Pixel Scroll 6/1/16 This Scroll Will Self-Pixelate In Five Seconds

(1) HOAX OF THRONES. From Entertainment Weekly, Game of Thrones producers reveal 4 of their epic cast pranks”.

  1. John Bradley’s Ridiculous New Costume.

During the making of season 6, Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Hannah Murray (Gilly) asked the producers to help them play a wicked trick on their costar and friend, John Bradley (Samwell Tarley). Explains Weiss: “Hannah has long had the sh–tiest costumes on Game of Thrones; she’s been in a burlap sack for five years. She was so happy that she finally gets into a real piece of clothing this year. So Kit and Hannah thought it would be funny to play a joke on John and let him think he’s going to get a new costume too.”

The producers wrangled the show’s costume department to stage a mock fitting for Bradley in a fake costume before shooting began. “We thought it would be great to make the costume ludicrous, but just believable enough to not know it was a gag – so he’d think he would be wearing this on screen,” Weiss says. The result, as you can see in the exclusive photo above, “was all rental stuff, very Henry the VIII, with Tudor bloomers and a massive codpiece that wasn’t even the same color as the rest of the costume.”

(2) CAST PHOTOS. At Pottermore, “A first look at Ron, Hermione and Rose Granger-Weasley as they will appear in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two. Noma Dumezweni ‘gets Hermione inside out,’ according to J.K. Rowling”.

Yesterday, we got a sneak peek at Harry, Ginny and Albus Potter in full Cursed Child costume and make-up. Now, let’s meet the Granger-Weasleys.

Here we see Harry’s two best friends Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley) and Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni) in full costume with their daughter Rose Granger-Weasley, who will be played by actress Cherrelle Skeete.

‘It’s 19 years later when the play begins,’ Paul explained. ‘Ron is married to Hermione Granger and they’re now the Granger-Weasleys. Our magnificent daughter Rose Granger-Weasley is about to start at Hogwarts, which is obviously a big day for everyone.’


(3) EARLY GRRM. It’s not a hoax, but it may be a hallucination. Dangerous Minds, an underground music and culture site, discusses “’The Armageddon Rag,’ George R.R. Martin’s Rock-and-Roll Occult Fantasy Novel”,

In 1983 Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin published a standalone novel drenched in classic rock that featured the following: a sorceress marshaling a menacing army of loyal warriors, a faithful direwolf cut down in the act of protecting its master, and a scary henchman of well-nigh mountain-ous stature.

The book is called The Armageddon Rag, and a perusal of the synopses of his other pre-Song of Ice and Fire output leads me to the conclusion that the book is Martin’s most realistic novel and surely represents his most sustained homage to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien—unless, of course, the still-uncompleted Westeros/Essos series qualifies.

It also doesn’t really work.

According to the author, The Armageddon Rag nearly sank Martin’s career—and also (HBO subscribers, rejoice) prompted the writer to investigate the possibilities of writing for television….

(4) CELEBRATING WOMEN SF/F ARTISTS. The Society of Illustrators exhibit “Points of Vision – Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction” runs June 8-August 20 in New York.

When people think of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre they often think of it as a male-dominated field, both in authorship and art. However, women have always been a critical part of the genre, and have often brought a slightly different point of view to the way that they create around the themes of myth, heroism, science, and futurism. Mary Shelley wrote one of the first, if not the first science fiction books in Frankenstein. For every Tolkien there was an Ursula K. Le Guin. For every Frank Herbert an Octavia Butler. When we think of Science Fiction and Fantasy Art, it is often the names like Frazetta and Hildebrandt that come first to mind. However, all along through the art history of the genre you have women such as Kinuko Craft, Mary Blair, Julie Bell, and many more who have been creating their own visual worlds and illustrating the worlds of authors, filmmakers, and game designers. For the first time, the work of women in this genre will be exhibited together in Point of Vision: Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction at the Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators.

We have chosen to exhibit these women artists together to propose that although both men and women have always created art in the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy, women inherently have a slightly different point of view, a unique way of internalizing the themes and stories and then creating visuals imbued with their perspective. However it would be a mistake to say that art created by women is automatically “feminine” — in this exhibit the viewer will see that there are as many different definitions of “woman artist” as there are women creating art.

This exhibit is curated by Irene Gallo and Lauren Panepinto.

(5) PROPHECY REDEEMED. “It’s 2016 — where’s my reusable spacecraft?” demands Chip Hitchcock, setting up the BBC’s reply in “One thing spacecraft have never achieved – until now”.

So a short explanation for why reusable rockets haven’t arrived earlier is simply the technical difficulty. However, the idea of reusable spaceplanes dates back to before World War Two.

Before the Apollo programme, spaceplanes were thought to be the future of reusable spacecraft, says Roger Launius at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. “The idea has been out there since the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon science fiction comic strips in the 1920s and 1930s. Every single one of the spacecraft in those strips was a reusable spaceplane. So since before World War Two we always thought spaceflight would be like airplane activity.”

After 1945, captured German rocket scientists revealed they had planned – but never built – a suborbital spaceplane, the Silverbird, with which the Nazis had hoped to bomb the US. A novel design feature was that it was shaped like a wing, so its shape helped add aerodynamic lift. This ‘lifting body’ idea was harnessed by the US Air Force in 1958 when it started work on a reusable winged spaceplane, the X-20 Dyna-Soar – but the Moon program saw that canned in 1963.

(6) SIXTIES BATMAN ACTORS COLLABORATING. CinemaBlend says when they’re not busy collecting Medicare, “Batman’s Adam West And Burt Ward Are Working On A New Project”. (Okay, I made up the Medicare part.)

Although Adam West’s information was sparse, we may already have a clue about what this thing is. Last year, he and Burt Ward mentioned that they would be voicing their versions of Batman and Robin in a 90-minute animated project. It seems unlikely that this would be a movie released in theaters. Instead, it seems like a much better fit as a direct-to-DVD movie, something streamed on an online platform or even as a TV special. However, there’s been no official announcements concerning that particular project, and it’s unclear whether what West is currently talking about is the same project or something entirely different. Either way, having the old guard together again is intriguing.

(7) DEVIL IN A BLUE RAY. The other day Guillermo del Toro praised director John Carpenter in a long series of tweets that included this story:


  • Born June 1, 1936 – Morgan Freeman, who in addition to playing God in two movies, has performed as a leader of all three branches of the US government, the President, the Chief Justice, and the Speaker. (And you can throw in the Director of Central Intelligence for good measure.)


  • Born June 1, 2000 — Oscar the Grouch. [Updated. Oscar has been on Sesame Street since 1969. But the birthday is official.]

(10) STRETCH GOALS. Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch audiobook Kickstarter not only funded, but hit three stretch goals.

And for unlocking the last goal, backers will soon learn if illustrator James A. Owen can really draw a bandersnatch blindfolded.

(11) THE DOORS OF HIS MOUTH. David Brin will speak in Washington DC to Caltech alumni on June 14. Tickets are $10.

Knocking on Doors

What Caltech Taught Me about Self-Education

Join us for a special conversation with Hugo award winning and New York Times bestselling science fiction author David Brin (BS ’73). Brin will speak about how his experience at Caltech prepared him for a three decade career at the intersection of science and imagination.

(12) ONLINE PAYMENT OPENS. MACII opened Site Selection voting the other day, however, today they made it possible to pay the Advance Supporting Membership fee online.

All Adult Attending, Young Adult Attending, and Supporting members of MidAmeriCon II are eligible to take part in the site selection process. Ballots may be submitted by postal mail or in person at the convention, up to the close of voting at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2016. All ballots must be accompanied by an Advance Supporting Membership fee, which will automatically be converted to a Supporting Membership of the respective convention, regardless of which convention the member voted for. This fee has been set at $40 for the 2018 Worldcon selection and $35 for the 2017 NASFiC.

Full information on the site selection process, including a printable ballot form, can be found on the MidAmeriCon II website at www.midamericon2.org/home/hugo-awards-and-wsfs/wsfs/site-selection/. A copy of the ballot form will also be included in MidAmeriCon II’s Progress Report 3, which will be mailed to convention members in the coming weeks.

In accordance with the requirements of the World Science Fiction Society, each bidder has submitted an official bid filing package. This documentation can also be found on the MidAmeriCon II website at www.midamericon2.org/home/hugo-awards-and-wsfs/wsfs/site-selection/.

(13) 2017 WISCON. The WisCon 41 guests of honor have been named.

  • Amal El-Mohtar – Nebula-nominated Canadian poet and writer of speculative fiction
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick – American comic book writer and editor and English-language adapter of manga

(14) ONE THUMB UP FOR GHOSTBUSTERS. Executive producer Dan Aykroyd praised the new Ghostbusters. Is he an objective critic? You decide!

Dan Aykroyd, who played Ray Stantz in the original Ghostbusters film, has praised the upcoming reboot.

Aykroyd is listed as an executive producer on the movie, which features a female-led cast including Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.

He commended the “brilliant, genuine performances from the cast both female and male”.

The actor made the comments after seeing a test screening of Paul Feig’s new film.

“It has more laughs and more scares than the first two films, plus Bill Murray is in it!” Aykroyd wrote on Facebook.

(15) FLEXIBLE FLYERS. This picture of posable dragons comes from Patricia Briggs fans FB page.

posable dragons

(16) TIME AND AGAIN. Details about the 2017 season of Doctor Who continue to leak: “Doctor Who Season 10 Is Bringing A Major Character Back”.

Actress Michelle Gomez actually dropped the news herself at this weekend’s MegaCon in Orlando, confirming that she would definitely be bringing Missy back into the Doctor’s life for Season 10, according to Doctor Who News. And it doesn’t appear that she was in character while making the admission, so we don’t have to worry about this being a trick of some kind that she’s playing on humanity. Or do we?

The latest incarnation of the Doctor’s arch nemesis The Master, Missy first appeared in “Deep Breath,” after already being introduced by name in a previous episode. She is more of a trickster than earlier Masters when it comes to playing mind games with the Doctor, and has appeared in a handful of episodes since her introduction. She was last seen in Season 9’s “The Witch’s Familiar,” where she was left on Skaro amidst a huge group of Daleks, remarking on a clever idea she’d just had. Was that idea to show up in Season 10? It fits.

(17) FORGED PROPERTY. Suvudu knows how few can resist a headline like “King Tut’s Dagger Has an Extraterrestrial Origin”.

Conspiracy theorists are fond of pointing to things like the pyramids as proof that the Egyptians were in communication with an extraterrestrial civilization. While that’s very, very, very unlikely, a recent scientific discovery has revealed a surprising connection between Egyptian royalty and outer space. According to the Guardian, Italian and Egyptian scientists have concluded that a dagger found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen was forged from iron extracted from a meteorite.

(18) JUST SAY NO. Steven Harper Piziks shares his social media strategy at Book View Café.

Links I don’t click on:

–Anything that uses the phrase “mind blown”…

–Or “90% of readers won’t share this” (Now we just need to work on the other 10%.)

–Or “This major event in space is happening any second! Click here to learn more about how fake it is!”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Rob Thornton, Andrew Porter, and Craig Miller for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day katster.]

114 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/1/16 This Scroll Will Self-Pixelate In Five Seconds

  1. Nothing at all surprising about Tutt’s dagger being made out of meteoritic iron. Iron meteorites were likely one of the first sources of iron for making tools–no having to refine ore–when you are lucky enough to find a piece, it comes pre-refined. Many thousands of meteorites of all types have been collected from the deserts of Africa over the past couple of decades–except for an unusually low proportion of iron meteorites (here is one of the interesting exceptions). Those were probably used up over thousands of years for making tools. (As an aside I have a Saharan stone meteorite that is roughly the right size and shape to be a hand ax or similar tool, including sharpish edges. I don’t know for sure if the shape is accidental or if it was “worked” thousands of years ago. Someday, I’d like to have an expert on paleolithic tools give it a look.)

    There were once some large iron meteorites in Greenland that were used by the natives for who knows how many generations as their source of iron. Robert Perry stole them and sold them to raise funds for his arctic exploration. (Bonus item: a ring-shaped iron meteorite once used as a blacksmith’s anvil in Arizona.)

  2. @Aaron – just read your con report, the shoe issue is equal parts baffling and almost hilarious except for the security bullying, what the hell. Was it a safety issue they were concerned with? Most hotels and conventions rarely bother to enforce shoe rules if they even have them, mostly adopting a “be safe, we can’t control what people put on the ground, so we suggest wearing shoes” type message.

  3. Many films died in the theater that went on to live a word of mouth existence from movies on TV, VHS and disc. ARMY OF DARKNESS did not fare well in the theaters. REANIMATOR, MY NEIGHBOR TORTORO, BETTER OFF DEAD,…and many others were desired viewing after bombing in the B.O..


  4. @Robert Whitaker Sirignano – ahhh yes, liability, right.

    Actually, the first time I watched My Neighbor Totoro it was on VHS and only in Mandarin with no subtitles so my friend had a running translation going for us, which had some funny translations like the one sister’s name was apparently turned into Toilet Paper and the neighbor boy was Impatient Boy lol

  5. “… Break a toe, sue the hotel. …”’

    Naww. it’s being jerks.

    otherwise anything but steel-toed work boots would be banned.

    And nobody would be allowed to walk from their sleeping rooms to the pool without full shoes.

    And formal functions would ban anything open-toed or with heels for women.

    this really sounds like pressure to Get The Weirdos To Break The Contract

  6. just read your con report, the shoe issue is equal parts baffling and almost hilarious except for the security bullying, what the hell. Was it a safety issue they were concerned with?

    I think they were mostly using it as an excuse to harass people. The initial rule could have been a liability issue related to bare feet, but it eventually devolved to judging what kind of shoes people were wearing – as evidenced by the security guards harassing a girl over her ballet shoes.

    The odd thing is that this was the first year that Balticon was in that hotel, so there shouldn’t have been any history to engender this sort of security response. I suspect that the hotel head of security just doesn’t like conventions disrupting his nice quiet hotel, and was working hard to drive everyone away, but that is just a guess based on how security behaved during the convention with no inside information about the inner workings of his mind.

  7. Bit of trivia about My Neighbor Totoro–part of the reason it didn’t do well in the box office may be because it was shown as a double-feature with Graveyard of Fireflies. Which is a really weird pairing. Like if Spielberg would allow you to watch ET only if you watched Schindler’s List too.

  8. @Aaron – yeah I was just curious was the “official” reason was given about the ballet shoes being a problem. My guess is that if this is a hotel that’s never hosted a convention, they didn’t realize what they were getting themselves into, but it’s hard to believe that any hotel these days would have NO experience with hosting a trade show and why even agree to the hosting in the first place? People are strange sometimes.

    Reminds me of the hotel I was at last weekend, it wasn’t hosting anything but was close enough to the convention center that they had all guests booked for that weekend sign a special contract promising to not make too much noise in our rooms or we’d be kicked out, it was written extremely clearly lol Obviously they know how some rooms of younger con goers can get and I was just thankful there’d be less of a chance I’d have to call the desk at 3am to get them to politely knock on my nextdoor neighbor’s door to get them to be quiet so I can sleep lol

    @Darren Garrison – eek talk about movies that are almost polar opposites. Yeah they both have kids/siblings as protagonists but that’s about all they have in common @[email protected];; I remember watching Grave and someone had told me it was a “sad movie” like what an understatement, it’s one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever watched holy moly

  9. @Robert Whitaker Sirignano

    I’m amazed someone else has read Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well On Ganymede. I still have my copy.

  10. Those of us who’ve been doing our due diligence on the Retro Hugos will have seen Theseus waving a meteoritic iron sword – “Falling Star” – around in Jack Williamson’s The Reign of Wizardry.

    Clearly, Tutankhamen was a Williamson fan and was copying his hero.

  11. I’m amazed someone else has read Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well On Ganymede. I still have my copy.

    I’ve also read it. Don’t actually remember–well–anything about the plot. But I’ve read it. Still have my MMPB, can visualize the cover.

  12. @Rob Thornton

    Adding to your pile, try Iain (M) Banks’ Espedair Street. Not actually SFF, but he does have, ahem, credentials in the genre.

    It features the Fleetwood Mac-y band Frozen Gold, and Iain himself wrote the music used in the 4-part BBC Radio 4 adaptation.

  13. I’m amazed someone else has read Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well On Ganymede.

    Also read it. It was a free ebook somewhere, back when free ebooks were relatively unusual.

  14. I’ve read Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well too and I also have it (in paperback). Since tracking SF/F about music has been a long-time passion of mine, thanks so much to everybody for your suggestions! 🙂

  15. @Rob Thornton: Then here’s one more: The Texts of Festival by Mick Farren. I don’t recall it being especially good or bad–in fact, I don’t recall it much at all. I bought it because I had some of his records and liked them, especially “Let’s Loot The Supermarket Again Like We Did Last Summer”.

    I think more of his books combine SF and music, but I don’t have them and I could be wrong.

  16. (3) I wanted to love Armageddon Rag, but had issues with the protagonist (as mentioned down-thread) and also just wasn’t grabbed by the story. This may be due to reading it after having read the first four in ASoIaF, and wanting more long, epic reading material. I do recall enjoying a collection of GRRM’s short stories that I picked up around the same time. I should go back and re-read Armageddon Rag and see if I enjoy it more now.

    @lurkertype –

    Just think how much shorter the books would have been if she was the Chosen One — one average sized book, tops.

    A whole lot of studying and careful planning, then careful implementation of said plan, and then, fin. Fewer deaths and pseudo-fascist school takeovers, as well, I’d imagine.

    @Matthew Johnson

    Five pixels you never knew about scrolls. Number five will amaze you, and number five will shock you!

    Yegads, I’d never considered the inherent characteristics of a list of five items before. It’s a bag of holding in list form!

  17. This joke has been beaten to death. But you won’t believe what fans tried to top it!

  18. re: Shoe Police.
    It sounds like any trouble with security was dealt with by going to the head of security. Why not the hotel management itself after the first couple of problems?
    But maybe they did and it just hasn’t gotten out yet.

  19. There was a short story, probably in one of the Year’s Best collections edited by Gardner Dozois, that featured aliens coming to earth, cleaning up Charlie Parker and other jazz musicians, and bringing them aboard their spaceship to play music for them. I don’t have time to dig for the title/author at the moment.

    I really enjoyed Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsinger and Dragonsong when I was a teenager. I remember not being too fond of Dragondrums because it got away from Harper Hall and the writing/performing of music.

    I remember Crystal Singer by McCaffrey featured perfect pitch being required in order to mine crystals. I also seem to recall feeling betrayed because the sequel was about a kidnapping instead of about the crystal singing.

    L.E. Modessitt Jr. had a series in which magic was performed through song. The Soprano Sorceress was the first, and I know I read it, but I don’t remember it at all. I guess I wasn’t thrilled.

  20. Speaking of free books, HarperVoyager has a promotion going right now. Price drops on the list at ebook retailers, as well as your choice of freebie offers at the link.

  21. As far as rock and roll genre novels go, there’s also Lewis Shiner’s Glimpses, about a disillusioned stereo repairman who finds himself able to hear–and record–infamous lost rock albums of the 1960s. It’s a World Fantasy Award winner. I think it’s back in print from Subterranean, but it’s also available as a free download from his web site.

  22. @Rev. Bob: Thanks for the link! I grabbed “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet”.

    I’m happy I got to this one on time. Last time they went out of stock within a day IIRC.

  23. @Aaron: Shoe police, ugh. I’ve seen this when some barefoot or sandaled person hurt themselves on an escalator, causing the hotel to go into a paroxysm of self-defense. Conversely, that particular hotel did go out of its way to inform the concom and con security (waves hand) as to what and why. Given the rest of the description of their action, I’m betting it’s a hotel that no longer wishes to have Balticon as a customer, but needs an excuse for it.

    A lot of this stuff happens because hotel management turns over pretty quickly. The guy you signed that 2-year deal with may be long gone by the time you show up, and the new guy just doesn’t want you there. The end result is usually the hotel treating the con like dirt while carefully staying just inside the bounds of the contract. Or not . . . but that’s not something to share here.

    In at least one case, the manager didn’t want to deal with the drama of a large social con and was being a dick about it. This was a very large annual con, and the chairman eventually starting to look around for a new venue – which meant a different city. The city Chamber of Commerce heard about it and contacted the concom. Then they contacted the hotel manager, who basically told them to get stuffed. So they contacted the corporation senior execs, who gave the manager a major attitude adjustment. Now the manager goes on vacation during that con, and things work a lot better.

  24. I’ll second the recommendation of Banks’ Espedair Street. Best novel about music and performance I’ve read.

  25. – Early GRRM: Count me in the loved Armageddon Rag group. It was flawed (what book isn’t?) but it was one of the first books about the sixties I’d seen that avoided the standard stereotypes of the era. Plus it was nice and spooky. I don’t know if I would have put it on my Hugo ballot, but I definitely enjoyed it.

    Been a while, though. I might have to see whether the suck fairy has visited in the intervening years. One of these days.

    – Women SF/F artists: The Society of Illustrators web page makes it far too hard to find the location of their museum. I understand that people in NY think it’s the center of the universe, but this is the World Wide Web, folks! Anyway, looks like a fascinating exhibit, but I doubt I’ll be able to visit.

    (Also, Mike, there’s a exterraneous “h” at the start of the link there, right before the “Points of Vision…”.)

    – John Carpenter: Love him, but boy his stuff can be inconsistent. The Thing was outstanding, but then he followed it up with They Live, which is a movie I have a hard time expressing any simple opinion of because it’s both so brilliant and so terrible at the same time!

    – Pizkis: “Or “90% of readers won’t share this” (Now we just need to work on the other 10%.)” I’m stealing that. 😀

  26. Meteoric knives: Had a chance to hold a knife made from meteor iron once. It was full metal, the blade morphing and integrating into the handle.

    I am a pretty thorough skeptic about all things New Age-y, including the idea that inanimate objects might have a soul or spirit. But damnme, while I was holding that knife, I would swear it hummed in my hand.

    The only similar experience I can recall was at a woodworking show, where some gorgeous tables and chairs were being displayed by the monks who handmade them at their monastery. When I sat in one of the chairs, it felt alive.

    The skeptic part of my mind says I was subconsciously projecting those feelings onto the objects, and interpreting it as being from the objects themselves. But I gotta admit the brief experience of feeling there might be… more… beyond what our five senses can experience was pretty cool.

  27. A-n-n-n-n-n-d… looks like that Harper Voyager giveaway may have already given away all copies. At least of the books I was interested enough in to click on.

  28. In the wake of the closure of SF Signal, I’ve only been doing stuff at Skiffy and Fanty (that reminds me, I have a Mining the Genre Asteroid column up for THE DEMOLISHED MAN today: https://skiffyandfanty.com/2016/06/02/mining-the-genre-asteroid-the-demolished-man-by-alfred-bester/ )

    Anyway, I did an interview with Michael Underwood, my first post for the BN Sci Fi blog, talking about Genrenauts and other geeky things:


  29. @Bruce Arthurs: “I am a pretty thorough skeptic about all things New Age-y, including the idea that inanimate objects might have a soul or spirit.”

    I maintain that everyone who works with hardware – from mechanics to IT folks – eventually becomes an animist. 😉

  30. I found the hardback of “Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede” in my small public library branch. Go figure. And “Flying Saucer Rock & Roll” captures songs so well without using their lyrics. Plus it’s amazing in other ways.

    Another stupid thing about that guy’s “review” of Armageddon Rag is that he insists the book is bad because Boomers didn’t watch MTV? Bwuh? Of course they did. Just because someone was old enough to have Beatles and Led Zep albums didn’t mean they didn’t also buy Duran Duran, Madonna, Prince, the Police, Michael Jackson, etc. They might have started tuning out in the 90’s, but they were still a big part of the MTV audience at the time the book was published.

  31. No mention of Spellsinger? Not the best books ever, but it’s pretty impressive how much Foster was able to convey of the songs he referenced without every using any lyrics.

  32. @Sunhawk: there’s a lot of difference between a tradeshow and a fan-run SF convention; the latter are uncommon in various ways. There may actually have been an unpublicized incident that put Security on edge (a long time ago I saw one of a group of young idiots drop a soda bottle off the 4th-floor atrium balcony, just missing the concierge — if I hadn’t been too far away to be sure of the guilty party I would have served them up), or the hotel as a whole may have decided that the fans were too scruffy and might cost them walk-in customers at the bar. (That was given as a reason by a long-ago Back Bay site, where it was not utterly implausible; the Inner Harbor is a prime walk-through area, but I don’t know how many people come there for drinks-after-work.)

    re Hermione shortening the series if she were the Chosen One: you’re forgetting that she’s a brilliant scholar but not a tactician — Ron was the one who was the chess player. I can see Hermione as the 1950’s stereotype scientist not realizing that people don’t work the way her plan assumes.

    music and SF: see Ellison and Silverberg, “The Song the Zombie Sang”.

  33. I’m almost afraid to re-read The Armageddon Rag because I’ve got the feeling the suck fairy has been shredding guitar solos all over it. I read it when it first came out, eager for more from the Fevre Dream guy. And I enjoyed it, but I recall an awful lot of “we baby boomers, the only REAL generation, were having this awesome party but then everything turned all evil and depraved and bad.” Which is a sentiment that is kind of annoying the first thirty thousand or so times you hear it, I think most Generation Xers will agree.

    Also … the hobbitlike albino lead singer, Hobbins, reminded me a lot of Paul Williams in Phantom of the Paradise. Which was a great performance that I grew to appreciate a lot more as the years went by, but Paul Williams was also kind of a ballad-singing, folkie-hairstyle-having, talk-show-frequenting, parent-pleasing guy who wasn’t counter culture or metal at all. My mind kept insisting on casting him in the dramatic end scenes of the book, to disastrous effect because I’d usually start giggling.

    And then a few years later, Spinal Tap appeared, with a blond, Stonehenge-obsessed lead singer named St. Hubbins. I’ve always wondered if that was an homage.

  34. A couple of days ago, Jeet Heer asked:

    Do liberals ever quote Lord of the Rings as if it proves anything or is that strictly a conservative thing?

    Jim Henley and others cited various things, especially Gandalf’s “many that die deserve life” speech — which was the first thing I thought of, too. But what no-one ever said (though several asked) is what bits of LOTR conservatives are in the habit of quoting. Do any of you know what he’s talking about?

  35. @Charon D – Phantom of the Paradise was excellent. I saw it flipping around channels late one night (back when that was a thing) and thought it’d be something silly to laugh at. Actually, one of the best adaptations of Phantom of the Opera that I’ve seen.

  36. Phantom of the Paradise was one of Brian de Palma’s early films, he went on to make the first move version of Carrie. Paul Williams played the wicked Faustian producer and not the disfigured rock star, but there’s a sequence where he’s fantasizing about being a rock star, wearing an ornate suit with women moaning at his feet, and that’s the image that popped into my mind when I was reading Armageddon Rag.

    It was a pretty good movie although I don’t think it did very well at the box office.

  37. It was a pretty good movie although I don’t think it did very well at the box office.

    Great music, too. I still have the LP of the soundtrack, which I had to special-order back in those pre-Amazon days.

  38. (15) Flexible Flyers *squeeeeeee* *grabby hands*

    Best dragon since the tiny clockwork one!

  39. (1) Many famous fantasy blades from meteors, of course, including GRRM’s creation Dawn, Arthur (Sword of the Morning) Dayne’s blade.
    (2) Speaking of GRRM, while “Unsound Variations” is of course my favorite (I’m obviously prejudiced since it features Hal Winslow and other old buddies) and Fevre Dream is close behind, I do like Armageddon Rag despite the flaws highlighted in previous comments. While it wasn’t the first takedown of sellout boomers and it’s not Spinal Tap, which every old-school rocker I know can quote at length, several of the more literate ones among them found the portrayal of Faxon and other members of the Nazgûl convincing.

  40. I haven’t read the scroll yet, sorry, but:

    Ebook sale! Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt (Spectra: uses DRM) is on sale for 99 cents in the U.S., at least at some outlets (like iBooks & Kobo). This is the first book of one of my favorite series, and one of the few Urban Fantasy series I’ve read. I’m not sure if this means it’s a great example of the form, or if it means it’s best for people who aren’t into UF, or what. Anyway, I recommend the whole series. 🙂

    And oh, hey, there’s a new Becky Chambers book available for preorder, I presume a sequel: A Closed and Common Orbit (probably everyone knows about this already). The description in iTunes made me laugh: “A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher.” :-/

  41. Hey Mike,
    I was doubly startled to see a birthday listing for Oscar the Grouch, first, because I don’t think of Muppet characters having birth dates*, and second, because there’s no way Oscar the Grouch was born In 2000. A quick bit of research showed me that he was, indeed, given a birthday of June 1 at some point. His first appearance on Sesame Street, however, was in 1969. It feels important to get this right.


    *Birthdays, sure, and creation dates, which are different, but not a date-of-birth. (I see this as a jumping off point for a spirited discussion in a hotel corridor somewhere, outside a very nice room party. Some of the imaginary people who live in my head are already going at it with zeal. I’m letting them run with it by themselves.)

  42. D’oh! Sorry, @.Bruce Arthurs – you already posted the T.A. Pratt sale info. (blush) That’ll learn me to post before reading the scroll and all the comments.

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