Pixel Scroll 6/19/22 She Filed Me Into A Scroll! (I Got Better!)

(1) HARASSMENT CAMPAIGN. [Item by Meredith.] Someone(s) used the names and email addresses of several members of sf/f fandom including Paul Weimer, Patrick S Tomlinson, John Scalzi, and Adam Rakunas to send racist abuse to a black author (@fairyfemmes) through the contact form on their websites (where the email address can be entered manually). The author originally believed it was real, but is now wanting to know who is behind it. They’ve taken their account private.

John Scalzi tweeted:

Paul Weimer posted on Patreon about “The Trolls Harassing others in my name”.

The Trolls that have harassed me for years in my name have come up with a new and horrible trick–they are harassing others, in this case, a POC, and using my name to do it.  

So it’s a double whammy–to hurt someone else, and to blacken my name at the same time.

Patrick S. Tomlinson addressed a message sent under his name, and another from the person posing as Adam Rakunas.

(2) TONOPAH PROGRAM UPDATED. The most recent (June 19) Westercon 74 Program Schedule  version has downloadable PDFs of the Program Grid, which shows items by date/time/location. Click on the link.

(3) WISCON’S COVID OUTCOME. The “WisCon 2022 Post-Con COVID-19 Report” begins with a fully detailed account of the extensive COVID-19 safety measures instituted by the committee, then assesses the results. 

…Two weeks out from the end of the convention, we are stopping our case tracking efforts. While it’s impossible to say with any certainty whether some members arrived sick, contracted COVID-19 during travel to/from, or contracted COVID-19 at the con, we can, with much gratitude, report that we had a total reported count of 13 cases including one possible false positive, or 3% of our estimated 407 in-person attendance. That’s just about miraculous.

We want to especially extend our thanks to those who tested positive very soon after arriving and took the necessary measures to take care of themselves and keep those around them safe, up to and including leaving the convention entirely. We know it must have been so gut-wrenching and disappointing. Thank you….

(4) STOP DISCOUNTING CRAFTSMANSHIP. Mark Lawrence reacts to a viral tweet by someone who rates books highly for other things than good writing in “I don’t care how good a writer you are…”

…It’s as if people are celebrating the idea that writing doesn’t matter and that “good writing” is some form of intellectual elitism that doesn’t have anything to do with them. They’re death metal fans and they don’t care about opera.

But that is, of course, nonsense. It’s akin to saying “I don’t care how good a brain surgeon you are, as long as you get this tumour out.” “I don’t care how good a mechanic you are, as long as you fix my car.” Sure, the end is the thing that’s important to you … but the end is generally strongly correlated with the means….

(5) SCARE PALS. Adrienne Celt advises New York Times Magazine readers that “You Need a Horror Movie Friend for a More Frightening, Less Lonely Life”.

… A lot of people hate horror movies, but I don’t. In fact, I frequently find myself strong-arming my friends and loved ones into watching something scarier than they would prefer, just for the company. It’s a difference of philosophy as much as a difference in taste. Horror deniers often claim there’s nothing emotionally valuable in the experience of being frightened. I disagree. When I first watched “The Last Unicorn” (a horror movie masquerading as a children’s cartoon) at age 8, the image of a naked harpy devouring a witch was burned into my brain, but so was the realization that the conditions that created the harpy also allowed for the unicorn. The existence of horror is inevitably proximate to the existence of wondrous possibility.

Meeting another person who loves horror as much as I do, then, is like meeting a fellow traveler from my home country while stuck somewhere distant and strange….

(6) A LOT TO LIKE. Rich Horton continues his project of filling in the historic blank spaces with “Hugo Nomination Recommendations, 1954” at Strange at Ecbatan.

… This was a remarkable year for SF novels, and the five that I list as nominees — the same list the Retro Hugo nominators picked — are all certified classics in the field. There some impressive alternate choices too — among those I list, Leiber’s The Sinful Ones (an expansion and in my opinion an improvement on his 1950 short novel “You’re All Alone”) is a personal favorite. In my Locus article I picked The Caves of Steel as the winner, but I’m really torn. Nowadays I might lean to either More Than Human, or to the Retro Hugo winner, Fahrenheit 451….

(7) REREADING PRATCHETT. Nicholas Whyte discusses “Mort, by Terry Pratchett” at From the Heart of Europe.

…You’ve read it too, so I won’t go on at length. It is as funny as I remembered. I was pleasantly surprised on re-reading by the breadth and depth of references to classic (and Classical) literature. The main driver of the Sto Lat subplot, the rewriting of history and destiny, is actually more of a science fiction trope, rarely found in fantasy (and the description of it is fairly sfnal). And Death’s slogan resonates still for me, 35 years on.

THERE’S NO JUSTICE. THERE’S JUST ME.

(8) A VISION FOR SF. Pop quiz: What editor’s name immediately comes to your mind when you read the statement that Astounding shaped modern science fiction? My guess is it won’t be the name that came to Colin Marshall’s mind when he wrote this post for Open Culture: “Revisit Vintage Issues of Astounding Stories, the 1930s Magazine that Gave Rise to Science Fiction as We Know It”.

Having been putting out issues for 92 years now, Analog Science Fiction and Fact stands as the longest continuously published magazine of its genre. It also lays claim to having developed or at least popularized that genre in the form we know it today. When it originally launched in December of 1929, it did so under the much more whiz-bang title of Astounding Stories of Super-Science. But only three years later, after a change of ownership and the installation as editor of F. Orlin Tremaine, did the magazine begin publishing work by writers remembered today as the defining minds of science fiction….

(9) HAPPY 90TH. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Washington Post, classical music critic Michael Andor Brodeur celebrates John Williams’s 90th birthday with recommendations about his orchestral music to try (ever heard his flute concerto or his violin concerti?) “Composer John Williams being feted with performances at Kennedy Center”.

… For “John Williams: A 90th Birthday Gala,” conductor Stéphane Denève will lead the NSO in a sprawling celebration of Willams’s famed film music. Special guests cellist Yo-Yo Ma, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will cue up selections from some of Williams’s most beloved scores, including “Close Encounters,” “E.T.,” “Harry Potter,” “Indiana Jones” and “Schindler’s List.” The program will also highlight Williams’s most recently lauded work, the score to Kobe Bryant and Glen Keane’s Oscar-winning 2017 short film “Dear Basketball.

A pair of companion concerts flanking the gala celebration will focus on two of Williams’s best-known scores — representing a fraction of his 29 collaborations with Spielberg. (Their latest project, “The Fabelmans,” is due out in November). Steven Reineke will conduct the composer’s scores for “E.T.” and “Jurassic Park” on June 22 and 24, respectively. (The NSO will also perform Williams’s score for “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” with a screening of the film at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on July 29.)

Taken together, the birthday party is three days of music that will hit all the subconscious buttons that Williams has wired into our collective memories over the past five decades — a rich catalogue of instantly identifiable melodies, moods and motifs that can conjure entire worlds with the stroke of a bow.

The party, however, conspicuously forgot to invite Williams’s concert music — the province of his output that truly opened my ears to his compositional mastery. (It also leaves out selections from “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” a deep cut that represents some of his best work with Spielberg, but that’s another story.)

I get it. We have come to equate Williams with Hollywood so closely that it can be hard to fathom him freed of cinema’s frame.

But in Williams’s many concertos, chamber works and solo pieces, his familiar compositional voice is fully present, albeit put to completely different use. His connections to multiple classical traditions register more clearly: his Berg-ian penchant for darkness and dissonance, his Copland-esque ease with evoking natural grandeur, his inheritance of gestures from Debussy, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Korngold.

Here are some of my favorite Williams works that have nothing to do with the movies — and have a lot more depth than you might expect from a composer we associate with the silver screen….

One of the pieces Michael Andor Brodeur recommended of John Williams was his “Fanfare For Fenway” so here it is as Williams and the Boston Pops perform the world premiere at Fenway Park in 2012.

(10) THINK FAST. Deadline calls it “Zaslav’s First Movie Crisis: What To Do With Ezra Miller, The Erratic Star Of Warner Bros’ $200M ‘Flash’ Franchise Launch”

Even though it isn’t on the Warner Bros release calendar until June 23, 2023, The Flash is becoming Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s first movie crisis, because of the escalating coverage of incidents of volatile and odd behavior involving the film’s star, Ezra Miller.

Zaslav has made clear his desire to grow the DC Universe to MCU scale and has all the ingredients of a first foot forward in The Flash, including the return of Michael Keaton as Batman along with a reprise by Ben Affleck, a $200 million budget and a hot director in Andy Muschietti, who delivered the blockbuster It for the studio. The Warner Bros Discovery CEO exercised his well known penchant for micro-management by declining to greenlight Wonder Twins for being too niche. Zaslav will have to soon make a decision of what to do with the completed picture that is The Flash, and what to do with a young actor who appears to have serious off-set issues….

(11) VERTLIEB MEDICAL NEWS. Steve Vertlieb is home after his fifth hospital stay of the year. He brings everyone up-to-date in “Back To The Suture 3” on Facebook.

… Days upon days of antibiotic treatment were required before they dared to open the wound and clean out the bacteria. This additional procedure was accomplished on Monday, June 13th.

Consequently, I was admitted yet again to the cardiac unit where I remained for nine days more until my delayed and eventual release this afternoon. I’ve a “Wound V.A.C.” attached to my groin where it hangs rather uncomfortably, and shall continue to do so for, perhaps, the next week or two. I’m home once more, and praying that this is where I shall be permitted at long last to remain….

(12) MEDIA BIRTHDAY

1956 [By Cat Eldridge.] Forbidden Planet debuted sixty years ago on this date in the United Kingdom. I had the extremely good fortune of seeing Forbidden Planet at one of those boutique cinema houses some four decades back. Great sound and print, and a respectful audience who were there to see the film so everyone paid attention to it. 

It was produced by Nicholas Nayfack who had no genre background and who would die of a heart attack, age forty-nine just two years later. It was directed by Fred Wilcox, best known for Lassie, Come Home. The script was written by Cyril Hume who had prior to this written scripts for two Tarzan films. It is said that is based off “The Tempest” as conceived in a story by Irving Block and Allen Adler. Huh. 

I’ll skip the cast other than Robbie the Robot. He cost at least one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars to produce, and was based off the design originating with ideas and sketches by production designer Arnold “Buddy” Gillespie, art director Arthur Lonergan, and writer Irving Block. Robbie was operated (uncredited at the time) by stuntmen Frankie Darro and Frankie Carpenter, both rather short actors. And his voice in the film was done in post-production by actor Marvin Miller. 

The budget was about two million of which it was later estimated that Robbie was actually well over ten percent of that because of the cost of Miller’s time which added considerably to his cost. It made two point eight million, so yes it lost money. 

So what did the critics think? Variety thought it had “Imaginative gadgets galore, plus plenty of suspense and thrills, make the production a top offering in the space travel category” while the Los Angeles Times thought it was “more than another science-fiction movie, with the emphasis on fiction; it is a genuinely thought-through concept of the future, and the production MGM has bestowed on it gives new breadth and dimension to that time-worn phrase, ‘out of this world.’” 

It has a most stellar eighty-five percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 19, 1915 — Julius Schwartz. He’s best known as a longtime editor at DC Comics, where at various times he was primary editor for the Superman and Batman lines. Just as interestingly, he founded the Solar Sales Service literary agency (1934–1944) where Schwartz represented such writers as Bradbury, Bester,  Bloch, Weinbaum, and Lovecraft which included some of Bradbury’s very first published work and Lovecraft’s last such work. He also published Time Traveller, one of the first fanzines along with Mort Weisinger and Forrest J Ackerman. (Died 2004.)
  • Born June 19, 1921 — Louis Jourdan. Fear No Evil and Ritual of Evil, two very low budget TV horror films in the late Sixties that don’t show up on Rotten Tomatoes, appear to be his first venture into our realm. And no, I can’t say I’ve seen either one of them. He’d play Count Dracula in, errr, Count Dracula a few years later which gets a most excellent seventy-eight rating at Rotten Tomatoes. And then comes the role you most likely remember him for, Dr. Anton Arcane in Swamp Thing which he reprised in The Return of Swamp Thing. (No, don’t ask what they got for ratings. Please don’t ask.) Definitely popcorn films at their very best. Oh, and let’s not forget he was Kamal Khan, the villain in Octopussy! (It’s Moore, again don’t ask.) (Died 2015.)
  • Born June 19, 1926 — Josef Nesvadba. A Czech writer, best known in his SF short stories, many of which have appeared in English translation. ISFDB lists a number of stories as appearing in English and two collections of his translated stories were published, In The Footsteps of the Abominable Snowman : Stories of Science and Fantasy and Vampires Ltd.: Stories of Science and Fantasy. Neither’s available from the usual suspects though Cora can read him in German. (Died 2005.)
  • Born June 19, 1947 — Salman Rushdie, 75. I strongly believe that everything he does has some elements of magic realism in it. (So let the arguments begin on that statement as they will.) So which of his novels are really genre? I’d say The Ground Beneath Her FeetGrimus (his first and largely forgotten sf novel), Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights and Haroun and the Sea of Stories which I essayed here. If you’ve not read anything by him, I’d start with The Ground Beneath Her Feet which is by far both one of his best works and one of his most understandable ones as well.
  • Born June 19, 1952 — Virginia Hey, 70. Best remembered  for her role as Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan in the fantastic Farscape series and playing the Warrior Woman in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. She’s also Rubavitch, the mistress of the KGB Head, General Pushkin, in The Living Daylights. She also had a brief appearance as a beautician in The Return of Captain Invincible, an Australian musical comedy superhero film. No, I’ve not seen it, so who has? 
  • Born June 19, 1957 — Jean Rabe, 65. She’s a genre author and editor who has worked on the DragonlanceForgotten RealmsRogue Angel and BattleTech series, as well as many others. Ok I admit to a degree of fascination with such writers as I’m a devotee of the Rogue Angel audiobooks that GraphicAudio does and she’s written at least five of the source novels under the house name of Alex Archer. She has won the Internation Assoication of Media Tie-In Writers’ Faust Award for Lifetime Achievement. 

(14) COMICS SECTION.

  • Off the Mark celebrates Fathers Day.
  • zach can foretell the present!

(15) OVERCOMER. [Item by Steven French.] Interesting interview with Sarah Hall, author of plague novel Burntcoat (not sure writing a book during the pandemic is quite comparable to what Sarah Connor did but ok …) “Sarah Hall: ‘I used to almost fear opening a book’”.

When did you begin writing Burntcoat?
On the first day of the first lockdown in March 2020, with notebooks and a pen, which I’d not done since my first novel, 20 years ago. It felt like a response to what was going on – this odd scribbling in the smallest room in the house, really early in the morning when it was quiet and eerie.

And you kept it up even while home schooling your daughter?
There was some part of me that thought: “This is just one more thing that’s going to make it difficult to work and I’m going to do it anyway.” I was anxious, but I’m a single parent and I go into, as I call it, Sarah Connor mode from The Terminator: it’s out there, here’s my child, what do I need to do? Get buff! I got pains in my hand because I wasn’t used to writing so much.

(16) WACKY WIKI. If for any reason you were wondering whether Vox Day’s Infogalactic is still around, Camestos Felapton permitted his eyeballs to be stabbed with its content in order to research this post: “Incredibly, Voxopedia is still running”.

(17) THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Washington Post, A.A. Dowd celebrates the 40th anniversary of E.T., saying the film “has the simplicity of a fable and the texture of ordinary American life.” “’E.T.,’ 40 years later, is still the most soulful of box-office sensations”.

… Not that the movie subscribes to the idea of adolescence as a carefree, unburdened time. By now, it’s conventional wisdom that “E.T.” grew out of Spielberg’s memories of his emotionally fraught teenage years. The director modeled his title character on a real imaginary friend he came up with to cope with his parents’ divorce. As written by Melissa Mathison, who combined elements from two scrapped Spielberg projects, the film became a melancholy fantasy deeply haunted by parental absence. At heart, it’s about a broken nuclear family trying to piece itself back together….

(18) WHO NEEDS SPECIAL EFFECTS? Gizmodo is delighted that “Doctor Strange 2 Gets a Dance-Heavy Blooper Reel Before Disney+ Drop”.

… Beyond that, it’s funny to watch the cast’s long capes and skirts get stuck in the scenery and have them try to fight off errant leaves as they wave their arms around doing pretend magic.

(19) A COMMERCIAL MESSAGE FROM OUR FUTURE ROBOT OVERLORDS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Estonian company Milrem Robotics has joined with a partner company (who supplied the 30 mm autocanon) to demonstrate what their “Type-X“ armored, uncrewed, AI-powered Robotic Combat Vehicle could do if outfitted as a tank. “Robot Tank Firing at Cars and Other Targets Is the Stuff of Nightmares” at Autoevolution.

The disastrous use of tanks by the Russians in Ukraine isn’t stopping defense contractors from researching such platforms, though. Of course, even if they look like traditional tanks, these new machines are as modern as they get.

Take the so-called Type-X Robotic Combat Vehicle, developed over in Europe by Milrem Robotics and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. That would be an autonomous, AI-governed, tracked vehicle that could become a common presence on the battlefields of tomorrow….

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Meredith, Lise Andreasen, Steven French, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/19/22 She Filed Me Into A Scroll! (I Got Better!)

  1. First!

    I’m reading the Doonesbury collection that I mentioned in the last Scroll. It’s amazing how much of it stands up very, very well after this much time.

  2. 5). I don’t do horror. Anyone attempting to strongarm me into watching horror will get to watch me rapidly leave the room. Repeated attempts to dictate my boundaries will result in me cutting off communication entirely.

    Really, what is it that makes people think that EVERYONE has to like their favorite genre?

  3. (9) If I were doing a marketing video for my new robotic tank, I wouldn’t include the shots at 0:28 where it completely misses the target. But that’s just me.

  4. Nancy Sauer says I don’t do horror. Anyone attempting to strongarm me into watching horror will get to watch me rapidly leave the room. Repeated attempts to dictate my boundaries will result in me cutting off communication entirely.

    Really, what is it that makes people think that EVERYONE has to like their favorite genre?

    You will notice that my essays don’t have horrid films as a subject. The nearest I come is such things is the Blade films but they’re not really horror, are they?

  5. (1) The technology to send unforgeable emails has been known since the 1980s, but almost no one uses it because it isn’t built into any of the standard platforms.

    (12) Rocky Horror fans know perfectly well who starred in Forbidden Planet, it’s right there in the opening number.

    (13) If I remember correctly, the Louis Jourdain Count Dracula is the first one to show the count crawling head first down the castle wall.

  6. 1) Is it just repetitive to emit a bloodcurdling scream about this harassment?

    Cat, I can’t find the reference. What’s the title of that Doonesbury collection?

    Very tired.

  7. @Jim Janney

    I don’t think that would’ve have helped here – the trolls/harassers were using the contact form on the author’s website. They could just enter whatever name and email address they wanted.

  8. 13) Some of Nesvadba’s stuff not available in English can be found in Esperanto, especially in the 1974 anthology La Perdita Viza?o.

  9. @Meredith: you’re right, it wouldn’t have helped here. I’m just kvetching about the internet we might have had vs. the cesspool that we do have.

    It didn’t help that the U.S. government declared that encryption was a form of munition, but that’s ancient history now.

  10. Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey: The management apologizes for special characters that show up as question marks in the comments.

  11. (1) Beneath contempt.
    (12) The 50th anniversary DVD of Forbidden Planet (which was released, um, 16 years ago) has a gorgeous remastered video transfer plus an excellent documentary about the film.

  12. @Lis Carey
    It’s “40: A Doonesbury Retrospective 1970 to 1979” – there are more volumes covering the 80s, the 90s, and after 1999.

  13. 1) Some people are arseholes.

    17) I have to admit I never understood just why E.T. was so immensely popular back in the day. Yes, it was a good film with several nice moments, but there were many SFF movies in the 1980s which were just as good or better and had not nearly the same success.

  14. @P J Evans–Thank you!

    @Cora Buhlert–It was a feel-good film with some great visuals. But it’s possible it was especially well-targeted for a certain generation of Americans who grew up in that version of suburbia.

  15. (5) I adore horror but I haven’t been watching it since my horror-movie-watching group fell apart, so perhaps I should find a new one. I would probably have a similar reaction to Nancy Sauer’s if someone tried to get me to watch a rom com.

    I lived in a very ET-like suburb when I saw it. First time I loved it, on the second viewing a couple weeks later I thought it was the most manipulative movie I had ever seen. Either it was selling you candy and horrible video games or it was trying to make you cry.

  16. I agree completely with Nancy’s comment, “Really, what is it that makes people think that EVERYONE has to like their favorite genre?”
    Like Cora, I’m puzzled by the classic status of ET. I saw it for the first time last year and found it entertaining and mildly poignant, but not overwhelming. Maybe I saw it too late. Or maybe I don’t belong to whatever generation it appealed to (I was born in 1964). I also never felt much affinity for the kind of suburban milieu it depicts. Oddly, I liked Spielberg’s other SF films, Minority Report and A.I., much better.

  17. (9)/(12): Imagine what a hit Forbidden Planet would have been if it had included a full-orchestra John Williams score. (Or even his “Johnny Willams”-era Lost in Space music.)* Those beeps and boops on the soundtrack may have been on the cutting edge of analog synthesizer technology for about 10 minutes, but they all blend together and don’t satisfy either as compositions or as a complement to the movie.

    *But not the E.T. music. That was mediocre.

  18. I was nine when E.T. came out, i.e. at exactly the right age for it and still didn’t particularly like it, when I first saw it in the theatre. If anything, I was disappointed that my parents would take me to see a kiddie movie about a wrinkly alien, but not the Star Wars movies, which were what I actually wanted to watch. And while I didn’t live in a typical American suburb, the place where I lived wasn’t that different.

    I did like th E.T. better, when I saw it on TV a few years later, but I still don’t get its extreme popularity. It’s not even the best SFF movie of 1982 – The Dark Crystal and The Secret of Nimh, both of which I did see at the theatre, as well as Blade Runner, Conan the Barbarian, The Thing and The Wrath of Khan, which I saw several years later due to being too young to watch them, were all better IMO – let alone of the 1980s. Tron was better and more interesting, too, though I wasn’t a particular fan.

  19. Kids having an adventure with a secret friend they must protect appeals to kids, and still appeals to them decades later. Which I think accounts for a lot of the success of Stranger Things.
    Yes, Eleven is ET

  20. 4) I dare say playing death metal well involves a good degree of craft. (Although many years ago I shared a flat with the drummer in a thrash metal band whose guitarist basically just moved his hands as fast as possible with no discernible coordination.)

    At any rate, I find myself in agreement with the blogger. Dan Brown might not be any competition for Flaubert, but he’s still got craft to create a page-turner.

  21. (13) At an event in Sydney a few year back I saw Rushdie speak and he stated that he had been in discussions with HBO (or somebody like that) to write a prestige Sci-Fi series.

  22. There are good things and bad things about the BBC’s 1978 Dracula, but Louis Jourdan is undoubtedly one of the good things. The original novel, of course, was written with an eye to it being turned into a theatrical piece with Bram Stoker’s man-crush Henry Irving in the title role (Irving didn’t like the book, so nothing came of that), and consequently the Count in the book gets reams of melodramatic dialogue that an actor could really go to town on… Jourdan’s performance, by contrast, is massively underplayed; his Dracula is smooth, quiet, matter-of-fact, silkily persuasive – and all the more sinister for it.

    I’ve seen The Return of Captain Invincible, and I enjoyed it and would recommend it. Captain Invincible is a WWII-era superhero whose career was later destroyed in the McCarthy witch hunts; in contemporary times, he’s rediscovered, now a homeless alcoholic drop-out, and has to be rehabilitated and get back into the superhero game. It’s a bit uneven, but the idea is fine, some of the songs are pretty good, and of course it’s got Christopher Lee as Invincible’s nemesis, the sinister Mr. Midnight. I liked it.

  23. I went with a cousin to see ET in the theater. It was totally an excuse for her to meet up with friends (and a boy gasp!). I was 6? 7? During the scene where they’re being grabbed by the government people I got really really scared, I started to openly wail. She could not calm me down (uuuuuugh!) and ended up having to call my mom from a payphone (yup, that long ago) and we left before seeing the end. I saw it later with my parents and was much better when I had them to comfort me during the ‘scary’ parts.

  24. (1) Great. The people doing this managed to find a way to smear the reputations of the people they harass while also attacking a Black author. Their mothers must be so proud. (What’s sad is that their parents might actually proud of this behavior…)

    (5) I like horror, but I spent years of my childhood avoiding anything remotely scary. At the same time, I loved the Addams Family; read scary children’s books; and never connected them with horror. I finally “made” myself watch Universal Horror movies and realized

    Still, I wouldn’t think of dragging someone to a horror movie if they hated the genre. OTOH if they decided they were interested after all, I might find ways to help them find something they might like. Or I might say, “You hate horror movies, but you liked The Bride of Frankenstein. Have you seen James Whale’s The Invisible Man?

    (12) Speaking of horror movies and “monster movies” (because that’s what Svengoolie often runs), “Forbidden Planet” was the Svengoolie movie on Saturday night on MeTV. It was fun watching the movie while talking about it in one of the busy fan groups on Facebook.

    The scenes with the men coming onto Anne Francis did not age very well. The “kiss” guy is lucky the tiger didn’t sneak up on him…

    (13) I remember seeing the Louis Jourdan version of Count Dracula on TV and being so excited they put in the wall-crawling scene. Then, at school the next morning, one of my classmates made fun of that scene. Sigh. I guess that’s how the scene looked to people who hadn’t read the book. (He was into genre fiction, but I guess he hadn’t read “Dracula” yet.)

  25. A Meredith moment: Jennifer Stevenson’s Co-Ed Demon Sluts, the first of her delightful series is available at very reasonable price at all the usual suspects for just under three dollars. Jennifer will have her recipe for a very delicious plate of chilequiles at Green Man in July.

  26. One of the squealing little coprophages who have been harassing Patrick Tomlinson tried something like this on my blog just after I returned from ConFusion in January. It pretended to be Tomlinson thanking me for buying one of his books and apologizing for having to include all the liberal/SWJ/feminist content without which real writers can’t be published. It used Tomlinson’s email address, but when I checked the IP it was for a server somewhere on the other side of the planet. So brave of them!

  27. We shut down comments on Green Man after we started getting far too much spam of a particularly nasty nature that it wasn’t worth it. (I was moderating several hundred comments a day at a minimum.) It meant a certain drop in readership but not that much.

    Conversations of the week online have all been about bromeliads. Did you know the Aztecs ate a particularly thorny one that is a brilliant red in color with purple flowers? Not sure what part of it they actually ate. I’ve got a seller who thinks they’ve got several in one of their greenhouses and I’m purchasing one as soon as they find it.

    (The pineapple is a bromeliad. Really it is.)

  28. 1) I, for one, am getting really sick and tired of terrible people using technology to increase the efficacy of their terribleness.

  29. @Cat Eldridge
    I knew about pineapples, and you can get the leaves at the top to grow into a new plant. (When the top gets torn off, that’s a good time to grab one.) It will take time, though.

    Did that, and even got a teeny (but tasty!) pineapple on it.

  30. (1) The things this person (or these people) are doing makes me think of the “witchfinder general” who’s made life awful for Discon over the Baen mess as well; they’re known for using abusive tactics like this, as well as being technically ept and able to use things like remote proxies to disguise their activities’ sources.

    (not linking here because I don’t want pingbacks)

  31. 4) Personally, I find things like “Did this book make me cry?” or “How fast did I read it?” very strange criteria for judging literature, but crying about books or movies (which I rarely to never do) is apparently really important for a certain demographic and that’s okay.

    However, Mark Lawrence is right: There is good writing craft involved, if a book made a reader cry or if it was a page turner, even if the reader doesn’t always see it. For example, if a novel or a movie or TV episode makes me misty-eyed about the death of a walk-on character with very little page/screentime, the writer did their job to make us care about that character.

  32. P J Evans says I knew about pineapples, and you can get the leaves at the top to grow into a new plant. (When the top gets torn off, that’s a good time to grab one.) It will take time, though.

    Did that, and even got a teeny (but tasty!) pineapple on it.

    Mine actually produced two pups off of it which will of course eventually have their own pineapples. I’ve got ginger, turmeric and cardamon growing here as well as three (hopefully) miniature palm trees.

    I’m raising houseplants sort of like Nero Wolfe as I’m not allowed to take walks anywhere as I’m both on serious levels of anti-seizure meds and prone to blackouts. As a result, I’ve some fifty houseplants of which at least thirty are bromeliads, mostly airplants even some tendrils of Spanish moss that’s growing rapidly. It’s an interesting hobby.

  33. (5) I’ve now taken the time to read her piece, and yeah, no.

    I don’t like horror. I’m comfortable with that, and I will not be strong-armed into watching or reading it. If I am tricked into it, you will have damaged my trust and our friendship.

    I’m also comfortable with being inconsistent about it. There is some horror, entirely in print, not video, that I do like. This happens with writers I trust, most notably but not exclusively Oor Wombat. One of the common points is the feeling that this writer wouldn’t be offended if I got to a certain point and decided it was too much for me and I needed to stop. I can stop, and it’s still okay to try another one if I choose.

    Other writers, I do not have that feeling about. It might be completely unfair, but this isn’t about fairness. This is about whether a particular book or movie is going to push me over the emotional edge. I’m not as resilient as I used to be, and the threat of extreme depression and spiraling downward hovers closer than it did when I was younger and healthier.

    Keeping my emotional balance matters more than where some random person thinks horror ranks in cinema and literature.

  34. However, Mark Lawrence is right: There is good writing craft involved, if a book made a reader cry or if it was a page turner, even if the reader doesn’t always see it. For example, if a novel or a movie or TV episode makes me misty-eyed about the death of a walk-on character with very little page/screentime, the writer did their job to make us care about that character.

    In a movie it may only mean that the director likes to manipulate. I found myself crying during Close Encounters, even though I mostly disliked the characters and thought the premise was dumb, because they were sitting around a table making faces with glycerin running down their cheeks and I reacted sympathetically to that. I now regard Spielberg’s name on a project as the warning label, because I want to decide for myself how I feel, thank you very much.

    But in general I agree. Good writing is getting the job done well, not jumping out at the reader saying “look at me, see how clever I am.”

  35. 4) For me, the criteria is- four years later, is there something about the book I vividly remember? There are plenty of books that excite me when I first read them, but soon fade into an undifferentiated mass of books I’ve read. And others that seem unremarkable on first read but which I keep thinking back to. This causes some difficulty with award voting, I sometimes look back and think I should have voted differently. But I console myself that it’s no different than not voting for a book because you haven’t come across it in time or because a pandemic is putting you off dystopia or any of the other random factors involved.

  36. So is “good writing” effective writing or literary writing (as some people seem to define it)?

  37. Not sure–perhaps it could be both–but perhaps each of us have a right to decide for ourselves what we liked about a book or movie.

  38. Harassment campaign – one thing I’m wondering is what author email names they used – public… or were they ones from the stolen list from SFWA? If the latter, it might make the thief more trackable.
    I don’t like horror, period. I didn’t ever see Psycho… and there’s no way I would watch what horror’s become, the pornography of gore. That doesn’t even mention the logic of horror, on par with Wile E. Coyote’s relationship with gravity.
    ET. That was the film that confirmed my late wife’s absolute dislike of Spielberg, the WWII dogfight formations of the bikes, and on, and on. My dislike of him was cemented with the first episode that he did for his Amazing Stories, with the cartoonist in WWII – as that ended, I had tears in my eyes, as he’d pushed my buttons… and literally felt I’d been raped by his utter manipulation of my feelings.

  39. I agree completely with Lis that one shouldn’t have to justify one’s likes and dislikes in literature, film, etc. I like horror selectively–horror that has elements of fantasy, the supernatural, science fiction, etc., evoking wonder as well as horror. I think of Lovecraft and M.R. James as great fantasists as well as “horror” writers.

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