Pixel Scroll 7/29/22 I Can Pixel All The Airs From That Credential’d Nonsense Scrollafore

I’ve been having a brutal time getting online all afternoon. And having suitably paranoid thoughts that my internet provider knows I spent the morning trying to replace its service (only to discover the company that had been sending me its advertising doesn’t actually cover my address), and is punishing me for my disloyalty. Therefore I have prepared this placeholder which I will load if I can get online long enough to do so. And I will add the rest of the birthdays later, since I assume at some point things will start working again

(1) BAEN WRITERS REMEMBER ERIC FLINT. On the Baen Free Radio Hour, Griffin Barber hosts and participates in a roundtable remembrance of the late Eric Flint, featuring David Weber, Charles E. Gannon, Kevin Ikenberry, and Bjorn Hasseler.

(2) PAUL COKER (1929-2022). MAD Magazine artist Paul Coker died July 23. Coker’s first appearance in Mad was in 1961; he has since gone on to illustrate over 375 articles for the magazine. In 1968, he illustrated the Mad paperback MAD for Better or Verse; written by Frank Jacobs, the first of eight all-new paperbacks drawn by Coker. In 2002, the magazine also published a collection of “Horrifying Cliches,” the long-running feature that featured Coker art. Coker also was a production designer on more than a dozen Rankin/Bass specials and shorts, including Frosty the SnowmanSanta Claus Is Comin’ to TownThe Year Without a Santa ClausRudolph’s Shiny New Year and The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town.

(3) MEMORY LANE.  

2011 [By Cat Eldridge.] Just twelve years ago on this date, a rare beast slouched forth. Cowboys & Aliens was an SF Western film which was directed by Jon Favreau with the cast Daniel Craig as the memory fogged cowboy and Harrison Ford as a wealthy landowner, and Olivia Wilde as a mysterious traveller. Yes, they got top billing. 

It was based off the rather excellent graphic novel created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley, with art by Dennis Calero and Lucian Lima. It’s available from the usual suspects as a Meredith moment as it only seven dollars. Do be very careful what you download as there’s a not so choice bit of erotica called Cowboys & Aliens as well. Really. Truly. There is. 

The screenplay by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby from the  story by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby and Steve Oedekerk. Notes about the film by Orci and Kurtzman says they thought it has a strong Trek and a Indy Jones feel. 

Before Universal Studios picked up the option, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Studios, Fox Family Films, Columbia Pictures, Walt Disney Entertainment, and Paramount Pictures passed out on it. Mind you Universal Studios didn’t take all the financial risk here as they formed a complex consortium of DreamWorks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Relativity Media, Imagine Entertainment, K/O Paper, Products Fairview Entertainment and Platinum Studios. 

Oh I’d loved to have seen the profit sharing paperwork there! Not that there weren’t any as it made just ten million over its production costs of one hundred and sixty four million. With publicity costs, it definitely lost money.

SPOILERS! BEWARE! GO AWAY!

A mysterious men with no memories wearing alien tech.  Corpses that come back to life. Aliens kidnapping locals for nefarious reasons. Well to mine gold. Huh?  A lot of this could fit into The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. episode if you tried. Sorry it just felt that way to me watching it. 

It ends happily, more or less, for almost everyone still living with the townsfolk using the gold after after the Aliens have been killed off to rebuild the flatten town, and the Mysterious Stranger, no not the Olivia Wilde character, but the character with the alien tech allowed to leave town.  

IT’S SAFE TO COME BACK NOW. REALLY IT IS.

It’s not bad but I’ll note the mixing of genres didn’t please many critics. As the Salon reviewer said it was “a mediocre western clumsily welded to a mediocre alien shoot-’em-up”. And Slant concluded that “Cowboys & Aliens mashes up genres with a staunch dedication to getting everything wrong, making sure that each scene is more inane than the one that preceded it.”

It has a forty-three rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. 

(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Born July 29, 1915 Kay Dick. Author of two genre novels, The Mandrake Root and At Close of Eve, plus a collection, The Uncertain Element: An Anthology of Fanta. She is known in Britain for campaigning successfully for the introduction of the Public Lending Right which pays royalties to authors when their books are borrowed from public libraries. There should be a statue of her for that. She’s not available in digital or print currently. (Died 2001.)

Born July 29, 1927 Jean E. Karl. She founded Atheneum Children’s Books, and she edited the beginning of Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea sequence and Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence. As an author, she wrote three genre novels, Strange Tomorrow, Beloved Benjamin Is Waiting and But We Are Not of Earth, and a reasonable amount of short fiction, all of which is In the Clordian Sweep series. Nine of those stories are in The Turning Point collection. The Turning Point collection is available from the usual suspects. (Died 2000.)

Born July 29, Curtis C. Smith. Editor of Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, plus two genre biographies, Olaf Stapledon: A Bibliography with co-author Harvey J. Satty, and Welcome to the Revolution: The Literary Legacy of Mack Reynolds. Not active since the mid Eighties as near as I can tell. Clute in EoSF notes “The brief biographical sections are generally accurate; the critical pieces vary in quality, with some excellent short essays by a wide range of authors; but the bibliographies are flawed by a murkily inconsistent methodology (perhaps due to the series’ house style), and are error-strewn.” (Died 2014.)

Born July 29, 1941 David Warner. Being Lysander in that A Midsummer Night’s Dream was his first genre role. I’m going to do just highlights after that as he’s got far too extensive a genre history to list everything. So he’s been A Most Delightful Evil in Time Bandits, Jack the Ripper in Time After Time, Ed Dillinger / Sark in Tron, Father in The Company of Wolves, Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, The Creature in Frankenstein, voice of Ra’s al Ghul on Batman: The Animated Series and Abraham Van Helsing on Penny Dreadful. (Died 2022.)

Born July 29, 1888 Farnsworth Wright. Editor of Weird Tales, editing an amazing 179 issues from November 1924–March 1940. Mike Ashley in EoSF says, “Wright developed WT from a relatively routine horror pulp magazine to create what has become a legend.” His own genre fiction is generally considered undistinguished. He also edited during the Thirties, Oriental Stories and The Magic Carpet. The work available digitally is a poem, “After Two Nights of the Ear-ache”. He was nominated at Loncon 3 for a Best Editor Retro Hugo. (Died 1940.)

Born July 29, 1956 Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, 66. Author of the India set magical realist The Brotherhood of the Conch series. She also has three one-off novels, The Palace of Illusions, The Mistress of Spices, and her latest, The Forest of Enchantments. Her website is here.

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

15 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/29/22 I Can Pixel All The Airs From That Credential’d Nonsense Scrollafore

  1. Cowboys & Aliens, from what you related, instantly brings to mind a movie I saw back in the eighties at a con: Laserblast, about which let me just say that afterwards, half a dozen of us stood near the elevators, trying to figure out what the plot was. Out best guess is that at one point, the kid uses the alien arm-weapon to blast a SW billboard, and the aliens (who were marvelously done, but there were only a few minutes of them) were agent of George Lucas….

  2. (3) I found Cowboys & Aliens just a really fun movie. I’m not saying it made sense, or that it was great cinematic art, but it was a lot of fun.

  3. When that I was and a little tiny fan,
    With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
    No one did worry if my verses would scan,
    For the file it scrolleth every day.

    But when I came to fan’s estate,
    With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
    ‘Gainst bots and trolls fen shut their gate,
    For the file it scrolleth every day.

    But when at a con did I arrive,
    With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
    By swaggering could I never thrive,
    For the file it scrolleth every day.

    A great while ago the world begun,
    With hey, ho, the pixel and the scroll,
    But that’s all one, our file is done,
    And we’ll strive to please you every day.

  4. @Mike,
    Hope your Internet Provider issues are quickly resolved!

    I too enjoyed “Cowboys & Aliens” for what it was; a popcorn movie.

  5. 0) I can scroll pixels from the vasty file.

    3) It had cowboys and it had aliens, so I was satisfied.

  6. 3.) Cowboys and Aliens had some very nice visuals. Not saying anything more. And since I’m a fan of both Western settings and the dynamics of certain Western stories (ooh are there ever some clashes between social classes possible to tell in that setting), as well as being a SF fan, I enjoyed it.

    But as a horsewoman? One of my absolute favorite things about this movie was the spade and bosalito* setup on Harrison Ford’s horse. Entirely the sort of thing that a proud rancher and horseman would use, and there were no weird switches of horses within scene chase or riding sequences (there are some, classic regular Westerns that fail in that aspect–Silverado, I’m looking at you!).

    *Bosalito–a very small in diameter noseband and headstall, connected usually to a continuous horsehair rein with a length that is tucked in the rider’s belt–a “McCarty” or getdown rope, used to tie or hold a horse (horses were NOT tied by bridle reins, Bonanza notwithstanding). Spade bit–the ultimate in Western horsemanship, the equivalent of a highly trained dressage horse in a double bridle and the mark of a trained, finished horse. Long shanks, a particular mouthpiece style that looks terrifyingly severe but in a trained horse with a rider with trained hands allows for the lightest of touches. A good spade will balance upright on a flat palm and encourages the horse to carry it in balance. It’s not a beginner bit for horse or rider.

    Now there are milder mouthpieces with those elaborate shanks, and that’s probably what Ford was using, unless he’s a better rider than most Hollywood actors. But I appreciated that little detail.

  7. I can scroll pixels from the vasty deep! (Why, so can I, and so can any fan.)

  8. I’ve watched “Cowboys & Aliens” several times when it runs on cable. Great film!

    I used to visit Jean Karl when I went to the Chanin Building, corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street. The Atheneum offices were on the same floor as those of Davis Publications, and the American Booksellers Association. A wonderful editor, a major influence on fantasy publishing!

  9. A couple months ago, there was a mention here that the Georgia Review was going to serialize Samuel R. Delany’s novel-in-progress. I subscribed and got the Summer issue the other day, which includes 12 pages or so of the work. However, the editor says that upon reviewing the second installment, he’s decided this isn’t the right place for it going forward, although part two is “a gripping episode presented with the sophistication of thought and artistry …” Methinks something else is going on here.

  10. Bob Roehm says A couple months ago, there was a mention here that the Georgia Review was going to serialize Samuel R. Delany’s novel-in-progress. I subscribed and got the Summer issue the other day, which includes 12 pages or so of the work. However, the editor says that upon reviewing the second installment, he’s decided this isn’t the right place for it going forward, although part two is “a gripping episode presented with the sophistication of thought and artistry …” Methinks something else is going on here.

    So how was those twelve pages? Interesting? Worth reading?

  11. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 7/30/22 I Can Scroll Pixels From The Vasty File | File 770

  12. (4) Kay Dick is INDEED in print! Their title ‘They’ is available by McNally Editions. It was just published earlier this year. Have not read it though, so cannot offer an opinion as too whether or not it’s good or genre.

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