Pixel Scroll 7/10/24 A Multiverse Of Pixels. Consider How Many That Is

(1) WORLDCON PROGRESS REPORT. Glasgow 2024 Worldcon has released its fifth and final Progress Report. Download here: PR #5.pdf.

One of the interesting revelations is the plan to stage —

Nothing, Nowhere, Never Again

Glasgow Worldcons are not without their traditions: each of the previous ones have had a show written and performed by Reductio Ad Absurdum. In 1995 it was their loving demolition of Dune (or The Sand Of Music); in 2005 it was Lucas Back In Anger, their smash-and-grab on all things Star Wars, which was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) despite enraging Star Wars fans by reducing the second trilogy to a 12 minute ABBA karaoke with cardboard costumes. In 2024 their offering is a unique take on the Oscar-winning sensation, Everything, Everywhere, All At Once that becomes Nothing, Nowhere, Never Again. Reductio is basically Ian Sorensen and Phil Raines plus whoever else they can blackmail into performing. This year they have suckered Geoff Ryman, Emjay Ameringen and Julia Daly into joining them in the madness. It promises to be an amazing, hilarious romp through the alternate universes, time travel and the joys of growing old disgracefully. The multiverse will never be quite the same again! (Armadillo Auditorium – Saturday 4pm)

(2) TIME BANDITS TRAILER. “Apple unveils the first nostalgia-fueled trailer for Taika Waititi’s reimagining of an ’80s sci-fi cult classic”GamesRadar+ pulls back the curtain.

Per the official synopsis, the series is an “unpredictable journey through time and space with a ragtag group of thieves and their newest recruit: an 11-year-old history buff named Kevin. Together, they set out on a thrilling quest to save the boy’s parents, and the world.”In the brief clip, which can be viewed above, Kevin (Kal-El Tuck) opens up his wardrobe and walks into another moment in time before running into Penelope (Lisa Kudrow) and her group of bandits. The upcoming series, created by Waititi, Jermaine Clement, and Ian Morris, is based on the 1981 cult classic of the same name. The trio also wrote the first two episodes, with Waititi directing both.

… Time Bandits is set to hit Apple TV Plus on Wednesday, July 24, 2024, with the first two episodes in tow. Two episodes will air every Friday through August 21, 2024….

(3) A KAIJU SURPRISE. Forbes celebrates as “’Godzilla Minus One’ Arrives On 4K Blu-Ray In Every Glorious Version”.

Toho surprised fans today with the long-awaited release of Godzilla Minus One to home entertainment in a four-disc 4K UHD Blu-ray box set. I also have an exclusive clip of writer-director-VFX supervisor Takashi Yamazaki and his team from their U.S. visit, plus a look at the different glorious versions of the Oscar-winning film.

The Godzilla Minus One box set is an exclusive through Toho’s official Godzilla site, and includes lots of behind-the-scenes features and making-of footage. Fans of the film have been eagerly awaiting word of a physical home media release, although the film finally arrived on streaming recently and VOD. The surprise today is part of a larger 70th anniversary celebration of Godzilla in 2024….

(4) SUPACELL. [Item by Steven French.] The creator of a hit Netflix show about a group of black south Londoners with superpowers triggered by sickle cell anaemia says he hopes its success can kickstart a discussion about the condition in the UK and remove the stigma associated with it. “Hit Netflix show Supacell is raising awareness of sickle cell anaemia” reports the Guardian.

…Hit show Supacell is now at No 1 in Netflix’s global top 10, with more than 18m views in its first few weeks on the platform.

In the series, a group of south Londoners start to develop comic book powers – superhuman strength and speed, telekinesis, the ability to teleport and fly, and to have premonitions – while being tracked by Health & Unity, a shadowy organisation that offers to “help” those who are affected.

The show has been praised for subtly interspersing real-life issues that affect Black Britons: from the casual racism that Black females face on reality TV shows to bias in the health system. But the biggest real-life undercurrent in the fantastical world of Supacell is the inclusion of sickle cell anaemia in its storyline….

(5) DROP EVERYTHING. The New York Times calls these “Five Science Fiction Movies to Stream Now”. (Read at this link, which bypasses the paywall.)

One of their picks is Animalia, which is available to buy or rent generally.

…If your definition of an alien invasion involves ships hovering above Earth and major destruction, just know that Sofia Alaoui’s beautifully shot take on the genre is definitely … not that. Still, the mysterious, elliptical Moroccan movie “Animalia” exerts a pull of its own as its central character, a pregnant young woman named Itto (Oumaima Barid), faces a series of unexplained events.

When the wealthy family she has married into leaves for an outing, Itto enjoys some quality alone time at home. Soon, however, things start to go off the rails. Animals behave strangely, army vehicles barrel down the streets, roadblocks are hastily erected. The movie holds back on the explanations, and as her husband, Amine (Mehdi Dehbi), tries to arrange for a reunion, Itto’s journey acquires a mystical tinge.

Yet Alaoui does not stray into woo-woo New Age-isms and offers pointed views on the emancipation of women in Morocco, and their role in both the family and society. It takes confidence and skill to keep an audience invested in a movie while withholding information, and Alaoui clearly has both….

(6) GEORGE WELLS (1943-2024). Longtime fan George Wells died June 21. A native New Yorker (from Suffolk County, Long Island), he attended his first Lunacons in 1958 and 1960, and then…college helped initiate a long gap from fandom. He became a librarian (with a Masters Degree), and returned to the convention scene in 1972. And soon also became involved with APA fandom. I first got to know George in the Seventies when we were all in Larry Nielsen’s APA-H, the apa for Hoaxes. He also was part of Apanage, the Southern Fandom Press Alliance, and N’APA.

George and his wife, Jill (nee Simmons) met via a local Star Trek club she co-founded in Suffolk. They moved to Arizona, some years ago.

In 1999, George Wells won the facetious Rubble Award given at DeepSouthCon “for doing great things to Southern Fandom” in recognition of “Introducing Fandom to Werewolf Vs. Vampire Woman”.

In 2013 File 770 celebrated George’s 70th birthday in a post by James Burns, which supplied much of the above information.

(7) RICHARD GOLDSTEIN (1927-2024). Retired JPL scientist Richard M. Goldstein, a trailblazer in planetary exploration who used ground-based radars to map planets, died June 22 at the age of 97. The New York Times obituary  explains his claim to fame.

…If successful, scientists would learn the distance from Earth to Venus, essentially laying the foundation to map the entire solar system. His adviser at Caltech was more than skeptical; Venus, in NASA’s description, was a “cloud-swaddled” planet covered by thick gasses, and previous attempts to reach the planet using other radars had produced mixed results.

“No echo, no thesis,” Dr. Goldstein’s adviser told him, according to “To See the Unseen: A History of Planetary Radar Astronomy” (1996) by Andrew J. Butrica, a science historian.

He proceeded anyway. On March 10, 1961, technicians pointed the new radar at Venus. Six and a half minutes later, signals from the planet returned. Dr. Goldstein had proved his adviser wrong. He soon bounced signals off Mercury and Mars, as well as Saturn’s rings.

The study’s influence on solar system research was immense.

“The measurements he did of the distance to Venus made it possible to do accurate navigation within the solar system,” said Charles Werner, a former senior engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “If you know one distance, it’s like a ruler that allows you to calibrate everything else and to be able to navigate spacecraft in the solar system accurately.”

The radar echoes were the celestial prelude to a long career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory charting the previously unseen. In the late 1960s and early ’70s, Dr. Goldstein used radar interferometry — the splicing together of multiple radar signals over a length of time — to map the surface of Venus.

“High-resolution radar probes have broken through the thick clouds of Venus and for the first time distinguished features on the planet’s surface, which presents a landscape of huge, shallow craters,” the science reporter John Noble Wilford wrote in a front-page article in The New York Times on Aug. 5, 1973.

“Instead of the blurry shadings of earlier radar maps of the planet,” Mr. Wilford wrote, the images detected by Dr. Goldstein revealed a dozen craters, including one that was 100 miles wide and less than a quarter of a mile deep.

Dr. Goldstein had used two radar antennas 14 miles apart to produce the images.

“This, in effect, gives us stereo reception,” Dr. Goldstein said, enabling him “to pinpoint each area touched on Venus.”


[Written by Paul Weimer.]

July 10, 1903 John Wyndham. (Died 1969.)

By Paul Weimer: Cozy Catastrophe? My first encounter with John Wyndham’s work was anything but cozy. That would be, on good old WPIX, the movie version of Day of the Triffids, where Jeanette Scott fought a triffid that spits poison and kills, to quote Rocky Horror Picture Show. So when I finally picked up his work (The Chrysalids, I think was the first), I was quite taken and surprised by the “bait and switch” that my mind and expectations had for Wyndham’s work as opposed to the cinematic adaptation.

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris

Wyndham did teach me something that I would learn later in novels such as Earth AbidesAlas Babylon, and even On the Beach, and that is that catastrophes, and disasters, even ones that end civilization as the protagonists know it, could be surprisingly gentle and not harsh as the world falls apart around them.  There can be afternoon tea even as the tripods march across the landscape in an inescapable force of nature invasion. 

I recently read The Midwich Cuckoos, and even more than Day of the Triffids (which I really think could be remade in this day and age. Hollywood, call me, I could write your script), it is the Wyndham work that really hits the fears and anxieties in an otherwise pastoral and idyllic English countryside. The horror that one’s children are, in effect, changelings is an old idea (going back to the ideas of Faeries switching children at birth) and the Midwich Cuckoos plays on that, and plays on that, hard. But its even more than the parents and adults being horrified by what is happening to the children, what might be happening with the very pregnancy you have. It is the idea that these children are forming a community, a society, a way of life that excludes you (which gets into fears of the generation gap. The use of the telepathic Cuckoos in the X-men series and how tight they are together under Emma Frost, takes that idea from Wyndham and makes it front and center. It’s their world, and not yours.

That shows, ultimately, John Wyndham and his legacy at his best.


(10) SIMPSONS JOKE PLAYS ALBERT HALL. “Hip-hop band Cypress Hill makes 1996 Simpsons joke come true” reports the Guardian.

They might be more used to Rachmaninov and Brahms, but on Wednesday night the London Symphony Orchestra’s musicians will be showcasing their perfect crescendos while playing Cypress Hill’s Insane in the Brain.

The orchestra is making a Simpsons joke from 1996 finally a reality, by playing the US hip-hop trio Cypress Hill’s acclaimed Black Sunday album at the Royal Albert Hall.

The evening will riff on a joke featured in a Simpsons episode, in which Cypress Hill speculated that they had mistakenly booked the London Symphony Orchestra “possibly while high”.

After years of fan pressure, the group has struck a deal for a one-night performance in London, in which the LSO will perform its most famous songs, including Insane in the Brain and I Wanna Get High.

Considered pioneers of the West Coast hip-hop scene in the 1990s, Cypress Hill have sold more than 20m albums worldwide. Their hit Black Sunday album sold more than 3m copies in the US and spent a year in the UK charts….

… In the Simpsons episode, titled Homerpalooza, Homer tries to impress Bart and Lisa by going to the Hullabalooza music festival – a play on the Lollapalooza music festival held in Chicago – and hanging out with 1990s rap and rock stars including Cypress Hill and The Smashing Pumpkins.

In the episode, a crew member calls “somebody ordered”, adding “possibly while high … Cypress Hill, I’m looking in your direction”. This is followed by a rendition of Insane in the Brain, complete with the classic orchestral backing.

Cypress Hill have also invited the UK musician Peter Frampton, who features in the episode as the person trying to book the orchestra, although they are still waiting for a reply….

(11) SEVERANCE RETURNING. Variety knows when: “Severance Season 2 Teaser, Release Date Set for 2025”. The series will debut on Apple+ Friday, January 17. The 10-episode season will drop weekly episodes on Fridays after that.

…In addition to Scott and Arquette, the rest of the main cast includes Zach Cherry, Britt Lower, Tramell Tillman, Jen Tullock, Dichen Lachman, Michael Chernus, John Turturro and Christopher Walken. Eight more joined the cast of Season 2, including “Search Party” star Alia Shawkat, “Game of Thrones” alum Gwendoline Christie, Merritt Wever, Bob Balaban, Robby Benson, Stefano Carannate, John Noble and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson.

The new teaser doesn’t show much, other than the main cast of characters returning to the halls of Lumon. There’s also a quick look at Christie’s mysterious character, who cryptically tells them “You should’ve left.”…

(12) FEIGE Q&A. “Kevin Feige on Deadpool 3, Wolverine’s Yellow Suit and Sex Jokes in MCU” – hear about it in Variety.

The Marvel Studios president was talking to writer-director Shawn Levy about plans for the studio’s upcoming blockbuster “Deadpool & Wolverine,” starring Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman.

This was a couple of years ago, and Jackman had just confirmed his grand return as Wolverine after retiring the character in 2017’s emotional sendoff “Logan.” The 55-year-old Australian had played the gruff mutant with adamantium claws and regenerative abilities in nine films across two decades to much acclaim and, according to Feige, one glaring oversight. Jackman had never appeared in the character’s canonically mustard-colored costume….

(13) +1 SHIELD. “China Fortifies Space Station” at Futurism.

Two astronauts ventured outside of China’s Tiangong space station last week to armor its exterior against incoming space debris kicked up by an exploding Russian satellite.

“The spacewalk primarily focused on installing protective devices on external cables and pipelines to mitigate risks posed by potential space debris collisions, enhancing the long-term safety and stability of the space station,” China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation engineer Liu Ming told state-owned news network CCTV, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.

The news comes after a retired Earth observation satellite dubbed Resurs-P1 broke up in orbit late last month, forcing astronauts on board the International Space Station to shelter inside their respective spacecraft. It broke into more than 100 pieces that are now being tracked by the US Space Command.

Instead of sheltering in place, crew on board China’s Tiangong space station were instructed to bulk up its physical defenses — a mission that highlights the considerable risks small pieces of space debris can pose to astronauts orbiting the Earth…

…The spacewalk took 6.5 hours and went by largely without a hitch. According to the SCMP, the two spacewalkers even made jokes, competed to reach a designated spot, and struck poses for the camera….

(14) 1942’S AMAZING STORIES AND….SEX ADS??? [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Grammaticus Books takes a deep dive into a 1942 edition of Amazing Stories in a short, 9 minute video…

Week two of Rocket Summer focusing on the October 1942, edition of Amazing Stories, produced by the legendary editor Hugo Gernsback. The pulp is a time capsule of pre-war angst and intrigue. Which included seven full length science fiction stories and….advertising for Modern Sex Secrets!? 1?!?

(15) RED PLANET NOIR. Mars Express comes to theaters May 3.

In 2200, private detective Aline Ruby and her android partner Carlos Rivera are hired by a wealthy businessman to track down a notorious hacker. On Mars, they descend deep into the underbelly of the planet’s capital city where they uncover a darker story of brain farms, corruption, and a missing girl who holds a secret about the robots that threatens to change the face of the universe.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Paul Weimer, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

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12 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/10/24 A Multiverse Of Pixels. Consider How Many That Is

  1. I well remember the movie version of “Day of the Triffids” with the mobile plants that killed with poison stings. Scared the daylights out of me.

  2. (1) There will also be an ->opera<-, and an orchestral concert… Seattle, you’ve got to step up, here.
    (3) I’d be happy with one disc, not blu-ray, with the movie as it is, which is wonderful.
    (6) “Werewolf Vs. Vampire Woman”? I think I need to see that.Of course, their Elvira doesn’t look like our Elvira…
    Birthday: I think, as a teen, I read The Triffids before I saw the movie, and that was my intro to “Hollywood and other studios screw up perfectly good books”.
    (14) sigh The US did was not, actually, so (literally) psychotically anti-nudity/anti-sex as it has been since about the 80’s. And his continual “outdoes Buck Rogers” leads me to wonder if he’s ever actually read Armgeddon 2419.

  3. And with as many typos as there are around here why do people show away in a mockingly clever way while pointing them out.

  4. It sounds like it might be a word. Not that ei never ever typo anythign.

    Is the shoggoth back? It’s 5630!

  5. Hadn’t heard George Wells’ name in a long time. Remember doing a one-shot zine with him and several others at a Disclave (I think) in the early 70s. If my fanzine collection wasn’t buried in storage,I might be able to look up particulars. I think Mike Shoemaker might have been a contributor. (Another person I haven’t heard from or of in years; we were in a private apa together for a long time, but Mike dropped out about twenty or so years ago. The apa’s still putting along after 45 years, though with a more relaxed schedule and fewer contributors nowadays.)

  6. I decided to try the first episode of SUPACELL last weekend, and ended up binging the entire season that same evening. Fair to say I liked it, and it certainly kept my interest!

  7. (8) I appreciate the reference to WPIX – a station that provided me with many delights (especially Star Trek) back in the day (and also appreciated the reference to many a late night science fiction picture show)

  8. Meredith Moment: Iain M. Banks’ The Algebraist is $2.99 at the usual suspects.

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