Pixel Scroll 8/6/18 Have Space Suit, Will Robinson

(1) LACKEY HOSPITALIZED OVERNIGHT AT GEN CON. Mercedes Lackey thought she was having a stroke, but instead had been poisoned by outgassing from all the materials in the newly renovated room where she stayed at Gen Con. She’s making a full recovery, reports Krypton Radio.

Lackey told Facebook followers the story:

On Wednesday night we checked into the Marriot for Gencon and were given a newly renovated room. What did not occur to me was that this was a newly renovated room and everything was outgassing. Paint, carpet, furniture, everything. In a room with no way to vent the gas building up. And I am incredibly sensitive to that stuff.

Thursday night we went to bed after a day of con work. I woke up to the alarm at 9 after 9 hours and sleep and felt like I hadn’t had any. I reset the alarm for 10, same. I reset it for 11 and got up, still feeling the same. As I was getting ready, I realized I was getting more and more unsteady, dizzy, disoriented, losing my balance. I began talking to myself and heard myself slurring words. I realized I was in trouble, tried to dial 911, got 977 instead, hit the 0 on the house phone, told them I thought I was having a stroke, and please call emergency services.

By the time they got there I was halucinating. When I opened the door to the paramedics, and the hotel manager, I saw the medics, the manager, and standing between them a beautiful woman with long sandy-brown wavy hair in an astronaut’s orange jumpsuit. I explained what my symptoms were as best I could and THEY were convinced I was having a stroke. Meanwhile, Judy Chambers who had been gofering for me had arrived, with Bill Fawcett. Bill took over in his usual efficient manner (and he is literally my guardian angel in this).

By the time we got to the hospital I could barely talk and was hallucinating like it was Woodstock. Bill and Judy were with me every step of the way, as I got EKG, EEG and MRI. I’ll tell you all about the hallucinations some time, they were doozies. Bill stayed with me until I got a room, and the hallucinations and slurred speech started to clear. That was when he told me about the conversation he and the hotel manager had had about the outgassing. Bill stayed with me until about an hour after I fell asleep.

By this morning I was absolutely my old self. By 10 AM I had convinced the GP, the Neurologists and the Toxicologists that I was good to release, and they turned me loose about noon. Charles Borner, another friend who was in the loop (and scheduled to stay with me when Bill couldn’t) brought be back over to the con, and I managed to do my scheduled signing.

(2) THE SILVER AGE OPENS. Galactic Journey’s Gideon Marcus is there at the beginning: “[Aug. 6, 1963] X marks the comic (X-Men, Avengers, Sgt. Fury, and more from Marvel)”.

In fact, if the prior age be gilded, then our current era of comics resurgence must be some kind of Silver Age.  Just look at performance of the successor to Atlas Comics, that titan of the industry that had died back in 1957.  Leaping from obscurity just a few short years ago, Marvel Comics has doubled down on its suite of superheroes, launching three new comic books in just the last few months.

The most exciting of them is The X-Men, featuring a team of teenage mutants under the tutelage of Professor Charles Xavier, at once the most powerful telepath in the world, and also the first handicapped superhero (that I know of).

Let’s meet the cast, shall we?  We’ve got Slim Summers (“Cyclops”), who projects ruby blasts from his eyes; Bobby Drake (“Ice Man”), the kid of the group, who creates ice at will; Hank McCoy (“Beast”), possessed of tremendous agility and oversized hands and feet; Warren Worthington III (“Angel”), a winged member of the upper crust (financially and evolutionarily); and Jean Grey (“Marvel Girl”), a telekinetic.  Why Bobby is a Man and the older Jean is a Girl, I haven’t quite figured out.

(3) FANCASTROVERSY. Claire Rousseau spotted a proposal in the Worldcon Business Meeting Agenda to update the Best Fancast Hugo to Best Podcast that she doesn’t like at all. The thread starts here.

(4) THE FUTURE IS NOW. Reuben Jackson comes up with “6 sci-fi prophecies that are already here” at Big Think.

Contact lenses that record experiences

Just imagine contact lenses that are also cameras, giving them the ability to record and store whatever you see so you can play it back whenever you want to – your wedding, the birth of your child, or a particularly happy vacation that you don’t want to forget.

Well, Sony has recently filed a new patent for ‘smart contact lenses’ that actually record your experiences. The technology behind these lenses would be highly sophisticated. They would feature special sensors that would convert mechanical energy into electrical energy to activate the camera. It would even be able to adjust for the tilt of the wearer’s eye and use autofocus to adjust for blurry images.

(5) LOST SPIRITS. Forbes advises “Forget The Hollywood Studios: Lost Spirits Distillery Is The Best Tour In L.A.”. (From January 2018).

Nestled on Sixth Street in the arts district of Downtown L.A., Lost Spirits Distillery is one of those things you have to be in on to even find it. You don’t need a password or to pass a velvet rope to get in, just a reservation. But you’re not going to casually stroll down Sixth and find Lost Spirits. You have to be in on the secret, which is fitting because once you walk into the lobby you enter another world, one of mystery, science, intrigue and award-winning whiskey and rum.

When you go down the rabbit hole into the Willy Wonka-esque factory for adults, take a trip to the bathroom, even if just to wash your hands. There you will have your first, but not last encounter with TESSA, the computer system that was created by “mad” scientists Bryan Davis and his partners to lead the tour. More HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey than Siri, TESSA is your surprisingly welcoming guide to Lost Spirits.

“We build stuff for jaded people,” Davis says proudly.

Davis, part of the five-person super team that now oversees Lost Spirits, explains to our group during the tour that the bathroom technology was the first use of TESSA. “As soon as we finished the automation software, we looked at each other and were like, ‘Dude, let’s go automate the bathroom,’” he says laughing.

… “They speak to today’s generation of drinkers by combining booze, artificial intelligence, Disneyland and gastronomy to make the best distillery tour ever,” says Joey Chavez, one of the riders on the tour that day.

(6) FANTASTIC 4. This week on Beeb Beeb Ceeb Radio 4 (also available on iPlayer.)

HG Wells’s story of a brutal Martian invasion of Earth, dramatised by Melissa Murray.  BBC Radio 4 play.

by Jules Verne, dramatised by Gregory Evans.

Three very different people escape the American Civil war by stealing a balloon – which crashes near a deserted island. But perhaps it is not quite as deserted as they think it is…

BBC Radio 4 documentary page now up — The comic that had Dan Dare

And also, a dramatized Dan Dare adventure

Episode 1

Dan Dare, The Voyage to Venus Episode 1 of 2

The Voyage to Venus

Dashing test pilot, Dan Dare, is selected to fly the Anastasia – a new experimental spacecraft using alien technology – on its maiden voyage to Venus. The mission is to make first contact with the mysterious civilisation that sent the technological secrets to Earth…


  • August 6, 1996 — The first novel in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, A Game of Thrones, was first published on this day
  • August 6, 2003 — Asteroids renamed to honor final Shuttle Columbia crew.


  • Born August 6, 1926 – Janet Asimov. Famous for co-authoring the Norby series of YA novels with her husband.
  • Born August 6, 1934 – Piers Anthony
  • Born August 6 — Michelle Yeoh, 56. Regular in the Star Trek: Discovery series, also appears in Guardians of The Galaxy, Vol. 2Crouching Tiger, Hidden DragonThe Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Tomorrow Never Dies.
  • Born August 6 — M. Night Shyamalan, 48. Producer, Director or Writer (all three usually) of genre work such as  After EarthThe Last Airbender and Lady in the Lake. Need I note that he always an actor in these as well?
  • Born August 6 — Vera Farmiga, 45. First genre work was in the Roar series, later work includes Snow White: The Fairest of Them All where Snow White meets Satan, more horror in The Conjuring 2, yet more horror as Norma Louise Bates in the Bates Motel series, and appearing in the forthcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
  • Born August 6 — Ever Carradine, 44. Cast regular in The Handmaiden’s Tale, The Runaways and Eureka which weirdly has been renamed A Town Called Eureka. H’h.
  • Born August 6 — Josh Shwartz, 42. Writer, The Runaways, Chuck, and the forthcoming Monster High animated film.


  • Bizarro shows a Star Fleet gun safety lesson.

(10) MORE TREK IN THE WORKS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] In an interview with Deadline, “CBS All Access Bosses On More ‘Star Trek’ Series, ‘The Twilight Zone’ Status, Stephen King & More – TCA” CBS execs David Stapf, Marc DeBevoise, and Julie McNamara talked of plans for yet more Star Trek on their paid All Access service:

“My goal is that there should be a Star Trek something on all the time on All Access,” CBS TV Studios president David Stapf said Sunday during a Deadline interview about the CBS streaming service that included the platform’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise and EVP Original Content Julie McNamara.

No, they don’t seem to mean a 24/7/365 Trek channel, but apparently want to have at least one series in the Trek universe(s) on CBS All Access at all times. That would include the recently announced Patrick Stewart Star Trek series but also other Trek spinoffs in development (both “limited series” and “ongoing series.”  They also gave updates on other genre series, including The Twilight Zone reboot and a series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand.

(11) CHANNEL YOUR INNER ELF. Now that you know they exist, can you live without them? “Urbun Elf Earbuds Headphones”:

New design elf ear shaped earbud earphone,cute, perfect sound quality.Great gift.

Ultra-soft ergonomic fit in-ear earbud headphones conform instantly to your ears;With three sets(S,M,L) of ear tips and 3.9-ft Long TPE cord threads.

(12) BEAR WITNESS. Emily Asher-Perrin tells why “I Have A Lot of Feelings About Christopher Robin” at Tor.com.

With the success of the Paddington films, it seems as though certain parts of Hollywood have recognized that we could all do with more films that are the equivalent of hugs and hot chocolate and warm blankets. And since Disney has their own lovable bear to trot out, it was only a matter of time before we could expect a (slightly) more realistic look at the Hundred Acre Wood and all its inhabitants. Christopher Robin aims to tug at the heartstrings, but gently, and with all the simple wisdoms that A.A. Milne’s books have imparted on generations of readers. It succeeds at this feat particularly well.

[Spoilers for Christopher Robin]

Despite some of the action-oriented trailers, anyone expecting Christopher Robin to be a new generation’s Hook will probably walk out confused. Maintaining the tone of Milne’s work was clearly foremost of the minds of the creative team, and Winnie the Pooh and pals are reliable as they ever were. Christopher Robin, though he is struggling with the demands of being an adult, never becomes callous or distant.

(13) WHY PROGRAMMING NEEDS TO BE COOL. Cora Buhlert has made lemonade from some recent fannish news: “Convention Programming in the Age of Necromancy – A Short Story”.

Convention Programming in the Age of Necromancy

At the daily program operations meeting of a science fiction convention that shall remain unnamed, the debate got rather heated.

“We absolutely need to hold the ‘Future of Military Science Fiction’ panel in Auditorium 3,” the head of programming, whom we’ll call Matt, said.

“And why?” his fellow volunteer, who shall henceforth be known as Lucy, asked, “Is military SF so important, that it needs one of the bigger rooms, while we shove the ‘Own Voices’ panel into a tiny cupboard?”

“No,” Matt said, “But Auditorium 3 has air conditioning.”

Lucy tapped her foot. “And? Are old white dude military SF fans more deserving of coolness and air than own voices creators and fans?”

Matt sighed. “No, but Heinlein’s reanimated corpse is coming to the panel. And trust me, he smells abominably. Oh yes, and he’s declared that he wants to attend the ‘Alternative Sexualities in Science Fiction’ panel, so we’d better put that in a room with AC, too.” …

(14) JEMISIN BACK ON W76 PROGRAM. N.K. Jemisin tweeted –


(15) CHICAGO IN 2022 WORLDCON BID. Their social media is getting more active. The ChicagoWorldcon Facebook page is calling for “likes.” So if you do…!

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “This Actor’s Cartoon Game Is Strong” on Vimeo, Great Big Story profiles voice actor Tara Strong, best known for her work on “Rugrats,” “Fairly Odd Parents,” and as Rocky in the new version of “Rocky and Bullwinkle.:”

[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Mark Hepworth, Carl Slaughter, ULTRAGOTHA, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern if you like it, otherwise, the blame goes to OGH who edited Dern’s original idea.]

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78 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/6/18 Have Space Suit, Will Robinson

  1. 10) I love Star Trek, but having Star Trek full year might be as bad as A Tardis gull of corpses. Not only it diminishes the joy of seeing something after some wait, it will be tough to get enough original storylines. I remember the writers fatigue when TNG, DS9 and VOY followed after another, with imho decreasing originality (DS9) avoided that problem with the war, and the great R.H. wolfe, but Voyager suffered, and the first seasons of Enterprise followed the same themes). Hope they dont overreach.

    In other news: Dave Bautista said on twitter he will try to be released from his contract, if Disney wont use David Gunns script (scroll?) for Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
    And Ruby Rose will be playing Batgirl, which is an awesome choice! (Although some might wonder if she can get rid of her accent or if Batgirl will be an Aussie)

    Sorry, no links, my iPad doesnt feel it.

  2. The idea of “the joy of seeing something after some wait” brings to mind the longest such wait, followed by what was very momentary joy at the arrival of The Motion Picture (especially upon second viewing).

    I agree that it will be very difficult not to repeat (yet again) some element of a previous screenplay or teleplay at this point.

  3. OGH, I’m not sure why you’re criticising Anna rather than Darren. Unless I am not understanding your comment?

  4. Lenore Jones: Darren’s pursuing the always-fails-on-the-internet tactic of trying to make the opposing viewpoint sound absurd. I don’t think Cassy B’s reaction was absurd. And I don’t think Darren is insincere. So I thought Anna’s remark was the right place to voice my frustration about the overall discussion.

  5. @Chip Hitchcock

    @Cora: cute story (or at least cute running gag). I suppose Ellison would refuse to come if he were reanimated, and Silverberg (who co-wrote a story about zombie performers with Ellison, way back when) isn’t dead yet — and would probably not carry the gag as the rudest I’ve ever heard him be was a relatively serious discussion of the weaknesses of making every new book the beginning of a series.

    Well, Ellison was barely under the ground, when I wrote this (I let it rest for a few days to clean it up, correct typos, etc…), so he and Ursula K. Le Guin for that matter deserve some rest. And if it’s a WorldCon, then Robert Silverberg will be there anyway, catching up with some long gone friends.

    Anyway, I’m glad that you (plural) enjoyed it. BTW, I just realised that no one ever actually went to get Lovecraft out of the bathroom, so he’s probably still in there, muttering to himself.

  6. 15) I suppose there probably need to be occasional American worldcons, though I certainly wouldn’t go near one until the Trump stench has cleared, but Chicago again? Wouldn’t that mean 8 worldcons in the city? There are surely other deserving places.

  7. OT: Any other East Coast people planning to go to bed Sunday night and wake up with the Hugo Awards all done? I have to get up early for work, and therefore not staying up for the show–fun as it is to follow!

  8. nickpheas: I think Chicago is seen as an accessible hub for a lot of people from places which won’t get their own Worldcon anytime soon (due to lack of facilities as much as anything).

    I certainly see it as more feasible travel for me than, say, SoCal. (or Wiscon, though Wiscon is at least in the same range.)

  9. Lenora Rose, there’s a bus to Madison from O’Hare, and the WisCon hotel’s shuttle can usually pick up from Madison’s bus station a mile away. Just in case you’re free to come some year.

  10. Darren Garrison on August 6, 2018 at 9:14 pm said:

    I think I mentioned these here when they first showed up on a Japanese site I read.

    I was curious if I remembered this right (yes, I’m aware that I’m the only one) so I searched some pages near the article publication date and yep, Nov. 25 2016.

  11. Nickpheas: I suppose there probably need to be occasional American worldcons, though I certainly wouldn’t go near one until the Trump stench has cleared, but Chicago again? Wouldn’t that mean 8 worldcons in the city? There are surely other deserving places.

    There are a lot of considerations which go into making a Worldcon a workable location for people: Does the city have facilities of appropriate size and accessibility, which are not prohibitively expensive? Is the city near a major airport hub, so that plane tickets are not prohibitively expensive? Is the weather going to be decent? Is there a strong fan presence in the city, on which to build a strong convention volunteer base?

    For example, I love the idea of a Worldcon in France. But Nice in August is likely to be oppressively hot, and my understanding is that air conditioning is not standard in hotels and other facilities; in addition, August is the big holiday month in France, and hotel prices might be exorbitant. New Zealand’s weather on July 29 is going to be the equivalent of Sacramento on January 29, with sunset at 5:30pm every day, and facilities spread across 3 venues, one of which is almost a kilometer away from the others, which will be a problem for mobility-impaired attendees and for getting between program items in a short period of time.

    Chicago has the advantages of being a major airline hub, with ample suitable convention facilities, good tourism options, decent weather in August, and a strong fan presence.

  12. The last Chicago convention was also nice in that the convention venue and all the convention hotels were basically one facility or maybe also one or two hotels across the street.

    The large Minneapolis convention was at a hotel that was too small for a Worldcon, but next year they are moving downtown. It’s possible that after they have a year or two experience with them downtown, there could be interest in organizing a Minneapolis Worldcon, but I’d guess we’re looking at a minimum of a decade from now.

  13. @P J Evans: there were some people who were hoping to get interest in Mpls in ’23, but alas, that didn’t go anywhere. ’33 might work.

  14. @Joshua K: TFTI; as I said, I’m not much connected. But that makes my question even more germane; was anyone else bidding for 2022? (I would love to hear why NO went for 2023 — August can’t be high season there.)

    @Peer: (Although some might wonder if she can get rid of her accent or if Batgirl will be an Aussie) I went into Ant-Man and The Wasp not planning to be critical, but I choked on one thing — the Western-Hemispherian Ghost had a heavy British accent. Surprising, as many UK actors at least used to learn to do different accents….

    @Cora: “Of course they’re pallid and mushroomlike, Howard. They’re mushrooms!” (from Poul Anderson.) Hiding in the bathroom seems appropriate.

    @Nickpheas: there is a large area around Chicago that hasn’t had a Worldcon for half a century — KC is the closest since 1969 in St. Louis; other groups (St Louis and Columbus twice each, IIRC) have bid but not convinced the voters. I doubt Chicago is simply sucking up all the oxygen; there was a time when the central third of North America was referred to as the wimpy zone, although ISTM that it’s stronger than it was (KC coming back after defeat, Texas twice after not having Worldcons at all). Mpls was joking about bidding for a long time (at least partly as a way of saying “@#$%^&*()! no!”); I don’t know whether even the downtown has the facilities in a convenient conglomeration — it will be interesting to see if they sustain interest.

  15. @Nickpheas: “There are surely other deserving places.”

    Someone has to want to put a Worldcon on in a so-called deserving place. BTW I’ve only been to one Chicago Worldcon, methinks.

    @Beth in MA: The Hugos can’t be off topic! 😀 I had forgotten ::blush:: this was coming up so soon. I’m a night owl, so I’ll probably stay on top of things for at least a few hours, but if it goes super long, I may give up. I don’t know if there’ll be streaming – and if so, whether I’ll watch it – but I might.

  16. So my head-smackers included Polaris and Shrinking Violet. I did consider Princess Projectra, but rejected “Princess” as too girly.

  17. @ Kurt: Not going to argue with your reasoning — my comment was mostly there to be a plug for Polychrome Heroics, a shared-universe concept that I think deserves wider recognition.

    @ Chip: If I were creating a novelty appliance and wanted to provide it in an inclusive range of skin tones, the ones I would choose would be: light, medium, and dark Caucasian; light, medium, and dark brown; Latino, light and dark Eastern Asian, sub-continental Asian, and Native American. That’s a rough cut of 10 shades; I could go to 12 by adding Southern African and medium Eastern Asian. I might find with research that some of those would cover more than one category, which would leave room for more tones.

    Re Chicago hogging, your comment about there being a huge surrounding area with plenty of other cities that could host a Worldcon — several of which have tried, only to be stomped on by Chicago — pretty much covers what I was thinking.

  18. @ David Goldfarb
    ” I . . . rejected “Princess” as too girly.”
    Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (formerly HRH The Princess Anne) might want to differ with you on that.

  19. @Lee: don’t put words in my mouth. The areas in question were not “stomped on by Chicago”; they were rejected by the voters as a whole (some in votes that didn’t include Chicago, some that did.) I won’t discuss the reasons for rejection as I no longer remember my own votes or their reasons, but ISTM that you are imputing more power to Chicago fandom than it in fact holds. I certainly do not remember hearing any of the sort of debatable facts-about-opponents from Chicago bids that I heard from (e.g.) insufficiently-leashed committee members when Philadelphia was running against Boston.

    One possible correction to my observation of nowhere near getting

  20. I did consider Princess Projectra, but rejected “Princess” as too girly.

    Given Prince Namor, Prince Vio– Valiant, Prince T’Challa, the Mighty Thor, Prince of Asgard and others, not to mention Jeckie’s fellow DC hero Princess Diana, I figure that princes and princesses are often enough adults for the name to count as certainly feminine but not inherently juvenile.

    Heck, even fairy tale princesses generally seem to be of at least marriageable age, considering how their stories so often end.

  21. That’ll teach me to comment that late at night; the hanging sentence was to suggest that Winnipeg was an exception, but I realized it was out of range (e.g., much further than Kansas City) — and then failed to trim. And I’m still getting hung by the un–filled-in fields, which I should be getting used to by now….

  22. @Chip Hitchcock: I thought I was used to the Name/Email fields needing to be filled out each time, then earlier tonight I started typing a password into the Email field. I backspaced. I started typing a different one. Gah. 😉 Apparently I’m a little tired tonight.

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