Pixel Scroll 7/19/20 A Few Of My Cavorite Things

(1) AMAZING KICKSTARTER. There are only a few days left to contribute to the Amazing Stories Kickstarter campaign and they could use the help: Amazing Stories Year Two – Once More Dear Friends”. The appeal has raised $6,571 of its $12,000 goal with four days to go.

…Think about what we would have missed now if Experimenter Publishing hadn’t decided to revive Amazing Stories as a fiction magazine in 2018. Since then, we have published new fiction from some of the best known authors working in the field today, including Allen Steele, Julie Czerneda, Paul Levinson, Adam-Troy Castro, David Gerrold, Kameron Hurley, Lawrence Watt Evans and S. P. Somtow. We have also featured stories written by exciting new voices, writers who just might become your new favorites, including: Marie Bilodeau, Noah Chinn, Marc Criley, Kathy Critts, Rosie Smith, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm and Neal Holtschulte.

Where would we be for the imagery of the future had it not been for two and a half solid years of cover illustrations by the great Frank R. Paul? We have continued that tradition with some of the best cover artists, Tony Sart, M.D. Jackson, Al Sirois, Tom Barber, Yoko Matsuoka, Vincent di Fate and interior graphic artists like Amanda Makepeace, Matt Taggart, Melisa Des Rosiers, Renan Boe, Ron Miller, Tom Miller, Olivia Beelby, Chukwudi Nwaefulu, Steve Stiles, Phil Foglio and many others working today.

(2) LITERARY DISCOVERY OF THE DAY. Mary Trump apparently was a reader of Omni and of Isaac Asimov notes Michael A. Burstein. From Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump, pages 109-110:

“Is that yours?”

At first I thought she [Ivana] was talking about the gift basket, but she was referring to the copy of Omni magazine that was sitting on top of the stacks of gifts I’d already opened. Omni, a magazine of science and science fiction that had launched in October of that year, was my new obsession. I had just picked up the December issue and brought it with me to the House in the hope that between shrimp cocktail and dinner I’d have a chance to finish reading it.

“Oh, yeah.”

“Bob, the publisher, is a friend of mine.”

“No way! I love this magazine.”

“I’ll introduce you. You’ll come into the city and meet him.”

It wasn’t quite as seismic as being told I was going to meet Isaac Asimov, but it was pretty close. “Wow. Thanks.”

(3) HALFWAY HOME. In the Washington Post, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar list the best science fiction and fantasy of the year so far — plus what we’re looking forward to next. “The City We Became” and “Vagabonds” made waves. Next up: Susanna Clarke’s “Piranesi.” “The best science fiction and fantasy of the year so far — plus what we’re looking forward to next”. Lavie Tidhar commented –

One book I’ve been hugely excited about is Tim Powers’s latest, “Forced Perspectives,” set in the magical underbelly of modern-day Los Angeles. Powers may be the master of the secret history novel (and one of the originators of steampunk), but his recent work has really explored the history and magic of Tinseltown in a way no one else can.

As you can see, I’ve been steering clear of any post-apocalyptic dystopias for some reason — I can’t imagine why!


  • July 1985 — The first Liavek anthology was released by Ace Books. Liavek was edited by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, it’s similar to Thieve’s World though not I think as rough and tumble. It attracted a lot of writers, to wit including Bull, Shetterly, Gene Wolfe, Jane Yolen, John M. Ford, Kara Dalkey, Barry B. Longyear, Megan Lindholm, Nancy Kress, Patricia C. Wrede, Steven Brust, Nate Bucklin, Pamela Dean, Gregory Frost, Charles de Lint, Charles R. Saunders, Walter Jon Williams, Alan Moore and Bradley Denton. Ace would publish a total of five Liavek anthologies over the next five years, and Tor would collect John M. Ford‘s Liavek stories into one volume as well. If you’ve not read them, Will and Emma have re-released them in epub format recently though they’ve reconfigured the stories into new books. They’re all available at the usual digital suspects. (CE)


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born July 19, 1883 Max Fleischer. Animator, film director and producer. He brought such animated characters as Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman to the screen and was responsible for a number of technological innovations including the Rotoscope and Stereoptical Processes. You can see Betty’s first screen appearance in the 1930 Cartoon, “Dizzy Dishes”.  (Died 1972.) (CE)
  • Born July 19, 1921 – Rosalyn Yalow.  Interviewed in Omni.  Middleton, Lasker, Morrison awards.  Fellow of the American Acad. Arts & Sciences.  Nat’l Medal of Science.  Nat’l Women’s Hall of Fame.  A few years ago when a gang of us were playing Excuses, Ben Yalow on his turn said “Excuse me, I have to go watch my mother being given a Nobel Prize.”  He won.  (Died 2011) [JH]
  • Born July 19, 1927 Richard E. Geis. I’m reasonably sure I met at least once when I was living out there. Interesting person.  He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer twice; and whose science fiction fanzine Science Fiction Review won Hugo Awards for Best Fanzine four times. His The Alien Critic won the Best Fanzine Hugo once in a tie with Algol), and once in sole first place. And yes, I enjoyed reading the Science Fiction Review. I’ve not any of his handful of genre novels, and certainly haven’t encountered his soft core porn of which there’s a lot. (Died 2013.) (CE)
  • Born July 19, 1934 – Darko Suvin, Ph.D., 86.  Ten nonfiction studies of SF, two anthologies, two volumes of poetry.  Sixty essays in ExtrapolationFoundationPolarisSF CommentarySF Research Ass’n ReviewStrange Horizons.  Editor of Science Fiction Studies (now emeritus).  Pilgrim Award.  SFera Award.  Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  [JH]
  • Born July 19, 1938 Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, 82. He and Fred Hoyle developed the Hoyle–Narlikar theory. which Stephen Hawking would prove is incompatible with an expanding universe. He also wrote two genre novels, The Return of The Vaman (translated from Marathi) and The Message from Aristarchus. (CE)
  • Born July 19, 1950 – Christina Skye.  Three dozen novels, ten for us; half a dozen shorter stories.  Knitter.  Romantic Times Career Achievement Award.  Under another name, Ph.D. and five books about Chinese classical puppet theater and Chinese folk arts.  Fond of Harris tweed and Shanghai street dumplings.  (Died 2018) [JH]
  • Born July 19, 1953 – Jack Massa, 67.  Eight novels, a half-dozen shorter stories.  New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Georgia, now Florida again with his magical wife and a pet orange tree named Grover.  “I am an outliner, not a pantser.”  Still likes Zorro.  [JH]
  • Born July 19, 1963 Garth Nix, 57. Writer of children’s and young adult fantasy novels, to wit Keys to the KingdomOld Kingdom, and Seventh Tower series. The Ragwitch which I read quite some time ago is quite excellent and being a one-off can give you a good taste of him without committing to a series. (CE)
  • Born July 19, 1966 – Hilary Bell, 54.  Born in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Three novels for us; ten plays, picture books, audio scripts, musical theater.  Aurealis Award for Mirror, Mirror adapting the television show (which she was a writer for).  Parsons, Blewitt, Kocher playwrights’ awards.  Two AWGIE awards (Australian Writers’ Guild).  Website here.  [JH]
  • Born July 19, 1969 Kelly Link, 51. First, let me note that along with Ellen Datlow, she and her husband Gavin Grant were responsible for the last five volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. They all did a magnificent job. All of her collections, Pretty MonstersMagic for Beginners and Get in Trouble are astonishingly good. And she’s much honored having won a Hugo Award, three Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award and received a MacArthur Genius Grant. (CE)
  • Born July 19, 1976 Benedict Cumberbatch, 44. Confession time: I really didn’t care for him in the Sherlock series, nor did I think his Khan In Star Trek Into Darkness was all that interesting but his Stephen Strange In Doctor Strange was excellent. He did do a superb job of voicing Smaug inThe Hobbit and his Grinch voicing in that film was also superb. I understand he’s the voice of Satan in Good Omens… (CE)
  • Born July 19, 1987 – Shane Porteous, 33.  Four novels, ten shorter stories.  Master of the legendary seventy-seven doughnut devouring technique.  Immense passion for the fantastical, especially when it is different, alternative and, if possible, original.  [JH]


  • Ziggy has a UFO joke for geezers.

(7) SHIRE UNKNOWNS. “Lord Of The Rings: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Shire”. I was going to say, “ScreenRant, you’ve got to be kidding!” Then I read the tagline: “For the sake of time, a lot of worldbuilding had to be left out of LotR. Here’s what movies fans don’t know about The Shire.” Well, if you never read the books…

9. The Shire Has Its Own Calendar

The Shire was officially founded in the year 1601 of the Third Age. However, this year is also referred to as Year 1 within the Shire calendar, which is called Shire Reckoning.

Much like our own, the Shire calendar contains twelve months, each with thirty days. The Shire Reckoning officially began when hobbit brothers Marcho and Blanco crossed the Brandywine River and settled in the area. The fertile land of what became the Shire was gifted to the hobbits by King Argeleb II.

Oh hell, even if I did read the books, I don’t remember all of this….

(8) JEMISIN IS INDIE BOOKSTORE ICON. Libro.fm announced N.K. Jemisin as their July Bookstore Champion. (Jemisin also is this year’s Indies First Spokesperson.)

We’re excited to feature N.K. Jemisin as a Libro.fm Bookstore Champion! As the 2019 Indies First Spokesperson, she is an outspoken supporter of independent bookstores. She recently appeared at four independent bookstores (and one library) in a single day to launch The City We Became. Thanks to Jemisin—the first author in history to win three consecutive Hugo Awards for Best Novel for her Broken Earth trilogy—more people are aware of the value and impact of bookstores in their communities. Champions receive a year of audiobooks, Libro.fm gear, and are celebrated for their advocacy across Libro.fm channels.

(9) FANTAGRAPHICS FOUNDER Q&A. Gary Groth, Publisher, Comics Critic, Historian is interviewed by Alex Grand and Jim Thompson. Four hours!

Alex Grand and Jim Thompson video interview Fantagraphics publisher, The Comics Journal co-founder, and Genius in Literature Award recipient Gary Groth, covering his full publishing career starting at age 13, his greatest accomplishments and failures, feuds and friends, journalistic influences and ideals, lawsuits and controversies. Learn which category best describes ventures like Fantastic Fanzine, Metro Con ‘71, The Rock n Roll Expo ’75, Amazing Heroes, Honk!, Eros Comics, Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Love and Rockets, Jacques Tardi, Neat Stuff and the famous Jack Kirby interview; and personalities like Jim Steranko, Pauline Kael,Harlan Ellison, Hunter S. Thompson, Kim Thompson, CC Beck, Jim Shooter, Alan Light and Jules Feiffer. Plus, Groth expresses his opinions … on everything!

[Thanks to Lloyd Penney, Michael A. Burstein, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Contrarius, Chip Hitchcock, John A Arkansawyer, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

24 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/19/20 A Few Of My Cavorite Things

  1. (7) I was obsessed with the various calendar systems back in the 70s when I first read LOTR

  2. [7] It’s all in the appendices at the back of Return of the King.

  3. @4: Liavek may have less random violence than Thieves’ World, but what it has tends (from my recollection of TW) to be much less cartoonish. The contributors to Liavek weren’t nearly as well known (on average) as the early TW contributors, but IMO the results were a lot better.

    @5 (Geis): if you met him, I’m impressed; he was a notorious recluse when I knew of him.

    @5 (Massa): which Zorro?

    @5 (Cumberbatch): I thought his Sherlock was at least plausible given the century-plus date change, and much better than the later scripts. I’ve also seen him do a respectable Hamlet, and his creature in Frankenstein was impressive. One of these days I’m going to dig up Cabin Pressure just to see how he does with mundane comedy.

  4. Chip Hitchcock: @5 (Geis): if you met him, I’m impressed; he was a notorious recluse when I knew of him.

    I never succeeded in meeting him even though we both lived in LA and I subscribed to his fanzine. He stopped going to the Niven poker games before I started going to them (in the early Seventies). Then he moved to Oregon. I rode with Bruce Pelz and others in his van to the 1977 Vancouver Westercon — they stopped to see Geis on the way back, but I’d had to fly home because I couldn’t get the extra time off from work, so I missed my last chance.

  5. We had Dick Geis as a “non-participating” Fan Guest of Honor at the first OryCon (1979), which was the most contact I ever had with him (even though he lived about 1 miles east of me).

    I thought Cumberbatch was brilliant as Holmes, although the scripts started to go downhill at the end.

  6. I thought the series Benedict Cumberbatch starred in was just called “Sherlock” (not “Sherlock Holmes,”

    Michael Burstein: That is an interesting discovery from Mary Trump’s book. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.’

  7. My operating system comes with a program to tell me the Discordian date (“Today is Setting Orange, the 54th day of Confusion in the YOLD 3186”), and my text editor can do conversions to and from many real-world calendars, including the Mayan, but I don’t think I have any software to deal with Middle-Earthean dates. Does anyone have any recommendations?

  8. 7) I don’t see anything in the Annals of the Kings and Rulers or in the Tale of Years to support any King or Steward of Gondor ever claiming Arnor or any of its splinter states until the Fourth Age; in fact, Arvedui Lastking (of Arthedain, not Arnor) made a claim, and not a baseless one, to the crown of Gondor. But Gondor’s nobility rejected the claim and Arthedain was never in a position to do anything about it.

    7bis) At least some of the names of the months in the Shire-reckoning are, in fact, the Old English names of the Julian/Gregorian months. I wouldn’t be shocked if they all were.

  9. Yes, the Shire month names, if not exactly the same as the Old English names, are clearly derived from them.
    Bede quoted the names as: Giuli. Sol-monath, Rhed-monath, Eostur-monath, Thrimylchi, Lida, Lida, Vueod-monath, Haleg-monath, Vuinter-fylleth, Blod-monath, Giuli.
    Tolkien in Appendix D gives: Afteryule, Solmath, Rethe, Astron, Thrimidge, Forelithe, Afterlithe, Wodmath, Halimath, Winterfilth, Blotmath, Foreyule.

  10. Of course, per the Appendices, all of those names were “translated” by Tolkien from their original form into something linguistically suitable (in the same way that Samwise and Hamfast were actually “translations” of the original Banazir and Ranugad.

  11. Chip Hitchcock says Liavek may have less random violence than Thieves’ World, but what it has tends (from my recollection of TW) to be much less cartoonish. The contributors to Liavek weren’t nearly as well known (on average) as the early TW contributors, but IMO the results were a lot better.

    I’ve got all of them sitting in my Dropbox folder as Will sent them along. Anyone interested in reviewing them for whatever zine that you think is appropriate should contact me here.

  12. @Joe H – I remember when I first read that in the Appendices my mind was blown. Although I seem to remember I had some confusion over the Brandywine River. Its Elvish name is Baranduin, I seem to recall, and at one point we’re told the Hobbits corrupted this to Brandywine. Fair enough. But I seem to recall the same Appendix that talks about translations gives the river an entirely different name in the original language. Am I remembering correctly? And if so, how can the pun make any sense?

  13. And a quick google revealed this (both pun and translation are honoured):

    S. place name. Brandywine, Brandywine, (lit.) Brown River, Brown River, long gold-brown river

    The Sindarin name of the Brandywine river in the shire (LotR/210). It is a combination of baran “brown” and duin “river”, thus literally meaning “Brown River” (LotR/1138). As discussed by Tolkien at the end of Appendix F, the English name “Brandywine” is a punning alteration of the name rather than a translation, based on the similar Westron punning-form Bralda-hîm “Heady Ale”, a variation on the proper Westron form Branda-nîn.

    Conceptual Development: In Lord of the Rings drafts from the 1940s, this name first appeared as N. Branduin (TI/61). In The Etymologies, it appeared in both forms Branduin and Baranduin, already with the etymology given above (Ety/BARÁN, EtyAC/DUI). At several point in the drafts, it was changed to Malevarn, but this was only a transient name (TI/66, PM/39).”

  14. @Chip
    You really should listen to Cabin Pressure, it starts well and gets better.
    It’s being rerun on Radio 4 right now so it’s accessible world wide on iPlayer
    First few episodes have dropped off, but there’s little episode to episode continuity, and even less at the start.

  15. James Davis Nicoll says Liavek in its original form was much better than Thieves World.

    I’d say they still are but I would say that since I’m biased by knowing many of those involved.

    I wonder what your Young People would make of the stories.

  16. @Cat Eldridge: I wonder what your Young People would make of the stories. Ooh, ooh, yes! 35-year-old stories may not be as classic as the ones @JDN has been working with, but I suspect his panel hasn’t seen them.

    @Xtifr: are we given anywhere (in Tolkien’s own work or in a seriously plausible deduction) a clear binding between dates in any Age and any this-world dating system? I’d be suspicious of a calendar app claiming this absent clear info. I’d be suspicious even given a single date binding, because I doubt Tolkien was enough of a calendar geek to have sorted out exactly how many days in the standard months, which one got the standard leap day, and how to deal with the rounding error that required replacing Julian with Gregorian in our dating.

    @NickPheas: thanks for the pointer! I’ve tried one and found Cumberbatch sneering less than one might be used to; I think they’d be more entertaining without the laugh track (or even the laughing live audience, if that’s what they are), but I liked how they worked with the script instead of trying to mug for the microphone. (What’s the audio equivalent of mugging?)

  17. @Chip Hitchcock: From Appendix D (Shire calendar):

    In Númenor calculation started with S.A. 1. The Deficit caused by deducting 1 day from the last year of a century was not adjusted until the last year of a millennium, leaving a millennial deficit of 4 hours, 46 minutes, 40 seconds. This addition was made in Númenor in S.A. 1000, 2000, 3000. After the Downfall in S.A. 3319 the system was maintained by the exiles, but it was much dislocated by the beginning of the Third Age with a new numeration: S.A. 3442 became T.A. 1. By making T.A. 4 a leap year instead of T.A. 3 (S.A. 3444) 1 more short year of only 365 days was intruded causing a deficit of 5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds. The millennial additions were made 441 years late: in T.A. 1000 (S.A. 4441) and 2000 (S.A. 5441). To reduce the errors so caused, and the accumulation of the millennial deficits, Mardil the Steward issued a revised calendar to take effect in T.A. 2060, after a special addition of 2 days to 2059 (S.A. 5500), which concluded 5½ millennia since the beginning of the Númenórean system. But this still left about 8 hours deficit.

    Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 1108). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

    This is just an excerpt to show how far into the weeds he got with some of the calculations.

  18. @Chip Hitchcock: About all that we can say is that the length of time between the Great Years and now can’t be too far from a multiple of 26,000 years, based on where the Pleiades are on a September evening.

    (Though I am sure that JRRT intended less to make a story that could have been in our past than to make a story that a Mercian would have thought possible to be in their past.)

  19. @Joe H: fascinating! It’s what I would have expected of a certain specialty of Oxford don — but I wouldn’t have guessed that a philologist who built stories as something of an extension of his studies would also have gotten into calendar mechanics.

Comments are closed.