Pixel Scroll 6/3/17 Hello Pixel My Old Friend, I’ve Come To Scroll With You Again

(1) SCORING WONDER WOMAN. Vox explains that Wonder Woman’s score/rating is 93% or 76%, depending on how you look at it, in “Why people are freaking out over Wonder Woman’s stellar Rotten Tomatoes score”

To be clear, a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating doesn’t mean that critics scored the movie at 97 on a scale of 1 to 100, or that Wonder Woman is a perfect movie — rather, it signifies that an overwhelming majority of critics have given the movie a positive review. The average critical rating for the movie is around a 7.6 out of 10 according to Rotten Tomatoes, and a 76 according to Metacritic, both of which take into account any actual score, like a star rating or a letter grade, that a critic gave the movie.

(2) WORD PROBLEM. Or, for those of you who find a verbal response more helpful that a number, Gary Westfahl offers “A Working Model for Superhero Films: A Review of Wonder Woman” at Locus Online.

One important lesson to learn seems obvious enough: since the DC superheroes first became popular because of their appearances in comic books, filmmakers should generally remain faithful to the contents and spirit of their original adventures. One of the irksome aspects of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was his willingness to tinker with Superman’s and Batman’s back stories and ignore facets of their established characters, so that one watches these films regularly thinking, “Superman would never do that,” or “Batman would never do that.” In contrast, though Snyder is co-credited with Wonder Woman‘s story, its other writers — Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs — must be primarily credited with a film that, with minor changes to be noted, is remarkably faithful to the longstanding traditions of Wonder Woman (even though she is never called Wonder Woman in the film), projecting a strong awareness and respect for the three aspects of the heroine that make her almost unique (and her gender, though relevant, is not the most significant issue).

(3) OMNI FOR SALE — BUT SHOULD IT BE? The entire run of Omni magazine is available for purchase from Amazon for $2.99/issue (or free if you have Kindle Unlimited.) — see Omni archive.

But SFWA President Cat Rambo points out there are unanswered questions about the rights to market the fiction in these issues:

Be aware that there’s some questions about those runs of Omni. While the nonfiction seems to have been often work for hire, I don’t believe that’s true of the fiction, and I also don’t think they’re paying the writers of that fiction. At least, they have not replied to repeated and increasingly pointed queries on my part about it. I’ve asked affected fiction writers to mail me if they know their work has been stolen by these folk.

(4) GET OUT THE KLEENEX. The New York Times debuted its feature New York Stories by getting some artists (including Tom Gauld) to draw header illustrations for selected articles.

First one I read was the lost dog story — “World (or at Least Brooklyn) Stops for Lost Dog” by reporter Andy Newman. Big tearjerker.

Bailey, a 2½-year-old goldendoodle, lived a placid, largely uneventful life on a block of handsome brownstones in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, until 7:15 on the morning of Oct. 24.

That was when her owner leashed her to a metal chair outside Henry’s Local, a coffee shop on Henry Street, and went in for an iced latte.

Another customer entered the cafe. Bailey, startled, jumped to the side. The chair crashed to the sidewalk. The noise spooked Bailey further.

She bolted — down Henry Street, dragging the clattering chair behind her, with her owner, Orna Le Pape, in pursuit, yelling: “Bailey, stop! No! No!”

The NYT allows ten free articles before you a paywall. But there are ways around that, as you probably know.

(5) HARRY POTTER FAN FILM. ScienceFiction.com interestingly reports, “Warner Bros. Okays ‘Harry Potter’ Fan Film ‘Voldemort: Origins Of The Heir’”. The spectacular-looking trailer was linked in the Scroll the other day — now it looks like the makers will be allowed to do their feature.

But considering that this borders on copyright infringement, this trend has caused studios much alarm and has even caused some to call in the lawyers. For example, CBS and Paramount went after a ’Star Trek’ fan film titled ‘Axanar’ and tied that production in litigation for over a year. Eventually, things settled down and the filmmakers were allowed to proceed with their project with certain conditions, but it set a precedent for studios and future fan films that have recently played out with Warner Bros. and a ‘Harry Potter’ fan film titled ‘Voldemort: Origins of the Heir’. Luckily, just as with the ‘Star Trek’ production, it would seem that the studio has given the fans their blessing to move forward with their labor of love.

While speaking with Polygon, ‘Origins of the Heir’ co-director Gianmaria Pezzato of Tryangle Films revealed that after WB had their Kickstarter campaign shut down in July 2016, the two parties came to some kind of agreement that would allow Pezzato, co-director Stefano Prestia, and the whole crew to continue their work. However, there were some conditions:

“We had a private and confidential discussion with Warner Bros who contacted us during the period of the crowdfunding campaign. The only thing we can say is that they let us proceed with the film, in a non profit way, obviously.”

With WB’s blessing, Tyrangle is back in business. It’s a good thing too because their film looks really awesome. I mean, when fans can create a House Elf as well as some of the best animators in the business, it would be a crime for a cease and desist to keep the movie from coming to fruition.


  • June 3, 1965 — Astronaut Edward H. White II was the first American to perform a “spacewalk” when he stepped outside of his spacecraft


  • June 2, 1950 Influential sci-fi film Rocketship X-M opens in theaters.
  • June 2, 1989 Nicolas Cage stars in horror comedy Vampire’s Kiss.


  • Born June 2, 1915 — Lester del Rey

(9) WATCH FOR THE BLINK. Offering more participation than [email protected]: “Citizen Scientists Comb Images To Find An ‘Overexcited Planet'”.

“Maybe Mesklin is out there just waiting to be discovered,” comments Chip Hitchcock.

Professional astronomers have been turning to the public for help with their research. So far, these “citizen scientists” have helped characterize distant galaxies and discovered gravitation lenses.

Now you can add finding brown dwarfs to the list. An article just published in Astrophysical Journal Letters describes a brown dwarf discovered with the help of four volunteers through an online crowdsourced search.

The project is called Backyard Worlds: Planet 9. When NPR reported on it in February, the focus was on finding the planet that astronomers predict exists at the farthest reaches of the solar system.

(10) EARTH, THE FINAL FRONTIER. “This is exactly what Captain Kirk was portrayed as trying to do in the beginning scenes of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier,” David Klaus points out. “I didn’t think it actually was physically possible to do, and the ability to make such a climb was part of the fictional Star Trek future.” — “‘Free solo’ climber conquers El Capitan without rope, safety gear”

Alex Honnold, a celebrated 31-year-old rock climber, on Saturday became the first person to scale Yosemite’s El Capitan, a nearly 3,000-foot granite wall, without using ropes or other safety gear, according to National Geographic

(11) DUFF DOINGS. Down Under Fan Fund delegate Paul Weimer tweets more highlights from the New Zealand leg of his trip.

(12) WISCON. In “That was Wiscon!”, Sigrid Ellis has both favorable things to say about the con, and some other specific observations bracketed by the following excerpts.

Wiscon still has room for improvement in areas of social justice, but this year was certainly better than five years ago. I think it helps that a number of people No Longer Feel Welcome at Wiscon and have decided to go to OddCon instead. Which, is sad for people who liked OddCon, but good for Wiscon.€¦

(A note on Not Feeling Welcome at Wiscon: If you no longer feel welcome at Wiscon because people criticize you and tell you you are saying and doing bigoted things, perhaps you should examine that in your heart. Listen. Read up on the topic. Challenge your views. Think on it a while. Perhaps, apologize. Perhaps grow as a person. Or, you know, clutch your bigotry to your chest and flounce away on a cloud of hurt privilege and drama. That’s a choice you can make, sure, why not.)

(12) TO SEE THE UNSEEN. The Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer discusses how children’s book author Marissa Moss decided to make her memoir of her husband’s death, Last Things, a graphic novel in order to best convey her emotions about her husband’s death: “In graphic memoir, children’s author aims to show adults what they don’t see about death”.

…Part of the problem, Moss said, is that American culture isolates death from everyday life, cordoning off the messy experiences of illness and grief in hospital rooms and nursing homes. Most people don’t see the ill or bereaved until they become the mourner themselves.

With her memoir “Last Things,” published last month, Moss becomes one of a growing group of writers attempting to expose these hidden yet universal processes. From tell-all bloggers posting about every stage of sickness and death, to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s “Option B” published after her husband’s untimely death, Moss joins in to illustrate grief — in her case, quite literally.

A prolific children’s book writer best known for her popular “Amelia’s Notebook” series, Moss has been telling stories through a mix of words and pictures for decades. But when she first sat down to create a memoir of Harvey’s illness, she only wrote prose.

Publishers balked. …

(13) CLUB MEETING. The Hugo Award Book Club takes up a popular sequel in “A Closed And Common Orbit — Book Club Review”.

Generic Space Setting

Becky Chambers’ strength is not world building. Both of her books so far feature fungible aliens from central casting, off-the-shelf worlds, and a feel-good interstellar society not dissimilar from the United Federation of Planets.

But this is actually not a bad thing, since digging into the world doesn’t detract from what’s important in the book: the relationships and the characters. Numerous novels in recent years have been marred by too much focus on the universe, and not enough focus on the characters.

(14) WE’RE HERE. At The Bearded Trio Paul Gibbs studies the only Name of the Game episode anybody still cares about: “L.A. 2017: A look back at Steven Spielberg’s Early Sci-Fi Time Travel Movie”.

When I first [heard] two years ago that Steven Spielberg had directed a science fiction TV movie called L.A. 2017, I was puzzled. How could I not know about this? I pride myself on my extensive knowledge of Spielberg’s work, and even on the relative completeness of my personal collection (when people try to catch me by asking if the collection includes Duel, I smirk and reply it even includes the far lesser known Something Evil.). How could i not be aware of this one?

(15) TOY TIME. Forbes writer Ollie Barder is excited: “Bandai Unveils Its Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon Model Kit And It Is No Hunk Of Junk”.

For Star Wars fans, Bandai is now the go to resource for the best toys and model kits for the entire franchise. Its latest offering though is all kinds of epic; a massive 1/72 scale Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon kit.

If you are not familiar with the term “Perfect Grade“ that comes from Bandai’s Gundam model kit, or gunpla, line. It’s the highest grade in terms of complexity, gimmicks, detailing, scale and price. The results are usually incredibly though and I have availed myself of a few of these kits over the years, so I speak from experience here.

In this instance, the Millennium Falcon matches the same 1/72 scale as its X-Wing and TIE Fighter kits, so you can totally do a huge nerdy diorama if you so wish.

The size thing is a big point here, as this kit is massive. It’s also gimmick ridden and full of lights and a removable cockpit cover.


[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus, Chip Hitchcock, Joe H., Cat Rambo, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/3/17 Hello Pixel My Old Friend, I’ve Come To Scroll With You Again

  1. The Boing-Boing article mentioned by Neil links to this discussion of a suit against National Geographic’s 1997 CDROM collection of the entire run of National Geographic from 1888-1996, where the case was decided in NG’s favor, and they did not need to get new consent from the copyright holders of the contents of the magazine (i.e., pictures and text where the artist retained the copyright). So, based on that, it might the case if Jerrick Enterprises does have undisputed rights to Omni magazine, they are allowed to sell digital copies of the entire magazine without getting new consent. I don’t know how that squares with publishers not being able to create ebook editions of paper books in print unless it’s explicitly in the contract, but that may have something to do with existing case law dealing with different paper editions, like hardcover, trade and mass market paperback rights potentially getting sold to different publishers. IANAL, so I’ll leave to the courts and interested parties.

  2. Bruce A on June 4, 2017 at 4:54 pm said:
    Probably it made a difference that NG hadn’t gone out of business and been sold to a new owner.
    (That it’s not particularly hard to get back issues might be another.)

  3. Along with people sharing their experiences of hospice…I have only good things to say about the hospice system and personnel in Maine, where my mother made use of home hospice at the end. In truth, she went downhill so quickly at the end that we family never had the need for caregiver respite, but it was good to know it was there. As someone who works in the general field of pharmaceuticals/healthcare I was a bit boggled by the hospice attitude toward pain management. “Here, have these strong opioid painkillers. Here’s how to administer. Do so when she seems in discomfort. No, we’re not going to question or audit how they get used.” Based on the variety of experiences I’ve seen described here, there clearly isn’t a single standard approach.

  4. Assuming all they’re doing is scanning the issues themselves (and that’d be way better than scanning the hard copy layouts), they’ll likely sell very few copies. It might be a magazine that is warmly remembered but I’ve seen single copies selling in used bookstores for as little as two dollars.

    And back to Huff’s A Peace Divided which I’m liking a lot. It’s much better than Empire Dreams by Stross which I swear I’d read half of it even though it’s supposed new material therein.

  5. Chip Hitchcock: Re (12a) WisCon is still great. Even though the in-group politics still sucks. I went to a couple of panels and a whole lot of readings. Heard some stunningly good works in progress. Very much looking forward to seeing them in print. The Art Show was excellent. The Dealers Room was dangerous to the wallet, as usual. The Tiptree Auction was funny, had spirited bidding, and finished on time. Had some great meals and conversations with friends. And the weather was beautiful.

  6. The point of alerting everyone who had a story in OMNI is that in cases like this of possible publishing malfeasance, it often takes a whole bunch of separate people complaining to get the malfeasance shut down. It happens over and over with dodgy publishers, and the best thing to do really is to put out a memo to everyone (since there’s no way, in this example, for Cat to contact everyone who ever had a story there) and ask them to consult their original contracts, legal advisers, etc.

    A quick scan of the shady publishers that have scammed writers or shut down without fulfilling commitments, etc. on Writer Beware shows that often the only way to get any justice is literally to dump the internet on their head. Polite, private, genteel inquiries DON’T WORK.

    At this point, I suspect that alerting Harlan will help resolve it — but he might have had a most favored nation contract that doesn’t apply to people who weren’t already famous and litigious at the time of publishing.

  7. @steve davidson, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I hope you find your way to peace.

    My mom spent most of 2016 in hospice care at home and I can’t think of any way in which the experience could have been improved. There was enough medication to make my mom comfortable no matter the circumstances and in every crisis someone was dispatched immediately. They’ve also been lovely about following up to make sure we’re all okay (something they did all along, in person and by telephone) and not in need of any sort of counseling. They apparently will keep doing so for the remainder of the year.

    I’ll forever be grateful at how hard the hospice service worked to make everything as easy as possible. I’m sorry your experience wasn’t quite so positive.

  8. In other news, I have finished my Campbell reading and must go update my vote on that. Malka Older’s novel was nifty keen.

    Starting on the comics. I really really wanted to like Black Panther, but… meh.

    Also, I seem to have become crankier more critical in my old age — there’s some non-Puppy stuff going below Noah. I am apparently hella jaundiced about BDP.

    Suspect my #2-5 selections in Short Story are going to be changed right up to the end. Damn, that’s a strong category. The same may be true for Novelette; Oor Wombat has the top spot locked down. And where to rate the ineffable Dr. Tingle? Below OGH but above NA. Not sure about the middling ranks of Best Series, either, and I’ve read ’em all as they came out! At least I won’t be using NA there, I do like them all and nominated most.

    And starting mid-July: reading in earnest for NEXT YEAR’s Hugos, my gosh we’re already halfway through…

  9. In other other news, thanks to all who replied to my query as to how big the Millennium Falcon model is.

  10. @ Tom B: I know a bunch of people who go to WisCon, and from what I’ve heard them say about it over the years I doubt I’ll ever go. Not because I wouldn’t feel welcome, but because it strikes me as a space for people who need that kind of space a helluva lot worse than I do. I would feel as if I was taking a slot away from someone who needs it more. (Not to mention that there’s always a conflict with our own schedule!)

  11. @Eli
    Literally no one is saying that Omni is the bad guy.
    You are right — my bad. Where I said “Omni”, I should have said “whoever owns the Omni copyrights”.

    The point of alerting everyone who had a story in OMNI is that in cases like this of possible publishing malfeasance, it often takes a whole bunch of separate people complaining to get the malfeasance shut down.

    It only takes one rights-holder to get a DMCA takedown implemented.

    It happens over and over with dodgy publishers, and the best thing to do really is to put out a memo to everyone (since there’s no way, in this example, for Cat to contact everyone who ever had a story there) and ask them to consult their original contracts, legal advisers, etc.

    If the goal is to take down the site and prevent future infringements (should they exist), Cat would only need to contact one infringed author, and guide him or her through a DMCA takedown.

    At this point, I suspect that alerting Harlan will help resolve it — but he might have had a most favored nation contract that doesn’t apply to people who weren’t already famous and litigious at the time of publishing.

    What does Harlan Ellison have to do with this? Signal boosting? If the ISFDB is to be believed, he had nothing published in Omni.

    @Bruce A
    IANAL, so I’ll leave to the courts and interested parties.
    Exactly. The comment sections of SF blogs won’t work this out.

  12. @Bill:
    If the goal is to take down the site and prevent future infringements

    There is no one site that one could “take down” for all of this stuff if Jerrick is not doing the right thing. The issues aren’t hosted on the “Omni Archive” site, they’re being sold as individual e-books through Amazon. Are you saying that if one single author made a copyright challenge to a particular issue, and got that removed from Amazon, it would take down the whole project? I don’t see how.

    The comment sections of SF blogs won’t work this out

    What exactly is your problem with people commenting about this? Did anyone say they were going to resolve all the legal issues here? No. People did say it was a good idea for Cat Rambo to raise these concerns so that the general conversation might get to the attention of the relevant authors, and/or so that Jerrick would be prompted to say something on the matter. You haven’t explained why you think that’s a bad thing, except to imply that Rambo is unfairly sowing FUD. But she’s just voicing a concern that is incredibly obvious to any writer, editor, or publisher who has noticed this story. That’s what I meant by my car stereo story. Jerrick should know that without some attempt at an explanation, this is bound to look really bad to a lot of people; and if they’re on the up and up, it should be very easy for them to say so.

  13. Plus, Cat Rambo’s note might bring awareness to some Omni authors that SFWA is interested in helping authors get their due. I’m sure some of the authors are not SFWA members, or are not aware of the SFWA actions in this concern.

  14. @Bill: “The comment sections of SF blogs won’t work this out.”

    ROFL. Your comment on page one seems to have started the discussion in this comment thread, which makes this latest comment of yours sound a little bizarre (to me). 😉 😛

    (Nothing wrong with that, carry on, etc.)

  15. @Anthony: Bravo! If I may pile on –

    And in the blog
    Comments we’re making
    The trolls are waking
    Any Scroll will do

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