Pixel Scroll 8/21/22 Of Dyson Spheres And Birthdays Best Told Fresh

(1) ON SAIL. Walter Jon Williams gets reacquainted with his 25-year-old self in “Onward Into the Past”.

Back in April Kathy and I drove the three and a half hours to Portales for the 45th Jack Williamson Lecture, and had to figure out how we were going to entertain ourselves for the long drive across the Llano Estecado. Kathy suggested we listen to the audio book of To Glory Arise, the first of my Privateers & Gentlemen books. I’d met Kathy more than ten years after saying goodbye to that series, and she’d never read them, so she was coming to them fresh.

So we listened to the book driving out and back, and were entertained by the book and Bronson Pinchot’s excellent reading of it. I found the book so entertaining that I’ve been listening to the rest of them as they’ve been released, though the reason I was so entertained was peculiar to me— reviewing that series was a way of re-discovering my twenty-five-year-old self, the person who wrote that series, a person who is not quite the man I am today.

I was surprised by how much time and energy I devoted to the psychological dimensions of my characters. I mean, I certainly knew the psychological element was there— I considered it a selling point of the series that it wasn’t about two-dimensional action heroes, but instead characters of some complexity. But there ended up being more pages devoted to psychology than I remembered, and I think more pages than the characters actually warranted. I did not understand the concept of enough. I was inclined to say the same things over and over. I wish I’d had editors who told me that….

(2) A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS. “Game of Thrones effect fires up reissues of ‘lost’ fantasy fiction classics” in the Guardian.

It is a lyrical, beautiful fantasy story about a mythical beast who sets out on a quest into a world that no longer believes in her to find out if she is truly the last of her kind.

Published in 1968, The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle spawned an animated movie 40 years ago and is a cherished novel that appeals to children and adults alike. But it’s not surprising if you haven’t heard of it. It hasn’t been published in the UK for half a century.

This week it is finally being reissued, the latest in a string of classic fantasy novels to find a new audience thanks to the prevalence of the genre on TV and the big screen….

As well as Beagle’s novel, other writers’ work is being reissued, including John M Ford’s novels The Dragon Waiting and Growing Up Weightless, Hope Mirrlees’s 1926 faerie fantasy Lud-In-The-Mist, and Antonia Barber’s The Ghosts, while books such as the Arabic fantasy The Tale of Princess Fatima, Warrior Woman, and Japanese author Yukio Mishima’s delightfully weird Beautiful Star have recently had their first ever English-language publications.

(3) FRIENDS. “Supporters, Opponents Weigh in on Internet Archive Copyright Battle” at Publishers Weekly is a collection of excerpts from the amicus briefs filed on behalf of both sides.

Is the Internet Archive’s program to scan and lend copies of print library books under an untested legal theory known as controlled digital lending (CDL) wholesale piracy? Or is it a carefully considered and legal effort to preserve the mission of libraries in a digital world that is moving away from ownership to licensed access? With Summary Judgment motions now filed in a closely-watched lawsuit filed by four major publishers over the Internet Archive’s scanning program, stakeholders on both sides of the case are weighing in with amicus briefs….

(4) BRAN SPANKIN’ WORDS. Jesse Sheidlower of the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction (HDSF) begins a new Boing Boing series, “Updating the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction”.

…Of course, the most important feature is the continued addition of new entries. Since the launch, we have continued to unearth new information, and we are excited to be able to share it with readers. The over 200 new entries (as of this writing) include accidental omissions (Vulcan); terms from proto-SF (space senses of fleetbattleship, and warship, all from around 1900); and genuinely recent entries that came to prominence after the original project began (cli-fi (2009), murderbot (2006), Nnedi Okorafor’s Africanfuturism (2018))….

… Yet the majority of the new entries are simply common SF terms that never made it into the original: cityship (1953), doppel (1981), the proto-SF ether ship (1883), ion gun (1935), the fandom word kipple (1960), pseudopod (1929), skin job (in an original (1958) and a Blade Runner sense (1981)), star liner (1932), timequake (1954)….


1985 [By Cat Eldridge.] Since I mentioned yesterday Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home when I talked about Austin Wright Tappin’s Islandia yesterday, let’s have a conversation about Always Coming Home tonight. 

At one thousand and fifty-five pages, the Library of America edition of Always Coming Home is almost exactly the same length as the printed version of Islandia. Le Guin commented upon Islandia that it is “not a great book perhaps, but a singularly durable one, and a durably singular one. There is nothing else in all literature like Islandia.”

Now I will argue Always Coming Home is quite unlike anything else she wrote as it is not really a work of fiction but rather an anthropology of a people that don’t yet exist. It was published thirty-seven years ago and labeled a novel, but I that reject that label as Le Guin, the daughter of anthropologist, has here created the only true genre work of future anthropology ever done.

She lets the Kesh, the people that Pandora, the documentarian from the other civilization, is studying largely speak for themselves. So we as the observers are learning about them through a collage of their mythologies, poetry and their stories. All in an ethnographic approach.

There is a piece of fiction, a central novella, with the story of a woman called Stonetelling who leaves the valley to live with her father’s people, the Condor. That has Stonetelling reflecting upon her people. 

The end of the Always Coming Home contains additional information about the Kesh in more traditional ethnographic form. And there are maps as well. Quite fascinating maps.

The first edition, the trade paper in the slip case, had music too. It was called the Music and Poetry of the Kesh, featuring ten musical pieces and three poetry performances by Todd Barton. 

The book contains a hundred original illustrations by Margaret Chodos. 

The expanded edition released by Library of America is available from the usual suspects. I’ve decided to include the original cover here. 

Lest you ask, yes, I like it a lot.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 21, 1888 Miriam Allen deFord. Almost all of her genre fiction was published at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Anthony Boucher. It can be found in two collections, Xenogenesis and Elsewhere, Elsewhen, Elsehow. Her “A Death in the Family” story was adapted in Night Gallery‘s second season. Other than a few short stories, nothing’s available digitally by her. (Died 1975.)
  • Born August 21, 1911 Anthony Boucher. I’m now reading The Case of The Crumpled Knave, one of his superb mysteries. Really great read. The Compleat Boucher: The Complete Short Science Fiction and Fantasy of Anthony Boucher is a most excellent read, but it’s not an epub yet. The Case of The Crumpled Knave, The Compleat Werewolf and Other Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction are available digitally and a lot are at the usual suspects. (Died 1968.)
  • Born August 21, 1937 Arthur Thomson. Fanzine writer and editor and prolific artist known as ATom. Artist for the well-known Hyphen zine, he won the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund in 1964 and visited the States. He was nominated five times for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist, but never won. After Thomson won the 2000 Rotsler Award, it was decided not to present the Rotsler posthumously again. (Died 1990.)
  • Born August 21, 1943 Lucius Shepard. Life During Wartime is one seriously weird novel. And his World Fantasy Award winning The Jaguar Hunter is freaking amazing as are all his short collections. (Died 2014.)
  • Born August 21, 1956 Kim Cattrall, 66. Gracie Law in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Fantastic film! She also played Justine de Winter in The Return of the Musketeers, Paige Katz in Wild Palms, Lieutenant Valeris in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Linday Isley in Good v. Evil. Series-wise, she was in one offs in Tales of the Gold MonkeyLogan’s RunThe Incredible Hulk and The Outer Limits (rebooted version of course). 
  • Born August 21, 1957 John Howe 65. Canadian book illustrator who’s worked on many a project, of which the Peter Jackson Hobbit films are the ones we’ll know best and which he did with Alan Lee, but he’s also done a number of endeavors including a limited edition of George R. R. Martin’s novel A Clash of Kings which was released by Meisha Merlin, A Diversity of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey and A Middle-Earth Traveler: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor.
  • Born August 21, 1966 Denise Mina, 56. Genre wise, she’s best known for having written thirteen issues of Hellblazer. Her two runs were “Empathy is the Enemy” and “The Red Right Hand”.  ISFDB lists The Dead Hour as genre but it’s very much not. Excellent novel but think rather in the vein of Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels.
  • Born August 21, 1966 Carrie-Anne Moss, 56. I first saw her as Tara McDonald in the Dark Justice series. Not genre, just her first video I think. Playing Monica Howard in the “Feeding the Beast” episode of Forever Knight was her first genre role. Oddly enough her next role was as Liz Teel in the Canadian series called Matrix which has nothing to do with the Matrix film franchise where she’s Trinity. And she’s been playing Jeryn Hogarth in the Netflix based Marvel Universe.


(8) WAS 1970 THE WORST IN SCI FI CINEMA? [Item by Olav Rokne.] Going through the Hugo finalists year by year in order. And oof, 1971’s shortlist was difficult to get through. We even dug through the other movies and TV shows that were eligible that year, and the fact that I don’t think Hugo nominators could have done a better job on that shortlist is an indictment of SF cinema at that time. “Possibly The Worst Year In Sci-Fi Cinema” at The Hugo Book Club Blog.

… Expressing a sentiment that was common at the time, John Baxter wrote: “Written SF is usually radical in politics and philosophy; SF cinema, like the comic strips, endorses the political and moral climate of its day.” While we’d suggest that Baxter was a little too generous towards prose SF, having watched and listened to the 1971 shortlist, it’s clear that there’s some merit in his indictment of screen offerings.

The shortlist was an eclectic one in some ways. It had one theatrically released American movie (Colossus: The Forbin Project), one television movie (Hauser’s Memory), one British movie (No Blade of Grass) one spoken-word comedy album (Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers) and one prog rock concept album (Blows Against the Empire)…

(9) REFRESH AND RELOAD. The School Library Journal believes in “refreshing the canon” and offers this “Refreshing the Canon Booklist”. Click on the title of a famous classic and you’ll be led to a list of newer suggested readings.

George Orwell’s modeling of a totalitarian society in 1984 has long been a staple of the summer reading canon. As an alternative, consider these seven titles that feature dystopian, futuristic, and repressive societies—and teens who fight back.

  • Adeyemi, Tomi. Children of Blood and Bone. Holt. ISBN 9781250170972.
  • Anderson, M.T. Feed. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763662622.
  • Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316056199.
  • Cameron, Sharon. The Forgetting. Scholastic. ISBN 9780545945219.
  • Dimopoulos, Elaine. Material Girls. Houghton Harcourt. ISBN 9780544388505
  • Higuera, Donna Barba. The Last Cuentista. Levine Querido. ISBN 9781646140893. 
  • Jian, Ma. China Dream. Random/Vintage. ISBN 9781640092402.

(10) AH, SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE, AT LAST I’VE FOUND THEE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] A look at the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law (Disney+) is filled with spoilers for that show and with (some would say) TMI about Steve Rogers’ love life. “She-Hulk post-credits finally solve an incredible Captain America mystery” at Inverse.

…Though Jennifer is related by blood to a famous Avenger, Bruce hasn’t spilled every secret about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, a post-credits scene continues a joke planted early in the episode about Jennifer and her crush on Captain America….

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

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36 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/21/22 Of Dyson Spheres And Birthdays Best Told Fresh

  1. @5 — The way I usually explain Always Coming Home to the curious is this:

    Suppose that, instead of LotR, Tolkien had published a huge book of appendices. Scattered through this book in three parts is The Hobbit. The War of the RIng is summarized in a short note near the end.

    Nonetheless, it’s very good, one of my two favorite Le Guins (the other is Changing Planes).

  2. (4) I’m surprised “pseudopod” hadn’t been picked up before, It’s been around long enough that I’ve never thought of it as SF.

  3. I’m sure that I have Miriam Allen DeFord in an Ace Double, but can’t find it just now.

    And … Blows Against the Empire, “just” a “prof rock concept album”? Not a whole story? The one real Starship album (about half of San Francisco bands at the time)? humph


    Bullshit. The editing of the novel just got done and it was scheduled to come out six months earlier.

    It’s coming out now because Peter regained rights to it from his Rat Bastard of a manager who stole hundreds of thousands dollars from him as you know. That was a long snd nasty legal battle.

    The edition coming out now is the authors preferred edition which was rewritten by Peter. Patrick Rothfuss has written a fine introduction.

    The Rat Bastard who shall not be named claimed co-authorship on books that he couldn’t possibly have written including A Fine and Private Place.

  5. 8) It is a pity that neither “Blows Against the Empire” nor “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” won the Hugo that year. I was fond of both albums then, and still am. I featured both on my “Starship Troupers” radio show at my college’s radio station (KWCW-FM, Whitman College), and my listeners generally liked them, too. Incidentally, Paul Kantner secured permission from Heinlein to base “Blows” loosely on “Methuselah’s Children,” which RAH appreciated. He also liked the finished product, too (Kantner sent him a few copies), according to the Patterson bio.

  6. 2) And the main reason that the John M. Ford books are being reissued is that they finally untangled the rights. And as for Lud-in-the-Mist, I know it got a reprint back, um, 10-15 years ago? with a Neil Gaiman intro; I’m guessing the current edition is because it just dropped out of copyright?

  7. (6) Anthony Boucher’s birthday:

    His 1959 2-volume omnibus A Treasury of Great Science Fiction was my first significant exposure to science fiction for grownups. I had the set for a summer-long checkout from the school library after fifth grade, and it was a delightful box of jewels for my innocent self. Four novels, by Wyndham, Poul Anderson, van Vogt and Bester, plus a healthy serving of shorter fiction. Changed my life, it did.

    (8) On 1970 in media science fiction: (I’ve written this response before)

    Based on having lived through this time: the movie & TV years between the end of the original Star Trek and the debut of Star Wars, roughly 1970-1976, were painful for SF enthusiasts. Teenage Me would watch things out of a sense of obligation to the genre, and nearly always they stunk. (I do love Silent Running, but I have trouble thinking of other releases I don’t regard grimly.)

    So I salute Olav Rokne and friends for wading into this era in the interest of scholarship. 🙂

  8. 8) It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the only Hugo-worthy nominees that year were the Firesign Theatre album and the Jefferson Starship album, with the bare edge perhaps to the Heinlein-inspired rock concept album over the deathless comedy creation. (Yet which one is still quoted daily, 50 years later?) I simply cannot understand the thinking of the fen of that era who voted “No Award” over either of those groundbreaking works. We are not as futuristic and imaginative as we flatter ourselves to be, sometimes.

  9. (5) The picture of the cassette tape brings back memories, but in the meantime, Music and Poetry of the Kesh has been re-released and is available on vinyl, CD, and digital download. When you check out the page, be sure to click on the picture icon above where it says “Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton, Portland, Oregon”.

  10. Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey: I didn’t have a Hugo vote in 1971 but I was reading fanzines by then, knew the two albums had been nominated, and thought it was great.

    A question about the result came up in 2009 and I was able to get Tony Lewis to give us a rundown in “1971 BDP: No Award Really Did Win”. Apparently there were some people who thought records shouldn’t even be eligible, but he ruled they were.

  11. (6) I also, as a SFBC member, received the Boucher-edited Treasury when I was 16 in 1973. A wonderful selection, still findable today in used bookstores, including my first exposure to Bester’s The Stars My Destination in its first reprint since the original 1957 Signet paperback. [Eventually I owned the Signet and Galaxy editions, too, and when I learned in 2012 that the Library of America was preparing its own edition, volunteered my time in comparing all three, supplementing its own staff work, simply because I wanted to own the best edition I could get. (LoA’s endnotes do address, as far as is known, the relationship of the British version Tiger! Tiger! to the US versions.) They graciously paid me with books.]

    (8) I remember that period too. The name of the screenwriter who made a mess of Logan’s Run, David Zelag Goodman, is imprinted on my mind forever. I do appreciate some things about Doug Trumbull’s Silent Running, but not Joan Baez’s periodic warbling.

  12. (8) It would be nice if it were just comedy, but Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers is obviously set in a near-future dystopian Los Angeles, under martial law and rationing.

    I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus continues in the same future. Its portrayals of computers and robots was obviously well informed by Disneyland, but that is not a bad thing. It was a much better prediction than Colossus: The Forbin Project.

  13. 5) I absolutely loved Always Coming Home when I was younger but when I came back to it a couple of years ago I found it didn’t resonate for me any more. I think transition was part of that – it’s a very very cishet book and my feelings about post-civ as a way of life have shifted now I have to worry where my estrogen is coming from.

    That’s personal though, and doesn’t make the book any less of an achievement. It’s a remarkable work and deserves to be better known.

  14. A Meredith moment: G. Willow Wilson’s splendid Alif the Unseen which won a World Fantasy Award is available from the usual suspects for just under three dollars. Cario, her graphic novel which also involves Djinn, hasn’t made into being an epub yet.

  15. A Treasury of Great Science Fiction (SFBC) (1960; original edition 1959), edited by Anthony Boucher, was also one of my intro anthologies, probably an SFBC best seller.

    It is not, however, to be confused with Harold Kuebler’s THE Treasury of Great Science Fiction Classics, (1954 Doubleday & Co), which I obtained after acquiring the aforementioned (my “raid” the SFBC days would take place later in the 1970s when the club introduced their “affiliate” program: sign someone else up and get 4 books from their catalog. My younger brother was an unwitting participant at the time). (TTOGSFC also apparently had its own SFBC edition.)

    Kuebler’s effort was not nearly as impressionable as Boucher’s:

    The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion • (1839) • short story by Edgar Allan Poe
    The Star • (1897) • short story by H. G. Wells
    When Worlds Collide (Excerpt) • (1933) • short fiction by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie
    The Maracot Deep • (1929) • novel by Arthur Conan Doyle
    Round the Moon (excerpt) • [Baltimore Gun Club] • short fiction by Jules Verne
    The Last Terrestrials (excerpt from Last and First Men) • [Last and First Men] • (1930) • short fiction by Olaf Stapledon
    The Machine Stops • (1909) • novelette by E. M. Forster
    R. U. R. • (1954) • novella by Karel ?apek?Karel Capek
    Karel Chapek (trans. of R. U. R. 1920)
    Brave New World (excerpt) • (1932) • short fiction by Aldous Huxley
    Invasion from Mars • (1938) • novelette by Howard Koch (variant of The Invasion from Mars: A Radio Adaptation)
    Edison’s Conquest of Mars • (1898) • short story by Garrett P. Serviss
    The Martians (excerpt from Last and First Men) • (1930) • short fiction by Olaf Stapledon
    The Time Machine • [H. G. Wells’ Time Machine Universe] • (1895) • novel by H. G. Wells
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button • (1922) • novelette by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Rat • [The Rat] • (1929) • short story by S. Fowler Wright
    The Damned Thing • (1893) • short story by Ambrose Bierce
    Mr. Strenberry’s Tale • (1930) • short story by J. B. Priestley

    although it DOES contain some genuine classics. My first introduction to R.U.R., The Damned Thing and The Machine Stops.

    “A Treasury…” is available on ABE.

  16. 6) Kim Cattrall was the mannequin in Mannequin which is genre enough for me.

    5) Always Coming Home bounced off me. I thought the characters and the setting had some potential. But eventually, it ran into “Things That Can/Will Never Happen for $1000, Alex” territory.

    8) I found Blows Against The Empire unlistenable. I did find Splendor & Misery by Clipping to be quite good.

    After listening to Blows, my mild OCD suggested looking for other sci-fi/fantasy-inspired albums. I found many. I didn’t find the time to listen to all of them. Styx (one of my favorite bands) has had three such albums alone. (Mr. Robot, Mission to Mars, Crash of the Crown). Rush had an album coupled with a fantasy book (Clockwork Angels) along with the albums 2112 and Fly By Night despite the tracks from the latter albums not communicating a single narrative. There were several other groups (mostly leaning towards metal) with interesting albums.

    I doubt I’ll ever make a significant dent in that project.

    I suppose if you misspell “sorcerer”, it’s a sorcerror? – LK Lohan

  17. @John A Arkansawyer: That’s an interesting idea. But the ice cream truck at the end Dwarf plays the same tune as the bus at the beginning of Bozos. The two albums can be spliced together into one, with no gap between.

  18. “Rite of Pixels”, in which a young fan, as a survival test, is dropped off at a Worldcon

    “The Scroll Well” is a bit of a misnomer, since there is no scroll there, and it isn’t a well

  19. @Dannn665

    One of the genuine strengths of Always Coming Home, for me, is that Le Guin’s quite willing to doubt her own creation – all the Pandora interludes are about that, one way or another.

    The only thing I’ve never been able to decide is if the City of Mind is a conscious acknowledgement of what’s missing or a kind of cop-out. Or a blend of the two, I suppose – it doesn’t have to be entirely one or the other

  20. @Sophie Jane

    That was one element that kept me engaged in the book for as long as I lasted. I didn’t think it was a bad book. Just not good enough to finish when there were better things waiting on Mount Tsundoku.

    To have peace with this peculiar life; to accept what we do not understand; to wait calmly for what awaits us, you have to be wiser than I am – M.C. Escher

  21. Dann665 on August 22, 2022 at 6:20 am said:
    8) I found Blows Against The Empire unlistenable. I did find Splendor & Misery by Clipping to be quite good.

    After listening to Blows, my mild OCD suggested looking for other sci-fi/fantasy-inspired albums. I found many. I didn’t find the time to listen to all of them. Styx (one of my favorite bands) has had three such albums alone. (Mr. Robot, Mission to Mars, Crash of the Crown). Rush had an album coupled with a fantasy book (Clockwork Angels) along with the albums 2112 and Fly By Night despite the tracks from the latter albums not communicating a single narrative. There were several other groups (mostly leaning towards metal) with interesting albums.

    I’d say some of my fave SF concept albums are The ARchAndroid (Janelle Monae) and After the Disco by Broken Bells.

  22. Michael J. “Orange Mike” Lowrey on August 21, 2022 at 9:11 pm said:
    8) It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the only Hugo-worthy nominees that year were the Firesign Theatre album and the Jefferson Starship album, with the bare edge perhaps to the Heinlein-inspired rock concept album over the deathless comedy creation. (Yet which one is still quoted daily, 50 years later?) I simply cannot understand the thinking of the fen of that era who voted “No Award” over either of those groundbreaking works. We are not as futuristic and imaginative as we flatter ourselves to be, sometimes.

    I think I would have voted no award, or possibly Colossus.

    But I do like the fact that they were on the ballot, and I think it was an important step towards the award being format agnostic.

  23. @Olav Rokne

    Thanks very much!

    I’ve added them to my current Spotify queue. Always up for something new.

    The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection. – George Orwell

  24. There’s plenty of interesting sf movies in the 1970-1976 period. I think Colossus is the best sf movie I’ve seen, so I think it would have been a suitable winner in any year. You could not release the movie with that ending in the blockbuster era. It’s a time capsule, in a way, and an effective, accurate fable. We are well on the way to succumbing to our real-life colossus.

  25. I haven’t seen Colussus since the 1980s, but back then (when I caught it on TV) I thought it was great. I wonder if “Forbin” inspired the name “Falken” in War Games.

    “Thou Scrolled, thou witty, thou Filed, thou First.
    Wouldst post a Comment, Wouldst Be the Fifth?

  26. Glendower: I can scroll up pixels from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why so can I, and so can any fan;
    but will they file when you do scroll for them?

  27. It must be time for dinner, because I keep thinking “Colossal, the Four Bean Salad”.

  28. Blows Against the Empire was a listen once LP for me, with the grand exception of “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite?”. A song about riding on a starship with a catchy driving acoustic guitar. And Grace Slick with some nice piano fills. A song I listen to on a regular basis.

  29. 8) Was 1970 the worst year for SF film?

    Well, as stated, on the Hugo shortlist there was _Colossus: The Forbin Project_ which was based on the D. F. Jones novel _Colosus_ (1966). As Essential SF: A Concise Guide says, “Colossus could easily be seen as an ancestor to _The Terminator’s genocidal computer, Skynet, and even at the time, release of the film was delayed in the wake of the success of 2001, with the murderous HAL9000.

    Meanwhile, No Blade of Grass_ was based on the John Christopher British SF classic (1965) novel of the same title. That film, and novel’s premise was what would happen if grass species all over died especially with regards to humanity’s global food supply? This idea was subsequently brought to the fore by the incredibly important UN _World Conservation Strategy (1980) that noted that our global food supply was heavily dependent on very few grass species (wheat, rice etc).

    For cult cinematic buffs, 1970 was the year of David Cronenburg’s Crimes of the Future and (ahem) Roger Corman’s Gas-s-s or It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save it whose subtitle was a parody on the US explanation for the destruction of a Vietnamese village. And then there was Punishment Park, another comment on Vietnam…

    Certainly, in terms of US cinema (arguably the prism through which most Hugo nominators seem to view cinema) 1970 was not the best year, but there were SF films elsewhere…

    Just saying.

  30. When I was working in Old Town Sacramento I stumbled on a feature on Miriam Allen deFord, with taped interviews. I can’t remember which historical museum it was in.

    The thrust of the interviews was deFord’s significance to the Women’s Suffrage movement, and her importance to what would later be described as Feminism. I don’t think there was any mention of her writing at all, or if there was it was barely mentioned. Its been ten years, but I seem to recall her chaining herself to streetcars or subways. I would never have guessed.

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