Pixel Scroll 7/24/2023 Because The Scroll Belongs To Pixels

(1) CHENGDU’S UNIQUE OFFER. The Chengdu Worldcon committee is offering financial and other assistance to at least some Hugo finalists so that they can attend the convention. File 770 has tried to learn who is being offered the help. The Chengdu committee has yet to respond. File 770 is aware of some individual pros and fans who have been contacted. Here is a screencap of the message provided by an uncredited recipient.

File 770 contacted a sampling of finalists to ask if they’d received the message. The following people commented for the record.

John Scalzi got the offer. “I did and I passed, in part because I am already counterscheduled.” 

Ursula Vernon also received the offer: “Whether it was for the Best Novelist or Best Novella, I couldn’t tell you, but I know at least one other person who’s gotten the offer. (I am unable to attend due to health, which takes any questions of whether or not to accept such off my plate.) …They offer visa help though, which, having visited China, is arguably worth more than all the accommodations! ‘Writer’ is not a profession that the people giving visas look kindly on—when I went to Tibet, I listed my occupation as ‘jewelry maker’.”

On the other hand, Olav Rokne, an editor at the fanzines Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog and Journey Planet, said, “Neither Amanda nor I have received such an offer…. So far, nothing for either of the fanzine finalists that I was a part of.”

(2) PICKET DUTY. George R.R. Martin says this year’s strike is “the most important of my lifetime” in “Actors Join the Strike!” at Not A Blog.

…The SAG contract ended on June 30, but the actors gave AMPTP every chance to reach an equitable agreement by extending negotiations to July 12.  That proved to be a futile gesture.  The studios did not move an inch from their previous positions, and still refuse to address some of the most important issues on the table, including AI and payments and residuals from streaming.   They gave the actors no choice but to walk.

As for the writers… well, the studios are not even TALKING to us.   All negotiations between AMPTP and the WGA shut down back in May when the strike started.  It is hard to reach any agreement when  the other side won’t even come to the table.

I joined the WGA in 1986 and have been through several strikes with them.  We made gains in all of them, but some issues are more important than others… and this year’s strike is the most important of my lifetime.  An unnamed producer was quoted last week saying the AMPTP strategy was to stand fast until the writers started losing their homes and apartments, which gives you a hint of what we’re facing.

But we ARE facing it.  I have never seen such unity in the Guilds; the strike authorization votes for both SAG and WGA were as close to unanimous as we are ever likely to see….

Although Martin’s overall deal with HBO was suspended on June 1, he’s not idle.

…I still have plenty to do, of course.   In that, I am one of the lucky ones.   (These strikes are not really about name writers or producers or showrunners, most of whom are fine; we’re striking for the entry level writers, the story editors, the students hoping to break in, the actor who has four lines, the guy working his first staff job who dreams of creating his own show one day, as I did back in the 80s).

Last week we had a great meeting with the producers on THE IRON THRONE, the stage play we’ve been working on the past few years.  The scripts for that one are coming along well, and it’s got me very excited….

(3) MEDICAL UPDATE. Eisner-winning comics artist Colleen Doran told her Patreon supporters (in a public post) she has recovered after being in danger of losing sight in one eye.

…I’ve had other things on my mind. But we are amazed and delighted to win the Eisner Award for Neil Gaiman’s CHIVALRY.

…In even better news (something I really wasn’t talking about until I was sure how things would go,) I was blinded in the left eye in a freak accident which caused an extremely painful corneal ulcer. Still have no idea what happened. But what seemed to be a minor issue had me in the emergency room in a matter of hours. I was in imminent danger of permanently losing sight in the eye, or losing the eye entirely.

…. And I practiced my life as an artist with one eye. Just in case.

I can draw with one eye tied behind my back, and was showing work to my pro peeps to see if they could tell what was drawn with both eyes and what was drawn with one eye.

It’s super not pleasant though, and for awhile my eye was so sensitive to light that even light in my good eye hurt the bad one. I spent days sitting in the dark feeling pretty dark.

Yesterday was the first day I was able to get back to a full slot at the drawing board, as my sight has almost completely returned to normal.

Yesterday was a very good day…

(4) X. John Scalzi is “Preparing My X-it” after today’s rebranding of Twitter as X. He’s not really leaving, he says he will be posting much less frequently. Will he miss it? And what is he moving on to?

…But, one, having your career predicated on how many followers you have on a single site is fraught anyway, and two, this is the nature of social media, isn’t it? Think of all those bands who had hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers on MySpace and then that imploded. And then, three, not everything is about the sheer number of followers. I loved being on Twitter not because I had tens of thousands of people to market to, but because I was having fun. And today, I’m having fun in other places; at the moment I’m especially having fun on Bluesky. Bluesky is tiny and invite-only and at the moment absolutely fucking useless to market one’s self on, and I kinda love it and the conversations I’m having on it. So there’s that….

(5) DOWNLOAD TWO CHINESE FAN WRITERS’ HUGO PACKETS. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] Two of the Chinese Hugo finalists for Best Fan Writer have made their Hugo voter packet submissions publicly available.

  • Arthur Liu aka HeavenDuke aka 天爵 – PDF can be downloaded at this link in either Chinese or English.
  • Riverflow (河流) – PDF — riverflow-pack.pdf; contains both Chinese and English

Both of these include bilingual material that was previously published in Journey Planet and at Strange Horizons; the English language Arthur Liu packet also includes 3 machine-translated essays that hopefully we were able to bash into a moderately acceptable state in the few days we worked on them.  (And as the tweet says, all the errors that didn’t get caught – of which I’m sure there’ll be many – are on my head.)

(6) LA IN 2026. The LA in 2026 Worldcon bid had a table at Pemmi-Con. Thanks to Kevin Standlee for the photo of bid chair Joyce Lloyd.

Their old website has been replaced by “LA in 2026 – Adventure Awaits!” They’re taking presupports here.

Are you stuck in the daily grind, yearning for a taste of the extraordinary? Dreaming of vistas untouched, of stories untold? Welcome!

Join us and embark on a journey where the journey itself is the destination.

LA in 2026 – we don’t just explore places, we uncover stories. We’re not just explorers of mountains, oceans, or galaxies. We’re pioneers of imagination. We traverse magical kingdoms, navigate mythical seas, walk through enchanted forests, and soar with dragons. We don’t just chase the sun, moon, or stars – we unlock the secrets of the cosmos and dance with time.

They have not yet identified the city or venue they are bidding for, although the site selection vote will be held in Glasgow in a little over a year from now.

In addition to Joyce Lloyd, the website names these other members of the bid:

  • Bobbi Armbruster: Vice Chair, Chicon 7; over 40 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Sherri Benoun: Co-Chair, World Fantasy 2019; over 30 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Bert Boden: Over 20 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Steve Cooper: Co-Chair, Loncon 3, 2014; over 20 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Genny Dazzo: Over 30 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Bruce Farr: Co-Chair, World Fantasy 2019, 2001 and 1991; over 40 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Lea Farr: Co-Chair, World Fantasy 2001; over 40 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Sara Felix: Chair, ArmadilloCon 32, 2012; over 20 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink: Over 40 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Shaun Lyon: Co-Founder & Program Director, Gallifrey One (33 years); over 30 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Karin May: DH Staff Services, Chicon 8; over 5 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Christian B. McGuire: Chair, LA Con IV, 2006; Co-Founder & Chair (13 years), Gallifrey One; over 30 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Helen Montgomery: Chair, Chicon 8; Vice Chair, Chicon 7; over 20 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Elayne Pelz: Over 40 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Jerome Scott: Over 30 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Randy Shepherd: Chair, LoneStarCon 3, 2013; Vice Chair, LoneStarCon 2, 1997; over 20 years of Worldcon and convention experience
  • Ben Yalow: Co-Chair, Chengdu 2023: over 40 years of Worldcon and convention experience

(7) WHEN WIKIPEDIA WORKS RIGHT. Immediately after Michele Lundgren was charged as a Michigan fake Trump elector somebody tried to add that information to the first paragraph of her husband Carl Lundgren’s Wikipedia entry.

The attempt ran afoul of Wikipedia’s policy to avoid “Coatrack articles”.

Typically, the article has been edited to make a point about something else. The nominal subject is functioning as an overloaded coat-rack, obscured by too many “coats”… 

A coatrack article fails to give a truthful impression of the subject. In the extreme case, the nominal subject gets hidden behind the sheer volume of the bias subject(s). Thus the article, although superficially true, leaves the reader with a thoroughly incorrect understanding of the nominal subject….

Good call!


“Beginnings”, written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer, is moving to a weekly schedule. One will appear in the Scroll each Wednesday.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 24, 1878 Lord Dunsany whose full name and title was a jaw dropping Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany. So ISFDB lists him as genre for the Jorkens body of work among works. H’h. Gary Turner, who some of you will recognize from Golden Gryphon Press and elsewhere, reviewed The Collected Jorkens: Volumes One, Two, and Three, for Green Man, so I’ve linked to the review here. They also list The King of Elfland’s Daughter which I’m going to link to another review on Green Man as it’s an audio recording with a very special guest appearance by Christopher Lee. (Died 1957.)
  • Born July 24, 1895 Robert Graves. Poet, historical novelist, critic. Author of, among other works, The White Goddess (a very strange book), two volumes called the Greek MythsSeven Days in New Crete which Pringle has on his Best Hundred Fantasy Novels list and more short fiction that bears thinking about. (Died 1985.)
  • Born July 24, 1916 John D. MacDonald. Primarily a mystery writer whose Travis McGee series I enjoyed immensely and which I re-read recently survived the Suck Fairy hovering over my shoulder the entire time despite the misogyny and somewhat regressive politics therein. He wrote a handful of genre works including the sublime The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything. ISFDB lists a collection, End of the Tiger and Other Short Stories, which I presume is genre. Presumably. (Died 1986.)
  • Born July 24, 1936 Mark Goddard, 87. Major Don West, the adversary of Dr. Zachary Smith, on Lost in Space. Other genre appearances were scant. He played an unnamed Detective in the early Eighties Strange Invaders and he showed up on an episode of The Next Step Beyond which investigated supposed hauntings as Larry Hollis in “Sins of Omission”. Oh, and he was an unnamed General in the Lost in Space film.
  • Born July 24, 1945 Gordon Eklund, 78. He won the Nebula for Best Novelette for “If the Stars Are Gods”, co-written with Gregory Benford. They expanded it into a novel which was quite good as my memory says. So would anyone care to tell the story of how he came to write the Lord Tedric series which was inspired by an E.E. Doc Smith novelette? If the Stars Are God is available at the usual suspect as well as Cosmic Fusion, which according to Amazon “was originally written between January 1973 and September 1982, a mammoth 300,000-word epic novel of ‘science fiction, sex, and death.’”
  • Born July 24, 1951 Lynda Carter, 72. Wonder Woman of course. But also Principal Powers, the headmistress of a school for superheroes in Sky High; Colonel Jessica Weaver in the vampire film Slayer;  Moira Sullivan, Chloe Sullivan’s Kryptonite-empowered mother in the “Prodigy” episode of Smallville; and President Olivia Marsdin in one version of Supergirl. 
  • Born July 24, 1964 Colleen Doran, 59.  Comics artist and writer. Work particularly worth noting includes Warren Ellis’ Orbiter graphic novel, Wonder WomanLegion of SuperheroesTeen Titans, “Troll Bridge” by Neil Gaiman and her space opera series, A Distant Soil. She also did portions of The Sandman, in the “Dream Country” and “A Game of You”. She’s tuckerised Into Sandman as the character Thessaly is based on Doran. Her work has received the Eisner, Harvey, Bram Stoker, and International Horror Guild Awards.
  • Born July 24, 1981 Summer Glau, 42. An impressive run of genre roles as she was River Tam in the Firefly franchise, followed by these performances: Tess Doerner in The 4400, Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Bennett Halverson in Dollhouse (is this worth seeing seeing?), Skylar Adams in Alphas and lastly Isabel Rochev who is The Ravager in Arrow. And she appears as herself on The Big Bang Theory in “The Terminator Decoupling” episode. Another series I’ve not seen. 


The Argyle Sweater remembers why one character was dropped from Star Wars.

MUTTS tells us how to calm the Hulk down.

(11) BIGGER THAN A BLOCKBUSTER. While Barbie blew up box offices all over this past weekend, Oppenheimer definitely did not bomb. “Box Office: ‘Barbie’ Opens to Record-Setting $155 Million, ‘Oppenheimer’ Shatters Expectations With $80 Million Debut” in Variety.

“Barbenheimer” is more than just a meme. It’s a full-fledged box office phenomenon.

Over the weekend, moviegoers turned out in force for Greta Gerwig’s neon-coated fantasy comedy “Barbie,” which smashed expectations with $155 million to land the biggest debut of the year. But they also showed up to see Christopher Nolan’s R-rated historical drama “Oppenheimer,” which collected a remarkable $80.5 million in its opening weekend.

Hundreds of thousands of ticket buyers refused to choose just one movie between the seemingly different blockbusters from auteur directors with sprawling casts and twin release dates. So they opted to attend same-day viewings of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” turning the box office battle into a double feature for the ages….

(12) ENDER’S GAME. IRL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] “UK Defense Ministry: Russian children to be taught combat drone operation” reports Kyiv Independent.

…Russian children are to undergo training to learn how to operate combat drones, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported in its July 24 intelligence update.

British intelligence cites Artem Sheikin, a Russian senator, who announced that the curriculum will include lessons in terrain reconnaissance and countering Ukrainian drones.

The move highlights how Russia considers the use of drones “an enduring component of contemporary war.”

The training will be part of the “Basics of Life Safety” course. From Sept. 1, 2023, high school students will be taught how to operate an assault rifle, hand grenade skills and combat first aid, as well as the training on drones, as part of the syllabus.

“Russia’s renewed emphasis on military induction for children is largely an effort to cultivate a culture of militarized patriotism rather than develop genuine capability,” according to the report….

(13) IN HIS CUPS. Camestros Felapton analyzes a book’s recipe for success “Review: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree”.

…The premise is simple. In a D&D-like world, a sword-wielding orc becomes tired of the life adventuring, treasure-finding, dungeon-crawling, monster-slaying shenanigans and decides to quit that life and instead open up a coffee shop. The main obstacle is in this world only the inventive gnome civilisation even knows what coffee is. It is a simple idea, one I’ve even heard called “obvious” (presumably because coffee shops feature in a subset of fan fiction) but as with copyright, the issue is never the obviousness of an idea but its actual execution. In this case, the idea is executed very well indeed….

(14) FUTURAMA. New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons subheads this review: “I’m nostalgic, but I also want that nostalgia to be ridiculed.”


When to watch: Now, on Hulu

“Viewers must binge responsibly, the same way they smoke cigarettes or drink bleach,” quoth Philip J. Fry in this new revival of “Futurama.” Easy enough; Hulu is releasing episodes weekly, which contributes to the throwback vibe.

“Futurama” has been canceled and revived a few times since its initial run on Fox from 1999-2003. In some ways, its superior ability to spring back to life set an un-meetable standard for other shows: An animated series untethered to reality and about giant leaps forward in time has an advantage over live-action series with more specific expiration dates. If anything, the show’s taut sense of humor has become more mainstream, and now it is a contemporary with its descendants.

If you can’t have a good time watching “Futurama,” maybe you can’t have a good time….

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Dariensync, Ersatz Culture, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/24/2023 Because The Scroll Belongs To Pixels

  1. No subscriber notification was sent out for this post.

    I guess we ran out!

  2. Dollhouse is worth seeing only if you are a Joss Whedon completist.

  3. Jetpack, I kill you filthy.

    (4) What the X is Emerald Lad thinking? Evidently, he has a thing for the name X because he wanted to rebrand PayPal as X.com. Of course, focus groups thought it sounded like a p0rn website. And colleagues were likely not impressed, either.

    (11) I’d hoped to see Barbenheimer, but I wasn’t feeling great a couple of days before. So I saw Oppenheimer first, and then I’ll see Barbie as soon as I can.

  4. Anne Marble says What the X is Emerald Lad thinking? Evidently, he has a thing for the name X because he wanted to rebrand PayPal as X.com. Of course, focus groups thought it sounded like a p0rn website. And colleagues were likely not impressed, either.

    Speaking of PayPal. I had to shut down my account there as their security has become a joke. I actually had a phishing attempt within the application this week.

    And since my PayPal account is linked directly to my bank account, i quickly decoupled my PayPal account from my bank account and then terminated that account.

  5. (1) If the Chengdu committee is really paying for the flights, hotels, and ground transportation for the Hugo finalists, that is definitely not a precedent other Worldcons will be following. And it indicates an influx of money from somewhere other than the membership fees.

  6. @Cat Eldridge
    That’s why I refuse to sign up for an account there. If I were going to do that, I’d get a minimum account somewhere and use that instead.

  7. To amplify, Dollhouse has some fairly good explorations of SFnal ideas that don’t get much play in film and TV. It’s also the one where well-attested creep Whedon completely disables the brakes on his id.

  8. 4) X is where the hardcore employees work? I dunno. What Musk is thinking, apparently, is something along the lines of “It’s my company now and I can do what I want with it.” Kind of an expensive hobby, but he can afford it.

  9. @Evelyn C. Leeper–First thing I thought. Membership fees aren’t covering that.

    I’m glad to see the links to the Chinese fan Hugo packets.

  10. (9) I’m a big fan of Robert Graves’ historical novels. Their subjects include historical figures such as Emperor Claudius (of course), but also Jesus, Jason and my favorite, Homer’s Daughter (Nausicaa writes the Odyssey).

    (11) Barbie is terrific, and I want to see it again. Planning to see Oppenheimer next week.

  11. 1) Just to be clear, neither Amanda or I expect to receive such an offer. It’s a generous offer to the finalists they’re inviting, but I in no way think that there’s any obligation to extend it to finalists in every category.

  12. (1) Dutch author Roderick Leeuwenhart tweeted a couple of days ago that he would “be at @chengduworldcon as a guest on invitation by my publisher Science Fiction World! During the convention I’ll join in on several panels about SF and there’ll likely be signing sessions for the Chinese translation of Star Body!”, adding in a follow-up tweet “Thank you to everyone who helped me get here and especially to Sara Chen and Yijing Liu at SFW for their support.”

    Although he doesn’t outright say that his costs etc were being covered by SFW, given that at least 2-3 (IIRC) members of staff of SFW are on the committee of the Chengdu Worldcon, I’d guess it was a similar arrangement to what has been offered to (some) Hugo finalists.

    There may be some wondering who he is – he has 18 books listed on Goodreads, only one of which (barely) broke past 100 user ratings – but it might be worth mentioning that he was on the Science Fiction World recommendation list that was included in a Scroll a couple of weeks ago. (I don’t think he and his book were outright mentioned in the Scroll, as he wasn’t one of the recommendations that made it through to either the leaked or official ballots.)

    That he mentions he’ll be “on several panels” may also indicate that programming plans are more advanced than has been publicly disclosed?

  13. (7) The clip of Michele Lundgren claiming she was duped in the Fake Electors case made it on to Chris Hayes’ show on MSNBC tonight

  14. Summer Glau has just a minor role in Dollhouse. I liked Dollhouse, once it adopted a less serialized format – I think the first couple of episodes are a bit “problem of the week”-ish and once past that it really investigates what that particular idea would bring. Then its quite good.
    Mind you, that was before I knew of Wheadons creepyness, I imagine this show really cn be read very negativly if you know about it.

  15. The Golden Fleece (also known as Hercules, My Shipmate), Robert Graves’s retelling of the Argonautica, made the Retro Hugos list a little while back. You can see some of the ideas in The White Goddess in that.

    The White Goddess is… interesting. It’s an attempt at a sort of unified theory of mythology; Graves argues that the myths handed down to us derive from a clash of two cultures; an iron-using, sun-worshipping patriarchal culture that eventually supplanted and subsumed a matriarchal culture worshipping the Triple Goddess. Graves is a scholar of no mean ability, and he argues his case well… but, in the end, it’s an edifice of speculation based on too little foundation in facts. Definitely worth reading, though.

  16. (1) Just to confirm that the Chengdu offer is not just going to SF professionals because I have received the email (I’m a finalist for Fan Artist this year). We know that signing up significant sponsorship is part of the Chengdu model, but people may remember that the bid flew multiple SF fans to a previous convention in Chengdu as part of the bidding process.

  17. (9) I loved the Claudius novels which I read after seeing the PBS production with Stewart and Jacobi

  18. Dollhouse was also one of those shows that was obviously created with about a four or five season arc to its story, and when they found out they weren’t going to be renewed, they spent the second season galloping through about three seasons’ worth of story. Which in this case I think was to its benefit because a lot of those first season relatively standalone episodes were actually pretty creepy, and not in a good way.

  19. To give some MINOR defense to Dollhouse, some of the problems in the early episodes were network fiat, them insisting on the first episodes being Sexy Missions Of The Week. There’s plenty to lay at Whedon’s feet, but in that, it wasn’t all just him.

  20. @Marshall, it’s also worth noting that “Dollhouse” started out as Eliza Dusku’s show, courtesy of a deal between her and Fox, and it was apparently her idea to bring Joss on board to write. Since Eliza had worked extensively with Whedon before, that’s one informed vote for his creepiness being A: somewhat overstated and B: worth putting up for as the price for his writing talent. Also Amy Acker and of course Summer Glau as supporting votes in that context.

    The show was IMO quite good, and whatever Whedon and/or the network may have intended with the Sexy Missions of the Week, they did a good job of cluing the audience in to the fact that there was something rotten in the Dollhouse. You’re not expected to believe that it’s a good thing for Eliza Dusku to be programmed to be some rich dude’s sex toy.

  21. 7) I certainly agree mentioning his wife in the first paragraph of Lundgren’s Wikipedia entry isn’t appropriate. However, I see nothing wrong with mentioning at some point (such as a personal information section) that his wife attempted felony voter fraud to support a white supremacist party of treason and sedition.

  22. I got mine this morning. I imagine Olav or Amanda got one, too.

    For multiple-person entities, it appears they are offering just ONE free ride. I’m offering it to another member of the team as, for many reasons, I’m not going.

  23. !) I’m surprised it took them this long for the bribe money and general baksheesh to start flowing. That’s Strategy 1A in the Totalitarian Society Having a Big Event playbook.

    2) George is so committed to the strike he started it ten years ago and has been waiting for everyone else to catch up.

    6) That picture is in an entertainingly ironic juxtaposition to the text.

  24. Gideon Marcus: Yes, Olav says he and Amanda received the offer today, too.

  25. This isn’t necessarily a recommendation to watch Dollhouse – the text is good, the subtext is questionable, but it’s short – but one thing I really liked about it is that it’s one series where you don’t go, “Boy, they didn’t really think through the consequences of their one big idea, did they?” when you reach the end.

  26. @ Quatermain: “I’m surprised it took them this long for the bribe money and general baksheesh to start flowing. That’s Strategy 1A in the Totalitarian Society Having a Big Event playbook.”

    That’s certainly one option, but I don’t find it particularly compelling. Consider an alternative, which is that in other related fandoms cons paying for big-name guests to attend is a regular thing, What’s different here is that there’s a major publisher deeply involved (Science Fiction World) and I’d expect that the corporation has a lot more money (and resources) for this kind of thing than a con would.

  27. #6 (LA Worldcon bid)

    I stopped by their table to pre-support and chat this past weekend. The venue ideas they were discussing sounded solid (but were explicitly “just chatting, not for dissemination”).

    Looking over the committee bios, I’m struck by a dual impression. They’re loaded with people who have very long-term Worldcon experience (multiple decades in the majority of cases) … and … they’re loaded with people who have been doing this for a very long time and not so much with people who need to be the “fresh blood” infusions that the Worldcon infrastructure desperately needs.

    I recognize the usefulness of convincing potential voters that you have a committee who knows what they’re doing. But I’ve grown nervous about Worldcon committees that don’t appear to have room for new voices and perhaps more energy reserves.

  28. I’ll chime in by saying DOLLHOUSE is worth watching, despite flaws others noted. To add to what John Schilling was saying about Dushku, not only did she bring on Whedon, but the whole central conceit of the show was an idea she picked out while spitballing with Whedon, explaining that it appealed to her because it resonated with her experience as as an actress and woman in Hollywood.

    It’s uneven, especially in the early going as others say, but I think the cast was very strong among the regulars (I still don’t understand how Enver Gjokaj didn’t become a bigger star), and there’s some really terrific episodes. The late 2nd season episode “The Attic” is the one and only direction credit for John Cassaday, better known for his comic book artwork (he collaborated with Whedon on his X-Men run), and it’s such a visual treat that I’ve never understood why he never directed again.

  29. I watched Dollhouse, though I think I skipped a few episodes because the intentionally creepy parts got too creepy for me (as Elio said, it’s a shame that Enver Gjokaj hasn’t become a superstar because he did such a great job with his role in this). I don’t regret watching it, but I don’t think I’ll rewatch.

  30. Going to be the wet blanket here. Dollhouse was kind of terrible and problematic. It’s Joss Whedon indulging his most misogynistic subtext.

  31. I wonder what he’s going to say when he realizes he can’t have the X.org domain because X is a well-established technology used by millions of people across the world, and backed by a consortium whose members include IBM and Oracle and many more. I’ve been running X for over two decades now! The browser I’m typing on right now is based on X! Never mind other notable Xs, such as the band. X is a well-established trademark in the technology domain, and he’s going to need a pretty narrow scope to establish a new one!

    I mean, on top of all the other reasons this name change is dumb! But honestly, I would have thought he’d have the sense to run a basic trademark search before actually renaming his company! Somehow, I keep overestimating this guy! And my opinion of him has never been particularly good! 🙂

  32. Whoops, forgot to tick the box, so I’ll just add that I’m one of the apparently rare few here who hasn’t even seen Dollhouse. I thought Buffy was decent, but not so good that I felt the urge to see everything the man made!

  33. My recollection of Dollhouse was that I sort of enjoyed the first season — I thought that Eliza Dushku, Enver Gjokaj, and Dichen Lachman were all quite good — but lost interest about halfway through the second. It went into reruns for a few weeks and I realized that I wasn’t missing it even a little bit.

  34. Evelyn C. Leeper on July 24, 2023 at 8:58 pm said:

    (1) If the Chengdu committee is really paying for the flights, hotels, and ground transportation for the Hugo finalists, that is definitely not a precedent other Worldcons will be following. And it indicates an influx of money from somewhere other than the membership fees.

    This has been a known thing from the beginning, although maybe not broadly shared around. Chinese SF cons are typically funded through sponsorships, not membership fees. That’s why they could do things like convert all voting memberships into attending – my understanding is that membership income is just a tiny part of the overall budget. (Let’s not forget that they are constructing a building to hold the thing in!)

    And yes, no future Worldcons should feel beholden to follow in those footsteps.

  35. ArbysMom on July 26, 2023 at 1:41 am said: Neil Gaiman addressed this low-hanging joke on his Tumblr account

    As a rule, I tell jokes for free as a service to humanity at large. But in the event that money ever does change hands it flows to me, not from me.

  36. Xtifr wrote

    I mean, on top of all the other reasons this name change is dumb! But honestly, I would have thought he’d have the sense to run a basic trademark search before actually renaming his company! Somehow, I keep overestimating this guy! And my opinion of him has never been particularly good! ????

    Musk just took the @X Twitter handle, sorry, the @X X handle, away from the guy who already had it. But that was the easy part.

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