Pixel Scroll 4/15/23 She Pixeled Me With Scrolling

(0) This is an abbreviated Scroll because I had to devote my creative writing energies to filing my tax returns today.

(1) DENNY LIEN (1945-2023). Long-time Minneapolis fan Denny Lien died April 15 at the age of 77. Although under hospice care at home, he had been able to get out and spend a few hours walking around at Minicon last weekend. Last night he had a fall and called hospice this morning. He died of kidney cancer and acute myeloid leukemia, the latter diagnosed in January 2023.

After moving to Minneapolis Lien got involved with Minn-Stf and remained active for over 20 years, serving as an officer, and editor of some issues of the club publication Einblatt. With many others he co-authored the beloved fannish musical parody Midwest Side Story. He was at times a member of such apas as. Minneapa and ANZAPA. He was guest of honor at Minicon 21. And he was a File 770 subscriber and letter-writer for decades.  

He was married to and is survived by fellow fan Terry A. Garey, whom he spent several years taking tender care of as her physical and mental health deteriorated.

(2) KGB. Ellen Datlow has posted her photos from the April 12 Fantastic Fiction readings at KGB with Paul Park and Peng Shepherd.


1950[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

A E Van Vogt’s The Voyage of The Space Beagle is without doubt a classic of SF. Published by Simon & Schuster in 1950, this  space opera, the novel comprised of four stories which had been had been published between 1939 and 1943.

The first part of the novel was originally the “Black Destroyer” story as printed in Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1939 and was the first published SF by our writer. 

I’ve not read it for a very long time and am hesitant to revisit it lest the Suck Fairy trod on it with her steel toed boots crunching my memories of it.

On that note, here is its Beginning…

On and on Coeurl prowled. The black, moonless, almost starless night yielded reluctantly before a grim reddish dawn that crept up from his left. It was a vague light that gave no sense of approaching warmth. It slowly revealed a nightmare landscape. 

Jagged black rock and a black, lifeless plain took form around him. A pale red sun peered above the grotesque horizon. Fingers of light probed among the shadows. And still there was no sign of the family of id creatures that he had been trailing now for nearly a hundred days. 

He stopped finally, chilled by the reality. His great forelegs twitched with a shuddering movement that arched every razor-sharp claw. The thick tentacles that grew from his shoulders undulated tautly. He twisted his great cat head from side to side, while the hairlike tendrils that formed each ear vibrated frantically, testing every vagrant breeze, every throb in the ether.

There was no response. He felt no swift tingling along his intricate nervous system. There was no suggestion anywhere of the presence of the id creatures, his only source of food on this desolate planet. Hopelessly, Coeurl crouched, an enormous catlike figure silhouetted against the dim, reddish sky line, like a distorted etching of a black tiger in a shadow world. What dismayed him was the fact that he had lost touch. He possessed sensory equipment that could normally detect organic id miles away. He recognized that he was no longer normal. His overnight failure to maintain contact indicated a physical breakdown. This was the deadly sickness he had heard about. Seven times in the past century he had found coeurls, too weak to move, their otherwise immortal bodies emaciated and doomed for lack of food. Eagerly, then, he had smashed their unresisting bodies, and taken what little id was still keeping them alive. 

Coeurl shivered with excitement, remembering those meals. Then he snarled audibly, a defiant sound that quavered on the air, echoed and re-echoed among the rocks, and shuddered back along his nerves. It was an instinctive expression of his will to live.

Coeurl shivered with excitement, remembering those meals. Then he snarled audibly, a defiant sound that quavered on the air, echoed and re-echoed among the rocks, and shuddered back along his nerves. It was an instinctive expression of his will to live. 

And then, abruptly, he stiffened. 

High above the distant horizon he saw a tiny glowing spot. It came nearer. It grew rapidly, enormously, into a metal ball. It became a vast, round ship. The great globe, shining like polished silver, hissed by above Coeurl, slowing visibly. It receded over a black line of hills to the right, hovered almost motionless for a second, then sank down out of sight.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 15, 1918 Denis McLoughlin. No, he didn’t do any genre work that you’d know of. (And I’m not interested in it anyways. This is not about a sff artist.) His greatest fame came from work doing hard-boiled detective book covers produced for the London publishing house of Boardman Books spanning a career that lasted nearly eight decades with other work as well. And oh what covers they were!  Here’s is his cover for Adam Knight’s Stone Cold Blonde, and this is Henry Kanes’ Until You’re Dead. Finally let’s look at his cover for Fredric Brown’s We All Killed Grandma. He was in perfect health when he took a revolver from his extensive collection of weapons and committed suicide. No note was left behind. (Died 2002.)
  • Born April 15, 1922 Michael Ansara. Commander Kang in Trek’s “The Day of The Dove” as well as a lot of other genre work including a recurring role as Kane on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, multiple roles on I Dream of Jeannie and myriad voicings of Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze in the Batman series. (Died 2013.)
  • Born April 15, 1926 Jerry Grandenetti. In my opinion, his greatest work was as the illustrator who helped defined the look of The Spirit that Will Eisner created. He also worked at DC, mostly on war comics of which there apparently way more than I knew (All-American Men of WarG.I. CombatOur Army at War, Our Fighting Forces and Star Spangled War Stories) though he did work on the House of Mystery and Strange Adventures series as well. (Died 2010.)
  • Born April 15, 1933 Elizabeth Montgomery. She’s best remembered as Samantha Stephens on Bewitched. Other genre roles included being Lili in One Step Beyond’s “The Death Waltz” which you can watch here. She also had one-offs in The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and voicing a give me the hellout of this town Barmaid in the “Showdown” in Batman: The Animated Series. It was written by Joe S. Lansdale. (Died 1995.)
  • Born April 15, 1937 Thomas F. Sutton. Comic book artist who’s best known for his contributions to Marvel Comics and Warren Publishing’s line of black-and-white horror magazines. He’s particularly known as the first artist of the Vampirella series. He illustrated “Vampirella of Draculina”, the first story which was written by Forrest J Ackerman. (Died 2002.)
  • Born April 15, 1941 Mal Dean. UK illustrator who, as Clute at EoSF notes, died tragically young of cancer. As Clute goes on, he is “best known for the work he did for New Worlds in the late 1960s and early 1970s; it was especially associated with the Jerry Cornelius stories by Michael Moorcock and others.” (Died 1974.)
  • Born April 15, 1959 Emma Thompson, 64. I’m going to start her brilliant non-genre role as Beatrice in her then-husband Branagh’s screen version of Much Ado About Nothing. Go see it if you haven’t.  Now genre role… well, there were… Professor Sybill Trelawney, Harry Potter franchise. Men in Black 3 and Men in Black: International as Agent O, I am LegendNanny McPhee and the Big BangThe Voyage of Doctor Dolittle as Polynesia, the extraordinary Tony Kushner derived HBO series Angels in AmericaBeauty and the Beast as Mrs. Potts, the castle’s motherly head housekeeper who has been transformed into a teapot, BraveBeautiful Creatures and Treasure Planet voicing Captain Amelia. 
  • Born April 15, 1974 Jim C. Hines, 49. [Item 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 has two novels in his 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 at Chicon 7.

(5) THEY KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. “The Cincinnati Observatory celebrates telescope’s 178th ‘birthday’” and WVXU is taking notes.

Dean Regas is hoping for clear skies tonight. That’s so he can open the dome for a special night at the Cincinnati Observatory.

Today marks the anniversary of the first use of the Mitchel telescope. Regas says the mahogany and brass telescope was built in Germany and shipped to Cincinnati in 1845.

“Having a wooden telescope that’s been in Cincinnati exposed to the weather of Cincinnati for 178 years, and the fact it still works, and incredibly well, is a testament to how amazing this telescope is,” he says. “It’s a work of art, and a work of science.”

The telescope is named for Observatory founder Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, and Regas says it draws people from around the world. “One of the biggest things we hear is ‘wow!’ People get so excited when they look at this.”

Despite its age, Regas says it’s not obsolete. “We use this telescope daily. At nighttime we use it to look at the stars, moon, planets — that kind of thing. In the daytime, we can put solar filters on it and look at the sun safely.”

He says it’s the oldest telescope still in use in the country….

(6) STARSHIP WILL SOON REACH SPACE. “Watch SpaceX launch Starship, the tallest and most powerful rocket ever built, on its first orbital flight as soon as Monday” promises MSN.com.

SpaceX finally has clearance to launch its new Starship mega-rocket to orbit, and the company plans to attempt the monumental feat as soon as Monday.

Starship is the rocket on which SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk is hinging his biggest aspirations — including building and populating a human settlement on Mars. NASA, meanwhile, is counting on Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon as soon as 2025.

On Friday, after years of review, the Federal Aviation Administration granted SpaceX a license to launch the 40-story-tall rocket from the company’s facilities in Boca Chica, Texas

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Paul Weimer, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

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20 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/15/23 She Pixeled Me With Scrolling

  1. First!

    You will notice that I mention the Suck Fairy in the Beginning this time. It’s because I find myself hesitating to re-read a lot of the older fiction as I’m not sure how it’ll hold up forty to fifty years on after I last read it.

  2. (3) I didn’t hear any arias. It’s science fiction, not space opera…. And you don’t want to meet a coeurl.
    Birthdays, Elizabeth Montgomery, twitch, twitch. (And she had a cameo on one of the Beach Party movie, Beach Blanket Bingo, with Buster Keaton.)

  3. Elizabeth Montgomery was another one gone too soon. I well remember her as Lizzie Borden in the 1975 TV Movie “The Legend of Lizzie Borden” It was only after her death that genealogists discovered that she and Lizzie Borden were distant cousins. She was also terrific in an episode of “Thriller” entitled “Masquerade” as half of a newlywed couple forced to spend the night in a house with a weird family and possibly vampires. Tom Poston appeared as her husband and John Carridine as Carter the owner of the house. It’s creepy and goofy and keeps you guessing until the very end.

  4. 4) Michael Ansara also played the soldier from the future (Quarlo) in the Outer Limits’ episode “Soldier,” written by Harlan Ellison. After “The Terminator” was released, Ellison sued that film for plagiarism. The suit was eventually settled, with Ellison getting an acknowledgement in The Terminator’s credits. According to Wikipedia, however, James Cameron has denied Ellison’s claims

  5. I am now moved, reasonably successfully. I have for the second time left my native Middlesex County for distant (i.e., right next door) Essex County.

    I’m kind of proud of Middlesex County, because that’s where, several decades ago, a state district judge got fed up with not having enough jurors to fill juries because of exemptions routinely claimed by Important People–lawyers, doctors, successful businessmen. He sent the bailiffs out to round up people on the streets, including the aforementioned lawyers, doctors, and successful businessmen. Nobody got exempted without a real reason why they couldn’t serve

    Important People were shocked to discover the district judges actually had the authority to do that, and other district judges were inquiring about how successful it was. (Very.)

    Very quickly, the state law got changed to the one day/one trial system, making jury duty much less onerous, while eliminating nearly all exemptions.

    I hear tell a number of other states have copied this system, although, sadly, not the feds.

    This has been your fascinating, if irrelevant, history note for the day.

  6. 1) It somehow adds to the poignance of losing Denny, that he got in a last few hours at last weekend’s Minicon. Talk about a presence that will be missed in the upper Midwest!

  7. Oh mark, The Voyage of The Space Beagle Is widely considered to be space opera which of course is but one of the sub-genres of science fiction.

    Indeed there’s a companion essay to The Mote in God’s Eye in which Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven talk about that novel re-invigorating the space opera genre.

  8. Lis – I’ve lived in four states, one commonwealth, and the District, and all of them did one day/one trial.

    CatE: I really don’t like labeling all sf that takes place in space space opera. I don’t consider it all space opera. For example, I don’t consider, say, Clarke’s Against the Fall of Night/City and the Stars space opera.

  9. @mark–

    Lis – I’ve lived in four states, one commonwealth, and the District, and all of them did one day/one trial.

    Doesn’t surprise me in the least. But Massachusetts did it first, and it was the judge of the Middlesex District Court that sparked the change. I’m proud of that.

  10. (4) Happy birthday to Dame Emma, on of my favorite Beatrices. If you haven’t seen her in Good luck, Leo Grande (non-genre!), you should. What a body of work she has created/is creating!

  11. Many of the SF-related new additions to The Online Books Page in recent years were thanks to Denny Lien, who regularly sent me suggestions of books to add. I’ve also been thankful for his contributions to sites like FictionMags, which helped me document and copyright-clear many genre and other fiction serial titles. After he let me know about his cancer diagnoses I tried to get as many of his pending suggestions listed before I went on the holiday I’m currently on (I’m writing this from New Zealand), but I’ll still have a number to catch up on when I return. He will be missed.

  12. (3) The coeurl, the last remaining member of his species, who feeds on human phosphorus to survive, and infiltrates a spaceship, only to be defeated by the crew’s science officer, seems reminiscent somehow of a later media sf creature.

    Thanks for the title credit!

  13. Sorry to read of Denny Lien’s passing. Also sorry to hear of Terry Garey’s health problems, which I hadn’t been aware of.

  14. (4) Tom Sutton also did the art for one of the best run of Star Trek comics of DC Comics in the 1980s. This Trek series covered the time between Wrath of Khan and The Final Frontier.

  15. Emma Thompson is perfect in Stranger Than Fiction as a writer single-minded in her pursuit of artistic verisimilitude.

  16. 4) Martha Wells’ wedding was based on Branagh’s and Thompson’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. The wedding party wore costumes based on the movie and the ceremony was held at a winery and vinyard.

  17. Mm.. further re the lovely and now sadly late Elizabeth (“Bewitched”) Montgomery: prior to that show, she was in 1 ep of one of my fav genre series: The Twilight Zone (via my great hero: Rod Serling). It was called “Two” and she was with Charles (Mag Seven, Death Wish etc) Bronson. She played, post apocalypse, a Russian soldier, he an American one (they appeared to be the only survivors). Initial hostility gave way to mutual friendship.. [ All TZ eps are now out on DVD..to buy.]

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