Pixel Scroll 5/24/19 Timeo Filers Et Dona Pixeles

(1) NIXING BREXIT. In a letter to The Guardian, “John le Carré and Neil Gaiman join writers warning Brexit is ‘choosing to lose'”.

Dozens of writers have put their names to a letter to the Guardian that urges UK voters taking part in Thursday’s European parliament elections to use their franchise to support the European Union, “unless they know what they are choosing to lose, for themselves and everyone they know, and are happy with that”.

The authors, who also include Neil Gaiman, Nikesh Shukla, Kate Williams and Laurie Penny, go on to say: “It seems to us that the same question is facing every industry and every person in the UK: what will you choose to lose? Because we used to hear about advantages in Brexit. We used to hear about the bright future, the extra money, the opportunities. Now the advocates of Brexit just assure us that it won’t be as bad as the last world war.”

(2) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Episode 96 of Scott Edelman’s podcast let you listen to him crunch into a crab cake sandwich with leading Aussie author Kaaron Warren.

Kaaron Warren

We met at the Freer Gallery, and then wandered over for lunch at the Capitol Hill branch of Hank’s Oyster Bar, which opened in 2012.

I first met Kaaron slightly less than 10 years ago, at the 2009 Montreal Worldcon, where her novel Slights was one of the inaugural titles from Angry Robot Books. The publisher even had a robot rolling around the launch party! (It was not angry, however.) She’s published many more novels and stories since then, with one novel, The Grief Hole, winning all three of Australia’s genre awards — the Aurealis Award, the Ditmar Award, and the Australian Shadows Award. Her most recent novel is Tide of Stone. She’s published seven short story collections, the most recent being A Primer to Kaaron Warren.

We discussed how her recent Rebecca reread totally changed her sympathies for its characters, the disturbing real-life crime related to the first time she ever saw The Shining, the catalyst that gave birth to her award-winning novel Tide of Stone, how she came up with new angles for tackling stories about such classic characters as Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein, the way flea market bric-a-brac has led to some of her best ideas, the only correct method for preparing fairy bread, her go-to karaoke song, and much, much more.

(3) TAKING A BITE OUT OF SONIC’S SCHEDULE. ComicsBeat explains why “Character design changes push SONIC THE HEDGEHOG movie release date to 2020”.

…The first trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie definitely got people talking…just probably not the way the studio intended. Reaction to Sonic’s design—his muscular legs, his regularly-proportioned head, his teeth—was swift, loud, and overwhelmingly negative. The filmmakers heard the cries of the masses, and they responded with action, as director Jeff Fowler tweeted a few days after the trailer’s release that they would be working to tweak the design of the character…

(4) DRAGON RECOMMENDATIONS. Red Panda has created a “Dragon Awards 2019 Eligible Work” based on Renay’s Hugo recommendation’s spreadsheet. She says, “We’re trying to get folks to pay attention to the Dragon Awards to prevent them from becoming puppy awards by default. Here is a spreadsheet of eligible works – and people are welcome to add to it as long as works fit the Dragon award rules.”

(5) AFTERMATH. Cora Buhlert wrote a blog post about the Nebula Awards kerfuffle involving 20Booksto50K: “Some Reactions to the 2018 Nebula Award Winners and a Post-mortem on the 20Booksto50K Issue”.

…Most of [Craig] Martelle’s post seems to be extolling the virtues of the 20Booksto50K group and the idea behind it which was developed by Martelle’s business partner and occasional collaborator Michael Anderle. For those who don’t know, the basic idea behind 20Booksto50K is  is basically “write fast, publish fast and create a ‘minimum viable product’ in highly commercial genres”. For more information, you can also read their manifesto or watch videos of their conferences. They also have a Wiki with more background information here.

Now I don’t have a problem with either the 20Booksto50K group or their system. I don’t doubt that the group or their conferences help a lot of indie writers. And while their approach to writing and publishing isn’t mine, there are a nuggets of useful information in there.

Alas, the rest of the Martelle’s post engages in same tired “indie versus traditional publishing” rheotric that we’ve been hearing since 2010. “Traditional publishing is slow” – yes, it is, because their model is different, but that doesn’t make it bad. “Awards don’t matter, but whether stories resonate with readers does” – okay, so why are you so desperate to win an award then?

(6) ROTTEN TOMATOES REVAMP. The movie ratings site makes changes in the wake of their experience with people who lowballed Captain Marvel’s pre-release score: “We’re Introducing Verified Ratings and Reviews To Help You Make Your Viewing Decsions”.

In February we ditched our pre-release “Want to See” percentage in favor of a more straightforward Want to See tally (kind of like the “likes” you see on social media). We also removed the function that allowed users to write comments about a movie prior to seeing it. You can read about these changes here.

What’s next? Today, we’re excited to introduce new features to our Audience Score and user reviews with the addition of Verified Ratings and Reviews.

So, let’s get to it.

Rotten Tomatoes now features an Audience Score made up of ratings from users we’ve confirmed bought tickets to the movie – we’re calling them “Verified Ratings.” We’re also tagging written reviews from users we can confirm purchased tickets to a movie as “Verified” reviews.

… The first Audience Score you see on a movie page – that’s it next to the popcorn bucket just to the right of the Tomatometer – will be the score made up of Verified Ratings. As with the current Audience Score, when the score is Fresh (that is, above 60%), you’ll see a red popcorn bucket; when it is Rotten (59% and below), the bucket will be green and tipped over (you can read more about that here). If you want to see a score that incorporates all included ratings – both verified and non-verified – simply click “more info” where you can toggle between the two….

(7) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson says “The trouble with streaming: It could fragment fandom”.

…All this is a reminder that genre tales now dominate the entertainment landscape. The people behind all these platforms are fighting to attract the attention of us, the SF, fantasy and horror fandom.

But they are also fighting for our wallets. And while is is technically possible for one household to receive all these services, it is unlikely that very many households could afford to.

Once, producers essentially had two ways of monetising their entertainment. They could charge for it – for movie tickets, videotapes or discs; or they could give it to us via free-to-air television and sell our eyeballs to advertisers.

Now, we have a new eco-system where the producers are charging us, not for individual works, but for whole bundles of content. So we can get the Netflix package, the HBO package or the Hulu package, but not everything….

What is this in contrast to? Sure, things are different than when all TV was free, however, not so different from periods when there were five or eight or ten printed prozines coming out that you could only get by subscription, unless you were lucky enough that your local library subscribed to some (never all) of them.

(8) KERR OBIT. British children’s book writer and illustrator Judith Kerr died May 22 aged 95. Cora Buhlert comments —

In spite of the title, her most famous work (at least in Germany) When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit is not genre, but about the Kerr family’s escape from the Nazis in the 1930s. The pink rabbit of the title was young Judith Kerr’s beloved toy, which she lost en route. But a lot of her children’s picture books are at least genre-adjacent and several feature SJW credentials. Besides, she was married to Nigel Kneale, British TV writer and creator of Professor Quatermass:


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 24, 1925 Carmine Infantino. Comics artist and editor, mostly for DC Comics, during the late 1950s know as the Silver Age of Comics. He created the Silver Age version of the Flash (with writer Robert Kanigher) and the Elongated Man (with John Broome). He also introduced Barbara Gordon as a new version of Batgirl. Infantino wrote or contributed to two books about his life and career: The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino and Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur. (Died 2013.)
  • Born May 24, 1945 Graham Williams. Producer and script editor. He produced three seasons of Doctor Who during the era of the Fourth Doctor. He went to be one of the producers of Rould Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. (Died 1990.)
  • Born May 24, 1946 Jeremy Treglown, 63. Author of Roald Dahl: A Biography and Roald Dahl: Collected Stories. Amateur actor who met his first wife while both were performing Romeo and Juliet at University. 
  • Born May 24, 1949 Jim Broadbent, 70. He played Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. He joined the cast of A Game of Thrones, playing a role of Archmaester Ebrose, in the seventh season. His genre credits include Time Bandits, BrazilSuperman IV: The Quest for PeaceThe BorrowersThe AvengersThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (well somebody had to be in it). 
  • Born May 24, 1952 Sybil Danning, 67. Her rise to fame began with her role in Roger Corman’s space opera cult classic, Battle Beyond the Stars. She went on to star in HerculesHowling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf (which bears the charming alternative title of Howling II: Stirba – Werewolf Bitch), a faux trailer directed by Rob Zombie titled Werewolf Women of the SS for Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse (I couldn’t make this stuff up!), the Halloween remake and finally she as in a horror film called Virus X. Series, She  appeared in recurring roles of the The Lair as a vampire out for revenge.
  • Born May 24, 1953 Alfred Molina, 66. His film debut was on Raiders of The Lost Ark as Satipo. He was an amazing Doctor Octopus on Spider-Man 2, and he also provided the voice of the villain Ares on the  outstanding 2009 animated  Wonder Woman. Oh and he was a most excellent Hercule Poirot on Murder on the Orient Express. I know, not genre, but one of my favorite films no matter who’s playing the character.
  • Born May 24, 1960 Doug Jones, 59. Among his roles, I’ll single out as Abe Sapien in the Hellboy films, the Faun and the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, the ghosts of Edith’s Mother and Beatrice Sharpe in Crimson Peak, and the Amphibian Manin The Shape of Water. 
  • Born May 24, 1965 Michael Chabon, 54. Author of one of the great baseball novels ever, Summerland. Then there’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay which is the best look I know of at the comics industry during the Golden Age. And The Final Solution: A Story of Detection may be an awesome home to the Greatest Beekeeper Ever.


  • Wondermark takes fan disappointment about Game of Throne’s final season in a hilarious new direction.

(11) REVISITING THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR. The highlights from February’s two-day conference on The Art of the Mimeograph at the University of Westminster include an appearance by fanhistorian Rob Hansen beginning around the 8:54 mark.

(12) OVERFLOWING LID. Alasdair Stuart says his Full Lid for May 24 2019 “takes a look at DJ Kirkbride and team’s excellent SF/crime/comedy comic series Errand Boys. I’ve also got a breakdown of the 2014 Godzilla in the first of two briefings in the run up to Godzilla: King of the Monsters. There’s a look at the excellent documentary Knock Down The House and the one thing about its structure that bothered me. Finally, special guest Sarah Gailey drops by to do the Hugo Spotlight feature, which, this week, features me.”

…The creative team behind Errand Boys is a who’s who of people whose work I pick up, sight unseen. DJ Kirkbride and Adam P Knave are two of the best writers and editors in the business and Frank Cvetkovic is one of the best letterers. They’re joined by a raft of artists whose work is unfamiliar to me but is all massively impressive, kinetic and fun.

(13) RETRO REVIEWS. The link takes you to Evelyn C. Leeper’s Comments on the 1944 Retro Hugo Finalists and to her Retro Hugo Novel Reviews Part 1 and Part 2.

I am pretty sure this is the first time someone has been a finalist both in a fiction category and in an art category (Antoine de Saint-Exupery). It is also the first time a father and son appeared on the same ballot–well, sort of. Fritz Leiber, Jr., is a finalist for three works of fiction; Fritz Leiber, Sr., (the actor) appeared as Franz Liszt in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943), a Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) finalist.

(14) ALADDIN’S LAMP DOES NOT SHINE BRIGHTLY. NPR’s scott Tobias finds  “Aladdin to be A CGI World, Neither Whole Nor New”.

As Disney plunders its archives for live-action remakes of animated classics, the question of “Why?” continues to be less evident on the screen than it is on the company ledger. The one quiet exception was Pete’s Dragon, which succeeded because it had no fidelity to the second-rate slapstick and songcraft of the original, and could re-imagine the premise from the ground up. When the catalog titles get as massive as Aladdin, however, the mission becomes to replicate it as closely as possible, which inevitably leads to stilted facsimile. No matter how sophisticated CGI gets, the speed and fluidity of animation is hard to reproduce.

The new Aladdin mostly has the beat-for-beat quality of the live-action Beauty and the Beast, the current standard-bearer for pointlessness, but there are elements of it that really pop, even for being bizarre missteps. Foremost among them is Will Smith’s Genie, whose entire look is a Violet Beauregarde nightmare of bright blue and CGI-inflated swole, with a top-knot/goatee combination that suggests 10,000 years away from the fashion pages. Yet Smith is the only member of the cast who’s bothered to rethink the original character: He doesn’t bother to imitate Robin Williams’ manic schtick, but draws on his own ingratiating silliness and kid-friendly hip-hop flavor instead. If everyone else had followed suit, this Aladdin wouldn’t necessarily be any better, but at least it would be its own thing….

Chip Hitchcock notes: “My local paper wasn’t quite so harsh, but did give it just 2.5 stars.”

(15) EINSTEIN? NEVER HEARD OF HIM. BBC remembers “The man who made Einstein world-famous”.

It is hard to imagine a time when Albert Einstein’s name was not recognised around the world.

But even after he finished his theory of relativity in 1915, he was nearly unknown outside Germany – until British astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington became involved.

Einstein’s ideas were trapped by the blockades of the Great War, and even more by the vicious nationalism that made “enemy” science unwelcome in the UK.

But Einstein, a socialist, and Eddington, a Quaker, both believed that science should transcend the divisions of the war.

It was their partnership that allowed relativity to leap the trenches and make Einstein one of the most famous people on the globe.

Einstein and Eddington did not meet during the war, or even send direct messages. Instead, a mutual friend in the neutral Netherlands decided to spread the new theory of relativity to Britain.

Einstein was very, very lucky that it was Eddington, the Plumian Professor at Cambridge and officer of the Royal Astronomical Society, who received that letter.

Not only did he understand the theory’s complicated mathematics, as a pacifist he was one of the few British scientists willing to even think about German science.

(16) FAKEBOOK. According to NPR, “Facebook Removed Nearly 3.4 Billion Fake Accounts In Last Six Months”. Over half a century ago, Clarke suggested what’s now become a truism: that the Internet would be a haven for porn. But he didn’t foresee the other abuses….

Facebook says it removed 3.39 billion fake accounts from October to March. That’s twice the number of fraudulent accounts deleted in the previous six-month period.

In the company’s latest Community Standards Enforcement Report, released Thursday, Facebook said nearly all of the fake accounts were caught by artificial intelligence and more human monitoring. They also attributed the skyrocketing number to “automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time.”

The fake accounts are roughly a billion more than the 2.4 billion actual people on Facebook worldwide, according to the company’s own count.

(17) SPIKING THE CANON. James Davis Nicoll diagnoses the waning popularity of once-beloved works in “The Sad But Inevitable Trend Toward Forgotten SF” at Tor.com.

Love your beloved classics now—because even now, few people read them, for the most part, and fewer still love them. In a century, they’ll probably be forgotten by all but a few eccentrics.

If it makes you feel any better, all fiction, even the books people love and rush to buy in droves, is subject to entropy. Consider, for example, the bestselling fiction novels of the week I was born, which was not so long ago. I’ve bolded the ones my local library currently has in stock.

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, Daniel Dern, John King Tarpinian, JJ,. Mike Kennedy Cat Eldridge, Standback, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Rob Hansen, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor Peer.]

37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/24/19 Timeo Filers Et Dona Pixeles

  1. Hehe. Fun with nonenglish scroll titles for the win.

    17) It is inevitably true. I looked at the books that were bestsellers when I was born…most of them have sunk without a trace. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

  2. 13) I’m glad to see I’m not the only one struggling to track down the Retro finalists as-they-would-have-appeared-in-1943, rather than settling for the current editions. In addition to The Weapon Makers and The Glass Bead Game issues Leeper notes, The Magic Bedknob was apparently heavily revised in the 1950s and The Little Prince was retranslated around 1999. Finding copies of the originals has been tricky.

    I’ll also note that the currently available version of The Ape Man has terrible audio fidelity; I turned on closed captions to try to make sense of the dialogue only to find the captioner had apparently been working from the same recording, sans script, and had resorted to captioning many lines as “[Inaudible].” I’m not convinced understanding more of the dialogue would have made the movie any less awful, though.

  3. (14) went to see it with someone who’d never seen the cartoon version last night. She enjoyed it except for the songs. Will Smith was pretty much the best thing about it but that isn’t actually saying much. The rest of the cast were so-so, the songs were incredibly grating and, in part because of the singing, the actiony bits were weird and stilted.

    We were going to see it on Thursday night but I fucked up and bought tickets for the Malay dubbed version and we ended up swapping them for a screening of Polaroid instead, which was a decent horror film.


    But fandom has never been evenly distributed. The current landscape, with much easier access to genre works & instant communication with fans from all around the world, is IMO vastly superior.

    I remember when New Zealand free to air TV was two years(?) behind broadcasting Babylon 5 which meant that it was impossible to participate in B5 Usenet fora without spoilers. In contrast, I was able to watch the final of Game of Thrones a few hours first global broadcast (and only had to avoid spoilers for a few hours).


    Otherwise, there could come a day when we see genre fans taking part in cosplay and think: “I wonder who that’s supposed to be.”

    I already do that a lot. It’s part of being a fan today: you can look at cosplay & think, “That looks neat!” whilst simultaneously not know the source material. There is so much genre stuff now, it’s not really possible to keep up.

  5. In other news: Mona Lisa ‘brought to life’ with deepfake AI. At least this seems more presentable than the ?Bob Shaw? genre/hardboiled crossover in which the mysterious smile has a very rude cause.

    Love the title — although those who fear Filers appear to have less reason than the original speaker….

  6. (13) Also I’ve ran into problems with just questionable texts period. My library’s copy of The Glass Bead Game is a 2013 trade paperback from “Important Books”; based on the occasional mangled word, it appears to have been produced from a mostly-but-not-completely proofread OCR of some earlier edition. Wikipedia also claims that there are several excepts from Knecht’s work that appear the end of the book; these were not present in the edition I read.

    Mercifully the copy of Gather, Darkness! I was able to scare up via LINK+ is the Gregg Press edition, and the library’s copy of The Weapon Makers is from the First Edition Library. I’ve been holding off on that because the only van Vogt I’ve read is Slan: can anybody suggest if I read The Weapon Shops of Isher first?

    @ambyr: Thanks for the heads-up regarding The Little Prince, guess I’ll go see what libraries around here have the Woods translation….

  7. 4) Great job, red pandas. Bookmarked for future reference.

    7) I sort of share these concerns. Germany is a license fee country and so comparatively few people have streaming services, let alone multiple ones. From the 1990s until a few years ago, I used to get most US shows maybe a year or so later. But ever since streaming services started up, a lot of SFF shows never make it to our screens at all and DVD boxsets sometimes show up two years late, if at all.

    13) Well, I can read The Glass Bead Game in the original German version, at least the 1960s/70s version from my parents’ bookshelf. No idea if that one is identical to the 1943 version. My edition of The Little Prince is the German translation. Meanwhile, my edition of Conjure Wife is a later expanded paperback edition and my version of the novelette finalist “Thieves’ House” (in the 1990s White Wolf Lankhmar collections) must be a later edit as well, because it contains references to “Ill Met in Lankhmar”, a story not even published until 1969. And while I know that I’ve read “R is for Rocket” a.k.a. “King of the Gray Spaces”, I can’t find my copy at all.

    17) Here are the New York Times fiction bestsellers for my birth week:
    1. The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth (I know and have read this, but found it rather meh)
    2. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (I’ve heard of this one, unfortunately. Can’t be forgotten soon enough)
    3. Green Darkness by Anya Seton (Another one I’ve read and that’s actually good)
    4. Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susann (I know of Jacqueline Susann, but have never read her)
    5. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by John Godey (I didn’t even know this was a book, but I’ve seen the film. Not overly impressed)
    6. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault (another one I know only by reputation. I’m also thrilled to see an LGBT novel here)
    7. Semi-Tough by Dan Jenkins (I’ve never heard of this one, but it was made into a film with Burt Reynolds and Kirs Kristofferson, which I’ve never seen either)
    8. The Sunlight Dialogues by John Gardner (another one I’ve never heard of, though it even seems to be genre of sorts)
    9. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (Read it and think it’s great. It’s also genre and a Nebula finalist.)
    10. The Camerons by Robert Crichton (Never heard of this one. Apparently, it’s something semi-autobiographical about Scottish coalminers)

    Three out of ten that I’ve read, two of which I liked. Three I’ve never heard of. I suspect that the only one of these which will last is Gravity’s Rainbow.

    The German fiction bestseller list for my birth week is more obscure. Only four out of ten that I’ve heard of. One is The Odessa File again, the other three are German comedian Loriot, who hails from my hometown, so I of course know his work, Israeli writer Ephraim Kishon, who was very popular in Germany, and British writer Eric Malpass whose books I found on my parents’ bookshelves.

  8. 7) Even if you had access to all the shows, you would not want to watch all of them. There would be stuff you wouldn’t like and there is just too much out there.

  9. My list:

    1. Joseph Brant and Mr. Norrell by Ursula K. Le Guin
    2. Avatar by Frank Herbert (adaptation of the Shakespeare)
    3. Ancillary Temperance by Cordwainer Smith
    4. Hermione Granger and the Restricted Section by Andre Norton
    5. My Little Pony: Twilight Sparkle by Philip K. Dick
    6. Blindsight by John Brunner
    7. The Martian by James Tiptree Jr.
    8. Deadpool: Pulp by Roger Zelazny (comic book tie-in)
    9. All the Birds in the Sky by Clifford D. Simak
    10 Perdido Street Spaceport by Algis Budrys

  10. @Cora Buhlert: The Sunlight Dialogues is marginally slipstream at best, but author John Champlin Gardner (nothing to do with the thriller writer) was a considerable talent in many ways – his Beowulf inversion Grendel is probably his best known work now. I think the confusion with the thriller writer, and this Gardner’s untimely death in a motorbike crash, have caused a very fine writer to become unjustly forgotten. Of his work, Freddy’s Book is at least genre-adjacent, and my own favourites would include October Light, The Wreckage of Agathon, and (particularly) Nickel Mountain.

    (Sorry – just hit my fanboy button there – I’ll be back to normal in a minute or two…)

  11. @Steve Wright, honestly, the one thing no Filer should ever have to apologize for is fanboying or fangirling. We’re fans. That’s what we do! (And now I know another author I should investigate…)

  12. Thanks, Cora. Please spread the word.
    Just a reminder that for works to be eligible for the 2019 Dragon Awards they have to be published between 7/1/2018 and 6/30/2019. I had to delete a few additions because the works didn’t meet that criteria.

  13. 9) I never knew Jim Broadbent and Alfred Molina share a birthday! Not genre, but they’ve been in at least one film together, a beautiful version of Enchanted April done in the 1990s.

  14. 6) I wonder what the new excuse for people disliking the “wrong” movies will be. I imagine it will be something like ” those misogynistic basement dwelling manbaby nazis are so full of hate they will buy tickets just to attack all that is good and true in the world” .

    And how they are going to handle ticket sell at the cinema, they just don’t count?

  15. 17) A variation on one of my standard Old Guy speeches: My reading history (starting c. 1951) includes what amounted to archaeological digs through earlier eras of popular literature. One of my aunts had shelves of barely-out-of-fashion book club editions–early Ellery Queen, Frank Yerby, and Samuel Shellabarger–and I was also handed down a box of what we would now call YA fiction from the 1920s and 30s. Of the latter, the only titles that anyone would recognize now were Bobbsey Twins titles, though a kiddie-lit specialist might recognize the Franklin W. Dixon byline. (Though there were no Hardy Boys books in the box–instead it was a couple of Ted Scot Flying Stories titles.) .

    I’ve also been in the Canonical Lit biz long enough to watch works age out of the curriculum, partly to make space for new candidates. (“The Yellow Wallpaper” wasn’t in the American lit textbooks when I started college, and I got to watch Tolkien get grad-school seminars in real time.) And every English-lit grad student gets to see in some detail the gap between familiar names and titles and “who’s that?” for any period. (Hamlet, yeah sure. But Bussy D’Ambois?)

    Longevity is partly a function of audience preference, partly of influential tastemakers and canon guardians, partly of the dumb-luck/publishing-environment that Nicholl outlines. And it probably helps to belong to a group of corporate-owned “properties” that can provide promotion and renovation as needed: viz. the Stratmeyer Syndicate, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Disney.

    And who is this Gloria Mundi woman anyway and why is she tired of traveling?

  16. (7) Cora was faster than me and I agree with her. The main problem with the streaming wars is the international market. A lot of the services are not or will not be available outside the US, it seems like Disney Plus among them (at least at first). That will create a surge in illegal downloads outside America.
    Already a lot of shows are not available here, or only if you pay extra (like Legion or the good place). Picard will come on Amazon Prime in Germany, Discovery is on Netflix, despite both shows being on CBS. Streaming will eat itself if everyone can only stream their own stuff.

    Lore Pixum

  17. Peer says Already a lot of shows are not available here, or only if you pay extra (like Legion or the good place). Picard will come on Amazon Prime in Germany, Discovery is on Netflix, despite both shows being on CBS. Streaming will eat itself if everyone can only stream their own stuff.

    It’s odd that Picard will be on Amazon Prime outside of the US given that Discovery is on Netflix. On the other hand, I’m assuming all of these series will end up on DVD eventually. And streaming won’t eat itself given that CBS has said that its subscriber base is definitely more than enough to support the programming costs.

    Picard Is a series I’m definitely looking forward to watching.

  18. And streaming won’t eat itself given that CBS has said that its subscriber base is definitely more than enough to support the programming costs.

    Picard Is a series I’m definitely looking forward to watching.

    Me too.
    My question is: How many streaming services will the average household subscribe to? And which ones? Its quite likely that the big ones (like Disney+) will be the ones that most people subscribe to. Will CBS still have enough subscribers when Disney and Hulu and Apple and whoever is out there starting their streaming Services? I dont know, but I doubt we will have 20 streaming services in 10 years, more likely we will have 4. Or three.

  19. Peer asks Me too.
    My question is: How many streaming services will the average household subscribe to? And which ones? Its quite likely that the big ones (like Disney+) will be the ones that most people subscribe to. Will CBS still have enough subscribers when Disney and Hulu and Apple and whoever is out there starting their streaming Services? I dont know, but I doubt we will have 20 streaming services in 10 years, more likely we will have 4. Or three.

    No idea. For myself, I do generally two services at a time. Right now, that means DC Universe and Audible which runs me twenty bucks a month. I’ll add the CBS one only when the Picard series has enough EPs up to make it worth while to watch. Whereas the DC Universe service of course has the library of comics as well so it justifies itself that way.

    It should be noted that most of these services are quite cheap so it isn’t hard to imagine an individual actually having three or four of them. Someday some company will create a master index app for all of them.

  20. (16) More than three billion fakre Facebook accounts created by “bad actors”? Keanu Reeves and Kristen Stewart have been busy.

  21. P J Evans says News: Stan Lee’s ex-business manager has been arrested.

    If the Hollywood Reporter which has done extensive coverage on this case is accurate, this is going to be a very messy court case as Lee tended to trust people like his ex-business manager and allowed them to handle his business affairs without a whole lot of legal documentation. So sorting exactly what this person had the right to do could be complicated.

  22. (7) Just chiming in to agree with everybody else. It’s a very mixed bag. On average more shows are accessible sooner. Sometimes a US show is easier to access in Australia than it is in the US (e.g. ST: Discovery). Other times it is weird and inconsistent – especially if the show is available somewhere on broadcast TV (e.g. the scheduling of Agents of Shield meant I stopped watching when I lost track of when a new season was on but it’s not streamable on the services I subscribe to).

    However, given that BOOKS still have weird regional publishing quirks, I doubt this will be resolved anytime soon.

  23. @Cat Eldridge
    As I said above, Germany is a licence fee country, so every household pays 17.50 EUR for TV and radio anyway. Even though except for the news and some cultural programs (and a local radio station to which I listen in the car and sometimes in the kitchen), I never watch the stuff produced by the public broadcasters, because it’s not to my taste at all. And don’t get my started on stuff like Babylon Berlin, which US Netflix subscribers got to see before German viewers who don’t subscribe to pay TV channels or streaming services did. Even though our licence fees paid for the damned thing.

    If I subscribe to one or more streaming services in addition to the licence I have to pay, it gets expensive very fast. Add to that that I grew up in a family where paying for media was considered a waste of money. Books, newspapers, going to see a movie in the cinema or buying a classic vinyl record (but no pop records, cause pop music you could record from the radio) was fine, but paying for cable TV, pay TV channels, videos, a VCR, etc… was a waste of money. And it wasn’t that we didn’t have the money, we did. It was simply spent on other things. When I was a kid, we had a PC long before we had a VCR. And the VCR was actually a birthday present sometime in the early 1990s, because I clamoured for one for so long and eventually threatened to buy one from my own money. Meanwhile, my first CD player was a CD-drive in my computer.

  24. 1) The actual open letter, which may be found here, is signed by plenty of SFF authors. I count 32 among the signatories and I may have missed a couple.

    @Steve J. Wright
    No need to apologise for fanboying. In fact, I’m grateful, because I never knew there were two John Gardners. And so I was very confused that the same person who wrote Grendel also wrote some very unremarkable thrillers.

    But then, I assumed that The Camerons, the No. 10 on my birthday bestseller list, was by Michael Crichton (the NY Times list only lists author surnames) and wondered why there seemed to be no Michael Crichton novel of that title. And then I found out that it was by one Robert Crichton.

  25. I have very mixed feelings about streaming.

    I grew up with tv being free over the air. I was very resistant even to paying for cable, but eventually I had to succumb because I had moved to a place where reception was poor enough that I couldn’t even get all the “free over the air” stuff easily, even as more and more was cable only. By the time I was worn down enough to even think about streaming, there were already multiple choices, and they all cost, and my situation, both economically and mental health wise, was spiraling downward.

    It was just too hard.

    So finally I’ve succumbed. Amazon Prime, Netflix, Curiosity Stream.

    And my tv watching habits have sixty years and a bit of watching commercial tv with regular ad breaks.

    I expect the breaks. The breaks aren’t there.

    It feels wrong for the breaks not to be there. Those breaks are part of the rhythm of how tv works–or so my hindbrain keeps insisting.

    I have to remind myself that I can make breaks whenever I want or need to. And it still feels wrong.

    I’m totally cool with pulling up one of the services and deciding what I want to watch right now.

    Having to make my own breaks in the program still has me really off kilter.

    Which, yes, is a weird thing to complain about, and totally unreasonable.

    And this is aside from the more significant question of, how many services can a person reasonably subscribe to? Especially on a fixed income?

  26. Lis, there are other services that have ads baked in. Watching our Roku TV gives me the option of Sony Crackle (where I found a sitcom I’ve always liked), and that has several commercial breaks per program. Often, these show the same ads over and over. I found one service that shows just Clutch Cargo cartoons, and its cycle is so short, it interrupts these insanely short cartoons for commercials—and once again, they seem to be the same ads over and over and over.

    Pluto TV is one with ads, but I enjoy many of its sub-channels. Besides the obvious ones (movies, MST3k, and so on), it has “SlowTV” which consists entirely of footage shot from two runs of a Norwegian railway, taken from the engine. I found this when I was recovering from surgery, and was mesmerized by it. I still find myself tuning in, just to rubberneck at the countryside and small towns the train goes through.

    The process of discovery: Added a bunch of stations, then subtracted many of them as I found that they required payment or a cable TV account. Subtracted others that turned out to be boring or inactive. Ended up watching a particular subset, but still am finding new delights, like old TV playhouses with classics like Amahl and the Night Visitors, a medieval mystery play, or dramas by Pirandello and such.

    Best part: None of it requires me to adapt my schedule to it. I stop it when I want. Often, I can simply turn the set off at will and find the program waiting for me at te same point when I return to it.

    I found an app for my phone, PlayOn Cloud, that lets me record shows on a selection of streaming services (provided I subscribe to them and pay a per-show pittance that ranges from 20¢ or less on up, depending on how many I want to pay for at a time) and save them to my drive.

    I’d say my favorite feature of this vast wonderland is how much I can ignore it. My set’s off the majority of the time.

  27. Oh, I think me adjusting to having to (and being able to) make my own program breaks is a far better choice than perpetuating paid advertising in streaming services we’re paying for anyway. It’s just…an adjustment.

  28. While I hate commercial breaks with the white-hot intensity of a thousand burning suns, it’s very obvious when you’re watching a show that was structured around the existence of those breaks, especially when they do the thing where the first few seconds post-break time recapitulate the last few seconds immediately before the break; or when it’s supposed to be some kind of continuous scene, but there’s this really weird and obvious seam in the middle of it.

    But I’ll still take those over actual commercial breaks any day of the week, month or year.

  29. I find that streaming is more about TV-series than about movies, and I have a problem with watching american TV-series. Sometimes I can like a few episodes, but then I have to quit, because they become boring. It is a mix of camera angles, of how slowly the plot moves forward and of repetitiveness.

    The movies aren’t my style either on streaming. It is only the mainstream stuff, the blockbusters. There’s not even any variation among the classics. So I buy the stuff I want to see on Blu-ray or DVD. If it is available. But streaming has destroyed that market too, so there’s a lot less good stuff available now.

  30. 7) I grew up with the free TV as well, but disl8ked the commercials. We watched a few shows at the house. Not too many. When the antenna broke, the household just shrugged and we watched DVDs.

    When we visited someone and saw programs were found the commercials fairly irritating. Often surrealistic. A couple of drug companies listing the side affects off their products had my wife wondering if the ad was actually satire.

    Going through magazines listing new and forthcoming shows, I’m put off by the volume of product. Old timer that I am, I grew up when it was a wonder there was any genre product at all. Two shows a year?

    When I buy stuff to watch, I’m selective. Too much super hero material and its drowning itself for its own lack of quality.

  31. @Steve Wright: You just made something understandable to me!

    The Sunlight Dialogues is marginally slipstream at best, but author John Champlin Gardner (nothing to do with the thriller writer) was a considerable talent in many ways

    I became a big fan of that book the same summer I failed to connect with Gravity’s Rainbow first time around. I also bought the Moriarty novels written by “John Gardner”. Those novels were so dark, I assumed they all came from the same person, and that the shift in writing styles was the sign of someone with really good writing skills.

    Now I know those were two different authors. Thank you for reminding me to learn something first, then overinterpret it. Or not overinterpret it. Either one works.

    @Cora Buhlert: I recognize your list as from a prime reading summer of mine. As I say above, I’ve read half those books. The other three would be: Semi-Tough, a perfectly good light football novel (containing a snark at a much better heavy football novel by a friend of mine), if you understand and can tolerate the cultural assumptions around a seventies concept of “perfectly good light football novel”, which I enjoyed once; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, a meh thriller; and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which I wonder what it would be like to read now. I had that Neil Diamond soundtrack for the movie, you know.

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