Pixel Scroll 6/25/22 File The Pixels, Lest They Squeak Or Scroll

(1) OKORAFOR’S LOVE FOR COMICS. It started when she was seven: “From Garfield to Black Panther: Nnedi Okorafor on the Power of Comics” at Literary Hub.

My path to writing the big black cat started with a fat orange cat.

I’ve always been attracted to comics. Even before the word, it was the black line that drew me (pun intended). It began when I was about seven years old in the early ’80s with . . . Garfield. My father was an avid Chicago Sun-Times newspaper reader, and every day he would sit at the dinner table and read it. It was while hanging around him that I noticed that there was a comics page every day. The Family CircusHi and LoisBloomsburyCalvin and HobbesMommaZiggy—there were so many I enjoyed. And, oh man, on Sunday, there were pages of comics, and they were in color! I loved these little stories told in pictures. But I became most obsessed with Garfield….

(2) FUTURE TENSE. “This, But Again” by David Iserson, about life as a recurring simulation, is this month’s story from Future Tense Fiction, a monthly series from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives.

There’s an accompanying response essay by Eric Schwitzgebel, “If We’re Living in a Simulation, the Gods Might Be Crazy”.

That we’re living in a computer simulation—it sounds like a paranoid fantasy. But it’s a possibility that futurists, philosophers, and scientific cosmologists treat increasingly seriously. Oxford philosopher and noted futurist Nick Bostrom estimates there’s about a 1 in 3 chance that we’re living in a computer simulation. Prominent New York University philosopher David J. Chalmers, in his recent book, estimates at least a 25 percent chance. Billionaire Elon Musk says it’s a near-certainty. And it’s the premise of this month’s Future Tense Fiction story by David Iserson, “This, but Again.”

Let’s consider the unnerving cosmological and theological implications of this idea. If it’s true that we’re living in a computer simulation, the world might be weirder, smaller, and more unstable than we ordinarily suppose…

(3) KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. “See rare alignment of 5 planets and moon in stunning photo” at Space.com.

The rare sight of five bright planets lining up with the moon wowed skywatchers around the world Friday, with some gearing up for more this weekend to see a planetary sight that won’t happen again until 2040.

Throughout June, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have lined up from left to right, in their orbital order from the sun, before dawn in the southeastern sky. Early Friday (June 24), the moon joined the planet parade in an awesome sight captured by astrophotographer Wright Dobbs, a meteorologist for the U.S. National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida….

(4) “US IN FLUX” RETURNS. In 2020 ASU’s Center for Science and Imagination published Us in Flux, a series of 11 flash-fiction stories and virtual events about community, collaboration, and resilience in the face of transformative events. They’re back!

This summer, we’re presenting a second cycle of Us in Flux stories and events, providing glimpses of better futures shaped by new social arrangements, communities, and forms of governance, with a focus on bottom-up creativity and problem-solving at the local level. Our stories will present civic experiments, envisioning the collectives, systems, and activities that could power the functional, equitable, and thriving communities of the future.  

 We’ll publish one story and host one event each month from June to September 2022.

 Our first story is “Becoming Birch” by Carter Meland, about rock music, unexpected connections, and northern Minnesota forests. The story is available to read now, And you can view a conversation about the story’s themes and implications with Carter and Grace Dillon, professor of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University and editor of Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction.

(5) YOU’RE OUT OF THERE. The #KickedFromTheJediOrderFor meme has inspired some funny tweets (and some obnoxious duds, what else is new?) Here are two I liked.

(6) SLOWER THAN LIGHT. James Davis Nicoll ransacks the genre for “Scientifically Plausible SF Settings That Provide an Alternative to FTL Travel” at Tor.com.

Suppose for the moment that one was a science fiction author and was trying to imagine a plausible setting in which a multitude of inhabited worlds were within easy, quick reach. Further suppose that one did not care to discard relativity, but likewise was not keen on a setting where time dilation plays a significant role. What is one to do?

How many authors have tried to come up with settings that meet all these demands? More than you’d expect….

(7) PAGES OUT OF HISTORY.  Publisher Penguin has established an online gallery, The Art of Penguin Science Fiction. Click on individual covers to see them larger. The Table of contents link takes you to a chronological discussion of the designs and artists.

(8) GORN WITH THE WIND. MeTV drops the challenge: “How well do you know the memorable Gorn episode of Star Trek?” I got 9 out of 12 – I expect you to do better!

The original Star Trek series was philosophical, strange, deadly serious and wonderfully wacky – sometimes all in the same episode! One of those episodes is the first season outing “Arena.” It has since become a legendary entry in the franchise for its reptilian villain – the Gorn. Though immensely strong, the green, glitter-eyed monster doesn’t exactly move at warp speed.

How well do you remember this iconic space adventure? Test your might, at least when it comes to Star Trek details, in this “Arena” episode quiz!

(9) KEN KNOWLTON (1931-2022). “Ken Knowlton, a Father of Computer Art and Animation, Dies at 91” reports the New York Times.

…In 1962, after finishing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, Dr. Knowlton joined Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., a future-focused division of the Bell telephone conglomerate that was among the world’s leading research labs. After learning that the lab had installed a new machine that could print images onto film, he resolved to make movies using computer-generated graphics.

“You could make pictures with letters on the screen or spots on the screen or lines on the screen,” he said in a 2016 interview, recalling his arrival at Bell Labs. “How about a movie?”

Over the next several months, he developed what he believed to be the first computer programming language for computer animation, called BEFLIX (short for “Bell Labs Flicks”). The following year, he used this language to make an animated movie. Called “A Computer Technique for the Production of Animated Movies,” this 10-minute film described the technology used to make it.

Though Dr. Knowlton was the only person to ever use the BEFLIX language —he and his colleagues quickly replaced it with other tools and techniques — the ideas behind this technology would eventually overhaul the movie business….

…At Bell Labs, Dr. Knowlton realized that he could create detailed images by stringing together dots, letters, numbers and other symbols generated by a computer. Each symbol was chosen solely for its brightness — how bright or how dark it appeared at a distance. His computer programs, by carefully changing brightness as they placed each symbol, could then build familiar images, like flowers or faces….


1972 [By Cat Eldridge.] Philip José Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go wins Hugo.

At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise From death, you numberless infinities Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go — English poet John Donne’s “Holy Sonnets”, number seven

Fifty years ago at the very first L.A. Con which was indeed attended by OGH, one of the finest novels ever written won the Hugo for Best Novel. That was the first of three Riverworld novels, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, and its author was Philip José Farmer who was there as Mike remembers hearing his acceptance speech.

It had been published by the Putnam Publishing Group in June of the previous year. The cover art was done by Ira Cohen.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go, and all of the Riverworld series, is based off of his unpublished novel Owe for the FleshTo Your Scattered Bodies Go was originally serialized as two separate novellas: “The Day of the Great Shout” which appeared in the January 1965 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow and “The Suicide Express” which appeared in the March 1966 issue of that magazine.

It has been made into two films, neither of which I’ve seen nor have any intention of seeing. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 25, 1903 — George Orwell. George Orwell, born Eric Blair in 1903. I’m not sure if Animal Farm counts as fantasy, but 1984 is clearly Science Fiction, and it may hold the record for the most neologisms added to English by a single SF book. Orwell was mostly known as a journalist and essayist, including his spats with H.G. Wells, most notably in “Wells, Hitler and the World State”. (Died 1950.) (Alan Baumler)
  • Born June 25, 1925 — June Lockhart, 97. Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space which amazingly only ran for three seasons despite my feeling that it ran a lot longer. It’s on Amazon Prime and Netflix currently. She has a number of genre one-offs including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Greatest American Hero and Babylon 5Babylon 5? Huh. She appeared in the Lost in Space film as Principal Cartwright. 
  • Born June 25, 1935 — Charles Sheffield. He was the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronautical Society. He won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his novelette “Georgia on My Mind” and a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel for Brother to Dragons which is an amazing read. Much of his fiction is in his Heritage Universe series; the linked short stories of space traveler Arthur Morton McAndrew are a sheer comic delight. Besides his Hugo Award at ConAdian (1994) for “Georgia on My Mind”, he had several nominations as well. Chicon V (1991) picked two, “A Braver Thing” novellette and the “Godspeed” short story.  Oh, and he was toastmaster at BucConeer.  (Died 2002.)
  • Born June 25, 1947 — John Maddox Roberts, 75. Here for being prolific with his Conan pastiches, seven to date so far. I’ll also single out his The SPQR series beginning with SPQR which are police-procedural mystery novels set in Ancient Rome. Someone at the Libertarian Futurist Society really, really likes the Island Worlds as it has been nominated three times for the Prometheus Hall of Fame.
  • Born June 25, 1951 — Priscilla Olson, 71. She and her husband have been involved with NESFA Press’s efforts to put neglected SF writers back into print and have edited myriad writers such as Chad Oliver and Charles Harness, plus better-known ones like Jane Yolen.  She’s chaired a number of Boskones, and created the term “prosucker” which I must admit is both elegant and really ugly at the same time.
  • Born June 25, 1956 — Anthony Bourdain. That’s a death that hit me hard. Partly because he’s round my age, partly because, damn, he seemed so interested in everything that I couldn’t conceive him committing suicide. And yes, he was one of us with three works to his credit: Get Jiro!,  (with Joe Rose and Langdon Foss), Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi (with Joe Rose and Ale Garza) and Hungry Ghosts (with Joel Rose, Alberto Ponticelli, Irene Koh, Paul Pope). The first two are on DC, the latter‘s on Berger Books. (Died 2018.)
  • Born June 25, 1981 — Sheridan Smith, 41. She makes the Birthday list for being Lucie Miller, a companion to the Eighth Doctor in his Big Finish audio adventures starting in 2006 and running through at least this year. Her only video genre work was being in The Huntsman: Winter’s War as Mrs Bromwyn.


  • The Argyle Sweater takes you back to the Marvel writers’ room of long ago.
  • Baby Blues shows a family on the way home from a comic con, and which parent got the better deal with their divided responsibilities.
  • The Flying McCoys has a superhero with no feeling for certain things.

(13) WILLIAMS BIRTHDAY CONCERT. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In the Washington Post, Michael Andor Brodeur reviews John WIlliams’s 90th birthday concert at the Kennedy center, which had appearances by Steven Spielberg and Daisy Ridley and Yo-Yo Ma on stage. “Composer John Williams feted with birthday gala fit for the big screen”.

…To drive home the evening’s big-screen energy there was … a big screen, suspended over the orchestra and showing various montages, call-ins and clips. (This included a full screening of Kobe Bryant and Glen Keane’s Oscar-winning 2017 short film, “Dear Basketball,” accompanied by the orchestra and movingly introduced via video by the late NBA star’s wife, Vanessa Bryant.)

(Perhaps best of all, there was quiet on the set! I heard nary a beep nor bloop from the sold-out crowd. Good job, y’all. Oscars for everyone!)

Yet despite all the big names and Hollywood-level production values of the celebration, what stood out the most (and lingered the longest in my mind on the walk home) was the unexpected intimacy of Williams’s music, which feels hard-wired in my DNA, enmeshed in multiple dimensions of my memory and experience (and quite likely yours)….

(14) LIGHTYEAR MIGHT MAKE MONEY YET. [Item by Cat Eldridge.] The Sox Vinyl Collectible by Super 7 is life sized. The ultimate SJW robotic companion, I’d say. And it’s only $400 but that includes the carrier.  And a robotic mouse too. 

Attention Space Ranger Recruits! Sideshow and Super 7 present the new Sox Vinyl Collectible! Sox the cat is Buzz Lightyear’s PCR (Personal Companion Robot) and now he can be your pal too!

From Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear, this premium vinyl figure is engineered to be truly “life-sized” and measures about 20” long from nose to tail, and almost 15” tall to the tip of his ears. Fully poseable and wearing a faux leather collar with real metal name tag, Sox is accompanied by his small mouse protocol robot with a glow-in-the-dark tail.

This limited edition premium collectible comes packaged in a “Property of Star Command” cat carrier to display with the rest of your Disney collection!

(15) ISS.CON. “Astronaut cosplays as ‘Gravity’ spacefarer in space station shot” at Space.com.

The only flaw in this cosplay is the hair, joked European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

The Italian astronaut posed on the International Space Station in just about the same way as Sandra Bullock, who visited the orbiting complex fictionally in the 2013 movie “Gravity.” Cristoforetti wore a similar outfit to Bullock, who played fictional NASA astronaut Ryan Stone in a rousing adventure sparked by a cloud of space debris that struck Stone’s space shuttle on-screen.

(16) NEVER TELL SOMEONE TO SMILE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Screen Rant says “Happiness Turns To Horror In Smile Trailer Starring Sosie Bacon”. (It’s a grim trailer.)

The trailer for Paramount Picture’s new horror film Smile might make viewers instead want to scream. Sosie Bacon (Mare of Easttown) stars in the film by writer/director Parker Finn. Smile is Finn’s first feature, and is adapted from his own horror short Laura Hasn’t Slept, which won the SXSW Film Festival’s special jury Midnight Short award. While Bacon began her acting career in 2005 in her father Kevin Bacon’s film Loverboy, this is her first leading role in a feature film.

The unsettling trailer released by Paramount Pictures shows Bacon as a psychiatrist named Dr. Rose Cotter who witnesses a patient gruesomely kill herself after the patient sees the form of a terrifying entity. After the incident, Rose seems to be followed by that same supernatural force, which spreads via a literally infectious smile and kills all those around her. It turns out her troubling past may hold the secret to unlocking her frightening present….

(17) OINKATASTROPHE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Xenotransplantation appears in genre fiction from time to time. In a recent real-world incidence, a heart from a genetically-engineered pig was transplanted into a human with heart failure. Initially the transplant was a great success, but a puzzling and unexpected mechanism of failure presented itself. The patient died after 60 days. So what happened? “Pig heart transplant failure: Doctors detail everything that went wrong” at Ars Technica.

Earlier this year, news broke of the first experimental xenotransplantation: A human patient with heart disease received a heart from a pig that had been genetically engineered to avoid rejection. While initially successful, the experiment ended two months later when the transplant failed, leading to the death of the patient. At the time, the team didn’t disclose any details regarding what went wrong. But this week saw the publication of a research paper that goes through everything that happened to prepare for the transplant and the weeks following.

Critically, this includes the eventual failure of the transplant, which was triggered by the death of many of the muscle cells in the transplanted heart. But the reason for that death isn’t clear, and the typical signs of rejection by the immune system weren’t present. So, we’re going to have to wait a while to understand what went wrong….

(18) HEY ABBOTT. Aurora offers a resin model kit based on Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein “McDougals Frankenstein Crate Scene” – for a mere $319.99.

You Get All Accurate Likeness Unpainted Models of Wilbur Gray with Mcdougals Dummy head, Chick Young with wagging finger and Spook Candle, Strange Frankenstein laying in Wooden textured Crate Model Plus special sculpture study Dracula and Wolfman. Model comes with realistic Frankensteins Wood Crate with House of Horrors address on it Plus 2 easels with Mcdougals Sign and Dracula lengend. wood floor base comes with raised logo name plate also hammer and crow bar.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Joey Eschrich, Will R., John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Stuart Hall.]

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38 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/25/22 File The Pixels, Lest They Squeak Or Scroll

  1. Just keeping score — No notification sent to subscribers for this Scroll.

  2. “No notification sent to subscribers for this Scroll.”

    Well, why not? Hmph.

  3. The Swiss Army lightsaber – if I was younger, I’d be in love.

    No, we are not in a computer simulation. Like fiction, they have to make sense. (And I’m speaking here as a computer professional with a long career.)

    The Olsens and NESFA Press: yes. Yes. I bought a copy of their edition of ALL of Zenna Henderson’s People series for my daughter & granddaughter, and one for myself. I’ll take this over horror any day.

  4. Glenn Hauman: Well, why not? Hmph.

    LOL. For those just joining the program, Jetpack’s “Social” plugin has failed to send notifications sporadically for about three weeks now. Customer service has suggested several solutions, none of which has cured the problem yet.

  5. (8) Got them all. The addition of occasional blinking to the Gorn captain’s eyes was one of the decisions the 15-years-ago remastering unequivocally got right.

  6. (2) If we’re in a simulation, then it’s not doing well. The programmer should be flunking this class.

  7. 10)

    It has been made into two films, neither of which I’ve seen nor have any intention of seeing.

    I have seen them. You chose… wisely.

    17) One of Greg Bear’s Darwin novels has that sort of thing go horribly wrong.

  8. @P J Evans: That’s actually another reason for thinking this is a simulation: surely an actual reality couldn’t be this poorly built! 😀

  9. But what if this is a simulation built by a machine learning AI trained on a dataset of social media posts?

    Charles Sheffield’s “Georgia on My Mind” is in my personal canon of significant works of SFF.

  10. 2) “Assume Elon Musk is completely wrong” seems to me a reasonable approach to questions of philosophy.

    8) I remember June Lockeart’s appearance on Babylon 5 – forget the episode’s title, though; she played a rogue doctor who’d found an ancient alien healing machine. She didn’t have any scenes with Bill Mumy, though.

    As for the three-season length of Lost in Space – I think it’s like the BBC adaptation of A Year in Provence… it only seemed longer.

  11. @Patrick Morris Miller: I was thinking of the same Greg Bear novel.

  12. @Bonnie McDaniel: I believe the word you are looking for is “product”, as in “cheese product”, which the FDA requires to be used for any food-like substance that might resemble cheese (if you are having a stroke while recovering from a mixed-alcohols hangover) but which is made from oils obtained by subjecting street-sourced cardboard to tremendous pressures and temperatures. (“Processed” on the packaging just means that they stuck it in cellophane…necessary so that it can’t get away….)

    10) When I first read Farmer’s concept (everyone who ever lived is on the River world), it blew me away.

    There are some seminal concepts that have been introduced through SF – the artificial creation of life, habitats the size of planetary orbits, space babies, but I think that Farmer’s is probably the greatest of all time. Not only did he create a playground with endless possibility, he also created what is probably the only SFnal afterlife that makes any real sense, even if its purpose remains inscrutable (which is right and proper for an afterlife).

    I remain atheistic in my beliefs, but the River World still gives me comfort as I imagine how wonderful it would be for loved ones to wake up one morning, grail in hand, and know that they could run into just about anyone. (And hopefully not in a slave state…but even then, there’s always the suicide express.)

  13. Steve Wright says I remember June Lockeart’s appearance on Babylon 5 – forget the episode’s title, though; she played a rogue doctor who’d found an ancient alien healing machine. She didn’t have any scenes with Bill Mumy, though.

    Ahhhh, that’d be Laura Rosen in “Quality of Mercy”. Thanks for clearing that up as now I remember it. They allowed her to have a fresh start as I recall. (And yes, there’s multiple wikis for the Babylon 5 series.)

  14. 11) I vividly remember in elementary school running home after school so that I could plonk myself down and watch reruns of Lost in Space because it was the GREATEST THING EVER.

    Then, when I was in college, one night I was sitting in the dorm lounge at about 2:00 a.m. and a Lost in Space rerun came on USA Network and, well, that was my first real introduction to the concept of the suck fairy.

    I still like the opening credits, though, especially from the season(s) done in color.

  15. Joe H. says Then, when I was in college, one night I was sitting in the dorm lounge at about 2:00 a.m. and a Lost in Space rerun came on USA Network and, well, that was my first real introduction to the concept of the suck fairy.

    So out of sheer feline curiosity, what sucked about it? What had changed in the time between the first viewing and the second viewing that made the Suck Fairy stomp on it with her iron clad boots? I know she’s a vindictive mistress as I’ve had her ruin novels I dearly loved.

  16. (8) 8 out of 12. I would have done better if I had just watched the episode. (I recorded it from MeTV last night.)

    (10) I loved To Your Scattered Bodies Go. I picked up a lot about history from it. But I got annoyed with the later books in the series. Sigh. Still… Even the worst parts of it were better than the TV “adaptations.”

    But like so many older series, I’m afraid to revisit it. Even when I was young, I was aware that there were some … odd… choices in storytelling.

  17. That was a long time ago, so the specifics are fuzzy; I don’t even remember which episode it would have been. But I think that just the quality of the script and the performances didn’t hold up nearly as well when I was 20 as they had when I was 6.

  18. Anne Marble says I loved To Your Scattered Bodies Go. I picked up a lot about history from it. But I got annoyed with the later books in the series. Sigh. Still… Even the worst parts of it were better than the TV “adaptations.”

    I find that there’s a lot of series, be it the Dune franchise or whatever where the very best work is the first one. The latter novels in too many series aren’t so much bad as just not as good as that first novels are in those series. Series that are stitched together of short works tend to avoid this, i.e. Anderson’s Technic History I think holds together rather well.

    I hold that is even true with that sequel to A Memory Called Empire which is good but not nearly as stellar, pun fully intended, as the first novel was.

  19. @Joe H, that describes my experience with Space:1999.

    Loved as a kid of 6 or 7. My mom, on the other hand, thought it wasn’t very good and was just a crappy ripoff of Star Trek:TOS, which we also watched in syndicated reruns (ch.11 WPIX). Then, when I was a senior in high school, we finally got cable tv and the SciFi Channel had Space:1999. I was horrified at how not good it was, while my mom’s reaction was “this is better than I remembered.”

    It also didn’t help that I also watched a whole bunch of Saturday morning cartoons that I had loved on the Catoon Network (this was before they split off the onlder stuff onto Boomerang) and the suck fairy had visited big time. So my basic mood was that I’d had no taste or judgment when I was counting my age in single digits.

  20. In re Space 1999, I feel about it the same way I feel about Buck Rogers in the 25th Century…the first seasons are much better than the second.

  21. Even when it was originally run, I think I recognized that the first season of Buck Rogers was much better than the second. Much, much better.

  22. @ Cat – I think that’s a particularly common problem for SF. Dune has such amazing world-building that’s fascinating to read about in its own right, as well as the great story. The sequels rely much more on story alone. Mind you, its downhill all the way post Children Of Dune….

  23. Yeah, I have a similar relationship to Space: 1999 — I love the design of the Eagles, and there’s one episode (Dragon’s Domain) that scared the pants off of me as a child and which I still find fairly effective, but the show as a whole is hard to watch these days.

  24. There are exceptions to the rule. I think Eureka, Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5 and Farscape worked exceedingly well all the way throughout their runs as did Max Headroom though I don’t think the latter had a coherent narrative binding it together.

  25. Calling the John Maddox Roberts Conan novels “pastiches” made me curious about how that term is used. I see from a web search that everybody calls these novels pastiches. Would some Conan novels not be described as pastiches?

  26. The only Conan stories I would not call pastiches would be those written by Robert E. Howard. So technically I guess Hour of the Dragon would be the only non-pastiche Conan novel.

  27. There’s still tons of series where later books are better (or, at least as good) as the first! Prominent examples include Discworld and the Vorkosigan Saga. And, for my money, the last two novels in Jack Vance’s Demon Princes series, written after a long hiatus, are much better than the first three! Also, David Brin’s multi-award-winning Startide Rising was the sequel to the very forgettable Sundiver. I could probably go on for a while, but I’m sure many of you can name your own examples.

    As far as TV goes: in ST:TOS, the second season was the best! A couple of other Treks have weak first seasons too. In Lucifer, the second season would have been the best if Netflix hadn’t picked it up. For The Expanse, season 3 would have been the best if Amazon hadn’t picked it up. And Orphan Black didn’t really have any weak seasons, which is one of the reasons it’s the second-best SF show ever! 🙂

    And, of course, for film, there’s T2 and Evil Dead 2. And the never-ending debate about whether Alien or Aliens is the better movie.

  28. And it’s not a coincidence that people talk about The Dark is Rising series – when that is the second book, not the first.

  29. The first season of Buck Rogers in the Disco Decade had much better writing; the second had Hawk. It almost balances out.

  30. The only Conan stories I would not call pastiches would be those written by Robert E. Howard.

    Are there authors who could pick up someone else’s series or serial characters in novels that would not be called pastiches? It seems like Brian Herbert’s Dune sequels are not called pastiches that often.

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