Pixel Scroll 7/1/20 Consider a Spherical Scroll

(1) COMIC BOOK LEGAL DEFENSE FUND LEADERSHIP TURNOVER. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced June 22 that they had accepted the resignation of Charles Brownstein as Executive Director, effective immediately.  According to Publishers Weekly, Brownstein’s resignation comes after the resurfacing of allegations of sexual assault brought against him in 2006. An account of the situation and its aftermath was reported in the Comics Journal in 2006.

The CBLDF subsequently posted this update:

First and foremost, the CBLDF is grateful that Kris Simon has come forward. We also want to recognize Taki Soma for what she endured and for bringing this to light. Both have our full support. We are releasing Shy Allot from the NDA she signed in 2010 when she left the organization so that her story can also be heard.

CBLDF’s Board is undergoing a complete review of management practices and where we have fallen short. We are examining our mission to ensure it meets modern industry needs, and will do so with input from our full-time staff, expert third parties, and the comics and manga community.

And on June 29, more retirements/resignations followed.

The CBLDF announced today that Paul Levitz is retiring from our Board of Directors. In addition, the Board has accepted the resignations of Katherine Keller and Jeff Abraham.

We respect the decisions that Paul, Katherine and Jeff have made to leave the Board. We realize it will be a long path to earning back the trust of our members, supporters and the industry. We recognize that it’s been our inability to react, or act at all, that’s been the cause of  pain in our community.

Even last week, when we took the necessary action in accepting Charles’s resignation, our communications were stilted and clumsy. To everyone who has come forward, we haven’t done justice to your bravery and we are truly sorry. We vow to be better….   

(2) VIRTUALLY THERE. Locus Online has posted a highly informative report about the 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference

The 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference morphed mid-COVID from an in-person conference into an impressive online event, held May 29-31, 2020. There were 808 members from 33 countries, a record, up from 2019’s record-breaking 475 registered members.

(3) LISTEN IN ON FANHISTORY. Fanac.org has posted the second segment of its audio recording of the “Fans Into Pros” panel at IguanCon II, the 36th Worldcon, held in Phoenix, Arizona in 1978. (The link to Part I is here.) The participants are Guest of Honor Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Terry Carr, Richard Lupoff and Ted White. 

This audio recording (enhanced with many images) is Part 2 of that panel. More serious than part 1, this segment talks about becoming a writer, and provides straightforward, candid insights about selling in the field. There’s less byplay but lots of good discussion. Note two things – the recording does not go to the end of the panel but stops abruptly (source material ends), and there is a section where members of the audience are speaking and you can’t hear them on the recording.  

Please be patient – the responses from the panel are worth hearing. This recording courtesy of IguanaCon chairman Tim Kyger.

(4) BRITAIN IS FINE. Rob Hansen has added a section about the 1979 Worldcon bid to his website THEN, with publications, photos, etc. Rob says, “I’ll eventually get around to tackling the con itself, but in the meantime here’s the tale of how it came to be.”

The story of how the idea of holding a UK Worldcon in the 1970s emerged, and how things came together and the bid then evolved, is worthy of its own entry. The bid also had its own series of progress reports independent of the eventual convention, all of which are included here.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

(5) NOBODY MUST GET STONED. The recent launch of Avengers: Infinity War on Disney+ was promoted by a short video on Marvel’s Instagram account highlighting the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s six Infinity Stones.

(6) HEARD THAT SOMEWHERE BEFORE. A.V. Club will point you to the video: “It’s some kind of supercut of every time someone says “some kind of” on Star Trek”.

Pretty much everyone has some kind of vocal tic, some sort of repeated phrase or word they use without necessarily even realizing it in their day-to-day conversations. Pointing it out in each other is generally considered an asshat thing to do, but that doesn’t change how damn annoying it can be for all of us. On that note, here’s some sort of supercut of all 214 times someone says “some sort of” or “some kind of” on some sort of show called Star Trek: The Next Generation.


  • July 1, 1955 — Robby the Robot was born. Or so claims the studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, that would release Forbidden Planet where he had his first screen appearance on March 4, 1956. He would go to be part of a number of series including Lost in SpaceThe Addams FamilyThe Twilight Zone and Holmes & Yo-Yo to name but a few of his appearances. His latest appearance was on The Big Bang Theory with other movie props in “The Misinterpretation Agitation” episode. (CE)
  • July 1, 1984 — William Gibson’s Neuromancer was published. It would win a Hugo for Best Novel at Aussiecon II. It was the first novel to win the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award for a paperback original. The novel opens with the new famous line of “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” Deadpool director Tim Miller was chosen three years ago to direct a live-action film adaptation, and Neuromancer the Opera was written but a quarter of a century later has not been staged. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born July 1, 1891 Otis Adelbert Kline. Early pulp writer and and literary agent whose great claim to fame was a possibly apocryphal feud with fellow author Edgar Rice Burroughs, in which he supposedly raised the latter’s anger by producing close imitations of Burroughs’s Mars novels. Wollheim and Moskowitz believed in the feud theory, Richard Lupoff wrote an articl debunking the idea. (Died 1945.) (CE)
  • Born July 1, 1923 – Jean Hougron.  Indochina (as it then was) 1947-1951; a score of novels.  Two for us, The Sign of the Dog, translated into German, Italian, Portuguese; and Naguen, winning the Grand Prix de la Science-Fiction.  Grand Prix du roman de l’Academie française for Death and Fraud, no. 4 in his series The Indochina Night.  (Died 2001) [JH]
  • Born July 1, 1934 Jean Marsh, 86. She was married to Jon Pertwee but it was before either were involved in Dr. Who. She first appeared alongside The First Doctor in “The Crusade” as Lady Joanna, the sister of Richard I (The Lionheart). She returned later that year as companion Sara Kingdom in “The Daleks’ Master Plan”. And she’d return yet again during the time of the Seventh Doctor in “Battlefield” as Morgana Le Fay. She’s also in Unearthly Stranger Dark PlacesReturn to OzWillow as Queen Bavmorda and The Changeling. (CE)
  • Born July 1, 1935 David Prowse, 85. The physical embodiment of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Ok, it’s been a very long time since I saw Casino Royale but what was Frankenstein’s Creation doing there, the character he played in his first ever role? That he played that role in The Horror of Frankenstein and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, Hammer Films a few later surprises me not. He shows up in Gilliam’s Jabberwocky according to IMDB as Red Herring and Black Knights (and no I’ve no idea what that means). Finally, he’s the executioner in The People That Time Forgot, a film that’s very loosely based off of several Burroughs novels. (CE)
  • Born July 1, 1942 – rich brown.  No capital letters in his name.  By the mid-1960s known and knowledgeable enough to publish, with Arnie Katz and Mike McInerney, the fanzine Focal Point, revived with AK in the early 1970s.  Also with AK the 3rd (1971) ed’n of The Enchanted Duplicator (1994 ed’n here) i.e. not the protagonist of “Double, Double, Toil and Trouble” but producing one’s fanzine, once and for some still the heart of fan activity; also with AK The Incompleat Terry Carr (a somewhat more compleat ed’n 1988 by Jerry Kaufman); contributed a study of fanspeak to Joe Sanders’ Science Fiction Fandom, eventually brought into Fancyclopedia 3.  Self-depreciatingly said “I’m everyone’s rich brother” and “I’m in The Lord of the Rings.  The Ents have my skin.  They have rich brown skin.”  (Died 2006) [JH]
  • Born July 1, 1952 – Mary Kay Kare , 68.  Edited Red Dust, clubzine of the Norman, Oklahoma, SF Society; then Seattle, San Jose. Co-chaired Potlatch 19 (literary SF con).  Innocently going overseas to Corflu 27 she found herself Guest of Honor – at Corflu this is determined by drawing names from a hat.  Hugo Awards Administrator at Denvention 3 the 66th Worldcon; photo  here.  Widow of the extraordinary Jordin Kare.  [JH]
  • Born July 1, 1959 – Leah Zeldes Smith, 61.  Can be found under both maiden and married names; husband, Dick Smith.  Served on boards of Ann Arbor SF Ass’n, Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n.  Co-founded Michigan Soc. of (Hapless) Amateur Publishers – opinions differ on whether the H is for Hapless or silent as in bheer; anyhow, MISHAP.  Half a dozen stories in Mike Resnick anthologies.  Fanzine Stet (with Dick) 3-time Hugo finalist.  Fan Guest of Honor at Corflu 4.  Down Under Fan Fund delegate (with Dick), attended Swancon 18.  Chaired Operacon.  More here.  [JH]
  • Born July 1, 1964 — Charles Coleman Finlay, 56. His first story, “Footnotes”, was published in 2001 in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction where many of his other stories were published, and which he has edited for past six years. The Traitor to the Crown series is his best-known work.  (CE)
  • Born July 1, 1965 – Kevin Maroney, 55.  Long-time managing editor, now publisher, of the New York Review of SF, 14-time Hugo finalist.  Guest of Honor at Detcon the 11th NASFiC (North America SF Con, held since 1975 when the Worldcon is overseas).  He says “Science fiction valorizes people who Know Things.”  Dilettante in the old sense.  [JH]
  • Born July 1, 1976 – Ketty Steward, 44.  Author, critic, proofreader.  Two dozen stories; collection, Interrupted Connections (in French, i.e. Connexions interrompoues; KS lives in Martinique). “HeLa Is Here” in English here.  Two special issues of Galaxies (in French) devoted to Africa.  Genre-mixing autobiographical novel, Black & White (Noir et blanc).  Degrees in applied mathematics, social sciences, labor science.  Student of Afrocyberfeminism.  [JH]
  • Born July 1, 1981 Genevieve Valentine, 39. Author of the superb Persona novel, and also she scripted a Catwoman series, working with artists Garry Brown and David Messina. Her first novel, Mechanique: A tale of the Circus Tresaulti, won the Crawford Award for a first fantasy novel. She also scripted a run of Xena: Warrior Princess. (CE)

(9) IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN SMELL YOU SCREAM. According to CNN, “This is what space smells like”.

If you’ve ever wondered what space smells like, a new perfume may answer that for you. A kickstarter was recently launched for a new fragrance called Eau de Space to bring the smell of outer space back down to Earth.

The fragrance was developed by Steve Pearce, according to Eau de Space product manager Matt Richmond. Pearce is a chemist and the founder of Omega Ingredients, a company focused on the “creation of the highest quality, provenance driven, natural flavours and ingredients for the food and beverage industry,” its website says.

(10) IN BOOKS TO COME. Andrew Liptak told readers where to find his monthly Reading List:

As some of you know from June, Polygon has decided to discontinue the list on their site for the foreseeable future — one small casualty from COVID. Accordingly, I’ve shifted the list over to my newsletter, Reading List.

This newsletter is designed as a step-back from the day-to-day news of the SF/F world, with a couple of different types of letters. Free ones have a regular set of content: I’m aiming for a book review and/or short piece of commentary, along with a list of notable long-read articles and pieces of note, as well as a roundup of book recommendations. I’m also using it as a place to conduct longer-form interviews and this book list. This has a growing audience, with a solid reading and open rate: 50-58%, depending on the post. 

The paid version (Reading List+) is something I just launched, and it features longer or in-depth commentary or reported feature — the first was about J.K. Rowling and Richard K. Morgan’s comments online. The next is set to go out this week, about the legacy of Michael Crichton’s name. This has a smaller audience, but with a much higher open and reading rate (~80%). Future plans here include podcasting (to be called Transfer Orbit), with one long-form interview set to debut later this month, as well as a handful of other posts, ranging from essays about writing, an in-depth feature on a military war game, and more.


(11) YOUR CHAIRS ARE READY. Episode 30 of the Two Chairs Talking podcast is out: “The many trouser-legs of time”. Perry Middlemiss and David Grigg are joined by Dr. Lucy Sussex to talk about alternate history novels. In particular, they discuss those alternate timelines in which the Axis powers won the Second World War. (Did someone forget to punch the Nazis?)

  • Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin
  • Small Change trilogy by Jo Walton
  • Dominion by C. J. Sansom
  • The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad
  • SS-GB by Len Deighton
  • Fatherland by Robert Harris
  • The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

(12) AT THE CORE. In Nature, astronomers claim “Core of a gas planet seen for the first time” says the BBC.

Astronomers have found a previously unseen type of object circling a distant star.

It could be the core of a gas world like Jupiter, offering an unprecedented glimpse inside one of these giant planets.

Giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn have a solid planetary core beneath a thick envelope of hydrogen and helium gas.

But no-one has previously been able to see what these solid cores are like.

Now, a team of astronomers has discovered what they think are the rocky innards of a giant planet that’s missing its thick atmosphere. Their findings have been published in the journal Nature.

(13) PLANTING THE FLAG. This is a wonderful GIF — “NASA if it had the same budget as the US Military”. (I won’t embed it here, because GIFs in the Scroll drive some of you to distraction. Not that I’ll never ever do it, you understand…)  

(14) YA GOTTA BELIEVE. BBC reports:“Tesla overtakes Toyota to become world’s most valuable car maker”.

Tesla has become the world’s most valuable carmaker, overtaking Japan’s Toyota, after its stock hit a record high.

Shares in the electric carmaker hit a record $1,134 on Wednesday morning, before falling back, leaving it with a market value of $209.47bn (£165bn).

That is roughly $4bn more than Toyota’s current stock market value.

However, Toyota sold around 30 times more cars last year and its revenues were more than 10 times higher.

Shares in Tesla have risen more than 160% since the start of 2020, as investors feel more confident about the future of electric vehicles.

(15) SPACE JAM. A 2017 NASA video called “Space Station Fisheye Fly-Through 4K” is a really good look at the International Space Station with some smooth jazz. 

(16) BORED NOW. “Crucible: Amazon pulls ‘boring’ big-budget video game”.

Amazon has pulled its first major game release, putting it back into a testing phase after poor feedback from players.

Free-to-play shooter Crucible is now being put back into “closed beta” – a pre-release stage with a limited number of players.

Current players will be part of the beta, but new players will be unable to download the game without an invite.

Amazon said it had listened to player feedback and would “continue to make the game better”.

In May, when the game was about to be released, Amazon Games vice-president Mike Frazzini told the BBC the company wanted “to make games that resonate with a very large audience of players”.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. What?!

Dippin’ Dots—they’re an amusement park, zoo, aquarium and overall summertime staple. The mini balls of ice cream that melt in your mouth are also a childhood favorite. But where did the “ice cream of the future” come from? The answer has a little something to do with cow feed.

[Thanks to Andrew Liptak, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

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37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/1/20 Consider a Spherical Scroll

  1. (13) I am amused by that one. Surely we could also get an FTL drive as well, with that budget.

  2. @13: yes, it is a wonderful GIF; not as cutting as “bake sale”, but nice dreams.

  3. 8: While Leah Zeldes Smith was on the Corflu 4 committee and was (along with Gary Mattingly) a special guest of that convention, she was not the Guest of Honor. I believe that honor, as a result of his name being drawn out of a hat, went to someone named Joel Zakem. (see https://corflu.org/history/cinc.html)

  4. 9) More like the smell of space shuttles from the description. Generally the kind of smell you would want to cover up with perfume

  5. (8) Jean Marsh was Jack Warden’s (robotic) love interest in a very early Twilight Zone episode.

  6. (8) It’s been about 35+ years since I saw Jabberwocky (with a Q&A after the movie with Terry Gilliam) but in the movie they’re holding a tournament to decide which knight will go to kill the monster. Then someone points out that this might not be a good idea as the tournament is killing off the spare knights who might come in handy should the winner not kill the monster. (They end up choosing the champion in a less violent way.) I believe Prowse played the Black Knight who eventually wins, but does not in fact kill the monster. I think the red herring was a knight whose helmet had a red fish as part of his regalia.

    Jean Marsh was in The Saint like three or four times as totally different characters and was Mombi in Return to Oz.

    It’s Dan Aykroyd’s birthday. He’s been in all of the Ghostbuster movies. Plus was in the intro to the Twilight Zone: The Movie which, as I’ve mentioned earlier, was probably the best part.

  7. Jack Lint says Jean Marsh was in The Saint like three or four times as totally different characters and was Mombi in Return to Oz.

    I can never decide if The Saint counts as genre or even genre adjacent. The Avengers was firmly genre, but this series really wasn’t.

  8. It’s Dan Aykroyd’s birthday. He’s been in all of the Ghostbuster movies. Plus was in the intro to the Twilight Zone: The Movie

    Have you ever seen or read an in-depth interview of him, discussing the supernatural? It’s not obvious that he thought Ghostbusters was fictional. Dan Aykroyd’s life is genre.

    And Olivia de Havilland turned 104. She was in A Midsummer Night’s Dream 85 years ago, which has fantasy elements.

  9. rich brown also had a number of professional fiction stories published. “Dear Ted” (1972) I recall as a clever metafictional piece. I’m reminded by ISFDB that he was also (with Dave Bischoff & Linda Richardson) the author of the “Personal Demon” stories as by Michael F.X. Milhaus, which were later collected into a book. I can remember enough to be sure I read them at the time they were published (1976-78) and enjoyed them, but aside from the general concept don’t recall details.

    Early in my Army enlistment, in 1972, I was stationed at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, and used a weekend to visit New York City. While there I visited the Katzes and also met with rich and his wife at his apartment. (Steve Stiles was also there.) They were the first non-local SF fans I’d met in person. In hindsight, I think they were all tolerant of the jejune, awkward young fan who’d asked to visit.

  10. Some kind of electromagnetic scroll

    (6) Contrary to the quoted text its als Voayager not TNG. Ther rest of the videos are on the linked page.

  11. Jean Marsh had a guest role in an episode of UFO, which involved her wearing one of Sylvia Anderson’s costume designs for the series (not the purlpe wig one, though), so no complaining there.

    Dave Prowse, of course, had bit parts in everything. The Minotaur in the Doctor Who story “The Time Monster”. Hotblack Desiato’s bodyguard in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Walk-on part as a vain bodybuilder in the opening to one episode of The Champions. Played an android in “The Medusa Strain”, the second Tomorrow People story, dressed in a loincloth and lots of silver body paint. And he was known and possibly loved by millions as road safety superhero, the Green Cross Code Man.

  12. Meredith Moment: The ebook version of Iain Banks’ Consider Pheblas is available for $2.99 from Amazon and possibly other sellers.

  13. Comics: Previous days’ strips of Breaking Cat News discussed the cats’ owners’ fandoms (starting with the appearance of an alien baby) as well as the cats’ preferences (including LOTR). Thursday’s is so far my favorite as a Doctor Who fan.

  14. That Dippin’ Dots piece was informative (Great Big Story pieces tend to be fun) but they neglected to point out that Dippin’ Dots are inedible and NOT food.

  15. @bookworm1398: 9) More like the smell of space shuttles from the description. Generally the kind of smell you would want to cover up with perfume How do you know the difference? Astronauts were quoted as describing the ISS; the shuttles can be aired out, so I’d expect them not to smell as strong, but I’d expect the astronauts to know the difference if there was one — if only because the ones who actually stay in the ISS spend a lot more time there than in a shuttle.

  16. Martin Wooster says That Dippin’ Dots piece was informative (Great Big Story pieces tend to be fun) but they neglected to point out that Dippin’ Dots are inedible and NOT food.

    They most certainly are edible as they’re ice cream. What gave you the idea that they were not edible?

  17. bill: In Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video, they had a section about celebrity mutations or some such thing. Dan Aykroyd showed off his webbed toes. Maybe he’s the real Man from Atlantis. (Fun Fact: His wife, Donna Dixon, is a member of The Explorers Club. L. Ron Hubbard was also a member.)

    The video also included Debbie Harry who turned 75 on the 1st. Her works include Videodrome and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.

  18. @Jack Lint

    (Fun Fact: His wife, Donna Dixon, is a member of The Explorers Club. L. Ron Hubbard was also a member.)

    Another fun fact, which I learned today: Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of the Nerds, Miles from Risky Business, assorted minor genre roles [you could look it up]) has written scholarly works on P. G. Wodehouse.

  19. bill: Also a member of The Baker Street Irregulars. In the current Wikipedia list of famous members, he comes between Poul Anderson and Isaac Asimov. His Wikipedia entry says he’s also written liner notes for Harry Nilsson CDs and is a fan of Washington Irving.

    He was Metatron on Supernatural. At the time I remember everyone thought it was funny that Booger was an angel. Voices a cockroach on Doom Patrol.

  20. John A Arkansawyer opines If I could’ve convinced my kid Dippin’ Dots were inedible, I would’ve saved a lot of money over the years.

    They’re almost as addictive as the treat I found a few months backs — bananas dipped in dark chocolate. Quick frozen, they retain all the flavour of both and are oh so yummy!

  21. I don’t particularly like Dippin’ Dots. I’d much rather have REAL ice cream.

  22. Martin, I agree. I bought Dippin’ Dots once, and since then, given the choice of Dippin’ Dots or nothing, have always gladly chosen nothing.

  23. I admit I’ve never actually had Dippin’ Dots and therefore don’t understand how they’re supposed to work.

  24. @Joe H.
    I had to look it up – I’ve seen the stands in some malls, but haven’t tried the stuff.
    They apparently flash-freeze ice cream in liquid nitrogen, and store it at -40 degrees.

  25. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 7/2/20 When There’s Evil On The Hat Rack, You Can Rest Knowing They Got Your Back | File 770

  26. @Cat Eldridge: a nearby independent art/… cinema where I’ve seen all sorts of odd stuff (Tea with the Dames, Cold Comfort Farm, documentaries on the Gardner theft and the “Ritchie Boys”) sometimes has those bananasicles; they are indeed delicious.

  27. @Cat Eldridge: “They’re almost as addictive as the treat I found a few months back”

    I never bought them just for my child–and I may have bought them on occasion only for myself.

    “— bananas dipped in dark chocolate. Quick frozen, they retain all the flavor of both and are oh so yummy!”

    You make that sound great!

    I have for some reason retained a memory from around ten years old, when I went with my dad to visit several of the farm equipment places for whom he sold Allis-Chalmers equipment. At the time, urban development hadn’t fully metastatized, and he still had two dealers in Oklahoma City and one in Norman.

    We left one of the Oklahoma City dealers–I remember they both stocked lawn tractors and riding mowers and such more heavily than the dealerships outside of cities–after my having a grand old time prowling the shop (I have the fascination for the mechanical which the mechanically inept often have) and the parts bins and making friends annoying all the help. Their Coke machine was one of the ones with the slats between which cold bottles hung. I remember that, and that their location was less neat than the others. We stayed into early afternoon before stopping to eat on the way home, and I was quite hungry.

    My dad picked a local dairy bar of some sort, where I got a hot dog and probably onion rings and a coke and, for desert, a frozen banana, dipped in chocolate! I’d never seen such a thing on a menu before. Chocolate. Banana. Frozen. What else did I need to know? Especially when my dad–or his expense account–was paying!

    I damn near broke my teeth on that banana. It was frozen like Han Solo in carbonite. And when I finally got a bit broken off, the very center had gone brown.

    But I did eat all the chocolate off it before I tossed it out the window.

    I suppose I’ll try one again, as your account convinces me the technology has come a long way.

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