Pixel Scroll 5/6/19 Who Knows What Pixels Lurk In The Hearts Of Scrolls? The Filer Knows!

(1) A LITTLE GAFFE. Yahoo! Entertainment covers the internet uproar of the day — “Latest ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode Reveals There’s a Starbucks in Winterfell”. Mistake or product placement? You decide!

Somehow, a disposable coffee cup found its way into last night’s episode of Game of Thrones. In Winterfell’s main hall, Tormund sloppily toasts Jon as Daenerys watches nervously in the background, concerned that her lover-slash-nephew could challenge her for the Iron Throne. It’s a stressful time for the Khaleesi, and apparently, she prefers to calm her nerves with lattés instead of wine.

Yes, instead of a metal chalice — maybe something bejeweled, she is the Queen after all — the Mother of Dragons had what looked suspiciously like a Starbucks coffee cup sitting in front of her at a banquet celebrating the victory of the living in the Battle of Winterfell. It’s a big, obvious goof that made it into one of the most widely and closely watched shows in television history. Yikes.

(2) KNIT UP THE RAVELED SLEAVE OF CARE. Game of Thrones actors may need caffeine but the fans have a different problem says the Huffington Post: “‘Game Of Thrones’ Fans Are Turning To CBD For Episode Stress”.

…Hardcore fans have become consumed by the need to replay episodes in their heads and contemplate theories as they toss and turn in bed after the credits wrap, leaving many to say “not today” to episode anxiety by reaching for CBD products to calm themselves. So much so that the folks at Lord Jones, which specializes in luxury CBD products, have begun to notice a spike in Instagram tags for their brand on Sunday nights.

CBD, aka cannabidiol, is the nonpsychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant, and folks today turn to CBD-infused lotions, oils, gummies, pills and other products to help with their stress and anxiety.

(3) SPOILER-MAN. New trailer for Spider-Man: Far from Home. Joe H. cautions: “Note that it contains some pretty major spoilers for events from Avengers: Endgame, so calibrate your watching decision accordingly.”

(4) JURY VERDICT. The Aurealis Awards have published the “2018 Judging Comments” from the panelists who decided this year’s winners. Here’s one example —

Best Science Fiction Novel

Panel Members: Dianne De Bellis, Astrid Edwards, Lorraine Cormack. Cathie Tasker (Convenor)

Number of Entries: 43

Judging criteria:

The Best Science Fiction novel panel judged the entries against several criteria. Of utmost importance was the literary merit of the work. Originality, especially for SF themes, was also valued, along with strong characterisation and interesting world building. Another important factor was the extent to which science fiction themes were integral to the novel and the story being told.

Overview of nominations:

The competition for the top spots on the shortlist is tough this year.

The themes represented are varied, with several surreal works, space operas and genetic manipulation stories. Social issues are strong in fiction this year. The best of these avoid clichè and show strong understanding of how to present such issues in narratives that are compelling and challenging but in the end tell a good story.

The quality of the editing made a big difference and those on the shortlist show tight and accurate editing. Publishers and self-publishers should understand that typographical and spelling errors as well as superfluous and irrelevant prose throw the reader out of the story and work against some otherwise good ideas.

A number of excellent novels failed to reach the shortlist as they either were not genre novels at all, or had science fiction references that were incidental at best to the story being told. In others, genre elements were cliched or weak. It was positive to see many sub-genres represented, including surreal works, space operas, and hard science fiction. Many novels were strongly concerned with contemporary issues.

Cat Sparks’ photos from the Aurealis Awards event are on Flickr.  

(5) AUTOPSY FOR THE REVOLUTION. Lewis Shiner supplies “The Big Idea” today at Whatever, explaining the genesis of his novel Outside the Gates of Eden.

…I’d never written a book by starting with a high concept. My previous novels were inspired by historical incidents or particular obsessions of mine, and they usually announced themselves with dialog playing out in my head. Specifics first, generalities later. In this case the idea had such a grip on me that the specifics came tumbling along after it–the main characters, the first scenes, various milestones along the course of what I immediately knew was going to be at least a thousand-page manuscript.

What I didn’t know was why. What happened to our Revolution? To all our revolutions? How did the rich come to own the moral high ground along with all the banks and houses? I hoped the answers would come with the writing.

And if Outside the Gates of Eden does answer those questions, it’s in a novelistic way. Which is to say, I don’t expect readers to extract simple answers and match them to numbered questions printed in the back. Instead I hope that the experience of (re)living those years in the controlled environment of a novel will leave them feeling like maybe they understand something in a visceral way that they didn’t understand before….


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 6, 1915 Orson Welles. Certainly the broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” in 1938 was his pinnacle of genre success but he also for the Federal Theatre Project, did a 1936 adaptation of Macbeth with an entirely African American cast. That is was known as the Voodoo Macbeth might give you an idea of what he did to it. He would later do a more straightforward film of Macbeth. (Died 1985.)
  • Born May 6, 1932 Jack Sharkey. Author of several humorous SF novels,  It’s Magic, You Dope! and The Secret Martians. He also wrote an Addams Family franchise novel, The Addams Family. His two novels are in print at iBooks and Kindle though his short fiction is not so easily found. (Died 1991.)
  • Born May 6, 1946 Nancy Kilpatrick, 73. Fangoria called her “Canada’s answer to Anne Rice”. I know that I’ve read something of her fiction but I’ll be damned if I remember what it was. I do recommend the anthology she edited Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper as it’s a most excellent horror collection. 
  • Born May 6, 1952 Michael O’Hare. He was best known for playing Commander Jeffrey Sinclair on Babylon 5.  Other genre appearances were limited — he played Fuller in the 1984 film C.H.U.D, was Jimmy in the “ Heretic” episode of Tales from the Darkside and appeared as a thug on the subway train in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. (Died 2012.)
  • Born May 6, 1961 George Clooney,  58. In From Dusk till Dawn, he was Seth Gecko.  His first genre film was Return of the Killer Tomatoes where he was Matt Stevens. Of course, he was was Batman in Batman & Robin, a grand mess of a film. Later, he’s Devlin in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, and voices the lead role in Fantastic Mr. Fox. He’s Lieutenant Matt Kowalski in Gravity, and his last genre film to date is Tomorrowland where he’s Frank Walker, an inventor who breaches other dimensions. 


(8) FULL LID. Alasdair Stuart says in his Full Lid for May 3 he “takes a detailed look at the fantastic new science fiction comedy podcast Oblivity, the Hugo spotlight returns with the brilliant Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and I take a vastly spoiler-y look at why I like the final scene of Avengers: Endgame so much.”

No spoilers in this excerpt —

[Best Fan Writer finalist Elsa Sjunneson-Henry’s] writing, wherever it appears and in whatever form it takes always has focus and eloquence. She always unpacks its central ideas with absolute precision, the intensely complex emotional, psychological and sociological algebra of communicating with her audience always successfully landed. Much of Elsa’s work has centered on raising the visibility of disabled people and through that, increasing their inclusion in the speculative genre field. It’s yielded and will continue to yield, impressive results. She can be found on twitter at @snarkbat and online at http://snarkbat.com 

(9) PEEWEE T.REX. Gizmodo’s post“Newly Discovered Cousin of T. Rex Was a Pint-Sized Killer”, about “a previously unknown relative of T. rex that stood just below 3 feet at the hip,” gifts us with this classic explication —

All tyrannosaurids are tyrannosauroids, but not all tyrannosauroids are tyrannosaurids; the tyrannosaurid group of dinosaurs sits within the larger tyrannosauroid group. Gigantic tyrannosauroids such as T. rex and Albertosaurus are tyrannosaurids.

If only Danny Kaye were still alive to record those lines…

(10) SHOW-STEALER. BBC tells how “Catwalk gatecrasher becomes surprise fashion star”.

An unlikely model made an appearance at a fashion event in Marrakesh this week.

Purr-rading on the runway, the grey and white cat stole the show as it dodged models heading the other way.

There’s a video, with a lot of puns worse than that one.

(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Continued on Vimeo, Tomin offers six very short cartoons in less than 90 seconds!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Joe H., Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Alasdair Stuart, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

19 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/6/19 Who Knows What Pixels Lurk In The Hearts Of Scrolls? The Filer Knows!

  1. (1)
    That latte belongs to whoever was sitting to her right. (She’s holding a goblet.) Whoever it is, they’re apparently left-handed.

  2. (5) Good to see something from Lewis Shiner – I was a big fan of his short stories in the 1980s (especially “Twilight Time”) (and looking at his ISFDB I see “Sitcom” from 1995 and “Primes” from 2000, both of which I remember very well.

  3. (1) Well, you know. The Spice must flow.

    (7) Sharkey’s “Addams Family” tie-in paperback is pretty amusing, and sort of goes its own way in places. I go back to it now and then. (On a related tack, Beverly Cleary’s “Leave it to Beaver” tie in is remarkably good.)

  4. 1) Since I’m not likely to see the show until it comes out on disc, I’m guessing that Starbucks cup will be long gone by the time it’s on my TV?

  5. 1) The Starbucks cup dominated my Facebook feed all day, despite a new royal baby and a series of Star Trek themed SJW credential figurines. Truly the story of the century, or the week at least.

  6. (1) i; like I’m sure most viewers who don’t hv HDTV n hbo go/on demand; missed it when I watched it yesterday.
    (Like the car in lord of the rings.is that gone from all showings now?)

    Is kit harington left-handed, maybe it’s his cup if he’s sitting to the right next to Emilia Clarke.

  7. Re: Orson Welles’s birthday – a voodoo Scottish play doesn’t seem that much of a stretch, given the witchy-woo subplot.

    For the history buffs (please ignore if this doesn’t apply to you): the historical content is almost nil (though it is probably borrowed from Holinshed, often Shakespeare’s source). The order of accession is more or less correct, but not the detail. Duncan was not an elderly, beloved king – he was a young hothead, and not very popular. He was not murdered in his bed. Following an English incursion into southwest Alba, Duncan launched an invasion of northeast England, which ended disastrously near Durham. He then invaded Macbeth’s lands [pure speculation – perhaps Macbeth had not supported the invasion of England and Duncan wanted to punish him]. Duncan then died in battle. That Macbeth then became king is not that strange – succession didn’t automatically go to a relative, and any new king had to be approved by the leading nobles. As a militarily strong and wealthy thane (earl), Macbeth was an obvious choice, since Duncan’s two sons were young and unproven in battle (a king’s chief role was to be a strong military leader to protect the kingdom). Young Malcolm did eventually succeed Macbeth (Macbeth was initially succeeded by his stepson, who was shortly deposed by Malcolm III), but after seventeen years of a successful reign. There is no contemporary evidence that MacB was any sort of an oppressive tyrant (given that mediaeval kings didn’t tend to be wonderful human beings in modern terms), rather he was known as a good, Christian king who made pilgrimage to Rome and made generous gifts to the poor.

    This has been a public service announcement.

  8. Orson Welles also played the Shadow in the eponymous radio show for a few years, which is at least genre adjacent. And his final role was voice acting in the animated Transformers movie.

  9. 1) I was amused by their response that of course the latte cup was a mistake, because Emilia had asked for hot tea.


  10. 1) The Starbucks cup just makes it look like altogether too many SCA feasts… (There’s a strong encouragement to try and move modern drinks to more suitable vessels, but I’ve seen more than one bottle of Dr. Pepper or Coke pop up from under a table to fill a tankard, and many many mugs filled with coffee and tea.)

  11. @6: “Adapted” may be an overstatement; according to Houseman’s autobiography, the Welles Macbeth had the witches played by actual ~shamans and the costuming imitative of 19th-century Haiti, but none of the text was altered — cf the slightly later production of Julius Caesar in contemporary-to-Fascist dress. At least as notably genre was his production of Marlowe’s version of Faust, which involved serious on-stage magic — demons assaulting the pope’s procession, seven deadly sins, etc.

    @P J Evans: good spot, but it could as easily belong to a careless crew member as to an actor. I wonder how many people missed that while reviewing the various steps to the final cut, and whether anyone will get fired as a result.

  12. too-late-to-edit coherently addenda:

    I’d have used “adaptation” for something like Ten Things I Hate about You“, although “adaptation” may be insufficient for that set of changes.

    The BBC reports on the coffee cup, the netstorm, the smartass response, and a number of other bloopers (some not really major, some without the correct photos, but one howler almost at this level).

  13. (1) Its a goof, but I hope nobody got fired over this, considering its very hard to spot if you see the scene instead of just that still.
    (3) Pretty bad form, considering there is a chance it will be shown before Endgame..

    Scrolls, lots of scrolls

  14. Given how zeppelins have become a big thing in alternative histories, May 6th is the date of the Hindenburg disaster in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

    May 6th is Gaston Leroux’s birthday. Author of The Phantom of the Opera (Le phantôme de l’Opéra), Balaoo, and The Mystery of the Yellow Room (Le mystère de la chambre jaune). (His bibliography has some really killer titles.) I didn’t realize that he formed a movie production company just so he could make movie versions of his novels.

    Also Anton Furst who was the production designer behind Tim Burton’s Batman and Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves.

    The Pixel’s Rubber Scroll

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