one the following year. The rising generation has no idea how unusual genre adventure stories featuring women used to be, especially without romance being part of the plot.

    Silver Metal Lover was the first Tanith Lee novel that I ever read.

  13. Birthday addendum: Caissie Levy, April 15 1981. Ms. Levy is currently starring as Queen Elsa of Arendelle in the Broadway show of Frozen, a role she originated. (Hugo nominated animated film for 2013) She has also played Elphaba in Wicked on a touring company. Aso originated the role of Molly Jensen in Ghost the Musical

    She’s a charming human being in addition to being an amazing talent. When Disney decided to put Frozen on stage, they hit the ball out of the atmosphere with their entire cast. Including casting POC in key roles (Kristoff frex, with Broadway newcomer Jelani Aladdin. Also Alisha Jackson as the standby performer for Anna. I leave it to your imagination the response that got from the usual hater crowd.)

  14. @ Hampus Eckerman: Its Swedish title was “Jungfrun Som Älskade Silver” (if that helps?).

    Yes, quite a lot of SF is/was translated to Swedish, some of it originally written by Swedes.

  15. (1) horrifying. I walked past the cathedral several times last week, on a visit where I found Ursula K. Le Guin’s “No time to spare” in a used book store. Let’s hear it for San Francisco Books! I’m sure people will be contributing to a restoration fund, but people should also remember the gofundme for Seventh District Baptist Church Fires St Landry, LA.
    (4) disappointing. Le Guin was right to bang on about ignorance and disrespect for the genre.
    Birthdays: April 15 hits the jackpot: not one but two wonderful Emmas plus extra added Maisie.

  16. 4) I feel a certain kinship with an author who writes this in his first SF novel:

    He sat again, hooked his feet into the trainers and tied the laces in a double bow at a blurring speed that to some might have seemed inhuman. But I didn’t think it was. It was a triumph of engineering and software design: a celebration of human ingenuity.

    And this:

    “Who’s going to write the algorithm for the little white lie that spares the blushes of a friend?” his novel asks at one point. “Or the lie that sends the rapist to prison who’d otherwise go free?”

  17. (9) There’s Emma Thompson’s turn in the Kenneth Branagh-directed hypnotic regression/reincarnation noir thriller DEAD AGAIN (1991). Is it sublime or is it almost unspeakably ridiculous? Either way, just the three minutes of the climax contain more acting, editing and music than many films have in their entirety. For an audience that thinks De Palma is a tad too restrained.

    Also Howard Browne was editor of FANTASTIC and FANTASTIC ADVENTURES for 5-6 years in the 50s, publishing lots of Sturgeon, Leiber, Bloch and Sheckley.

  18. (4) Thog’s Masterclass will have many new entries as will “As Others See Us”

  19. 4) I saw this over the weekend and thought about passing it on. I was pretty shocked by McEwan’s ignorance and snobbery. (I do have huge respect for him as a novelist.) I hope Standback is right and the quote has been used out of context. Even if he’s ignorant of SF novels dealing with this subject, it’s hard to believe he’s missed out on, eg Bladerunner or the recent Humans TV series. In fact, the premise for his novel reminded me very much of Humans (which I thoroughly enjoyed): the notion that AI robots could exist in an otherwise ordinary England.

    JJ – thanks for the link to the excerpts. The first part I thought really well done, and it again made me think of Humans. The second, info-dumpy part, I agree was really rather clunky. The inclusion of Demis Hassibis is odd. He’s way too young to be contemporaneous with Turing. He was involved in the British game dev scene in I think the 90s, and now works I believe at Google’s Deep Mind.

  20. I’m fairly certain that Asimov got the whole robot rights and responsibilities thing started quite a while ago. There was also a blockbuster called A.I., maybe not great but far from obscure. Plus Ghost in the Shell in its many forms including the recent mediocre Hollywood attempt.

  21. You scroll pixel files, and what do you get
    Another Sol older and more credits in debt.
    Don’t clickety, don’t call me, let me sit for a while . . .
    I’m reading all the books in my tsundoku pile.

  22. @bill
    ooh, nice!

    (1) I saw a photo this morning of the Pieta in the cathedral, apparently intact, with candelabra with candles still standing, in front of it – and debris from the ceiling and roof on the floor in front. (Apparently the heat didn’t get that far down.)

  23. 1) I’m also seeing reports and pictures showing that at least some of the rose windows survived.

  24. Re the excerpts: And here I thought naming the first two of their kind “Adam and Eve” was something you only saw in slush piles.

  25. 4) Well, after reading the interview, it sounds like there’s a sizeable group of non-genre folks who haven’t bothered to read anything in genre that isn’t produced by a white guy. My immediate reaction was “oh come on, you’ve not been reading works by women and people of color? Because there’s sure a lot of exactly this out there by those folks that address these issues.”

  26. And oh dear. After reading the linked excerpt…the infodump, oh God, THE INFODUMP!

  27. Joyce Reynolds-Ward: That may be your immediate reaction, although to me the point is this is a common sff topic, and sff writers of every background have tackled it — for example, he’s also overlooking Alex Garland’s movie Ex Machina

  28. (5) The big panda center in Chengdu (if memory serves, re place) is where to see pandas. All over. Festooning tree branches. Snuffling. Eating. Doing whatever else pandas do when they’re not doing one of those. For some round figure in Yuan, you can spend twenty seconds in a blue smock, gloves, and booties with a young panda (I got one whose name means “little sister”) on your lap, having your companions snap as many photos as possible while attendants feed it honey and pieces of watermelon to keep it interested in its task of being cute. They won’t put a dab of honey on your cheek. I asked.

    “Heroic Struggle of the Little Guys to Finish the Scroll”

  29. (4) Re. McEwan possibly being taken out of context in the Guardian/Observer piece, there are similar interviews with him at Wired UK and The (Scottish) Herald:

    (Starts off with “Ian McEwan has no interest in science fiction.”)

    (Direct quote from him: “…I’ve never been a fan of science fiction…”)

  30. (15) I was hoping for at least one person dressed as Dr. Raymond Stantz who had gotten the wrong impression about what sort of Rey gathering it was.

    “Waiting for the Great Scroll Forwards” from Filers Playtime

  31. Jamoche on April 16, 2019 at 9:20 am said:

    Re the excerpts: And here I thought naming the first two of their kind “Adam and Eve” was something you only saw in slush piles.

    And the series finales of major SF reboots.

  32. 8) I’m pleased to be at your service?

    [otherwise, just c4c]

    Here in the year 2681…oh what?…it’s 2688??….calendars are hard.

    Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway – John Wayne

  33. @Jamoche: ‘Re the excerpts: And here I thought naming the first two of their kind “Adam and Eve” was something you only saw in slush piles.’

    @Darren Garrison: “And the series finales of major SF reboots.”

    That last makes the point, I think. It’s slushy if it’s an in-a-gadda-da-vida story. It’s marketing, and I suspect a comment on marketing, in this story.

    How else has it been used? I’m not coming up with a lot of examples offhand.

  34. @Kip Williams
    I mostly remember the red pandas. The giant pandas lay there doing nothing, but the red pandas strutted and posed in front of the cameras like supermodels.

    I took a bunch of videos, but in a spate of foolishness I accidentally deleted most of them

  35. Oh, I meant to mention the red ones! They were, indeed, active and entertaining. My daughter came away from the gift shop with a red panda (heaven knows she’d already been given enough of the other kind as gifts by then anyway). She even saw one before we left Virginia in 2005, because the Nature Center there had one or two of them in a habitat.

    She recently weeded her extensive menagerie of stuffed animals, and Reddy made the cut.

  36. I remember seeing some red pandas at the National Zoo in Washington DC a few years ago. It was quite impressive — they were just sitting there, minding their own business, gnawing on bamboo shoots the thickness of my arm, and occasionally effortlessly breaking them with a sound like a gunshot.

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