Pixel Scroll 4/8/2017 Fly Me To The Moon And Let Me Pixel To The Stars

(1) SCENERY WILL BE CHEWED. Nerd & Tie says we can look forward to multiple Masters in Season 10 of Doctor Who: “John Simm Will Reprise His Role as The Master in ‘Doctor Who’ Series 10”.

In a turn of events I’m sure most of us didn’t expect, John Simm will be stepping back into the role of The Master this upcoming series of Doctor Who. Simm last played the character in 2010, during David Tennant’s final story as The Doctor.

Michelle Gomez took over the part a couple of series ago, and will also appear this series….

(2) CLARKE CENTER CLARION BENEFIT. On May 2, the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination will present an evening on the craft of writing science fiction and fantasy with George R. R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire,” adapted for television as Game of Thrones, the Wild Card series) in conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson (New York 2140, the Mars trilogy). Shelley Streeby, faculty director of the Clarion Workshop, will moderate.

All proceeds will support the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego, “the oldest and most highly regarded training ground for new science fiction and fantasy authors.”

Note – Martin will not be doing a signing.

(3) UNITED. In “A Personal Note”, Steve Davidson of Amazing Stories wishes his wife, Karen, a happy birthday, and talks about her medical struggles over the past year.

I can not express the degree of my admiration for this woman who has suffered more than most but who continues to fight, each and every day.  She (and I) get frustrated with the pace, we have our down days (the weather around here certainly doesn’t help)…but we still manage to have our laughs;  we still discuss world affairs, are involved with family matters….

(4) MISSED THIS ONE. This was an insurance company’s April Fool –

(5) AND THIS ONE. Fly SJW-Credential Airlines! Cheapflights posted this on April 1.

Book a flight and have a furry friend waiting for you when you board.

As part of our goal to make flight search super simple and provide travelers with the most options, Cheapflights is launching our new Catflights filters. With the rising popularity of cat cafes, cat bars and cat-friendly flights around the world, it’s easier than ever to enjoy a little kitten companionship while traveling.

And the benefits are pretty purrsuasive….


(6) WORSE THAN ALLIGATORS IN THE SEWERS. Where better to watch Them! than a place practically on top of where the giant ants entered the Los Angeles River? It will happen, at one of several special showings at Union Station.

Next up in the series, on May 12, is the 1954 Them! The campy flick about enormous man-eating ants is considered the first big hit in the “nuclear monster” sub-genre of Cold War-era science fiction. Several scenes were filmed at Union Station and others were shot along the banks of the L.A. River.

Sci-Fi at Union Station wraps up on June 9 with the most contemporary film in the slate, Her, from 2013. The film was selected for the series in part because of the vision it includes of what riding the Metro in L.A. might be like in the near future. Subway to the beach? Well, we’re pretty much there. Operating systems that we fall in love with might still be a little further off, though not if Elon Musk has anything to say about it.

Sci-Fi at Union Station takes place at 8:30pm on April 5, May 12 and June 9. Entry is free with seating on a first-come, first-serve basis. Films are shown indoors in the main ticketing hall.

(7) SF AT ANOTHER ICONIC THEATER. ‘Superman: The Movie’ is being shown at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on Sunday, April 16th at 7:30pm as part of a double bill with 1951 ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’.

(8) ZIEGLER OBIT. The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna has an appreciation of Jack Ziegler, the great New Yorker cartoonist who passed away on March 29 at the age of 74 – “How Jack Ziegler became ‘the godfather’ of the New Yorker’s modern wave of cartoonists”.

It was February 1974, and young Jack Ziegler had just sold his first drawing to the New Yorker. Yet in the months that followed, even as his cartoons continued to sell, he was having trouble actually getting published. The roadblock, it turned out, was a lone layout man who, having been at the magazine a half-century, saw himself as the bulwark against the institution’s would-be ruin.

“He didn’t like my work, apparently,” Ziegler once said of this one-man bottleneck — a makeup editor named Carmine Peppe who aimed to exercise control over which cartoons to hold. But what Peppe didn’t realize was that Ziegler represented a new wave of New Yorker cartoonists, and that this tide would not be denied.

“It turned out that Carmine thought that if they printed my stuff, it would be the end of the magazine and that it would just destroy The New Yorker as we know it. Which it did, apparently,” Ziegler said with a laugh in Richard Gehr’s 2014 book of profiles, “I Only Read It for the Cartoons: The New Yorker’s Most Brilliantly Twisted Artists.”


  • April 8, 1961 — Stan Laurel received his honorary Oscar.

John King Tarpinian adds, “My all-time favorite short story of Ray Bradbury’s is ‘The Laurel & Hardy Love Affair’ which can be found in the anthology The Toynbee Convector.”

  • April 8, 1990  — Twin Peaks premieres.


  • April 8, 1980 – Katee Sackhoff, best known for playing Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on the Sci Fi Channel’s television program Battlestar Galactica (2003–2009).

(11) GAME AMPLIFIES A POSITIVE TREND. Pokemon Go may be reducing Japanese suicides, at least in one location.

Most people who choose to take their own lives do so in a private place, often their own home, she says. Since the game came out there have been many media reports of crowds of gamers at Tojinbo, suggesting it may no longer hold the same appeal for those seeking isolation.

With media attention a major factor in drawing people to suicide hotspots, it is not impossible that different coverage of the area is also helping change its reputation.

Tell’s director also says the Tojinbo story comes at the same time as a very welcome decline in suicide across Japan, from about 33,000 a year at its peak a decade ago to about 21,000 now.

(12) ADDITIONS TO MOUNT TBR. Hot off the virtual press – Strange Horizons April 2017 issue.

(13) PATHFINDER. Lela E. Buis reviews Rabid Puppy Hugo nominee “Alien Stripper Bones From Behind By The T-Rex”. Unsurprisingly, there’s not much to say about porn.

(14) AUTHOR WRITES BOOK ON SMARTPHONE. A man from the Borders area of Scotland has written a 100,000-word novel over three years on his 90-minute daily train commute. Billy Twigg and the Storm of Shadows by Ninian Carter is a “genre-blurring” young adult SF novel.

(15) REALLY. Wasn’t that long ago people complained if anything looked like normalizing the current state of affairs.


(16) CLEAN SWEEPDOWN FORE AND AFT. Working to clean up space trash: the BBC reports on “The race to destroy space garbage”.

Chip Hitchcock adds, “I can remember only one story, by the lesser-known British writer Hugh Walters, that mentioned cleaning up space — and he talked about a tug that would bring down entire satellites in one piece. Nobody thought we’d pollute space, even when writers were starting to talk about pollution on Earth.”

(17) KEEPING WRITERS OFF THE STREETS. Atlas Obscura has heard “The Mall of America Is Looking for a Writer-in-Residence”.

The job: Spend five days “deeply immersed in the Mall atmosphere” and write “on-the-fly impressions” of the place. The position is open to all sorts of writers (journalists, poets, musical comedy writers, etc.) of various levels of experience. The initial application involves writing a short pitch about “how you would approach this assignment.”

The compensation: The Mall will put the writer up in the on-site hotel, give them $400 for food and drink, and a “generous honorarium…

Apply here.

(18) LOST ITS CARBONATION. At The Verge, Kwame Opam says “Legion’s first season fizzled into a conventional superhero story”.

Right until the end, it’s a tight, quirky, well-acted, visually arresting series that’s unlike just about anything on television, including its superhero show kin.

So why am I left wanting?

By the end of its run, Legion reminded me a great deal of the first season of HBO’s True Detective. Even though Legion never becomes the water-cooler show Detective became, Hawley’s series is similarly ambitious, sprawling, atmospheric, and frustrating. It rewarded weekly viewing by changing the stakes, raising new questions, and dangling the possibility of a mind-bending mystery. But in its final act, that hoped-for mystery gets cast aside in favor of a smaller, more straightforward conclusion. In the end, Legion is auteur television at its strongest and weakest. It’s a well-told, even innovative story, but in spite of the gorgeous window dressing, it’s still deeply conventional.

[Thanks to rcade, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John King Tarpinian.]

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94 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/8/2017 Fly Me To The Moon And Let Me Pixel To The Stars

  1. @Various: LOL, excellent Pixel Scroll riffs! I especially like the Rocky Horror ones. 🙂

    @Johan P: Alternate last line: “Let’s do it, let’s read a book.” 😉

    ObSFReading: I just finished Rick Wilbur’s Alien Morning and it was pretty good, but not as good as I’d hoped. I suspect it’ll get more interesting and more intense in book two, though, and liked it enough to get that when it comes out. This alien first contact novel stars a former sport star who uses tech to let people experience bits of his life – like reality TV, only immersed in all five senses – who is the first to observe the alien ships (though he isn’t sure that’s what it is, at first). It was an easy read, but I got annoyed by so many flashbacks and flash forwards – not my favorite device – especially when some of the bits could’ve been told more linearly. Seriously, if you go “we did X, then earlier in the day we did Y, then we did X+1” – just tell it in order. Yes, sometimes revealing things out of order can add something (though IMHO, still silly, given that’s not how the characters experienced it), but in this case, it didn’t add much, just made a few sequences confusing. The flashbacks to his past, sure, those fleshed out his history and were fine.

    This book was “inspired” by short stories Wilbur published in “Asimov’s,” it says. Anyone read them? I wonder if this is a fix-up, or really just inspired by, as it says. Anyway, like I said, pretty good and I plan to get the next one. The main character’s brother bugged me, but I expect he’ll get a larger role in the next two books.

    ETA: I forgot to say – the protagonist was too passive and accepting of everything. Sometimes that made sense, but sometimes it made him seem foolish. But there are themes of manipulation (of the media, of literal perceptions/senses, of people, etc.) so this may be on purpose.

    Now, time to start some Hugo reading! 😉

  2. One of you has been on his lawn by the looks of his blog. Or maybe it was an antinomianist in the shrubbery. Something has set him off, anyhow.

    I like the comment from the guy who rails against “self-appointed moral and intellectual elites”…in response to a column where Wright lays down the law about matters moral and intellectual, because he darn well chooses to.

  3. One of you has been on his lawn by the looks of his blog.

    He probably got his annual “you’re not welcome” from Balticon.

  4. For a minute there, I thought I’d clicked on a link to that letter by John Norman in Locus again.

  5. Dawn Incognito on April 8, 2017 at 11:05 pm said:

    Totally OT, but for the anime-watching Filers I would like to announce that ERASED is kicking my ass.

    This is the manga it is based on, if you want to give it a chance. Also, just tonight I’ve been browsing through a forum thread of manga volume covers to look for anything that looks interesting, and found this one, which I haven’t read yet, but seems to have a similar premise to Erased and could be worth checking out.

  6. I just posted this on the Hugo thread, where we were talking about dragons, but I’ll repost it here:

    For the dragon lovers among us, here are some recs for indie SFF featuring dragons:

    – The Dragon Songs Saga by J.C. Kang: Asian dragons with music. Four books, the last one just came out
    – Dragonsfall by Amelia Smith: Epic fantasy with dragons, trilogy plus prequel
    – Of Cinder and Bone by Kyoko M.: Genetically reengineered dragons in the near future, plus yakuza and an interracial couple. First in a series, as far as I know.
    – The Proving by Marina Finlayson: Australian urban fantasy trilogy with half human/half dragon heroine

  7. Ordinary mortals defeat straw men. John C Wright eradicates entire straw armies.

  8. @Steve Wright: it was incidental rather than principle; the tug was repurposed as a rescue device. (This is the ~55-years-ago me wracking his brains, and being thankful the friendly librarian pointed me to all those other authors before I tripped over Heinlein’s smugness.)

    @Langford: of \course/ there’s an entry for Pollution! It’s like asking the rabbi in Fiddler whether there’s a blessing for the X…. Will let you know if I find anything, but the Boston library catalog is lamentably short on Walters.

    @JJ: If Timothy braves this work, please let us know.

    @Robert Wood: ooh, snap!

  9. I enjoy how Wright ends that hateful tirade with a plea to support him on Patreon. If there’s one thing that least unlocks my generosity, it’s a person who possesses none.

    In the comments, one of Wright’s fans has his undies in a bunch about a female announcer at The Masters. He writes, “how is it good for society for this woman to be taking the job a man used to have? Most likely this woman announcer is highly educated and married to a man who makes even more money than she does. Is it better for society to have a couple of married professionals making $400K a year vs. if a man had her job, a man making $200K/year, able to support a woman who could stay home and raise the children?”

    That woman is Dottie Pepper, a golf broadcaster and former LPGA pro with $6.8 million in lifetime tournament earnings. Her husband is David Normolyle, a golf historian — a profession that doesn’t scream “millionaire” to me. They have no kids and she’s 51.

    Does that qualify her to be taking the job of menfolk without it being bad for society?

  10. I don’t even go on my own lawn, so it wasn’t me on NoRelation’s.

    @Kurt Busiek: But that’s not hypocritical because reasons.

    @rcade: Of course not. She’s still an uppity woman. And of course they never consider the idea of the wife making the big bucks and the husband staying home with the kids. Had the Pepper-Normolyles ever had any children, I bet David would have stayed home with them and his research.

    Plus, it’s not like the world NEEDS any more children brought into it.

  11. @rcade: He’s the opposite of Abe Lincoln — with malice towards all and charity towards none.

    He wants charity for himself, but not for anyone else. Maybe he’s just not working hard enough! Lazy moocher! Sad!

    If he was a better writer, he’d be published by a real publisher and make more money. Heaven forbid he let the Mrs. (also a writer) skip a few days of household drudgery and write more to bring in some money. I’m no fan of hers either, but at least she writes sentences of reasonable length without so much bloviation and hatred.

    @Aaron: What’s the Balticon story? I mean, good for them, but why?

    @JJ, Camestros: I seem to have missed Timothy’s review of “La La Land”. He liked it enough to use it on the Cattimothy House covers.

  12. JCW and his commenter also don’t entertain the possibility that a woman not be married and might have no desire to change that. Also that – horror of horrors – a woman might be married to another woman.

    Also, I wonder what is so controversial about a woman announcing golf results, especially if she used to be a golfer herself.

  13. @Steve Wright: Hugh Walters, yes. First on the Moon, Terror by Satellite, and all the rest with Chris Godfrey and the other guys. Those books were one of my gateways into SF in grade school. (Captain Future was another. Then came Doc Savage . . .)

    I attempted for the first time to look at John C. Wright’s blog. Never again.

  14. What’s the Balticon story? I mean, good for them, but why?

    A couple of years ago there was an incident in which JCW and his spouse were loudly disruptive during a panel on romance in science fiction when the discussion turned to same-sex romance in science fiction. He was not on the panel, but they were apparently quite obnoxious from their seats in the audience. From what I have been told, he had been difficult before that, and Balticon decided that they weren’t going to invite him back in the future, and thus far they have not.

  15. Having watched a fair chunk of the Masters coverage, I would say that Pepper (like all of the other Masters commentators) knows her stuff, which isn’t surprising given her background.

  16. Also, I wonder what is so controversial about a woman announcing golf results, especially if she used to be a golfer herself.

    Apparently, what’s important in a golf commentator is not whether they have a lot of knowledge about golf, but whether they carry balls in their bag.

  17. @Kurt Busiek: Please have this internet, and my great admiration.

    @Aaron: Eminently reasonable, so of course No Relation went whargarbl.

  18. Years ago, when NoRelation was producing books I liked, I found his blog, and was, um, quite taken aback, and I mentioned it to David Hartwell.

    Whose immediate, unhesitating reaction was an appalled, “Oh, don’t do that!”

  19. @Lis: Hee! What sort of sartorial splendor was David in when he delivered that prescient statement?

  20. @Magewolf:

    Yep, ERASED is absolutely putting me through the wringer. I adore Kayo as a character, not just feel empathy for her situation. I love Satoshi and Sachiko as well. Those three are very well-written. I’ve almost dropped the series a couple of times now because it’s so so hard to watch, but I can’t stop.

    (Last night I followed up with an episode of Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods and wouldn’t you know it was sad and I cried. But it ended in a good place so I guess it was a cleansing cry.)

    Thanks for the warn on Hunter x Hunter. I have literally watched the first episode and it was fun. I’m just trying to be on the lookout for things to break up the darkity dark with when required.

    @Darren Garrison:

    Thank you for the link to the manga version. I have trouble following manga a lot of the time, and I don’t enjoy reading on screens. Which might blunt the impact enough if I just can’t power through the anime and want to get an ending. But there’s a part of me that enjoys that impact. It’s very complicated.

  21. lurkertype: I seem to have missed Timothy’s review of “La La Land”. He liked it enough to use it on the Cattimothy House covers.

    It’s not clear whether you found it. If you didn’t, it’s here:
    A Cat Reviews La La Land

    I highly recommend putting your drink down before reading it.

  22. @rcade

    In the comments, one of Wright’s fans […] writes: how is it good for society for this woman to be taking the job a man used to have?

    And nobody pointed out that Ms Lamplighter has a writing career of her own? Or is SF writing now considered a suitably effeminate occupation by the standards of contemporary reactionaries?

  23. @lurkertype–

    @Lis: Hee! What sort of sartorial splendor was David in when he delivered that prescient statement?

    I remember colors.

    Lots of colors!

    But it was daytime, and he didn’t break out the really exciting tie that weekend until the art show reception.

  24. Mike Glyer on April 9, 2017 at 2:33 pm said:
    Matthew Johnson: Amazing to find we’ve never used that one.

    I was surprised too! I was sure I could picture it in sans serif bold, but nothing came up when I googled it.

  25. @ Dawn Incognito

    It seems like I remember you mentioning Flying Witch before which would be my first choice for a recent uplifting series so here are a few others.

    Little Witch Academia : Staying with the witch theme this series is based on the OVA released in 2013 if you saw that. Very funny. http://randomc.net/2016/12/26/winter-2017-preview/#littlewitch

    Kemono Friends : This one is a bit of an outlier. It’s a harder sale then anything else on my list here and it has something of a divide in it’s popularity. It is based on a phonegame that closed shop before the anime could even start. And it was made by a team of 10 people with a budget based apparently on whatever change the game company could find in its couch. So it is all CG and not very good CG at that. And the first two episodes get off to a slow start but after that it turns into a very fun travelogue with lots of things going on in the background that the characters lack the info to understand but paint a picture for the viewers. It is also all animal-girls all the time but with very little fanservice. That would have taken better models,ha. In japan the average attendance at zoos has over doubled since the show started. The show synopsis at the crunchyroll site is very miss leading as well.

    Classicaloid : So a maybe not mad but certainly scatterbrained scientist manages to resurrect eight of the greats of classic music in new bodies with music based powers. Of course one of the many problems with this is that these are not the easiest people to get along with in the first place without making them “fish” out of water in the modern world.

    Not as much music as I had hoped for and it can be very uneven but when it goes flat out crazy it is very funny.

    Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari : A 30-year old man comes back to his hometown to finish closing up his recently passed away father’s house and restaurant. Then the magic happens and it becomes a very heartfelt story about family and what you really want out of life. With one of the cutest little boys ever.

    Stella no Mahou : A girl joins a school club that makes computer games as an artist. Very low key and sweet. http://randomc.net/2016/09/23/fall-2016-preview/#magicofstella

  26. And nobody pointed out that Ms Lamplighter has a writing career of her own?

    Apparently she does her writing in her “off-hours” such that it does not interfere with her “true” calling as a stay at home housewife. At least that’s what I remember from reading her author bio from a couple of conventions where she was a program participant.

  27. I rather liked the idea that in hard times–the Depression, for instance–when there wasn’t enough work to go around, it was fair to only take one job per family till everyone has employment or some means to feed themselves. It’s not the ideal way of sharing those miseries, but it’s not the worst, either.

  28. Well these days hard times don’t seem to be for a lack of jobs, period, just a lack of fair wages or full time positions with benefits. So one job per household is not only a non-starter for many, it can be suicide.

    (My husband’s job paid enough I could stay home with our eldest right until I was pregnant with our second, but we were unusually lucky. Right now, we are both jobless — I was working intermittently, but it’s looking like the promised next temp contract is a bust — and things are not pretty…)

  29. These are very different hard times, aren’t they? Widespread underemployment but not so many totally out-of-work people as you’d expect. Yeah, the one-job household is not happening for most folks today. The couple that cobbles together part-time labor into something like a job has been made one of the standards. Not pretty at all.

  30. These are very different hard times, aren’t they? Widespread underemployment but not so many totally out-of-work people as you’d expect.

    One thing that I find interesting is that there is a perception that involuntary part-time labor is more prevalent now (as in, people who work part-time who would rather work full-time) than it was in the past, but the numbers don’t seem to support that. The Department of Labor tracks several unemployment rates, including U-3, the “official” unemployment rate, and U-6, which includes people working part-time when they would rather work full-time. In 1995, the distance between u-3 and U-6 was about 5% (give or take a few ticks on a month to month basis), while now the distance is about 4.5%. The biggest split was about 7%, back in 2009 and early 2010.

    People certainly seem to feel like underemployment is rampant and increasing, but the data seems to suggest that it is at a normal level, and has actually declined after a peak a few years ago.

  31. @Magewolf:

    I’ve been trying to write a reply to you, and been interrupted a couple of times. The last interruption was of my internet connection, and I lost my draft. So I’m trimming this to the essential point, which admittedly is kinda schmoopy.

    It really means a lot to me that you remembered an anime that I’ve previously mentioned enjoying as a self-soothe-type show, and gave me personalized recommendations based on that. It was very kind and thoughtful of you, and I was (and still am) touched. Thank you so much.

  32. Aaron, are you also looking at how many people gave up looking months or years ago? If you’re over 50, it’s hard to get a job of any kind. If you’re over 60, forget it, you just retired.

  33. Aaron, are you also looking at how many people gave up looking months or years ago?

    The Department of Labor also tracks “discouraged workers” – as in, those who gave up looking for work. That is part of U-4. It has not risen appreciably compared to U-3 in the last twenty years (which is as far back as I tracked those numbers).

    All of these elements of unemployment in the U.S. are tracked, and the Department of Labor makes them publicly available. Discouraged workers, involuntary-part time workers, marginalized workers, and so on are all counted and reported.

  34. @Dawn Incognito

    It was no trouble, I just hope you find something you like.

    Actually, when you have some free time you might like to just look through the season previews at Random Curiosity. With practically all new anime being subbed now and with me having less time to watch I end up skipping a lot and looking through them helps me find things I missed or just put off looking at and forgot.


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