Pixel Scroll 9/1/18 Knives, Pixels, Files, Scrolls Of Energy Raved Against The Screens Of The Dentless

(1) SPIDER STORY. Worldcon 76 GoH Spider Robinson’s hometown paper profiled him before the convention: see “Spider Robinson’s star shines in Worldcon’s sci-fi universe” in the Bowne Island Undercurrent.

In the waning charge cycles of a 12-year-old MacBook Pro, Spider Robinson is typing out his autobiography.

“I’m writing the serious, logical case that I’m the luckiest [person] who’s ever lived,” he said.

“My luck ran out, but all luck does.”

It’s extraordinary that a man who lost both his wife and daughter prematurely can still count himself as lucky.

But Robinson concentrates on the joy that his family and career brought to his life.

The well-known science fiction writer, winner of three Hugo awards and a Nebula award, has lived on Bowen Island since 2001.

This week, Robinson is one of the guests of honour at Worldcon, the 76th World Science Fiction Convention, this year held in San Jose.

(2) CANON FIRE. Foz Meadows’ “Trash and Treasure” column for The Book Smugglers does a recap on Worldcon 76, including thoughts inspired by the Author vs Fan Ownership panel there wasn’t enough time to unpack:

 …Afterwards, multiple audience members asked for my thoughts about the recent trend in claims by some fandom extremists that fans literally own the stories they love, whatever those stories might be, just by straight-up virtue of passion.

To give an example of two of the more toxic examples of this sense of fannish entitlement, taken from both ends of the fan-political spectrum, consider both the MRA Star Wars fans who tried to crowdsource funding for a new, lady-free version of The Last Jedi, and the lone Voltron: Legendary Defender fan who tried to blackmail Studio Mir into making their gay ship canon. In both cases, there’s a belief that wanting a personal, idealised, specific version of the narrative to exist in canon should not only trump the plans of the creators, but effectively constitute a shouted BECAUSE REASONS! override of their actual, legal ownership….

(3) MAINTAINING TWEET SILENCE. Is Wil Wheaton coming back to Twitter? Eh, no. He turned it off one day in August, for reasons he explains in “The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it.” Then he thought he found another social media home, but the administrators wearied of the flood of complaints (see post for explanation) and he left there too.

As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter’s decision to be the only social network that gives Alex Jones a platform to spew hate, hurt innocent people, and incite violence was the final straw for me. But I haven’t regretted leaving for even one second. Having that endless stream of hate and anger and negativity in my pocket wasn’t good for me (and I don’t think it’s good for anyone, to be honest).

I was on Twitter from just about the very beginning. I think I’m in the first couple thousand accounts. I remember when it was a smallish group of people who wanted to have fun, make jokes, share information and tips on stuff that was interesting, and oh so many pictures of our pets. It was awesome.

It started to get toxic slowly at first, then all at once, starting with the misogynist dipshits who were behing the gate-which-shall-not-be-named. That was clearly a turning point for Twitter, and it never really recovered from it. I watched, in real time, as the site I loved turned into a right wing talk radio shouting match that made YouTube comments and CSPAN call-ins seem scholarly. We tried for a couple of years to fight back, to encourage Twitter to take a stand against bad actors (HA HA LIKE ME BECAUSE I AM A BAD ACTOR RIGHT YOU GOT ME HA HA HA). Twitter doesn’t care about how its users are affected by themselves, though. Twitter cares about growth and staying on the good side of President Shitler’s tantrums….

(4) LIGHT IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT. An event called KekCon set out to publicize itself at Dragon Con and drew criticism on social media. Lura Groen’s thread starts here.

Groen, who received at least one threat after tweeting her thread, reports the KekCon reps left Dragon Con.

(5) PRESCRIPTION FOR ENTERTAINMENT. SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie thinks Filers may enjoy The Third Pill, which BBC Radio 4 has just put on iPlayer.

The Third Pill by James O’Neill

Greg works in children’s publishing but feels middle aged and out of touch. Then something pops up on his computer that will transform his life. A comedy about finding that elusive elixir of youth.

Surely it is a scam, or is it?  And if it works, what are the consequences….

(6) A STROLL DOWN MEMORY ROAD. “A graphic tale: the visual effects of Mad Max: Fury Road” is a nuts-and-bolts of how many of the shots were built over bits of reality. From 2015 – but may be news to you!

But the intense Namibian shoot, and further filming in Sydney, was only half the story in the creation of Fury Road’s insane stunt action and post-apocalyptic landscapes. Hundreds of visual effects artists, led by overall visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, would spend considerable time crafting more than 2000 visual effects shots and helping to transform the exquisite photography into the final film that at times feels almost like a single car chase. Even more plate manipulation would also be carried out by colorist Eric Whipp, weaving in a distinctive graphic style for the film with detailed sky replacements and unique day for nights.

(7) A STACK OF REVIEWS, AND A STACK OF WAX. Links to the reviews below at Patti Abbott’s blog: “Friday’s Forgotten Books, August 31, 2018”.

  • Mark Baker. LOST LEGACY, Annette Dashofy
  • Yvette Banek, MURDER MAKES MISTAKES, George Bellairs
  • Les Blatt, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW, Elizabeth Daily
  • Bill Crider, EPITAPH FOR A TRAMP, David Markson
  • Kate Jackson at CrossExaminingCrime, TILL DEATH DO US PART, John Dickson Carr
  • Martin Edwards, THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, Minette Marrin
  • Curtis Evans, THE MAN WITH TWO WIVES, “Patrick Quentin”
  • Rich Horton, THE FOUR FEATHERS, A. E. W. Mason
  • Jerry House, ELECTION DAY 2084, ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
  • George Kelley, THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES AND NOVELS, 9th SERIES, T.E. Dikty and Earl Kemp
  • Margot Kinberg, FACES OF THE GONE, Brad Parks
  • Rob Kitchin, THE SHINING GIRLS, Lauren Beukes
  • Kate Laity, SWITZERLAND, Joanna Murray-Smith
  • Evan Lewis, WATERFRONT FISTS, Robert E. Howard
  • Steve Lewis, SEEING IS BELIEVING, Carter Dickson
  • Todd Mason, 1960s audio recordings: THE ZOO STORY, Edward Albee; NO EXIT, Jean-Paul Sartre (translated by Paul Bowles); LUV, Murray Schisgal; JUST SO STORIES, Rudyard Kipling
  • Matt Paust, LAST BUS TO WOODSTOCK, Colin Dexter
  • James Reasoner, THE WATER BEND FEUD, William MacLeod Raine
  • Richard Robinson, A FALL OF MOONDUST, Arthur C. Clarke
  • Kevin Tipple, BAD LITTLE FALLS, Paul Doiron
  • Tomcat, FLASHPOINT, John Russell Fearn
  • TracyK, DARK PASSAGE, David Goodis

Links to online archives of some of the recordings under discussion at Todd Mason’s post: “THE ZOO STORY, Edward Albee; NO EXIT, Jean-Paul Sartre (translated by Paul Bowles); LUV, Murray Schisgal; JUST SO STORIES, Rudyard Kipling”

(8) EC COMICS REMEMBERED. The Society of Illustrators in New York City will exhibit “Tales from the Crypt: The Revolutionary Art of MAD and EC Comics” from September 5 to October 27, 2018.

For the first time in NYC, an exhibition of the EC comic book art that struck fear in the hearts of arbiters of good taste will see the light of day. Featured are more than 70 large original comic book art pages by comic art masters. On display September 5 through October 27 in the Hall of Fame Gallery….

A big business in the fifties, as many as 100 million comic books were sold monthly. Although the superhero and funny animal titles were popular in the forties the appetite had turned to subjects that reflected current trends and interests.

Perhaps the most prominent comic book publisher at the time was Entertaining Comics (EC), led by William M. Gaines. An aspiring high school teacher, Gaines found himself the 25 year old head of a struggling publishing company when his father died in a boating accident. Gaines knew little about the industry but hired young, creative editor/artists Al Feldstein and Harvey Kurtzman to test new formats and launched a broad slate of revolutionary titles covering science fiction, horror, crime, war, suspense and humor.

The EC team would later be called among the most talented assembly of comic book artists and writers the industry had ever seen. While quickly copied because of their unprecedented success, EC stories were markedly different from the competition. They were expertly illustrated, written for an intelligent audience and offered an unexpected twist ending. Critics would point to the violence depicted in the crime and horror titles or the mature nature of the story subjects. Gaines had assumed an intelligent audience comprised of young adults and older readers and not children who would otherwise find little meaning in the work.

Titles presented in the exhibit include Aces HighCrime Suspenstories, Crypt of Terror, Extra!, Haunt of Fear, Frontline Combat, Impact, Piracy, MAD, Two-Fisted Tales, Tales From the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, Weird Fantasy, Weird Science, Weird Science Fantasy, MAD 3-D art and more. Artists featured include Johnny Craig, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Will Elder, George Evans, Al Feldstein, Frank Frazetta, Graham Ingels, B. Krigstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Joe Orlando, John Severin, Marie Severin, Angelo Torres, Al Williamson and Wally Wood.


  • September 1, 1902A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) is directed by Georges Méliès is released.
  • September 1, 1954Tobor the Great premiered.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 1, 1885 – Edgar Rice Burroughs. Pulp writer (and no I’m not being disparaging with my use of that term) of many series of which I’ll single out the BarsoomPellucidar, Tarzan and Venus series.  Both Rudyard Kipling and Ray Bradbury considered him to be an influential and entertaining writer. Edgar Hamilton in an interview said once that “We sort of grew up on Edgar Rice Burroughs.”
  • Born September 1 — Diana Pleasance Case Gillon, 103. Only one novel, The Unsleep, but noted here for one hundred and three years old! Or at least that’s what three sources think.
  • Born September 1 – C.J. Cherryh, 76. Author of several major series set in different settings including the Alliance-Union universe, the Foreigner universe, the Russian stories, Heroes in Hell, the Fortress universe and Ealdwood. I think my favorites are the Russian stories, particularly Rusalka which was a Locus Fantasy Award nominee. Downbelow Station and Cyteen both won Hugo Awards as did her short story titled “Cassandra.”
  • Born September 1 – Timothy Zahn, 66. I’ll admit that I’ve not read anything by him on and only know of him by his work in the Star Wars Universe. His other work appears largely to be milsf and largely on Baen Books.
  • Born September 1 – Brad Linaweaver. His Moon of Ice novella was a Nebula Award finalist and the novel length version won a Prometheus Award


  • Frank and Ernest decide it’s better to go with their second favorite name for a new invention.

(12) A COOKIE WITH MORE BITE TO IT. Oreo has introduced two new cookie flavors — wasabi and hot chicken wing. For now, they are only available in China.

(13) A LITTLE LIST. Kendall has read the comments here before and introduced this as “Another list for people to slam!”

Unbound Worlds, who posted a ‘100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time’ list a while back, now has a 100 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time list. As before, they’re clear they just asked staffers for top sci-fi recs…

Hey, there are a bunch of books on this list I like, and if I’ve read 41 of them, your count probably will be even higher.

(14) IT’S NOT EPIC BUT IT IS FANTASY. Camestros Felapton reviews Matt Groening’s new series for Netflix, Disenchantment.

A new series from Matt Groening of Simpsons and Futurama fame was bound to generate some excitement. Using an epic fantasy/fairytale faux-medieval setting sounds like a fun premise for the kind of genre subverting humour that worked for Futurama. I’m up to the last two episodes and well, it isn’t great. It isn’t terrible but it isn’t great.

There are two issues:

  • Quite a lot of Futurama wasn’t that great either but your brain edits in the best bits.
  • Disenchantment leans too much on standard jokes and tropes used in its predecessors, making the show feel less fresh and novel.

It gets better, mainly because the characters start working on you and sometimes because of basic plot development.

(15) DOCTORDONNA IS IN. Sometimes the unexpected happens at Dragon Con. Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams encountered actress Catherine Tate.

(16) SIDEBAR. Cat Rambo found comic relief at the SFWA business meeting during Dragon Con.

(17) RUGRATS. Airboy notes, “There was a ‘weird news’ story on the front page of August 31’s Wall Street Journal on the odd carpet design of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Atlanta that is one of the DragonCon Hotels.  It had an odd carpet that was eventually removed due to age.  Some fans obsessed over it creating dresses, camo outfits, and eventually a group of them marched together in the annual DragonCon parade in downtown Atlanta.”

The article is online behind a paywall at the Wall Street Journal, “‘We’re Spending Our Hard-Earned Money to Dress Up Like Carpet.’ The Tight-Knit World of Rug Fans”.

These are the people who are obsessed with carpet and rug patterns in hotels, airports and office buildings; Dragon Con at the Marriott

Here’s a lot more material (free!) at the Dragon Con Eternal Members site: “Marriott Carpet Pattern”, including the famous photo of two prone cosplayers whose camo military uniforms blend almost perfectly with the rug.

(18) IN CASE YOU’RE CURIOUS. I’d never seen a photo of Dragon Con CEO Pat Henry before (not that they aren’t available). Writers of the Future’s John Goodwin posted a photo of them together.

He also posted a photo of the Writers of the Future panel with Contest judges Kevin J. Anderson, Robert J. Sawyer, Mike Resnick and Jody Lynn Nye.

(19) MORE CON HEALTH ADVICE. In advance of this weekend’s PAX West convention, the Seattle’s Public Health Insider warned con crud is a thing: “Gaming, Cosplay, and Con Crud, Oh My!”

PAX West opens on Friday and will bring tens of thousands of people to downtown Seattle. Be prepared for legions of cosplayers and badge wearers in downtown, even if you aren’t attending.

So… what is “con crud”?

“Con crud” is an artificial term that refers to the common cold, mild flu, or other non-threatening illness that may strike towards the end of a convention, or soon after leaving. You might have also heard it called PAX pox, festival plague, or even nerd flu.

The balance of the post advises ways to avoid getting it. [Via Ron Oakes.]

(20) AIR APPARENT. Fixing a flat: “Astronauts tackle air leak on International Space Station”.

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are having to deal with an air leak from a possible collision.

It has been traced to a small hole in a capsule that was used to deliver a new crew to the laboratory 400km (250 miles) above the Earth in June.

It is thought the damage was caused by the impact of a high-speed rocky fragment flying through space.

(21) BACK ON THE RAILS. BBC tells “How the Hogwarts Express was saved from a Welsh scrapyard”.

Emerging from the clouds of steam engulfing platform nine and three-quarters, the gleaming Hogwarts Express commands a special place in the hearts of Harry Potter fans.

Yet there was a time when the only place this engine could call home, was a south Wales scrapyard where it lay rotting among the hulks of a bygone era.

That is because the locomotive that entranced millions of Potter viewers and now sits proudly in Warner Brothers Studios, was once earmarked to be dismantled for the furnace.

Written off, abandoned and forgotten for 17 years, this lowly engine’s final destiny was originally far from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

(22) MORE THAN JUST ONLINE. “Telepresence: ‘My robot makes me feel like I haven’t been forgotten'”. – about helping shut-ins keep up with school.

Internet-connected robots that can stream audio and video are increasingly helping housebound sick children and elderly people keep in touch with teachers, family and friends, combating the scourge of isolation and loneliness.

Zoe Johnson, 16, hasn’t been to school since she was 12.

She went to the doctor in 2014 “with a bit of a sore throat”, and “somehow that became A&E [accident and emergency],” says her mother, Rachel Johnson.

(23) CASTING CONTROVERSIES. ScreenRant analyzes “10 Superhero Castings That Caused Fan Backlash.”

(24) ALMOST TIME. The House with a Clock in Its Walls – in theaters September 21.

In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett star in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, from Amblin Entertainment. The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead. Based on the beloved children’s classic written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is directed by master frightener Eli Roth and written by Eric Kripke (creator of TV’s Supernatural). Co-starring Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Vanessa Anne Williams and Sunny Suljic, it is produced by Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer (Shutter Island) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), as well as Kripke.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, Todd Mason, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. And belated thanks to Joanna Rivers for an item the other day. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/1/18 Knives, Pixels, Files, Scrolls Of Energy Raved Against The Screens Of The Dentless

  1. 15) I get why both of them are a big deal. (Because they each are a big deal!) Why is them meeting a big deal? Is it that they’re both a big deal? Or am I missing something?

  2. @john
    I think it’s bc it’s unexpected. I know I’d be surprised if I had run into Stacey Abrams at DragonCon today but with Catherine Tate? A lot of folks are excited about Stacey running, and I imagine that the intersection between them and Dr. Who fans at DC is substantial.

  3. 1) The video of Jeanne dancing on (I assume) the Vomit Comet is more than enough reason to click thru to the article.

    13) As I remarked on the last Scroll, it’s refreshing to see one of these lists that contains a significant number of books less than 50 years old.

    19) Not to mention a different rhinovirus pool than the one you’re used to living with and have probably built up some immunity to. (This is also why it’s common to get a cold within the first couple of weeks after starting a new job.) Glad to see that the article includes the 5-2-1 rule.

    20) Heh. Someone employed by Boeing on the Space Station project is on my Facebook friendslist. They posted earlier today that there had been an interesting communication to the effect of, “[Astronaut] has his finger over the hole right now, but we don’t think that’s an optimal solution.”

    “Gentlemen, Be Seated”, anyone?

    23) Doesn’t anyone remember the huge outcry over the casting of Michael Keaton in the first Batman movie? OMG, the “Mr. Bat-Mom” jokes went on for months!

    @ John A: I suspect that there was a certain amount of mutual fangirling.

  4. (24) We didn’t have John Bellairs nearly long enough.

    Fun fact: My under grad college had him, for one year, some years before my time there. He taught English, and Did Not Enjoy teaching at a Catholic women’s college. (He was a gentle soul, and the nuns were strong personalities mostly determined to turn out more strong personalities. It was not really a surprise to me that it hadn’t been a good fit.) But despite his brief time there, and strong sense of having connected with exactly no one, he was fondly remembered in…the history department. After the chair learned of become acquainted with John, he would periodically ask me for updates on how he was doing.

    He left friends and fond memories behind in places he never suspected.

  5. 10) Another 09/01 birthday — Harold Lamb, who didn’t write genre specifically (with the edge-case exception of one rather unfortunate lost-race novel, Marching Sands), but Robert E. Howard was quite the fan of his historical adventure fiction.

    As far as Cherryh’s Rusalka novels, just in case it’s not known, she sells revised versions directly from her website — apparently, she wasn’t happy with the original published versions for various reasons.

  6. (24) John Bellairs wrote one of my all-time favorites, THE FACE IN THE FROST. I’ve never read The House with a Clock In Its Walls. Must remedy that.

    (16) I saw Rambo’s Tweet about that. Cracked me up. I still can’t decide which part of it is the funniest.

  7. 4) There were a lot of toxic comments aimed at both of these tweeters. Many pretended just to be explaining the WOW meaning of the word kek, but their misogynistic language gave them away. My block button got a workout.

    I know a couple of you are Breaking Cat News fans. Georgia Dunn apparently had an earlier, unfinished SF-adjacent webcomic called The Swan Eaters, which she has just announced will be hosted at GoComics beginning October 1. She intends to finish it as time permits; they’ll be showing all the old strips, so she’ll have some time to work ahead. There may still be a gap. She warns that this one is quite different in style, and definitely PG13.

    She’s also bringing out a second BCN book, which I preordered. All this from her Facebook page.

  8. (4) I did some digging into “KekCon” earlier today but didn’t find anything interesting. It doesn’t seem to be connected with the usual names I might mention.

  9. 19: Also known as “Freshers Flu” in UK tertiary education. 4 weeks until our lot return…

  10. 10) Timothy Zahn, I know from the “Cobra” cyborg super-soldier series – not bad, actually; deeper that I was expecting from milSF – Zahn’s characters, besides all the jumping around and zapping bad guys with their built-in lasers, have to cope with things like PTSD, readjusting to civilian life, and the long-term medical consequences of their cyborgization, and IIRC the alien bad guys in this series are more politically nuanced than you normally get (a key point is that they are not the sort of politically and culturally monolithic alien society you see so much in lame SF.)

    My copy of Cobra is from Hamlyn’s “Venture SF” imprint, whose publicity material I love – “the very best in adventure SF. Time travel, galactic empires, alien invasions – all the traditional elements that have made science fiction the most exciting form of literature of the twentieth century.” Nutty Nuggets all the way, in fact. I especially like their claim that “we’ll be bringing you novels of action adventure – no short stories, no fantasy, no boredom.” I’ve got three of the things, and two of them are fix-ups cobbled together out of short stories….

    (Nicely produced, mind. Good durable paperbacks, nice cover designs, lasted well. If things like Cobra and Hammer’s Slammers are what you’re into, well, Venture SF did ’em well.)

  11. 4)
    Sadly not surprised to see that Kekcon BS there. DragonCon does try to be a big tent…and the Puppies previous attempts to rig the dragon Awards…yeah.

    21) Glad that the train was rescued from the scrap heap.

    14) I do wonder if a lot of long running series suffer from that “editing bit”, so that a run of meh episodes is forgotten in favor of the good stuff. (e.g close to my heart: A lot of Season One of babylon 5 is really really rough)

  12. @Lee: I thought of “Gentlemen, Be Seated” too

    24) I’m hoping this movie is good. I was a big Bellairs fan as a teen (when I read Stross’ Laundry series, I was realized I was familiar with “Hands of Glory” due to my Bellairs reading).

  13. Meredith moment:
    Conan the Cimmerian, by Howard, $2.99 at Kobo and probably the Other Usual Suspects. (It’s a collection.)

  14. Conan of Cinnabon: A Spicey-Sweet Adventure. (From the publishers of Elric of Applebee, The Mummy’s Revenge: The Return of IHOPtep, and Childe Roland to the White Castle Came.)

  15. @ Lenore: My reaction was “Not even trying, are they?” I mean, “Kek” is exactly what you get if you try to pronounce “KKK” as a single word.

    @ P J: I was a big Conan fan in high school, and have all the Howard books and one or two of the pastiches (which I found sufficiently inferior that I didn’t buy any more). I should probably go ahead and archive them without re-reading; that way I’ll still remember the bits I especially liked, and won’t have to deal with the Suck Fairy.

    @ Peer: There appears to be a subgroup of Batman fandom that is convinced Batwoman was actually Batman in disguise, and should therefore be played by a male actor. WTFIDE. Beyond that, most of it seems to slot neatly into what I call the “but not THAT woman” phenomenon, wherein the speaker would be perfectly happy to support/vote for/etc. a woman (but never has a name to put forth instead), just not THAT woman. After you see it enough times, the underlying misogyny becomes really noticeable; no real live woman is ever going to be good enough.

  16. @lee:
    Maybe, some also confuse Batwoman and Batgirl. Or whatever. I dont really know… Its the most bizarre on the list, most of the rest on the list is just the stupid “wrong skincolour!” plus Ben Affleck.
    Finn Jones is for me a special case, because I object to him on the ground that he clearly has no martial arts background, which shows (even for me as a layman).
    But Ruby Rose? Come on!

  17. (12) A COOKIE WITH MORE BITE TO IT. Ew. Double ew. Not for me.

    (14) IT’S NOT EPIC BUT IT IS FANTASY. After reading @Camestros Felapton’s post yesterday, I watched the first episode. OMG SO LONG AND TEDIOUS! Seriously, I did not realize (still don’t know) how long an episode of this would be. I’ll probably try episode 2 just to make sure it’s not for me; I usually try to give a series two episodes, but I don’t hold out much hope. It’s a shame, as I mostly loved “Futurama” and “The Simpsons.”

    (17) RUGRATS. Weird, but some amusing stuff, and hey if they like it, groovy. The carpet-crawling camo cosplayers were cool – so well done.

    Hey, Pixel Scroll title suggestion: Carpet-Crawling Camo Cosplayers

    (18) IN CASE YOU’RE CURIOUS. Cult alert.

    (23) CASTING CONTROVERSIES. It pains me to consider all those racists and misogynists fans. Oh, and the Gal Gadot “she’s too thin” stuff was absurd. I loved Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, and she was very thin, too. Wonder Woman’s not known for being beefy. Anyway, Gal Gadot was/is awesome!

    (I will neither confirm nor deny whether I still have a crush on Lynda Carter, carried over from when I was a kid, lo these many years gone by.)

    (24) ALMOST TIME. Yesssss! 😀 I loved the books when I was a kid.

  18. @Russell Letson — Didn’t they also publish the original version of Darkness Weaves with Many Waffles?

  19. (19) I can attest, with current first hand experience, that the Con Crud phenomenon also applies to large roller derby tournaments. All of the above explanations apply, plus we end up coming into significant amounts of bodily contact with teams of unfamiliar people bearing unfamiliar microbiomes, and often taking turns with the same locker room spaces (since there’s rarely room in a single facility for 12 teams to have their own space all weekend long.

    But just the regular con crud lots-of-people-with-strange-germs-in-one-space aspect seems to be enough, as both the coach and skater halves of this dynamic duo came home from North America West/Omaha with sinus crap. Mine set in later and seems to be lingering longer, which is the norm with me and sinus crap. I get the extended “gluey” phase at the end, which he seems to be spared. Maybe he just complains less.

  20. @Lee: Yes, and wasn’t another criticism of Michael Keaton that he was too short? As a not-tall person, that irritated me.

    @Arwel Parry: Happy Birthday!

    (10) & @Steve Wright: Zahn seems to have plenty of books published by Tor books, e.g., his YA SF “Dragonback” series (buried somewhere in Mount TBR in the form of an SFBC omnibus of the first few books) and his “Quadrail” series (a SciFi Channel branded book, anyone remember those?). I’ve yet to read his stuff, but the “Dragonback” series sounded fun to me when I picked up the omnibus.

  21. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Feel better soon! And thanks for the article link. Hmm, it ends with:

    Understanding how athletes might swap microbes could serve as a good proxy for other close human interactions—all of which, it seems, may just be elaborate excuses for swapping germs and building healthy microbial communities.

    We are not in control; it’s all the germs driving us to do this! 😛 (Insert obligatory toxoplasmosis reference here.)

  22. So, not to take away from Jemisin’s amazing three-in-a-row Best Novel record, but it just occurred to me that Vernor Vinge had a somewhat similar accomplishment. He won three Best Novels in a row, in the sense that every novel he published won. He just didn’t do it in a three year period. So, it’s not three-in-a-row from the perspective of years, but it is from the perspective of novels.

    At the time it was happening, I remember thinking that maybe if some other authors were willing to (insane enough to) take five or six years to polish and refine their novels, they might also have a better chance at winning more Hugos. And, of course, Jemisin proved that she could do it without taking five or six years to polish and refine. So that’s definitely the more amazing feat.

    But I do think Vinge’s accomplishment is worth at least a footnote to Jemisin’s triumph.

  23. Xtifr: But I do think Vinge’s accomplishment is worth at least a footnote to Jemisin’s triumph.

    No, not really. It wasn’t three Best Novel Hugos in three consecutive years.

  24. The thrice-annual North American Bridge Championships are worst of all for crud, at least in my experience: you get people coming from all over the world, and it’s a big expensive event so people aren’t inclined to take time off for minor illness…and you are handling cards that they have handled.

  25. @13: I’m pretty sure I’ve read 61 (not claiming one where I’d seen the movie and IIRC had no desire to read the silly-premised book). This is a very wide list; I can imagine someone reading everything on it as an exercise in mental flexibility, but not someone who would agree that everything should be on it. I have not bothered reading the comments; today is my day off from random unthinkers. OTOH, there’s a book on the list that I haven’t heard of but seems like it might be sufficiently not competence (or reactionary) porn to be worth looking up.

    @10: ISTR reading that Foreigner, like the Faded Sun books, is in fact part of the universe that also contains Alliance-Union (and Chanur).

    @12: I’m wondering whether those are also sweet, or purely savory.

    @24: A … less restrained … version of this trailer was running repeatedly last night (when my partner wanted to watch Pixar’s two fish movies as a break from bureaucracy); it resembled nothing I can remember reading, but I could have read it a long time ago. OTOH, I doubt that Bellairs ever wrote about jack-o-lanterns vomiting their innards on intruders (one of the … features … of the other trailer); there might be enough else in the movie to make up for this.
    @Lee re @23: I don’t remember an outcry, but by then I was well shut of online social networks that had been eating my life. I do remember being surprised that Beatlejuice was considered plausible — but IMO he caught the barely-covered fury/craziness very well (including letting it bleed over into Wayne at one point).
    and @Kendall: ISTM that Batman has to be able to loom threateningly — but some of that could be done with technique rather than height, and might be another way to keep the secret identity secret.

  26. @1: I’d never seen the 0g dance footage in that story. What a might-have-been!

    It does seem to me that Vinge’s achievement should be footnoted somewhere, as a sort of hat trick, even if he got much more time to polish the work. OTOH, the time gap also means people could read other work and come back to the Vingeverse fresh; doing the world of the Fifth Season well enough to win three straight years despite the pain in it is an achievement that I suspect will never be matched.

  27. @Xtifr: Thanks for the info re. Vinge. That’s a commendable achievement I wasn’t aware of; it’s a good footnote for the discussion about other repeat Hugo winners (a post in the past couple of weeks that I’m too lazy to look up, sorry 😉 ).

  28. Chip Hitchcock: Several people have won three or more Best Novel Hugos. I was thinking it only makes less clear what achievement is being celebrated this year to try and make them a footnote to Jemisin’s accomplishment. If Vernor Vinge won the Hugo for three consecutive books that came out over 14 years, that’s exceptional in its own way, but connecting it to Jemisin here seems to blur recognition of the very exceptional condition of a writer having books out three consecutive years that people wanted to recognize with a Hugo (which you note yourself).

    The footnote about Vinge would probably also mention Heinlein and Bujold won three Best Novel Hugos — Heinlein (3 in 7 years), Bujold (3 in 6 5 years). And along with Vinge had 3 in 14 years — but Heinlein had 4 in 12 years (and Bujold, 4 in 15).

    (And I hope my eyeballed counts from the list on the SF Awards Database are correct….)

  29. @Mike Glyer: Ah yes Bujold had 3 in the same series in . . . actually only 5 years, 1991-1995! 😀 Scary good. 🙂

  30. Sheesh, I didn’t intend to turn this into some sort of competition. Yes, several people have won three or more Best Novel Hugos, but only Jemisin and Vinge have had three of their novels in a row win. (Bujold actually came close–if it weren’t for Spirit Ring (1991) coming between The Vor Game and Barrayar, I think she would have had a threesome with those two and Mirror Dance.)

    Yes, Jemisin’s accomplishment was a lot more impressive. Never even hinted at denying that. Just pointing out that there’s an interesting category with only two members now. At least, I thought it was interesting. I don’t think it’s important, but that’s not the same thing. 🙂

  31. @Lee, Peer: You two have given me an idea. Not sure if I’ll do anything with it, but I’ve certainly scribbled it down for future reference.

    @Kendall, OGH: I picked up Zahn’s “Cascade Point” as half of a Tor Double. Got him to sign it at a convention (a LibertyCon, I think) back while his Star Wars trilogy was first being published. I’ve picked up a good deal of his work since, both tie-in and not, including his Quadrail quartet. It would be a disservice to write him off as “just another Baen milSF writer.”

    @David Goldfarb: Yet another reason for Vegas casinos to retire and replace their played decks so frequently. Not only are they quality cards and good souvenirs, but it’s a public health benefit!

    @Chip: I definitely remember there being fannish opposition to Michael Keaton being cast as Batman. I stand by what I said at the time: he was an excellent choice for Bruce Wayne, and on that basis I was game for seeing how he could do in the suit. I recall there being a lesser objection to Jack Nicholson as the Joker, on the grounds that he was neither tall nor rail-thin. In both cases, I thought they did quite well.

    I see it as the same phenomenon that afflicts some Whovians whenever a new Doctor gets cast… disappointment that the wonderful current one’s stepping down, rampant speculation about who the replacement will be, outrage at the new choice, trepidation about their suitability, grudging acceptance, rinse and repeat. I prefer not to ride that roller coaster, so I give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt and judge the performance when I see it.

  32. @ Chip: Alliance/Union and Chanur are in the same universe only on a technicality, unless it’s been made more explicit in some of the later books that I haven’t read. Scully is apparently the last survivor of a survey team from A/U that met a bad end, but the Chanur part of that universe is WAY far away from the A/U part and AFAIK he’s the only point of connection.

  33. @Lee — I believe Cyteen made the Chanur/AU connection more explicit — I don’t think it was ever named, but there was discussion of contact with multiple alien species in a completely different direction from the original Union-ward expansion. (Unless I’m misremembering and it was one of the other, later Merchanter books?)

  34. I thought Cherryh herself said that all her books were at least technically in the same universe? It’s been a long time since I read that, but that’s what I remember.

  35. @Lee / @Joe H.: I see I’ll have to reread (oh, the horror!) and maybe even find somebody in the Northwest to examine the 3D star map (several plates of clear material in a frame a bit like a box for lab slides) to compare it to the maps in the Chanur books. My recollection-from-decades-past is that Tully (this isn’t the X-Files) was from Earth, part of an expedition that went in some other direction after Mazian’s outrages left nobody on either (any?) side of A-U willing to deal with Terrans, but I’d have to dig for proof. I admit that there’s not as much connection between the two series as among (e.g.) Niven’s Known Space stories — but ISTM that Cherryh did more homework; one of her points for A-U was that our solar system is somewhat farther away from its neighbors than most in this part of the galaxy, making it plausible that any development would become somewhat separated from its roots (even without the sort of ~accident that dropped humans around the atevi world).

  36. @Joe H.

    I believe Cyteen made the Chanur/AU connection more explicit

    Yep. It specifically mentions Earth exploring in the direction opposite Pell and running into “The Compact.”

  37. The FTL in the Foreigner books has a drastically different look and feel from Alliance/Union/Chanur; I’ll believe they’re connected when I see C. J. say so.

    I’m a little dubious that the Rider books, with their radio-derived telepathy that somehow humans can be sensitive to, matches A/U/C – but the Merovingen Nights books appear to have serial reincarnation. Under the effects of deathangel, one of the characters has a hallucination/past life regression with details they could not know or imagine – and per Leslie Fish, one of the characters is actually ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan, reincarnated on Merovin for his sins.

  38. Re: Con Crud – My own experience adds another epidemiological angle on the topic. With much greater frequency than random (and even more greater frequency than I’d like) I will begin to come down with something immediately before a con. Not as in “while traveling, so it could just be really fast acting” but as in “the day before I leave home.” I’ve always attributed this to an otherwise imperceptible increase in ambient stress levels in the weeks leading up to a con, even when I don’t feel like I have anything to be stressed about.

    I’ve also at times had trouble differentiating between con-related common colds and respiratory allergies triggered by an unfamiliar set of allergens. My symptom progression (and successful treatment) for both is functionally identical. But the triggering effect–whatever the cause–was predictable enough that when I was in grad school I came close to dropping my regular Thanksgiving weekend convention because it would result it me being sick at the worst possible part of the semester (combination of my own term papers being due and massive grading load for the class I was TAing).

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