Pixel Scroll 7/3/20 The Filing Sorcerers

(1) ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER. Minneapolis’ DreamHaven Books, boarded up after being vandalized, was  told by the city to get rid of the grafitti on the building. Wendy Comeau told followers:

Well, I just received a letter from the City of Minneapolis Graffiti Enforcement department. They’re DEMANDING I remove the graffiti from my building by July 6 or face fines and fees for removal. Want to see the graffiti?

I am so angry I had to go down the basement to spit and rage for a bit. This is what the City of Minneapolis has to worry about right now – boarded up businesses with supportive sayings painted on their storefronts. (btw – the boards have already been removed but that doesn’t make me less angry).

On the store’s website, Wendy Comeau posted their open hours and other updates.

We have re-opened since the break-in and are keeping the hours Monday – Saturday, Noon – 6pm. Except, of course, this coming Saturday will be the Fourth of July, and we will not be open. Here’s hoping we all have an excellent holiday weekend.

(2) FREEDOM RINGS ON JULY 4. Tomorrow, July 4, Somtow Sucharitkul will be giving away three of his sff novels, written as S.P.Somtow. You can download these free Kindle Edition Science Fiction books for 48 hours on July 4th and 5th (Pacific Standard Time):

(3) BOMBS AWAY. Is this also the right season for the wrong kind of fireworks? Yahoo! reminds reads about “The Biggest Box Office Bombs of the Past Decade”. Plenty of genre here, unfortunately. Right at the top of the list, in fact –

  • Biggest total loss: “Mars Needs Moms” (2011) is the biggest box office failure on this list, with a net loss of $111,007,242.

(4) MURDERBOT IN THE PIPELINE. Martha Wells’ next Murderbot novella is coming in April 2021. I don’t think I need to worry about spoiling somebody else’s cover reveal anymore, so here it is.

No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!


(5) SANS SUPERHEROES. [Item by Chip Hitchcock.] New York Times critic A. O. Scott discusses “A Summer Without Superheroes”. (Probably paywalled, but this early in the month people may still have article access.) IIRC, Abigail Nussbaum’s discussion of this was Pixeled some years ago; this version is not necessarily surprising but very focused.

It’s hardly news that we live in an age of polarization. For at least the past dozen years, the public has been pressed to choose between obedience to a smug, privilege-hoarding neoliberal elite or allegiance to a belligerent ideology rooted in negation, self-pity, resentment and revenge. You can worship the avatars of an imperial status quo that regards you as a data point or bow down to idols of grievance.

Do you embrace winners or root for underdogs? Do you fantasize about world government or vigilante justice? Or do you find yourself drifting from one pole to another, hoping to find something to satisfy longings — for safety, for danger, for solidarity, for fun — that are themselves often unstable and contradictory? Satisfaction is intermittent and fleeting. Disappointment is the norm. Couldn’t there be a real alternative, an escape from the grip of Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner Bros.?

What did you think I was talking about? I know the analogy is imperfect, but maybe it isn’t really an analogy at all. Popular culture and politics exist on the same wavelength and work together to shape our shared consciousness. The fantasies we buy into with our attention and money condition our sense of what it is possible or permissible to imagine. And the imagination of Hollywood in the franchise era — the age of I.P.-driven creativity and expanded-universe cinema — has been authoritarian, anti-democratic, cynical and pseudo-populist. That much of the politics of the past decade can be described with the same words is hardly an accident.

Don’t @ me. I’m not trying to insult fans of “Suicide Squad” or “Ant-Man.” I’ve done enough of that already, and anyway, the quickness of so many partisans to take offense counts as evidence in support of my argument. Fandom can be a form of benign, nurturing tribalism, a mode of participation beyond mere consumption. But it has devolved recently into sullen passivity, which occasionally erupts into toxic rage.

(6) OCTAVIA BUTLER. Open Culture invites readers to “Behold Octavia Butler’s Motivational Notes to Self”

…Identifying as a writer helped her move beyond her crippling shyness and dyslexia. As she wrote in an autobiographical essay, “Positive Obsession”:

“I believed I was ugly and stupid, clumsy, and socially hopeless. I also thought that everyone would notice these faults if I drew attention to myself. I wanted to disappear. Instead, I grew to be six feet tall. Boys in particular seemed to assume that I had done this growing deliberately and that I should be ridiculed for it as often as possible.

“I hid out in a big pink notebook—one that would hold a whole ream of paper. I made myself a universe in it. There I could be a magic horse, a Martian, a telepath….There I could be anywhere but here, any time but now, with any people but these.

She developed a lifelong habit of cheering herself on with motivational notes, writing them in her journals, on lined notebook paper, in day planners and on repurposed pages of an old wall calendar.

(7) CHUCK TINGLE JR.? Nate Hoffelder challenged readers of Camestros Felpaton to “Guess who has two thumbs, and noticed that Cirsova never registered a DotCom domain?” Cirsova publisher P. Alexander recently tried to brand SFWA as a terrorist group for its support of Black Lives Matter. So while you’re guessing, try and guess where the newly-registered http://www.Cirsova.com domain takes you?


  • July 3, 1985 Back to the Future premiered. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. Bob Gale and Neil Canton were the producers. It of course starred Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover. It would win the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation at ConFederation besting LadyhawkeCocoonBrazil and Enemy Mine. Critics loved it with Ebert comparing it to Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. It was a box office success being the top grossing film of the year. And the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a 94% rating. 


These are Rolling Stone’s nominees for “The 20 Best Time-Travel Movies”. In the middle of the list is:

8. ‘Run Lola Run’ (1998)

The crimson-haired Lola (Franka Potente) gets a phone call from her boyfriend: He’s lost a bag with 100,000 deutschemarks, and if he doesn’t find it or replace it in the next 20 minutes, his criminal boss will kill him. So Lola runs through Berlin, dodging bicyclists, causing car accidents, provoking flash-forward sequences of the destiny of various pedestrians, trying to find a way out. Each time she fails, the 20-minute time loop starts again — it seems to be powered by love and the absence of cash.

(10) BERNSTEIN OBIT. “Byron ‘Reckful’ Bernstein, Popular Twitch Streamer, Dies at 31” reports Variety. Bernstein died by suicide.

Bernstein went by the name Reckful on Twitch, where he was best known for his “World of Warcraft” streams and had over 936,000 followers. Most recently, Bernstein had been working as a developer on his own video game, “Everland,” which was set to release later this year.


  • July 3, 1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day premiered. It was produced and directed by James Cameron, who co-wrote the script with William Wisher. It came out seven years after Terminator was released. It starred  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, and Edward Furlong.  It was a critical success upon its release, with lavish praise going towards the cast, the story, and its visual effects. It made the studio a really incredible amount of money, and the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a stellar 93% rating. 
  • July 3, 1996 Independence Day premiered. It was directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich. It was produced by Dean Devlin who also wrote it with Emmerich.  The film had a very large cast that included Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Harvey Fierstein, Vivica A. Fox and Harry Connick Jr.  Critics Inside the USA generally loved it whereas critics outside condemned its hyper-patriotism. The box office here and overseas was such that only Jurassic Park has earned more money. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a solid 75% rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born July 3, 1860 – Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  I’m a fan of her book Herland myself; about it and With Her in Ourland and CPG’s newsletter The Forerunner see my note here (commenters helped); at Loscon 44 we discussed Herland (I said “it’s a sermon; but it’s neat, imaginative, warm-hearted”) and at Westercon 71 too.  William Dean Howells said CPG had the best brains of any woman in America.  (Died 1935) [JH]
  • Born July 3, 1883 – Franz Kafka.  At his death Amerika and The Trial and The Castle were all unfinished and he said they should be destroyed.  Hmm.  Alas for my memory, it was Wilson, not Nabokov, who wrote “With a rumble-de-bum and a pifka-pafka / Came the fife-and-drum corps parading for Kafka”.  However, don’t miss N’s discussion of K’s “Metamorphosis”; this book is worth your while; the Kafka Project has put N’s lecture here.  A hundred shorter stories.  Translated into Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish.  (Died 1924) [JH]
  • Born July 3, 1898 E. Hoffmann Price. He’s most readily remembered as being a Weird Tales writer, one of a group that included Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. He did a few collaborations, one of which was with H. P. Lovecraft, “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”. Another work, “The Infidel’s Daughter”, a satire on the Ku Klux Klan, also angered many Southern readers. (Died 1988.) (CE)
  • Born July 3, 1926 William Rotsler. An artist, cartoonist, pornographer and SF author. Well that is his bio. Rotsler was a four-time Hugo Award winner for Best Fan Artist and one-time Nebula Award nominee. He also won a Retro Hugo for Best Fan Artist in 1946 and was runner-up for 1951. He responsible for giving Uhura her first name, and created “Rotsler’s Rules for Costuming”. (Died 1997.) (CE)
  • Born July 3, 1927 Ken Russell. Film director whose Altered States, based off of Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay, is certainly his best-remembered film. Though let’s not overlook The Lair of the White Worm he did off Bram Stoker’s novel, or The Devils, based at least in part on The Devils of Loudun by Aldous Huxley. (Died 2011.) (CE)
  • Born July 3, 1937 Tom Stoppard, 83. Playwright of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil (with Terry Gilliam) and Shakespeare in Love (with Marc Norman). He’s uncredited but openly acknowledged by Spielberg for his work on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. (CE)
  • Born July 3, 1938 – Jerry Podwil, 82.  Six dozen covers.  Here is Babel-17.  Here is The Sky Is Filled With Ships.  Here is The “Fantastic Universe” Omnibus.  Here  is The Demolished Man.  [JH]
  • Born July 3, 1939 – Bart Forbes, 81.  Here is The Weapon Shops of Isher.  Here is The Worlds of A.E. Van Vogt.  Here is The Wind Whales of Ishmael.  Outside our field, postage stamps (here is Sarah Vaughan), The Ladies’ Home Journal, sports (baseball, golf, Kentucky Derby; official artist for the 1988 Summer Olympics; The Sports Art of Bart Forbes), landscapes (here is First Light).  Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.  [JH]
  • Born July 3, 1947 – Mel Gilden, 73.  A score of novels, including one each for Star Trek Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine; a dozen shorter stories; Fifth Grade Monsters; translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguese; reviews in Locus; five years co-host of Hour 25.  Thirty more books outside our field.  [JH]
  • Born July 3, 1962 Tom Cruise, 58. I’m reasonably sure his first genre role was as Jack in Legend. Next up was Lestat de Lioncourt in Interview with the Vampire followed by being Ethan Hunt in the first of many excellent Mission Impossible films. Then he was John Anderton in the abysmal Minority Report followed by Ray Ferrier in the even far more abysmal War of The Worlds. I’ve not seen him as Maj. William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow so I’ve no idea how good he or the film is. Alas he was Nick Morton in, oh god, The Mummy. (CE)
  • Born July 3, 1964 Joanne Harris, 56. Though her novel Chocolat which was adapted the following year into the film Chocolat is what she’s best known for, she has a most excellent YA series in which the Norse gods are still with us in Runemarks and Runelight. She’s also written a Third Doctor novella, “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller“.  (CE)
  • Born July 3, 1970 – Kate Messner, 50.  A dozen chapter books in her series Ranger in Time; four novels; more outside our field (e.g. 59 Reasons to Write for teachers: “Only by engaging in the real work of writing can teachers become part of the writing community they dream of creating for their students”).  She says she is “passionately curious and writes books that encourage kids to wonder”.  [JH]


  • Is this Herman cartoon about astrology, astronomy, or perhaps both?

(14) JEAN-LUC PICCOLO. Variety profiles the sff theme music up for awards: “Yodas, Witchers and Trekkies, Oh My! Sci-Fi and Fantasy Contenders Eye Emmys Music Gold”.

Baby Yoda. Jean-Luc Picard. A medieval witcher. A world where fairies have sex with humans. Steve Carrell aiming for the moon. A science-fiction anthology. The fantasy and sci-fi realms prospered on TV during the past season, particularly with the help of several gifted composers….

… Emmy winner Jeff Russo (“Fargo”) has assumed the mantle of “Star Trek” composer, first with his music for “Discovery” and now the “Picard” series, which returns Patrick Stewart to the role of Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard. His theme may be the most gentle and intimate of all the “Trek” themes to date, with prominent solos for piccolo and cello.

(15) CAT DOWN UNDER. Atlas Obscura has photos of a statue that honors an adventurous seafaring cat.

OUTSIDE SYDNEY’S MITCHELL LIBRARY stands a statue of Matthew Flinders, the celebrated English navigator and cartographer who helped map Australia, declared it a continent, and was influential in giving it its current name. On a window ledge behind the statue stands a bronze figurine of Flinders’s faithful cat, Trim, who accompanied the seafarer on many of his adventures.    

The story of Trim begins in 1799, when he was born aboard the ship HMS Reliance as it sailed from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay. There were a handful of cats on board to keep pests at bay, but Trim soon became a favorite of the crew and the ship’s 25-year-old lieutenant, Flinders….

(16) GOLLUM READS THE HOBBIT. GameSpot teed up this piece of Tolkien-related news: “Andy Serkis Records New Audiobook For The Hobbit, And It Sounds Fantastic”.

Book company Harper Collins is making a new audiobook for The Hobbit that is read by none other than Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in the movies.

The announcement of this new version comes after Serkis did a marathon reading of The Hobbit for charity back in May. For this new audiobook, Serkis is donating his payment to the Disasters Emergency Committee, and Harper Collins UK is matching it.

You can listen to a snippet from the recording below. It’s a delight, which really should be no surprise given that Serkis has such a phenomenal voice.

(17) TOLKIEN IN HIS OWN VOICE. “:J.R.R. Tolkien Discussing The Lord Of The Rings (1960s Interview)” is an 11-minute excerpt from an interview Tolkien gave sometime in the 1960s.

(18) GENRETHON 2020. Otherworld Theatre, Chicago’s premier Science Fiction and Fantasy theatre, presents GenreThon 2020 an Online Celebration of Nerdom In Comedy from Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12 on their YouTube digital platform! Access is FREE and can be subscribed to here

This geek and genre-centric comedy celebration features headliners: Improvised Jane Austen, voted the Best Improv Troupe in the Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago 2019”. Also headlining are Improvised Star Trek,  BATSU!– An Improvised Japanese Game Show, and The Dandies Present: Holodeck Follies. Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts take note, the festival also features Otherworld mainstay Out On A Whim’s Improvised D&D and headliner The Queens of Adventure.  Additionally,  Otherworld fan favorite Dork Court returns as an all digital experience, “Animal Crossing vs. Sims”.  Also featured are a staged reading of a new Stupid Shakespeare play by Phillip Zimmerman, “Two Gentlemen of Bikini Bottom” and from the Push Theatre in Virginia, “Venetian Blinds”.  Fan favorites from GENRETHON 2019 also making their return are Improvised Riverdale, Geekspeare, Geektastic and Mass Street Production’s classic murder mystery “Care For A Corpse”, and so much more. 

(19) GUYS AND DOLLS. James Davis Nicoll says Tor.com turned down his “Husbands of Science Fiction” – even though it has the requisite five subjects. Is that not enough? Consider the first husband on the list:

…The oldest example of what I am thinking of is Mary Shelly. She is revered for having arguably created the science fiction field with her classic Frankenstein. Her husband, failed swimmer Percy, was also an author, apparently. By all accounts as easy on the eyes as he was unable to master certain animal urges, Percy reportedly dabbled in poetry of one sort of another. Perhaps best known is Percy’s Ozymandias, about an old damaged statue that someone has failed properly maintain. Men like simple household tasks like spackling and carpentry; one can see why poetry about statue maintenance would appeal.

(20) LEAKY CAULDRON AND MUGGLENET. “Harry Potter fan sites reject author’s trans comments”:BBC has the story.

Two leading Harry Potter fan sites have publicly distanced themselves from author JK Rowling over her recent comments about transgender people.

The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet sites said they would no longer use photos of Rowling or link to her own website.

Speaking jointly, they said her views on “marginalised people [were] out of step with the message of acceptance and empowerment we find in her books”.

The stars of the Potter films have also spoken out against Rowling’s remarks.

…In their statement, the Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet sites said it was “difficult to speak out against someone whose work we have so long admired”.

Yet they said it be “wrong” not to distance themselves from Rowling’s “harmful and disproven beliefs about what it means to be a transgender person”.

(21) VIDEO OF THE DAY. A swift completes its appointed rounds…. Gizmodo notes how “Artificial Feathers Let This Robotic Bird Fly With Incredible Agility”.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, JJ, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Nate, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to Daniel Dern.]

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50 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/3/20 The Filing Sorcerers

  1. (8) My schoolboy German translates that as “He was never on time for school, and always late for dinner. Then one day he was years early…”

  2. (21) More like swallows than swifts, to my eyes. (There’s a flock of swifts that lives in the Orange line overpass down the street from me. It’s a treat to watch them, and they giggle when they’re flying.)

  3. 19) Very interesting conceit. It’s hard to determine just what is being satirized here, and maybe that’s what the author intended.

  4. 19: The snark is strong with this one.

    15: I saw that! There was a book in a nearby gift store, too, called Trim, written by Flinders.

  5. Ah, ha. Found it.
    A Biographical Tribute to the Memory of Trim, by Matthew Flinders.
    Illustrated by Annette Macarthur-Onslow.
    Angus and Robertson, publishers. 0-207-19614-1.

    Of course I bought the book, but never thought to take a picture.

  6. @7: cute. Very cute.

    @Rob Thornton: if you don’t recognize what’s being satirized, you have been fortunate in not reading much older or rightward discussion of the genre — or of writing in general. I suspect there’s direct influence from Joanna Russ’s How to Suppress Women’s Writing, but I’ve read only fragments of this work and so can’t speak to it.

  7. A propos of P.B. Shelley:

    I met a traveler: ’twas an antique fan,
    Who said: “Two vast and drumless mimeos
    Stand in the slanshack. Near them, on a stand,
    Half torn, a tattered fanzine lies, whose brown
    And wrinkled page’s words of cold disdain
    Tell that the faned well that passion knew
    Which yet survives, stamped on the lifeless page,
    The hand that crankèd, and the paper fed.

    And on the colophon these words appear:
    ‘My Name is Ozyfandias, Faan of Faans.
    Look on My Work, Ye Neos, and Despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal shack, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away!”

  8. @11, the thing that sticks with me about the movie Independence Day is the trailer I saw for it some months before it came out. I was sitting in a darkened theater waiting for whatever movie I’d come to see, and the trailer came up, and at the end of the trailer, there was a splash screen that read http://WWW.ID4.COM … and the entire audience laughed a surprised laugh. None of us had ever seen a URL for a movie before.I don’t know for sure that it was the first movie advertisement URL, but it was certainly among the first.

    Now, of course, such things are old hat….

  9. @ Chip Hitchcock – No lecture needed. I saw what you are seeing but the article almost sounded like a satire of a satire, if you know what I mean. Ambiguity where none was meant, perhaps.

  10. What I remember about Independence Day is the cheering when the aliens blew up the White House. I did not like the movie for a variety of reasons (and not just the infamous hacking scene).

    Lair of the White Worm, though, was fun (and an early role for Hugh Grant). Although I am afraid to rewatch it.

  11. 3: WINTER’S TALE is the only film screening I have ever attended where the publicists gave us free booze beforehand to get us to like the film. We appreciated the drinks but the film is awful. However, this led me to read the book which is quite good.

    MORTAL ENGINES is a Peter Jackson movie without Peter Jackson. It LOOKS very cool and it looks like a fairly accurate depiction of the semi-steampunk future described in the novel. But the script isn’t very good.

    17: Does anyone have any information about who interviewed Tolkien in this clip?

  12. 6) I guess the notes worked, intense is the right description for her books

    19) I want to show this piece to my teenage niece. I’m pretty sure she hasn’t heard of any of the authors or works mentioned except Frankenstein. I wonder if she will pick up on the sarcasm anyway or take it at face value.

  13. 12) Another birthday: Michael Shea, author of such Jack Vance-inflected works as In Yana, the Touch of Undying, and the Nifft the Lean series. Plus the extremely squicky short story The Autopsy.

  14. (9) Run Lola Run is more like someone trying different strategies to get through a difficult stage of a video game. Something like If-Then-Else without the obvious mechanism of the Machine running simulations.

    Al Stewart had “Flying Sorcery” on Year of the Cat (or 365.25 Days of the Credential) which could be tweaked into “Filing Sorcery.” Also “If it Doesn’t Scroll Naturally, File It.”

    According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, today is the start of the dog days of summer. With that name, you’d think they’d be more agreeable.

  15. (16) GOLLUM READS THE HOBBIT. GameSpot teed up this piece of Tolkien-related news: “Andy Serkis Records New Audiobook For The Hobbit, And It Sounds Fantastic”.

    Dang. This sound wonderful, EXCEPT that it must be abridged.

    Which really annoys me, because nowhere in the press release does it admit that it’s abridged.

    But it’s gotta be. The announcement gives the length as 7 hours, 40 minutes — while the unabridged, Rob Inglis-narrated version is 11 hours, 5 minutes.

    So, dang. I’ll probably get it anyway, ’cause Serkis, but it pisses me off when publishers don’t admit that their versions are abridged.

    edit: I managed to find the Audible UK listing (it didn’t show up on the Audible US site when I searched), and that listing claims it’s unabridged. But I have trouble believing that a nearly 3-hour difference is solely due to a difference in the narrators’ reading speed!

  16. I think my favorite Ken Russell must be The Boy Friend–not our kind of genre, but several kinds of meta, plus Twiggy, Tommy Tune, and (at the very end) Glenda Jackson. Certainly more fun than Women in Love, even counting the naked-guys-rasslin’ sequence.

  17. 9) Galaxy Quest is not a time travel movie, it is a movie with time travel in it. I move it be struck and replaced with Time After Time.

    @Rich Lynch: I had the same thought, but listing both 12 Monkeys and La Jetée would be redundant.

  18. @Ita: Those shoes are about the only semi-reasonable justification I have ever seen for the use of “Sci Fi”. You’d never fit “Science Fiction” on the heel legibly; using SF would make most think they were celebrating an unknown professional sports team from California (The San Francisco Fantasy. Proposed WNBA expansion? Roller Derby franchise?) and StF or Stef are so obscure among mundanes they’d never have thought of it, let alone thought of using it.
    Regardless of those justifications, I’m tempted to buy those shoes just so I could burn the left one…or maybe bronze the left one and use it for a new award, the Forest J. Ackerman “Look On My Works, Oh Fandom, and Despair!” award.
    The right one I’ll save for throwing, just in case a certain election doesn’t turn out the way most of us are hoping.

  19. 21 P J Evans – Are swifts one of the birds that are different in different places? In the UK swifts are high aspect-ratio flyers and they scream.

    I agree that’s not a swift flight pattern; it looks more like a flock of martins (house, sand or river) to me.

    Edit because I can’t type on a real keyboard anymore.

    How could they have left off George Pal’s classic TheTime Machine (1960) or Time After Time (1979), both adapted from the works of H.G. Wells? The mainstream and/or pop media has always seemed to have a built-in bias or blindness about written SF. Interestingly, in both movies, the time traveler asks his futuristic (AD 1979 and 802,701) hosts “where are your books?” In TTM, he is shown a near-forgotten shelf where they’re crumbling to dust, in the latter, he is told, with some embarrassment, “I don’t read as much as I should”. Obviously, neither does the bozo who made these selections…..

  21. @Doire
    These are the locals: white-throated swifts

    (For a while, when I worked downtown, there was a small colony living near the top of the Biltmore tower (office building adjoining the hotel), and they would mate while doing a 12-floor drop from their colony. It was very impressive.)

  22. @21, Squeeeee! ORNITHOPTERS!

    It’s unclear to me if they’re sustaining flight over a period of more than maybe ten seconds, however they do appear to be actually flying rather than engaging in a stylish glide, as they gain altitude in a couple of clips….

  23. Re: Swifts and swallows: A couple of years ago, I visited an old fort on one of the islands in Boston Harbor. (IIRC, it saw use in the War of 1812 and possibly also the Civil War.) The windows have no glass in them, and so the fort basically doubles as a barn swallow sanctuary. I was there in early summer, so there were nests with chicks.

  24. @Rob Thornton / @bookworm1398: I suppose it might be an indication of progress that what was once a straight-up attack on attitudes now seems not to have such a clear target. Given the reactions @Nicoll has been having in his young-people-read-old-SF series, I suppose it’s not surprising readers today don’t know the old names, let alone the environment they were stuck working in.

  25. 12) Ken Russell’s films Lisztomania and The Who’s Tommy have to count as genre.
    Those two movies exist in a reality known to no human beings.

  26. In re: swifts and swallows — I used to see chimney swifts quite frequently in Nashville and Knoxville. I even raised a few when their nest fell down a neighbor’s chimney. Oddly, I don’t think I’ve seen any for a good long while. I do see swallows all the time along my rural road, however — they like the culverts that the road passes over.

  27. @Jee Jay: I am carefully avoiding seeing those movies again until I am in my second childhood. They were so much fun during the first! Why risk a mature viewing?

  28. Medical update.

    I’m in private room at Maine Medical where I’ll be for the next forty days as it turns out I need the entire antibiotics treatment for staphylococcus as I got it once again in its most severe form. I’m on vancomycin which is only used for those cases of staphylococcus which are most resistant to treatment.

    Translation: I got the worst possible staphylococcus infection I could get. Untreated it’ll eat away at the tissue in the right knee until there’s almost nothing there. So twice a day for three hours, I get vancomycin. Let’s just say that nobody’s happy about this development.

    In the meantime, the second knee surgery of course hurts like hell. And will for quite some months to come. The new immobiliser reaches from the ankle to the upper thigh and must be worn continuously. I’m able to put weight on it but it definitely ain’t fond of that idea yet.

    I did get a private room which is nice.

  29. @Cat: Here’s hoping the vancomycin is rapidly and completely effective.

  30. Andrew says Here’s hoping the vancomycin is rapidly and completely effective

    It’s effective but it really does take that long to completely eradicate the antibiotics resistant staphylococcus from the body. This is my second go-around with staph as I had it in the the bone last March and that too require a forty plus day stay. It has to be monitored as well as it can easily be such that it’ll need another antibiotic if this one ceases to be working.

    Now reading: the Hugo nominated Laguardia

  31. In the other timeline, I threw a rocking launch party for Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler, a YA dinosaur story I co-wrote with someone I met right here in the File 770 comment section, and there was all kinds of cake and food and music. Plus we got all our PR written in a timely fashion.

    In this accursed timeline, a bad medication reaction nearly finished me off pre-launch, so I’ve been chilling on the couch doing limited duty PR on Facebook. And here too, in case anyone feels like reading a competence story about a brave girl who rescues a boy band from dinosaurs; it’s marked down to free for the next couple days.

    I should re-listen to the soundtrack to Run Lola Run, I recall it being on heavy rotation in my CD player for a while but I can’t remember any specifics.

  32. @Daniel Dern & @Mike Glyer: Great Pixel Scroll title! 😀

    @Jack Lint: “If it Doesn’t Scroll Naturally, File It.” – LOL!

    (19) GUYS AND DOLLS. Aw come on, Tor.com, it’s a quintessential @James Davis Nicoll piece! Was it a little too James Davis Nicoll? Or perhaps not enough? Selecting couples where the woman was more obscure than the man may’ve been even better; I’m not sure. BTW I didn’t recognize the names in his final, photo-less example. Blush.

  33. @Cat Eldridge: Yikes, I’m sorry for the Staph and I hope for the best possible outcome and no future repeats!

  34. @Cat
    Wishing the best for you and your knee!

    (I’ve gotten vanco once, because I’m allergic to penicillin and that entire class of antibiotics is problematic. It was kind of fun watching the hospital staff turn pale when they finally got around to asking what kind of reaction I had, after not doing so the first time I was in. The mycins are generally safe for me.)

  35. @Cat Eldridge: I won’t wish you a quick recovery — a literal forty days and forty nights rather than a metaphorical just isn’t quick — but here’s hoping it’s as routine as it can be.

  36. 20). Apparently that high horse doesn’t include not making money off of her.

  37. Chip Hitchcock says: I won’t wish you a quick recovery — a literal forty days and forty nights rather than a metaphorical just isn’t quick — but here’s hoping it’s as routine as it can be.

    It’s about as routine as you can get. I get three hours worth of vancomycin twice a day via the PICC line and the physical therapy staff here (this time) will get to make sure the knee is in operating order before I leave.

    I’ve got a private room, so it’s quiet and restful for the most part. Fortunately the iPad keeps me doing my work and in contact with the larger community. A friend is looking after Tally in my absence.

  38. @Cat — You are having rotten luck with your health lately! Here’s to good antibiotics and a reliable source of wifi and/or cell signal.

  39. Contrarius says to me You are having rotten luck with your health lately! Here’s to good antibiotics and a reliable source of wifi and/or cell signal.

    Well this will make four months in-hospital time in just over the last fourteen months. Oddly enough the orthopaedic surgeon who was here earlier wasn’t willing to commit himself to saying that forty days of antibiotics would get rid of this staphylococcus strain.

  40. @Me —



    I said: “Dang. This sound wonderful, EXCEPT that it must be abridged. But it’s gotta be. The announcement gives the length as 7 hours, 40 minutes — while the unabridged, Rob Inglis-narrated version is 11 hours, 5 minutes.”

    Update: This new recording is now showing up on the Audible US site — and on the US site, it’s being advertised as 11 hours, 15 minutes. Which means that it really is unabridged after all. Either the 7-hour-40-minute length showing on the UK site was in error, or they are selling an additional abridged version.

    Just in case anyone’s interested!

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