Pixel Scroll 6/25/16 All My Kzins Remembered


File 770 was a Locus Award finalist in the magazine category and I did arm someone with an acceptance statement in case I unexpectedly won. It never occurred to me to dramatize my feelings about losing, however, I see First Novel nominee Sylvia Moreno-Garcia refused to admit defeat. (Or was that just her reaction to Nick Mamatas?)

My designated accepter, Suzle Tompkins, stands at the right of this photo.

(2) THUMB UP. Gary Westfahl delivers his verdict at Locus Online: “The Fogeys of July: A Review of Independence Day: Resurgence”. BEWARE SPOILERS.

Since I was recently complimented at a conference for writing “honest” film reviews, I feel obliged to begin this one by conveying my honest reaction to Independence Day: Resurgence: although I was bored and appalled by the original Independence Day (1996), and utterly baffled by its tremendous popularity, I somehow found its belated sequel to be surprisingly engaging, even moving, despite some obvious issues in its logic and plausibility. Perhaps this indicates that I am finally becoming senile, unable to distinguish between worthwhile entertainment and reprehensible trash; perhaps this is a sign of the times, so that a film modeled on a film that stood out in 1996 for its risible inanity and clumsy manipulativeness now seems, amidst scores of similar films, merely typical, or even a bit superior to its lamentable competitors. Perhaps, though, it is simply a better film than its precursor, the theory that merits some extended exploration.

(3) ONLINE COMICS. David Brin is back with “A look at Science Fiction webcomics: Part 3”.

Crowded Void, by Mike West offers one of the more unusual concepts. Finding Earth too crowded and people rather distasteful, Vincent Foxwell thought he could find peace when he took a job on a cargo vessel, hauling junk in space, with only an AI for company. Space turns out to be more crowded than he imagined…. when his spacecraft is swallowed by a massive space worm, where there is already an intestinal civilization of over a million humans and aliens, jockeying for position in the worm’s digestive cycle. He must find a way to escape… before digestion is complete. But first he must deal with the The Joint Intestinal Monarchy, which controls the worm, harvesting parts from spaceships. No end of good material for humor… a new theory of wormholes? Start at the beginning here.

(4) BANDERSNATCH. Charles de Lint reviewed Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch in the July/August Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Yes, there is a wonderful font of information about the Inklings, but it also provides one of the better guides to the collaborative process, including a chapter with the end about how to get the most out of a group set up in a style similar to that of the Inklings.  I think one of the best  pieces of advice she gives is the difference between “I don’t personally like this’ and ‘This isn’t any good’ in critiquing a manuscript.

To writers setting up a writing group, I recommend Bandersnatch wholeheartedly,  That said, those who simply love to read–especially those who particularly appreciate the work of Tolkien, Lewis, and Williams–will find much to enjoy as well.

(6) EAU DE MIDCHLORIAN. When you wear Star Wars Perfumes, the Force is with you….

The trilogy of futuristic “must have” perfumes transfers the essence of the Star Wars universe skillfully into a fascinating world of fragrances, which represent the best-known elements and characters from the saga.

The products are presented in a luxurious and lavish flacon which draws upon the symbolism of probably the most emblematic element of the movie – the lightsaber.

There’s Amidala, for women, and Jedi, and Empire for men.

AMIDALA inspired this fragrance through her royal elegance as well as by her strong, indomitable will. The elegant and sensual notes of vanilla, musk and patchouli are complemented by a fruity top note of apple and tangerine and merges into a sovereign seductive aura for any situation by day and by night; a floral perfume with oriental and powdery notes, which makes its wearer irresistible.

Should you want to smell like Darth Vader, spritz yourself liberally with this stuff —

EMPIRE covers you with an aura of masculinity and power. A scent that captures the dark side of the Force; mystical, formidable and superior. It starts with a sparkle of fruity notes from lime and apple. Powerful chords of amber, patchouli and tonka-bean characterize the powerful heart and base note that refine the composition. The result is a distinctive, oriental, seductive fragrance – perfect for the night, made for men which one better does not get in the way.

I just love that The Mary Sue kicks off its post about these perfumes with a GIF from the first Star Wars movie showing our heroes in the garbage bin and Han Solo demanding, “What an incredible smell you’ve discovered.”


  • June 25, 1951 — On this day in 1951, CBS aired the first commercial color television network broadcast. At the time, no color TV sets were owned by the public. The broadcast was seen on color TV sets in public buildings. (Emphasis on commercial – there were other network broadcasts in color the previous year, 1950.)
  • June 25, 1982 — John Carpenter’s The Thing, seen for the first time on this day.


  • June 25, 1925 — June Lockhart, whom some remember from Lassie, while fans remember her from Lost in Space.


  • June 25, 1903 – George Orwell

(10) MARK THIS DATE: Neil Gaiman will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers next Friday night, July 1.

(11) HARD TO WIN. Chuck Tingle had a good excuse for not getting a Locus Award.

(12) BREXIT DEBRIEFING. Camestros Felapton registered his disapproval of Brexit by refusing to art containing a notorious Leave supporter.

Not doing cat pictures because Timothy is still running around the house wearing a mop and pretending to be Boris Johnson whilst shouting “effinEurolosers” at squirrels.

(13) FREE SPEECH. The July Harper’s Magazine excerpted the brief the Language Creation Society filed in the Axanar lawsuit claiming that CBS and Paramount did not have copyright over the Klingon language.

Plaintiffs claim copyright over the entire Klingon language.  The notion is meqHutlh (‘lacking reason.’)  If this court commits this qab qech (“bad idea”), an entire body of thought will be extinguished.  Hoch jaghpu’Daj HoHbogh Suvwl’ ylvup-‘ (‘Pity the warrior who kills all his enemies.’)  By Plaintiffs’ account, everyone who translates something into Klingon, writes a poem in Klingon, gives a speech or presentation at a Klingon Language Institute meeting or Star Trek convention, or gives lessons on how to speak Klingon is a copyright infringer. Qam ghu’vam, loD!  (“This will not stand, man!”)  Plaintiffs’ argument that ‘a language is only useful if it can be used to communicate with people, and there are no Klingons with whom to communicate’ is an insulting assertion.  Many humans speak Klingon.  People get married in Klingon.  Linguist d’Armond Speers spent three years teaching his infant son how to speak Klingon. Speaking and writing in Klingon is not simply a matter of transposing words from a different language, either.  The Sesame Street theme-song lyric ‘Sunny day, chasing the clouds away’ translates into Klingon as jaj pen puQmo’, chaw’nIS je Jaj ‘ej Haw’raDchen, or ‘Day of the daytime star, the clouds are filled with dread and forced to flee.’  Klingon is not just a language, but a state of mind.

(14) TEMPLE GRANDIN. A Blank on Blank animation of an interview with Temple Grandin contains lots of food for thought for geeks and nerds. (Don’t be thrown off by the Squarespace ad about 4:30, because Grandin resume talking for another 90 seconds when it’s done.)

(15) RAINING ON A PARADE. Jesse Hudson, in a review of Alastair Reynolds’ Chasm City for Speculiction, compares its execution unfavorably with an Iain Banks standby.

This is important to note given the bifurcated storyline, and its intended effect. Seemingly an emulation of the narrative structure of Iain Banks Use of Weapons, Reynolds’ adherence to plot above character does not allow the big reveals to be very big. I will not spoil the story for those unable to put one and one (not even two and two) together, but suffice to say the underlying reality of the situation is telegraphed in the least subtle ways the length of the novel, emphasized by the lack of complete coherence at the character level. Where Banks’ story resolves itself in surprising fashion upon the final chapter, a surprise that feeds logically back through the entire book, I have doubts Chasm City does the same for the majority of readers—this coming from a person who is terrible at predicting endings

I’m not implying any defect in Hudson’s opinion of Reynolds’ book, but I have to say I saw the ending of Use of Weapons coming from a long way off. To me, Banks’ success was in delivering the expected “surprise” in an elegant way.

(16) TOM REAMY. Joachim Boaz reminds readers about a strong award contender, now forgot, Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices (1978), at Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations.

Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices (1978) was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and BFSA awards and came in second in Locus voting for best novel in 1979.  Posthumously released, Reamy died of a heart attack while writing in the fall of 1977 at 42.  His take on small town America transformed by the arrival of a traveling circus and its array of wonders will stay with you for years to come.  The science fiction elements (revealed more than halfway through the novel) interlace and add to the elegiac and constrained fantasy feel.  The specter of sexuality and violence spells cataclysm.

(17) OLD SCHOOL FAN. In a piece cleverly titled “Trexit”, Steve Davidson says “Get off Star Trek’s lawn!”

Alec Peters, you asked for it and you got it.  A set of fan work guidelines for the Star Trek universe that pretty much kills everything except maybe Lego animations. (Which are fine for what they are, but…)

I don’t personally do fanfic, fan films, fan art, etc., I’m sufficiently happy to stick with the originals, lament the lack of “more of the same”, and to spend some time dithering over whether or not I want to invest in the latest whatever released by the franchise holders.

But maybe that’s because I’m an old school fan with old school ideas about how one goes about engaging with someone else’s property….

(18) A LIZARD WITHOUT THUNDER. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler is falling out of love with one of the major prozines: “[June 25, 1961] The Twilight Years (July 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Like Victorian ladies’ hats, the dinosaurs became increasingly baroque until they were too ungainly to survive.

I worry that The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is heading in that direction.  I’m all for literary quality in my sf mags, but F&SF has been tilting so far in the purple direction that it is often all but unreadable.  I present Exhibit A: the July 1961 “All-Star” issue.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

88 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/25/16 All My Kzins Remembered


    Notes of fruit AND patchouli? Ugh. No. Just no.

    (I haven’t figured out just when perfume designers decided that women needed to smell like fruit salads, but I’m quite grouchy about it.)

  2. The Sesame Street theme-song lyric ‘Sunny day, chasing the clouds away’ translates into Klingon as jaj pen puQmo’, chaw’nIS je Jaj ‘ej Haw’raDchen, or ‘Day of the daytime star, the clouds are filled with dread and forced to flee.’

    Although that translation delights me, the actual Sesame Street lyric is “sweeping the clouds away”.

    Also I kinda covet the Empire fragrance even though it’s supposedly not designed for my gender. Ladies can be evil Empire lackeys too!

    ETA: second fifth!

  3. I’ve been doing my Hugo Nebula reading, and am down to “The Builders”. Does it get better? Why is the rat named Reconquista? Is this Puppydom At Play, or will some virtue to this story become apparent?

  4. (6) I never watched the first two prequels, but isn ‘t it Midichlorian?

  5. 7) A couple of weeks ago I got to watch a tennis game in VR. The makers explained that right now the only VR content being produced is advertisements but they expect shows in a few years – the hardware is already cheap enough that they are giving it away. Which would mean no more TV by 2051.

  6. Doctor Science: I’ve been doing my Hugo Nebula reading, and am down to “The Builders”. Does it get better? Why is the rat named Reconquista? Is this Puppydom At Play, or will some virtue to this story become apparent?

    It’s an anthropomorphic version of The Magnificent Seven — which I presume is why the Puppies selected it (Badass Heroes Kick Ass).

    I imagine that the name was chosen to fit the Spanish ethnic heritage the author assigned to that character (also, it probably refers to taking back what was taken by the Bad Guys).

    I found it competent but unremarkable. On my ballot, it has, however, edged out Sanderson’s Perfect State, which is just an utter disappointment coming from the author who wrote The Emperor’s Soul.

    I still haven’t decided whether No Award is going above those two, or below them. 😐

  7. (16) By coincidence(?), the most recent Coode Street Podcast had a discussion about Tom Reamy in the context of mostly-forgotten writers and the now-dead midlist.

  8. Best Tingle review: “I picked this book as a protest. I didn’t think I’d actually GET it.”

  9. @Doctor Science: It took me some time to get into The Builders – the cast is quite large and the ultra-short chapters felt gimmicky at the start – but it grabbed me once the intros were done.

    For me the highlight of the story was Polansky’s voice – I love seeing a strong authorial voice, and Polansky’s is stylish and confident. The characters aren’t particularly deep, but they’re all amusingly quirky and each of them has a satisfying arc that stays true to their (quirky) personalities. I also liked the tightness of the narrative and how he kept all the moving parts in sync.

    Overall it’s my 2nd favorite of the nominees, behind Penric’s Demon.

  10. I’m a fan and I mostly remember June Lockhart from Lassie. Also the last seasons of Petticoat Junction. I stress that I know both of these shows from syndication, not their first run. #NotAllFen

  11. @Doctor Science:
    I’m relieved I’m not the only one who had trouble with “The Builders”, and I was thinking of posting similar questions here while I was reading. I got all the way through it, but wouldn’t say it improved as it went on. Maybe if I knew The Magnificent Seven (per JJ’s response) I’d appreciate it more.

    What kept tripping me up is that I can’t help but to try to visualize a story I’m reading but I couldn’t make sense of this one; the world just isn’t consistent. I mean, are these animals (Reconquista is described as being a Rattus norvegicus, a specific species of rat) or animal-people who walk on hind legs, have dexterous hands, and sit on chairs? Are they all about the same size that they can sit around a table together, or do their relative sizes match those of real-world animals (as size differences between characters are emphasized in other scenes)? Are guns carried by smaller animals effective against larger ones (e.g. in chapter 20), or not (as in chapter 48)? Etc., etc. Dang it, what does this world look like?

    While I’m complaining (and I’ve been stewing in this for a couple of days, sorry folks), some characterization beyond ‘this is an (animal) therefore it is/does (traits we humans associate with that animal)’ would have been nice. I suppose it’s a way to quickly describe a character when you have a large cast to deal with, but sort of assigning species for convenience just makes the world of the story overall make less sense.

  12. I found it competent but unremarkable. On my ballot, it has, however, edged out Sanderson’s Perfect State, which is just an utter disappointment coming from the author who wrote The Emperor’s Soul.

    I still haven’t decided whether No Award is going above those two, or below them.

    I didn’t care much for either The Builders or the Sanderson novella (whose title I keep forgetting). I don’t dislike them enough to No Award them, but they’re currently duking it out for the bottom spot in my ballot with Sanderson in the lead, because I found the story just so utterly forgettable.

  13. The Builders is less the Magnificant Seven then it is the Wild Bunch. I’ve described it in tone as if Sam Peckinpah did Redwall.

  14. 2016 reading:

    The Raven and the Reindeer by Oor Wombat, aka T. Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon:
    I’m not much for fantasy based on fairytales or mythic fiction (and I’m definitely not a fan of Hans Christian Anderson). So it’s no small thing when I say that I really enjoyed this “retelling” of The Snow Queen — especially when it utterly subverts the usual HCA fairytale trope of the faithful, loving female used and abused by the man she adores. This is quirky, imaginative, and delightful, while still retaining some of the original darkness.

    Remanence by Jennifer Foehner Wells:
    This hard SF followup to Fluency, about an alien ship discovered in the outer solar system and the adventure across the galaxy which follows, is a solid continuation of the series. I might not be putting it on my Hugo ballot, but I quite enjoyed it. There is a soupçon of romance in each book, which is easily skipped past (as I did) if you’re not interested in reading a hot sex scene. I’ll be looking out for the third book in the trilogy.

    Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (novella):
    Damn that Seanan McGuire, damn her! Every time I read the backcover synopsis for one of her stories, I think, “Well, that doesn’t sound as though I’d much enjoy it” — and then I read it and enjoy it immensely. This is a dark, bittersweet story about the children who fall into fantasy worlds where they become heroes, and then find themselves lost and unable to cope when they are returned to the “real” world. An adult who was one of those children brings as many troubled children as she can find and save to her boarding house, an environment where they can be among others who understand and empathize with their pain. On my novella list for next year’s Hugos right now. TW for graphic mutilation scenes.

  15. Leftover 2015 reading:

    Alex and Ada Vols 1-3 by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna (graphic novel)
    I don’t generally read graphic novels except for Hugo purposes, but after reading about this series here on File770, I decided to request them from my library. The story is about a lonely, single young man whose wealthy aunt buys him a top-of-the-line android companion. Instead of the usual wild sex usage which usually accompanies such a plot, the guy instead treats his companion with respect (as, pleasantly, does the artwork) — and then decides to give her an illegal “upgrade” to allow her to think for herself and develop a personality.

    There’s a nice representation of a same-gender relationship among a couple of his friends, but otherwise this story is definitely set in White Privilege Town; I still enjoyed it and was pleased that I’d read it.

    Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff:
    When a galactic corporation decides to take over a lucrative mining planet, they invade and infect the colonists with a zombie plague. Many colonists manage to escape on a couple of large spaceships — but the plague comes along. This is the story of how some teenagers on those ships kind of partly save the day — told almost entirely in the form of text messages and electronic journals.

    If you can cope with the high level of inanity which accompanies txts between teenagers, and the ridiculous premise that the attacking corporation wouldn’t just release an extremely virulent plague that just kills everyone dead very quickly rather than one with a long latency period that slowly turns everyone into zombies, you might enjoy this. I will probably not be picking up the sequel.

    Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho:
    A magicians’/sorcerers’ guild in Regency England is losing power with the aristocracy as the level of magic in the country declines substantially. Women, of course, are not allowed to practice magic — in fact, they are taught to suppress it, with sometimes dire results to themselves. But a young orphaned woman turns out to have immense magical ability, and she teams up with the King’s Sorcerer to solve the magic problem.

    I’ve seen this compared to the works of Georgette Heyer and Susanna Clarke. I enjoyed it, and am glad to have read it, but it wouldn’t have been on my Hugo nomination list had I read it before the deadline.

  16. I finished doing my reading for the Campbell Award. Long story short:-

    – Alyssa Wong is vivid and visceral and often disturbing.
    – Andy Weir is vivid and ingenious and often engaging.
    – Sebastian de Castell is more than somewhat implausible, but still a lot of fun.
    – Pierce Brown is… umm… serviceable, I guess, but I didn’t actually enjoy his Red Rising (but perhaps I’m not the target market.)
    – Brian Niemeier… um. I read the whole of Nethereal, and… well, apart from the cardboard characters, perfunctory and implausible worldbuilding, clunky and often pretentious writing, and a plot that’s barely more than a series of disconnected incidents, um… apart from all that, there’s nothing much wrong with it. If you leave this book unattended in your home, it will not actually kill and eat your family pets. There, that’s something positive.

  17. Sadly, I watched Lassie and Petticoat Junction during their original runs (not from the beginning, but first watch was during original broadcast). This list can include Jonny Quest, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottomless pit of underwater monsters, Fireball XL5, Bewitched, Green Acres, Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart, I Dream of Barbara Eden, The Lucy Show, Bonanza, and Walter Kronkite.

    Sadly, because of how much time has passed, not necessarily because I watched them.

    Notes: Voyage seasons prior to the intro of the flying sub were generally better than post FS; despite my dedication to equality & etc., I still harbor a deep-seated belief that all women should wear harem outfits; not necessarily be IN harems, mind you, just wear the Hollywood version of the clothing. This is accompanied by the deep-seated belief that I should be an astronaut. (It gets worse from there so I’ll shut up now as I’m probably going to take enough heat for that one as it is, and yeah, sure, if it came down to it, I’d wear the pantaloons, vest, little hat and curly shoes if it made someone happy….)

    Those people who warned us about the dangers of television way back when? What they said. “Green acres is the place for me, farm living is the life for me…just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…lots of curves, you bet, even more when you get…..They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning…poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed…

    ? Thorazine? sure, give me a glass of water…..

  18. Retro reading:

    Starbridge by Jack Williamson and James E. Gunn (1955)
    The Magicians by James E. Gunn (1975):
    I got these from my library after hugely enjoying Gunn’s most recent series. Starbridge holds up pretty darn well for a 60-year-old SF story about a corporation which maintains its power over the galaxy through its proprietary ownership of the technology behind tubes — starbridges — which provide instantaneous travel over distances of many lightyears. Someone is murdering the Board Members one by one, and our narrator is trying to find out why — but he’s also got his own agenda, which gradually becomes apparent.

    In The Magicians, a private eye is hired by a mysterious old woman for a ridiculous amount of money, simply for attending a convention and determining the real name of one of the speakers. However, it turns out to be a “covention” of magicians/witches with supernatural powers, and the P.I. quickly finds himself in over his head. When an ancient grimoire falls into his hands, he gives himself a crash course in magicking and prepares to fight the evil sorcerer, joined by a gorgeous female magician and her experienced elder mentor. There’s a bit of White Knighting from the protagonist, but the woman still gets to have her own competence, and it’s a pretty enjoyable story.

    Replay by Ken Grimwood (1987):
    (World Fantasy Award winner and Clarke finalist)
    A 43-year-old man dies, and awakens to find himself back as an 18-year-old again. He relives his life, changing his decisions and actions based on his foreknowledge — and then dies again at age 43. Each time he reawakens, he makes different choices and takes a different path.

    The author does a great job of preventing the narrative from being a continuous cycle of later, rinse, repeat — and the main character experiences some real personal growth and gains some wisdom. I loved this book, and can see why it was an award winner.

    Despite reservations based on what people here have said, I picked up Ian McDonald’s Luna: New Moon. It’s an okay story so far (110 pages in), but it’s not really gripping me, so I’m going to pause and read Penric and the Shaman.

  19. I first discovered Georgette Heyer from book recs here, so I am assuming that someone might be interested in knowing that today her Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle is on sale for $1.99 at the Amazon Kindle store. I picked up a copy and plan to save it for sometime when I need cheering up.

  20. I seem to be from the historical stratum of Steve Davidson, as well as being eternally surprised that people are all different ages and stuff.

    Long time since I ran into someone else singing the Flipper theme. I divined, years ago, that Flipper is really a demi-god, mostly tipped off by lines like “Look to the sky when rainbows appear / You can be sure that Flipper is near.” My improved version of the song goes (in part)

    Everyone fears the god of the sea
    Ever so great and mighty is he
    Beg him a boon, he’ll grant any wish
    He’ll dance on his tail for a fish!

    This celebrates the dual nature of Flipper’s godhead, in that he is simultaneously the potent monarch of the brine as well as grinning trickster.

    (Been playing a lot of TV themes lately, Singing some, too. And show tunes. Favorites at the moment for singing and playing are “Frank Mills” from Hair, and “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Either one is a ticket to joy.)

    ps: Kzexit!

  21. @Kip W. I notice you didn’t mention harem pants….(ok. so sue me if I have a fixation this morning….)

    I used to watch Flipper back to back with Sea Hunt. You?

    Those two, along with Ripcord and Combat!, and a dash of Rat Patrol…do you remember Bearcats!?

    The american television landscape sure has changed….

  22. @Joe H., yes, coincidence. Reamy’s Blind Voices has been on my shelf for a few months — I read the book and started writing my review before the podcast came out.

    I have his short story collection as well! Can’t wait to read it.

  23. I didn’t watch Flipper a whole lot. My TV viewing was random for many years, and depended on what was being watched at the homes of my friends, since my parents didn’t regard fixing the set as a priority. We probably got it used, now that I think about it. We did seem to have a functioning receiver during the season when the Monkees and Batman were both on. I found a list I made of the shows I watched—I made it when I got worried by grown-ups fretting over how much TV I watched. They declared that over three hours a week meant you had a serious monkee on your back (hey, hey!), and my rather conservative list probably totaled twelve at least.

    (What a worry wart I was. The first time I found and read Seduction of the Innocent at the library, I was way too credulous—years away from noticing that sources of official concern overstacked the deck consistently with rules of thumb like “If you look at pot once from a distance, you’re an occasional user… if you use it three times, YOU’RE AN ADDICT!”)

    I was willing to go on record, at least on a page from a steno pad, with The Monkees, Batman, The Addams Family, Bugs Bunny, The Mod Squad, and Bullwinkle if he was running anywhere. Next time I see the list, I’m scanning it for posterity.

    At one point, I discovered that by patiently turning it off and on over and over, I could get our family TV to work again, so I dragged it into my room. By a great coincidence, I chose to take radio and TV repair at voc-tech in high school, and got my next working set for the price of an 8CM7 tube. (Some genius threw the case for the set away while I was waiting for the tube, so for years I had this somewhat dangerous exposed naked TV set in my room.)

    (added for responsiveness) I didn’t watch the combat shows much, or the ones where people were on a boat. Pretty sure I Dream of Jeannie would have been on that list, along with Bewitched—assuming an ounce of honesty, of course.

  24. I am a big fan of The Magnificent Seven and a HUGE an of Sven Samurai and I bounced from The Builders very hard. I think I made it about a third of the way through before I could no longer take the cliches clunky world-building and furry essentialism in lieu of characterization.

    I found the writer’s voice — such as it was — to add to the story’s problems rather than counterbalancing them to any great degree.

    More recently I bounced from “Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?” I had avoided the first book in the series because the sample chapters repelled rather than grabbing me, and picked up the current one because I have read other stuff by the same wirter that I liked, and because I saw a review that suggested it might be a good place to enter the series. It should have been right up my alleys — I love a lot of supernatural police procedurals, and noirish fantasy. I think there is a tonality in a sector of the fashionable “gritty” and “grimdark” writing styles that does not work for me.

  25. All this fawning over Flipper and no love for Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. Which, speaking of theme songs, is one of the worse earworms in history.

  26. As desperate as I was to watch something — anything! — on TV for several years of my life, I’m a little surprised that all I can summon up of Skippy is a fuzzy black and white image of a kangaroo and a little girl, and they’re just sort of standing there, waiting for me to apply an ounce of imagination or something. I’m pretty sure this was available somewhere in my range at a time when I could conceivably have seen some of it. I remember The Terrible Ten (no relation to a group of the same name in one of the Freddy the Pig books whose threatening poem started off, “We are the Terrible Ten / Neither animals nor men…”, which I’ve always found memorable) and other kid shows from remote English-speaking lands, usually used as filler in Krofft shows—which I tended to avoid, even as subjects for mockery.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for the theme song to “The Littlest Hobo.” I failed to find the one I remembered on YouTube when I looked. There seem to have been two, if not more. The show was even more enigmatic to me than Sgt. Preston. The dog was like a mute David Janssen, passing through lives and improving them along the way. Seems to have been available to me when I got in off the school bus and started flipping through those six channels. (And that’s when our set worked. If it didn’t, I probably went to Scott’s, and we mocked shows in his living room.)

  27. is one of the worse earworms in history

    Damn you, Jim Henley!

  28. What kind of sap am I? I’ll tell you what kind of sap I am. I went right to YouTube and listened to the theme song for Skippy, even before Jim thoughtfully put it up. (And I checked to see if it was the same. Double sap points!)

    But I’m okay. I went straight to Weird Al for a hamster chaser (also because the theme songs are structurally similar). Al did a version with full orchestra, but I prefer the icy purity of the a capella version, with Harvey’s solo at the end.

  29. I laugh at Skippy as an earworm, for I am playing Fallout 4 at present. I’m IMMUNE to your weak-sauce Australian attempts.

    “Bongo, bongo, bongo, I don’t wanna leave the jungle…”

  30. Just finished rereading Slan and… it was absolutely worse than I remembered. Magical technology, no consistent plot, abrupt and irritating ending. A giant “Meh!”.

  31. 3) Online Comics

    *dances for Stand Still Stay Silent*

    I started out on television with All My Children, Star Trek and the Twilight Zone. Thanks, Mom!

    Later, just about every weird cartoon available to an American child of the ’70s and also the ’80s. Johnny Quest in one hand, Rock and Rule in the other.

    I remember you, Flipper, my ancient foe. One day when the moon is rent asunder by a wayward planet, I will…

  32. @ Hampus Eckerman

    Just finished rereading Slan and… it was absolutely worse than I remembered. Magical technology, no consistent plot, abrupt and irritating ending. A giant “Meh!”.

    I re-read Slan a decade or so ago–don’t remember when my first read was, but I recall I was visiting cousins somewhere when it came to my attention. All I can think is that my imagination filled in a much more detailed and complex background on my original read than was actually present in the text. Because my reaction on re-reading was, “Wait…that’s all? That’s the whole story? But what about…?”

  33. @Kip W:


    So if you want to join me for awhile
    Just grab your hat, we’ll travel light
    That’s hobo style!

    I once mentioned to an online friend that I was watching The Littlest Hobo and linked her the theme. She said “so it’s like Lassie?” NO HOBO IS NOTHING LIKE LASSIE.



  34. @Hampus: I think expecting a consistent plot in a van Vogt story is a category error… I think Slan actually hangs together rather better than most of them! (Reportedly, van Vogt’s literary theories dictated that there should be a plot twist every 800 words or so.)

  35. @Dawn Incognito
    You’re singing the other theme, I believe. It probably hadn’t been written yet when I was peering in at the series on those afternoons.

    I find adventure everywhere
    And friends with whom I like to share
    This is a stop along the way
    Don’t really know how long I’ll stay…

    I particularly like the “with whom” in there. It’s very erudite, like the use of “plebeian” in “Cry Me a River.” (My mental version of that goes, “…Said that love was ‘too plebeian.’ / What are you? A European?”)

  36. Have we had

    Time Considered as a Scroll of Semi-Precious Pixels

    yet ? (It seems like that should have come up in rotation by now….)

  37. @Kip W:

    Well I just went to The Great Wikipedia and yes the second series is the one that I watched as a wee one and later rediscovered. I’ve learned something new today, as I had no idea there was a 60s series. Thanks for the edification 🙂

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