Pixel Scroll 5/15/24 Goodbye Yellow Brick Scroll, May the Dogs of Pixelry Howl

(1) AND THE WINNING NAME IS… You weren’t holding your breath waiting for them to quit kidding around and reveal the final title, were you? Well, if you were, inhale! Variety has it: “’Agatha All Along’ Sets September Premiere Date on Disney+”.

…The “WandaVision” spinoff “Agatha All Along” has set its Disney+ premiere date.

The series will debut with two episodes on Sept.. 18. The announcement was made during the Disney upfront presentation to advertisers in New York on Tuesday.

Series star Kathryn Hahn took the stage with co-stars Joe Locke and Patti LuPone, who confirmed the series’ title after a number of changes. The show was first called “Agatha: House of Harkness.” The title appeared to change to “Agatha: Coven of Chaos” by July 2022, and then to “Agatha: Darkhold Diaries” in September 2023….

(2) THE CASE FOR PLAIN ELVES. [Item by Danny Sichel.] This video essay by Perseus Grim argues “Why Fantasy Worlds SHOULD Be Stuck in Medieval Times”.

(3) MILLENNIA BEFORE DUNE. “Dune: Prophecy: first trailer for female-led prequel TV series” – the Guardian sets the frame.

The first trailer for the much-anticipated TV prequel to the recent Dune movies promises a female-fronted look at life 10,000 years before.

Dune: Prophecy will follow the roots of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood led by the Harkonnen siblings, played by Emily Watson and Olivia Williams. Later members of the sect are played by Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Rampling on the big screen.

It is inspired by the novel Sisterhood of Dune, written by Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert, the elder son of Frank Herbert, who wrote the original Dune novels….

(4) RAGE REQUIRED. Stephanie Burt plumbs “The Radical Worldmaking of Joanna Russ” in The Nation.

“From now on, I will not trust anyone who isn’t angry.” The science-fiction writer Joanna Russ set down those words in 1984. They might have been Russ’s motto. From her 1968 novel Picnic on Paradise, about a time-traveling, take-no-prisoners female assassin named Alyx, to her 1975 pathbreaking lesbian and feminist novel The Female Man, to her collection of essays on feminism, What Are We Fighting For?, in 1997, Russ wrote unsparingly, if also elegantly, against those elements in society that keep women, especially lesbians, from becoming our best selves. Her novels and essays sometimes cut themselves short; other times, they cut to the bone. They could make room for hope, and for solidarity, and for erotic joy. Russ saw what was wrong with the world we know, how much needless pain it contains on account of gender roles—and she let herself stay angry about it, too.

Divisive in her lifetime, admired within the world of science fiction then and now, Russ has recently become the seventh sci-fi writer, and the third female one (after Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin), to get a whole Library of America volume. Assembling four novels (Picnic on ParadiseThe Female ManOn Strike Against God, and We Who Are About To…) along with shorter stories, the Library of America volume helps the reader understand the scale and scope of her talents as a prose stylist and a writer of metafiction. And it lets readers see—in Russ, and in the 1970s feminism that nurtured her—not only the rage but also the hope that her astringent imagination found…

(5) SIMULTANEOUS TIMES. Space Cowboy Books of Joshua Tree, CA has released episode 75 of the Simultaneous Times podcast. The stories featured in this episode are:

  • “Memory Scars” by Adele Gardner; with music by TSG
  • “The Good Twin” by Marie Vibbert; with music by Phog Masheeen

Theme music by Dain Luscombe. Listen to all episodes on your favorite podcast player or at Podmatic.

(6) BEWARE TINY SPOILER. In The Hollywood Reporter: “Doctor Who Boss Russell T Davies on Callbacks, Villains and Disney Notes”. Sort of tiny spoiler here.

There’s a moment where the Doctor uses his Sonic Screwdriver to enable Ruby’s (the Doctor’s companion, played by Millie Gibson) phone to call her mum, even though they are thousands of years apart. That’s a lovely callback to your 2005 episode “The End of the World,” where the Ninth Doctor (Ecclestondid the very same thing for his companion Rose.

Yes, it is. It’s what he’d do. I remember sitting writing that thinking, “Oh gosh, I did that. I’ve done that before.” And then I thought, “Well, I did it 19 years ago and this is a brand new audience. But it’s very important that she doesn’t feel separated and abandoned from her family.” So there’s no way he couldn’t do it again, because it’s a good scene. It’s what he’d do, it needs reminding.

This time, when Ruby gets her phone zapped, she says, “How much did that cost?” Rose wouldn’t have thought of that. There’s something a lot more savvy about it. Ruby’s very aware of that 50 quid she got for a gig last night. And that’s her first question, “What does that cost?” I like that.

(7) ELENA STEIER (1958-2024). Comics creator Elena Steier died March 1 of cancer. The family obituary is in the Hartford Courant.

…An accomplished illustrator, author, and cartoonist, Steier created several comics and strips, such as The Ramp Rats (for the Detroit Metropolitan News), The Goth Scouts (for The South Shore Monthly Newspaper) and The Vampire Bed and Breakfast (a self-published comic book)….

Cartoonist Mike Lynch has put together an extensive tribute.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born May 15, 1909 James Mason. (Died 1984.) I do believe the first time I saw James Mason acting was in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest where he had the role of Phillip Vandamm, a Cold War spy. Three years after this, he’d be on the Alfred Hitchcock Hour as Warren Barrow in the “Captive Audience” episode. 

James Mason as Captain Nemo driving the getaway submarine.

Now let’s turn to what he did as genre roles. The one you most likely remember him from is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea where he was Captain Nemo. Surely you remember his fight with the squid? The film was personally produced by Walt Disney, something he rarely did.

He’s Hendrik van der Zee in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, based off that story. He may or may not be the Flying Dutchman. Let’s say the film is ambiguous. Deliberately. 

He was Rupert of Hentzau in The Prisoner of Zenda which is at least genre adjacent, isn’t it? Well I think it is. Truly great silly film, and an amusing role for him. 

In Journey to the Center of the Earth, he was Sir Oliver S. Lindenbrook, a professor. He was not the first choice here as Clifton Webb had been cast but turned it down as he said he could not play the part because it was such a physical part. Mason said later that he delighted in doing his stunts here.

He played Polidori in the Frankenstein: The True Story, a thirteen-episode series. Now let’s recall that Dr. Polidori did not appear in the original novel, but was rather based on the character of Dr. Pretorius from Universal Pictures’ Bride of Frankenstein, but named after John Polidori, an acquaintance of author Mary Shelley.

Finally he’s in Salem’s Lot as Richard K. Straker.

 Very impressive as a performer I’d say. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Eek! depicts overreaction to criticism
  • The Argyle Sweater is proud of its bad video game titles.
  • Carpe Diem reveals something we never knew about flying saucers.

(10) BODY DOUBLES. “’3 Body Problem’ Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix” reports Variety.

3 Body Problem” has been renewed for at least one more season at Netflix — the streamer says that the number of seasons and episodes will be announced at a later date.

It appears that the greenlight will take the series to its finale, as creators David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo noted in a statement that they “get to tell this story through to its epic conclusion.” In an April interview with Collider, Benioff said the team would “need at least three, maybe four seasons to tell the whole story.”

Based on the novels by Liu Cixin, “3 Body Problem” follows how a decision made by a young woman in 1960s China reverberates across space and time into the present day, driving a group of scientists to join forces with an unorthodox detective to confront a major threat to humanity.

(11) A SONG OF ICE OR FIRE. While some think the new portrait of King Charles makes it look like he’s trapped in flames or swimming in blood, Filer Carl says the portrait of King Charles looks a bit like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. You decide!

(12) YESTERDAY’S VIDEO. We take you now to the year 2015 to enjoy the “’Star Wars Fan’ – Official ‘Rocket Man’ Parody”.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Todd Mason, Carl, Daniel Dern, Danny Sichel, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, and Kathy Sullivan for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bonnie McDaniel.]


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26 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/15/24 Goodbye Yellow Brick Scroll, May the Dogs of Pixelry Howl

  1. (8) Mason was in a fantasy movie Forever, Darling (with Lucille Ball), playing a guardian angel who looked like James Mason.

  2. 4) It’s great that someone is writing about Joanna Russ. Aside from her politics, Russ is an awesome prose stylist (which I discovered after picking up a used copy of her 1987 short story collection The Hidden Side Of The Moon.)

    PS: It is my birthday and Brian Eno’s birthday as well.

  3. (8) Ruritania is an imaginary country, and that’s genre enough for me.

  4. (2) There are a lot of issues with his arguments.
    a) Most medieval peasants (and their analogs around the world) had miserable lives (“nasty, short, and brutal”). Farms are extremely dangerous places, never mind that at the time of the American Revolution, of seven? ten? kids born, three might live to have kids of their own. Oh, and “till death do us part” averaged seven years, before the woman died, usually of childbirth or complications thereof.
    b) Tolkien: 2000 years before, the descendants of Numenor were, for all effects, Rome (but nicer). So it’s reasonable to have it medieval.
    c) Ah, those loving ancients, never mind starving from a bad harvest, and the “nobles”, whose ancient authority included storing grain against that, had long since tossed that.
    d) Real magicians, in most novels, are Not Common, and how they get power… I suggest you read Turtledove’s World at War. If you haven’t, you won’t like where real power comes from.
    I could go on, but…
    (4) Rage required. Hell, yes, it comes through what I write. My thing, though, is I want things to get better, and I’m appalled that we’re dealing with real fascists.
    Birthday: Captain Nemo? And people forget his war was to stop war being waged on the seas.
    (11) My reaction, as I’ve noted on other sites, is “I didn’t know carbonite came in red.”

  5. I saw James Mason on stage in A Partridge in a Pear Tree with his wife Clarissa Kaye. It was a trifle.

  6. @mark
    Surely a pear trifle?

    (11) I’ve been saying it looked like the artist got a really good deal on red paint.

  7. PJ Evans: And wasn’t that why barns were painted red, because it was the cheapest paint?

  8. Iron oxide paint, on barns, I thought. At least in the east. I never saw a painted barn when I was a kid and there were actual barns in the area.

  9. (8) I really liked James Mason as Dr. Watson in “Murder by Decree.” Yes, he did some silly Watson things at times — like the famous pea scene. But he also brought a physicality to the role. (According to the commentary, 70-year-old Mason accidentally knocked down a burly stuntman while filming a scene.)

    (11) On Twitter, Valancourt Books wrote “Might see if they’ll let us license this for one of our horror book covers.” 🙂

  10. (4) wonderful article. Hope there’s also a collection of Russ’ nonfiction: How to Suppress Women’s Writing is a lively, cheerful read, as well as a great guide to further reading.

    (8) James Mason was a good Brutus in the b/w film of Julius Caesar, though he tends to be overshadowed by John Gielgud as Cassisus and Marlon Brando as a particularly good and astonishingly beautiful Marc Antony.

  11. @Patrick Morris Miller

    Q: What do you call 10,000 pixels at the bottom of a file?
    A: A good start!

  12. mark, P J Evans: Mason was phoning in his performance. The play was selected to give his wife a role. He was a famous actor who would bring in a big audience, regardless of the quality of the material.

  13. James Mason was the quintessential Nemo. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was one of my all time favorite SF films. Harper Goff’s design of the exterior and interior of the Nautilus was excellent as well.

    Disney had a display / reconstruction of the sets on view at Disneyland for several years. Alas, now I’ll have to go to Disneyland Paris to see the Nautilus now, along with a walk through of the 20,000 Leagues exhibit.

  14. 11) I…really like the portrait. I think it’s well-painted, vivid and memorable. Of course it’s absolutely unsuited to the hagiographic ideal of royal portraiture, unless your ideal is Goya’s contemptuous masterpiece, “The Family of Charles IV.”

  15. 11) I’m reminded of “The Portrait of Baron Negay” (Barry Longyear, I think)

  16. The one and only time I’ve been to Disneywhatever was after Worldcon in Orlando. While there, we rode in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ride – boats that looked like a (very small) version of the Nautilus.

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