Pixel Scroll 6/18/24 Destination: Moon Wedding

(1) TAKE A FLYER ON THE FIRST WORLDCON. You have three days left to bid on this “First World Science Fiction Convention Flyer (1939)” at Heritage Auctions.

Relive the magic of going to the First world Science Fiction Convention with this vintage flyer for the legendary event! The event was chaired by Sam Moskowitz; the Guest of Honor was Frank R. Paul, and other attendees included John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Jack Williamson, Harry Harrison, Forrest J. Ackerman, and many more influential figures in pulps, comics, and genre fiction at large. Held in conjunction with the New York World’s Fair, the event was a great success and WorldCon continues to this day. The flyer measures 9″ x 12″ has a horizontal page-length crease, other small creases, toning, and handling wear. In Very Good condition. From the Roger Hill Collection.

(2) OKORAFOR SELLS ‘DEATH OF THE AUTHOR’. “Gollancz signs Nnedi Okorafor’s ‘future classic’”The Bookseller has details.

Gollancz has signed Nnedi Okorafor’s “tour-de-force”, the Death of the Author.

Editor Brendan Durkin acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Fiona Baird at WME. North American rights went to Julia Elliott at William Morrow in a seven-figure deal after a deal negotiated with Angeline Rodriguez and Eric Simonoff at WME. French rights have been pre-empted by Ailleurs & Demain. The novel will be published in early 2025. 

Death of the Author is an “exhilarating” story about a disabled Nigerian American woman who writes a science fiction novel that becomes a bestselling phenomenon, but her success comes at a price. Billed as a “sweeping narrative” for fans of Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow,Tomorrow and Tomorrow, the story is “a multi-threaded meta drama examining the relationship between storyteller and audience”. 

Okorafor said: “Death of the Author is the most ambitious and naked work I’ve ever written. I’m so proud of it. I’ve been writing it in my head for 30 years. It brings together so many of my many parts, my contradictions, fusions and my weirdness. The title comes from a famous essay by French scholar Roland Barthes, an essay that I’ve always loathed but also chewed on throughout my years working on my PhD in literature. I want readers to come away from this novel with questions, answers, and a refreshed love of what we as human beings are and what we’re capable of. Also, I wanted to tell a really good story.”…

(3) MUPHRY’S LAW VISITS MIDDLE-EARTH? David Bratman dismantles “nitwit Tolkienists” at Kalimac’s corner.

I’m not going to name this book, because I haven’t finished reading it yet, but it’s not the only recent book on Tolkien to begin by rudely and inaccurately denouncing all previous Tolkien studies for failing to fit the standards of the author’s own perfect and unimpeachable work.

Once it gets past that, it does have some interesting and original things to say, but I was stopped cold by this sentence:

Merry … finally contributes to the fighting in a decisive way, using his magic sword to slay the Black Rider, thus saving Éowyn’s life.

There are about three things wrong with this sentence….

And he details the specific problems are at the link.

(4) PICTCON 1. Farah Mendlesohn has announced plans to run a one-day PictCon1 in Perth, Scotland on Saturday, October 18, 2025.

I’m going to run a one day convention in Perth, Scotland in 2025. PictCon1: 18th October, Guest of Honour, Francesca Barbini. Tickets: £30/£20/ dealer tables £10. If you are fan based in Scotland or anywhere it’s easy to get to us from, please do come!

Francesca T Barbini is a writer, editor and translator from Rome, Italy. In January 2015 she founded Luna Press Publishing, an award-winning small press, home of speculative fiction in fiction and academia.

PictCon1 is a small convention, running just one day at the Salutation Hotel on South St, Perth. The focus is on Science Fiction and Fantasy books, games, art etc, produced in Scotland or by Scots, but there are no rigid rules. This is the first year.

(5) BOOKSHOP’S UNEXPECTED BONANZA. “Award-winning author who passed away donates over 2,000 books to Paisley shop”Daily Record reveals Christopher Priest’s estate is the donor.

…However, despite having no obvious connection to Abbey Books in Paisley, the author’s family donated more than 2,000 creations to the store – a record according to Brian Hannan, who works there….

Brian said: “I was gobsmacked to see box after box of books being carried into the shop. We didn’t know where to put them and had to clear an area in front of the till as well as stack them in the office.

“We already have 40,000 books so we’re hardly desperate for more stock but this was an offer we could not refuse. For an author so well known as Christopher Priest to choose us as the recipient of his massive library was an honour….”

(6) LETTING THE AIR OUT OF THE INFLATABLE CASH. Filmsite lists the “Top 100 Films of All-Time – Adjusted For Inflation”. Two sff films are in the top five.

  1. Gone With the Wind (1939)
    This Civil War-era love story with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh has seduced generations of moviegoers.
  2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
    George Lucas’ space western with aliens, revolutionaries and high-tech effects spawned sci-fi’s biggest franchise of six films.
  3. The Sound of Music (1965)
    Julie Andrews headlines the von Trapp family saga that celebrates the triumph of good over Nazism.
  4. E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
    Spielberg enchants audiences by showing how suburban kids could help a magical, little alien get back home.
  5. Titanic (1997)
    Romance, life-or-death stakes and spectacular effects make household names of director James Cameron and star Leonardo DiCaprio.

(7) MEMORY LANE.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

June 17, 2005 Doctor Who’s “The Parting of the Ways”. Segueing from my post of yesterday’s Scroll concerning “The Unicorn and The Wasp” episode, we will examine the last episode of season one, “The Parting of the Ways”, which saw Christopher Eccleston end his all too brief tenure as the Doctor and David Tennant begin his reign in that role. 

It aired on this date nineteen years ago on BBC. It was an all too brief time for the parting of a Doctor after the series ended a sixteen-year hiatus. Why am I saying all too brief a time? That’s because Christopher Eccleston would have the shortest tenure at that point as a Doctor at just one series – and still does.

So let’s talk about the first modern Doctor. There is, I think, a lot to like in him and I would’ve really preferred to have seen what Christopher Eccleston could have done with his iteration of the Doctor given the usual three years and out. 

Unlike Jodie Whittaker who I thought was stellar in her role but got let down by her scripts far too often, Eccleston had really great scripts, be it “The End of the World” where he takes Rose to witness the destruction of Earth billions of years from now, or a favorite of mine, “In “The Empty Child” where Captain Jack Harkness has unleashed a nanoplague that in WW II has turned everyone into gas mask wearing zombies. They really are chilling looking and I mean that in all aspects.

Unlike previous Doctors who one and all leaned quite frankly towards the eccentric looking side of things and yes, that included my beloved Fourth Doctor, his look was stripped down motorcycle gear being worn by an anonymous intelligence officer who could’ve been on Spooks and no one would’ve noticed him at all. 

I don’t know who decided on his look but it definitely made a statement that this wasn’t the classic Who. 

I loved every aspect of the single series that he did— the stories, the performers, the stellar practical effects and the more than state of the art special effects.  A splendid series which gave everything we needed in a contemporary Doctor including a well-chosen primary companion in Rose.

So how to see him out? Well that would mean, SPOLIER ALERT!, him taking on oldest enemy, the Daleks. And not just any Daleks, but the Grand Poobah of them, the Emperor Dalek. Notice how alien races use Earth terms? Or how unimaginative British SF script writers can be? I digress. 

So the plot here which continues the story started in “Bad Wolf” in brief is that those Dalek have taken over Satellite Five in the year 200, 000 in order to make more Daleks by harvesting human corpses. Gross. The Doctor in turn plans to use the transmitter there to wipe out every Dalek in existence forever while sending Rose home to keep her safe. What could possibly go wrong? Did I mention Jack Harkness is involved with what happens here? 

It’s an extremely well-crafted exit for him, and I consider it to have an exceptionally well done regeneration scene, a belief shared by critics in general. 

What I will say though it would have been great to see Eccleston continue in the role, David Tenannt was so good that I was delighted starting with “The Christmas Invasion.” He got three thirteen-episode  series plus Christmas specials.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

  • Reality Check compares literary ancestries.
  • The Argyle Sweater finds it makes a difference when you drop a silent “e”.
  • 1 and Done reveals a legendary character once had vision problems.
  • One Big Happy tries rewards.
  • Last Place Comics begins a series with Lasso Man:

(9) MACK REYNOLDS GOES TO A CON IN 1949. [Item by Danny Sichel.] The people who run the SFF Audio podcast found something interesting, and scanned it, and posted it online: Mack Reynolds’ article “My Best Friends Are Martians” about the business of writing science fiction, as published in the March 1950 issue of Writer’s Digest.

It’s accompanied by a “Capsule Report on a StF Convention” and an analysis of the concept of science fiction fandom (“a phenomenon almost unbelievable. There is absolutely nothing like it in any other fiction field”).

This link is just the con report by itself.

(10) BUMPING UGLIES. The New York Times says a scientist theorizes “A Big Whack That Made the Moon May Have Also Created Continents That Move”.

Some 4.5 billion years ago, many scientists say, Earth had a meetup with Theia, another planetary object the size of Mars. When the two worlds collided in a big whack, the thinking goes, debris shot into space, got locked into the orbit of the young, damaged Earth and led to the formation of our moon.

But the collision with Theia may have done more than that, according to a study published last month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The impact may have given rise to something else: plate tectonics, the engine that drives the motion of Earth’s giant continental and oceanic plates and causes earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the eventual remaking of our planet’s surface about every 200 million years.

Earth scientists have long studied and debated the origin of plate tectonics, and other theories have been offered. Qian Yuan, a postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology and an author of the new paper, and his colleagues make the case for the Theia collision as the source of plate tectonics. They reason from computer simulations that the event produced the heat needed in Earth’s early days to get the process going.

Tectonics starts with superheated plumes of magma from close to Earth’s core rising and sitting beneath the planet’s plates. The plumes can weaken the crust, and lava can erupt and push aside overriding plates….

(11) THEY’RE BAAAAAACK. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Remember those “monoliths“ that kept cropping up during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic? They’re back. Or at least one is. “’Mysterious’ monolith similar to column seen in 2020 appears in Las Vegas desert: Police” at ABC News. (Click the link for a short video.)

I know President Biden is fond of his aviator shades, but if it comes down to a dogfight with the returning aliens, I’ll take President Whitmore, thank you.

A reflective monolith, similar to one that became an Internet sensation during the height of the pandemic in 2020, was seen in Las Vegas in what local officials are dubbing a mystery.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department took to X on Monday to share two photos of the long, vertical slab of metal that allegedly appeared over the weekend on a hiking trail near Gass Peak on the northern side of the Las Vegas area….

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


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15 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/18/24 Destination: Moon Wedding

  1. (0) Moon wedding? Well, we had a con wedding…
    (3) Muphry’s Law? Not Murphy’s? And… talk about a way to get everything you write discounted.
    (6) Interesting that so many are genre.
    (9) Interesting. He’s not big on fans. And in the review of the con, he can’t seem to decide whether to look down on them, or admit he enjoyed the company.
    (10) You mean mere pressure wouldn’t cause the heat necessary to start the slabs of continent moving?

  2. Some Desperate Glory continues to hold my attention.

    Too hot today to go out today. Even now, it’s 80°F, with the temperature not due to drop to a mere 72° till 5am. Oh, and we have 72% humidity. It’s not fit outside for human or dog.

  3. Please excuse the chest beating, but the last book in my YA fantasy series, A War of Banes and Demons, just got a Kirkus star. All the previous books’ reviews were good, but this is the first star I’ve gotten since elementary school.
    Whoo-hoo! And apologies.

  4. re: (9) – To be more clear, I don’t think the con report was by Reynolds. It’s described as being from the partner of a publisher who was considering whether to get into SF.

  5. @Lis Carey
    I saw a description elseweb of the air outside being like soup.

  6. (10) The theory is also that there are remains of Theia in the bumps in Earth’s core.

  7. @mark: “Muphry’s Law” states that any attempt to correct someone else’s error contains at least one error of its own

    @Thomas the Red: Thanks for the good news about Resident Alien

    Unfortunately the Destination Moon Wedding was disrupted by a Harsh Mistress.

  8. @Kevin Harkness, congratulations! I can’t think of a better site to celebrate SFFnal success than here; chest beating encouraged.

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