Pixel Scroll 8/26/18 Pixels Of Unusual Size? I Don’t Think They Exist

(1) ALL SYSTEMS WIN. Martha Wells posted a Worldcon 76 report including her experiences at the Hugo Awards ceremony —

Then we got to novella, and I was extremely nervous. I felt like I had a strong chance and was hopeful, but it was still awesome to win. I managed to get up the stairs to the stage, give my speech without crying (After the Nebula Awards I didn’t want to be the author who cries all the time.) (I saved it all up for Monday, when every time anyone said anything nice to me, I would start crying.) Managed to get down the Stairs of Doom backstage with the help of about four people, got stopped to get a photo outside the auditorium in the reception area, went back in the wrong door and could not get it open and had to thump on it until the backstage people heard me, and then got back to my seat in time to see Nnedi Okorafor win for Best YA novel and N.K. Jemisin win for Best Novel!

And she has some Worldcon photos on her Tumblr.

(2) DIGBY IN ONE PLACE. The Golds reminded readers today about the extended electronic edition of Tom Digby’s amazing fanwriting that’s available online, “Along Fantasy Way”. Originally produced for the 1993 Worldcon where Tom was a guest of honor, the collection was expanded in its 2014 digital version. What a treasure trove of wonderfully creative idea-tripping. Delightful poetry, too – for example:

…OR MINERAL(2/07/76)

Pet rocks are OK, but some people prefer more variety.
The guy upstairs from me
Has a 1947 Chevrolet engine block.
I think his apartment is too small for it,
But there it is.
And the family down the street
With the goldfish pond in the yard
Has an old ship’s anchor
To keep the fish company.

But of all the inorganic pets in the neighborhood,
The happiest is an old beer can
Belonging to a small boy.
It would never win a prize at a show:
Too many dents
And spots of rust
And paint flaking off.
And besides, it’s a brand of beer
Most people don’t like.
But that doesn’t really matter.
What matters is FUN
Like afternoons when they go for a walk:
The can leaps joyously ahead
Then lies quietly waiting for its master to catch up
Before leaping ahead again.
I may get a beer can myself some day.

But I still don’t think it’s right
To keep a 1947 Chevrolet engine block
Cooped up in such a small apartment.

The collection is illustrated by Phil and Kaja Foglio.

(3) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. A very nice set of Bradbury quotes at Blackwing666: “Ray Bradbury – Born August 22, 1920”

(4) GUNNED DOWN. You could see this coming. The Hollywood Reporter says “‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Production Put on Hold”. The studio still expects to make the movie later on.

Sources say that crewmembers, which is, at this stage, a small group that was prepping for preproduction, are being dismissed and are free to look for new work.

The Marvel project was originally to have been directed by James Gunn and was to have begun principal photography in the winter, either in January or February. The project was crewing up and was to have gone into full preproduction mode in the fall.

But Gunn was let go as the director in July when old tweets were resurfaced in response to his vocal political posts. While some held out hope that the director would be given a reprieve by Disney, a mid-August meeting with Disney chairman Alan Horn closed the door on that.

(5) LAST DAYS OF BANG ON EARTH. Big Bang Theory has started production of its final season.

Let What Culture tell you Why The Big Bang Theory Just Got Cancelled.

(6) HUGO STATISTIC. I don’t have time to check. Could be….

(7) HOW THEY STACK UP. Rocket Stack Rank’s Eric Wong writes:

With the recent release of the TOC for the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2018 (BASFF), I’ve updated RSR’s 2017 Best SF/F Anthologies article with the 20 stories in that anthology plus their honorable mentions.

The grand total from five 2017 “year’s best” SF/F anthologies is 114 stories by 91 authors, from which we can make the following observations:

o   Magazines: Asimov’s (12), Clarkesworld (9), Lightspeed (9)

o   Anthologies: Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities (3/7), Extrasolar(5/14), Infinity Wars (5/15)

o   Nancy Kress (3), Rich Larson (3), Robert Reed (3), Alastair Reynolds(3)

To see other outstanding stories that didn’t make it into the five “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, go to RSR’s 2017 Best SF/F article, which has also been updated with the BASFF stories for a total of 256 stories by 201 authors.


  • August 26, 1953The War of the Worlds premiered. (“Welcome to California!”)


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge]

  • Born August 26 — Katherine Johnson, 100. NASA mathematician and physicist awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama in 2015. Her work made space travel possible. And yes she’s African-American as well! (Makers has a post celebrating her birthday.)
  • Born August 26 — Barbara Ehrenreich, 77. Social activist and author of one genre novel, Kipper’s Game which gets compared to the works of Connie Willis.
  • Born August 26 — Stephen Fry, 61. Narrator, all of the Harry Potter audiobook recordings, Col. K. In the animated Dangermouse series and any number of other delightfully interesting genre related undertakings.
  • Born August 26 — Wanda De Jesus, 60. Genre work includes Robocop 2, SeaQuest 2032, Tales from The DarksideBabylon 5, and Ghosts of Mars
  • Born August 26 — Melissa McCarthy, 48. Now starring in The Happytime Murders which apparently is the first film from the adult division of Jim Henson Productions. Also Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.
  • Born August 26 — Chris Pine, 38. James T. Kirk in the current Trek film franchise; also Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman film franchise as well as A Wrinkle in Time and Rise Of The Guardians.


  • Brevity shows some movie dinosaurs who keep comic back.

(11) SPACE ANNIVERSARY. JPL celebrates “15 Years in Space for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope”, an instrument that has far outlasted its predicted useful life.

Launched into a solar orbit on Aug. 25, 2003, Spitzer was the final of NASA’s four Great Observatories to reach space. The space telescope has illuminated some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, revealed a new ring around Saturn, and peered through shrouds of dust to study newborn stars and black holes. Spitzer assisted in the discovery of planets beyond our solar system, including the detection of seven Earth-size planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1, among other accomplishments.


(12) OH NO, WHERE CAN THE MATTER BE. Gizmodo reports “Scientists Will Soon Drop Antimatter to See How It Behaves in Gravity”.

In a new study, physicists attempted to find differences between matter and antimatter—confusingly, also a kind of matter, but with the opposite charge and other differences. It’s like an evil twin. Confusingly, the universe has way more matter than antimatter, for no clear reason. Physicists haven’t found the specific differences they were looking for when studying the antimatter version of hydrogen, called antihydrogen, but they have demonstrated a way to study antimatter better than ever before.

Mike Kennedy forwarded the link with the note, “It’s a complicated story, and mostly about recent measurements of the Lyman-? emission lines of anti-hydrogen… in particular it being the same wavelength as for hydrogen <http://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0435-1>. The bit about laser cooling anti-hydrogen and dropping it to observe how it reacts to gravity is IIUC speculative at this point.”

(13) MORE ON NEXT SHATNER RECORD. SYFY Wire brings us news that William Shatner is releasing a holiday album (“William Shatner teases Christmas cover record: Shatner Claus”):

Set phasers to jolly.

The legendary actor and musician William Shatner is giving us another reason to be excited about the holiday season. Shatner tweeted the Amazon link to pre-order his first upcoming record: Shatner Claus The Christmas Album. You can add the self-described godfather of dramatic musical interpretation’s album digital audio, CD, or vinyl in your letter to the North Pole. With vinyl record sales on the constant rise, it’s exciting to see if this will find Shatner Claus’ sleigh riding its way to the top of the Billboard charts.

(14) JURASSIC BLETCHLEY PARK. In “Dinosaur DNA clues unpicked by researchers at University of Kent”, scientists are theorizing-from-clues that dinosaur DNA, like birds’, had many chromosomes, making mix-and-match easier.

Researchers at the University of Kent say their work uncovers the genetic secret behind why dinosaurs came in such a variety of shapes and sizes.

This variation helped the creatures evolve quickly in response to a changing environment – helping them to dominate Earth for 180 million years.

But the researchers behind the DNA work say they have no plans to recreate dinosaurs, Jurassic Park style.

(15) FLAME OFF. BBC assures us, “Yes, Antarctica has a fire department”.

But fighting fires in freezing temperatures also calls for some specialist equipment.

Surprisingly, water is still an option. McMurdo’s fire engine has a pump, which cycles water constantly through the vehicle to prevent it from freezing.

Remembering to set the pump going is, says Branson, a lesson quickly learned.

“You do not want to be the person who freezes all the water in the fire engine. Then you’re stuck with a 500 gallon engine with an ice block in it… and nobody on base is going to like you.”

(16) BEARLY VISIBLE. BBC has video: “Bear roams ‘The Shining’ hotel in Colorado”. It’s a good thing Jack Nicholson didn’t try swinging an axe at this guest….

A bear was filmed going through the lobby of the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s classic horror novel in Colorado.

(17) YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. While excavating on YouTube, Carl Slaughter found Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965): “Frankenstein, ie, Frank the android, does battle with a Martian beast to prevent a Martian princess from replenishing Mars with voluptuous and sometimes bikini-clad Earth women.  The Pentagon monitors the situation and tries to lend Frank a hand.  Turns out Frank wears an Air Force uniform and holds military rank  – like Data.  This is in the so bad it’s good category.”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

59 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/26/18 Pixels Of Unusual Size? I Don’t Think They Exist

  1. Batista did say he would try to get out of his contract if they dont use the script of Gunn, so the question is not about directing, but the story.

    That Depp is still apparently no problem is odd though, and I say this as a former Depp-fan

  2. Long-time-but-now-former Depp-fan. I have NO idea why he’s still no problem. he should be. I’ve certainly lost any interest I had in him, and he was one of my three examples of extra pretty movie men I had in my high school years.

  3. @Chip Hitchcock: ISTR reading that James Gunn had also personally been credited with the current working script for Volume-3-That-Now-Isn’t. So, Disney didn’t merely discard a director but also an entire green-lit production script.

    The whole thing continues to strike me as irrational, but unfortunately now that the top studio guys have pronounced this as their public position, there’s no way they’re going to reverse course. That’s the way the business works. See also the petulant refusal of Warner Brothers executives to permit anyone, including themselves, to make money from future Babylon 5 plotlines (or even from past episodes) — because they’re still upset that they didn’t control PTEN, and won’t let that go until the heat death of the universe.

  4. @Bill
    From what I’ve heard, several directors from the Marvel stable have turned down Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 out of support for Gunn.

    And unlike the other guy, James Gunn is not a convicted child molester and in fact, everybody who’s ever worked with him has only good things to say about him.

    James Gunn’s case is not comparable to Victor Salva or Roman Polanski (who actually were convicted of serious crimes) or even Roseanne Barr, because Roseanne Barr made her offensive tweets (and IMO, Barr’s tweets were a hundred times worth than Gunn’s, but then I’m more sensitive to racism and anti-semitism than to jokes about fictional sex acts between a kid and a tree) while her show was running and shortly before it went on air. Gunn made his tweets years before he even made the first Guardians of the Galaxy. He should have deleted them or better yet never made them in the first place, but the situation is still not remotely comparable. And unlike Roseanne Barr, Gunn apologised and did not come up with lame excuses how anti-depressants made him do it.

    Of course, I also dislike Roseanne Barr intensely and already disliked her and her awful show before it became fashionable to hate her. I like Guardians of the Galaxy a lot.

    I also find it interesting that Johnny Depp, Gary Oldman and Casey Affleck still have careers and can win Oscars in spite of very serious allegations, while other people’s careers go down the drain over much less. Mel Gibson is also still around, though he apparently has to finance his films himself these days. And we’ll see if Kevin Spacey comes back in a few years.

  5. @Rev. Bob: Ooh, the Divinyls! That takes me back. I realy only know their main hit from when I was in (IIRC) college, granted. Thanks for the link; that’s a good song.

    @Cora Buhlert: Yeah, my eyebrows went up at the comparison of James Gunn to a child molester, good F’ing grief. Thanks for your comment.

  6. @Kendall:

    I’ve been on something of a retro music kick this week, listening to some Billy Joel deep cuts that scratch that certain itch that only a well-liked song which hasn’t been heard in a while can reach. And I’m talking about his older stuff: The Stranger, Turnstiles, and Streetlife Serenade. (In particular: “Everybody Has a Dream,” “New York State of Mind,” “Weekend Song,” and the always genre-relevant “Miami 2017.” Although frankly, I don’t think you can go far wrong with the full albums…)

  7. @Kendall – Yes! Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is amazing. After the first time I listened to his narration of Midnight Riot I didn’t want to experience these books any other way. I have a Scribd subscription from when I was reading for the Hugos in which this series was nominated, and they have audiobooks 1 through 6 right now.

    We finished Book 1 last night. Somewhere during the penultimate chapter, my husband paused to ask me, “There are more books, right?” I reassured him there was a hefty ongoing series. On his urging we went right from the last chapter into the first of Moon Over Soho. He was disappointed that I cut us off at one chapter, but–have mercy!–it was half past midnight and we need our sleep!

  8. What Cora said.
    Plus Gunn did alread apologized for his tweet before making GotG ONE! Disney knew about the tweets, they just didnt like the publicity the second time they came around. They sunk that battleship…

  9. @Cath,

    Oh very nicely done! I am more than happy to share the blame.

    (I’ve been in Wellington (location of Worldcon 2020) for work. It’s a lovely city, as long as you’re prepared for wet weather, which happens. There is a very good reason why New Zealand looks so very very green.)

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