Pixel Scroll 7/14

Today’s Scroll is seven stories tall.

(1) In 2015 the Science-Fiction Club Berlin will mark its 59th and the Andymon club (which started life as the Youth Astronomy Club) will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Sonja Fritzsche, Professor of German and Eastern European Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University, traces the fascinating history of Berlin fandom before and after the Wall in a “Science-Fiction Fandom in United Berlin” at World Literature Today:

On November 9, 1989, the night the wall fell, several Andymon members crossed over the border into West Berlin to celebrate. Lost on a side of Berlin they had never seen, they decided to contact one of the West Berlin fans from their earlier visit. Luckily, they found her, and this second meeting, now on the other side of the border, helped to cement a future collaboration between both Berlin fan clubs. The first collaborative effort came as early as 1990 with the short-lived fanzine Mauersegler, the title of which refers to a variety of bird (common swift) and also means “one who sails over the wall.” Andymon members also helped organize and present at the Bärcon in West Berlin in September 1990. (According to Hardy Kettlitz, six Andymon club members also traveled to the FreuCon in Freudenstadt in the Black Forest in 1990.) Famous science-fiction collector Forry Ackermann visited the clubs in both East and West in September 1990. Both of the clubs still exist today, although Andymon has become dominant in recent years. It is fair to say that without these club members, many of whom are not only active fans but also translators, bibliographers, editors, and authors in their own right, German science fiction would be less rich and vibrant.

(2) Business Insider has an unlimited buffet of great photos of cosplayers wowing the crowds at San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

(3) The First Fandom Award winners will once more be announced at the start of the Hugo Awards ceremony this year in Spokane reports John L. Coker III.

Coker writes in the latest issue of First Fandom’s news publication Scientifiction: “Due to the efforts of several First Fandom members (including Steve Francis), our annual awards have returned to their traditional home: the Worldcon.”

(3) The Hollywood Reporter evaluates the productions and celebrities who were on stage at Comic-Con and names five winners and three losers.

(4) Former Nightline journalist Jeff Greenfield boldly starts his Politico essay “Primary Amnesia: What the press forgets every election” with a long science fiction reference.

In his classic 1941 short story “Nightfall,” Isaac Asimov imagines a planet (Lagash) with six suns. Only once every 2,049 years does total darkness fall—and with nightfall comes the appearance of the stars. When that happens, the citizens of Lagash go mad; they burn everything in a desperate attempt to banish the darkness. The total collapse of civilization means there is no record of what has happened; no collective memory to ward off the next collapse when darkness descends again in another 2,049 years.

This fictional story unfortunately is an illuminating (no pun intended) guide to how we cover—or miscover—the presidential primary process. Even though there’s a gap of only four years between elections, as opposed to two millennia and change, it’s as though our collective memory gets wiped clean sometime around the inauguration, and we approach the next cycle with no guide to what has happened in elections past.

The key lesson we forget every four years is that the nominating process stands in sharp contrast to the general election, where “fundamentals” often hold sway.

(5) Cracked.com offered a prize for the best reader mashup of Godzilla with another famous movie. The results are posted in “40 Great Movies Made Better By Adding Godzilla”.

Despite the vast amount of crappy movies he’s been in, Godzilla is still pretty awesome. He’s radioactive dinosaur that breathes fire — what more could a child want?

With that in mind, we asked readers to show us some movies that could benefit greatly from that awesomeness, and gave $100 to the winner …

Gravity with Godzilla

If this faux poster of Gravity ranked 40th (which it did), there must be some astonishing entries. And there are — other films improved with Godzilla included Paris Hilton’s sex tape, Electric Boogaloo Breakin’ 2 and Hitchcock’s North By Northwest.

(6) Another part of the ongoing Godzilla lovefest is that the famous kaiju has been officially made a resident of Japan and tourism ambassador. The ceremonial plaque gives this explanation of the honor.

Reason for special residency: Promoting the entertainment of and watching over the Kabuki-cho neighborhood and drawing visitors from around the globe in the form of the Godzilla head built atop the Shinjuku TOHO Building.


Ambassador Godzilla

Ambassador Godzilla

(7) Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesterpup as the Aggregated Dan Goodman offers this “helpful” suggestion:

There are people who believe conservative science fiction and fantasy have been unfairly slighted in the World Science Fiction Society awards (aka the Hugos.)  As some of you know, this year two groups have tried to remedy the problem they see.

Perhaps there should be a list of older sf which Sad Puppies, Mad Puppies, and those inclined to agree with them might find objectionable.

Here is a start:

Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100.  A strongly Christian US government is overthrown, with the author’s obvious approval.

Robert A. Heinlein, The Puppet Masters.  The future setting has term marriages.

Robert A. Heinlein, “Delilah and the Space Rigger.”  Blatant feminism.

H.G. Wells, The Time Machine.  In the far future, descendants of the upper classes are exploited by the dictatorship of the proletariat.  (Marxists might also find this novel objectionable.)

Harry Turtledove, Guns of the South.  A victorious Confederate government deprives many citizens of their property.

What warning labels would you add?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Rogers Cadenheaed for the links they provided.)

21 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/14

  1. “Due to the efforts of several First Fandom members (including Steve Francis), our annual awards have returned to their traditional home: the Worldcon.”

    Was this not also the case at Loncon?

  2. If Heinlein is as left wing as Dan Goodman believes, isn’t it to the Puppies’ credit that they nonetheless revere Heinlein? Isn’t this what the Puppies claim, that they put story first, message second?

    (Of course, Goodman is just playing the Gotcha game at a crude level, and has no idea what a “conservative” writer or reader of SFF believes).

  3. Thanks to recommendations here, I just finished Paladin of Souls. Wow!!! Thanks for that.

  4. If Heinlein is as left wing as Dan Goodman believes, isn’t it to the Puppies’ credit that they nonetheless revere Heinlein?

    Goodman didn’t say Heinlein was left wing. The ironic premise of his post is quite obviously based on Heinlein’s right-wing reputation, which is why Puppies hold him up as the conservative ur-author.

    Seeing all the ways a classic Heinlein idea would have made Puppies apopleptic if present in a Hugo winner today is amusing.

  5. And there is also a degree of amusement in noting that whilst people may claim to revere Heinlein they don’t seem to have read his books…

  6. And there is also a degree of amusement in noting that whilst people may claim to revere Heinlein they don’t seem to have read his books…

    It’s more a matter of people seeing only what they want to see.

  7. That Godzilla collection had some pretty glorious entries. Thanks for the pointer, Mike. 🙂

  8. Mike Glyer: Today’s Scroll is seven stories tall.

    Ev’rythin’s up to date in File 770! {duck}

  9. Surprised Godzilla wasn’t required to wear a suit for the ceremony.

    He was. It was made out of rubber.

  10. Mark Blackman: It took me a long time to work out that it was not a clever piece of casting for Godzilla to star the actor who played Perry Mason — only discovering years after I first saw it on TV that Burr wasn’t part of the Japanese original, and for that matter the remake was released before the Perry Mason series went on the air.

  11. While the addition of Godzilla to a film might improve some, the idea was once a little bit smaller a few years ago when someone suggested (and it sounded like me) that certain films could be improved by adding a flesh eating zombie. Of recent trailer viewings, I thought PADDINGTON THE BEAR should be zombiefied. Or THE LONE RANGER.

  12. I used to just love that Raymond Burr was playing Steve Martin in Godzilla. 80s me would crack up a lot to that.

    Has Steve Martin ever been in a kaiju movie? Is it too late to get him a cameo in Pacific Rim 2?

  13. And there is also a degree of amusement in noting that whilst people may claim to revere Heinlein they don’t seem to have read his books…

    On kind of a related tangent, I recently decided to re-read the first SF book I ever read: Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. I went in looking for a specific quote, but it occurred to me while I was reading it that it seemed like very much the sort of thing that seems to be called for in Brad Torgersen’s “Nutty Nuggets” manifesto. 

    It’s got derring-do in space, human exceptionalism and an overall gosh-gee-wow enthusiasm. Moonbases! Trips to Pluto! Soda shops! A few equations just for good measure! It advocates a sort of gumption-based, not-terribly-political libertarian philosophy. Everyone appears to be white, straight, middle-class, and able-bodied. It’s got a plucky girl genius, and a nurturing alien “mother” who, it turns out, is only nominally female because the humans see her that way — her people actually have twelve different genders. But it also has a few cringeworthy examples of Heinlein’s own very special brand of gender essentialism. 

    I still enjoyed reading it, because it was funny and exciting. But man, does it feel dated. It was already dated when I read it for the first time during the 70s, when soda fountains and soap-wrapper-slogan contests and moonbases all seemed equally like quaint relics of a black and white rerun land. Now it’s a straight-up period piece, a perfect example of the kind of retro-futurism Disney tried and failed to engage with Tomorrowland. 

    So what was my point? I guess — you could probably still write a book like that, and if it was as funny and exciting as Heinlein’s book, it would still find an audience. Because it’s a fun book and people like to read fun books. 

    But — at this point — it’s barely science fiction. And also Heinlein already wrote it. So isn’t it time to move on?

  14. Ah, there’s this wonderful bit early in “Have Space Suit, Will Travel” where Kip is entering the contest …..

    “The rules permitted a contestant to submit any number of entries as long as each was written on a Skyway Soap wrapper or reasonable facsimile.

    I considered photographing one and turning out facsimiles by the gross, but Dad advised me not to. “It is within the rules, Kip, but I’ve never yet known a skunk to be welcome at a picnic.” ”

    Heh …..

  15. I can’t think of a movie poster to do, but now I kind of want to make a UFC poster with Godzilla vs Don Frye in honor of Godzilla: Final Battle.

  16. >>>Mark Hopper on July 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm said:
    The time Bambi met Godzilla has never been topped.

    Obviously, he’s never seen the sequel, “Bambi’s Revenge”.

  17. @Cally: ROFL…you are awesome.

    @Michael J. Walsh: OMG you are awesome for a different reason. 😉 I think some folks missed that book (or that part)….

    Sorry, nothing useful to add (blush) – just praise.

  18. Re: Dan Goodman and Heinlein and Puppies.

    I actually tried to point out about the content of Heinlein, back in the days when I was posting at Brad’s blog. I said straight out that if a SJW had written JOB: A COMEDY OF JUSTICE today, the Puppies would freak out and denounce it as anti-Christian

    None of them seemed to want to accept what seems to be an obvious truth.

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