Pixel Scroll 7/7/22 What We Scroll In The Pixels

(1) THREE STORIES. Connie Willis is angry “Regarding the Roe V. Wade Decision”, and uses three stories to explain why.

Although in my private life, I’m intensely (some would say obsessively) interested in politics, I try to keep my website focused on writing. There are times, though, when it’s impossible because it’s just too personal. And I’m just too angry. This is one of those times.

In spite of what some on the right are trying to tell us is “just a distraction” and “no big deal,” two weeks ago the Supreme Court consigned every woman in America to living in a brave new world—or a bad old one. It’s one I—and my mother and grandmother—used to live in, and here are three stories to show you what it was like.

The first story is about college. I had four different friends in college (and knew several other girls in high school) who got pregnant and had to drop out of school to get married. Three wanted to be teachers and the other wanted to be a nurse. A couple of them were able to finish school and get their degrees later, but the others weren’t, and who knows if they would have ended up marrying the guys they did if they hadn’t gotten pregnant?

I do know that one spent HOURS running up and down the stairs in our dorm because someone had told her that would cause a miscarriage. She obviously wasn’t too enthused about the marriage she eventually went through with. I also don’t know if they wanted the babies—they didn’t have any choice….

(2) PAST MASTERS. With Tor.com operational again, that means you can read James Davis Nicoll’s assessment of “Five SF Stories About Long-Vanished Forerunners”.

Stories about precursors and forerunners appear frequently in science fiction (and fantasy). Why? For one thing, it’s just way cool to think that ancient civilizations and species might have risen and vanished long before we arrived on the scene. This is true in our real world. Why wouldn’t it be true of galactic civilizations? Also, relics of otherwise extinct civilizations play well in plots….

(3) MORE ABOUT WHAT’S OPERA, DOC?. [Item by Craig Miller.] Back in the ’70s, I met Chuck Jones, the cartoon’s director, and, among other things, we talked about “What’s Opera, Doc?”  During the conversation, I told him I thought Elmer should have sung “Smite da wabbit!!” instead of “Kill da wabbit!!”  Chuck stared at me for a moment, smiled and nodded, and said, “Where were you in 1957?”

 Then he drew this and gave it to me.

(4) LAW WEST OF THE INTERNATIONAL DATELINE. Australia’s Aurealis Awards have put out a “Call for Judges”. See full details and the application form at the link.

We are seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2022 Aurealis Awards. Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the Australian speculative fiction community, from diverse professions and backgrounds, including academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category – good time management skills and an ability to work in a team in an online environment are also essential….

(5) FRENCH AWARD JURY. Meanwhile, the Prix Utopiales have already picked their judges: “Le jury du Prix Utopiales 2022 est désigné!”

Congratulations to Sébastien Dislair, Benjamin Le Saux, Céline Pohu and Helena Schoefs. And this year the President of the Jury is… Merwan (winner of the Utopiales Prize BD 2020 with “Celestly Mechanic” published in Dargaud editions).

(6) ILM. Disney+ dropped this trailer for a six-part series on Industrial Light and Magic, directed by Lawrence Kasdan.

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY

2009 [By Cat Eldridge.] This is more an appreciation of Warehouse 13. It first aired this evening on what was then Sci Fi or possibly SyFy. I never could keep track its name. It was created by Jane Espenson, best known for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and D. Brent Mote, who other doing creating and writing this series, did nothing other than writing two episodes of Atomic Train, a series I very vaguely remember.

I loved Warehouse 13 fromthe very first opening episode where we meet U.S. Secret Service Agents Myka Bering as played by Joanne Kelly and Pete Lattimer as played by Eddie McClintock when they are assigned as punishment to the virtually unknown Warehouse 13 that holds a near infinity of supernatural artifacts.

The premise, not unlike that of the later Librarians series which also had a lot of strange artefacts, held delicious possibilities which for the most were delivered upon in each story.  And the chemistry was rather stellar between Myra and Pete.

The series would over the course of time add more characters such as the ever delightful Saul Rubinek as Artie Nielsen is the Special Agent in Charge at Warehouse 13 and CCH Pounder as Irene Frederic, one of the Regents who’ve overseen the Warehouses for millennia.

I love the artefacts — be they Lewis Carroll’s looking glass, which contained an evil entity called Alice which possessed Myka, or the fact that all of the artefacts react with electricity and can be neutralized by dunking them  in a never explained  purple goo after being placed inside a reflective bag, both from by Global Dynamics. Yes this series is in the Eureka continium.  Cool, very cool indeed. 

It was allowed a proper wrapping up in which the team deals with the news that Warehouse 13 is moving to a new location, so Mrs. Frederic has them load their greatest memories of their missions into an artefact for future generations.

I will rewatch it at some point as it’s streaming on Peacock. 

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 7, 1907 — Robert Heinlein. So let’s have Paul Weimer tell about his favorite Heinlein works: “If I had to pick one favorite Heinlein novel, and that’s a tough road to hoe, I am going to go with the novel I’ve re-read the most and it’s probably not going to be the one you think.  It’s Glory Road. Yes, Glory Road. The back matter once the quest is done can be overcooked, but Heinlein had a keen eye for epic fantasy quests, the good and the bad, long before the rise of Tolkien clones. It was an early Heinlein for me, and the novel has stuck with me since, with a number of audio re-reads. I survived a boring drive across the flatness of the Great Plains by listening to the adventures of Oscar Gordon.” // If I had to pick one Heinlein story, I have a strong fondness for All You Zombies, which encapsulates all the potential paradoxes of time travel in a way that has been done at greater length, but not, I’d argue, with better effect. (The movie Predestination with Ethan Hawke is pretty darned good by the way). Oh, and my favorite book ABOUT Heinlein is Farah Mendelsohn’s The Pleasant Profression of Robert Heinlein. (Died 1988.)
  • Born July 7, 1919 — Jon Pertwee. The Third Doctor and one that I’ll admit I like a lot. He returned to the role of the Doctor in The Five Doctors and the charity special Dimensions in Time for Children in Need. He also portrayed the Doctor in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure.  After a four-year run there, he was the lead on Worzel Gummidge where he was, errr, a scarecrow. And I must note that one of his first roles was as The Judge in the film of Toad of Toad Hall by A. A. Milne. (Died 1996.)
  • Born July 7, 1931 — David Eddings. Prolific and great. With his wife Leigh, they authored several best-selling epic fantasy series, including The BelgariadThe Malloreon and The Dreamers to name but three of their series. They’ve written but one non-series novel, The Redemption of Althalus. A note of warning: it’s extremely likely that both omnibus editions of his works for The Belgariad and The Malloreon available currently at the usual suspects are pirated. (Died 2009.)
  • Born July 7, 1936 — Lisa Seagram. I’m noting her here because she was in the Batman episode “Louie, the Lilac” as Lila in which Milton Berlin played the title character. She also had one-offs in both The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., plus My Favorite Martian and Bewitched. Impressive genre creds indeed! (Died 2019.)
  • Born July 7, 1959 — Billy Campbell, 63. There are some films so good in my memory that even the Suck Fairy can’t spoil them and The Rocketeer in which he played stunt pilot Cliff Secord is one of them. (IDW did a hardcover edition called Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures which Amazon has it for a mere twenty bucks! And the ePub is available from the usual suspects for a mere five dollars and ninety nine cents.) Yes, he did other work of genre interest including the main role of Jordan Collier on The 4400, Quincey Morris on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Captain Thadiun Okona in “The Outrageous Okona” episode of Next Gen, the Maine Dr. Alan Farragut on Helix and he’s currently voicing Okona once again on Prodigy.
  • Born July 7, 1968 — Jeff VanderMeer, 54. Ok I’ll admit that I’m ambivalent about the Southern Reach Trilogy and am not sure if it’s brilliant or not though it is I’ll say quite disturbing. (Haven’t seen the film and have no desire to so.) I will say the pirate anthology he and his wife Anne did, Fast Ships, Black Sails, is quite tasty reading.  Now let’s see what the Hugos would hold for him. At Noreascon 4 for The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases which I truly, madly love, he got a Hugo. He along with his Ann picked up at Anticipation up one for Best Semiprozine: for Weird Tales. It would be nominated the next year at Aussiecon 4 but Clarkesworld would win as it would the Renovation losing out again to ClarkesworldThe Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature which he co-edited with  S. J. Chambers was nominated at Chicon 7, the year The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction won. Another Best Related Work was nominated at Loncon 3, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, the year Kameron Hurley’s “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” won. Finally the film Annihilation based off the Southern Reach trilogy was nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo at Dublin 2019 it list to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Born July 7, 1969 — Cree Summer, 53. Voice performer in myriad series such as as Spider-Man: The New Animated SeriesJustice League UnlimitedStar Wars: The Clone Wars, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. She’s playing a number of the cast in the current Young Justice series including Madame Xanadu and Aquagirl.
  • Born July 7, 1987 — V. E. Schwab, 35. I’m very pleased with her A Darker Shade of Magic which explores magicians in a parallel universe London. It’s part of her Shades of Magic series which is quite stellar. Highly recommended. Her Cassidy Blake series is also good provided you’re a Potter fan as she makes a lot of references to that series. She’s very well stocked at the usual suspects.

(9) THE END IS NOT AS NEAR. Although Stranger Things is expected to end with Season 5, that will not necessarily be the last encounter with the Upside Down. “’Stranger Things’ Spinoff, Stage Play in the Works at Netflix”Variety has the story.

…Under their overall deal with Netflix, the Duffers — Matt and Ross — have established the production company Upside Down Pictures, bringing on Hilary Leavitt to run the company.

Among the new projects they have in development, the Duffers are officially working on a “Stranger Things” spinoff series, though exact plot details remain under wraps. The show will be based on an original idea by the Duffers with Upside Down Pictures and 21 Laps producing. The Duffers have previously said that the show would not focus on characters like Eleven or Steve Harrington.

In addition, a stage play set within the world and mythology of “Stranger Things” is in the works. It will be produced by Sonia Friedman, Stephen Daldry, and Netflix. Daldry will also direct. Kate Trefry will write. 21 Laps serves as associate producer….

(10) OCTOTHORPE. Episode 61 of the Octothorpe podcast is up! “That Little Voice in Your Head”.

John Coxon has a hat on, Alison Scott is taking the baton, and Liz Batty twirls. We discuss COVID policies a bit, before we get into Olav Rokne’s proposal to scrap the 25% rule in the Hugo Awards and then talk quite a lot about robots.

(11) KNIT PICKING. Electra Hammond on Facebook shared a screenshot of tonight’s Jeopardy! category “The Scarf.” Says Hammond, “They had to have created the category just so they could have *this* clue. I’m sure of it.”

(12) JUST THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW. Well, not quite. Gizmodo watches as “Nanoracks Performs First Test of ISS Waste Disposal Technology”.

…On July 2, a highly-engineered trash bag holding 172 pounds (78 kilograms) of ISS garbage was jettisoned from the space station and sent to its fiery doom in Earth’s atmosphere. It’s one small step for Nanoracks, but a giant leap for the future of celestial waste disposal. The test, conducted in partnership with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, could represent a more efficient way for ISS astronauts to keep their house in order.

“Waste collection in space has been a long standing, yet not as publicly discussed, challenge aboard the ISS,” said Cooper Read, Nanoracks’ Bishop Airlock program manager, in a press release. “This was the first open-close cycle of the Bishop Airlock, our first deployment, and what we hope is the beginning of new, more sustainable ISS disposal operations,” said Nanoracks CEO Amela Wilson.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Of course Superman and Batman have to show up in this How It Should Have Ended video, which dropped today. “How Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Should Have Ended”.

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

47 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/7/22 What We Scroll In The Pixels

  1. (2) PAST MASTERS.
    I have a soft spot for the Builders in Charles Sheffield’s “Heritage Universe”.

    (And we’re not going to talk about the Engineers in “Prometheus” are we?)

    (ETA: FirstSecond! & got email notification for this one.)

  2. (7) CCH Pounder was probably a Regent not a “Reagent” – although she did have good chemistry.

    (8) “Double Star” is probably my favorite.

  3. 8a.) The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

    8b.) David Eddings’ prose, plotting, and characterization in the Belgiariad was a definite step above the usual multi-book series of the 80s and 90s. These books are actually rereadable.

    8c.) Jeff VanderMeer is one of the best writers in the genre right now. He deserves to be listed among the top stylists out there.

  4. 8) My favorite RAH stories are “Have Space Suit, Will Travel” and, oddly, “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.”

  5. Jeanne Jackson says My favorite RAH stories are “Have Space Suit, Will Travel” and, oddly, “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.”

    The narrated version of The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag which is done by Tom Weiner is particularly unsettling. It’s not often I say that listening to something is disturbing but this definitely was.

  6. Jon Pertwee: Pertwee starred in an early 1970’s British Horror Movie “The House That Dripped Blood” He played a rather hammy actor who rents the titular house while filming a vampire movie. Unhappy with his costume he goes shopping at an antique store reccomended to him by his co-star (Ingrid Pitt) and buys an antique cape. Soon he takes to wearing the cape and finds himself levitating at midnight and avoiding garlic. His co-star reveals to him that she’s a vampire and that the other vampires have enjoyed his performances in horror movies so much that they sent her to “recruit” him for their side. Pertwee was hilarious.

  7. “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel”, which I read when I think I was 12, was the confirmation of my life to be in fandom.

  8. 8) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is my favorite also.

    12) All the SF books I can think of assume 100% recycling in the future. I can’t think of any with space stations needing to deal with trash. For ISS, there is lots of stuff, that could be recycled but it’s just cheaper/easier to throw it away. A big station might reuse more, but there should still be plenty of trash.

  9. Favorite Heinlein: Probably Red Planet, Citizen of the Galaxy or Space Cadet.

    A few years ago I was visiting my childhood hometown and stopped at the public library (as I assume everybody does). This is a new building — they tore the one I remember down in the 1990s. But there on the shelf was the same hardcover copy of Have Space Suit — Will Travel (the red Ed Emshwiller astronaut on the yellow background — I’m guessing it was a printing from the 60s?) that I checked out and took home with me multiple times when I was growing up.

  10. (12) The trash will eventually hit the Earth’s atmosphere, but not any time soon. The bag was launched with only a few meters/sec delta v from the ISS, so it is in an orbit similar to the ISS. It will stay in that orbit until atmospheric drag slows it down and then it will de-orbit and burn. But until then (months? years?) it will have to be tracked as orbital debris.

  11. 12) @bookworm1398, doesn’t Biil, The Galactic Hero end up working in a Recycling Center on a space station? He comes up with a brilliant solution.

    8) Orphans Of The Sky

  12. I think of Jon Pertwee as Chief Petty Officer Pertwee aboard HMS Troutbridge in the BBC radio comedy series “The Navy Lark”, back in the ’60s. But I remember him also as the 3rd Dr Who, of course, just as I remember Peter Davison, the 5th Dr Who, as Tristan Farnon, one of the veterinary co-stars of the “All Creatures Great and Small” TV series, based on the books by James Herriot. (I wonder: do the French refer to the Time Lord as “Docteur Qui”?)

  13. @Sam Long: I realize you were probably joking, but a quick Google search turns up that the show was broadcast in France as “Docteur Who”.

  14. Heinlein-Novel: A bit difficult, because he can write very well, but -especiallyhis later books – are often thin on plot. But they are pageturners. I think The moon is a harsh mattress is my favorite as well.But I havent really read Heinlein in a long time .

    This is the part were you scroll me (This is the part)

  15. @ Bill re ISS trash: As I understand matters, most (perhaps all?) of the trash generated aloft gets put into all the uncrewed cargo transport vessels, except for the Dragon series, and burns up in the atmosphere when those vessels (mostly Russian Progress and American Cygnus, plus occasional European and Japanese freighters) are deorbited. Only Dragon was designed to be recovered and reused–into those they put things they want to send back to Earth intact (such as experimental results and such).

  16. I KNOW that Jon Pertwee appeared in “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum” before he was cast as the Third Doctor. I KNOW that he had only one line and that it was a bit part.
    However, in MY headcanon and maybe your’s, The Doctor provides the one piece of information that unravels Pseudolus’ plan and thus the turning point of the whole movie.

    Wobbly wobbly timey wimey Headcanon…

  17. 2) It’s a classic trope. The computer game Stellaris has a LOT of event chains involving various flavors of them.

  18. @Jeanne Jackson — In general, you are right. My comment was with respect to the item in Scroll (12).

    Only Dragon was designed to be recovered and
    reused–into those they put things they want to send
    back to Earth intact (such as experimental results and such).

    Which, strictly speaking, isn’t trash, I suppose.

    NASA pitched trash from the ISS by simply pushing it overboard at least once before, on ISS Expedition 15. At that time, they turned the Space Station around so that the trash could be pushed in a direction to minimize the chance of it colliding later, and they anticipated tracking it for a year before it de-orbited and burned up.
    The company that built this airlock, Nanoracks, apparently has an arrangement where they sell open/close cycles to users. Thus, NASA has to pay them each time they send something through the airlock.

  19. 12) @bookworm1398, doesn’t Biil, The Galactic Hero end up working in a Recycling Center on a space station? He comes up with a brilliant solution.

    It isn’t a space station. Bill spends some time working for Helior’s trash disposal service which is located in the depths of Helior itself.

  20. Actually, I think my favorite Heinleins are the collections of the Future History series. I really didn’t read any of his novels except Space Cadet until I was in high school, and even then it was Stranger in a Strange Land, followed by I Will Fear No Evil and Time Enough for Love.

    But oh, those Future History short stories…”The Green Hills of Earth”….

  21. I can think of a long string of British actors who can play the rivers, but who for Peter, Nightingale and Lesley?

    Peter O’Toole would have been great as Nightingale. Peter should rightfully be Kobna Holdbrook-Smith since he’s done such a fabulous job with the audio books. He kind of owns the part now. I have no idea about Lesley. Or Beverley. Or ANY of the Rivers!

  22. Citizen of the Galaxy is my favorite Heinlein novel. And now it’s in the Prometheus Hall of Fame. Perfect timing!

  23. Larry Storch has passed on at the age of 99 – I remember him from the definitely genre Saturday morning series in the 1970s called “Ghostbusters” (not to be confused with a later franchise)

  24. An article about the love lives of the Hulks naturally references the Niven essay you’d expect it to.

  25. My guilty pleasure Heinlein novel, a different category altogether, is The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. It’s a novel that’s almost really good. And damn it, it’s got a kitten in it. It’s spoiled by the sequel being incredibly awful.

  26. My most surprising Heinlein has to be Citizen of the Galaxy, which is an amazing read and is one of his best-written novels until it kinda slumps a little in the third act. The book is definitely a sentimental fave and is frighteningly close to being my all-time fave.

  27. “Dark They Were and Scrollden-Eyed”
    “All is not Scrolled that Pixels”
    “The Fan with the Scrollden Gun”

  28. Oh wow, there was one of Heinlein’s juveniles that was my favorite, but it’s been so long since I read any of them that I can no longer remember which one it was. If you’d told me, at fifteen, that I’d eventually forget which Heinlein was my favorite, I would have looked at you like you were crazy, but here we are… 🙂

  29. Paul Weimer says I definitely need to reread Cat

    I just plain like that novel. And yes you should re-read it to see if nothing else if the Suck Fairy has visited it.

    I think it is his funnest novel which is meant as highest praise.

  30. Some of Heinlein’s books – including Cat and Citizen of the Galaxy – don’t seem to be easily available in e-form.

  31. P J Evans says Some of Heinlein’s books – including Cat and Citizen of the Galaxy – don’t seem to be easily available in e-form.

    It’s not all available on Kindle and I’m sure that the Apple Books copy of Cat is pirated particularly the one with the truly ugly Star Wars Stormtrooper on the cover.

  32. Paul Weimer says There is no ebook of Cat, but there IS an audio edition.

    Yes, there is. Tom Weiner narrates it and does a fine job of catching the tone of the work. I need to re-listen to it.

  33. My husband was a huge fan of Warehouse 13, but in first season, it was despite the premise, not because of it. Not the secret warehouse, that was a draw. To him, these two “agents” behaved more like amateurs hired off the street and launched into the job with no training (per the Librarians) than like actual agents. Once he got past that, he got to really liking it.

    I didn’t mind what I saw but I never immersed myself in it.

  34. His juveniles were my first introduction to sf and I devoured them all. My favourite, though, was Glory Road. I may bring wrath upon my head for saying this, but Stranger in a Strange Land left me cold.

  35. @ Dena Taylor,

    Out of all the Heinlein novels, I think that Stranger has aged the worst out of all of them (mostly because it had a long way to fall from its perch). Charitably, I think of it as a “what if Scientology really worked“ novel.

  36. Heinlein was the master of ‘what if’ story telling, which often leads people to assume he lived by the standards of his stories. He did not. He was always perplexed that young people who loved “Stranger” could also panhandle on the streets, not seeing the whole matrix of the story.
    Being as “Stranger” changed my life completely, one would think it would be my favorite novel, but it is not. That is, like so many people here, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” That is the book that left me crying the rest of the day, an extreme emotional reaction even for an emotional kind of guy.
    Early on I read “Between Planets,” which stuck in my mind because of the character of Sir Isaac Newton, which character opened up a lot of implications for me, things of which I had never before thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.