Pixel Scroll 6/30/23 “What Is The Use Of A Scroll,” Thought Alice, “Without Pixels Or Conversation?”

(1) A FINE IDEA. “Fake reviews are illegal and subject to big fines under new FTC rules” says the Washington Post’s article about a Federal Trade Commission notice of proposed rulemaking.

Fake reviews are ruining the web. But there’s some new hope to fight them.

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday proposed new rules to take aim at businesses that buy, sell and manipulate online reviews. If the rules are approved, they’ll carry a big stick: a fine of up to $50,000 for each fake review, for each time a consumer sees it.

That could add up fast.

It’s the biggest step to date by the federal government to deter the insidious market for buying and selling fake reviews, though the FTC’s rules don’t do as much to hold big review sites like Yelp, Google, Tripadvisor and Amazon directly accountable. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post. Interim chief executive Patty Stonesifer sits on Amazon’s board.)…

Here’s the FTC press release: “Federal Trade Commission Announces Proposed Rule Banning Fake Reviews and Testimonials”.

…In its notice of proposed rulemaking, the Commission cited examples of clearly deceptive practices involving consumer reviews and testimonials from its past cases, and noted the widespread emergence of generative AI, which is likely to make it easier for bad actors to write fake reviews.

The Commission is seeking comments on proposed measures that would fight these clearly deceptive practices. For example, the proposed rule would prohibit:

  • Selling or Obtaining Fake Consumer Reviews and Testimonials: The proposed rule would prohibit businesses from writing or selling consumer reviews or testimonials by someone who does not exist, who did not have experience with the product or service, or who misrepresented their experiences. It also would prohibit businesses from procuring such reviews or disseminating such testimonials if the businesses knew or should have known that they were fake or false.
  • Review Hijacking: Businesses would be prohibited from using or repurposing a consumer review written for one product so that it appears to have been written for a substantially different product. The FTC recently brought its first review hijacking enforcement action.
  • Buying Positive or Negative Reviews: Businesses would be prohibited from providing compensation or other incentives conditioned on the writing of consumer reviews expressing a particular sentiment, either positive or negative.
  • Insider Reviews and Consumer Testimonials: The proposed rule would prohibit a company’s officers and managers from writing reviews or testimonials of its products or services, without clearly disclosing their relationships. It also would prohibit businesses from disseminating testimonials by insiders without clear disclosures of their relationships, and it would prohibit certain solicitations by officers or managers of reviews from company employees or their relatives, depending on whether the businesses knew or should have known of these relationships.
  • Company Controlled Review Websites: Businesses would be prohibited from creating or controlling a website that claims to provide independent opinions about a category of products or services that includes its own products or services.
  • Illegal Review Suppression: Businesses would be prohibited from using unjustified legal threats, other intimidation, or false accusations to prevent or remove a negative consumer review. The proposed rule also would bar a business from misrepresenting that the reviews on its website represent all reviews submitted when negative reviews have been suppressed.
  • Selling Fake Social Media Indicators: Businesses would be prohibited from selling false indicators of social media influence, like fake followers or views. The proposed rule also would bar anyone from buying such indicators to misrepresent their importance for a commercial purpose.

(2) NICOLA GRIFFITH WINS FIRST ADCI LITERARY PRIZE. The inaugural ADCI (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) Literary Prize went to Nicola Griffith for Spear (Tordotcom Publishing), “a lyrical, queer reimagining of Arthurian legend, in which ‘those usually airbrushed from history take centre stage’” (Via Ansible.)

The prize, launched in 2022 to encourage greater positive representation of disability in literature, was announced alongside ten other prizes which make up the annual Society of Authors’ Awards. The SoA Awards is the UK’s biggest literary prize fund, worth over £100,000, this year shared between 30 writers, poets and illustrators.

The ADCI Literary Prize. Sponsored by Arts Council England, ALCS, the Drusilla Harvey Memorial Fund, and the Professional Writing Academy, the ADCI Literary Prize is awarded to a disabled or chronically ill writer, for an outstanding novel containing a disabled or chronically ill character or characters. Judged by Penny Batchelor, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Nydia Hebden, Karl Knights, Julia Lund, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Vikki Patis and Chloe Timms.

(3) CON OR BUST GRANT OPPORTUNITIES. Dream Foundry’s Con or Bust program for creators and fans of color makes direct cash grants to assist with travel, food, registration, and other expenses associated with attending industry events.

If you’re a person of color planning to go to a convention this year and need support, our Con or Bust program is here for you. Right now we have memberships to the following conventions for any Con or Bust qualifying application.

  • Readercon (July 13-16, 2023)
  • Pemmi-con, aka Nasfic (July 20-23, 2023)
  • Capricon (February 1-4, 2024)

If you want one of these memberships, or need other support from this program, you can apply on the Con or Bust page.

(4) DIAL OF DESTINY. Los Angeles Times’ Mary McNamara joins Harrison Ford on a lap of his marathon promotional tour: “’Indiana Jones’: There will never be another Harrison Ford”.

…That said, his desire for “Dial of Destiny” to succeed feels quite personal.

“I wanted to be ambitious, for those things we have not necessarily done in such measure,” he said. When asked what he means by “those things,” he explains in that instantly recognizable, back-straightening “take this seriously” tone. “I mean take a chance on telling the story of an older character, take a chance on introducing your character in present day in a totally anti-iconic way, reducing him to his underwear and a La-Z-Boy with a glass in his hand.

“That moment in film,” he says, relaxing into a laugh, “may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever done in a movie. That and grabbing a baseball bat and going out to the neighbors’.”

… Mostly, he said, he wanted to see Indy “inveigled into one last adventure. I wanted to see him at the nadir, where we could pick him up and kick him in the ass. I know what age is about. I wanted to bring that into the story. If I was going to be the actor playing this guy, I wanted the reality of my age.”

But first, in the film’s opening scene, he had to play a younger Indy, which made the contrast of past and present more striking. Ford’s face was de-aged through the miracle of artificial intelligence and Lucasfilm’s trove of images from the earlier films, but “the mouth is my mouth, the eyes are my eyes,” he said. “The voice is me talking in a higher register because age lowers the voice, and the body language I had to act. But he moves like I move and I remembered.”…

(5) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to bite into a baconless BLT with Jordan Kurella in Episode 201 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Jordan Kurella

This episode’s guest is Jordan Kurella, who was a Nebula Award nominee this year in the category of Best Novella for I Never Liked You Anyway, which was also longlisted for the BSFA award.  His stories have appeared in Beneath Ceaseless SkiesApexMermaid MonthlyGlitter + AshesStrange Horizons, and many other magazines and anthologies. Some of these were gathered in his short story collection, When I Was Lost, published by Trepidatio in December. In his past lives, he was a photographer, radio DJ, and social worker, and he has also taught at Iowa State University and Rambo Academy.

We discussed which ice cream flavor he chose to celebrate his Nebula Award nomination, the way readers can tell which stories writers had the most fun writing, how  all he needs to pants a story is the first line, what caused him to say “it’s not write what you know, it’s write what you’re embarrassed about,” why he doesn’t like to reread his own published work unless he has to, how to avoid getting stuck in rabbit holes of research, the ways writing a book can be like spending time with your best friends, his rule about story titles, why we’re both so attracted to writing love stories, how playing the violin in public prepared him for surviving rejection, why he published only a single piece of literary fiction before realizing the fantastic was where he belonged, and so much more.

(6) SWATTING. NBC News’ report “The FBI has formed a national database to track and prevent ‘swatting’” includes a long Q&A with Patrick Tomlinson.

Author Patrick Tomlinson and his wife, business owner Niki Robinson, have been “swatted” at their home in Milwaukee more than 40 times, often resulting in police pointing guns at their heads. Their tormentors have also called in false bomb threats to venues using their names in three states. Yet law enforcement hasn’t been able to stop the calls.

The couple’s terror comes as these incidents appear to be on the rise in the U.S., at least on college campuses. In less than a single week in April, universities including Clemson, Florida, Boston, Harvard, Cornell, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Oklahoma, as well as Middlebury College, were targeted by swatters.

To combat the growing problem, the FBI has begun taking formal measures to get a comprehensive picture of the problem on a national level.

Chief Scott Schubert with the bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services headquarters in Clarksburg, West Virginia, told NBC News that the agency formed a national online database in May to facilitate information sharing between hundreds of police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country pertaining to swatting incidents.

… Security expert Lauren R. Shapiro, who is an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said: “Swatting involves people making fraudulent 911 calls reporting serious-level criminal threats or violent situations like bomb threats, hostages, killing, etc. to fool the police into raiding the house or business of somebody who is not actually committing a crime.”…

… Tomlinson’s troubles began after he posted a casual remark on Twitter in 2018 saying he’d never personally found the comedian Norm Macdonald very funny. As The Daily Beast reported, the tweet caught the attention of online trolls who soon began to harass, stalk, impersonate and defame Tomlinson and his wife, using a website of their own along with social media accounts on Reddit, Twitter and YouTube to target the couple and invite others to pile on. 

Their harassers mostly converge on a website that’s cloned elsewhere so participants can migrate rapidly if their forum is ever banned by a service provider. 

 Since The Daily Beast report, the harassment escalated both online and offline.

The couple was mostly recently swatted at their home on Tuesday, bringing the total of swatting incidents to 43. Tomlinson’s parents, who are senior citizens, also suffered swatting at their home about 2 hours outside of Milwaukee this year…

Whether the FBI’s database will lead to any results is open to question based on past performance.

… At a federal level, Tomlinson filed a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center in November 2020. He never saw a reply to that, so in early May 2022, he went to the Milwaukee branch of the FBI in person to file a new one.

An FBI special agent was assigned to evaluate his case. He says the agency already had a file on Tomlinson because of a false bomb threat that swatters had called into a hotel outside of Detroit in April 2022, a few weeks prior to a presentation he was scheduled to give. The presentation, part of PenguiCon, was titled,”Elon Musk is Full of S—.” 

Since then, “There has been nearly zero communication by the FBI,” Tomlinson said. 

One agent has requested more evidence from his family by email on rare occasions. But the agency has not brought him or his wife in for an interview, and have not arrested people who the couple identified as participants in their harassment and swatting…

(7) CALIFORNIA AVENGERS. Critic Todd Martens tells how “Broadway-style ‘Rogers: The Musical’ charms at Disney’s California Adventure” in the Los Angeles Times.

“Rogers: The Musical” started as a joke in the Disney+ series “Hawkeye,” which presented a challenge for the Disneyland Resort’s live-entertainment team. How, in a 30-minute, heavily condensed Broadway-style show, do you bring a little heft to a production in which fans will be clamoring for cheese? Sure, there’s Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow and the Hulk, among others, but these are superheroes who spend more time flexing jazz hands than muscle.

In the show opening today, directed by Disney’s Jordan Peterson with a book from Hunter Bell, known best for Broadway’s “[title of show],” the answer was simple: heartbreak.

The story of Steve Rogers’ transformation into Captain America is framed by longing — for better days, for acceptance and for love. It allows the production, which veers close to overt patriotism in its opening moments, to find a sense of personal grounding. When an actor playing a young Rogers is framed by an Uncle Sam military recruitment poster, he gets all wistful and rejected: “What’s a guy to do when ‘I want you’ doesn’t mean you?”

Don’t worry, the production doesn’t stay down for long. “Hawkeye” introduced fans to the over-the-top corniness of the song “Save the City,” a work written by Broadway vets Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and it pops up multiple times, each one leaning into the showtune parody that it is. When it wants to, “Rogers: The Musical” embraces its silliness….

…The musical features five original songs, not counting the previously heard “Save the City” and “Star Spangled Man,” which dates to the film “Captain America: The First Avenger.” The new works are credited to composer Christopher Lennertz, with lyrics by Peterson, Lennertz and Alex Karukas. None quite reach the heights of “Save the City,” which went all out in its showtune glitz. “Rogers: The Musical” comes off as a series of puzzle pieces constructed around that signature number.

Lennertz, a composer with a lengthy résumé of film and television credits, including Marvel’s “Agent Carter,” plays it more low-key. The new works largely attempt to take “Rogers” out of parody mode, a decision that accounts for a series of tonal shifts and results in a theatrical mood that’s not quite serious yet not fully goofy.

(8) CSI SKILL TREE. The latest episode in the ASU Center for Science and Imagination’s Skill Tree series on video games, possible futures, and worldbuilding is out, featuring the award-winning science fiction roleplaying game Citizen Sleeper (2022). This episode’s guests are Gareth Damian Martin, the game’s developer, and Phoebe Wagner, a speculative fiction author, researcher, and editor of three solarpunk anthologies, including Sunvault. Here’s a link to the entire Skill Tree playlist, with 12 episodes so far.

(9) ALAN ARKIN (1934-2023). Four-time Oscar nominee Alan Arkin, who won Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine (2007), died June 30 at the age of 89. He was perhaps best known for playing Yossarian in Catch-22 but his other three Oscar nominations honored his portrayals of deaf-mute Singer in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Russian Lt. Rozanov in one of my favorite movies, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, and the has-been producer Lester Siegel in the genre-adjacent Argo.  

In Argo (2012), Arkin played the fictional producer of a fake sff movie that provided cover for a CIA operation to rescue Americans caught up in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He acted in collaboration with a character based on real-life Planet of the Apes makeup man John Chambers, played by John Goodman.

Within the sff genre Arkin did a lot of voice work late in his career – including Dumbo (2019) and Minions: Rise of Gru (2022), but early on voiced Schmendrick in The Last Unicorn (1982).

He’s been in a Muppets movie, in The Monitors (1969), in the film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night (1996), played Detective Hugo in Gattaca (1997), The Chief in the movie Get Smart (2008). He had parts in The Seven Percent Solution (Dr. Sigmund Freud — 1976) Edward Scissorhands (1990), and The Rocketeer (1991).

Arkin also won a Tony for his Broadway debut in 1963’s Enter Laughing.

(10) MEMORY LANE.

1989 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

This time Mike picked one of my favorite writers, Sheri S. Tepper. Her series have too many exemplary books to list them all and her standalone novels such as Singer from the Sea and The Companions are excellent as well.

She’s been nominated for a lot of Awards but garnered only two, one of which is the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. Grass, the source of our Beginning this time, was published by the Doubleday Foundation in 1989 (one of their first books was Asimov’s Prelude to Foundation), and was a Hugo finalist at ConFiction. 

And it has an absolutely stunning Beginning as you can read here…

Millions of square miles of it; numberless wind-whipped tsunamis of grass, a thousand sun-lulled caribbeans of grass, a hundred rippling oceans, every ripple a gleam of scarlet or amber, emerald or turquoise, multicolored as rainbows, the colors shivering over the prairies in stripes and blotches, the grasses—some high, some low, some feathered, some straight—making their own geography as they grow. There are grass hills where the great plumes tower in masses the height of ten tall men; grass valleys where the turf is like moss, soft under the feet, where maidens pillow their heads thinking of their lovers, where husbands lie down and think of their mistresses; grass groves where old men and women sit quiet at the end of the day, dreaming of things that might have been, perhaps once were. Commoners all, of course. No aristocrat would sit in the wild grass to dream. Aristocrats have gardens for that, if they dream at all.

Grass. Ruby ridges, blood-colored highlands, wine-shaded glades. Sapphire seas of grass with dark islands of grass bearing great plumy green trees which are grass again. Interminable meadows of silver hay where the great grazing beasts move in slanted lines like mowing machines, leaving the stubble behind them to spring up again in trackless wildernesses of rippling argent. 

Orange highlands burning against the sunsets. Apricot ranges glowing in the dawns. Seed plumes sparkling like sequin stars. Blossom heads like the fragile lace old women take out of trunks to show their granddaughters.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 30, 1902 Lovat Dickson. Australian-born publisher and author who wrote a biography of H G Wells, H G Wells: His Turbulent Life and Times. He was the first Canadian to have a major publishing role in Britain. (Died 1982.)
  • Born June 30, 1905 Nestor Paiva. Sometimes it only takes one film or series for a performer to get a Birthday write-up from me. Paiva makes it for Lucas the boat captain in The Creature from the Black Lagoon and its oft-forgotten sequel Revenge of the Creature. Though that was hardly his only genre role as his first role was in the early Forties as an uncredited prison guard in Tarzan’s Desert Mystery and he’d be in many a genre film and series over the decades as Prof. Etienne Lafarge in The Mole People, as the saloon owner in (I kid you not!) Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Felicity’s Father in The Spirit Is Willing, Captain Grimby in “The Great Treasure Hunt” of The Adams Family and a Doorman in the “Our Man in Leotards” episode of Get Smart. (Died 1966.)
  • Born June 30, 1920 Sam Moskowitz. SF writer, critic, and historian. Chair of the very first World Science Fiction Convention held in NYC in 1939. He barred several Futurians from the con because they threatened to disrupt it in which was later called the Great Exclusion Act. In the Fifties, He edited Science-Fiction Plus, a short-lived genre magazine owned by Hugo Gernsback, and would edit several dozen anthologies, and a few single-author collections, most published in the Sixties and early Seventies. His most enduring legacy was as a historian of the genre with such works as Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of “The Scientific Romance” in the Munsey Magazines, 1912–1920 and Hugo Gernsback: Father of Science Fiction. (Died 1997.)
  • Born June 30, 1959 Vincent D’Onofrio, 64. His long running-role is Detective Goren on Law and Order: Criminal Intent which is in no way genre. He was Kingpin in Wilson Fisk / Kingpin in four television series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Edgar the Bug in the only truly great Men in Black film to date and Vic Hoskins in Jurassic World. He also was Jason Whitney / Jerry Ashton in The Thirteenth Floor, loosely based upon Simulacron-3, a early Sixties novel by Daniel F. Galouye.
  • Born June 30, 1963 Rupert S. Graves, 60. Here because he played Inspector G. Lestrade on that Sherlock series. He also appeared on Doctor Who as Riddell in the Eleventh Doctor story, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. He had one-offs in The Nightmare Worlds of H. G. Wells: The MothTwelve MonkeysKrypton and Return of the Saint
  • Born June 30, 1966 Peter Outerbridge, 57. Dr. David Sandström in what I think is the terribly underrated ReGenesis series as well as being Henrik “Hank” Johanssen in Orphan Black and a recurring role on Millennium as Special Agent Barry Baldwin. He’s currently in two series, The Umbrella Academy with a recurring role as The Conductor, and as Calix Niklosin in V-Wars, yet another Netflix SF series. 
  • Born June 30, 1972 Molly Parker, 51. Maureen Robinson on the Lost in Space series. One-offs in Nightmare Cafe, The Outer Limits, The SentinelHighlander: The SeriesPoltergeist: The LegacyHuman Target and she appeared in The Wicker Man as Sister Rose / Sister Thorn. She also was Alma Garret on Deadwood. No, not genre but Emma and Will love the series. 

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) WIDOWMAKER. Sarah Gailey will be writing Marvel’s White Widow comic reports The Mary Sue: “Yelena Belova Fans, Our Time Is Now With This New ‘White Widow’ Comic!”

Being a fan of Yelena Belova keeps getting better and better. The younger sister of Natasha Romanoff, Yelena is also a widow and is everything that a sassy younger sister could be. And now she’s getting her very own time in the spotlight with a new comic series! First appearing in 1998, Belova quickly became a popular character for fans of Nat but she gained a new level of fame when Florence Pugh took on the role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Getting her own comic storyline is just exciting evidence of how popular Yelena Belova has grown throughout the last twenty-five years. As someone who relates to Yelena Belova a lot (and she’s one of my all-time favorite Marvel characters), this comic makes me incredibly excited for the future of her character!

Called White Widow, the series is created by writer Sarah Gailey and they worked along side artist Alessandro Miracolo to bring her to life. David Marquez gave us a perfectly Yelena cover and the entire reveal is a dream come true for fans. Sometimes, you wait a long time to see a character you love get their time in the spotlight and that’s exactly what is happening with White Widow. She’s not the little sister in Nat’s shadow anymore with this series!

(14) AI IN CINEMA. [Item by Steven French.] The Guardian seems to be having a bit of a bout of listmania these days but this one contains some interesting recommendations: “The best films about AI – ranked!”

16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The first Avengers sequel isn’t particularly good, but at least it introduced cinema to the AI lifeform Ultron. Tasked with sparing the Avengers from having to suit up whenever a new baddie rolls into town, Ultron quickly realises that the greatest threat to world peace is humanity and – in time-honoured AI fashion – attempts to eradicate it himself. The moral of Age of Ultron is clear: trust AI less than the irresponsible billionaires who invented it.

(15) FUTURE TENSE. The June story in the Future Tense Fiction monthly series is “The Big Four v. ORWELL,” by Jeff Hewitt, about a copyright lawsuit against a prolific AI author.

The response essay is by sff novelist Ken Liu, “The Imitation Game”.

… But what about ChatGPT-5, ChatGPT-15, or ChatGPT-55? Assuming this goes on, in classic science fiction fashion, the LLMs will surely continue to blur the lines between artificial and “real” authors. That blurriness is the setup for Jeff Hewitt’s “The Big Four v. ORWELL,” a courtroom drama in which a group of publishers sue ORWELL, an A.I. that has become a prolific author, for copyright infringement.

I have my doubts that the current approach to building LLMs, essentially an exercise in statistically predicting the most likely next “token” given a string of tokens, can lead to the holy grail of artificial general intelligence, an imagined state of crafted cognition capable of accomplishing any intellectual task a human can. (ORWELL definitely appears to be an AGI.) Symbol manipulation alone, without more, must plateau at some point short of “true” intelligence—or so I tell myself (using strings of symbols, of course, smug with irony). To be sure, there is reason to be humble here. Decades ago, when I was studying A.I. in college, the idea that anything resembling the current brute-force approach could construct a virtual entity that could tutor you on any subject you liked, compose college essays, and even answer personal ads would have seemed like handwavium sci-fi. And yet, here we are. So, maybe I’m wrong about the future this time too….

(16) SERVING KAIJU CHOW. “Taiwan restaurant launches ‘Godzilla’ crocodile ramen” reports Taiwan News. These days there’s always a suspicion that such a photo is produced with AI, but the ingredient seems plausible.

A restaurant in Douliu City, Yunlin County debuted its “Godzilla” ramen featuring crocodile meat as its main ingredient.

Nu Wu Mao Kuei (女巫貓葵) announced on Facebook the launch of its “Godzilla” ramen, which is prepared by steaming or braising the front leg of a crocodile. In a clip, a young female customer samples both flavors and describes the dish as surprisingly delicious.

She says the steamed version of the dish resembles chicken, while the braised meat has a taste similar to pork feet. The soup contains over 40 spices, and the owner reportedly learned how to make the spicy “witch soup” during a trip to Thailand, SETN reported

The crocodiles used for this dish are sourced from a farm in Taitung. The owner was inspired by the giant isopods ramen, which went viral at another restaurant.

(17) TYPECASTING. [Item by Tom Becker.] Womprat is a bold font, inspired by the classic “STAR WARS” text on the movie poster. But that is just the beginning. There are alternate character sets, ligatures, symbols, and special glyphs galore. It is clearly the work of obsessive font geeks who are also massive Star Wars fans. It is a delight just to browse the glyphs or the free desktop background at http://womprat.xyz

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. From Good Omens’ second season: “What’s The Point Of It All? – Season 2 Sneak Peek”.

A brand new Good Omens Season 2 clip from the upcoming return of Amazon Studios’ fantasy comedy series has been released, featuring David Tennant as Crowley. The next installment will be available for streaming on July 28 on Prime Video.

The video confirms Crowley’s current status in Hell as persona non grata, as the fan-favorite demon continues to question the point of Heaven and Hell. It also features Miranda Richardson’s newest character, who has now assumed the role of Hell’s representative in London after previously playing the role of Madame Tracy in Season 1.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Steven French, Juli Marr, Tom Becker, Lise Andreasen, Joey Eschrich, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

23 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/30/23 “What Is The Use Of A Scroll,” Thought Alice, “Without Pixels Or Conversation?”

  1. No subscriber notification was sent for this post.

    Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em.

  2. 1) Fake reviews are an example, I think, of Gresham’s Law, bad and false items crowding out authentic ones.

    To tie in the AI item, this is part of the problem of the tsunami of crap that AI promises us. (c.f. poor Neil Clarke and Clarkesworld)

  3. Paul Weimer says that Fake reviews are an example, I think, of Gresham’s Law, bad and false items crowding out authentic ones.

    That depends. Yes, the sites like Good Reads and such that are the equivalent of farms that mass produce those awful tomatoes that have no taste and look like plastic, versus the reviews done in F&SF, LOCUS, Interzone and so forth. And of course now here.

    So we make reviews that are the equal of organic, juicy, really tasty tomatoes that are great in sandwiches whether you want bacon or not.

  4. So Womprat has multiple alphabets plus a Japanese syllabary, but evidently no lower case forms for those alphabets that use them? Seems a very niche product.

  5. (1) I should write them and applaud. I’ve read too much about this fraud… including people being sued, or threatened with a lawsuit for writing a negative review, even when the review is accurate.
    (6) I’m glad to see this. Don’t know about Tomlinson, but I know about Brian Krebs (of krebsonsecurity.com), who, along with his family, have been swatted a number of times. But the cops know him… as well as the FBI and I think the Secret Service. Some of his stories about the dark web have results in people going to US prison (which does not make him beloved of those types).
    Birthdays, Molly Parker – I’m rather confused. Lost In Space began in 1965, and ran for three seasons. She was born in ’71, you say….
    (17) Typecasting… y’know, I have a couple of friends who were seriously into fonts. One, I don’t know how many, but Neil Rest I undestand bragged he had 700 in the late 80s. Having seen the other friend’s posts in many different fonts in an APA we were in, it has long been my opinion that half of all fonts are almost identical to a dozen or so common fonts, and the other half… were used once, everyone other than the font designer took one look, and no one ever used them again….

  6. @Patrick McGuire
    It’s a display font, something for headlines and posters, not something you’d use for body text.

    @mark
    There are hundreds of fonts. You can fine things like catalogs of them. I have thousands, but I stick with the common stuff.

  7. And mark says Birthdays, Molly Parker – I’m rather confused. Lost In Space began in 1965, and ran for three seasons. She was born in ’71, you say….

    There were multiple Lost In Space series and I assumed that it was possible to figure out that she was on the latter series given the other series she was on.

  8. Vincent D’Onofrio also played Robert E. Howard in The Whole Wide World, a movie based on Novalyne Price’s memoir about her relationship with Howard. According to Novalyne, who should know, D’Onofrio absolutely nailed Howard. At any rate, he is great in the role.

  9. (1) Excellent story. Five stars. Would read again.

    @rcade: I was going to mention Vincent D’Onofrio’s role as “almost Thor” too

    (7) Want to see this!

  10. @Cora
    Thank you for mentioning that movie! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it as I scrolled. Watch it — and bring Kleenex.

    (1) I wonder if fake reviews would include the people who 1-star books because the author is gay or whatever?

    I think Goodreads is like fire. It can be both good and bad. There are lots of reviews there from astute readers. And then there are the people who one-star books for “reasons” or the ones who “five-star” books before they come out because they are huge fans of the author.

    (4) I will be seeing it tonight with other peeps!

    (9) My first Alan Arkin movie (that I was conscious of watching) was the 1978 made-for-TV movie “The Defection of Simas Kudirka.”

    (16) That soup also gives me a Creature from the Black Lagoon vibe…

  11. @Anne Marble
    The Whole, Wide World is indeed an excellent movie. The director was actually a former student of Novalyne Price Ellis’. They kept in touch after he graduated and she sent him a copy of her memoir and he bought the movie rights from her.

    And yes, bring Kleenex is you watch the film. Even though we all know how it ends, you’ll still need them.

  12. Birthdays (#2): of course, the other version of him banning people from the first Worldcon was that they were socialist, and thought that politics belonged in talking about the future….

  13. @PJ, re fonts. Um, that’s what I was saying – the difference between many, many of them and the common ones approaches insignificant as a limit.

  14. @mark
    I was inaccurate: there are thousands of fonts. I have a couple of hundred that came standard with Windows and word-processing programs. You get one of those font CDs and you can find another few thousand. A decent catalog – Letraset had one – has many more, and you can see the differences.
    Yes, some are similar, but even those aren’t (outside of font disks, which aren’t all careful about copyright) identical. It’s art, not science.

  15. The distinguished Canadian man of letters Lovat Dickson [Horace Henry Lovat Dickson] was the older half-brother of Gordon R. Dickson. A writer as well as a publisher, he was famous for his biography of the PretenIndian “Grey Owl” and infamous for his biography of Radclyffe Hall. His memoirs, THE ANTE-ROOM and HOUSE OF WORDS are fascinating.

  16. @mark re: Lost in Space – Molly Parker was in the pretty decent Netflix series (loosely based on the original) that ran for three seasons starting in 2018. That’s the only other series I’m aware of, but in addition to the odd 1998 film version starring William Hurt and Gary Oldman, imdb lists a couple of made-for-tv movies I’ve never heard of.

  17. Sandra Miesel: Cat had the half-brother info in his draft of the birthday. When I went to fact-check it I couldn’t find any confirmation in the Lovat Dickson Wikipedia entry. So my fault that it was taken out.

  18. I went to college at UNC-Chapel Hill (class of ’67), and first came across SF fandom there; but I don’t remember ever meeting Manly Wade Wellman in those years. (I did meet Kay Kyser [1905 – 1985], the famous bandleader of the ’30s and ’40s, when I was there. He attended UNC back in the ’20s [class of ’28], and retired from show business in ’51 to live in Chapel Hill.)

  19. Mike: Oddly enough, Lovat Dickson isn’t mentioned in Gordy’s wikipedia page either but I assure you they really were half-brothers. Not only did I know Gordy well and write a lot of critical material about his work, I’m familiar with the Dickson family history. In fact, I traced their family tree back to a Sir Robert Dickson who fell at Flodden Field in 1513–on the Scottish side, need I say.

  20. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 7/7/23 The Universal Pixelscroll | File 770

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.