Pixel Scroll 4/3/23 Faraway Pixels With Strange-Sounding Scrolls

(1) DON’T MISS IT. That’s what Frank Cifaldi of GameHistoryOrg said after he encountered Filer “Orange Mike” Lowrey working at a bookstore in the Milwaukee Airport. Lowrey told him the whole fascinating story of how the store came to exist. Thread starts here.

(2) QUANTUM OF IMAGINATION. The winner, runner-up, and People’s Choice of the Quantum Shorts Film Festival have been announced.

Missed Call has taken First Prize in the Quantum Shorts film festival! The emotive short film by director Prasanna Sellathurai tells of a physics student grappling with his father’s health crisis.

“I am thrilled and honoured to be awarded first place in this year’s Quantum Shorts Film Festival!” says Prasanna Sellathurai. “I’ve often heard that quantum physics can be considered difficult to approach. This award proves to me that passionate stories, that find creative ways to marry the most personal with the most complex, can speak to all of us.”

Missed Call was one of two winners selected by Quantum Shorts judges Ágnes Mócsy, Alex Winter, Honor Harger, Jamie Lochhead, José Ignacio Latorre and Neal Hartman from a shortlist of nine quantum-inspired films. THE observer was selected as Runner Up. A public vote on the shortlist picked The Human Game for the People’s Choice Prize, rounding out the top three films in the festival.

In addition to an engraved plaque, the winner gets $1500, the runner-up $1000, and the People’s Choice $500.

(3) CENSORSHIP PERSPECTIVE. “Judy Blume: book banning now much worse in US than in 1980s” she tells the Guardian.

…The author Judy Blume says a rise in intolerance in America has led to a “much worse” epidemic of book banning than she experienced in the 1980s.

The children’s and young adult author, whose frank depictions of adolescence and puberty have long caused controversy, said it was time to fight back against censorship.

Her 1975 novel, Forever, which deals with teenage sexuality, was one of 80 books banned in one Florida school district last month, for dealing with issues such as sex, race and gender.

In an interview on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Blume said of book banning: “I thought that was over, frankly … I came through the 80s when book banning was really at its height. And it was terrible. And then libraries and schools began to get policies in place and we saw a falling-off of the desire to censor books….

(4) IT’S A FEATURE NOT A BUG. Blue Beetle comes to theaters August 18.

From Warner Bros. Pictures comes the feature film “Blue Beetle,” marking the DC Super Hero’s first time on the big screen. The film, directed by Angel Manuel Soto, stars Xolo Maridueña in the title role as well as his alter ego, Jaime Reyes. Recent college grad Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab. When the Scarab suddenly chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he is bestowed with an incredible suit of armor capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the Super Hero BLUE BEETLE.

(5) NCC KNACK. “Star Trek: What Does NCC Stand For?” GameRant thinks they know the answer. Or maybe several answers.

… The letters NCC should be familiar to most, from avid Star Trek fans to casual viewers. They are painted across the majority of Federation starships, or at least are present within most of the franchise’s main vessels. Most people pay attention to the actual name given to the ship, such as Voyager or, of course, Enterprise. For example, the iconic ship’s name is the USS Enterprise, followed by NCC and a number indicating which iteration of the ship this is….

(6) IN SPACE, EVERYONE CAN HEAR YOU FOOL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Space.com compiled the “Best space pranks: From space apes to smuggled sandwiches”. Be sure to click through to the article and follow all the Twitter links especially on the last entry.

It turns out the sky is not the limit when it comes to a good old-fashioned practical joke.

Here we explore some of the best pranks carried out in space, from a forbidden sandwich to a gorilla at large on the International Space Station (ISS). 

These pranks show the lighter side of space exploration. …

(7) LESLIE H. SMITH (1958-2023). [Item by Ken Josenhans, her husband.] Leslie H. Smith died unexpectedly of heart disease on March 26, age 64. The family obituary is here.

A second-generation fan, she was the daughter of Beresford ‘Smitty’ Smith. 

Professionally, she was first a copyeditor, later a musician and voice teacher.  

Smith was an active fanzine fan from the 1970s through the 1990s, at first in New Jersey and Philadelphia.  With Linda Bushyager, she was a co-editor of the fanzine Duprass. With her husband, Ken Josenhans, she was co-OE of the music apa ALPS, and co-host of the fanzine fans convention Ditto 7 in Ann Arbor. 

She was slated to be the copyeditor for the 1987 revival of Weird Tales, but instead she moved away to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

She gafiated around 2000 as classical song and opera became her calling, but she remained in contact with her fannish friends.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

2017[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Let me first note that Ann Leckie’s Translation State, a stand alone novel in this universe, will be out in June. The publisher is billing it as a mystery. 

Our Beginning this Scroll comes from Provenance which follows the Ancillary trilogy and like Translation State is a stand alone novel.  It was published by Orbit Books in 2017. It apparently is a mystery as near as I can tell having not read it yet. 

Without further commentary, here is the Beginning…

There were unexpected difficulties,” said the dark gray blur. That blur sat in a pale blue cushioned chair, no more than a meter away from where Ingray herself sat, facing, in an identical chair.

Or apparently so, anyway. Ingray knew that if she reached much more than a meter past her knees, she would touch smooth, solid wall. The same to her left, where apparently the Facilitator sat, bony frame draped in brown, gold, and purple silk, hair braided sleekly back, dark eyes expressionless, watching the conversation. Listening. Only the beige walls behind and to the right of Ingray were really as they appeared. The table beside Ingray’s chair with the gilded decanter of serbat and the delicate glass tray of tiny rose-petaled cakes was certainly real—the Facilitator had invited her to try them. She had been too nervous to even consider eating one.

“Unexpected difficulties,” continued the dark gray blur, “that led to unanticipated expenses. We will require a larger payment than previously agreed.

“That other anonymous party could not see Ingray where she sat—saw her as the same sort of dark gray blur she herself faced. Sat in an identical small room, somewhere else on this station. Could not see Ingray’s expression, if she let her dismay and despair show itself on her face. But the Facilitator could see them both. E wouldn’t betray having seen even Ingray’s smallest reaction, she was sure. Still. “Unexpected difficulties are not my concern,” she said, calmly and smoothly as she could manage. “The price was agreed beforehand.” The price was everything she owned, not counting the clothes she wore, or passage home—already paid.

“The unexpected expenses were considerable, and must be met somehow,” said the dark gray blur. “The package will not be delivered unless the payment is increased.”

“Then do not deliver it,” replied Ingray, trying to sound careless. Holding her hands very still in her lap. She wanted to clutch the green and blue silk of her full skirts, to have some feeling that she could hold on to something solid and safe, a childish habit she thought she’d lost years ago. “You will not receive any payment at all, as a result. Certainly your expenses must be met regardless, but that is no concern of mine.”

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 3, 1783 Washington Irving. Best known for his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, both of which appear in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. collection. The latter, in particular, has been endlessly reworked downed the centuries into genre fiction including the recent Sleepy Hollow series which crossed over into the Bones series. (Died 1859.)
  • Born April 3, 1927 Donald M. Grant. He was responsible for the creation of several genre small press publishers. He co-founded Grant-Hadley Enterprises in 1945, Buffalo Book Company in 1946, Centaur Press in 1970 and Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in 1964. Between 1976 and 2003, he won five World Fantasy Awards and a Balrog Award as well. (Died 2009.)
  • Born April 3, 1928 Colin Kapp. He’s best remembered for his stories about the Unorthodox Engineers which originally largely appeared in the New Writings in SF anthologies. I’d also single out his Cageworld series which is set in the future when humanity lives on nested Dyson spheres. Both series are available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 2007.)
  • Born April 3, 1929 Ernest CallenbachEcotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston was rejected by every major publisher so Callenbach initially self-published it. Ecotopia Emerging is a prequel published later. Yes, I read both.  The Suck Fairy with her steel toed boots has not been kind to either work.  If you can find a copy, Christopher Swan’s YV 88: An Eco-Fiction of Tomorrow which depicts the regreening of Yosemite Valley, it is a much more interesting read. (Died 2012.)
  • Born April 3, 1936 Reginald Hill. Now this surprised me. He’s the author of the most excellent Dalziel and Pascoe copper series centered on profane, often piggish Andrew Dalziel, and his long suffering, more by the book partner Peter Pascoe solving traditional Yorkshire crimes. Well there’s a SF mystery tucking in there set in 2010, many years after the other Dalziel and Pascoe stories, and involves them investigating the first Luna murder. I’ll need to read this one. 
  • Born April 3, 1946 Lyn McConchie, 77. New Zealand author who has written three sequels in the Beast Master series that Andre Norton created and four novels in Norton’s Witch World as well. She has written a lot of Holmesian fiction, so I’ll just recommend her collection of short stories, Sherlock Holmes: Familar Crimes: New Tales of The Great Detective. She’s deeply stocked at the usual digital suspects. 
  • Born April 3, 1968 Jo Graham, 55. Her first novel, Black Ships, re-imagines The Aeneid, and her second novel, Hand of Isis, features the reincarnated main character of the first novel. If that‘s not enough genre cred for you, she’s written Lost Things, with Melissa Scott and a whole lot of Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 novels.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brewster Rockit refines the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
  • The Far Side tries to lure a monster to its doom.
  • And about the April 2 Sally Forth, Daniel Dern says, “I’m not sure whether this is fourth wall or some other wall…”

(Dern footnote about Sally Forth: “Sidney The Hat” is a well-known-to-some newspaper/journalism reference. A friend who I’d the link to, knew the reference, and replied to me with “Sidney The Hat!” and, after I did a quick web search on that, I know now about it.” See “Sally Forth 40th Anniversary Special: The Sad True Story of Sidney and the Hat”. And now so do you.)

(11) MAYBE IT HELPS TO HAVE A SUPER FRIEND. Here’s one Warner Bros. project that is surprisingly not dead: “DC Cartoon My Friend Superman Will Air on Adult Swim”.

Cast your mind back to mid-2021, and you remember the announcement of a new DC Comics show called My Friend Superman. With how quiet it’s been since that initial reveal, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that it got quietly canceled, especially in light of Warner Bros. Discovery’s recent scuttling (or reshuffling) of animated series, DC or otherwise, in the last several months. And it doesn’t help that there’s been only one image of the show to go off of, as seen above.

But the show definitely still exists. Earlier in the week alongside the grand reveal of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Unicorn: Warriors Eternal (set to premiere on May 4)Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed My Friend Superman would air on Adult Swim after Unicorn completes its run during the spring and presumably summer. After hitting Cartoon Network’s more adult-focused airing block, episodes will encore during Saturday nights over on the Toonami sub-block. It’ll also hit HBO Max, but at time of writing, it’s not clear what release schedule (or method) the show will run on for the streaming service….

(12) TRIAL BALLOON. What happens if you bait a major corporation about an item of its intellectual property that goes into public domain next year? “John Oliver Tests Disney’s Lawyers Staking Claim On Mickey Mouse Ahead Of ‘Steamboat Willie’ Version Entering Public Domain” at Deadline. Will Oliver “find out” as the colorful phrase goes?

…Oliver continued, “The fact is anyone wanting to use the Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse will probably still be taking a risk but if you know anything about this show by now, we do like to take a risk every now and then.”

The late-night host then introduced “a brand new character for this show” in the form of a black and white Mickey Mouse.

Although Mickey Mouse is set to enter the public domain in 2024, Oliver added, “we are staking our claim to Mickey Mouse right now and I know Disney’s lawyers might argue that this Mickey is closely associated with their brand. Although they should know that he’s pretty associated with our brand now too.”

Oliver pointed out that the Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse had been appearing in the opening credits for Last Week Tonight throughout his latest season and he doesn’t doubt that “Disney has some other legal arguments up their sleeve.”

“We’re only likely to find out what the [arguments are] if and when they sue,” he said before introducing a costumed Mickey Mouse character…

(13) MONSOON PREDICTED FOR DOCTOR WHO. “’Doctor Who’: Jinkx Monsoon From ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Added to Cast” reports Variety.

Jinkx Monsoon, winner of the fifth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the seventh season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” has been added to the cast of the BBC’s long-running and immensely popular “Doctor Who” series.

Monsoon is set to be playing a major role in the series.

“In a galaxy of comets and supernovas, here comes the biggest star of all. Jinkx Monsoon is on a collision course with the TARDIS, and ‘Doctor Who’ will never be the same again,” showrunner Russell T Davies said.

“I’m honored, thrilled, and utterly excited to join ‘Doctor Who!’ Russell T Davies is a visionary and a brilliant writer — I can’t wait to get into the weeds with him and the crew! I hope there’s room in the TARDIS for my luggage,” Monsoon said….

(14) ARTEMIS ASTRONAUTS. “NASA Names Astronauts to Next Moon Mission, First Crew Under Artemis”.

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced the four astronauts who will venture around the Moon on Artemis II, the first crewed mission on NASA’s path to establishing a long-term presence at the Moon for science and exploration through Artemis….

The crew assignments are as follows: Commander Reid WisemanPilot Victor GloverMission Specialist 1 Christina Hammock Koch, and Mission Specialist 2 Jeremy Hansen (Canadian Space Agency). They will work as a team to execute an ambitious set of demonstrations during the flight test.

The approximately 10-day Artemis II flight test will launch on the agency’s powerful Space Launch System rocket, prove the Orion spacecraft’s life-support systems, and validate the capabilities and techniques needed for humans to live and work in deep space.  

…The flight, set to build upon the successful uncrewed Artemis I mission completed in December, will set the stage for the first woman and first person of color on the Moon through the Artemis program, paving the way for future for long-term human exploration missions to the Moon, and eventually Mars. This is the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Rich Lynch, Ken Josenhans, Daniel Dern, Paul Weimer, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]


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17 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/3/23 Faraway Pixels With Strange-Sounding Scrolls

  1. 4) It’s good they’re using the Jaime Reyes version of the Blue Beetle–Hollywood really needs better Latinx representation.

    But I really miss the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle. He was a lot of fun. (But who am I to say anything–I quit buying new comics for my 12000+ collection some 15 years ago.)

  2. (14) The Artemis astronauts – I can see the MAGAtsphere’s heads exploding – a woman, an African-American, and, worst of all, (horrors!) a Canuck!

  3. I’m so glad Blue Beetle got released by the Powers That Be at whatever the name of the corporation is that now owns Warner Bro.

    But now I’m really puzzled, and very pissed off, that the Batgirl film has been put in a deep, dark place apparently never to be seen by us.

    Why the frell do they think this will do better than Batgirl would have done? Or was it simply that they could write off the admittedly costly price of making Batgirl?

    Rat bastards!

  4. 5
    I’ve always believed it was an abbreviation of New Constellation Class. I thought it was common knowledge, but I guess not.
    Maybe I dreamed it.

  5. Andrew-not: Yes, I did appear in that documentary. If you’ve got the DVD of it, there is unused footage of then-5-year-old Kelly “Pytress” Lowrey talking about the future. Kelly, now 27, is now manager of a branch of Renaissance Books.

  6. 14) Artemis astronauts “…will set the stage for the first woman and first person of color on the Moon through the Artemis program …” and not to mention the first Canadian!

  7. Orange Mike: I do have the DVD – I’ll have to watch it again.

  8. 8) Just finished reviewing Translation State, and it’s a mystery the way Ancillary Justice and Ring of Swords are space operas. I mean, there’s a mystery in there, right next to an intrigue thriller, a romance, a diplomacy procedural, an alien-encounter story, and chunks of Austen-Dickens family drama. Among, as usual, other things.

  9. 1: I was in this airport and this bookstore in the 1970s or early 80s, en route back to NYC from a WisCon. I bought several WW2-era issues of LIFE Magazine there; still have them. Didn’t see Mike Lowery at the store back then, though.

    7: I remember Leslie Smith from numerous conventions, and seeing her around NYC way back when. I always wondered what happened to her. I remember when she was planning to attend the University of Michigan, in furtherance of her opera career. But I never heard her sing.

    Now, alas, I never will.

  10. Andrew-not: It’s in the “Alternate Endings” or “Additional Material” or something like that section.

  11. @Mike: Thank you.

    (7) Ken: Let me add to the condolences expressed above. May her memory be a blessing.

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