Pixel Scroll 6/27/19 Never Scroll A Filer When Pixels Are On The Line!

(1) DISNEY’S STICKY FINGERS LAND. Brady Macdonald, in “Galaxy’s Edge smugglers make off with anything not nailed down in Disneyland’s new Star Wars land” in the Redlands Daily Facts, says that crooks have been helping themselves to maps of Galaxy’s Edge and menus at Oga’s Cantina and then unloading the swag on eBay, ensuring that Disney is cracking down.

The “free” collectibles in Disneyland’s new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge that didn’t have a price tag and weren’t nailed down have found their way to cyberspace with many of the five-finger discount items showing up on the secondary market.

A simple search for “Galaxy’s Edge” on the eBay online shopping site reveals a slew of purloined items that probably should not have left the Black Spire Outpost village on the Star Wars planet of Batuu, the setting for the new 14-acre land at the Anaheim theme park.

Other resourceful Galaxy’s Edge visitors simply took more of the free Star Wars stuff than Disneyland might have anticipated or expected. As a result, many of the pilfered and hoarded souvenirs are no longer available in the new Star Wars land.

Gone are the Galaxy’s Edge maps and Docking Bay 7 sporks that are likely not to reappear in the park or the land. It’s always possible they were intended as grand opening swag. Or maybe new shipments of the popular keepsakes are bound for Batuu….

…What constitutes thievery? If a Disneyland employee hands you something without a price tag on it are you obligated to give it back? Most people would agree that keeping a theme park map as a souvenir is OK, but taking restaurant silverware is stealing. It appears plenty of Disneyland visitors are stepping over that grey line.

(2) BILL VS. BRIANNA. Bounding Into Comics’ slant on things is self-evident from the first paragraph, but they have rounded up enough tweets to let you navigate to the source material: “Brianna Wu Takes Aim At Star Trek Actor William Shatner, He Fires Back!”

Star Trek actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series, found himself in the middle of an internet argument about autism, and how society should accommodate those with the disorder. Congressional candidate Brianna Wu threw herself into the argument attempting to take a shot at Shatner. The actor quickly shot her down with a firm response about her own past.

One of Shatner’s threads begins here (and includes a couple of comments where Scott Edelman tries to contradict Shatner with a cocktail of Harlan Ellison and George Bernard Shaw quotes).

One of Brianna Wu’s threads starts here.

The mystery question is whether Shatner writes his own tweets or delegates that to someone else?

(3) VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE INTERNET. In the aftermath of Ulrika O’Brien’s BEAM #14 editorial, John Scalzi analyzes his role in the past decade of Hugo fanhistory: “On Being Denounced, Again (Again)”

6. So why, over the last decade plus change, have certain people focused on me as the agent of change (and not necessarily a good one) with regard to the Hugos? After all, this latest editorial is not the first jeremiad about me on the subject; people will recall I was a frequent example from the Puppy Camp of Everything That Was Wrong in Science Fiction and Proof the Hugos Were Corrupt, etc.

Here are some of the reasons:

a) professional/personal dislike and/or jealousy;
unhappiness with inevitable change with fandom and the science fiction and fantasy community and genre generally and the need to find a single cause to blame it on;
c) ignorance (willful or otherwise) of the labor of other people (many of them not straight and/or white and/or male) to change the tenor of the SF/F community (and as a consequence, its awards);
d) a general lack of understanding that the SF/F community is a complex system and like most complex systems a single input or actor, in this case me, does not usually precipitate a wide system change on its own;
my privileged position in the community makes me an easy and acceptable target/strawman/scapegoat — no one’s exactly punching down when they go for me.

(4) ABOUT THAT GATE. Darusha Wehm, Escape Pod associate editor and author, has also responded to Ulrika O’Brien’s BEAM 14 editorial. Thread starts here.

(5) HE WANTS GEEZERS TO GET OFF HIS LAWN, TOO. This was S.M. Stirling’s response to Scalzi’s post:

(6) DEVOURING BRADBURY. In “David Morrell: Preparing for Crisis and Finding Inspiration” on Crimereads, Mark Rubinstein interviews David Morrell about his new collection, Time Was.  Morell explains how he started off as a writer “devouring Ray Bradbury” and how his short stories “tend to be in the Serling/Bradbury mold.”  He also offers good advice about a writing career from his teacher, Phil Klass.

David Morrell: …Philip Klass, my writing instructor from years ago, insisted that writers who went the distance and enjoyed long careers, were those who had a definable viewpoint and a unique personality in their prose. That’s been my lifelong goal as a writer.

(7) LONDON CALLING. Britain’s North Heath SF Group has been in touch. Filers are invited!

It is a small group not even three years old and based at the Kent end of London (not far across the Thames from the Excel if ever they hold another Worldcon there).  

While the group is only 15 strong, they are getting a fair bit of social media interest and now have over 100 Facebook followers nearly all from SE London.

If any Filers are based in SE London (apparently the 89 and 229 busses to the Brook St stop is useful if any live on those routes), or have fan friends based in SE London then they’d be welcome at their next meet which is especially for new members. July 11 – see details on Facebook.

The group is a broad church SF group (member’s interests span books, films, TV) with some having specialist interests.

Last weekend a few gathered for a barbecue, and yes, the garden really is bigger on the outside….


(8) FRIEND OBIT. “Robert J. Friend, Tuskegee Pilot Who Led U.F.O. Project, Is Dead at 99” – the New York Times has the story.

Robert J. Friend, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who defied racism at home and enemy fire over Europe and who later oversaw the federal government’s investigation into U.F.O.s, died on Friday in Long Beach, Calif. He was 99.

… “Do I believe that we have been visited? No, I don’t believe that,” he said. “And the reason I don’t believe it is because I can’t conceive of any of the ways in which we could overcome some of these things: How much food would you have to take with you on a trip for 22 years through space? How much fuel would you need? How much oxygen or other things to sustain life do you have to have?”

But unlike many of his colleagues, he favored further research.

“I, for one, also believe that the probability of there being life elsewhere in this big cosmos is just absolutely out of this world — I think the probability is there,” he said.

(9) WRIGHT OBIT. An actor in theALF series died June 27. BBC has the story —

Actor Max Wright has died aged 75 after a long battle with cancer, his family has confirmed.

He was well known for playing Willie Tanner, the adoptive father of an alien, in the hit 1980s sitcom ALF.

(10) DRAGO OBIT. Actor Billy Drago, known for his work on Charmed, X-Files, and The Untouchables, died June 24. Details at SYFY Wire: “Effortlessly menacing character actor Billy Drago dies at 73”

…As far as his recurring roles, he played the eccentric Barbas, The Demon of Fear on the original Charmedas well as outlaw John Bly in the beloved The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. He also had several one-off roles in series like The X-Files, Masters of Horror, and Supernatural


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 27, 1941 James P. Hogan. A true anti-authoritarian hard SF writer in the years when that was a respectable thing to be. I’m sure that I’ve read at lest a few of his novels, most likely Inherit the Stars and The Gentle Giants of Ganymede. A decent amount of his work is available digitally on what is just called Books and Kindle. (Died 2010.)
  • Born June 27, 1966 J. J. Abrams, 53. He of the Star Trek and Star Wars films that endlessly cause controversy. I can forgive him any digressions there for helping creating Fringe and Person of Interest, not to mention Alias at times. 
  • Born June 27, 1952 Mary Rosenblum. SF writer who won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel for The Drylands, her first novel. She later won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History Short Form for her story, “Sacrifice.” Water Rites and Horizons are the only ones available digitally. (Died 2018.)
  • Born June 27, 1959 Stephen Dedman, 60. Australian author who’s the author of The Art of Arrow-Cutting, a most excellent novel. I really should read Shadows Bite, the sequel to it.  He’s the story editor of Borderlands, the tri-annual Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine published in Perth. Apple Books has nothing for him, Kindle has The Art of Arrow-Cutting and a few other titles. 
  • Born June 27, 1972 Christian Kane, 47. You’ll certainly recognize him as he’s been around genre video fiction for a while first playing Lindsey McDonald on Angel before become Jacob Stone on The Librarians. And though Leverage ain’t genre, his role as Eliot Spencer there is definitely worth seeing. 
  • Born June 27, 1975 Tobey Maguire, 44. Spider-man in the Sam Raimi trilogy of the Spidey films. His first genre appearance was actually in The Revenge of the Red Baron which is one serious weird film. Much more interesting is his role as David in Pleasantville, a film I love dearly. He produced The 5th Wave, a recent alien invasion film.
  • Born June 27, 1987 Ed Westwick, 32. British actor who has roles in the dystopian Children of MenS. Darko (a film I couldn’t begin to summarise), Freaks of Nature (a popcorn film if ever there was one), the  “Roadside Bouquets” episode of the British series Afterlife (which I want to see) and The Crash (which may or may not be SF). 


(13) ALA DROPS MELVIL DEWEY NAME FROM AWARD. The decimals remain, but Dewey is gone. Read the resolution here. Publishers Weekly reports:

Citing a history of racism, anti-Semitism, and sexual harassment, the council of the American Library Association on June 23 voted to strip Melvil Dewey’s name from the association’s top professional honor, the Melvil Dewey Medal. The ALA Council approved the measure after a resolution was successfully advanced at the ALA membership meeting, during the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC.

Best known by the public for creating the Dewey Decimal Classification System, Dewey was one of the founders of the American Library Association in 1876, and has long been revered as the “father of the modern library,” despite being ostracized from the ALA in 1906 because of his offensive personal behavior.

In an article last June in American Libraries, Anne Ford questioned why the ALA and the library profession still associates its highest honor with a man whose legacy does not align with the profession’s core values. This week, some 88 years after his death, Dewey’s #TimesUp moment appears to have finally come.

(14) HATCHING DRAGONS. Michael Swanwick explains how he wrote “My Accidental Trilogy” at Flogging Babel.

…When I began work on The Dragons of Babel, I had no idea whether it existed in the same universe as The Iron Dragon’s Daughter or not. The two books had no characters or locations in common. Even the names of the gods were different, though at the head of each pantheon was the Goddess. Only she and the dragons were the same. Ultimately, I decided that it did no harm for the books to be in the same world (though, presumably, on different continents) and would please those who had read The Iron Dragon’s Daughter. So I brought Jane back—not from our world but from an earlier period of her life, when she was behaving very badly—for a brief cameo appearance. Just as a small treat, an Easter egg, for those who had read the earlier novel.

To my surprise, The Iron Dragon’s Daughter had been characterized by reviewers as an “anti-fantasy” because it challenged many of the assumptions of genre fantasy. This had never been my intent. But, the idea having been placed into my head, in The Dragons of Babel I set out to upend the standard model of fantasy in as many ways as possible while still delivering its traditional pleasures….

(15) THE KING WILL ABDICATE FROM BROADWAY. The New York Times says no more monkey business after mid-August: “‘King Kong’ and ‘Cher Show’ Musicals Announce Closings”.

“King Kong,” the big-budget musical driven by its massive namesake puppet, will close Aug. 18 after less than a year on Broadway, the show’s producers announced on Tuesday.

… “King Kong” was capitalized for $30 million, according to the production. That sum — enormous by Broadway standards — has not been recouped.

The show eventually opened to stinging reviews, with most of the praise going to the towering title character himself, a colossal marionette clocking in at 20 feet tall and 2,000 pounds. For the week ending June 23, it grossed just shy of $783,000 at the box office, only 53 percent of its potential take.

(16) MARS RUNS OUT OF GAS. Nature updated the search for life on Mars. For one brief, shining moment, it was Camelot: “Record methane level found on Mars”.

NASA’s Curiosity rover last week measured the highest level of methane gas ever found in the atmosphere at Mars’s surface. The reading — 21 parts per billion (p.p.b.) — is three times greater than the previous record, which Curiosity detected back in 2013. Planetary scientists track methane on Mars because its presence could signal life; most of Earth’s methane is made by living things, although the gas can also come from geological sources…

… NASA ran a follow-up experiment last weekend and recorded a methane level less than 1 p.p.b., suggesting that the high reading last week came from a transient gas plume.

(17) GETTING UNSTUCK IN TIME. Camestros Felapton is happy to offer “Some advice for time travellers”. Pay attention — even if he starts with “Don’t Panic!” there’s a lot here you haven’t heard before.

4. Listen to that mysterious stranger you meet early on

Honestly, even if you aren’t currently planning to go time travelling, NOW is the time to carry a notebook. When the uncannily familiar stranger and/or your great aunt starts babbling to you about destiny, or how what has been written can (or cannot) be unwritten, get them to pause a moment and ask them to write it down in your handy notebook.

This encounter may be the point where you are told The Rules (we’ll get to The Rules in a moment). Having them written down will make your life so much easier and will also make it easier for you to explain them to your younger self when you meet them when you are disguised as an uncannily familiar stranger.

(18) SIT ON IT. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is adding a Big Bang Theory exhibit: “BAZINGA! The Sets Are Coming to The Tour”.

Starting June 28th, take a seat in Sheldon’s spot and relive your favorite moments from apartment 4A.  Recreate Sheldon’s signature knock, stroll through the foyer to see the infamous broken elevator or visit the Caltech Physics Department Cafeteria featuring original costumes from Leonard, Sheldon, Penny, Howard, Raj, Bernadette and Amy.

(19) COLBERT ON MEDIA. Steven Colbert starts with the news that Kim Kardashian is offering a new line of makeup that doesn’t go on your face. The Good Omens cancellation petition is his second bit, starting at the 2:00 mark (in case you want to fast-forward past Kim Kardashian’s thighs).

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/27/19 Never Scroll A Filer When Pixels Are On The Line!

  1. Cat Eldridge: The quote button will give you exactly what the old Italics tags did. That’s what I just used in this comment.

    Not quite. That will indent and italicize a section of text as a quote, but it won’t allow you to just italicize a word or phrase within a sentence.

    The italics and bold buttons have been hidden and unavailable behind the “Comment” tab for me ever since Mike’s hosting service “update”. Since then, I’ve been hardcoding those using <em> </em> and <strong> </strong>. (I discovered a long time ago that <i> </i> and <b> </b> tags don’t show up in all browsers).

  2. Hampus Eckerman on June 28, 2019 at 4:01 am said:

    Basically, if someone says that another person isn’t a fan, then I will not respect that person as a fan either. Lets call it the Fandom-paradox.

    As long as “not respect […] as a fan” doesn’t involve suggesting they’re not fans, I think you safely avoid any actual paradox. There’s a lot of people I don’t respect as fans, but I still think they are fans. Gatekeepers are bad fans, not not fans.

    It’s like…thinking someone is a bad lover doesn’t mean you suddenly didn’t have sex. 😀

  3. Xtifr: thinking someone is a bad lover doesn’t mean you suddenly didn’t have sex.

    There are a few times when I could have used that RetroSuperPower.

  4. I’m getting back to this way late, but:

    @Mike, indeed!

    @JJ, thank you, it helps to hear that. Impostor syndrome “r” us.

    @Xtifr, it is kind of funny to look back on.

  5. As far as I can tell from ongoing complaints (including some I made for a while), Fandom has been dying since before I was born in 1965. Worldcon has always been on the brink of extinction and certain has always been irrelevant, and always will be. And so forth.

    Less sarcastically, Worldcon went through several phase-changes of growth, which peaked in the mid-to-high four figures. It isn’t actually shrinking, but there hasn’t been another phase change since before I started attending in 1984. All of the Worldcon since them have been broadly the same “organizational size” even thought the attendance has varied considerably from year to year.

    The powers-of-five hypothesis I learned from Tom Whitmore was that layers of necessary volunteers go up by powers of five. 5^1 is a dinner outing, 5^2 (25) a room party, 5^3 (125) a small convention like SMOFcon, 5^4 (625) an event more along the size of Westercon, and 5^5 (3125) is the start of the current Worldcon level. The current Worldcon level has roughly five layers: Chair, Division, Area, Staff, front-line Volunteers. (Think General, Colonel, Captain, Sergeant, Private in military parlance, I think.) The current model should hold until we get to somewhere over 10-15K members (5^6=15625), by which point we need to redesign the current management model that we’ve been using for more than thirty years.

    The point is that Worldcon in its current organizational form cannot easily grow significantly larger, although it’s broadly stable at its current four-figure size. As I think nearly everyone reading this knows, the way in which Worldcon is organized and run makes growth above 10K attendees difficult. To grow to that size would requiring putting down roots both geographically and organizationally. The first of these conflicts with being a world convention; the second conflicts with the historical nature of the convention being a loose confederation of independent organizing committees rather than a single centrally-run organization.

  6. Yeah, I remember people worrying about fandom’s incipient death at my first Worldcon. I was eight years old, and just down the street, people were protesting the Vietnam war….

  7. @Camestros – Brilliant!

    “I read the scroll today, oh boy
    Four thousand fans attended not-a-con
    And though the fans weren’t really fans
    They still counted them all
    Now they know how many fans it takes to make four thousand fans
    I’d love to gatekeep you”

  8. We should organize a Not-A-Fan Lounge where we can sit and glare at each other for having the wrong gatekeeping criterias. Do a Survivor of it and each day we will vote away one fifth of the participants for being real fans and not True Gatekeepers.

    The last person left will be rewarded with the True Scottsman Award, showing a Scottsman on a horse. Without a kilt. The last goes for both Scottsman and horse.

  9. One of the reasons why I support a lot of out of US Worldcons (some of which are not germane to this discussion) is that it does allow people who rarely, if ever, get to attend a Worldcon to come and participate. That exposes new and different people to the Worldcon ecosystem.

    Now, if only I could have gotten off work for August. :sigh: While some of you are enjoying Dublin and Worldcon, I will be neck deep in Audits at work.

  10. “Dudley Pixel And His No-Fans Club” (for those who remember “Free to Be You and Me”)

  11. @Paul Weimer: I would be curious as to the median age of Worldcon attendees over time. A very crude metric: I have read (IIRC in a history run in Reamy’s PR’s for MAC 1) that there was an uproar at Chicon 1 (1940) over a proposed rule that worldcon bid committees include at least one person of legal age. I suspect that fandom distribution skewed younger than that of the population-at-large due to the steady expansion of fandom (into the 1980’s judging by Worldcon attendance), and is now balancing out — which may look strange to the steady stream of people young enough to have time for local fandom, but not money for serious travel (or much of anything else according to what I read in mundane news).

    @Jenora Feuer: possibly the comment on engineers responds to a modest number of noisy engineers who aren’t really up on the scientific method but get attention because they know the right buzzwords. (I’ve dealt locally with an engineer who came up with wild guesses (not dignifiable as hypotheses) rather than apply anything resembling a method.) OTOH, training in science rather than engineering is no guarantee; there have been serious scientists (e.g. Nobel laureate Shockley) who went off the rails because they didn’t apply their own training to questions outside their specialty.

    @Kevin Standlee: it’s worth noting that the division system was first applied about a decade after Tom’s rule suggests it was necessary — and that at least one Worldcon (Spokane) had a level between DivHead and Chair. But I would challenge your claim that both organizational and geographic roots would be necessary for the Worldcon to go solidly into five figures; changing the organization to a continuous (if rotating) body would mimic professional conventions which have many different sites. OTOH, it’s unclear that changing either set of roots would keep the current attendance; AFAICT the megacons all started with a different model rather than cutting over.

  12. @Camestros Felapton: ROFL! I burst out laughing before I’d gotten more than 3 lines in, so thanks for that! 😀

    @Steve Davidson: LOL, excellent! 😀

    @Xtifr: “It’s like…thinking someone is a bad lover doesn’t mean you suddenly didn’t have sex.” – Oh, if only. 😛

    @Lenore Jones & @JJ: JJ’s comment about Lenore made me want to riff on the Lemonheads’ “Big Gay Heart.” Something like “Big fan heart, please don’t break my big fan heart, big fan heart. . . .” 🙂

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