Pixel Scroll 5/31/22 A Pixel Of Scrollsea

(1) BURKE FOLLOW-UP. Stephanie Burke told Facebook readers today her Balticon experience is exacting a physical toll. (For background, see “Balticon Chair Apologizes After Author Stephanie Burke Removed From Panels”.)

…Still no word but maybe today I can meet with both my psychiatrist and a lawyer because I think I am spent. I am fighting back a flare-up, I am ignoring the costochondritis pain in my chest, and I finally managed to get food down without fear of it coming back up. I think I’ll be good for now but this is still dangling over my head and freaking me out. I have ripped out so much hair on one side that I contemplated cutting it all off again. I just need to breathe deeply and take it moment by moment. The first step, the tests were negative. Remember that. The second step, get my meetings set, and the third step, don’t panic and do my best to carry on.

I love you, Loves. Thank you for keeping me sane. I think without your support I would have crumbled and given up. This is a style of attack that I’m unfamiliar with but with like most things, a Black girl’s tears won’t get you shit so you shake it off and move on. I can attempt to start to do that because of your belief in me. Thank you so very much….

(2) PANEL MODERATOR’S STATEMENT. Sarah Avery, moderator of the “Diversity Readers and Why You Need Them” which is the source of the complaint, made a statement in File 770 comments. (It’s also on Twitter: thread starts here.)

I was the moderator on that panel, and the first moment I heard about what happened to Stephanie was 30 minutes ago from a person whose only involvement with Balticon was as an attendee. I am Not Thrilled about having to go to Facebook and File 770 to get details about this situation. After searching my email inbox, spam, and incoming social media messages, I haven’t found any attempts to contact me from the people investigating the incident. It’s possible there have been attempts I haven’t found, or that the person investigating got my contact info wrong, but it’s not looking great at the moment.

Because I got stuck in traffic on the way into Baltimore, I was a little over 10 minutes late for a panel I was scheduled to moderate. That is mortifying and entirely on me. It is possible that whatever the complaint is about happened while I was not yet in the room.

I’ve been playing back my recollections of the panel from the moment I did arrive, trying to match things Stephanie said with the adjectives in her account of the accusations against her. As a white cishet woman, I know I am not optimally attuned to what is hurtful to all the kinds of people whose lives are unlike mine. (The reason I volunteered to moderate a panel on why writers need diversity readers is that I knew I specifically was a writer who needed them.) Until I can find out more about the contents of the complaint, I’m not able to make any kind of declaration on either the complainant’s assertions or Stephanie’s about the diversity readers panel.

I can say that nothing I saw or heard called for the way Stephanie was pulled out of an ongoing panel. That event shocks me.

(3) ONE AUTHOR’S THOUGHTS GOING FORWARD. Gail Z. Martin on Facebook criticized Balticon’s handling of the code of conduct complaint, and demanded conventions implement specified improvements if they expect authors to accept the risks of appearing on panels. The text of the post can also be read in the following tweet:

(4) WISCON COVID EXPOSURE REPORT. WisCon was held last weekend in Madison, WI and the committee is collecting and sharing reports of positive Covid tests from those who attended in person in this Google spreadsheet: “Possible exposure locations”. There are 10 positives listed to date.

Those who attended the convention in person are receiving email updates:

(5) MUSLIM SF CONSIDERED. “Emad El-Din Aysha on ‘Arab and Muslim Science Fiction’: ‘Our male heroes aren’t criticized for crying’” at Arablit.

What makes Arab and Muslim science fiction special?

EA: That’s the million-dollar question. I’d say we place the spirit center stage. We want to shelter it from corrupting influences, technological arrogance included, which is a Quranic injunction. Evil suggestions don’t just come from the devil; they come from within. And the world on the outside is perceived as mystical and miraculous.

We have a lot in common with sci-fi from the Global South, too. Our concerns lie elsewhere, whether it’s turning the deserts green or maintaining family values, or honoring religion. As Arabs especially, we love gardens and vines and family get-togethers in our mini-utopias. As Muslims, we have a much more holistic vision of the future, of what the future should look like, with peaceful coexistence and a much more genteel attitude to everything, from mental and spiritual health, to alien contact and space exploration. Our heroes, while predominantly men, aren’t criticized for crying during profound moments and women are surprisingly well represented and proactive in our stories. There’s still room for improvement though.

Of course not all Arab and Muslim sci-fi is quite so benign and optimistic, especially post-Arab Spring, but you can still feel that positive force in the background, even as younger authors take on the mantle of alien invasion epics and dystopias. You find chivalry and redemption creeping in through the back door. Our humor is very tongue-in-cheek too.

(6) KENOBI STAR SUFFERS RACIST ATTACKS. The Hollywood Reporter tells how “‘Star Wars’ Defends ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Star Moses Ingram From Vile Online Attacks: ‘Don’t Choose to Be Racist’”.

“There are more than 20 million sentient species in the Star Wars galaxy, don’t choose to be a racist,” began the message from Disney accounts. “We are proud to welcome Moses Ingram to the Star Wars family and excited for Reva’s story to unfold. If anyone intends to make her feel in any way unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist.”

Ingram plays Reva Sevander, aka the Third Sister, who is hunting Obi-Wan Kenobi for Darth Vader in the new Disney+ series, shared on her Instagram stories several of the absolutely horrendous online messages aimed at her, some of which included the N-word.

“There’s nothing anybody can do about this,” Ingram said in a video after sharing the spewed venom she’s endured. “There’s nothing anybody can do to stop this hate. I question my purpose in even being here in front of you saying that this is happening. I don’t really know.”

She continued, “The thing that bothers me is this feeling inside of myself, that no one has told me, but this feeling that I have to shut up and take it, that I have to grin and bear it. And I’m not built like that. So, I wanted to come on and say thank you to the people who show up for me in the comments and the places that I’m not going to put myself. And to the rest of y’all, y’all weird.”

Around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Ewan McGregor posted a message about the abuse via the Star Wars account, both about Obi-Wan Kenobi being the most-watched Disney+ original series premiere, but most importantly about the abuse Ingram has endured.

“It seems that some of the fan base has decided to attack Moses Ingram online and send her the most horrendous, racist [direct messages]. I heard some of them this morning, and it just broke my heart,” he said. “Moses is a brilliant actor. She is a brilliant woman. And she is absolutely amazing in this series. She brings so much to the series, she brings so much to the franchise. And it just sickened me to my stomach that this had been happening. I just want to say as the lead actor in the series, as the executive producer on the series, that we stand with Moses. We love Moses. And if you’re sending her bullying messages, you’re no Star Wars fan in my mind. There’s no place for racism in this world. And I totally stand with Moses.”

(7) COUNT THE CLOCK THAT TELLS THE TIME. Mad Genius Club’s Amanda S. Green offers “A Word or Two of Warning” about a defect in Kindle Direct Publishing’s countdown clock.

…Except, the change didn’t take. It didn’t take twice. Additional calls to KDP Support revealed the following:

  1. KDP knows there is a problem with the countdown clock. It does occasionally decide to take time away from the author
  2. KDP knows this but has not, so far at least fixed the issue
  3. KDP techs have no way to override the program, no matter what the reason. Once that timer starts, the software runs everything and humans are helpless. (Hmm, sounds like maybe they are sharing software and/or developers with FB. It worships the power of the ‘bot as well)
  4. And here’s the kicker. The only options you are given when you are at this point is to cancel the pre-order and hope Amazon will waive the penalty of no pre-orders allowed for a year (and there is no guarantee they will) or you can go ahead and upload the file, incomplete though it might be and, as soon as the book goes live, upload the correct file. 

As I later announced on my blog and social media, I chose the latter. Except I’m sure I did it in such a way Amazon won’t exactly appreciate. I uploaded the file with a disclaimer attached saying it is not the final file. That if you have bought the book and you see this particular page, you have the wrong file and this is how to get the correct file. I included instructions on how to download the correct file or contact me–and I set up a special email account for this purpose–in case it doesn’t work….

(8) ASIAN HERITAGE IN HORROR Q&A. “Asian Heritage in Horror: Interview with Angela Yuriko Smith” at the Horror Writers Association Blog.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

Like many of us that are attracted to horror, it was real-life trauma. I saw and heard things no one else could as a child but the adults around me advised me to ignore it. It became a thing to not talk about because it made everyone around me uncomfortable. As an adult, I understand now what a creepy child I was but at the time it was frustrating. Horror stories were more real to me than daily life because they were populated with people like me in them. People heard disembodied voices, interacted with shadows, and saw people no one else could. They were often told, like me, it was just imagination but they knew—and I knew—these things were real. It made me feel less of an outsider to read these stories. I realized I wasn’t actually so weird, I was just in the wrong story.

(9) ALEX BROWN. Camestros Felapton continues his series of why-you-should-vote-for each Best Fan Writer finalist with “Alex Brown: Hugo 2022 Fanwriter Finalist”.

Alex Brown is an award-winning SF&F critic (2020 Ignyte Best Critic Award), librarian and fan writer who has written for Locus, Tor.com, NPR and Buzzfeed. They’ve also written two non-fiction books about the Napa Valley…. 


1990 [By Cat Eldridge.] I saw Total Recall at a theater when it first came out and yes I really, really like it. 

It was directed by Paul Verhoeven, three years after he had done RoboCop. Though he didn’t get a Hugo nomination for that film, he’d get one for this film at Chicon V. (And Starship Troopers picked one up at BucConeer.) The screenplay was by Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusettand and Gary Goldman from a story by O’Bannon along with Ronald Shusett and Jon Povill. It was produced by Buzz Feitshans, who previously produced Conan the Barbarian, and Ronald Shusett.

As you know, it was based (rather loosely) upon Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in April 1966. Shusett was the first individual to option this story. 

Ok, this film is pure SF pulp. It’s not to be taken seriously, the setting is pure pulp, the characters are more fitting for a Thirties serial than the setting they are in and the script is at best just cobbled together. More than one review notes that it went through a lot of rewrites. 

The primary cast of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox are perfect for it. Schwarzenegger had long wanted to play the lead but studio politics kept him from doing so. Eventually it was OKed by a studio that had a studio that had, oh you get the idea.

To this day, no one knows how much it costs to produce but it’s thought to be at least eighty million dollars which was OK as it made a quarter of a billion dollars. Yeah it was a very popular film with the public. 

Now what did the critics think of it? It got a decidedly mixed reception. 

Rita Kempley at the Washington Post really didn’t like it: “Aside from a few terrific effects, ‘Total Recall’ is not good science fiction. Despite the big budget, it is a wasteland of latex prostheses, dreary sets and broken glass. Its main selling point — the story line — betrays the audience with its sheepish ending. And its star gives an unusually oafish performance, a cross between Frankenstein’s monster, a hockey puck with swollen glands and Col. Klink. Like Stallone, Schwarzenegger is a talking cartoon whose objective is to make violence fun. And they called Conan the barbarian.”

But Michael Wilmington at the Los Angeles Times was much kinder: “Verhoeven, working from an often-rewritten screenplay distantly based on Philip K. Dick’s brilliant 1966 short story ‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,’ keeps ringing these truth-or-illusion changes throughout the movie. And if they don’t always click, if the movie sometimes seems overwhelmed by its budget and its legendary third-act problems, it’s still entertainingly raw and brutal, full of whiplash pace and juicy exaggeration.”

Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a most excellent seventy eight percent rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 31, 1895 George R. Stewart. As we have noted here, his 1949 novel Earth Abides won the first International Fantasy Award in 1951. That was a British award and the first one, this very one, was given at Festivention. Other genre works would include Man, An Autobiography and Storm which is at least genre adjacent. (Died 1980.)
  • Born May 31, 1914 Jay Williams. He’s best remembered for his young adult Danny Dunn SFF series which he co-authored with Raymond Abrashkin. Though Abrashkin died in 1960, Williams insisted HIS CO-author should continue to receive credit as co-author of all 15 books of this series. Though his first novel, The Stolen Oracle was a mystery for adults, he did write mysteries for young adults, such as The Counterfeit African and The Roman Moon Mystery, both written in the Forties. (Died 1978.)
  • Born May 31, 1930 Elaine Stewart. Born with the name of the of Elsy Henrietta Maria Steinberg.  She was Jane Ashton in Brigadoon which is surely genre. She also in The Adventures of Hajji Baba as Princess Fakzia. (Died 2011.)
  • Born May 31, 1950 Gregory Harrison, 72. I’m always surprised to discover a series didn’t last as long as I thought it did. He was Logan 5 in Logan’s Run which only lasted fourteen episodes. He was also in Dark Skies, twenty episodes before cancellation, as the voice of Old John Loengard, and had one-offs in Dead Man’s Gun (cursed object and that series actually lasted awhile), Touched by an AngelOuter Limits and Miracles.
  • Born May 31, 1961 Lea Thompson, 61. She’s obviously best known for her role as Lorraine Baines in the Back to the Future trilogy though I remember her first as Beverly Switzler in Howard the Duck as I saw Back to the Future after I saw Howard the Duck. Not sure why that was. Her first genre role was actually as Kelly Ann Bukowski in Jaws 3-D, a film I most decidedly did not see. If you accept the Scorpion series as genre, she’s got a recurring role as Veronica Dineen on it.
  • Born May 31, 1976 Colin Farrell, 46. I remember him first as Bullseye in the much dissed Daredevil film. (It wasn’t that bad.) He was in Minority Report as Danny Witwer, a film I’ve skipped watching. And I see he’s listed as being the third transformation of Tony in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. H’h. Now he was Peter Lake in Winter’s Tale, a take off of Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, a novel no film could do justice to. Oh, he’s Holt Farrier in Dumbo… Now I know he was Douglas Quaid / Agent Carl Hauser in the remake of Total Recall but as you know from the essay above I really, really like the original film so I’ve not watched it. So who here has seen it? 
  • Born May 31, 1979 Sophia McDougall, 43. She has a very well-crafted alternative history series, the Romanitas series, in which Rome didn’t fall and rules the world today. She has two SF novel — Mars Evacuees is sort of YA alien invasion novel; Space Hostages reminds me of a Heinlein YA novel. 
  • Born May 31, 1995 Jeremy Szal, 27. He says he was (probably) raised by wild dingoes. He writes about galactic adventures, wide-screen futures, and broken characters fighting for hope in dark worlds. He is author of the dark space-opera novel Stormblood published in February 2020 (more recently launched in the US), and is the first of a trilogy. His short fiction has appeared in Nature, Abyss & Apex, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Tor.com, The Drabblecast. He is the fiction editor for the Hugo-winning StarShipSofa, which once lead to Harlan Ellison yelling at him on the phone. He carves out a living in sun-bleached Sydney, Australia. He loves watching weird movies, collecting boutique gins, exploring cities, and dark humour. Find him at http://jeremyszal.com/ or @JeremySzal (By Jeremy Szal)


  • Broom Hilda learns why a bar is popular with a certain kind of deceased customer.

(13) PINK CAT DISINVITED BY TORONTO COMIC ART FESTIVAL. Bleeding Cool reports the event addressed the controversies about its guest Pink Cat by rescinding the invitation: “Pink Cat Fight At TCAF – Saba Moeel & Toronto Comic Art Festival”.

Digital artist Saba Moeel creates her Pink Cat Daily comics on Instagram for around five years, with a following of around a quarter of a million people. Pink Cat is a human/cat hybrid that sports many tattoos, takes drugs, and talks in spiritual slang and punchlines, and is basically what if Tank Girl and Garfield had a kid and left her with a bunch of hippies. Pink Cat has been collected in comic book collections, but it’s not the physical manifestations of Pink Cat that are causing problems, it’s the digital. Of the non-fungible kind.

The committee announced its action here: “TCAF Statement Re: Pink Cat”.

TCAF is rescinding its invitation to Pink Cat, also known as Saba Moeel, due to code of conduct violations and the concerns expressed by the comics community.

TCAF initially extended a programming invitation to Moeel on the basis of their daily digital comics work on Instagram, and the personal importance that work had to one of our team members. At the time of this invitation, the organization was unaware of Moeel’s online conduct, plagiarism, or allegations of tracing. We apologize for programming and promoting this artist.

We made a mistake. As a promise to our community, we will use this as a learning moment as we move forward as an organization, and will re-examine the checks and balances we currently use to process our programming decisions.

Polygon’s coverage includes a response quote from the artist: “The Toronto Comic Arts Festival boots NFT artist: ‘We made a mistake’”.

The controversy around Moeel intensified when social media users went through her online history to find a history of tracing artworktweets disparaging community artistsappropriating Black culture for profit, and transphobic remarks. Polygon contacted Moeel for comment via Twitter; she replied with the following message.

“Yeah these guys invited me to disinvite me. They payed flight hotel etc, i didnt even know who they were. Very weird

“This isn’t my world, I’m a real life artist I don’t care about organizations or trade shows, I have my own following it’s not a cult following it’s mainstream. The LA times called me the Gen Z Garfield, we aren’t in the same league.”

(14) HANDMAID TURNOVER. “’The Handmaid’s Tale’ star Alexis Bledel leaving show before Season 5” reports USA Today.

Alexis Bledel has finished her telling of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The 40-year-old actress announced Friday that she’s exiting the futuristic dystopian Hulu series after the show’s fourth season, which aired last spring.

“After much thought, I felt I had to step away from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ at this time,” Bledel said in a statement provided to USA TODAY by her representative. “I am forever grateful to (show creator) Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support.” 

Hulu’s flagship drama is expected to return for a fifth season.

(15) PLANETARY INFLUENCES. “Jupiter and Saturn fight over Narnia” is the tagline for Michael Ward’s “The Last Battle, Revisited” at Plough.

…Lewis had a lifelong interest in medieval cosmology. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that Earth was stationary, surrounded by seven concentric “heavens,” each with its own planet which in turn had particular influences on Earth, affecting people and events in various ways. While we might consider this cosmological model entirely outdated, Lewis found some continuing importance in it. He described the planets as “spiritual symbols of permanent value” and wrote about them extensively. The best planet, according to medieval thought, was Jupiter, responsible for “heartsease” and prosperity, bringing about festivity and magnanimity in peaceable kingdoms. The worst planet was Saturn, sponsor of death, destruction, darkness, and disaster. The very word “disaster” means “bad star,” and Saturn was the most malignant of the wandering stars.

Lewis remarked that his own generation had been “born under Saturn,” doomed to experience an especially bleak period in history. Having endured the horrors of the Great War, some of his contemporaries had adopted a fixed attitude of pessimism and cynicism. They had come to believe that the universe was, in Lewis’s term, “Saturnocentric.” Hence the modernist tendency to focus on chaos and disorder, T. S. Eliot’s “heap of broken images” as he calls it in “The Wasteland.” Hence also the new impetus behind such artistic and philosophical movements as absurdism and nihilism. For how could there ever again be purpose and hope in the wake of the Battle of the Somme? On the opening day of that battle, July 1, 1916, almost twenty thousand British soldiers were killed and nearly forty thousand wounded. What further proof need there be that gallantry and patriotism are folly? The poet Wilfred Owen took aim at the schoolboy’s Horatian tag, dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (“it is sweet and seemly to die for one’s country”), calling it “the old Lie.”…

(16) MOUNTAIN HIGH. Read Kim Stanley Robinson waxing euphoric about the Sierras. It’s prose poetry – sparing that little bit for the groundlings. “Kim Stanley Robinson on Waking Up in the High Sierra” at Literary Hub.

When the sky gets light in the east I often wake. Pleased that day has almost arrived, I sometimes snuggle back into my sleeping bag for a last snooze; other times I put my glasses on and lie on my back and watch the stars wink out. The dawn sky is gray before it takes on the blue color. Sometimes peaks to the west of camp have a dawn alpenglow, more yellow than pink. It’s cold, but often I’m done with sleeping, and things are visible, and very likely I have to pee….

(17) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter was on Jeopardy! patrol tonight when this happened:

Category: Book of the Year

Answer: “Daybreak-2250 A.D.” is by prolific author Mary Alice Norton, better known to sci-fi fans by this first name.

No one could ask, “That name, Andre?”

(18) ANIMATED GREEN LANTERN. Here’s the trailer for “Green Lantern: Beware My Power”, a direct-to-video release, coming July 26.

Witness the action-packed induction of John Stewart to the Green Lantern Corps, and his first thrilling adventure alongside some familiar faces, when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases the all-new animated movie Green Lantern: Beware My Power on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital on July 26, 2022.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Ib “Honest Trailers: Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” the Screen Junkies say that Ben Schwartz, who voices Sonic, has played so many characters that are blue that we should look for him in the AVATAR sequel. Also, the second act diversion into a Hawaiian-set rom-com is “the best Tyler Perry movie hidden in a video game project.”

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Hampus Eckerman, JeremySzal, Will R., Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Maytree.]

47 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/31/22 A Pixel Of Scrollsea

  1. (11) Jay Williams also wrote The Hero From Otherwhere which I thoroughly enjoyed back in the 1970s.

  2. Found out that James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen is available for free in Kindle form. So far, it is much too smug for itself though the prose can be flat-out amazing at points.

  3. Rob Thornton says Found out that James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen is available for free in Kindle form. So far, it is much too smug for itself though the prose can be flat-out amazing at points.

    A quick perusal of the usual suspects shows that almost everything by him is available for free at this point. And the Queen of Air and Darkness knows that he was most prolific in his writing career!

  4. The original Total Recall was trash, with awful special effects, weak performances (except for Michael Ironside, who can always be counted on to chew the scenery) and a nonsensical plot.
    The remake proved there is no absolute in crappy movies. It managed to be worse than the first, completely lacking in humor, replacing Mars with the opposite side of the Earth, and a transport system that goes through the core of the planet. The ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ was taken out behind the woodshed and put out of its misery.

  5. “Much too smug for itself” is pretty much standard operating mode for James Branch Cabell, but I do like what I’ve read of his work.

    11) I’d say skip the Total Recall remake, but Minority Report is well worth checking out.

  6. Joe H. says I’d say skip the Total Recall remake, but Minority Report is well worth checking out.

    Figured as much on both counts.

    Now reading Lavie Tidhar’s Neom which if you liked Central Station, you’ll love this novel which it’s a sort of sequel to.

  7. Maybe this has already been done but:

    Those Who Scroll Away From Pixelas

  8. @iain Calling the original Total Recall “trash” … I will say only that for me, it nails PKD’s potboiler mode in every detail. And as Ron Burgundy would say, that is in no way bad.

  9. Maytree: Strangely enough, it hasn’t. Nor has it been suggested before.

  10. Lea Thompson has also directed episodes of a healthy handful of SFF television series. Such as an episode of Star Trek: Picard that I watched last night.

  11. Oh I got it slightly wrong — should be:

    “The Ones Who Scroll Away From Pixelas” (not “Those”)

  12. Meredith moment on Amazon UK Kindle store,

    There’s a bundle of the first 3 Detective Inspector Chen novels by Liz Williams – Snake Agent, The Demon and the City and Precious Dragon for £2.99. Recommended.
    You’d normally pay more than twice that for the cheapest of the three.

    Also, Naomi Novik’s The Last Graduate and Megan O’Keefe’s Velocity Weapon (Recommended) are 99p

  13. Never understood the hate against the original Total Recall movie. I liked it (not loved it) and while it was pulpy and unnecessarily violent, it nailed the ambiguity whether everything is just a fake memory or not.

    Minority Report was quite well done and I liked it as well.

  14. I was young enough to enjoy the original Total Recall. I’m old enough now to cringe if I have to watch it. It’s… not great. The remake was also not great, but in all new, very different not great ways. But they still made sure to give us a three breasted woman, because… reasons?

    Minority Report is excellent. Maybe a touch long, with at least one silly action sequence, but it’s really very good science fiction with a solid story and some deeply disturbing futurism involved.

    (1), (2), and (3) This is a mess, as we all knew it would be. But Gail absolutely nails my feelings about this. There’s no reason at this point in Balticon’s history that they don’t have systems in place to quickly and properly review a complaint while providing due process to the person facing accusations. Everything revealed so far shows incredibly unprofessionalism. That will always be a flaw of fan-run cons, but it doesn’t have to be when institutional knowledge is retained and past along. They’ve been doing this long enough by now to have figured this out.

  15. (13) The fact that she continues to call it a ‘trade show’ is just more evidence she shouldn’t have been invited in the first place.

  16. It’s been ages since I saw the original “Total Recall” but I remember that at the time the special effects were considered groundbreaking (the movie got a Special Achievement Award at the Oscars for the effects).

  17. Meredith moment: Michael Swanwick’s novel Jack Faust is $1.99 at the usual suspects, including Apple Books since it turns out I can use my iPod Touch to check that.

    I dislike Total Recall because I fell into the trap of comparing it with the story, which is a perfect little gem.

  18. Andrew (not Werdna) says It’s been ages since I saw the original “Total Recall” but I remember that at the time the special effects were considered groundbreaking (the movie got a Special Achievement Award at the Oscars for the effects).

    It also garnered, as I noted in my essay, a Hugo nomination at the time so fans obviously really liked it. I’ve watched it at least three times since and I thought that it has stood up well with the Suck Fairy coming nowhere near it.

  19. @Cat @Andrew. Even with Total Recall’s bullshirt science about terraforming, and how much rage the official novelization (by Piers Anthony) incurred in me, I agree.

  20. (11) McDougall’s Mars Evacuees was the first SF in the Middle Grade age set that I could find (after looking for a looong time) and it was so very good.

  21. Paul Weimer says Even with Total Recall’s bullshirt science about terraforming, and how much rage the official novelization (by Piers Anthony) incurred in me, I agree.

    It’s why in my essay I called it pulp and not SF. The whole story is keeping with a Thirties sensibility of that of Doc Savage. Even the technology better suits that era. It’s not bullshit science if it’s pulp science.

    Now listening to T. Jefferson Parker’s L.A. Outlaws, most definitely not genre.

  22. 13) On her twitter account, she blames the disinvite on “occidentals” and “people who love the central banking systems”.

  23. (13) Colin Farrell was recently in After Yang, a contemplative film about a family whose robot child dies, and how the family deals with their grief and with what they learn about the robot child’s past. I found it moody, thoughtful, and with a deft touch at painting the world in both broad and fine strokes without ever needing to As You Know Bob at the viewer.

  24. Rob Thornton: I’m probably making the mistake of answering a rhetorical question here,, but Paul Krugman was a guest speaker at the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal. I don’t recall if he has gone to any other cons. There are posts about his 2009 appearance on this site.

  25. @ Mike Glyer:

    Thank you. I did not know about his speech at Worldcon. That was before I started getting active in digital fandom (my physical participation has been intermittent).

  26. @ Michael J. Walsh

    Thanks. While I’m writing this, I am going to salve my conscience and apologize for the Paul Krugman comments. Regardless of the situation, Balticon was in the wrong and so am I by taking advantage of the situation. I’m sorry.

  27. (1) to (3) Everything I read about this makes it sound like an even bigger travesty — and one that could have been prevented.

    (10) I watched Total Recall in the theaters, and I remember being stunned (yet not completely surprised) by the number of parents who brought their little kids to that movie. Yes, Arnold had been in fun PG movies before that. But it was clearly marked as an R-rated movie. I know it was harder to research a movie before taking your kids back in the Paper Age, but it could still be done.

    There were elements about that movie I loved, and elements I hated — like the “Consider this a divorce line.” Did anyone involved consider the effect that throwaway line might have on the young children of divorced couples? Or on adults for that matter?

  28. (10) The Washington Post film reviewer in the ’90s was Rita Kempley, not Kempsey.

  29. One of the weirder things about Total Recall is its novelization (Piers Anthony’s only foray into that kind of media), and not just the fact that anyone felt the need to have one at all. But the fact that it came out nearly a year before the movie and was based on a much earlier draft of the script, with a very different ending.

  30. Paul Weimer says to that’s a fair distinction. Accepted

    You’re welcome.

    It’s not a film that ever struck me as being a SF film. It’s a fine pulp film but then I think the Judge Dredd is better judged, pun fully intended as a pulp film than as a SF film with a city straight out of the Thirties comic strips. The second Dredd film is pure SF to the core.

  31. @Jeff R.: In the letter column at some online SF site (perhaps SFsite itself) there was an angry letter from an Anthony fan who couldn’t understand why people kept talking about Phil Dick when talking about “Total Recall” – he had a copy of the book, and the author was clearly Piers Anthony.

  32. Andrew (not Werdna) notes In the letter column at some online SF site (perhaps SFsite itself) there was an angry letter from an Anthony fan who couldn’t understand why people kept talking about Phil Dick when talking about “Total Recall” – he had a copy of the book, and the author was clearly Piers Anthony.

    I’ve heard that story before. I think I heard it was in relation to the Star Wars film that Alan Dean Foster novelised that a fan couldn’t understand why Dean wasn’t getting credit for the script of the film.

  33. @andrew (not Werdna)

    In the letter column at some online SF site (perhaps SFsite itself) there was an angry letter from an Anthony fan who couldn’t understand why people kept talking about Phil Dick when talking about “Total Recall” – he had a copy of the book, and the author was clearly Piers Anthony.

    Can’t really blame him, since the original story wasn’t called that. And everyone knows Alan E. Nourse wrote “Bladerunner.”

  34. I liked parts of the original Total Recall but was put off by its tone of gleeful misogyny (the previously mentioned divorce line was only the most egregious example).

    Colin Farrell starred in The Lobster, which is definitely genre. If you don’t pair off by a specific time, you are transformed into an animal…

  35. @Cat: I wonder if the letter I saw was deliberately riffing on the Foster misunderstanding?

  36. Andrew (not Werdna) says I wonder if the letter I saw was deliberately riffing on the Foster misunderstanding?

    Oh quite possibly. It helps if people, particularly fans, pay attention to when things are published. Dean’s novelisation came out after the Star Wars film was released. Yes, occasionally a novelisation comes out before a film is released but in this case, it did not.

    Plant news: my pineapple bromeliad after just several months here decided to have pups which is what they call the offspring. I didn’t think they’d have viable root systems but when I dug up the parent plant, they did. So now I have three pineapple bromeliads here! (There’s roughly thirty bromeliads here out of the fifty house plants. It’s my hobby for being house bound.)

  37. May 31 is also the birthday of writer Melisa C. Michaels, best known for her Skyrider series, the first novel of which was nominated for a Locus Best First Novel award. Her short story, “In the Country of the Blind, No One Can See” (1979) was selected by Terry Carr for inclusion in his annual Best SF of the Year anthology series. She was also active in SFWA and received a SFWA Service award in 2008. (Died 2019.)

    We miss you, Auntie Melisa!

  38. Lea Thompson, 61. She’s obviously best known for her role as Lorraine Baines in the Back to the Future trilogy though I remember her first as Beverly Switzler in Howard the Duck as I saw Back to the Future after I saw Howard the Duck. Not sure why that was. Her first genre role was actually as Kelly Ann Bukowski in Jaws 3-D, a film I most decidedly did not see. If you accept the Scorpion series as genre, she’s got a recurring role as Veronica Dineen on it.

    Thompson’s genre work in the past year might seem considerably more relevant than work she did forty years ago.

    Lea Thompson

    Director (14)
    Star Trek: Picard
    (TV Series 2022)
    (2 episodes)

    Resident Alien
    (TV Series 2022)
    (2 episodes)

    (TV Series 2020-2021)
    (3 episodes)

    Young Sheldon
    (TV Series 2020)
    (1 episode)

  39. @ Cat: I bought a very small bromeliad in one of those magnet pots that you hang on the refrigerator because it was a kind I particularly liked. The one with the flat flower with purple.. Well, anyway, it outgrew that and I put it in a pot, and now, years later, it bloomed: with a completely different flower, this one red with side flowerlets of yellow. I don’t know what to make of this, but I have not had the time to research what happened. I do love bromeliads, despite the dictionary here not recognizing their existence. I have not had as much success with pineapples as I would have liked but the Tilandsias out by the front door of the house are doing fine. My dream is a Hieroglyphica, but all I can find are hybrids.

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