Pixel Scroll 5/25/16 Hivescape

(1) TINGLE IN YOUR PACKET. Maybe this helps explain why the Hugo Voter Packet wasn’t released on May 23.

(2) RUNAWAY TRAILER. The Hollywood Reporter analyzes “’Ghostbusters’: How Sony Plans to Out-Slime the Online Haters”.

When Sony Pictures’ second trailer for its female-fronted Ghostbusters reboot appeared online May 18, fans initially had to find it on Facebook. The studio had switched from YouTube, which hosted the first trailer, in a deliberate effort to combat a cacophony of negative reaction emanating from a very vocal minority online.

With the YouTube trailer, bloggers could embed the player on their sites to congregate negativity on Sony’s official YouTube channel, a move akin to spraying toxic green slime all over the studio. As a result, the Ghostbusters teaser was dubbed the most disliked trailer ever — not the kind of buzz Sony or director Paul Feig want just months before the $150 million comedy’s July 15 release.

Given the high stakes riding on the franchise reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, the studio was determined not to let the anti-Ghostbusters contingent mar the movie’s perception. “What tends to happen with a beloved property is the fanboy or the fangirl shows up and says, ‘How dare you remake this?’ ” says Sony domestic marketing president Dwight Caines.

But the umbrage taken has been even more pronounced than for the average reboot, and many believe it’s because Ghostbusters marks the first major film to get a female-centric redo (plans for others are in the works, from Ocean’s Eleven to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Gender politics is rearing its ugly head, some say, with even Donald Trump weighing in last year on Instagram: “Now they’re making Ghostbusters with only women. What’s going on?!”

To some extent, Sony was expecting negative reaction to the first trailer, which contained very few special effects scenes because they mostly weren’t ready. When the studio launched the first footage of Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man, it scored a 65 percent negative rating. For the 2012 reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, it was 60 percent negative. And Daniel Craig’s first James Bond film, Casino Royale, drew a 55 percent negative rating.

(3) TORCHWOOD. ScienceFiction.com tells about an audio reunion of the Torchwood stars.

Big Finish has been issuing new ‘Torchwood’ adventures and not only have the original actors been returning to provide their voices, but the stories are set before the third series ‘Children of Earth’ meaning that fan favorite Ianto Jones played by Gareth David-Lloyd is still alive in them.

Recently, Eve Myles, who played one of the show’s two focal characters Gwen Cooper announced she was retiring the role, but it appears she has one more go-round for the character.  Myles will reunite with John Barrowman/Captain Jack Harkness, Kai Owen/Rhys Williams and David-Lloyd for the newest Big Finish miniseries ‘Torchwood: Outbreak’ which will be released as a three-part boxed set this November.  Previously, the stars each headlined their own solo installments, except for Myles and Owen who appeared together in ‘Forgotten Lives’.  But this will be the first time all four will participate together in one audio story.

Torchwood-Outbreak COMP

(4) HUMBLE AT TWENTY-ONE. The Small Beer Press fiction HumbleBunde offers up to 21 books worth as much as $184.

Pay $1 or more for Meet Me in the Moon Room by Ray Vukcevich, Trash Sex Magic by Jennifer Stevenson, The Fires Beneath the Sea by Lydia Millet, Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks, The Liminal People by Ayize Jama-Everett, Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand, Tyrannia by Alan DeNiro, The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories by Joan Aiken, and Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link. Pay more than the average price to also receive A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar, Couch by Benjamin Parzybok, Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison, The Entropy of Bones by Ayize Jama-Everett, Kalpa Imperial by Agelica Gorodischer, translated by Ursula K. Le Guin, Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge, and North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud.

Pay $15 or more for all of that plus Carmen Dog by Carol Emshwiller, The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman, Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop by Kate Wilhelm, After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh, and Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace.

The bundle supports charities and buyers can direct where the money goes — between Small Beer Press, Worldreader, and, if you’d like, a second charity of your choice via the PayPal Giving Fund.

(5) SFWA HANGOUT. SFWA President Cat Rambo announced a new series of online chats.

Starting May 30 at noon Pacific time, every two weeks I’ll be hosting a chat on Google hangouts talking about what we’re doing, what’s coming up, recent issues and achievements, and the state of the industry overall. The chat will be broadcast live as well as recorded for the SFWA Youtube channel, and will feature a small group (4-5 people) of SFWA officials, staff, volunteers, members, and other visitors as appropriate each time.

Both SFWA members and non-members are encouraged to submit questions and comments for use on the show. You can submit them by mailing them to [email protected] or by posting them here.

(6) SWIRSKY GUESTS. At Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, Rachel Swirsky has written a meditative memoir piece about painful moments where lives intersect with oppression.

(7) WHAT MADE THEM MAD. University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) hosts “Aliens, Monsters, and Madmen: The Art of EC Comics” through July 10.

Aliens, Monsters, and Madmen celebrates the achievements of the most artistically and politically adventurous American comic-book company of the twentieth century: Bill Gaines’s Entertaining Comics, better known to fans all over the world as EC. Specializing in comic-book versions of popular fiction genres—particularly Crime, Horror, War, and Science Fiction—the company did far more than merely adapt the conventions of those genres to the comics medium.  In the case of the now legendary Science Fiction and Horror titles, Weird Science and Tales from the Crypt, the creators at EC actively extended those genre conventions, while simultaneously shaping the imaginations of a subsequent generation of writers and filmmakers, such as Stephen King, George Lucas, John Landis, George Romero, and Steven Spielberg.

EC also broke new ground in the realm of satire as the publisher of MAD, an experimental humor comic that parodied the very stories that were elsewhere its stock in trade. EC Comics offered a controversial mix of sensationalism and social provocation, mixing titillating storylines and imagery with more overtly politically progressive material. Alongside comics about beautiful alien insect-women who dine on unsuspecting human astronauts, for example, they also tackled subjects that other popular media of the era avoided, including racism, corruption, and police brutality.  As a result, the company attracted the disapproval of parents, politicians, and moralists everywhere, and was ultimately driven out of business as the result of a conservative “anti-comics” backlash in 1954. (Only MAD survived, by becoming a magazine in the mid-1950s; it remains in print today.)

The exhibition is curated by Ben Saunders, professor, Department of English. Saunders curated the JSMA’s previous comics exhibitions, Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The Art of the Superhero (2009) and Good-Grief!: A Selection of 50 Years of Original Art from Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts (2012).

The JSMA is located on the University of Oregon Campus in Eugene.

(8) COOKE. Thomas Parker writes an appreciation of the late Darwyn Cooke at Black Gate “Hope, Heroism, and Ideals Worth Fighting For: Darwyn Cooke, November 16, 1962 – May 14, 2016”

I was surprised and deeply saddened on May 14th to learn of the death from cancer of comic artist and writer Darwyn Cooke, at the much too early age of 53.

Over the past decade, I have gradually lost most of my interest in current comics, especially ones from DC and Marvel that deal with long established characters; the medium (always with some honorable exceptions, of course) has largely grown too violent, too jaded, too self aware and self indulgent to produce much work that engages me.

The shock for shock’s sake taboo breaking, the endless restarts and reboots, the universe-altering big events that promise to “change everything” — they all long ago began to merge together into one dull blur, like an old chalkboard that has been written on and erased too many times. How often can you really “change everything” before you are in danger of eradicating the ties of memory and affection and shared history that connect a medium and its audience? That’s what happened with me, anyway. What the hell — maybe I’m just getting old.

There are exceptions though, as I mentioned, and Darwyn Cooke was one of them. I was always eager to see anything he produced; when a new Cooke was in my hands, I felt as young as I did the day I bought my first comic book (House of Mystery 175, July-August, 1968).


  • May 25, 1953 It Came From Outer Space premieres. Although credited to Harry Essex, most of the script, including dialogue, was copied almost verbatim from Ray Bradbury’s initial film treatment.
  • May 25, 1977 — George Lucas’ Star Wars was released.


  • Born May 25, 1944 — Frank Oz (born Richard Frank Oznowicz), age 72.

(11) CONNECTIONS. On Twitter yesterday comedian and CNN United Shades of America host W. Kamau Bell mentioned that he and N.K. Jemisin are cousins together in Mobile, Alabama.

Here’s the Tweet. (And Jemisin dropped in with a couple of replies.)

(12) A HEARTFELT APOLOGY. From The Jimmy Kimmel show.

The most recent episode of “Game of Thrones” was particularly upsetting for fans of the show. Even now people are still talking about the shocking turn of events at the end of the show – and producers DB Weiss and David Benioff took the extraordinary step of apologizing to their fans.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Marc Criley for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ian P.]

119 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/25/16 Hivescape

  1. Thanks JR Lawrence Dr. Science and Heather Rose Jones for all the interesting history. Apologies if I left anyone out. Real history is so much more interesting than what we learned in elementary school.

  2. I have Goldstein’s book on the shelf waiting for me, and was going to post about the sale; I’m glad someone posted about it already. Either I ordered it, or I asked for it and it was in my Xmas bundle o’ books. 🙂 Not read yet, though! 🙁

    @Doctor Science: Weighing Shadows is also $1.99 at iTunes. This makes me think it may wind up going on sale at Kobo in a day or two; sometimes these things lag between ebookstores. Also, I wanted to mention the iTunes price anyway, in case you have an iPad or a Mac and don’t mind Apple DRM’d ebooks.

    @Stevie & @Various Who Gushed About It: I started Cogman’s The Invisible Library finally! 🙂 Just barely started it. It’s a U.K. edition I bought before there was going to be a U.S. edition. 😉

  3. @Cat, I think you’re taking a blog post where he explains why he won’t allow shaming in his comments and trying to turn it into him saying he is in favour of shaming people.

    @everyone, it’s funny that the prompt “long whiny post by him about how women caused all his problems in high school and so they owed him sex now” can result in so many plausible contenders 🙂
    I don’t think Scott Alexander wrote that, but I haven’t been reading his blog all that long so maybe…?

    But the name might be familiar from …And I Show You How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes which some people (not puppy-people, afaik) recommended on the Sad Puppies nomination site

  4. Oh, wow. I definitely hadn’t intended to turn the discussion thread into a referendum on Scott Alexander. @Cat, I read it very differently, but I understand your response.

    At any rate, the bit I find most intriguing (when juxtaposed with Nussbaum’s tweets) was the example of antisemitic violence:

    As a Jew, if I heard that skinheads were beating up Jews in dark alleys, I would be pretty freaked out; for all I know I could be the next victim. But if I heard that skinheads were circulating a petition to get Congress to expel all the Jews, I wouldn’t be freaked out at all. I would expect almost nobody to sign the petition.

    This has some parallels with Nussbaum’s statement that secret Nazis aren’t a problem; if they’re secret, then that means they aren’t out in the dark alleys beating up Jews.

    But at the same time, what secret Nazis are doing is a form of coordination: solidifying power and control.

    I think that in a way, both Alexander and Nussbaum are saying: what’s interesting and terrifying is not the active evil power-hungry group themselves, but rather the point at which society at large cedes power to them. (I’d say Nussbaum is interested in the society, whereas Alexander is more interested in the decision-making process, and in defining the mechanics of “legitimacy”.)

    I think there’s distance between Nussbaum and Alexander, in that Nussbaum objects to publicly pursuing hateful policies, whereas Alexander suggests a distinction: publicly pursuing hateful policies is legitimate, provided that nothing hateful is done without those policies being accepted through due process. Alexander’s distinction is theoretical and Utopian; there are a lot of reasons a policy can pass without being remotely acceptable to the majority. Pockets of influence and power (secret Nazis!) can be a major reason for those. On a more theoretical level though, when talking about principles and ideals, it’s an interesting guideline and distinction to consider. (There’s a lot to argue with here; first and foremost all the people who already have a substantial majority against them or not caring about them; on the other hand, it’s not as though Alexander’s arguing that real-world society is in any way non-awful.)

    Coming out of Nussbaum’s piece, I’d like to see a story about the society that allows Secret Nazis to corrupt them effectively.
    Coming out of Alexander’s piece, I’d like to see a consideration of how a minority of Secret Nazis could influence the majority effectively while staying “within the rules”, and examining what kind of defense mechanisms society has against that kind of influence.
    Both of those sound to me like it could be really interesting and topical 🙂

  5. On something of a tangent, 3SV is an excellent example of coordinating meanness! (I find that the Hugo intricacies are, in general, a microcosm of all kinds of interesting phenomenons in social dynamics)

    It’s a case where we’re explicitly saying: The fact that we’re capable of coordinating and agreeing, as a strong majority, that entries need to be disqualified, is a strong argument that disqualification is indeed necessary and justified.

    (We also commonly comment something very similar to Alexander’s comments that “(and in the sort of world where most people were signing the petition, I hope I would have moved to Israel long before anyone got any chance to expel me anyway)” and “[Safety] hinges on the skinheads’ inability to convert 51% of the population.” — we say that if at some point, griefers or some other specific voting bloc ever do achieve the majority of membership, then there’s nothing we can do, the institution would be rightfully theirs, and we wouldn’t want to be part of that institution anyway.)

    No particular insight here; I just find it interesting, and I always enjoy looking at the Hugos as a microcosm 🙂

  6. I click the blue box as I prepare for an appointment with a Doctor. I may encounter Daleks, Cybermen, and/or Davros in the process. Wish me luck…

    (Paul McGann’s at TimeGate this weekend – along with Terry Molloy and Nicholas Briggs.)

  7. IanP: did you know that Big Finish Productions has also made an audio continuation of The Omega Factor? They also did a reading of the novelization of the original series.

    I really enjoyed the new stories and put the entire 4-episode series on my Hugo ballot for Dramatic Presentation: Long Form. I usually listen to audio stuff while lying in bed late at night, and horror-tinged stories are wonderfully creepy when everything around me is quiet and dark. (I really enjoyed Big Finish’s “Carnacki the Ghost Finder” adaptations for the same reason.)

  8. @amk

    That’s good to know. I’ve been tempted before to explore the Big Finish productions, especially the original cast Blakes 7 ones. That may enough impetus to get me over the brink.

  9. @Standback: Huh?

    It’s a case where we’re explicitly saying: The fact that we’re capable of coordinating and agreeing, as a strong majority, that entries need to be disqualified, is a strong argument that disqualification is indeed necessary and justified.

    That seems like a creative, i.e., wildly inaccurate interpretation of the order of events. It happened in the reverse order, with first bad actors gaming the Hugos, next people saying “something’s needed and justified,” and finally someone coming up with 3SV (and, of course, other ideas before and after it).

  10. @Kendall: I think you and Standback are in vexatious agreement without your quite realizing it. You’re describing the discovery process. Standback is describing the implications of the discovery now that it’s been made.

  11. @Jim Henley: Okay maybe my reading comprehension is failing; that’s not how I read it at all.

    @Standback: Apologies if I’m being dense.

  12. @IanP: (Big Finish)

    I’ve been quite impressed with their Doctor Who work. Solid scripts, innovative ideas* that would’ve been impossible or impractical to do visually, lots of original-cast actors… excellent stuff. I can’t testify to their handling of other properties, but I would expect the same level of quality.

    * One example: A companion traveled with the Eighth Doctor for a while, parted ways with him, and shortly thereafter got picked up by the Sixth Doctor. Easy to do when you’re producing those adventures in parallel, but it simply wouldn’t have been possible on TV. Then there’s the two-CD story that can be played in either order…

  13. @Rev Bob

    That Fitz by any chance? Some of the Dr Who stuff made it onto BBC Radio 4 ans I listened to enough of it on iPlayer to form a very positive impression of McGann’s Doctor. Always seemed to just miss the first part of each run though.

  14. Luck, Rev. Bob. I’ll be hoping it’s good news and that you update us.

    In the mean time (it sounded like you were waiting): have you ever thought about the deficiencies in English future tenses? Or: what IS it about Dr. Tingle that is funny to some and not to others?

  15. @CKCharles:

    Well, I ran into Davros briefly this evening, cunningly disguised as an older Scottish man. I should be seeing the Doctor sometime this afternoon.

    Yes, I’ve thought rather often about the shortcomings of English tenses in certain situations. These usually involve frame shifts of various types – like recounting a story and talking about things that are in the storyteller’s past but the future of the narrative.

    At present, though, I’m trying to figure out (a) exactly what I did to cause this pain in the diodes on my left side* and (b) precisely why I have that “Hard Knock Life” song from Annie running through my head. At least I can explain the Roy Orbison song as a combination of having recently played the album and seeing that panel of Batman holding The Comedian’s button.

    * Okay, kidding about the diodes… but my left side really is hurting, so I couldn’t resist the reference. Here’s hoping I feel better in the morning.

  16. @Rev Bob Okay, kidding about the diodes… but my left side really is hurting, so I couldn’t resist the reference. Here’s hoping I feel better in the morning.

    Hope your feeling better. May you have a speedy and complete recovery.

  17. @Tasha, Cat:

    I’m pretty much back to normal. Being at a con is more activity than usual for me, which apparently means random cramping in various body parts. Well, that’s why I packed Tylenol…

    In other news, I had forgotten that my autograph bait was improperly assembled for this con. Apparently, I got distracted midway through prep and thought I’d completed the job, so my “grab and go” stack actually wasn’t. As a result, I had to settle for a signed photo of Nick Briggs instead of getting him to sign one of my NuWho season booklets.

    Le sigh. I’ll live. 😉

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