Pixel Scroll 7/10/22 And In The Naked Light, I Saw Ten Thousand Pixels, Maybe More

(1) HOW THE BALLOT SHOULD HAVE LOOKED. Rich Horton has posted his latest Hugo nomination ideas, for the 1952 Hugo year (that is, stories from 1951). He makes a “Special recommendation to ‘Beyond Bedlam’, a story I knew of but had not read until just now. It is wonderful, original, wrenching.” “Hugo Nomination Recommendations, 1952” at Strange at Ecbatan.

The 1952 Worldcon was Chicon II, in Chicago, the tenth World Science Fiction Convention. (This year will be Chicon 8!) As noted, they gave no Hugo awards. The International Fantasy Award went to John Collier’s Fancies and Goodnights, a remarkable book, though as a story collection not eligible for a Hugo in this or any year. There was also a non-fiction award, to The Exploration of Space, by Arthur C. Clarke.

(2) A DOCTOR WHO PRACTICED IN THE SIXTIES. The Guardian shares a gallery of behind the scenes photos from the 1960s Doctor Who movies: “The Daleks invade 60s Surrey: on the set of the classic Doctor Who films – in pictures”.

Dalekmania inspired Amicus films to buy up the cinema rights to the Saturday tea-time television adventures of Dr Who, leading to two films starring Peter Cushing.

(3) GOING POSTAL. At Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein, Bobby Derie takes a look at the correspondence between Margaret St. Clair and Clark Ashton Smith: “Her Letters To Clark Ashton Smith: Margaret St. Clair”. About a letter written by Smith in 1940:

… A major point of the letter involved the change in editorship at Weird Tales; Farnsworth Wright had been fired and was replaced with Dorothy McIlwraith. There was some hard feelings among the older guard of writers about Wright’s treatment, and Wright himself apparently floated the idea of forming a competing weird magazinebut this would not come to pass, and Wright himself would pass away on 12 June 1940. On a lighter note, Smith also noted that the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy had been established not far away from his cabin. In a postscript to the letter, Smith wrote jocularly:

Can’t we start some sort of coven in opposition to that nunnery?

(4) THE UNKINDEST CUT? Also at Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein, Cecelia Hopking-Drewer talks about her experiences reading H.P. Lovecraft: “An Australian Woman Looks At Lovecraft”.

… My involvement with Lovecraft scholarship goes back some twenty-seven years. At one stage I was a huge Stephen King fan, and I found a reference in King’s non-fiction work Danse Macabre to Lovecraft (see King, 1982:132-5). I was studying English literature at Master’s level, around 1992/3, and in the realm of academia, historical writers were more acceptable research subjects than contemporary writers, so I approached the department about a project. The project was approved, but the resident Gothic expert was unable to provide supervision, and I struggled along against a curtain of institutional resistance regarding texts associated with popular culture. My assumption that as a ‘dead white male’ to quote the cliché, Lovecraft would be respected academically was incorrect, and instead he proved to be a controversial and polarizing figure…. 

(5) CREDITS CHECK. K.C. McAbee has an article about Leigh Brackett at Luna Station Quarterly“Her Majesty the Queen of Space Opera: Part One”.

Leigh Brackett will always be a name to conjure with, and not just because she wrote the first draft of a little movie you may have heard of called The Empire Strikes Back. Though she died before it went into production and hers was not the final filmed screenplay, she created many of the story beats that ended up in the movie. City in the clouds: check. Battle of Hoth: check. Deadly trip through an asteroid field: yep, it’s there. Love triangle between Luke, Leia and Han: check, check, and check….

(6) MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] I posted another of those Masters-of-the-Universe photo stories that people have been enjoying entitled “Consent Is Sexy, Harassment Stinks”.

The small toy aisle at the German drugstore chain Rossmann has turned out to be an unlikely source of Masters of the Universe toys, because they tend to have even hard-to-find figures like Clawful or the Horde Trooper at regular prices. I didn’t find a Clawful during my last visit to the local Rossmann store, but I did get lucky and snapped up none other than Stinkor, Masters of the Universe‘s very own walking fart joke….

(7) HEAR SF POETRY READINGS. In 2022, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, in an effort to further engage Rhysling Award voters and speculative poetry audiences at large, Akua Lezli Hope organized and hosted three virtual gatherings on Zoom at which poets with work nominated to the short poem category of the Rhyslings read their work aloud. You can watch the recordings on the SFPA YouTube channel; click here for the full playlist.

SFPA is now creating a series of Rhysling Award Readings for the 2022 Long Poem Nominees. There presently are two videos; more will be added.

(8) MEMORY LANE

1970 [By Cat Eldridge.] “This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die.”

If you were in West Germany on this date, you could have enjoyed the premiere there of Colossus: The Forbin Project. It was from a screenplay by James Bridges who based it off  Dennis Feltham Jones’ Colossus novel. It would be his only genre movie script. He’d later do one for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour off Ray Bradbury‘s 1944 “The Jar” short story. 

SPOILER ALERT!

Dennis Feltham Jones did a trilogy of Colossus novels, and a lot of other SF as well. Ok the premise here is Colossus is an AI that wakes up, assumes controls of all Earth’s military resources and won’t relinquish control. In time, it fuses with its Soviet counterpart. The film is taken directly off his first novel. 

END SPOILER ALERT!

Critics generally liked it. Victor Canby of the New York Times said it was “no Dr. Strangelove, but it’s full of surprising moments of humor and intelligence”. And David Kher of the Chicago Reader declared that it was “Above-average science fiction”. 

Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a seventy-six percent rating. 

It’s been in remake Hell since 2007. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 10, 1903 John Wyndham. His best-known works include The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos, both written in the Fifties. The latter novel was filmed twice as Village of the Damned. The usual suspects have an impressive selection of his novels including these titles though little of his short fiction is available, alas. The Day of the Triffids is currently a buck ninety-nine there. (Died 1969.)
  • Born July 10, 1914 Joe Shuster. Comic book artist best remembered for co-creating Superman with Jerry Siegel. It happened in Action Comics #1 which was cover-dated June 1938. Need I mention the long fight with DC over crediting them as the creators and paying them? I think not. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame. (Died 1992.)
  • Born July 10, 1923 Earl Hamner Jr. Though much better known for writing and producing The Waltons, he wrote eight scripts for the Twilight Zone including “Black Leather Jackets” in which an alien falls in love with a human girl and “The Hunt” where raccoon hunters enter the Twilight Zone. He also wrote the script of the Hanna-Barbera production of Charlotte’s Web.  (Died 2016.)
  • Born July 10, 1929 George Clayton Johnson. He’s best known for co-writing with William F. Nolan the Logan’s Run novel, the source for the Logan’s Run film. He was also known for his scripts for the Twilight Zone including “A Game of Pool”, “Kick the Can”, “Nothing in the Dark”, and “A Penny for Your Thoughts”, and the first telecast episode of the original Star Trek, “The Man Trap”. (Died 2015.)
  • Born July 10, 1931 Julian May. She‘s best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile (known as the Saga of the Exiles in the UK) and Galactic Milieu series: Jack the BodilessDiamond Mask and Magnificat. At age 21 she chaired TASFiC, the 1952 Worldcon in Chicago. She was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame at the Sasquan Worldcon. (Died 2017.)
  • Born July 10, 1941 David Hartwell. Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes him as “perhaps the single most influential book editor of the past forty years in the American science fiction publishing world”.  I certainly fondly remember the The Space Opera Renaissance he co-edited with Kathryn Cramer. Not to mention that his Year’s Best Fantasy and Year’s Best SF anthologies are still quite excellent reading, and they’re available at the usual suspects for a very reasonable price. (Died 2016.)
  • Born July 10, 1941 Susan Seddon Boulet. Another one who died way, way too young after a long struggle with cancer. If you’ve read the American edition of Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife (which won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature Award), you’ve seen her amazing work. Or perhaps you’ve got a copy of Pomegranate‘s edition of Ursula Le Guin’s Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight which also features her art. If you’re keen on knowing more about this amazing artist, see the Green Man review of Susan Seddon Boulet: A Retrospective. (Died 1997.)
  • Born July 10, 1945 Ron Glass. Probably known best genre wise as Shepherd Book in the Firefly series and the sequel film Serenity. His first genre work was the role of Jerry Merris in Deep Space, a SF horror film, and he’d later show up voicing Philo D. Grenman in Strange Frame: Love & Sax (“slated as the world’s first animated lesbian-themed sci-fi film”; look it up as it has a very impressive voice cast) and he showed up twice as J. Streiten, MD in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Oh, and he was on Voyager playing a character named Loken in the “Nightingale” episode. (Died 2016.)

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Nancy prepares to explain two literary terms to a friend.
  • Tom Gauld has a gag about a combat robot workshop at New Scientist.
  • Tom Gauld again on the tradition of “last orders” in the Guardian.
  • Macanudo’s Tolkienesque joke is truly bizarre.

(11) A SLIGHT DELAY. Sunday Morning Transport’s story is “The Daily Commute” by Sarah Gailey.

We love how Sarah Gailey’s story merges magic and public transport with a wonderful, wrenching effect. ~ Fran Wilde, July 10

(12) KELLY’S HEROICS. “Try to remember the kind of September, When you were a tender and callow fellow.” (P.S. This is Scott Kelly in the video, not his twin brother Mark Kelly.)

(13) FOR THOSE WITH DEEP POCKETS. [Item by Andrew Porter.] Getcher Stormtrooper Helmet now (actual person’s head not included): “’Blast ‘Em!’: Heritage Auctions Offers in July Stormtrooper Helmet and Blaster Used in 1977’s ‘Star Wars’”.

A long time ago in a theater probably not too far from your house, Star Wars was released — May 25, 1977, long before the original space opera was rechristened Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. To celebrate that 45th anniversary, Heritage Auctions is thrilled to offer in its July 22-23 Hollywood & Entertainment Signature® Auction two of the rarest and most coveted items featured in the film that spawned a never-ending franchise: a screen-matched stormtrooper helmet and a screen-used hero E-11 blaster shared by stormtroopers, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

….Of these six original sandtrooper helmets, only two are confirmed to exist in private hands. Heritage Auctions is offering one of the two.

In addition to being one of the surviving original first-produced and first-filmed stormtrooper helmets from the original Star Wars, this specific helmet can be conclusively identified on-screen across multiple sequences. It was also worn by one of the few stormtroopers who delivered dialogue — the very one who speaks to the bartender after Obi-Wan Kenobi’s, let’s say, disarming encounter in the Mos Eisley cantina….

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Cora Buhlert, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

26 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/10/22 And In The Naked Light, I Saw Ten Thousand Pixels, Maybe More

  1. (1) Beyond Bedlam is a terrific tale.

    (9) “Black Leather Jackets” is a very early example of the “alien does a mixed job passing as human” theme that turns up in “Starman” and many other places.

    (9b) Julian May! I devoured her books back in the day.

  2. 9) It should be noted that Julian May was also a magnificent costumer. While she never (to my knowledge) competed, she often appeared in intricately jeweled creations that would take your breath away. She also volunteered in masquerade greenrooms.

    She is missed as both an author and costumer.

  3. (10) I think a more important issue is that foreshadowing creates suspense, by hinting that something is going to happen without telling you exactly what or how, while spoilers destroy suspense by giving away the ending. Suspense is the thing that gets me to the end of a first reading. But perhaps sometime Nancy can explain self-referential humor.

    The scroll of all pixels that do not scroll themselves.

  4. Yeah – academia, and Real Litrachur has always had a thing against “popular fiction”, and esp. genre fiction. A writer (I seem to have forgotten the name, I thought it was Dick Peck) told us once (Philcon? a PSFS meeting?) in the late seventies, I think about being at a faculty event, and someone’s wife came up to him and commented that she’d heard he recently published a novel, and was scandalized that, instead of him paying to have it published, he was paid by the publisher.

    So glad genre has finally started fighting back (esp. given how the audience for Real Litrachur has fallen), referring to it as lit-fic.

  5. I note that totally without realizing it was her birthday I mentioned J. C. (Julian) May’s first story, “Dune Roller”, as a potential Hugo nominee!

  6. 9) I may have said this last year also, The Chyrasilds by Wyndham is one of my favorite novels. It doesn’t feel dated at all.

    Regarding real literature- there were several centuries where all fiction was considered frivolous and only non fiction books were serious reading. These things change.

  7. Rich Horton: And May was chair of the 1952 Worldcon — would it have been a problem for her to be a nominee?

    Of course the awards hadn’t been invented yet so there were no rules. And looking at 1953 progress reports #3 which revealed some interim rankings based on votes received so far, Philcon treasurer Bob Madle’s fanzine was in contention and there didn’t seem any feeling about that being a conflict.

  8. Lit-fic, the genre that thinks it isn’t a genre.

    And on the other hand, goosefeather pillows, making my sleep better since, um, last night, after the pillowcases for them arrived. There’s a use for all those feathery, combative Canadian interlopers!

  9. Yeah, I think back then there were no rules preventing a con committee chair’s story from being considered. Since then such rules were added — and then circumvented (sensibly) by setting up an independent (or firewalled) Hugo committee.

  10. Today’s birthdays include two who wrote episodes of Twilight Zone, but have passed away in recent years. Are there any living Twilight Zone writers?

    Aside from David Gerrold, are there any living writers from the original Star Trek?

  11. Spoilers vs. foreshadowing is a question of who is choosing what effect gets created: the author, or some random other person. My own preference is to have my first experience at least go as the author intended. If Cordwainer Smith finishes off the opening of his book by saying, “He gets away. He got away. See, that’s the story. Now you don’t have to read it. Except for the details. They follow.” — well, that’s his choice and how he wanted to present the story. But if the effect that the author wants includes surprise, well, surprises can be spoiled. (And certainly a story that depends only on surprise isn’t a very worthwhile story; but that doesn’t mean that the effect of surprise is worthless.)

  12. Trek writers: Norman Spinrad is still alive, isn’t he?

    (8) James Bridges co-wrote (and directed) The China Syndrome (1979). Or is that not to be considered genre because the Syndrome was averted?

  13. Lis Carey said: “Lit-fic, the genre that thinks it isn’t a genre.”

    Truth!

    (9) Julian May’s “Saga of the Exiles” was a formative series for me. I remember some years later reading an interview where she mentioned how the series was powered by archetypes. That opened my eyes to the behind the scenes mechanics/neepery on story construction & storytelling. That kind of stuff still fascinates me.

    Also: Thank you for Title Credit!

  14. 8) Colossus is one of my favorite movies. I read the novels years ago, and re-read in audio the first for SFF Audio.

    9) Julian May’s Many Colored Land novels are also favorites of mine.

  15. It’s probably not a comprehensive list of other living Trek writers but I did find that Stephen Kandel (I, Mudd and Mudd’s People), Steven W. Carabatsos (co-wrote Court Martial) and Joyce Muskat (The Empath) are still with us. Muskat is a SCAer.

  16. Is anyone here familiar with the Kutherian Gambit? It’s a series of serieses begun by Michael Anderle that has quickly become a big self-published shared universe as other authors come aboard.

    I am halfway through Marshal the Stars by Anderle and Jamie Davis. I don’t know if all the KG books fit this description, but it’s a space western.

  17. @Cat Eldridge

    It’s probably not a comprehensive list of other living Trek writers but I did find that Stephen Kandel (I, Mudd and Mudd’s People), Steven W. Carabatsos (co-wrote Court Martial) and Joyce Muskat (The Empath) are still with us. Muskat is a SCAer.

    Thanks, Cat.
    I see from IMDB that Stephen Kandel’s first writing credit was 1956, and in 2021 had a screenplay for a Serbian soap opera produced. That’s a 65 year career!
    It also appears that Judy Burns (The Tholian Web) is still with us (along with, possibly, her co-writer Chet Richards).

  18. Honestly, I find a lot of regional literary fiction to be much better than what usually gets acclaimed by New York. Yes, there’s snobbery (I’ve regularly attended local functions of a literary organization focused on contemporary Western writing), but most of that is at the lower levels of attendees and MFA candidates. The workshop leaders, often editors and college instructors themselves, were and are quite open to genre.

    Rather than sneer at lit-fic, I prefer to co-opt it. Taking some of those workshops helped advance my writing–and it shows, big time. Plus some of the big names–I’ll mention Luis Alberto Urrea (The Hummingbird’s Daughter) for one–got their start in genre (Urrea was mentored by Le Guin) and are still quite fond of it. Jamie Ford (Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) will openly talk about how he was influenced by Harlan Ellison.

    In the year 7510, it’s all one and the same….

  19. I saw Jamie Ford read from Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet at the Amelia Island Book Festival several years ago. He did such a good job the whole audience went right to his table and bought every copy of the novel.

    Ford preceded the reading by talking about an obscure TV series that inspired him in the 1970s when he was a child — James at 15. I was amused because I was also a fan of that show and there can’t be that many of us out there.

  20. Jamie is amazing in person. He was trying to persuade me to move beyond genre and write a big book, because in his opinion I could do it. But…that was the summer of 2019. By the time I started on that book, a little virus was brewing….

  21. Is anyone here familiar with the Kutherian Gambit? It’s a series of serieses begun by Michael Anderle that has quickly become a big self-published shared universe as other authors come aboard.

    I’m vaguely familiar with the series/universe. They’re written very quickly as a sort of extruded SFF product. Anderle is also the founder of the 20Booksto50K group, which caused an uproar in the Nebulas a few years ago.

    Anderle is quite open about what he does – published minimum viable product fast – and he makes a lot of money doing it, so more power to him. Just not my thing.

  22. Thanks for the information about the Kurtherian Gambit. It helped me get a better feel for what Lone Wolf Squadron: Marshal the Stars was trying to do as a novel and a series starter.

    It’s a space western that had the unexpected twist of featuring protagonists who are a werewolf and a vampire. I wasn’t looking for that when I picked the book, but in spite of myself I began to enjoy the werewolf hulking out unexpectedly on cocky space slavers.

  23. Pingback: Top 10 Stories for July 2022 | File 770

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