Pixel Scroll 5/20/16 Is That a Pixel In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Glad To Scroll Me?

(1) BBC RADIO 4 SF. BBC Radio 4 is presenting Dangerous Visions, a series of science fiction radio plays, both original and adaptations of classic works, beginning May 22. Adapted works include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New Worlds, Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes, William Morris’ News From Nowhere, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

The list of upcoming episodes is here. They’ll be available for listening to online “shortly after broadcast” for a limited time (usually 30 days).

(2) REFERENCE DIRECTOR. The BBC’s Dangerous Visions site also offers lessons in “How To Speak Sci-Fi”, a selection of 10 popular taglines.

It takes a LOT of training to be a fully-fledged, proud sci-fi nerd. If someone can speak fluent Italian, they’re revered (assuming they’re not actually Italian) but fluent Klingon? You’re considered a joke. We’re here to set this right….

3. “If I can just reverse the polarity of the neutron flow…”

Try saying that when you’re fighting with the automatic checkout at the supermarket and every Doctor Who fan within earshot will snigger. Jon Pertwee said it originally but it’s used by fans as general shorthand for the Doctor’s more unlikely technological experiments.

(3) CHESTERTON. Elsewhere on BBC Radio 4, they’re in the middle of an adaptation of Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. The first 4 (of 13) episodes are available for online listening so far — GK Chesterton – The Man Who Was Thursday – Episode guide – BBC Radio 4 Extra.

(4) HITCHCOCK AND LUCAS. If the two famous directors combined forces the result would be nothing like Darth By Darthwest but who cares?

(5) EAT THE ADS. Tor.com explains why “We Are Sad That We Cannot Go to Japan and Eat Captain America: Civil War Ramen”.

What’s inside these familiar-looking decorative bowls, you ask? Civil War in a soup! Marvel teamed up with the popular Japanese ramen chain Ippudo in May to give the public a dose of superhero-themed food.

And we are very sad that we do not live in Japan right now.

RocketNews24, the source for Tor’s item, has additional details and photos.

cap america ramen


(7) CORNELL RECLAIMS CRICKET. In each episode of Unjustly Maligned, comics and games writer Antony Johnston asks a new guest to explain why that thing you hate is actually really great. Episode 51 is “’Cricket’ With Paul Cornell”

As St George’s Day approaches, gentlemen in England’s green and pleasant land take to the field for a game that can last five days, yet still somehow end in a draw…! Author Paul Cornell goes to bat to spread the good word of cricket.

(8) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. MiceAge has news about a Disneyland ride makeover.

This Elevator Travels Directly To . . . The Marvel Zone

Elsewhere in DCA, a wild rumor got out earlier this spring about a plan to remake Tower of Terror into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride. We can tell you that the Guardians of the Galaxy rumor is true, and TDA’s executive suite was furious when the rumor leaked out from Glendale-based sources. The plan is for the original Twilight Zone backstory to be removed entirely, and replaced with an all new show based around the Collector character from the Guardians movie franchise. WDI had been testing and experimenting with the new show in the elevators for months and the Tower of Terror hourly CM’s were all aware of what WDI had been cooking up since this winter. But when the plan finally leaked online in April, the TDA executive suite hit the roof in anger.

The current plan for Tower of Terror is to close the attraction this fall and give the entire building a full interior and exterior refurbishment so that the new version of the ride can open next May, with the Guardians of the Galaxy movie premiere held at DCA the same week the new ride opens. Assuming this gets the green light by August, and a disastrous Shanghai opening summer is about the only thing that could derail it at this point, the CM’s will be treated to another round of approved Talking Points that will somehow explain that they can now believe what they read online about Guardians of the Galaxy taking over Tower of Terror. The hourly CM’s, of course, are already several steps ahead of TDA.

This Tower of Terror proposal is part of a multi-year plan to get more Marvel into DCA, being pushed heavily by Bob Chapek. Since Chapek arrived a year ago as the new Parks Chairman, he’s been shocked to learn that after five years of owning Marvel there still isn’t a new Marvel ride in the California parks, and that the only thing TDA has done with Marvel is slap together some cheap meet n’ greets over the years.

(9) PRESERVED IN AMBER. Theodore Krulik, creator of the encyclopedia of Roger Zelazny’s Amber novels, The Complete Amber Sourcebook, dips into his trove of quotes and stories about the author in a post at Tor.com.

He had allowed me into his home that November day to conduct a week-long series of interviews for Roger Zelazny, the literary biography I was writing for Frederick Ungar Publishers in New York. My interviews with him at his home and in later interviews over the next ten years were much more than simple Q&A. Roger didn’t stop at a brief statement to anything I asked. He responded with deep insights that revealed experiences and perspectives that he rarely talked about anywhere else.

The final anecdote is a wry revelation about where Zelazny supposedly got his ideas.

(10) HERE KITTY KITTY. JJ calls Tom Gauld’s New Scientist cartoon “SJW Credentials Gone Wild”. The official intro is “Why science needs more funding…”

(11) IS IT A SINKING FEELING? The Travel goes to the movies at Galactic Journey — “[May 19, 1961] One of our Continents is Missing! (Atlantis: The Lost Continent)”.

Without giving too much of the ending away, I can confirm that the sinking of Atlantis does occur, and it is magnificent.  Some excellent model work mixed with clever optical effects makes for a satisfying conclusion.  Other noteworthy elements are the score (though there is some recycling of motifs from The Time Machine) and the acting, particularly the performances turned in by John Dall (Zaren, who was in Spartacus) and Paul Frees.  The latter is never seen; rather, his vocal talents are evident throughout.  The versatile Frees, who you’ve assuredly heard in prior films, and will hear in films to come, is the film’s narrator and the looped-over voice of many of the characters.

(12) NO, IT’S A TINGLING SENSATION. This offer could easily be over by now, as I’m sure people raced to take their pics —  “Chuck is nominated at this year’s Hugo Awards, the most prestigious award in science fiction. Help show your support!”

 The first 20 people to post a photo on Instagram or Twitter with this flyer hanging in their favorite bookstore will get a free Audible code direct messaged to them for Chuck’s classic tale BUTTCEPTION: A BUTT WITHIN A BUTT WITHIN A BUTT. The poster of 1 photo (best or most creative), as chosen by Chuck himself, will receive the honor of appearing by name as a side character in an upcoming tingler. Post your photo with the hashtag #BelieveInChuckTingle to enter!  Below is the flyer, which can be printed in black and white on standard 8.5 by 11 paper.

(13) BLUE AUTHOR. Alexandra Erin outlines a crowdsourced future in “Okay. So. Business plans”.

So the details are still firming up in my brain and probably won’t settle completely until after WisCon, but starting in June, my creative and insightful output is basically going to, in some form, be shaping up into Alexandra Erin: The Crowdfunded Zine. I’ll still be writing and posting stuff to my blog or directly to Patreon throughout the month, but I’m going to be collecting, collating, and polishing it as I go so that at the end of each month I have a shiny package I can give to my patrons and sell to anyone else who wants it, and that I myself can look at with pride, knowing that yes, I definitely accomplished things this month.

(14) IF YOU WERE A PATREON MY LOVE. Rachel Swirsky’s Patreon is raising money this month by Making Lemons into Jokes. Greg Machlin has a progress report.

ATTENTION! Talented sci-fi writer Rachel Swirsky has been getting harassed ever since she wrote an award-winning short story “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.” She’s now doing a patreon fundraiser for an LGBT health group, Lyon-Martin.

The patreon’s at $437/month. If she hits a $900 stretch goal, the prize is a satirical essay by ME. Please donate. I’d love to write it!

Meanwhile, Swirsky has announced some other stretch goals.

We have achieved the $400 stretch goal: “If You Were a Cuttlefish, My Love.” I showed it to Mary Robinette Kowal and a few other folks, and she gave me an unintentional blurb: “I LOVE THIS WITH THE LOVE OF A THOUSAND CUTTLEFISH EGGS.” I hope y’all enjoy it, too!

We’re partyway to the $500 stretch goal when Liz Argall will make an original comic in her series… Things Without Arms and Without Legs… and Without Butts?

(15) FINDING GOOD STUFF. On her blog today, Swirsky did her weekly recommendation post — Friday Read! “The Migratory Patterns of Dancers” by Katherine Sparrow.

In a future where birds are extinct, genetically modified men take their motorcycles around the country to perform dances that remind people of the migrations that once took place.

Katherine Sparrow is one of my classmates from Clarion West 2005, and I’ve been a fan of her work ever since. In addition to her lovely and lyrical short stories, she also writes young adult novels which center on the theme of collective action.

(16) INCONSISTENCIES. Cracked wants to change the way you watch seven wildly successful sci-fi films – and not in a good way. BEWARE SPOILERS GALORE. It’s sort of How It Should Have Ended using still photos.

(17) SMOFCON 34. The 2016 Smofcon has opened online registration. The con will be held at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont (the Chicagoland area) December 2-4.

(18) HEINLEIN AWARD ACCEPTANCE VIDEO. Dr. Jerry Pournelle told Chaos Manor readers, “The National Space Society award ceremony in Puerto Rico was a bit too far for me to travel to, but we did make a video for the acceptance.”

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mark-kitteh, Bruce Arthurs, JJ, Will R., Brian Z., Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day BigelowT.]

78 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/20/16 Is That a Pixel In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Glad To Scroll Me?

  1. Fifthish!
    Finished with Hugo novel reading. Saved Fifth Season for last. Wow.
    Am very happy to have three worthwhile contenders for the top spot. Am happier that nothing was nearly as bad as the worst nominee last year; worst of these five was perfectly competent and often amusing escape lit.

  2. 9)-More than 20 years later, Roger Zelazny’s death still hurts and I never even met him (though some dear friends got a number of books signed by him on a few occasions).

    That last anecdote brought a smile to my face.

    Thanks for including that link.


    Swirsky’s Patreon has now achieved the $500 stretch goal.

    The $600 stretch goal is a round-robin dinosaur story written by Brooke Bolander, Adam-Troy Castro, John Chu, Ken Liu, Ann Leckie, Juliette Wade, Alyssa Wong, and Swirsky.


    I did not know all of them.

    I did not know 6. “That information is not available”, having never watched “Blake’s Seven” back when all the hip cool hardcore sci-fi kids were into it.

    Nor did I know 8. “Red thingy moving toward the green thingy. I think we’re the green thingy.”, as I have not yet had the joy of watching “Galaxy Quest”.

    So I suppose I got a 75% on that. I am afraid I cannot “pass as a sci-fi specialist.”

  5. 7)
    Fun fact:Paul Cornell has done a Cricket demonstration for a couple of years running at Convergence here in Minneapolis.


    Cracked.com is a joy and delight. Who knew that what was once a second-rate MAD Magazine imitator could morph into a time-waster as enjoyable as TV Tropes, snarky and funny and often educational to boot?


    7. “KHAAAAAN!”

    This is bellowed by Kirk in Star Trek: Wrath of Khan when Khan kills his son.

    Meh, the person who wrote this article is a rank amateur. This is bellowed by Kirk in Star Trek II when Khan announces that he is leaving the Enterprise crew members and the Genesis project team buried alive for all eternity inside the planetoid under Regula Station. Kirk’s son is killed by a Klingon in Star Trek III.

  8. 13) BLUE AUTHOR. Alexandra Erin
    Patreon can be difficult to figure out how best to set up. I hope the split increases her income.

    Her GoFundMe is slowly picking up donations. The correct link is on her webpage – link provided in item #13.

    I’m so glad this is funding so well. It’s great so many authors have gotten involved and people are promoting it. Good seeing Rachel Swirsky seeing the community supports her. I love money going to charities which stand for everything VD hates in response to his harassment.

  9. “That information is not available”, having never watched “Blake’s Seven” back when all the hip cool hardcore sci-fi kids were into it.

    I’d get on that right away, then. That’s the secret foundation of everything.

    (And that is not totally a joke.)

  10. I am the contributing editor of the day and I am so excited!!

    It’s all downhill from here, isn’t it?

  11. BigelowT: It’s all downhill from here, isn’t it?

    I’ve been contributing editor 3 times — and see where that’s got me.

    You’d better warn your family about your impending decline.

  12. Fortuitously, the Paul Cornell link is listed as we head into the third day of the first Test between England and Sri Lanka. As you’d expect, excitement is nearing fever pitch.

  13. For those who are able to buy Kindle UK, Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, which was released in 2015, and about which I and a number of other Filers have raved, is £0.99 right now.

    (For those of you in the U.S., that version will not be released until June 14 this year, and the Kindle pre-order is $11.99. Sorry — but I hope you’ll still consider getting hold of it, either by purchase or from your library, because it is AWESOME.)

  14. IanP: Clickity Another for the pile…

    JJ: * cashes kickback check from the Pan Sekrit Cabal *

  15. JJ on May 21, 2016 at 1:13 am said:
    For those who are able to buy Kindle UK, Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, which was released in 2015, and about which I and a number of other Filers have raved, is £0.99 right now.

    Ah, I just bought and read this a couple of weeks ago. Definitely worth checking out if you’re into kickass dimension-hopping librarians.

  16. Kickass dimension hopping librarians? Any orangutans?

    Anyway it’s battling for next up with Linda Nagata and Reynolds’ Terminal World which I’ve started reading at least three times but never quite seem in the right mood for.


  17. And if three scroll items aren’t enough BBC radio for you, also on in the coming week are:

    Who Made Who – Three hour Doctor Who special, featuring a look at the Target novels with Mark Gatiss, interviews with cast and crew from the pilot episode, a look at the show’s unique sound, and a mockumentary catching up with the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan.


    Doctor Who – The Crimes of Thomas Brewster. Sixth Doctor adventure starring Colin Baker.


    And Neil Gaiman is on World Book Club.


  18. I’m like the one person who didn’t like The Invisible Library, but it turns out I am suuuuuuuuuuper picky when it comes to books with a book-related metatextual bent.

  19. Kyra, speaking of books with a metatextual bent, have you read any of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books? The Eyre Affair is the first one.

  20. Yup, and he is one of the reasons I have decided that I am suuuuuuper picky about that kind of book.

    I utterly, utterly loved his book Shades of Grey though (not to be confused with any similarly titled books …), and I was quite put out to learn that sequels to it are a low priority for him and apparently will not come out until sometime around when the earth is a cold and airless husk (although it does look like a prequel novel may possibly be coming out in 2018.)

  21. Yeah, I was disappointed with the swerve to youngster books myself. Not that I don’t understand why he wants to write for his kids for a while!

  22. Re: the Disney ride: Donald could moonlight as Howard with minimal costume changes.

  23. Today’s read — Lady of the Shard by Gigi D.G. (webcomic)

    (Copyright information indicates that this is a 2016 work, so I will also be putting it on the 2016 recommendation page.)

    A comic told in vertical scrolling format about an acolyte who falls in love with her goddess. Comics Beat told me to drop literally everything I was doing and read “Lady of the Shard” right now, so I did. And they were totally right! The art style takes a little bit of time to get used to, or it did for me at least, but after a few pages it stopped seeming primitive and started seeming expressive. The story is lovely and at times disturbing, but it includes adorable breakfasts. This is an early contender for my Best Graphic Story list for this year.

  24. Watching: The spanish movie Timecrimes. Like a scary version of Predestination. Low key, we recognize the parts, but it still draws you in. I had to take braks while watching at times, not being able to watch. Highly recommended.

  25. I have internet again! New reviews once again appearing on my blog.

    Not done with my Hugo novel reading. The Fifth Season is coming up soon, though. Though I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, all the enthusiasm. On the other hand, my depression, and the jokes I’ve seen Jemisin make about how life-affirming it isn’t…

    The Invisible Library is wonderful. No orangutans yet, but there is a sequel, do, who knows?

  26. 11 — Atlantis, The Lost Continent: My brother and I saw this when we were very young and it terrified us, so much so that we couldn’t finish watching and had to wait in the lobby of the theater until it ended. Years later we watched it on video and couldn’t figure out what had been so scary. (Well, except for the people turning into pigs, which was still pretty frightening.) It has the Chief from Get Smart in it.

  27. @Lis Carey

    Maybe have an upbeat book queued up for after The Fifth Season?

    I am currently working my way through Seveneves and it’s pretty depressing at the moment. I need to be more careful not to read it right before bedtime.

  28. Why do some comments suddenly break into gibberish?

    Also, why do some comments suddenly break into random assortments of consonants?

  29. Pogonip

    It’s to prevent spoilers for people who haven’t read, seen, heard the works in question; it’s a simple code where you feed your text in and it becomes the stuff you have noticed, which can in turn be fed through the code again to turn it into English.

    I think it’s called Ro13, but I can never remember it offhand; a quick Google should help you find it and unlock the treasures within…

  30. Pogonip:

    Rot13 is here

    ETA: Google Chrome (and possibly other browsers) has an extension available which allows you to encrypt/decrypt without leaving the page you’re on.

  31. And what I originally came for before that little digression:

    Amazon UK has Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass available for the Kindle at 99p today and tomorrow. I came across this in my local library a few years back and enjoyed it greatly (YA, but rather more original than a great deal of fantasy for adults); unfortunately I’d forgotten the author’s name by the time Filers started raving about Cuckoo Song a few months back or I could have brought it up then (although without the low price!)

  32. Thank you, Mike!

    The “Rachel Swirsky Destroyed Science Fiction” essay will be awesome, and will probably include Rachel saying something like “LO I AM SWIRSKY, DESTROYER OF WORLDS! LOOK ON MY WORKS, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR!”

  33. Jim Henley said (in the Star Trek trailer thread)

    “The Archies Go to Space” vibe of the first movie didn’t really compel me.

    Speaking of this, the new CW series seems as it is going to be supremely mixed up.

    (Instead of cluttering the ST trailer thread with this, I thought I’d clutter this one instead.)

  34. This Census-Taker is quite something. It’s China Miéville at his most obscure and oblique, and will definitely frustrate people who want a straightforward plot, but personally I love it. It uses language in a very careful manner to develop the world (a bleak post-industrial, slightly magical one) as seen by its central character, in his recollections of childhood living with his violent father, whose actions make sense only in the context of the barely understood world beyond their town. The telling is firmly centered on the boy’s emotional states, and so the language has the peculiar property of being both precise and vague: very particular descriptions of things he doesn’t entirely understand and whose overall relationships he doesn’t have an idea of. Shifts of tense, and occasional lapses into third or second person, track his attitudes toward the events; I found it quite possible to follow this. So as a depiction of the nature of violence in this world, it was coherent. I thought it was satisfying on that level, even if we are never given a “big picture” of the history of the world or the lives of the characters and so these remain fragmentarily known. A tour-de-force.

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