Pixel Scroll 7/18/19 The Man Who Maneuvered In Corbomite

(1) DUBLIN 2019 MEMBERSHIP DEADLINE. They say no at-the-door memberships or day passes will be sold, so join now.


(3) CATS MUSICAL. Ready or not, coming to theaters this Christimas: “‘Cats’ musical drops first trailer with Taylor Swift and people are seriously divided”.

Taylor Swift, whose cat Bombalurina is shown reclining and enjoying Catnip in the footage, announced the trailer had dropped Thursday — a day before it was scheduled to be released.

“I’m a cat now and somehow that was everything #Catsmovie” Swift tweeted.

Directed by Tom Hooper, the first trailer introduces a major cast which includes Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Idris Elba as Macavity and James Corden as Bustopher Jones.

(4) TIS THE SEASON. Speaking of hairballs, here’s just what everyone’s looking to add to their holiday tree! From Hallmark: “Star Trek™ Tribble Fabric Ornament With Sound and Motion”.  

(5) INTO THE HALL. In a ceremony held at Balboa Park just ahead of the convention: “Batman Inducted Into Comic-Con Hall of Fame”The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

The ceremony inducting Batman into the Comic-Con Museum Hall of Fame — the first fictional character to be awarded the honor — was the crowning moment of “The Gathering,” a special celebration that doubled as a preview of The Batman Experience, a pop-up exhibit in the Balboa Park location that will eventually become the physical home of the Comic-Con Museum running during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and a fundraiser for the Museum.

Both “The Gathering” and The Batman Experience are part of DC and Warner Bros.’ wider celebration of the 80th anniversary of the release of Detective Comics No. 27, which introduced Batman to the world, a yearlong event that has already included events at South by Southwest and a USO tour featuring DC’s Lee and Batman comic book writer Tom King.

(6) PITTING HIMSELF AGAINST THE CHALLENGE. The second Ad Astra trailer has dropped. Comes to theaters September 20.

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

(7) UNIQUE. Who else writes like her? James Davis Nicoll advises Tor.com readers where to find “Five SFF Works Reminiscent of Andre Norton”.

What other authors wrote books with thematic similarities to the books of Andre Norton? Too bad that no one has ever asked me that question. Let’s pretend that someone has asked. Here are five suggestions.

(8) ANIME STUDIO FIRE DEATHS. BBC’s overview: “Kyoto Animation fire: Arson attack at Japan anime studio kills 33”.

At least 33 people died and dozens were injured after a man set fire to an animation studio in the Japanese city of Kyoto, officials say.

Police said the 41-year-old suspect broke into the Kyoto Animation studio on Thursday morning and sprayed petrol before igniting it.

The suspect has been detained and was taken to hospital with injuries.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the incident was “too appalling for words” and offered condolences.

It is one of Japan’s worst mass casualty incidents since World War Two.

Kyoto Animation, known as KyoAni, produces films and graphic novels, and is well regarded by fans for the quality of its productions.

…Reports say the man is not a former employee – but eyewitnesses say he appeared to be angry with the animation studio.

They said he ran away from the building towards a nearby train station after the fire started but fell to the ground. Some reports said he was pursued by employees of Kyoto Animation.

…The Asahi Shimbun newspaper quoted a 61-year-old neighbour as saying she clearly heard the man shout: “You ripped me off.”

The suspect was injured and was being treated in hospital, so police could not immediately question him, NHK said.

This article contains both fan reactions and brief descriptions of the company’s numerous popular creations: “Kyoto Animation: Fans heartbroken by deadly anime studio fire in Japan”

“One of the main things that stands out about Kyoto Animation is the quality of the animation itself,” said Ian Wolf, an anime critic for Anime UK News. “It’s very viewer-friendly.”

The distinctive visual style and level of polish leads to a look that is instantly recognisable, Wolf said.

“The studio makes very little in the way that is controversial… little that is violent or sexual. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to attack it.”


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 18, 1911 Hume Cronyn. Way back in the Forties, his first genre role was as Gerard in The Phantom of The Opera. Since then he’s appeared in such well-known films as CocoonCocoon Returns and Batteries Not Included along with the more obscure outing of Richard Burton’s Hamlet. (Died 2003.)
  • Born July 18, 1933 Sydney Jay Mead. Industrial designer and concept artist, best known for his designs for  Aliens,  Blade Runner and Tron. Mead once said in Borrowing an idea from Los Angeles (NYT 20 July 2011) that “I’ve called science fiction ‘reality ahead of schedule.’” An eight-minute film on him, “2019: A Future Imagined” can be seen here.
  • Born July 18, 1938 Paul Verhoeven, 81. Direction, screenwriter and producer. Responsible for RoboCop , Total Recall,  Starship Troopers and the creepy Hollow Man. Mind this is the man who also did Basic Instinct and Showgirls.
  • Born July 18, 1943 Charles Waugh,76. Anthologist and author, whose anthology work up to 2013 numbered over two hundred titles (!), mostly done with Martin H. Greenberg but a handful done with other co-editors as Greenberg died in 2011. Name a subject and there’s likely an anthology on that subject that he had a hand in.  I have not read, nor do I have the very least desire, to read his two novels with Deepak Chopra. 
  • Born July 18, 1952 Deborah Teramis Christian, 67. She’s an author and game designer. has designed and edited role-playing game materials for Dungeons & Dragons such as Tales of the Outer Planes, Bestiary of Dragons and Giants, Dragon Dawn, and Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms.  She also writes fiction under the name Deborah Teramis Christian with genre novel such as The Truthsayer’s Apprentice and her latest, Splintegrate.
  • Born July 18, 1967 Paul Cornell, 52. Author of the Shadow Police series which is quite excellent as well as writing a lot of television scripts for Doctor Who, Primieval and Robin Hood. He was part of the regular panel of the SF Squeecast podcast which won two Hugo Awards for best fancast.
  • Born July 18, 1967 Vin Diesel, 52. His first genre role was as the delightful voice of The Iron Giant. He next shows playing Riddick in Pitch Black, the first in The Chronicles of Riddick franchise. He’s Hugo Cornelius Toorop in Babylon A.D. and he’s the fascinating if enigmatic voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy and other MCU films. He’s apparently in the next two Avatar films but I don’t see his role determined. 
  • Born July 18, 1980 Kristen Bell, 39. Veronica Mars. Genre, well not really, but a lot of y’all watch it. She also voiced Jade Wilson in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies which I highly recommend as it’s highly meta.
  • Born July 18, 1982 Priyanka Chopra, 37. As Alex Parrish in Quantico, becoming the first South Asian to headline an American network drama series. Is it genre? Maybe, maybe not, though it could fit into a Strossian Dark State. Some of her work in her native India such as The Legend of Drona and Love Story 2050 is genre. 


  • Non Sequitur gets a good laugh by combining a UFO and a cave painter.

(11) THE BUD LIGHTS IN THE SKY ARE STARS. On the theory that everyone can play this for laughs, until someone gets killed, “Bud Light is offering free beer to any alien that makes it out of Area 51”.

The world is ready to finally see the secrets hidden inside Area 51. And if one of those secrets happens to be living aliens, well, we have good news — they’ll be greeted with free cans of Bud Light.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Bud Light, initially posted on Twitter, “We’d like to be the first brand to formally announce that we will not be sponsoring the Area 51 raid.”

However, the brand quickly backtracked off that alienating claim, saying, “Screw it. Free Bud Light to any alien that makes it out.”

(12) COMIC-CON BEGINS. And The Onion is there.


(13) LOYAL FANS. Billboards demanding Warner Bros,#ReleaseTheSnyderCut of Justice League appeared where they’ll hopefully be seen by people on their way to San Diego Comic-Con.

(14) ANOTHER SDCC TRAILER EVENT. From The Hollywood Reporter:“‘It Chapter Two’ Trailer Launch Kicks Off Comic-Con”.

The audience got an early look at the new trailer, which debuted online Thursday morning. The presentation, taking place on Comic-Con’s preview night, is dubbed ScareDiego and is held off the San Diego Convention Center grounds, and unofficially kicks off the Con in terms of movie panels. The event, now in its third year, is growing and this year was held at the Spreckels Theatre with comedian and late night show host Conan O’Brien serving as moderator.

(15) CLOSE ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK. James Davis Nicoll’s contribution to the Apollo 11 anniversary observance is “Remembering the Moon Landing: Michael Collins’ Carrying the Fire” at Tor.com.

…Collins was the Command Module Pilot. While the Lunar Lander descended to the Moon’s surface, it was Collins’ task to remain with the Command Module in Lunar orbit….

Rather than making any attempt at a dispassionate, neutral history of the Apollo Program, Collins provides a very personal account, a Collins-eye view of the American path to the moon. It’s not a short process, which is why it takes 360 pages before Collins and his more well-known companions find themselves strapped into the largest, most powerful man-rated rocket to have been launched as of that date. Before that…

(16) CHICAGO STYLE DOG. I hate to think I’ll missing out on this: “You Can Now Stay In An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Overnight With Airbnb”.

Starting on July 24, Oscar Mayer’s iconic 27-foot-long Wienermobile is available to book overnight on Airbnb. Seriously. This is not a drill.

True hot dog fans know that the Wienermobile has pretty much travelled all across the country, spreading positive vibes and love for, well, wieners. And until now, no one has been able to spend more than a few hours in the famous Oscar Mayer vehicle, which makes this overnight camp-out option kind of a big deal.

Per their press release, the hot dog distributer has confirmed that its Wienermobile will be available to those staying in the Chicago area between August 1-4. Just in time for Lollapalooza!

(17) KGB. Ellen Datlow has shared her photos from the July 17 Fantastic Fiction at KGB where Theodora Goss read from her new collection Snow White Learns Witchcraft and Cadwell Turnbull read from his recently published novel, The Lesson.

(18) IT PAYS NOT TO BE IGNORANT. Congrats to Rich Horton who won $66.67 playing last night’s HQ mobile-based trivia contest. One of the questions was:

“Which Hugo-winning writer did NOT write an episode of STAR TREK?”

The choices were:

  • Robert Bloch
  • Norman Spinrad
  • Robert Heinlein

Says Horton, “I’m sure I don’t have to tell many people that Heinlein never wrote a Star Trek episode.”

(19) WHERE’S THE BEEF? Apparently this is another thing you leave behind when you simulate a lunar mission: “Russia’s Sirius Moon project leaves crew hungry for steak”.

What do you crave after spending four months cooped up in a mock spaceship?

“A tasty steak!” was Anastasia Stepanova’s swift reply, when she emerged from her Sirius-19 quarters, along with five other space guinea pigs.

The team of four Russians and two Americans – sent to Moscow by Nasa – were isolated, but stayed on terra firma. So, no weightlessness or cosmic radiation to worry about.

But in other respects the Sirius-19 experiment was designed to imitate conditions on a flight to the Moon.

Ms Stepanova’s colleagues were also looking forward to tasty food, though cosmonaut Yevgeny Tarelkin, commander of this “mission”, said he was missing his family.

They had big fridges and grew their own vegetables under artificial light. But the diet was hardly mouth-watering: mostly kasha (buckwheat porridge), puree and canned food.

(20) FLAME ON. Mashable makes sure we know “Drones with flamethrowers are a thing you can buy now”. (Was this a Prime Day deal I missed?) [Via David Langford.]

As if drones weren’t frightening enough, now they can be equipped with fire-spitting flamethrowers? Oh gawd.

Throwflame’s TF-19 WASP drone attachment is capable of shooting targets with flames from 25 feet away. Every gallon of fuel capacity will get you 100 seconds of firing time. 

According to Throwflame, the TF-19 WASP is made from carbon fiber and designed for drones with a five-pound payload capacity or more. In the video above, the flamethrower is shown mounted to a DJI S1000 drone.

[Thanks to James Davis Nicoll, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Lis Riba, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

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72 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/18/19 The Man Who Maneuvered In Corbomite

  1. Tying underage performers to Comic Con….

    At one of the W00tstock events around SDCC (with Paul and Storm and Wil Wheaton), they had Molly Lewis performing and found out that because she was underage (under 21), she couldn’t stay inside the venue. She was allowed to perform on stage but had to stay outside the rest of the time, putting on an impromptu solo show during intermission.

  2. (18) @Chip I wasn’t trying to make the question easy 🙂
    @bill I remember that Larry Niven ST Animated Series episode. He adapted the teleplay from a Known Space story. I remember thinking that episode was much sharper that most of the animated series.
    @Lee Regarding Molly Lewis at W00tstock, there is a wonderful northern Michigan rock/folk/pop band called The Accidentals. The youngest of the trio was the last to turn 21, she wrote a song titled “Parking Lot” about that very situation.

  3. I suspect the number of people who feel it’s important that they be able to consume alcohol anywhere in the convention is even smaller than the number of parents and teens who will be seriously inconvenienced by the accompanying restrictions. I mean, as long as we’re talking numbers.

    I enjoy the occasional adult beverage, but I have never once felt inconvenienced by convention rules restricting where and when I can partake.

  4. In current reading:

    I finished Storm of Locusts this afternoon.

    I wish this series had a better narrator. The narrator, Tanis Parenteau, is not horrible, but she is not terribly expressive and does not do a whole lot with either voices or accents.

    As for the story itself, to me it seemed enjoyable but not especially outstanding. I did think it held together better than book 1, and it was plenty imaginative; OTOH, there were several plot holes/dropped threads that bothered me, and things that I didn’t like about the ways both of the MCs were depicted this time around. So, good and bad.

    I just started A Memory Called Empire — as in, I’ve only heard a few minutes so far — and I can already tell that it’s got a much better narrator. 🙂

    In the I’m-not-quite-a-Luddite category, I just got my first-ever pair of Bluetooth earbuds, and I’m having fun playing with them today. This particular variety (Tarah Pro by Jaybird) makes it way too easy and fun to play with the equalizer settings. 😉

  5. @Standback: “everybody should be drunk everywhere all the time, so that at least the restrictions on kids won’t be wasted.”

    The restrictions won’t be wasted; the adults will be! Ba-dum-dum. Anyway, where do I sign up to do my part? 😉 (Just kidding.)

    @Contrarius: I liked Parenteau fine in the first Roanhorse book; I haven’t started the second one yet. I listened to part of the sample for A Memory Called Empire and made a note to probably skip the audiobook because the narrator seemed dull from what I heard Clearly we have somewhat different taste in narrators 😉 but I’m curious how you like it as you listen to more. Maybe the short piece I heard just wasn’t enough of a sample (or we just have very different narrator taste).

  6. @Kendall —

    I listened to part of the sample for A Memory Called Empire and made a note to probably skip the audiobook because the narrator seemed dull from what I heard Clearly we have somewhat different taste in narrators ? but I’m curious how you like it as you listen to more.

    It may be a little while. I was hopping around several different books while I was playing with my equalizer settings, and I ended up settling on McDevitt’s A Talent for War. It’s not a very long book, but it’s likely to be two or three days before I get back to the Martine!

  7. Chip Hitchcock: I don’t know whether they think they can avoid Helsinki’s problems by having no at-the-door; I remember hearing about lots of crowded programs, but not whether that could be guessed to have been caused by more people on site than expected rather than not enough seats even for pre-reg.

    Worldcon 75 knew well in advance that their attendance was going to be huge — they sold 6,000 attending memberships in advance (of which 400 were apparently one-day memberships). This was 1,800 more than MAC II, and 1,100 more than Sasquan.

    Worldcon 75 refused to do capacity planning (I was told by someone that this was because attending con panels is not a big thing at Finnish cons, so they didn’t figure that it was a big thing for anyone else, either; I don’t know whether that is actually the case). Their science track head (an American) resigned 6 months in advance of the convention, because he had repeatedly begged them to do capacity planning, and they refused to do so.

    There was plenty more room in the Messukuskus — half of it was empty, and they could have made arrangements in advance to use some or all of that extra space. But they chose not to. And then they sold almost 1,500 one-day passes during the con.

    I am applauding Dublin 2019 for adding the Point Square facility when they realized that the CCD wasn’t going to be enough, and for cutting off membership purchases before the con starts. I don’t know whether that will be enough to avoid capacity issues, but I give Dublin high marks for the steps they’ve taken in that direction.

  8. @Chip Hitchcock

    @Cora Buhlert: that’s an interesting separation; George Harrison, despite being 17, was deported from the Beatles’ first term in Hamburg because he was too young to perform in a nightclub (per Wikipedia — I’ve seen the age-based deportation mentioned elsewhere, but not the exact ruling). Is performance different from consumption, or have the laws changed?

    In general, minors over 16 are allowed to work in places where alcohol is served. This applies to apprentice chefs and waiters, who are often minors, e.g. two of my cousins are chefs and were 16 when they began their apprenticeships. Minors over 16 are even allowed to serve alcohol, as long as it’s beer or wine they would be legally allowed to drink. They are not allowed to serve stronger drinks. And yes, there are teenagers working in bars and the like. One of my students, a 16-year-old girl, served beer at a bar owned by friends of her family a couple of evenings every week.

    The Beatles were in Hamburg almost sixty years ago, so it’s very likely that laws have changed in the meantime. Though I suspect the problem with George Harrison was that the Beatles were performing in nightclubs and the rules for nightclubs are different than for pubs and restaurants. Even today, under 16-year-olds are not allowed to visit nightclubs and concerts on their own, resulting in some very bored parents at boy band concerts. 16-year-old may go to a club or concert on their own, but they are only allowed to stay until midnight.

    Furthermore, the Beatles were performing in Hamburg’s redlight district, where the rules regarding minors are once again different. Reeperbahn, where most of the clubs were, is not a restricted street unlike the nearby Herbertstraße, where the brothels are and prostitutes ply their trade in shop windows. Even today, there are signs outside Herbertstraße and similar streets in other cities that women and minors under 18 are not allowed inside (as a teen, I once asked, “And how do the prostitutes get in then?”), though this is not an actual law. Though prostitutes have been know to holler slurs and sometimes throw things at trespassing women. As a female translator/interpreter, this can be a problem when you’re supposed to show foreign visitors around and they want to take a peek into the restricted streets. Besides, there were and still are plenty of dodgy businesses on Reeperbahn directly next to the clubs, so it’s not really a suitable environment for a teenaged boy on his own.

    Finally, George Harrison was also an unaccompanied minor foreign citizen, where again special rules apply, because he had no parents or guardians in Germany. I have no idea how such cases were treated in the 1960s, but nowadays, unaccompanied minors, mostly teenaged refugees, are given a legal guardian in Germany. They also cannot be deported, unless it’s assured that there is someone taking care of them in their country of origin. I had an unaccompanied minor, a 16-year-old boy from Somalia in my class once and it was always a hassle to get the signature of his German legal guardian for any kind of school activities, because the woman was completely overworked.


    My sympathy for the author is rapidly diminishing. Even though it was explained to her on Twitter that the rule requiring children aged 12 and under to be supervised is part of Ireland’s Child Protection Laws, she continues to put posts on Facebook and Twitter claiming that it’s due to alcohol laws — I guess because the latter gets more people stirred up on her side. 😐

    I do think that Dublin 2019 should be comping childcare for parents to the tune of 2 hours per child for every hour they spend on a panel. And I hope that CoNZealand and other conrunners are paying close attention to the fact that Youth and Minor Policies need to be researched and posted on the website a year ahead of the con, so that there are no last-minute surprises.

  10. @Peer: (Does this drone has a purpose aside from commiting arson? Is it a hunting weapon?) If you follow the video all the way to the end, I think you will see the charred remains of a wasp nest. This doesn’t excuse — wasps have their uses, and I’d question the necessity of eradicating them in places so remote that a drone is useful — but it’s what they show. @errolwi’s mention of overgreened buildings suggests that nests could also be an issue there, but I don’t know whether wasps ever go high on buildings (e.g., as falcons do).

    @JJ: TFTI. cf results I’ve seen when people played “If I Ran the Zoo“, I’m not convinced Dublin’s space calculations can be so precise that they will get useful margin from cutting at-the-doors; 400 out of 6000 (vaguely typical for Worldcons) is noise level, but maybe they’re already very tight and grasping at straws.

    @Cora: very interesting. I had forgotten that the Beatles were performing not just in a club but in a ~dodgy part of town.

  11. Chip Hitchcock: I’m not convinced Dublin’s space calculations can be so precise that they will get useful margin from cutting at-the-doors; 400 out of 6000 (vaguely typical for Worldcons) is noise level, but maybe they’re already very tight and grasping at straws.

    Worldcon 75 sold 1,876 day passes, and Loncon 3 sold 1,610. These probably extrapolate to 600-800 attendees on each of the two weekend days of the con. These are not trivial numbers. One might presume that Dublin would face comparable demand if they did not limit such memberships.

  12. @Chip Hitchcock
    Yes, St. Pauli, particularly the neighbourhood around Reeperbahn, is still a somewhat dodgy area and would have been even more dodgy in the 1960s.

    For those who want to know what the area would have looked like at the time the Beatles were there, here is a semi-documentary film from 1964 about the daily beat of two police officers from the Davidswache police station on Reeperbahn with lots of location footage. At the 44 minute mark, you can see Herbertstraße with the prostitutes in their shop windows.

  13. If the whole con space is one venue licensed for liquor, wouldn’t the minors within that venue with their parents be considered accompanied, even if they weren’t at arm’s length of each other – maybe even at separate events within the venue? What does ‘accompanied’ mean in one venue? IANAL (much less an Irish lawyer).

  14. However, FC St. Pauli is the coolest football team ever, so I’ll give the area a pass.

  15. @Chip Hitchcock So it is a hunting weapon? You hunt Wasps?
    Seriously though: In Germany you cant just kill wasps nests, bc of animal protection rights, but it seems a risky thing to donin any case, literally playing with fire.

  16. @JJ: thanks for information you previously omitted on at-the-doors.
    wrt your declining sympathies for the writer, ISTM that the alcohol laws are indeed involved, because those laws are likely to define the boundaries of an area in which alcohol is ~served. For comparison, my nearest ski area has a sprawling base lodge with a small upper story where alcohol (including beer brewed under their label) and real food are served; this last is the only area where minors require an escort.

    @Jayn: “accompanied” is probably defined by CPS rather than the alcohol control board. I’d define it as meaning being close enough to see — and be heard chastising — unwanted behavior (by the minor, or by someone else toward them).

  17. Chip Hitchcock: ISTM that the alcohol laws are indeed involved, because those laws are likely to define the boundaries of an area in which alcohol is ~served.

    The alcohol laws are indeed involved in the restrictions on the 13-17 year olds. But even if the CCD was dry, the restrictions on 12-and-unders would still be in place, because those are part of the Irish Child Protection laws. Sorry if I wasn’t clear about that.

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  19. Yes, that’s definitely different. OTOOH, I’d call it another committee failure, because kid-in-tow memberships usually don’t cost almost USD100 (what they’re now charging for under-12); ISTM they’re commonly free (or extremely cheap) at US regionals, which figure that having an ID-to-call attached to a self-mobile entity is worth the trivial cost of a badge. If CPS mandates that under-12’s can’t be left at supervised age-suitable events/programming, why should parents be paying for separate memberships? ISTM that Dublin should be investigating getting licensed supervisors-of-small-fry; I assume that such exist, because otherwise parents would have to attend grammar school with their offspring.

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