Pixel Scroll 5/26/23 Pixels Get Ready, There’s A Scroll A-Coming

(1) BRADBURY MUSEUM CLOSING. The Ray Bradbury Experience Museum in his hometown of Waukegan, IL is shutting down this month they announced today on Facebook.

In 2017 a group of dedicated volunteers came together to honor Ray Bradbury in his hometown Waukegan, Illinois, with an interactive museum. As the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum Committee, we operated the museum out of a space in downtown Waukegan, donated by the Greater Waukegan Development Coalition.

Now, after much consideration, the RBEM Committee has decided to officially close in May 2023. This decision followed challenging realities. COVID was a daunting obstacle. Many donors shifted their attention to other, more pressing social needs. In addition, it was immensely difficult to secure a much-needed permanent location in downtown Waukegan.

Over the years, we worked with museum designers to develop plans for the future museum. At the same time, the RBEM Committee and volunteers welcomed visitors to events, readings, performances, and exhibits in Waukegan and at national and regional conventions. We presented Ray Bradbury programs, online and in-person, for local and regional schools and libraries. A highlight event was the August 22, 2020, celebration of the Centennial of Ray Bradbury’s birth in Waukegan.

April 2023 marked our final program. Partnering with the Waukegan Public Library and the Waukegan Historical Society and funded by an Illinois Humanities grant, we presented Explore Ray Bradbury, a weekend of multi-media and hands-on engagement with Bradbury’s classic books and themes. Excited visitors of all ages heard Bradbury stories, created Bradbury-themed crafts, invented banned book slogans and pins, and experienced a virtual reality journey to the International Space Station….

(2) FLORIDA FUR. CBR.com reports how “Furry Convention Disrupted by Florida Governor’s New Law”.

Megaplex, a furry convention based in Orlando, has been forced to change its policy on the minimum age of attendees due to new Florida legislation.

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and Republican presidential nominee, recently passed SB 1438, or the Protection of Children Act. This bill prohibits the admission of children to any “adult live performance,” defined as “a presentation that depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, or specific sexual activities.” Allowing underage individuals to an event in Florida falling under that definition is punishable by a year of prison and/or a $1,000 fine. As reported by Rolling Stone, furries are not a specific target of SB 1438, but the subculture, which involves art and costumes of anthropomorphized animals, is often stereotyped as being highly sexualized.

… A statement on Megaplex’s website reads, “Many have raised concerns about recent changes in Florida legislation. After reviewing Florida SB 1438 it has been decided that for legal reasons and protection of our attendees, our venue, and the overall convention, Megaplex 2023 attendees must be 18 years of age at the time of registration pickup. Megaplex has welcomed younger fandom members and their families since its inception and making this change was very difficult… It is our hope that this change is temporary and that we can welcome members of all ages back next year. With this in mind, the public decorum portion of the Code of Conduct as well as standards for programming, attire, and behavior in convention space will not be changing and will continue to be enforced as has been in the past.”…

The Rolling Stone article has more analysis: “Furries Now Have Serious Beef With Ron DeSantis”.

…So what does a law about exposing kids to sexually charged content have to do with people dressing as cartoon bunnies and foxes? While SB 1438 does not specifically target minors dressing as furries, it prohibits children from attending adult performances, which it defines as “a presentation that depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, or specific sexual activities.” And, like drag, there are pervasive misconceptions that this mode of expression is inherently sexual. 

While it is true that there is a segment of furrydom that does treat it as a kink, it is not a representation of the wider community, and many furries do not view their interest in anthropomorphized creatures as sexual at all. Though many conventions do cater to the NSFW aspects of the furry fandom, they typically save such programming for later at night to ensure the rest of the con is family-friendly, or cordon off adult vendors so they are not in full view of other attendees.

The fact that the furry organizers felt pressured to bar children from the convention is yet another example of how it’s been seen as an attack on LGBTQ rights. (The ACLU referred to it as “a blatant attempt to erase drag performers and silence the LGBTQ+ community.”) The furry fandom overwhelmingly skews LGBTQ, with nearly 80 percent of furries self-identifying as such, according to surveys of the fandom. “Furry has become synonymous with LGBTQ, since there is such a large intersection of communities,” says Joelle, one of the founders of Moms of Furries, an organization supporting kid furries and their parents. (Joelle and her cofounder, Carrie, requested their last names be withheld for safety reasons; they both have children in the fandom who are also queer.) “Furries feel connected to what they see as persecution of the queer community.”

Additionally, many furries identify as transgender, and “would not feel safe” at a convention in Florida, which recently passed a law making it a misdemeanor trespassing offense for someone to use a bathroom that does not align with their birth sex, says Carrie. “Right now anything that isn’t very straight-laced, in Florida, is starting to be called out as deviant,” she says. “Obviously furries are an easy mark for that.”…

… Megaplex will take place September 15-17 in Orlando, FL.

(3) IAFA ASKS IF THEY SHOULD STAY IN ORLANDO. For similar reasons, The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA) has launched a survey about whether it should remain in Florida, relocate to another state, or adapt to a virtual or hybrid format.

We have received many concerns regarding the safety of our multiply-marginalized members, the ethical issues of spending organizational and personal funds in Florida, and many other concerns. We fully acknowledge and share your dismay over these developments, as they are antithetical to our organization’s values of inclusivity, equality, and justice. 

While the decision to move the conference is a significant one, we also understand that it may have practical implications and involve a complex process. Therefore, we assure you that we are actively exploring alternative options and potential venues. We are engaging with our partners and considering various locations that align with our values and prioritize the well-being of our members. 

Moreover, we recognize that this situation extends beyond a single event or location. We are committed to using our platform and influence to raise awareness, challenge discriminatory practices, and support organizations and activists who are fighting against systemic inequalities. We will actively seek opportunities to collaborate with local advocates, amplify their voices, and contribute to the ongoing efforts to create a more just and inclusive society. 

We want to emphasize that your feedback and perspectives are invaluable to us. We encourage you to continue sharing your concerns, suggestions, and insights with us by clicking the ICFA45 Survey below. Together, we can navigate these challenging times and work towards a more equitable future.

(4) SCHOLARSHIP FROM HELL. The Horror Writers Association Scholarship from Hell recipients are Alex Luceli Jimenez and Timaeus Bloom.

The Scholarship From Hell puts the recipients into the workshop environment of Horror University, which takes place during HWA’s annual StokerCon®.

The winners receive domestic coach airfare (contiguous 48 states) to and from StokerCon 2023 in Pittsburgh, PA, June 15-18, $50 for luggage reimbursement, a 4 night stay at the convention,  free registration to StokerCon®, and as many Horror University workshops as they’d like to attend.

(5) UTOPIA AWARDS. The public is invited to make nominations for the 2nd annual Utopia Awards hosted by CliFiCon 2023.

The 2nd annual Utopia Awards will highlight and honor authors, artists, and other creators producing works focused on hopeful outlooks, solutions to climate change and related social problems, and building a better future.

Nominations for the 2nd annual Utopia Awards are open to works published in 2022 that exemplify hopeful, utopian fiction (science fiction, fantasy, climate fiction…)

Works nominated for a Utopia Award must have been published during 2022.

Nominations are accepted for works published by traditional or independent publishers, magazines, and anthologies, as well independently published works.

CliFiCon 2023 is a two-day online conference taking place October 7-8. Buy tickets here.

(6) WHERE DID YOUR SF JOURNEY START? [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Don’t know if you’ve seen this over at Media Death Cult ”This is where my Science Fiction journey started”? But Moid Moidelhoff has done a piece on where his SF journey began… 

Now, mine began with H. G. Wells War of the Worlds original film and then novel along with Gerry Anderson’s Supercar then Fireball XL5 etc. Quickly followed by 2001: A Space Odyssey (premiere week in Cinerama format at London Leicester Square) to discover Arthur C. Clarke wrote books too and so it was: Sands of Mars, Childhood’s End, City and the Stars, Tales From The White Hart…  My first con was the 1977 Novacon 7 in Birmingham with John Brunner (whom I had already read) as GoH.  At Novacon 8 I met biologist and SF fan Jack Cohen and I did not know it but that was to become a life-long (his sadly and not mine) fan friendship and biological colleague (he was active in the professional learned body, the Institute of Biology, of whom I was to become a staff member and ultimately Head of Science Policy and Books. Jack was occasionally on one of the committees I serviced.)…

I’m rambling aren’t I? Anyway, Moid’s journey it seems began with the weekly comic 2000AD and its Judge Dredd. I too was (and am) into 2000AD and our college SF group, Hatfield PSIFA, visited the 2000AD office a couple of times and they were also guests of honour at one of our early Shoestringcons (as recorded in the 2000AD  1983 annual – see pic attached). It’s been sad to lose so many of the 2000AD staff including recently Alan Grant (to whom I owe a few pints as he always said I was a poor student (and so to this day I always buy a pint for a student at cons and/or an unemployed fan depending on whom I come across)).

I’m rambling again aren’t I?  Moid recounts his being a fan of 2000AD in this 20 minute vid here.

(7) BOLO FOR A DEATH ON THAT HILL. Collider’s Lloyd Farley declares “’Return of the Jedi’ Is the Best Film in the Original Star Wars Trilogy and I Will Die on That Hill”.

… New, unique creatures enter the Star Wars universe for the first time, including a rancor, the sarlacc, Ewoks, fan favorite Max Rebo, and Jabba the Hutt himself, a large slug-like creature covered in his own excesses, lauded for heading a far-reaching criminal empire. Jabba is nothing like we would have expected him to be, but to me, he’s perfect — a visual representation of the ugliness of his vocation. Jedi also brings back the fun that took a back seat in Empire Strikes Back. Han oozing charm and confidence as he tries in vain to sweet talk Jabba out of killing our group of heroes is a funny return to the charming scoundrel we love. C-3P0’s awkward handling of the revelation that the Ewoks see him as a god is delightfully comic, a pretentious droid having to come to terms with unyielding adoration….

(8) WHEN MONEY FLOWS AWAY FROM THE WRITER. “Termination Fees in Publishing Contracts: Not Just Bad for Authors” explains Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware.

…Why are termination fees a red flag?

Obviously, they are onerous for authors, who might have good reason to want to escape a contract early, and can’t do so without opening up their wallets.

More problematically, publishers can and do employ termination fees abusively. They may hold them over the heads of unhappy writers to shut them up, attempt to use them as an extra income source by offering to jettison dissatisfied authors at the slightest provocation (for example, now-defunct publisher Curiosity Quills offered an annual “escape clause” period where writers could request an invoice), impose them even in situations where, per their own contract language, they shouldn’t apply (as happened to this author as part of a dispute over publisher breach), terminate the contracts of writers who’ve pissed them off and demand the fee even though termination wasn’t the writer’s decision, or, in more than one case I’ve heard about, close the publisher down and refuse to return rights unless the writers paid to get them back….

(9) GARY KENT (1933-2023). [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Gary Kent, a stunt performer, stunt coordinator, and actor in numerous genre films, died May 25 reports Variety. Most were horror with a smaller number of science, fiction & fantasy flicks. Most were also “B movies.” He was most active during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. One of the notable exceptions to that time period was his stint as stunt coordinator for Bubba Ho-Tep in 2002.

…Soon after his stuntman debut in 1965, Kent appeared as a gas tank worker in Peter Bogdanovich’s debut feature film “Targets,” then worked on “Hell’s Bloody Devils,” “The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant” “Angels’ Wild Women” and Richard Rush’s “Psych-Out,” racking up injuries along the way.

While starring in Al Adamson’s soft-core Western “Lash of Lust,” Kent encountered Charles Manson and his followers living at the Spahn movie ranch, and later told Quentin Tarantino about Manson and his mechanic’s work on the film’s dune buggy. Though the Cliff Booth character was also based on other stuntmen, Kent’s story inspired the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” sequence when Booth encounters the Manson family at Spahn Ranch.

In addition to performing in front of the camera, Kent also worked in production jobs and directed, serving as the assistant director on “Dracula vs. Frankenstein,” the unit production manager on Brian De Palma’s “Phantom of the Paradise,” writer-director for “Rainy Day Friends” and director of “The Pyramid.”…


2011[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Lisa Goldstein’s The Uncertain Places gives us the Beginning this Scroll. 

Now she’s one of my favorite writers with this novel plus Dark Cities UndergroundStrange Devices of the Sun and Moon and Walking the Labyrinth all being excellent reads.  I also like her short fiction, some of which has been collected in Daily Voices and Travellers in Magic but none since the latter collection was done thirty years ago.

This novel was published by Tachyon twelve years ago.  The cover art was by Ann Monn. 

It won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. 

And here is that Beginning…

IT WAS BEN AVERY who introduced me to Livvy, Livvy and her haunted family. This was in 1971, when Ben and I were sophomores in college. A lifetime ago, another world, but it seems like I can still remember all of it, every motion, every color, every note of music. For one thing, it was the year that I fell in love. But for another, I don’t think that anyone who experienced what I did that year could possibly forget it. 

Ben had gone to Berkeley early in September, before classes started, to find an apartment for us. He’d seen Livvy’s sister Maddie in a play and they’d started dating, and when I got to Berkeley he couldn’t talk about anything else. Now we were going to visit her family up in Napa Valley, in the wine country, for a couple of days. 

Back then Ben drove a humpbacked 1966 Volvo, a car that seemed ancient even though it was only five years old. It smelled of mold and rust and oil, and to this day, whenever I find myself in a car like that, I feel young and ready for anything, any wild scheme that Ben or I would propose. The car went through a constant cycle of electrical problems—either the generator didn’t work, or the regulator, or the battery—and on this trip, as on so many others, the battery warning light flickered on and off, a dull red like the baleful eye of Mordor.

We got on the freeway and headed out of Berkeley, then passed through the neighboring suburbs. As we crossed the Carquinez Bridge Ben started telling me about the last time he’d taken the car in, and the Swedish mechanic who told him the problem was with the “yenerator.” He did a goofy imitation of the mechanic, who I was sure was nothing like Ben portrayed him, but I barely paid attention. I was thinking about my upcoming classes, and about this sister of Maddie’s he wanted me to meet.

“Tell me again why I’m coming with you,” I said, interrupting him in the middle of the story.

You’ll like them,” Ben said. “They’re fun. Come on, Will, have I ever disappointed you?”


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 26, 1865 Robert Chambers. His most-remembered work was The King in Yellow short stories. Though he would turn away from these supernatural tellings, Lovecraft included some of them in his Supernatural Horror in Literature critical study. Critics thought his work wasn’t as great as could have been. That said, Stross, Wagner, Carter and even Blish are said to have been influenced by him. (Died 1933.)
  • Born May 26, 1913 Peter Cushing. Best known for his roles in the Hammer Productions horror films of the Fifties to the Seventies, as well as his performance as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. He also played Holmes many times, and though not considered canon, he was the Doctor in Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. and Dr. Who and the Daleks. He even made appearances in both The Avengers and The New Avengers as well as Space: 1999. There’s a CGI recreation of Grand Moff Tarkin used for his likeness in Rogue One. (Died 1994.)
  • Born May 26, 1923 James Arness. He appeared in three Fifties SF films, Two Lost Worlds, Them! and The Thing from Another World. The latter is based on the 1938 novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell (writing under the pseudonym of Don A. Stuart). The novella would be the basis of John Carpenter’s The Thing thirty years later. (Died 2011.)
  • Born May 26, 1923 Roy Dotrice. I’ll always think of him first and foremost as Jacob “Father” Wells on Beauty and the Beast. He was Commissioner Simmonds in two episodes of Space: 1999. He also appeared in recurring role on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as Zeus. He was on A Game of Thrones in the second season playing “Wisdom Hallyne the Pyromancer” in “The Ghost of Harrenhal” and “Blackwater” episodes. (Died 2017.)
  • Born May 26, 1925 Howard DeVore.He was according to all sources, an expert on pulp magazines who dealt in them and collected them, an APA writer, con-runner and otherwise all-around volunteer in First Fandom. He wrote two fascinating-sounding publications with Don Franson, A History of the Hugo, Nebula, and International Fantasy Awards, Listing Nominees & Winners, 1951-1970 and A History of the Hugo, Nebula, and International Fantasy Awards. (Died 2005.)
  • Born May 26, 1964 Caitlín R. Kiernan, 59. They’re an impressive two-time recipient of both the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker awards. As for novels, I’d single out Low Red MoonBlood Oranges (writing as Kathleen Tierney) and The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as being particularly worth reading. They also fronted a band, Death’s Little Sister, named for Neil Gaiman’s character, Delirium.
  • Born May 26, 1970 Alex Garland, 53. Writer of DreddEx Machina and Annihilation (which I still haven’t seen — opinions please on it — the books for the latter were excellent and usually don’t see films based on fiction I like). Ex Machina was nominated for a Hugo at MidAmeriCon II, Annihilation likewise was at Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon. Dredd alas wasn’t nominated. He also wrote 28 Days Later but I’m really not into Pandemic films right now despite the current one ending. 

(12) BOOKSTORE UNIONIZATION UPDATE. Publishers Weekly tells the status of three different bookstore unionization efforts: “Workers at Park Slope B&N File for Union Election; Hadley, Mass. Store Votes for Union”.

Barnes & Noble workers at the Park Slope, Brooklyn, store filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board on May 25, seeking representation from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The news comes a little less than a month after workers at the flagship B&N store in Manhattan’s Union Square launched their own union drive, and on the same day as 15 workers at the B&N outlet in Hadley, Mass., voted unanimously to join the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1459. The Union Square B&N election is scheduled for June 7.

(13) ANTHOLOGY WILL BENEFIT PRO-CHOICE ORGANIZATION. [Based on a press release.] Aqueduct Press announced today that it will publish Adventures in Bodily Autonomy: Exploring Reproductive Rights in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror. One hundred percent of royalties will go to NARAL, Pro-Choice America.

Edited by Raven Belasco, author of the Blood & Ancient Scrolls series, the anthology will feature the work of Kathleen Alcalá, Elizabeth Bear, Raven Belasco, Tara Campbell, Anya De Niro, Jaymee Goh, Cynthia Gralla, K Ibura, Ellen Klages, Annalee Newitz, Nisi Shawl, Cecilia Tan, Sonya Taaffe, Helena María Viramontes, and an introduction by international social justice activist Maggie Mayhem.

World Fantasy Award Winner Elizabeth Lynn says this of the anthology, “So satisfying to read a volume of new speculative fiction stories centered on women’s experience, women’s lives, women’s choices! You’ll find a pleasurable variety here: hard sf, fantasy, ghosts, vampires, horror, sweet lyricism, and steel-edged noir—stories from well-known names, and stories from writers you’ve never encountered before. I guarantee that at least one story in this volume will make you punch the air in triumph, and another will work its way into your dreams, and not let go.”

(14) FANS IN THE FIFTIES. [Item by Andrew Porter.] Just an amazing number of photos from the 1950s, all digitized in Dave Rike’s gallery of old black-and-white photos of fans now preserved at the Internet Archive.

(15) RISKY BUSINESS. [Item by Steven French.] Like the author of this piece, I hadn’t really thought of quantum based tech being of interest to the insurance industry but of course, the latter is all about dealing with risk, and the former offers risk a-plenty. These include risks associated with cyber attacks (because according to the no cloning theorem quantum states can’t be replicated), or with the fact that we’re dealing with fundamentally irreducible probabilistic phenomena (at least according to most interpretations of quantum theory) but what was most interesting to me, as a philosopher of physics, was the concern about risks to do with our lack of understanding: “Commercializing quantum technologies: the risks and opportunities” at Physics World.

…Striking a balance between using reinsurance and insuring risk internally is a classic optimization problem that is very important for an insurance company to get right. Getting things wrong, even by a tiny bit, can be very costly. Scharrer explains that optimization is currently done using a heuristic approach that relies on human expertise.

While reinsurance optimization could be done better on a conventional computer, Scharrer says that it would take decades to do the calculations. And that is where a quantum computer could come in handy – because some quantum computers are predicted to be very good at solving certain optimization problems that could be relative to reinsurance. But like a lot of the technology being discussed at the conference, such a quantum computer does not yet exist.

In his talk, Munich Re’s Nawroth talked about how insurers could use quantum computers to do simulations that could help them better understand a wide range of phenomena that affect risk. These include climate change, green technologies, financial markets, pandemics, cyber security and so on….

(16) SPEAK, MEMORY. “Security vendor says fast action is needed now on deepfake voice” reports Biometric Update.

A new research report from security analyst vendor Recorded Future says voice cloning is capable of defeating voice multifactor authentication in the wild. Authors of the report say a cross-industry approach is needed to keep deepfake voice in check.

The report, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Do Crime,” is a nod to science-fiction author Harlan Ellison’s dark visions, but the findings it contains warrant poetic flourish.

“Voice cloning technology is currently being abused by threat actors in the wild,” the report states. It is “enabling the spread of misinformation and disinformation and increasing the effectiveness of social engineering.” The barrier to entry continues to get lower, with platforms such as ElevenLabs’s popular Prime Voice AI offering low cost, browser-based options for text-to-speech (TTS) conversion.

“Voice cloning samples – such as those of celebrities, politicians, and internet personalities (‘influencers’) – and are intended to create either comedic or malicious content, which is often racist, discriminatory, or violent in nature,” the report says. Threat actors are demonstrating effective voice-based fraud attacks including voice phishing, or vishing….

(17) FLIGHT TEST. BBC News finds Virgin Galactic back on the scene after two years: “Virgin Galactic: Sir Richard Branson’s rocket plane returns to spaceflight”.

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocket plane is back in action after a gap of almost two years.

The Unity vehicle, with two pilots and four passengers aboard, climbed high over the New Mexico desert to the edge of space – before gliding back down.

It was billed as the plane’s final test outing before entering commercial service in June.

Galactic has sold over 800 tickets to individuals who want to ride more than 80km (260,000ft) above Earth.

The company expects to start working through this passenger list with Unity flights initially occurring at the rate of one a month. New rocket planes are being designed for service in 2026 that should each be capable of increasing the cadence to one a week.

Thursday’s mission came just a couple of days after winning bids were announced to buy the assets in Sir Richard’s other space firm, Virgin Orbit, which filed papers with a bankruptcy court in April….

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Actor, author and “Reading Rainbow” founder LeVar Burton joined the L.A. Times Book Club on May 24 to discuss the State of Banned Books with Times editor Steve Padilla.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, Steven French, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

41 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/26/23 Pixels Get Ready, There’s A Scroll A-Coming

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    Everybody sing now! “Ninety-nine Pixel Scrolls on the wall. Zero notices do I recall….”

  2. [6] Mine began with the discovery of my father’s childhood bookshelf at my grandfather’s house. That Christmas I read a bunch of books my dad read when he was 14 — Asimov’s The Currents of Space is the one firmly entrenched in my mind and bunches and bunches of Heinlein. I didn’t like most of it! Only in my late late late teens did I return to science fiction. In part due to some crossover authors like Tad Williams who wrote epic fantasy (what I really wanted to read) and later novel series of science fiction. And then I moved to the Hugo list… and found my niche that I inhabit to this day on my website (1945-1985 with a focus on the New Wave, experimental, feminist, etc.).

  3. I discovered sf — without knowing that’s what it was — in a book about a kid having a space adventure that I encountered as part of my omnivorous reading in the elementary school library. (Luckily I lived in a time when there was such a thing.) A few years ago I tracked down the title, however, have forgot it again.

    I re-discovered sf when a friend told me the story line of the Lensman Series which he’d been reading, and I managed to borrow the series via interlibrary loan. Then proceeded (as so many fans do) to read everything on the sf shelf of the public library. Then the pulp magazines. After that I was a goner.

  4. (6) We had a set of story books that include one volume that was partly SF. (You can still find the set at places like eBay.) And there was a copy of the Astounding Science Fiction Anthology. My father also had a subscription to Astounding/Analog. By the time I was in junior high, I was good at sliding the wrapper off and back on…

  5. (11) I’ve read Chambers’ oddball “In Search of the Unknown” – a collection of humorous crtptobiology tales that always go badly for the hero.

  6. I think my discovery of the speculative genres was when Mom started bringing me home books to read. I liked unicorns, so she brought me home a book with a unicorn on the cover (A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Madeline L’Engle). Then there were the Pern books, because if I liked unicorns I probably liked dragons right? And so it went into Xanth (in retrospect: eeeeesh!) and MythAdventures, and Discworld (I think I was in the hospital when she handed me Sourcery), and around that time I was going to the mall with her and poking around in bookstores with her and scouring the SF/F section of Waldenbooks and B. Daltons for anything I hadn’t read yet. (Waldenbooks and B. Daltons were my reward for putting up with trying on clothes at the department stores. Ugh. Clothes shopping.)

    And then of course I’d started spending recess at the lower school library, having realized I didn’t need a parent to buy something if I wanted to read it.

    This is really more how I discovered fantasy fiction than SF, but you know how one thing leads to another. To get SF-specific, I think the first (and only?) book my mom actively denied me was Christopher Stasheff’s Escape Velocity. “Well, I don’t know anything about it, so I don’t know if it’s appropriate,” said the parental figure who had just a few years earlier handed pre-teen me A Spell for Chameleon. In Mom’s defense, I think she had gotten nervous that she wasn’t fulfilling her parental responsibilities by just handing me books she hadn’t herself read, and that maybe she should put some boundaries around what I was allowed to read, and this just happened to be the next book I asked her to buy me after she formed the intention to put some guardrails down and increase her ratio of Nos to Yeses.

    I never actually tracked Escape Velocity down and read it. Whatever caused me to choose it that day in my teens hasn’t reached out and grabbed me since. There’s always something higher up on the TBR pile.

  7. (11) Maybe it’s also worth mentioning that James Arness was the older brother of Peter Graves.

  8. The N3F Review of Books Incorporating Prose Bono
    May 2023 issue is out.
    Table of Contents
    2 … A Reluctant Druid by Jon Osborne … Review by Jim McCoy
    3 … A Spring for Spears by Katie Cross & Derek Alan Siddoway … Review by Declan Finn
    6 … Cherry Drop by P.A. Piatt … Review by Jim McCoy
    8 … Dust by Hugh Howey … Review by Russ Lockwood
    8 … Hell Spawn by Declan Finn … Review by Graham Bradley
    10 … Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn … Review by Chris Nuttall
    12 … Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear … Review by Perry Middlemiss
    12 … Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke … Review by Tom Feller
    13 … The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold … Review by Tom Feller
    13 … The Moon and the Desert by Robert Hampson … Review by Declan Finn
    15 … New Writings in SF-5 … Review by Perry Middlemiss
    15 … New Writings in SF-8 … Review by Perry Middlemiss
    16 … One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle … Review by Tom Feller
    16 … Orbit 4 … Review by Perry Middlemiss
    16 … The Prisoner by Thomas M. Disch … Review by Jean-Paul L. Garnier
    17 … The Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle by Chris Kennedy … Review by JR Handley
    20 … Shift by Hugh Howey … Review by Russ Lockwood
    20 … Ship of Destiny by Frank Chadwick … Review by Russ Lockwood
    20 … Splashdown by Blaine L. Pardoe … Review by Graham Bradley
    23 … Star Bounty 1. Absolution by Rick Partlow … Review by Declan Finn
    24 … Steel World by B.V. Larson … Review by JR Handley
    29 … Stigers Tigers by Mark Alan Edelheit … Review by JR Handley
    34 … To Sleep In A Sea Of Stars by Christopher Paolini … Review by Mindy Hunt
    36 … Tower of Silence by Larry Correia … Review by Graham Bradley
    39 … The Traveler by Stephan Bolz … Review by JR Handley
    41 … When the Tripods Came by John Christopher … Review by Jean-Paul L. Garnier
    41 … Wool by Hugh Howey … Review by Russ Lockwood
    Literary Criticism
    42 … Is the Term “Science Fiction” Passé? by A. C. Cargill
    42 … Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985
    Edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre … Review by Tom Feller
    Prose Bono
    49 … Crafting Your Characters by A. C. Cargill
    51 … Don’t Look at the Words by Cedar Sanderson
    51 … Feeling Romantic by Cedar Sanderson
    53 … Finding a Style by Cedar Sanderson
    55 … How to: Author Central by Cedar Sanderson
    56 … It’s a Mess by Cedar Sanderson
    57 … Just a Little Brain by Cedar Sanderson
    58 … Urges and Impulses by Cedar Sanderson
    59 … The Working Writer and Artist by Cedar Sanderson
    60 … Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders … Review by Tom Feller

  9. I think the first “SF” that I read was from my elementary school library when I was in about the 3rd grade (1954): a juvenile titled “The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree” [1952], one of several books by Louis Slobodkin.

  10. 11) Blish was absolutely influenced by Chambers: his story “More Light” concerns “The King in Yellow” (the fictitious play) – and incorporates (most of) the actual play as written by Blish. (Minus a page, of course. Anyone who reads the whole thing goes mad.)

  11. Mike, could that book have been Encounter Near Venus? I won’t swear it was the first sf I encountered, because you’ve got to remember that my dad was a major source of books, including sf, regardless of age-appropriateness as seen by others. Probably the first one I stumbled across entirely on my own, though.

    (2) If DeSantis has his way, no fun at all will be legal in Florida.

    (3) I hope they move out of Florida altogether.

  12. 6) As far as I can recall, my SF journey started with writing — in first grade, I wrote and illustrated a story called “My Trip to Mars” which, alas, has not survived. (And I must’ve been exposed to something beforehand just to put the notion in my head — maybe Lost in Space reruns? — but details are fuzzy.)

    As far as my SF reading journey, John Christopher’s Tripods books at a very young age, and any number of Heinlein juveniles, beginning with Red Planet.

  13. (11) The movie for Annihilation makes the characters generally more likeable. They work as a team, they share stories with each other, the psychologist isn’t a manipulative hypnotist, etc. The details of the plot are different, sometimes in ways that work better visually, sometimes (I think) to make the story more accessible, sometimes for reasons I have no insight (even imagined or wrong) into. The book is a found manuscript and the movie is not. I like them both, not always for the same reasons.

    @Patrick Morris Miller: the lucky ones go mad.

  14. The first SF book I recall reading was Heinlein’s ROCKETSHIP GALILEO out of the elementary school library; third grade, I think? (Third grade was when I got my first pair of glasses; for some reason, along with my grades improving, I began reading more after that.) I remember regularly browsing the library’s shelves for similar material, which was fairly thin on the ground. The Danny Dunn books were some I read, and THE SPACESHIP UNDER THE APPLE TREE and the MUSHROOM PLANET series. It wasn’t until I got a few years older, with Keith Laumer’s WORLDS OF THE IMPERIUM (first pb I bought, off a spinner rack at a local grocery) that I began to discover and get into SF for an older audience.

    (Edited to add: Almost forgot that at about age six, my parents took us kids to the downtown Phoenix public library. SPACE CAT was one of the books checked out, so it was actually my very first SF, and spoiled me for cats and science fiction ever since.)

  15. It all started with Mom’s bedtime stories, then Fireball XL5, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, Jonny Quest, bits of Star Trek, Scholastic Books SF offerings, Starman Jones, all extant Heinlein, Le Guin, Chandler, the Astounding anthology, discovery of the magazines, SF Hall of Fame, 73 Star Trek convention, 75 Philcon……..today.

    See? It WAS all my mom’s fault.

  16. My mom used to read us The Hobbit, I, Robot, Alice in Wonderland, and the Haunted Omnibus as bedtime stories. Not sure about first SF/F book I picked up myself to read. Possibly either Ruthven Todd’s Space Cat books from my elementary school library. Or maybe Andre Norton’s Outside.

  17. My earliest SF memories include Andre Norton, some of the Heinlein juveniles (Between Planets is the earliest I remember), and, of course, the UNEXA novels of Hugh Walters, which were re-released in electronic format a little while back, and which held up to a re-reading rather better than I’d expected (although I admit my expectations were pretty low.)

    On the visual front, I recall being terrified by the Cybermen in Doctor Who (and also remember my father sneering at the redesign for “The Invasion” – “Those aren’t Cybermen!” he said in tones of indignation.), I remember Thunderbirds, and then, one day in 1970, my mother spoke the fateful words to me, “Oh, you like science fiction, don’t you? Maybe you’ll like this new American thing, what’s it called, Star Trek…”

  18. 6) My first exposure to SF was probably Star Trek: The Next Generation. For speculative fiction in general, I would count both the Magic School Bus books and Sideways Stories from Wayside School as genre.

  19. No particular Scroll item to hook this to, but it had me laughing out loud in a couple places. Paul Rudnick’s NYT piece on what AI-written scripts might look like. It’s paywalled, but worth using up a free article for.


    Two genre-connected items:

    Prompt: A spinoff of “Game of Thrones.”
    ANY CHARACTER: I shall rule the kingdom because I am wearing the largest wig.

    Prompt: A new DC Studios superhero movie.
    BATMAN: I’m a darker, more troubled version of myself.
    SUPERMAN: Me too!

    (Though I laughed harder at the Law & Order script.)

  20. Eh, I came to SFF late, in junior high. Andre Norton, Adventure in Crosstime (?) and Moon of Three Rings. Then I moved on to several anthologies, including Asimov’s Tomorrow’s children (which introduced me to Zenna Henderson and the People) and a Silverberg anthology that introduced me to Heinlein (All You Zombies…). Things took off from there, but it’s interesting that what sticks were the short story collections as well as those two Nortons. Then I discovered the Lord of the Rings during a ninth grade testing session and, well….

    Before then I was a hard-core mystery, thriller, and spy fiction reader, especially with romantic elements. Funny thing is that while I’ll read the occasional thriller and spy fic story now, I have absolutely no interest at all in mysteries. Too many of them are predictable–straightforward romance is actually less formulaic in my perspective these days (that said, I’m partial to Beverly Jenkins and Courtney Milan, as well as other romance writers who tend to write non-formulaic romance). Mystery just doesn’t engage me anymore.

  21. I also get to blame my mom, since I attended my first SF convention when I was two. (Both of my younger brothers have me beat, of course.) Though technically, I could blame my grandmother, who, while she was never involved with fandom, did read a fair amount of SF, and passed her love of the genre on to my mom.

    The first SF book I read was Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars, which was, at the time, one of the very few SF books for younger readers. (Unless you count Dr. Seuss, in which case something by Dr. Seuss is probably my first.)

  22. The first official SF-in-literature I recall is Rocket Ship Galileo in 1955, probably from the public or school library, whereupon I worked my way through all the Winston titles on the shelves. But before that, there were the TV shows–Captain Video, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, Space Patrol–and before that there were the super-sciencey 30s-40s serials that got run in various time slots on local stations.

    At the same time, starting in third grade, I’d been devouring classical mythology in kiddified versions such as Hawthorne’s Wonder-Book for Boys and Girls. So I can hardly recall a time when my imagination wasn’t filled with the fantastic.

  23. My introduction to science fiction may have been the Flash Gordon Sunday newspaper comic strip. Then in third grade I discovered Heinlein’s juveniles in the school library. Around that same time I know that I was also listening to Space Patrol on the radio. (We didn’t have a TV yet).

    The first book I ever owned was the 1952 edition of The Astounding Science Fiction Anthology (John W. Campbell, editor). My mother let me choose one book for myself from her selections when she joined a book club and that was my choice. I still have that book. It’s a little marked-up. As a kid, I checked off each story in the Table of Contents as I read them!

  24. First SF I recall the titles of would be “Mission to Mars”, “Journey to Jupiter “ etc (by Hugh Walters, https://www.sfgateway.com/contributor/hugh-walters/) but mostly I read adult SF since the brand new local library didn’t have a specific children’s sf collection and the librarian didn’t see anything wrong with an 8yo reading anything they wanted.

    Also, of course all those organizations should leave Florida. Everyone should.

  25. I got my first library card shortly after my 5th birthday, about 3 months before I started kindergarten. Read every Dr. Suess book in the Oak Ridge TN public library, went on to the Oz books, the Mushroom Planet books, and others such as Miss Pickerell. We moved to Schenectady NY a couple of months before my 9th birthday, then to Pomona CA about a month after. It was in Pomona that I started reading adult SF; we were living in a rented house with only one window AC, in my parents’s bedroom. On hot afternoons we all tended to congregate in there, playing board games and/or reading. I started reading my father’s SF magazines then. After a few months we moved to San Dimas; iirc the public library there had some Norton and Heinlein juveniles. At some point along the way my mother started checking out adult books for me. so I was able to access adult SF novels too.

  26. RE: My first exposure to SF was watching Disney’s “20,000 Leages Under the Sea,” from which I read everything by Jules Verne, and it went onward from there.
    RE: Bradbury Museum Closing: There are so many interviews and sites devoted to his works, why not create a Bradbury Museum online, with links to interviews, biographical info, etc? It seems the logical thing, in the age of Covid, high rents, and insufficient funding from cities for any cultural specialties.
    RE: Furries: I have to wonder how DeSantis’ minions would determine which furry is going to the correct bathroom! Honestly, I woudn’t consider going to Florida right now. I’m a short guy, and even where I live in a blue state, I frequently get misgendered. I’d rather not get beaten up by people who think I “might be” something I”m not.
    RE: Abuses of publishers: What an arguement in favor of self publishing! Plus, you’d preserve your film rights!
    RE: Roy Dotrice: He had two daughers who followed in his acting footsteps. Karen Dotrice was the little girl in “Mary Poppins,” and “Three Lives of Thomasina,” and her sister, Michelle Dotrice was in an episode of “The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries,” and an episode of “Miss Marple.”
    RE: Levar Burton & banned books: I think it’s reprehensible to ban books that accurately reflect the experiences of black, gay/lesbian, and trasngendered history. The exact same attack tactics are being used now to attack transgendered CHILDREN, were previously used against Blacks in the 1940’s -1960’s, and also against gay/lesbian people in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
    Had trouble finding the right link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwi5GL_BhH8&t=40s)
    “It seems to me that if you are afraid of knowledge, right, and you want to ban books, you’re not afraid of the books, you’re afraid of learning.” -Burton

    In my search, I found a very inspiring talk Burton gave on the transformative effects of literature (11 years ago):

    See also, “therighttoreadfilm.org”

  27. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: May 28, 2023 - Amazing Stories

  28. I’m sure that started off with the Heinlein juveniles from the public library here followed by a lot of works by Bradbury. I read pretty much everything that Niven wrote in the Seventies (though I stopped reading him shortly thereafter.) And I love a lot of the Norton works as well.

  29. Although I was reading fairy tales and legends from the time I learned to read, my first exposure to genre sf was listening to DIMENSION X on the radio ca. 1950. I saw my father reading ASTOUNDING but didn’t read it or other magazines until I tried James Blish’s “A CASE OF CONSCIENCE in IF in 1953. I read THE ASTOUNDING SF ANTHOLOGY out of my high school library. I didn’t encounter Andre Norton’s sf until I was in grad school in 1962 and to this day have never read a Heinlein juvenile.

  30. SF first came to me over the airwaves on Thursday Sept 8th, 1966 at 8:30pm on NBC.
    Later, my mother was talking to HER mother, who had worked on the Manhattan Project, and said to her “He’s watching some ‘Star…’ thing on TV.” Grandma, scientist that she was, went “Oh Ho!” and took me to to see 2001: A Space Odyssey when it first came out (Cinerama deep screen format, intermission, and everything)
    N.Y.C. April 1968.

    I was hooked, and then the Library beckoned…

  31. @Lenora Rose: Would you be willing to bet your freedom on a Florida judge ruling in your favor if the question came up? That’s the whole point of vague laws–the inability of a reasonable person to know definitely when they are violating them. Thus the self-censorship, which I deplore but understand.

  32. John A Arkansawyer: No, I would not, which is why I also understand and even agree with the Con making the choice it made.

    I was responding purely to Bill’s dismissive ” . . . or they could, y’know, just not show sex stuff to kids.” Which seems a better place to direct your question and your very true point about the vagueness of the law.

  33. ” . . . like it says they didn’t do in the first place?” Where does either the CBR or the Rolling Stone article say that? I can’t find it . . .

  34. I want to memorialize the person who introduced me to SF: David Welsh of New Carrollton, Maryland. I have never found any online evidence that he passed through this world. David was a small, very weak, bookish kid, a bit older than me, with a raspy voice, thick glasses, and a congenital heart problem. He died around age 24, more than 40 years ago.

    Sometime around my second grade, my friend John and I were invited to David’s house and he introduced us to his bookcase of Tom Swift Jr. books, many of which were the early editions with the blue spines. And I was hooked.

    David and I were never close, but we ran into each other at the library and chatted regularly for about a decade, until I left for college.

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