Pixel Scroll 5/14/22 Scroll Me A Pixel I’ll Be Back For Breakfast

(1) BRAM STOKER LOSERS UNITE. Scott Edelman has famously lost many Bram Stoker Awards – and he has the card to prove it. He invites tonight’s unlucky nominees to become card-carrying members of this group.  

Tonight’s Bram Stoker awards ceremony means — there will be winners — but also losers. If any of the new Never Winner losers created tonight would like this Susan Lucci of the HWA to mail you one of my “It is an honor to be nominated” cards — ask, and one will be sent your way!

However — if you’re a previous Never Winner in Denver tonight who already owns of one of these cards and should lose yet again — please track down Lee Murray, whom I have deputized to punch you a new hole. Good … luck?

(2) LIVE LONG ENOUGH, YOU’LL PROSPER. Somtow Sucharitkul tells Facebook readers why a recent Star Trek episode rang a bell. BEWARE SPOILERS.

SPOILER COMING – But For What Exactly?

The Enterprise discovers that a comet is hurtling toward a planet that doesn’t have warp drive and whose civilization they cannot interfere with because of the prime directive. Presently, they discover that the comet is alive, and has some kind of intelligence. The only way to save the planet is to find a way to communicate with the comet, and it turns out that the key is to sing to it a folk song from someone’s homeworld….

Yes, this is the plot of the new episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, but it’s also the plot of my 2001 Star Trek Novel, “Do Comets Dream?” which is itself vaguely adapted from a tale told in my Inquestor series, “The Comet That Cried for Its Mother”, originally published in AMAZING….

(3) IT’S A MASSACRE. “Everything on Broadcast TV Just Got Canceled” Vanity Fair declared yesterday. It will feel like that if you watched sff on CW.

In the ever-changing television landscape, this past Thursday was a particularly tough time to be a broadcast television show. Per TV Guide, 17 broadcast television shows were officially given the axe by their respective networks yesterday. “It’s the Red Wedding at WBTV/CW today,” tweeted showrunner Julie Plec, whose CW shows Legacies and Roswell, New Mexico were both among the carnage. “Much more to say, but not today. Loads of gratitude coming for fans and cast and crew in future tweets. But today, we mourn.” 

The CW was hit particularly hard, with nine shows getting chopped in all. Along with Legacies and Roswell, New Mexico, the teen-focused network said goodbye to Dynasty after five seasons, In The Dark after four seasons, and Batwoman after three seasons. The network is currently up for sale, which may explain why it was particularly ruthless with its cancellations and downsizing its slate from 19 original scripted series to 11 original scripted series ahead of next fall….

(4) WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE? James Wallace Harris reprints and analyzes Alfred Bester’s vintage analysis of the genre in “Blows Against The Empire: Alfred Bester’s 1953 Critique of Science Fiction” at Classics of Science Fiction (a 2020 post).

…Bester is looking back over what many have called the Golden Age of Science Fiction and burning it down with his blaster. I wish I could find the fan reaction to this essay from back in the 1950s, but Google only returns seven results. And for those who aren’t familiar with the name Alfred Bester, he wrote two books in the 1950s that became classics: The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man. At the time Bester had a reputation for being a writing stylist and innovator. So getting a dressing down from one of our own must have been painful.

I wonder what I would have thought if I read and understood this essay in 1962 when I first began reading science fiction. Science fiction wasn’t popular then like it is today. Science fiction was one step up from comic books, and you were called retarded (their word back then) by your peers if you read comics. I remembered also being called a geek and zero for reading SF. Back then those terms were the social kiss of death. I had two buddies that read science fiction in high school and I remember being very hurt by George’s mother when she sat is down one day and gave us a serious talk about evils of reading science fiction. George’s mother was a sophisticated, well-educated, widely traveled woman, and I was always impressed with her thoughts, so it really hurt when she tried to convince us we were reading trash. She implied reading SF was a sign we were emotionally and intellectually immature. We thought we were Slans…

(5) OPPOSING BOOK BANS. “More than 25 Organizations Join ALA’s ‘Unite Against Book Bans’ Campaign”. Among them are the Authors Guild and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The American Library Association this week announced that more than 25 major organizations, including a host of publishers and author and bookseller groups, have joined its Unite Against Book Bans campaign, an effort to help communities defend the freedom to read. The ALA launched the campaign in April to raise awareness about the surge in book bans and other legislation targeting the work of schools and libraries, with support from the Steve and Loree Potash Family Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

“Our partners and supporters are critical in moving the needle to ultimately bring an end to book bans,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It’s time that policymakers understand the severity of this issue. ALA is taking the steps necessary to protect individuals’ access to information, but we can’t do this alone.”…

“Three-quarters of the 1,100 plus books currently banned in public schools in the United States have been written by authors of color, LGBTQ authors, or other traditionally marginalized voices,” said Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger, in a statement.

(6) NAMING CONVENTIONS. He has a point –

(7) PERSONAL TAXONOMY. Joe Vasicek, often quoted here in the Sad Puppy days of 2015, shares what he calls “an interesting personal discovery” at One Thousand And One Parsecs.

…I just made a very interesting personal discovery, gleaned from the data on my reading of the Hugo and Nebula winning books. Of the 110 novels that have won either award, I have now read all but 16 of them, which is enough data to get some representative results.

One of the best predictors that I will DNF a book is whether the author is a childless woman. Of the 18 books written by childless women, I have DNFed all but three of them (Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh, which I read years ago and would probably DNF today, and Network Effect by Martha Wells, which is a genuinely entertaining read, and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke, which I haven’t read yet). For childless men, it’s a little bit more of a crapshoot: of the 31 books written by childless men, I’ve DNFed 16 of them and read 11, but only 6 of those are books I thought were worth owning.

Conversely, one of the best predictors that I will enjoy a book is whether the author is a mother. Of the 20 books written by mothers, I have DNFed only 6 of them and read 8, all of which I think are worth owning. Of the six remaining books that I haven’t read yet, I will almost certainly finish four of them, and may finish all six. The only book by an author I haven’t already read and enjoyed is The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, which I am currently reading and will probably finish next week…

(8) LIGHT MY FIRE. “Firestarter (2022) vs. Firestarter (1984): Which Stephen King adaptation burns brightest?” – Clark Collis supplies his answer at Entertainment Weekly. The summaries of each film make good reading, too.

… The 1984 film stars Barrymore as Charlie McGee, a young girl with pyrokinetic powers who is fleeing from a sinister government organization called “The Shop” with her father Andy, played by David Keith. Andy has been training Charlie to use her powers properly by getting her to turn bread into toast with her mind but it is the unfortunate Shop agents who get browned as Barrymore’s character periodically sets them ablaze. The supporting cast is notable for a few reasons. Oscar-winners Art Carney and Louise Fletcher play a couple who befriend Charlie and Andy, while Martin Sheen portrays the head of the Shop just a year after his performance in David Cronenberg’s adaptation of King’s The Dead Zone. Finally, another Academy Award-winner, George C. Scott, is inexplicably cast as the seemingly First Nation assassin John Rainbird, who has a fondness for punching his targets’ noses into their brains and an unhealthy interest in our heroine…

(9) TOM SWIFT. Edge Media Network supplies an intro as “First Trailer Drops for New CW Series ‘Tom Swift’ Featuring a Black Gay Lead Character”.

…”Tian Richards already made his debut as Tom Swift on one of the best episodes of ‘Nancy Drew’ yet, but get ready to see him in a whole new light on his own show,” EW said.

As previously reported at EDGE, being gay was a prominent part of the character’s depiction when he made a guest appearance on “Nancy Drew.” Sparks flew between Tom Swift and “Nancy Drew” regular character Nick (Tunji Kasim), leading to an onscreen kiss….

(10) WHEN I USE A WORD. At Tor.com, CD Covington’s series on sff linguistics finally tackles the 500-lb gorilla: “On Tolkien, Translation, Linguistics, and the Languages of Middle-earth”.

Since I started this column in 2019, I’ve been avoiding one famous—possibly even the most famous—example of using linguistics in SFF literature: the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s not because I don’t like Lord of the Rings—quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just such an obvious topic, and one which people have devoted decades of scholarship to exploring. Hell, my Old English prof has published academic scholarship on the topic, in addition to teaching a Maymester class on the languages of Middle-earth. But I suppose it’s time to dedicate a column to the book that first made me think language was cool and to the man who wrote it.


2010 [By Cat Eldridge.] I’m starting this essay by acknowledging that everyone has their favorite Robin Hood. My all-time favorite is the one in the Robin of Sherwood series, Robin of Loxley as played by Michael Praed. And yes, I acknowledge that the second Robin, Robert of Huntingdon as performed by Jason Connery was quite excellent too. Richard Carpenter did himself proud with this series. 

But I’m here tonight to talk about one of my favorite Robin Hood films (the other being Robin and Marian.) Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood premiered in the States on this date twelve years ago. It was written by Brian Helgeland who had done mostly horror films before this but was also the screenwriter of the beloved A Knight’s Tale. He along with Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris were responsible for the story.

It was produced by Ridley Scott, Brian Grazer and Russell Crowe. Yes the actor who played Robin Hood here helped produce it. So let’s turn to casting. 

I think Crowe made an outstanding Robin Longstride and Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley was a great casting move. Other interesting casting here includes Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley and William Hurt as William Marshal. This was not a cast of unknowns. I thought Matthew Macfadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham was interesting as the actor usually had much lighter roles. Mark Addy as Friar Tuck was well cast. 

It was a very expensive undertaking costing at least two hundred million and it took in least three hundred and twenty-five million, so it likely just broke even.

And what was the opinion of critics at the time? Well it was decidedly mixed with Deborah Ross of UK’s Spectator on the side of the dissenters: “Scott decided, I think, to get away from the whole campy thing in tights business and wanted to make this ‘real’. So there is sweat and dirt and rats at the cheese and even bad teeth, which is fair enough, but it is also joyless.” 

But Richard Klein of Shadows on the Wall liked it: “Ridley Scott and his usual Oscar-winning crewmates turn the familiar old English legend it into a robust, thumping epic. The pacing is a bit uneven, but it keeps us thoroughly engaged.”

Let’s finish off with Jeffrey Westhoff of the Northwest Herald:  “Robin Hood doesn’t become the swashbuckling bandit of Sherwood until the final moments, when the tag “And so the legend begins” appears. You may walk away liking this Robin Hood well enough, but wishing you had seen the sequel.” 

It gets just a fifty eight percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 14, 1929 Kay Elliot. The actress who shows up in “I, Mudd” as the android form of Harry Mudd’s wife Stella Mudd. SPOILER ALERT (I promised our OGH I’d put these in. It’s possible someone here hasn’t seen “I, Mudd”.) Need I say she ends getting the upper hand in the end? She also had appearences in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as Miss Prendergast in “The It’s All Greek to Me Affair” episode and multiple roles on Bewitched. That’s it, but she died young. (Died 1982.)
  • Born May 14, 1933 Siân Phillips, 89. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in David Lynch’s Dune, Cassiopeia in Clash of The Titans, Grandmother in A Christmas Carol, Charal in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, and The Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass. And I’m about to see her on Silent Witness.
  • Born May 14, 1935 Peter J. Reed. A Vonnegut specialist with a long track history starting with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; The Vonnegut Chronicles: Interviews and Essays that he wrote with Marc Leeds; Kurt Vonnegut: Images and Representations again with Leeds again. He also wrote a handful of essays such as “Hurting ’til It Laughs: The Painful-Comic Science Fiction Stories of Kurt Vonnegut” and “Kurt Vonnegut’s Bitter Fool: Kilgore Trout”. (Died 2018.)
  • Born May 14, 1944 George Lucas, 78. For better and worse, he created the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are fine, the others suck royally in my opinion. Later Star Wars films are meh though I adore the original trilogy. And let’s not forget THX 1138. So you ask, what are my favorite works that he was involved in? LabyrinthRaiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back and Willow. Yes Willow. Oh, and The Young Indiana Jones series which I really, really loved. 
  • Born May 14, 1945 Francesca Annis, 77. Lady Jessica in David Lynch’s Dune, Lady Macbeth in Roman Polanski’s Macbeth. I know only two roles, but what a pair of roles they were! She also appeared in Krull as The Widow of The Web but I’ll be damned if I can remember her in that role. 
  • Born May 14, 1952 Kathleen Ann Goonan. Her Nanotech Quartet is most excellent, particularly the first novel, Queen City Jazz. Her only Award was given for In War Times which garnered a John W. Campbell Memorial Award. She’s wrote an interesting essay on the relationship between sf and music, “Science Fiction and All That Jazz”. (Died 2021.)
  • Born May 14, 1952 Robert Zemeckis, 70. He’s responsible for some of my favorite films including the Back to the Future trilogy, The Muppet Christmas CarolThe WitchesWho Framed Roger Rabbit and the savagely funny in a twisted sort of way Death Becomes Her. So what’s your favorite films that’s he had a hand in? 
  • Born May 14, 1955 Rob Tapert, 67. I’d say he’s best known for co-creating Xena: Warrior Princess. He also produced and/or wrote several other television series including Hercules: The Legendary JourneysM.A.N.T.I.S. and American Gothic. Tapert also co-created the prequel series Young Hercules which I loved. He’s married to actress Lucy Lawless.


  • Let Nick Mamatas introduce Tom Gauld’s strip for today’s Guardian.
  • Next, here’s Gauld’s latest comic for New Scientist.

(14) CLUES OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Keith Roysdon remembers newspaper crime comic strips (remember Steve Roper and Mike Nomad?) “Black and White and Noir All Over: A Brief History of Vintage Newspaper Crime Comic Strips” at CrimeReads.

Who could have known that newspaper comic strips and crime stories, including noir, were a match made in heaven?

Newspaper comic strips are an artistic genre that’s largely forgotten now. The strips that remain are for the most part humor strips like “Garfield.” A handful of dramatic strips are still published.

But serial dramatic strips were once a staple of the newspaper comics page. Many of them were soap opera-ish strips like “Mary Worth” and “Apartment 3-G.” To say that drama strips were slow moving is an understatement. I wish I could remember who joked that they came back to read “Apartment 3-G” after decades away and the caption read, “Later that afternoon …”

But that deliberate pace – well, maybe not quite that deliberate – was perfect for teasing out a good crime storyline. And crime and noir look awesome in black and white newsprint.

(15) MUSIC WITHOUT THE SPHERES. “Peace is Still Weirder Than War” asserts Laurie Penny in a very entertaining essay about Eurovision. Admittedly, nothing to do with sff except a brief reference to Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera at the end.

…Britain is a lot worse at Eurovision than you’d think. We’ve spent half a century distracting the world from our post imperial decline by flinging out wild handfuls of pop music and self deprecating humour, so we really ought to be able to deploy them here. Sadly, we’re scuppered every time by our even more fundamental fear of looking daft in front of the French.

We’ve made worse choices for the same reason.

But reasons are not excuses, and the land of Monty Python, David Bowie and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band should be able to do better than another basic bearded guitar boy. We do have the best tv commentary by miles, after Graham Norton seamlessly accepted the baton from the great Terry Wogan, proving once again that Britain’s comfort zone is making fun of other people.  Yes. Hi.

…For related reasons, Ukraine are likely to win this year. Russia can sulk all they like, just like they did when Ukraine stood down from Eurovision in 2015with the reasonable excuse that they were busy being invaded by Russia. in 2016, Ukraine was back, and it won, narrowly beating Russia, whose entry looked like someone repurposed a rave club as a re-education camp without redecorating. Not only did Ukraine win, it won with a song called ‘1944’, about the Soviet genocide of the Crimean Tartars. Russia has not forgotten this. State Television spent a long time denouncing Eurovision as a degenerate spectacle of homosexuality, which did as much good as denouncing bears for defecating in the woods.

But Russia has never really been any good at Eurovision. This year they’re not even going, partly because the Kremlin has no interest in any competition it can’t cheat at, but mostly because they got banned. It’s hard to get banned from Eurovision, but invading a neighboring country and massacring tens of thousands of people will do the trick….

(16) STOP, NOW, WHAT’S THAT SOUND? ScreenRant suggests “10 ‘Subtly’ Scary Horror Movies (For Horror Fans Sick Of Jump Scares)”. A Bradbury adaptation leads the list!

Sometimes the unknown or the unnatural can be much more terrifying than any masked slasher with a chainsaw.

….It’s not so much that these films rely on someone hiding in the shadows and yelling boo, but rather the audience knows something is wrong but can’t identify what. While jump scares and other such tactics might be sparsely employed, the real horror in these movies comes from both knowing and not knowing what might be in store.

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

Sometimes, the scariest movies are the ones where nobody dies, and Disney’s Something Wicked This Way Comes is a brilliant example. Based on the book by Ray Bradbury, the film tells the story of what happens when a mysterious carnival lurks into town one windy October.

Led by the mysterious Mr. Dark, Cooger and Dark’s Shadow Show has the uncanny ability to grant anyone’s wishes and make their dreams come true. But like with most things Disney, all magic comes at a price. When two boys and the local librarian are able to see through the illusions, a slow-burning battle with the freakshow for the souls of the town takes place.

(17) THE HUNDREDTH SHADE. Paul Weimer reviews “Gregory A. Wilson’s Grayshade” at A Green Man Review.

… We meet Grayshade in the midst of an assassination that doesn’t go quite to plan, and a relatively atypical assassination target at that – the outwardly flighty socialite wife of a political powerful man, which in itself seems odd to Grayshade. We come to Grayshade at a point in his career where he is extremely experienced and very good at what he does. This is no “coming of age” novel where we follow the assassin through his first mission; rather this is someone who has past adventures and missions behind him, which grounds him for when things do not go according to his expectations. Things spiral out from the assassination not going right, to the point where Grayshade starts to question his purpose, his role, and the entire Order.

This makes a lot of the novel about information control and dissemination, which in turn reminds me of Wilson’s gamemastering….

(18) BAD BACK TO THE FUTURE. At Galactic Journey, Jessica Holmes gives us an recap of the latest (in 1967!) episode of Doctor Who. “[May 14, 1967] Ben And Polly To The Departure Gate (Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones [Part 2])”.

…We left things off with the Doctor having a sudden attack of a bad back, and things only get worse, with Spencer disabling Jamie and Samantha within moments of the episode’s opening.

Now would be a good time to finish them off, you’d think, but instead he sets up some sort of death ray to kill them… eventually. The thing moves so slowly the trio would probably have time for a round of golf before the ray fries them. Though mostly paralysed, Samantha conveniently has enough control of her faculties to get her mirror from her bag and hand it to Jamie, who uses it to reflect the beam and blow up the death ray machine.

With the machine destroyed, their partial paralysis wears off, which doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to me. I thought it was the freezing pen that paralysed them? And I’m still not sure what that device on the Doctor’s back did to him…

(19) AND YOU ARE THERE. This fossil is in a way a snapshot: “How the dinosaurs died: New evidence In PBS documentary” – the Washington Post digs into the story.

…The ground started shaking with intense vibrations while water in the nearby sea sloshed about in response. The sky filled with burning embers, which drifted down and set fire to the lush primordial forest.

Thescelosaurus panicked and looked to flee — but it was too late. Everything changed in a heartbeat as a 30-foot-high wave of mud and debris came racing up the seaway from the south, sweeping away life and limb in the process. The dinosaur was caught in the destructive deluge, its leg ripped off at the hip by the devastating surge.

That moment — 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period, when an earth-shattering asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs — is frozen in time today through a stunning fossil found last year at the Tanis dig site in North Dakota. This perfectly preserved leg clearly shows the skin, muscle and bones of the three-toed Thescelosaurus.

While the details of the death scenario described above are embellished, they’re based on remarkable new findings and accounts by Robert DePalma, lead paleontologist at Tanis.

“We’re never going to say with 100 percent certainty that this leg came from an animal that died on that day,” the scientist said. “The thing we can do is determine the likelihood that it died the day the meteor struck. When we look at the preservation of the leg and the skin around the articulated bones, we’re talking on the day of impact or right before. There was no advanced decay.”…

(20) DRAWN WITHOUT DRAWERS. CBR.com remembers: “Star Wars: Why George Lucas Had to Fight for Chewbacca Not to Wear Shorts”.

…So he wanted McQuarrie to go beyond humanoid and try to do more of an animal design for Chewbacca. Lucas’ recall led him to a recent issue of Analog Magazine, which had a short novel in it by a pre-Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin called “And Seven Times Never Kill a Man.” Artist John Schoenherr had designed some characters for Martin’s story and they made it to the cover of the magazine…

Lucas sent the drawings to McQuarrie and basically said, “Draw Chewbacca like that” and so that’s what McQuarrie did…

The problem with having basically a giant dog as a character is that dogs, well, you know, don’t have pants. McQuarrie kept coming up with some designs with the character in pants and Lucas kept saying no and that carried over to when the film started production. Lucas’ specific vision of what Chewbacca would look like required him to not have pants and that was a bit of a strange thing for the studio executives at the time.

During the DVD commentary for the 2004 release of Star Wars on DVD, Mark Hamill recalled what Lucas had to go through with regard to Chewbacca’s lack of clothes. “I remember the memos from 20th Century Fox. Can you put a pair of lederhosen on the Wookiee?’ All they could think of was, ‘This character has no pants on!’ This went back and forth. They did sketches of him in culottes and baggy shorts.”…

(21) BEING SNARKY. Would Lewis Carroll readers with an unassigned two hours or so available be interested in the opportunity to watch this complete production? “The Hunting of the Snark” posted by Official London Theatre.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

54 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/14/22 Scroll Me A Pixel I’ll Be Back For Breakfast

  1. Huh, that is one fascinating title tonight! Nice work, Soon Lee!

    Speaking of number twenty. That indeed is one of my major kvetches in comics. You get uber-villains wearing what looks like diapers. Surely there’s someway to get around this these days.

  2. Paul Weimer says I’ve not yet seen this iteration of Robin Hood. Hmmmm

    Amazingly it’s not streaming anywhere nor are most of the Robin Hood films, but you can rent or purchase it almost everywhere.

  3. 11) I’ve not yet seen this iteration of Robin Hood. Hmmmm

    And oh hey, a new review of mine. (I like to think that Quantity has a Quality all of its own, as well as being decent Hugo worthy work).

  4. 5) It would be interesting, although completely impractical, if we had the power to arrange for the banning of a slew of conservative favorites. Imagine the howls of outrage, echoing back off the mountains.

  5. 9) Tom Swift. This is going to stir up some ‘you’ve ruined my childhood’ cries. Unrelated but related, Netflix has a new Resident Evil series coming out this summer, and the trailers dropped, and .gasp. the leads are PoC, and the screams and rants can be heard already throughout the land. It actually looks kind of fun to me.

    15) I’m favorably disposed toward the Ukraine, but I will NEVER forgive the elimination of the Latvian entry!!!

  6. I have to admit that whether or not writers have children is not a characteristic I pay the slightest bit of attention to. Never mind that it is difficult to tell, because even today, not every writer chooses to talk about their family or private life.

    But I guess that Joe Vasicek is the sort of person for whom people without children, particularly women without children, are by definition evil.

  7. It was Richard Carpenter who did Robin of Sherwood not John Carpenter. It’s also one of my favorite versions second only to Errol Flynn’s. I like the Ridley Scott movie a lot, but it just wasn’t Robin Hood for me. Crowe was much too old.

  8. Troyce says It was Richard Carpenter who did Robin of Sherwood not John Carpenter. It’s also one of my favorite versions second only to Errol Flynn’s. I like the Ridley Scott movie a lot, but it just wasn’t Robin Hood for me. Crowe was much too old.

    Thanks much for pointing that out. It’s now been fixed. Have I ever pointed out noted that I do these write-ups from my admittedly less that perfect memory? Hence John when it should been Richard.

    Now listening to The Ringworld Engineers which unfortunately shows that Niven and anything, and I really do mean anything of a sexual nature, should never have met.

  9. (11) My all-time favorite is the one in the Robin of Sherwood series, Robin of Loxley as played by Michael Praed.

    Mine too.

  10. Lucas – my big bitch about Last Crusade was that they screwed the end – there is ZERO chance that Indy’s father, who’d spent his life looking for the grail, would leave it behind, and not relieve the Knight of his duty.

    Shoulda been Indy who got shot, and his father should have saved him.

  11. Thought of after I posted – what, James Bond gets shot by the bad guys, and his son saves him?

  12. mark: I’m intrigued by your ideas about how to end the Last Crusade. Seems like a tidy way to write a line under Jones Sr. Remind me — didn’t the place where the grail was kept collapse at the end? So did the knight die, or just get immured forever?

  13. (7) Well, my days of caring about Joe Vasicek’s opinion on anything are certainly… gone past the middle to infinity and beyond, to mix my quotes.

    How does he even KNOW? Does he google female authors before he reads them to see if they’re evil childless harpies? What if they really wanted children but couldn’t have them, or had some and then the kids died and they don’t mention it? (Both of which are painful and personal, so only their friends and family might know) What about adoption? And does he do such due diligence on the men too? And what about non-binary or trans people who may or may not be parents?


    (12) If Annis gets a listing of the Scottish Play, I want to put in big ups for Sian Phillips as Empress Livia in “I, Claudius”.

    @rochrist: I don’t think a whole lot of people who read Tom Swift watch much CW. Won’t stop them from complaining, but still.

    I shall now return to living up to my screen name.

    ETA: heh. Posted this at 11:38 PM.

  14. 4) Harris’ remembrance of his mother’s disapproval of science fiction feels very familiar. Time, perhaps, to share my Twitter profile here, if I haven’t done so previously:

    “Mom always said reading science fiction would rot my mind, ruin my morals, and lead to hanging out with disreputable characters. Thank God, she was right.”

  15. Thank you for Title Credit!

    So two people who were in the David Lynch “Dune” share a birthday. There were so many notable actors in it, and I have grown fond of that version though I initially hated it; it had Fremen walking in lockstep on sand dunes very early on as if worms were not a thing…

  16. 7) I’m not sure what this proves, other than “Joe Vasicek has a weird obsession”.

    Anyway, I came here to second Lurkertype’s comments on Sian Philips as Livia. I, Claudius had an absolutely amazing cast, and Philips managed to stand out amongst them.

  17. 7) ALL books are worth owning.

    I generally never DNF books, but if I did, the pedigree would be canine

    12) “…the others suck royally…”
    I strongly urge you to familiarize yourself with Lysenko’s Hierarchy of Suckages, as doing so would help you formalize your critiques. The referenced works do not “suck royally”. Their suckage is far stronger than that and belongs in the “Sucks Royal Moose Cock” category, which is, arguably at the top (or is it the bottom?) of the scale.

    4) Bester paints a nice picture, but offers (so far, not finished reading) no concrete examples to underpin his arguments. I’d call this a screed rather than a critique.

  18. (6) I thought Strange New Worlds was named after the print anthology series that started on the late 1990s. (There were 10 of them plus a final volume in 2016, and the submissions were sought from fans via a contest.) Although reusing that name might be more appropriate if they sought stories from fans via a contest.

    (7) Who would even to look up that statistic? Or think it meaningful? The fact that he thought to look it up says more about Joe Vasicek than the authors.

    And the fact that he decided it was a good idea to make a public post about it says a lot, too. Yet I’m sure some people will be nodding their heads and saying. “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like that woman’s books!”

    As others have said, maybe the author has children but kept that information private. Maybe she lost her child or children and doesn’t talk about it. Maybe the Wikipedia page doesn’t list the author’s children because the information isn’t readily available. Maybe the author can’t have children. Maybe the author doesn’t want children because of a horrible childhood. Or some other reason that is not the business of any reader..

  19. Yes, the Grail temple did collapse at the end of Last Crusade, but I think at that point the original knight was already dead or dying, having passed his duty as guardian on to Indy. Who did a terrible job as guardian because, after he used the Grail to heal his father, Elsa immediately tried to abscond with it, thus triggering the collapse.

  20. Anne Marble says I thought Strange New Worlds was named after the print anthology series that started on the late 1990s. (There were 10 of them plus a final volume in 2016, and the submissions were sought from fans via a contest.) Although reusing that name might be more appropriate if they sought stories from fans via a contest.

    Given that anthology series is concluded now, it’s quite reasonable to assume that Paramount + re-used the name for this series.

  21. 7.) As others have noted, what a strange criteria for DNF. Then again, I suspect that for me the possession of certain attitudes toward women is a definite criteria for DNF in this era of my life. At my age, life’s too short to bother with reading misogynists and a-holes (and that includes those of the male persuasion whose social media commentary strikes me the wrong way).

    Kind of like the way my senior chestnut mare has decided that her life is too short to allow the younguns in the herd to pester her and push her around. These days, my motto is to live as if I’m a senior chestnut mare. So lots of pinned ears, tossed heads, bared teeth, and the occasional lunge. In human terms, of course.

  22. (4) My father read SF. My mother read mysteries. They weren’t complaining about my reading habits (both genres)!
    (My mother did read some SF.)

  23. I worked on a PC game called Star Trek: New Worlds in the 90s. I’d always assumed the phrase came from Kirk’s narration at the beginning of each episode of the original series.

  24. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 5/15/22 - Amazing Stories

  25. (7) I do agree the criteria was very weird for me. I know I pick up more details about writers than I did when I was younger, but the writers that I know personal details are still rare. But Joe Vasnicek is not known for good arguments.
    I rarly DNF a book, but it is somethink that is a good think to do if the work isn’t for you and exspecially if you only read somethink for entertaining.
    (The last book I DNFed was from a writer nominated for the Astounding award by puppies but as far as I know not a puppy, the book was a deal of the month)

  26. You know, the shows axed by the CW were among the weaker shows that they had.You notice they renewed Riverdale, The Flash, and Superman and Lois. I realize Legacies’s three fans and Roswell, New Mexico’s four fans are in mourning.

    I’m both chagrined and amused that the extreme right wing yells to the heavens about freedom of speech, and yet demands its “right” to ban school books. (and yes, I know the left wing banned books also in their time). Curious, very curious, these humans!

    (7) PERSONAL TAXONOMY. Joe Vasicek advised us of his personal preference for literature. How nice of him. The rest of us have our own personal preferences. I look at the story, not at who wrote it.


    2010 – [By Cat Eldridge.] I’m starting this essay by acknowledging that everyone has their favorite Robin Hood

    Mine is Richard Greene in the 1950’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

    Greene was a fine, but underutilized actor whose film roles were few but very memorable: as the riding master opposite Shirley Temple in “The Little Princess,” as the cavalier cohort of Cornel Wilde in Forever Amber, and as the unfortunate heir to the Baskerville estate in “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

    The 1950’s series, “Robin Hood,” even with its surprisingly minimal funding ($10,000 per episode), came across as more humanistic, and offered better historical context than the other versions, excepting the hired costumes and fantasy appliques (and yes, the knitted chain mail that Peter Jackson hates so much!).

    With the low budget, some of the players took on multiple roles, which is reminiscent of the tradition of roving theater players who would put on shows at various places, another English tradition.

    Curiously, the Greene series shares connections with 2 other “Robin Hood” films.

    The Errol Flynn Robin Hood, from 1938 (and I hated the sequins and the over-the-top technicolor), had Ian Hunter as King Richard. Hunter played the impoverished knight, Sir Richard of the Lea in the Greene series.

    There was a Disney film called, “The Story of Robin Hood,” two actors later found themselves in the Greene series:

    Archie Duncan played the murderer of Robin’s father in the Disney film, and played one of the most memorable Little John characters.

    James Hayter, who played Friar Tuck in the Disney film, played the miller in two episodes of the Greene series.

    The Friar Tuck from Greene’s series was played by Alexander Gauge, who was the son of missionary parents, and the most memorable of Tucks from any series.

    The series was very well written, and if one can get past the costumes, the episodes are quite enjoyable.

  28. 7) If someone thinks that The City and The City, Ancillary Justice, The Fifth Season, The Calculating Stars and A Memory Called Empire are all terrible then I don’t have much use for their opinion. I’d rate all of them over The Three Body Problem – and I don’t consider that terrible either. (I don’t think the books I haven’t listed are terrible either but I haven’t read most of them).

  29. 7) This isn’t really random eccentricity – the current far-right antisemitic conspiracy cycle believes lowering white birthrates is part of the plan for the Great Replacement. Suggesting the “woke” SF that wins awards is mostly being written by childless women is a dogwhistle.

    (This conspiracy cycle, of course, is what links book bans, homophobic and transphobic laws, Florida’s War on Disney, and the push to overturn Roe vs Wade. Not to mention the way TERFs in the U.K. keep lapsing into antisemitism.)

  30. (7) I am sure that if any of us made a list of as many facts as we could find about the authors of a set of books we had read we would find something that corresponded to our liking of those books. Correlation is not causation.
    (11) Francesca Annis also has an appearance in Tales From The Crypt.

  31. @Steve Wright,

    Incidentally, Sian Philips co-starred with another actor from “Dune” in “I, Claudius”, a younger & less folically-challenged Patrick Stewart.

    I suspect that Lynch’s “Dune” would be a very useful link in the Kevin Bacon game.

  32. The Richard Greene Robin Hood series was shown daily on local tv when I was about seven years old. I have fond memories of it.

  33. @StephenfromOttawa
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his merry men

  34. @Soon Lee – oh, yes, Patrick Stewart as Sejanus! He and Patricia Quinn (as Livilla) had one of the creepiest love scenes I’ve ever seen….

    (I took the + out of my name manually, and now it’s showing up without it. Don’t know if that means OGH has fixed the bug, or if it’s just a useful workaround.)

  35. But I guess that Joe Vasicek is the sort of person for whom people without children, particularly women without children, are by definition evil.

    “My misogyny shows in my reading” is definitely a weird flex for Vlasicek.

  36. @Carl Andor: I saw several episodes of it and it was good, despite the low budget. (Although I saw it after I’d seen the Python’s Dennis Moore sketch, so the theme song made me LOL)

    A lot of people say the Disney cartoon “Robin Hood” is their favorite; it is delightful.

    @Sophie Jane: Is it still a dogwhistle if everyone can hear it? It’s all the same old toxic misogynistic and anti-Semitic stew from time immemorial, plus other racism.

    @Martin Wooster: Since CW is up for sale, I’m sure they’re cutting the bottom line by dumping anything that gets lower ratings and has been on for a while. Not enough lifeboats for everyone (presumably Superman, Lois, and the kids can fly out of danger).

    Ukraine has won Eurovision and the UK came second with “Space Man”, so I suppose all’s right in that world for a few minutes.

    I need to re-watch “I, Claudius”. It’s been a few years, and despite the budget being equal to the catering on today’s epics, there are SO MANY good actors in it, oodles of whom were largely unknown then and nowadays are Sirs and Dames and have piles of awards. Let’s not forget The War Doctor as a truly disturbing Caligula, and the titular character also portrayed by a Doctor Who guest star.

    (I saw it the first time it aired in the US; my Latin teacher made it a requirement for all the classes. “But Mooom! This TV is homework!”)

    I’m still stuck in 5722.

  37. @Lurkertype
    My medieval history teacher showed us “Life of Brian” as background on the Roman Empire. (His field was classical Greece and Rome. He said it was fairly accurate in many ways.)

  38. Mike – yeah, I was really frustrated by The Last Crusade. And collapse the temple? Nahhh… the obvious end for her would have been pillar or salt time.

  39. I first saw Life of Brian at my high school’s annual Latin Movie Night (which is also where I first saw A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which has Jon Pertwee in a small part).

  40. @Lurkertype Is it still a dogwhistle if everyone can hear it? It’s all the same old toxic misogynistic and anti-Semitic stew from time immemorial, plus other racism.

    On the one hand, yes, you’re absolutely right. It’s always the same elements being reshuffled and all these conspiracies end up at the Protocols eventually. On the other hand, it does vary over time and this is where the far right zeitgeist is right now rather than, say, antivaxx, anti-immigration, or chemicals in the water.

    And I’d call it a dogwhistle because it leaves out the conclusion. This isn’t just generic misogyny; for the right reader it’s a specific suggestion that the Hugo awards are part of the conspiracy

  41. @stewart

    The two-sentence version of what I’ve been trying to say would be: this isn’t a weird argument based on selective reading or a misunderstanding of data. It’s more a coded way to say the Hugo Awards are being influenced by the International Jewish Conspiracy without being obvious enough that people who aren’t neo-nazis will point and laugh.

  42. 7) I suspect, however, that Joe will not like Ruthanna Emrys’ upcoming A HALF-BUILT GARDEN. Even if motherhood is an essential part of the narrative.

    Just a hunch.

    (Filers, though, I think are going to love this. Its fantastic)

  43. Here’s more on the ’50’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood” series with Richard Greene:

    Colorized clip of “The Adventures of Robin Hood” with the theme song:

    Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
    Riding through the glen,
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
    With his band of men,
    Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
    Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Robin Hood!

    He called the greatest archers
    To a tavern on the green,
    They vowed to help the people of the king,
    They handled all the trouble
    On the English country scene,
    And still found plenty of time to sing.

    Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
    Riding through the glen,
    Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
    With his band of men,
    Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
    Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Robin Hood!

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