Pixel Scroll 6/17/24 You Gets No Kzin With One RingWorld

(1) ORWELL VS. KAFKA. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was published 75 years ago (June 8, 1949) less than a year before his death. BBC Radio 4 is running a series of programmes on George Orwell and Franz Kafka.

In “Battle of the Adjectives”, Ian Hislop and Helen Lewis explore the two adjectives that have arisen from the writing of both men.

But what exactly do we mean by ‘Orwellian’ or ‘Kafkaesque’? They also find a vivid illustration of the very particular dystopias conjured up by both Orwell and Kafka in the form of the current UK Post Office horizon scandal, hearing from Alan Bates about his experience of striving against injustice in a system that seemed stacked against him.

In episode one of Orwell vs. Kafka: Nineteen Eighty-Four, “Big Brother Is Watching You”, actor Martin Freeman (The Hobbit and Sherlock) reads the novel – there are an additional five more episodes to come.

The year is 1984. War and revolution have left the world unrecognisable. Great Britain, now known as Airstrip One, is ruled by the Party, and its leader, Big Brother, stares out from every poster. The Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal, and no one is free. Winston Smith works at The Ministry of Truth, carefully rewriting history, but he dreams of freedom and of rebellion. When he falls in love with Julia, their affair is an act of rebellion against the Party. But nothing is secret. And Room 101 awaits.

There is also a dramatization of Kafka’s The Trial

The most quintessentially ‘Kafkaesque’ of Kafka’s work, The Trial is a sinister satire, charting one man’s descent into self-destruction in the face of a society that has become a machine.   

(2) WESTERCON 76 GOH CHANGES. In Westercon 76 Utah’s Progress Report 2 the committee announces new Fan GoHs Dave and Keri Doering have replaced Sally Wohrle, who reportedly dropped out for health reasons.

Jewelry and many-media artist, Darlene P. Coltrain has accepted Artist GoH.

CJ Lawson, who was originally announced as a Guest of Honor, is unable to attend.

The convention takes place July 4-7 in Salt Lake City.

Artist GoH: Darlene P Coltrain. Darlene has spent decades making and selling art at conventions, art-fairs, and galleries. Her early professional work, was lost-wax precious-metal jewelry, and later brass, and even small bronze sculptures. In addition, she’s worked in polymer clay, painted-dyed silks, stencil-prints, beading, etc.

Fan GoH: Dave Doering. Dave is a long-time fan in Utah, with more than 40 years of SF/F activity. It is hard to recall any SF event here that he hasn’t participated in or been on the committee. (Including Chairing a Westercon, and a Costume-Con.) Surprisingly, though he grew up in New York, he had no idea there was organized fandom, until he got to the Beehive State. Since then, he was a founding member of the first SF/F club at BYU, started the Leading Edge magazine at the school, and also began the professional development “Life the Universe and Everything” Con in Provo (#42, this year). In addition, he and his lovely wife Keri are award-winners costumers (including at Costume-cons and Worldcons). Come find out why his tagline is “It’s NEVER boring with Dave Doering!”

Fan GoH: Keri Doering. Founding member of the Utah Costumers Guild, Master-level Award Winning costumer, competing in local, as well as international events (Worldcons, and Costume-Cons) (She has helped behind the scenes, in countless fannish events, including Costume-Con 23 Utah, and Westercon67)

(3) POKÉMON. [Item by Steven French.] Joseph Earl Thomas reflects on being a black Pokémon player: “Pokémon Is All About Reading” in The Paris Review.

… And while I’m never stepping on a court serious with AI or LeBron or Steph—shit, I couldn’t even check Damon Young last year at his local gym—anyone can play against some of the best in the Pokémon game by virtue of its general openness, whereby openness, of course, involves money. Getting out to a Pokémon tournament ain’t like buying Beyoncé or Taylor Swift tickets, but it’s also not getting penny candies from the corner store. Registration might run you around seventy dollars, but that’s the small of it; the real shit is paying for the hotel and travel. Many players move in groups, sharing the cost, at the very least, of housing. Having taken years off from gaming for real for real—between children and changing careers and being deployed to Baghdad and writing the book and all the college-degree collecting and grade-school trips and deaths in the family and living, and living and COVID and calls from school and calls from court and calls from hospitals and calls from the shelter—I have never been part of such a group….

…The potential to play gets me giddy at times, like the boy I was never supposed to be; we were never supposed to be. It encourages one to wonder what’s possible in this smaller social world, the structures of almost-togetherness heaped upon with strangers, how I’m besieged by the naive sincerity I had discarded for survival until now, and how this is also a dimension of being a black man in public. I return to Omari Akil’s provocation about Pokémon GO: the death sentence, they called it, if you’re a black man, lambasting the augmented reality approach to catching Pokémon in the streets as a safety hazard in a racist society—though one could always already guess, given history or intuition, where the best Pokémon or important locales would be, where risk would be assumed and by whom. It’s hard for me to shake the state of any game from what happened today or yesterday, what will happen next year or what went down in the eighteen- or nineteen-sixties. So why then, I ask myself, does this thing here feel so much like life?

(4) WEEKEND BOX OFFICE EXPECTATIONS TURNED INSIDE OUT. Variety runs the numbers: “Inside Out 2 Shatters Box Office Expectations With $150 Million Debut”.

Move over Anxiety, there’s a new dominant emotion at the box office: Joy!

Heading into the weekend, the follow-up film to 2015’s cerebral hit Inside Out was projected to collect $80 million to $90 million. It overtakes Dune: Part Two ($82.5 million) and Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire ($80 million) as the biggest opening of the year. It’s also the first movie since last July’s Barbie ($162 million) to debut above $100 million. 

The second “Inside Out 2” also connected at the international box office with $140 million, enough to surpass “Frozen 2” ($135 million) as the biggest overseas animated opening of all time. Turnout was especially strong across Latin America, where it landed the second-biggest opening of all time behind Disney’s Marvel epic “Avengers: Endgame.” Globally, the movie has grossed $295 million to notch the title for biggest animated debut in like-for-like markets at current exchange rates. It carries a $200 million production budget….

(5) POE HOUSE CELEBRATIONS. A “Movie Night” in Baltimore will mark two Poe-related anniversaries.

This year we commemorate two very special anniversaries: the 175th Anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s Death in Baltimore in 1849 and the 75th Anniversary of The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum established in 1949. Join us festival eve at a special kick-off reception and MOVIE NITE in the glorious and newly-opened M&T Bank Exchange Theatre at France-Merrick Performing Arts Center.

This extraordinary evening includes two panel discussions with special guests Victoria Price, author and daughter of Vincent Price, and Michael Connelly, bestselling author of The Lincoln Lawyer and the Hieronymus Bosch detective series. Q&A followed by a special tribute recognizing the life and career of Vincent Price, and of the passing of the extraordinary film director, Roger Corman, followed by 60th Anniversary screening of their 1964 horror classic, “Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death” starring Vincent Price.

(6) TOWARDS MORE AND BETTER AUTHOR READINGS. Charlie Jane Anders calls on everyone to “Let Authors Read Their Work!” at Happy Dancing.

One thing that bums me out is my sense that people don’t seem to want to listen to authors reading their work in public as much as they used to. (This is a trend that predates covid.) I don’t entirely get it: audiobooks are more popular than ever, but the equivalent a of a live performance of an audiobook isn’t automatically popular….

,,, Listening to a good speaker read some of their own prose tells you things about the text that you will never learn from hearing that same person answer questions about the book. Good prose is immersive and engaging: it draws you in, and tells you a lot about what kind of story you’ll be getting. You can get to know the characters, live in their thoughts, get sucked into their problems. 

Here’s the part where I brace myself for dozens of people to email me saying that they went to too many author readings that were dull, interminable, or actually incomprehensible. And yeah, I feel you. 

Author readings are an art form, just like anything else. They can be done well or incredibly badly. Some authors are great at writing, but terrible at speaking. Believe me, I know. A big part of curating a reading series was avoiding those authors who were brilliant on the page but mumbled on the stage.

But I believe that most of us can get good at reading our work out loud, because it really is a skill that can be learned. Even introverts can master it! 

In fact, I’ve been meaning to compile a set of tips for getting better at reading your work to an audience, as someone who worked on this for years. So I’m going to spend the rest of this newsletter sharing that advice….

A series of substantial tips follows.

(7) ADAM-TROY CASTRO GOFUNDME. “The Cancer is Alas Back, But I am Fighting” says Adam-Troy Castro in an update on his GoFundMe, which is as needed as ever. Fuller medical details at the link.

…So what is happening now is that a surgery, probably one involving my prior surgeon, is being wrangled, and my blood is going to undergo testing at a genetic level to determine what chemo I get this next time, and the same will be done to the little bugger once he’s in a specimen tray, and the good news is that this time, my chemo will be in my immediate neighborhood, not an hour’s drive from me. In all ways not involving whatever side-effects I experience, this will be a smaller impact on my life.

The surgery may be as long as two or three weeks away. It is not scheduled yet. It will be determined. Maybe it’s next Tuesday. Don’t hock on me about demanding it be earlier. We are doing the best we can. People with actual power are already speaking up.

I will change the name of the current GoFundMe and establish that the cancer is back, though I do not expect spectacular uptick in collection, given how frequently fate has returned me to the same well. It will remain open, in any event. I can use the help. But this is the shitty sequel. Let it not be a trilogy….

(8) ONE WEEK LEFT TO SUBMIT FOR IMAGINE 2200. Submissions for the 2024/2024 “Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors” contest close on June 24 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific.

Tory Stephens, Climate Fiction Creative Manager, says, “If you’ve got a great short story in the works and haven’t submitted it yet, we’d love to read it.”

The contest judges are Omar El Akkad and Annalee Newitz.

(9) THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. Abigail Nussbaum rounds up the misrepresentations about artificial intelligence in “AI and Me” at Lawyers, Guns & Money.

…The solution the AI companies have come up with to this problem is essentially fake it until you make it. Insist, loudly and repeatedly, that AI is “inevitable”, that anyone who resists it is standing in the path of technological progress, no different from anyone who futilely resisted the automation of their labor in the past. That non-technology industries are falling for this spin is perhaps unsurprising—motivated, obviously, by the dream of dumping those pesky human employees and freelancers and replacing them with cheap and uncomplaining machines (though, again, I must stress that if AI was priced realistically—and if water and energy for server farms were sanely priced—there is no AI tool that would be cheaper than a human doing the same job). What’s more interesting is that other Silicon Valley companies are doing the same, even though, again, the result is almost always to make their product worse. Google has essentially broken its key product, and Microsoft is threatening to spy on all its users and steal their data, all because a bunch of CEOs have been incepted into the idea that this technology is the future and they cannot afford to be left behind. (This desperation must be understood, of course, in the context of a Silicon Valley that hasn’t come up with a new killer app that genuinely revolutionizes users’ lives since maybe as far back as the smartphone, and where advances in screens, cameras, disk sizes, and computing power have plateaued to a point that no one feels the need to upgrade their devices every year.)…”


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

June 17, 2007 Anniversary of “The Unicorn and The Wasp”. If you haven’t seen this episode, go away now. Really. Truly. Everything that follows is spoilers in the extreme. You have been warned. 

So one of my best loved episodes of the new series of Doctor Who is “The Unicorn and The Wasp” which aired on this date on BBC America. 

It is a country house mystery set in high summer featuring a number of murders. And, to add an aspect of meta-narrative to the story, it has writer Agatha Christie in a prominent role. It would riff off her disappearance for ten days which occurred just after she found her husband in bed with another woman. Her disappearance is a mystery that has never been satisfactorily answered to this day.

Yes, there have been entire books, Queen of Air and Darkness forgive their writers, offering up their theories as to what happened to her. 

So the Doctor and Donna Noble arrived at the grounds of that country house just during afternoon tea. When else would they arrive? The Doctor, here played by David Tennant at his very best, uses his psychic power in the form of an identity card, to convince The Lady of The Manor that she has met him previously and invited them for the weekend.

A murder will soon happen when Professor Plum is killed in The Library with a lead pipe. Yes, a Clue board game reference which his plucky companion (Catherine Tate) gleefully notes. And so it goes for the entire episode in a rather delightful manner. It’s silly, it’s fast-paced, and it’s one of the most British episodes that the new Who does. And it’s one that shows how clearly this series is fantasy, not science fiction, as I’ll note when you read on. 

The Unicorn of the title is simply the code name of an infamous jewel thief, but The Wasp of the title is a wasp, a bloody big one on that. A wasp that’s the love child of a shape shifting alien who made Her Ladyship pregnant in India forty years ago. A wasp that’s so big that it couldn’t survive in Earth’s gravity, but this is fantasy after all. (I firmly believe that almost all science fiction is fantasy — some are just more blatant about it.) And do keep an ear out for the many, many references to the novels Christie wrote. There’s even a paperback published if I remember correctly millions of the year in the future. See books do survive! 

It’s a quite delightful affair which fits very nicely into the genre of Manor House mysteries which of course the future Dame Agatha would write a few of these novels herself. Oh and Agatha Christie was played by Fanella Woolgar, to the far right in the image below, who was cast at the urging of Tennant who may or may not have known that the actress had twice appeared in the Agatha Christie’s Poirot series several years previously. She played Ellis in the “Lord Edgware Dies”, and in “Hallowe’en Party” as Elizabeth Whittaker. 

This episode is why one of the many reasons that David Tennant is my favorite actor that played a Doctor in the new Whovian era. (Tom Baker is my favorite of the classic Doctors.) Jodi Whittaker, my second favorite in the modern era, who I believe a great performer that I thought was let down too often by scripts that were less than they could’ve been. 

It, like all modern Who, is now available exclusively in the States on Disney+. I downloaded this and my other favorite episodes when they came out. 


  • Rubes puts a funny twist on a familiar confrontation.
  • Eek! requires knowledge of those unseen to be funny.

(12) CRISTAL PRIZES. Animation Magazine reports “’Memoir of a Snail,’ ‘Flow,’ ‘Percebes’ Take Home Annecy’s Top Prizes”.

The massively popular 2024 edition of the Annecy Intl Festival of Animation came to its exciting conclusion on Saturday with the announcement of the winners of this year’s Cristal prizes. Adam Elliot‘s audience-pleasing stop-motion feature Memoir of a Snail was the winner of the 2024 Cristal for Best Animated Feature, while Alexandra Ramires and Laura Gonçalves’ s Percebese was the winner of the top prize in the shorts category….

(13) THEY’RE GOING APE OVER NEW RPG. A Kickstarter has been launched to fund “The Official Role-Playing Game of the PLANET OF THE APES by Magnetic Press Play”. How well is it going? They’ve raised $198,689 of the $15,000 goal with 24 days left in the campaign. Players are eager.

In a world turned upside down, civilized apes sit at the top of the evolutionary ladder, ruling over a population of primal humans. But this dominion will not go unchallenged. Wayward astronauts arrive to lead an uprising, questioning this madness and the events that led to this topsy-turvy, backward future. Political intrigue, societal conflict, and fantastical, dangerous mysteries abound on this planet ruled by apes!

Built on the celebrated, time-tested D6 System developed by RPG pioneer West End Games, this exciting science fiction adventure series brings a wealth of new features and roleplaying mechanics for a new generation of gamers.

Players will be easily thrust into the PLANET OF THE APES through the new “Magnetic Variant (D6MV)” Rule Set taking full advantage of the unique and popular “Wild Die” system and other unique role-playing systems. Adventures in PLANET OF THE APES will be as thrilling and cinematic as players dare to imagine.

(14) MEGALOPOLIS SECURES U.S. DISTRIBUTION. “Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’ Gets U.S. Release in September”Variety has details.

Francis Ford Coppola’s sci-fi epic “Megalopolis,” which proved to be wildly divisive after its Cannes Film Festival premiere, has finally found a distributor. Lionsgate has signed a deal to distribute the film in theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

It will be released on Sept. 27. “Megalopolis” is playing in Imax, but it will likely share screens with Christopher Nolan’s 10th anniversary “Interstellar” rerelease. It’ll also have to relinquish those coveted premium large format screens a week later, as “Joker: Folie à Deux,” which was filmed with Imax cameras, lands on Oct. 4….

(15) ORPHAN BLACK: ECHOES STARTS JUNE 23: [Item by Daniel Dern.] “Orphan Black: Echoes — Cast, plot, premiere date, and everything else there is to know” – from Monsters and Critics.

… Orphan Black: Echoes is the name of the next chapter, and while it will be similar to its predecessor, it will also have some notable changes.

The original Orphan Black focused on a series of clones flawlessly played by Tatiana Maslany….

…Orphan Black: Echoes will premiere on Sunday, June 23, at 9/8c on AMC and BBC America.

Full episodes will be available to stream on AMC+….

… Orphan Black: Echoes is headlined by Krysten Ritter, who plays a young woman named Lucy who has undergone a procedure and has no recollection of what happened.

Keeley Hawes is playing Dr. Kira Manning, the daughter of Orphan Black’s Sarah Manning, serving as one of the sequel’s most significant ties to the original.

The impressive cast is rounded out by Avan Jogia (Jack), Amanda Fix (Jules Lee), James Hiroyuki Liao (Paul Darrow), and Rya Kihlstedt (Eleanor Miller).

While 37 years have passed between Orphan Black Season 5 and Orphan Black: Echoes, it is possible that some familiar faces will stop by, thanks to the show’s focus on clones….

According to the Wikipedia — “Orphan Black: Echoes”:

The series stars Krysten Ritter and is set in 2052 in the same universe as Orphan Black…taking place in 2052, thirty-seven years since the end of the original series, Echoes follows the life of the now adult Kira [daughter on one of the original clones] and her wife, as they try to help an amnesiac woman….

(16) LINER NOTES FOR TODAY’S SCROLL TITLE. [Item by Daniel Dern.] “You Gets No Kzin With One RingWorld”. Notes:

[1] Per Genius.com and other citations, Josh White sang “…you gets…” although no doubt there are versions with “…you get…”

Here’s two recordings by Josh White:

[2] Also per Genius.com:

With “One Meatball”, Josh White became the first African-American to have a million-selling hit. According to his biographer Elijah Wald it was White’s “biggest hit by far, and one of the most popular songs of the 1940s folk revival”.

[3] Song origins: See the comment in [2]; also “The meaning behind the song One Meat Ball by Joshua White”.

Here’s Dave Van Ronk performing it. And here’s further discussions, including references to the precursor “One Fish Ball” and “The Lone Fish Ball”. Hear on YouTube: “David Kelley One Fish Ball”.

And here’s Dave Van Ronk discussing the song’s origins (and then singing it).

Lastly, I’m also not seeing “You Gets No Matzoh With One Gefilte Fish Ball” – the ghost of Alan Sherman, I’m talking to you!

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. With the help of kazoos, a toy xylophone and other classroom instruments, Ray Parker Jr., Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots render “Ghostbusters” on The Tonight Show. From a broadcast earlier this year.

[Thanks to Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Jeffrey Smith, Daniel Dern, Nancy Collins, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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18 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/17/24 You Gets No Kzin With One RingWorld

  1. First!!

    The Poe House & Museum is worth the visit, but do take care. The house was in a poor neighborhood when Poe lived there and it is an impoverished neighborhood today. The Poe Homes Public Housing Project is just next door. The residents are very proud to be living next door to Poe’s home and do their best to protect it and the visitors, but if you go just keep your eyes and ears open.

    The Masque of the Red Death is one of the best of the Corman Poe Films, and had a higher budget that most of the others and it shows.

  2. Reading Some Desperate Glory, which gets more compelling the further I read.

    Listening to Promises Stronger Than Darkness.


  3. (10) In “The Unicorn and the Wasp”, the Unicorn was played by Felicity Jones, who was Jyn Erso in Rogue One.

  4. No jetpack. Do I get a scroll with one pix-el?
    (6) Charlie Jane is right – reading is an art. My former editor worked with me on my recording (on my blog) of the first chapter of Becoming Terran… But the last con I read at, people’s comments indicated I was improving. It’s work.
    (9) Nvidia made zillions selling GPUs for cryptomining. Now that that’s dying, and laws are coming into play, Artificial Idiocy is the way to sell millions of units.
    Birthday: CatE, thank you for noting almost all sf. (My biggest brag is that Dr. Seti told me at Boskone that he didn’t find any scientific errors in my 11,000 Years.)

    And for anyone familiar with Chicago fandom, we’ve lost someone major today: Dave Ihnat died this afternoon, heart issues and MSRA.

  5. Mark says And for anyone familiar with Chicago fandom, we’ve lost someone major today: Dave Ihnat died this afternoon, heart issues and MSRA.


    I’m assuming that he picked up that staphylococcus infection in-hospital? My second go around with it certainty was.

  6. Nice that there is a character called Paul Darrow in Orphan Black: Echoes. Presumably this is a deliberate homage to the actor who played Avon in Blake’s 7 (and much else).

  7. 6.) Authors absolutely need training to read in public. I’m working with members of the writing organization I belong to (Northwest Independent Writers Association) on this very subject, complete with scheduling practice readings. I–have two years on the University of Oregon’s speech team (I was never stellar but I learned how to do readings), some college coursework (during my Christian college days) covering public readings, and several years as a lector to cite as experience.

    Oh, and experience as a citizen lobbyist speaking in front of state legislative committees.

  8. (10) Having seen all the films and documentaries addressing Agatha’s 11-day disappearance, I’ll say — wholeheartedly — that “The Unicorn and the Wasp” is the best explanation by far. It’s amusing, it’s respectful of Agatha herself, it treats her seriously (unlike that hatchet job “Agatha” from 1979 with Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman), and it shows how smart and observant she is!

    You don’t have to subscribe to Disney+ to see it either.
    Visit your library.
    Virtually all of Doctor Who was released on DVD. Your library may already have a copy in its stacks or they can get it for you via the interlibrary loan.

  9. Actually, only the latest season (and the 60th anniversary specials) of Doctor Who are on Disney+ in the US. All the previous episodes of the new generation are still on MAX.

    (And our local library does indeed have the DVD set for season four, which includes that episode.)

    Con program items often (occasionally?) include a “Reading Your Stuff” panel or workshop (for readings and/or audio-booking), chockful of tips etc. I’ve been to several by Mary Robinette Kowal, for example. I dunno whether there are any audio/video postings of such, hard to believe there aren’t some.

    (16) Mike thanks not just for the title’n’credit, but also for indulging my inner Charles Osgooding “…the rest of the story” on aspects of the title.

  11. And we need the FB link to a newsletter link THAT IS IN TODAY’S SCROLL because — why?

    Never mind, I know! It’s for the people who only read the comments and never read the Scroll.

  12. Just an FYI… in (10) Memory Lane at the end, the writer says “It, like all modern Who, is now available exclusively in the States on Disney+”. That is incorrect… only last year’s specials and this year’s season are on Disney Plus in the US. Max carries the 2005 to 2022 episodes. Disney may get them later but hasn’t so far.

  13. @OGH:

    Never mind, I know! It’s for the people who only read the comments and never read the Scroll.

    I think I thought I was following up some other (related) item. Or a related Facebook post. Per one of Laumer’s Retief aliens, “I abase myself.”

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