Pixel Scroll 9/11/22 Once Is Pixel Scrolls. Twice Is Files. Three Times Is Fannish Activity

(1) INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING AT ITS MOST. The news media covered the London Worldcon of 1957. They asked, “Do extraterrestrial things have much of a sex life?” Here’s a clip of the report:

ITN’s Lynne Reid Banks spoke to various creatures at the 15th World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon. Held in London, that year’s meet was dubbed “Loncon”. It was the first Worldcon to bring the global sci-fi community together outside the US.

Rob Hansen identified the fans in the video:

0.00 Jean Bogert with gun at start.
0.05 Guy with glasses looks like Sandy Sandfield 
0.06 Norman Shorrock over shoulder of guy in mask
0.12 Eric Jones interviewed
0.25 Ron Buckmaster interviewed
0.50 Frank & Belle Dietz interviewed in alien costumes. Round-faced teenager in the background is Mike Moorcock.
1.18 Guy with moustache, right rear is Ken McIntyre

Postscript: Rob Hansen: “David Pringle has pointed out that the most famous writer in that video clip is actually the interviewer, Lynne Reid Banks, and that she’s still with us.”

(2) EMERGENCY BACKUP SCROLL TITLE. I thought it was too long for the headline because long titles are one suspected reason why subscriber notifications don’t generate. However, I rather like Daniel Dern’s suggestion:

Seventy-Six Tron Clones Led The Masquerade, With 104 Lady Thors Close Behind, Followed By Rows And Rows Of Freshly-Polished 3CPO’s…

(3) CHICON 8 FINAL COVID REPORT. The Chicon 8 committee sent a wrapup email to attending members reporting a final total of 60 people who voluntarily reported they tested positive for Covid during or shortly after the Worldcon.

(4) CORA BUHLERT IN THE PAPER. “I did get at least one of the local newspapers to bite and report about my Hugo win,” says Cora. “The article isn’t online, but I included a photo of the article itself and the front page, which mentions me.” In German, of course.

 You can also see it in the online electronic edition. She’s on page 5: Aktuelle Ausgabe.

 (5) GUARDIAN’S OPINION ON FANTASY. Strangely enough, the Guardian has taken an editorial position on J.R.R. Tolkien: “The Guardian view on Tolkien: much more than special effects”.

Back at the dawn of the new millennium, an Oxford don argued, at book length, that fantasy was the most important literature of the 20th century and that the claim rested on the work of JRR Tolkien. Prof Tom Shippey was duly ridiculed by some for his heresy, with this paper describing it as “a belligerently waterwalkerargued piece of fan-magazine polemic”. Among those who Prof Shippey cited as influenced by “the master” was one Alan Garner, author of a series of beloved children’s fantasies.

How much more secure the professor’s claims look today. Garner, now 87, has just been shortlisted for the Booker prize for a novel called Treacle Walker, which, if more folky than fantastic, certainly displays its fantasy pedigree. Meanwhile, Tolkien delivered more than 25 million global viewers to Amazon Prime on the first day of its splashy new prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

…Fantasy suits the era of film and television because it is infinitely grandiose while sidestepping the need to grapple with the effect on plot of modern technology: Frodo can’t phone home. However, two decades have passed since Jackson’s films landed, so the enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings isn’t simply tie-in fever.

From the off, Tolkien was caught in the crossfire between those who dismissed his work as escapism and others who saw in it a moral purpose forged on the killing fields of the Somme. It’s a pointless binary. “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory,” wrote the master himself. “If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”…

(6) A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. Bobby Derie is not so accepting as the Guardian when he considers the racism in the fantasy written by two icons in “Deeper Cut: The Two Masters: H. P. Lovecraft, J. R. R. Tolkien, & Racism in Fantasy” at Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein.

Lovecraft and Tolkien both held the image of the traditional English rural gentry as a kind of ideal.

Yet Lovecraft was no hobbit. While Lovecraft had an antiquarian yearning for old buildings and a rose-tinted vision of British Colonial period, his fiction was mostly set in the current day and focused on themes of degeneration, hoary survivals from the past, ancient aliens, and cults rather than a celebration or exultation of the small joys in life. While Lovcraft regretted what he called the coming “Machine Culture,” he did not ignore or decry the advancement of technology and industrialization, or exalt a rural state that had fallen into decay. Dunwich is no Shire, for all the rural trappings; it is kind of an anti-Shire, a place where old ways and habits have turned inward and strange….

(7) MAIL CALL. In another Deeper Cuts post, Bobby Derie looks at the letters exchanged between Robert E. Howard and Novalyne Price: “Her Letters To Robert E. Howard: Novalyne Price”

 …Novalyne had been aware of Bob Howard through their mutual friends in Brownwood; she had dated Howard’s good friend Tevis Clyde Smith, and he had introduced the two in 1932. Like Robert E. Howard, she was interested in becoming a writer. Now that they were both in Cross Plains, the two renewed their acquaintance…and began what would be a tumultuous on-again, off-again romance. The two dated, argued, exchanged gifts, flirted, met each other’s families, went on long drives in the country, debated, criticized each other’s fiction, quarreled and made up and quarreled again…a story chronicled in her memoir One Who Walked Alone, later made into the motion picture The Whole Wide World….

(8) IT’S FINALLY LEAP YEAR AGAIN. The time has come – Quantum Leap premieres Monday, September 19 at 10/9c on NBC, streaming next day on Peacock. “Quantum Leap: Official Trailer”.

(9) SOON TO LAUNCH. Here’s an interview with Oliver Brackenbury of the forthcoming New Edge Sword and Sorcery Magazine. (Cora Buhlert will have an essay in its first issue.) “Editor Spotlight: Interview with Oliver Brackenbury of New Edge Sword and Sorcery Magazine” at Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein.

 In your guest post on Scott Oden’s blog discussing New Edge as a mode or evolution of Sword & Sorcery fiction, you emphasize “inclusivity.” What does that mean in the context of the stories and writers you’re looking to publish?

OB: What inclusivity means to me is making sure that people outside my own demographic—white, cishet, neurotypical, able-bodied males, or just “white guys” as, for the sake of brevity, I’ll use going forward—can see themselves in both the stories and the authors creating them, ideally making them feel welcome within the community. This is key for expanding the audience of our beloved fantasy sub-genre, as well as its pool of authors.

I’ve gained firsthand experience with this in my six years volunteering with a group dedicated to promoting the western Hemisphere’s largest publicly accessible speculative fiction genre archive—The Merril Collection. Through no malice of anyone involved, in the time I’ve been with them, our group has been made up almost or entirely of white people. Our selling old paperbacks to help raise funds would often combine with 20th century publishing trends to create the scene of a couple of white people sitting behind event tables coated in covers featuring white characters written by white authors, trying to encourage the full breadth of humanity to spend a few dollars in support of the collection, while hearing our pitch for it.

All that sameness was a significant obstacle to achieving our goals, as more than one non-white individual made clear when—quite reasonably—saying “I only see white faces here.” or “I don’t see myself in what you are doing.”

Even coming back to myself, I don’t hate my fellow white guys any more than I hate IPAs, but I get frustrated when the vast majority of shelf space is filled with the same thing, whether it’s beer or writerly perspectives. All of this has informed the approach I’m taking with the stories and authors I’m looking to publish.

(10) MEMORY LANE.  

1964 [By Cat Eldridge.] Ok, I confess. I really, really loved the original Mary Poppins which came out fifty-eight years ago. No I didn’t see it until (I think) a decade or so later but I immediately loved it.

Mike Glyer notes that “She doesn’t only fly. At least in the 1964 movie she has a suitcase that must be related to the TARDIS, all the stuff she pulls out of it. And her boyfriend has the ‘luck’ superpower!”

It was directed by Robert Stevenson from the screenplay by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi as based off P. L. Travers’s Mary Poppins series. It was produced by Walt Disney and starred Julie Andrews in her first acting role. Principal other cast were Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns. The film was shot entirely at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, using painted London background scenes.

It won’t surprise you that the film received universal acclaim from film critics, and that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke got lavish praise. Box office wise, it earned some forty-five million dollars on an estimated budget of four or so million dollars (Disney never released the budget officially, something they do quite often) and it’s had at least another hundred million in box office rentals since then. Not to mention DVD and such sales.

It was the only one of his films which earned Disney a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime.

In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

A biographical drama on the making of the film, Saving Mr. Banks, was released nine years ago. It was well received with The Hollywood Reporter saying the film was an “affecting if somewhat soft-soaped comedy drama, elevated by excellent performances.”

But that’s not where this story ends. As Charles de Lint once said, “There are no happy endings… There are no endings, happy or otherwise. We all have our own stories which are just part of the one Story that binds both this world and Faerie. Sometimes we step into each others’ stories – perhaps just for a few minutes, perhaps for years – and then we step out of them again. But all the while, the Story just goes on.” And so it is with the Mary Poppins story. 

Did I mention that P.L.Travers loathed this film with all her heart save Andrews as Poppins? Well she really did. Which complicated making a sequel. When Disney personally went to her a year later seeking rights to a sequel, she rejected it vehemently. Twenty years on did not at all mellow her, so she rejected them yet again save Andrews playing Poppins. And the use of the color red. Don’t ask. 

With approval from Travers’ estate (see death helps clear rights as does offering presumably offering up the estate large sums of money), Disney greenlit the project with the film taking place twenty-five years after the first one was set and having a stand alone narrative that was based on the remaining seven books in the series. 

That sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, was released four years ago. It was well received too. Dick Van Dyke, a cast member of the original film, appears in the film as Mr. Dawes Jr., a role originated by Arthur Malet in the previous film. 

And Angela Lansbury is the Balloon Lady. The part was written as a cameo role for Julie Andrews who portrayed Mary Poppins in the original film, but she turned the role down as she felt her presence would unfairly take attention away from Emily Blunt who plays Mary Poppins here.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 11, 1856 Richard Ganthony. OK, this is going to a little bit explaining. Imagine that an author decided to riff off Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. With Martians. Seriously. A Message from Mars is a play primarily written by him, first performed at London’s Avenue Theatre in November 1899. The play is about Horace Parker, a Grinch-like man. Horace refuses go with Minnie, his fiancé, to a ball because he wants to stay home reading about new discoveries about the planet Mars. He falls asleep and dreams that he is visited by a Messenger from Mars. The Messenger trys to cure Horace of his selfishness. After a series of visions, the Messenger in the last Visio has him as a beggar in rags. Having realized the error of his ways, he awakens a changed man. It was filmed twice, both times as A Message from Mars (1913 and 1921, and I’m assuming as silent movies given their dates). It would be novelized by Lester Lurgan. (Died 1924)
  • Born September 11, 1929 Björn Nyberg. A Swedish writer known largely for his Conan stories which given that he wrote just one non-Conan story makes sense. His first book in the series was The Return of Conan which was revised for publication by L. Sprague de Camp. Likewise, they later did Conan the AvengerConan the VictoriousConan the Swordsman and Sagas of Conan. The latter two are available on iBooks and Kindle. (Died 2004.)
  • Born September 11, 1928 Earl Holliman, 94. He’s in the cook in Forbidden Planet and he shares a scene with Robbie the Robot. A few short years later, he’s Conrad in Visit to a Small Planet though it’ll be nearly fifteen before his next genre role as Harry Donner in the Six Million Dollar Man’s Wine, Women and War TV film. He shows up as Frank Domino in the Night Man series, an adaptation of a Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse character. What the Frell is that publisher?!? Surprisingly he’s done no other genre series beyond being in the original Twilight Zone series premiere as Mick Ferris in the “Where Is Everybody?” episode. 
  • Born September 11, 1930 Jean-Claude Forest. Forest became famous when he created Barbarella, which was originally published in France in V Magazine in 1962.  In 1967 it was adapted by Terry Southern and Roger Vadim and made into 1968 film of that name with Jane Fonda in the lead role, with him acting as design consultant.  It was considered an adult comic by the standards of the time. An animated Barbarella series was booted around in the Sixties but never made. (Died 1998.)
  • Born September 11, 1941 Kirby McCauley. Literary agent and editor, who as the former represented authors such as Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Roger Zelazny. And McCauley chaired the first World Fantasy Convention, an event he conceived with T. E. D. Klein and several others. As Editor, his works include Night Chills: Stories of Suspense, FrightsFrights 2, and Night Chills. (Died 2014.)
  • Born September 11, 1965 Catriona (Cat) Sparks, 57. Winner of an astounding eighteen Ditmar Awards for writing, editing and artwork, her most recent in 2021 for her Dark Harvest story collection. She won two in the same year in 2014 when her short story “Scarp” was awarded a Ditmar for Best Short Story and The Bride Price a Ditmar for Best Collected Work.  She has just one novel to date, Lotus Blue, but has an amazing amount of short stories which are quite stellar. Lotus Blue and The Bride Price are both available on the usual suspects.
  • Born September 11, 1970 Colson Whitehead, 52. Winner of the Arthur Clarke C. Award for The Underground Railroad. Genre wise, he’s not a prolific writer, he’s written but two other such works, The Intuitionists and Zone One. He’s written but one piece of short genre fiction, “The Wooden Mallet”.  However he’s written seven other works including John Henry Days which is a really interesting look at that legend, mostly set at a contemporary festival about that legend. 

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • Popeye vs Credential. Guess who wins?
  • Crankshaft has a crossover from the Hi and Lois strip.

(13) WHEN CONAN RESCUED TED WHITE. Brian Murphy celebrated the magazine Fantastic and its contribution to the sword and sorcery boom of the 1960s and 1970s: “A Fantastic Chapter for Conan and Sword-and-Sorcery” at DMR Books.

The late 1960s and early ‘70s were peak sword-and-sorcery. The Lancer Conan Saga was at its zenith of popularity, eventually selling by some estimates upwards of 10 million copies. Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock were seeing broad mass market paperback publication, Leiber with Swords and Deviltry and Swords Against Death (Ace, 1970) and Moorcock with the likes of the first Corum trilogy (Berkley Medallion, 1971). And as the ‘60s gave way to the ‘70s a struggling magazine was about to get a signal boost from S&S’s mightiest hero.

As Ted White found out during his tenure as editor of the digest-sized Fantastic Science Fiction & Fantasy Stories/Fantastic Science-Fiction/Fantastic Stories of Imagination, best known as Fantastic, the public appetite for Conan ran deep, and was not slaked by the Lancers.…

Circulation remained flat, but White finally got the boost he was looking for when he began publishing stories of S&S’ mightiest hero: Conan, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, was about to tread the digest size pages of Fantastic under his sandalled feet, in the form of four new stories by Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp….

(14) FAKE NEWS. The New York Times recounts how “Galileo Forgery’s Trail Leads to Web of Mistresses and Manuscripts”.

When the University of Michigan Library announced last month that one of its most prized possessions, a manuscript said to have been written by Galileo around 1610, was in fact a 20th-century fake, it brought renewed attention to the checkered, colorful career of the man named as the likely culprit: Tobia Nicotra, a notorious forger from Milan.

Nicotra hoodwinked the U.S. Library of Congress into buying a fake Mozart manuscript in 1928. He wrote an early biography of the conductor Arturo Toscanini that became better known for its fictions than its facts. He traveled under the name of another famous conductor who had recently died. And in 1934 he was convicted of forgery in Milan after the police were tipped off by Toscanini’s son Walter, who had bought a fake Mozart from him.

His explanation of what had motivated his many forgeries, which were said to number in the hundreds, was somewhat unusual, at least according to an account of his trial that appeared in The American Weekly, a Hearst publication, in early 1935.

“I did it,” the article quoted him as saying, “to support my seven loves.”

When the police raided Nicotra’s apartment in Milan, several news outlets reported, they found a virtual forgery factory, strewn with counterfeit documents that appeared to bear the signatures of Columbus, Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci, George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, Martin Luther, Warren G. Harding and other famous figures.

Investigators had also found a sort of shrine to his seven mistresses, at least according to The American Weekly. …

(15) POSTSCRIPT FOR PAT CADIGAN’S 9/10 BIRTHDAY. [Item by John Hertz.] When she was Toastmaster at MidAmericon II, I contributed this (acrostic, in 5-7-5-syllable lines) to the newsletter.

Passing all measure,
Ardent, courageous, comic,
Taking each moment

(16) PURE COMMERCIAL IMAGINATION. Mashed gives its pitch for “Discontinued Wonka Candy That Needs To Make A Comeback”.

Unfortunately, fans of the fictional-turned-reality candy empire had been watching supplies dwindle over the decades, and the vast majority of Wonka candies have been discontinued as of 2022. In fact, the Wonka brand itself was eventually retired after being acquired by Nestlé in 1988, according to The Christian Science Monitor. The Wonka brand was sold off in 2018, and the remaining candies found a new home with Ferrero (via The Motley Fool).

Surprising, Wonka Candy isn’t entirely extinct.

… While many Wonka candies have completely vanished from store shelves, others can still be found if you know where and what to look for. Back in the days of the Willy Wonka Candy Company, Kazoozles offered a different flavor profile than the iconic chocolate bars. The Twizzler-like sweets had a tart fruity taste starting with the original cherry punch flavor, according to Snack History. In 2015 when the Wonka brand was acquired by Nestlé, Kazoozles was rebranded and re-released under the now-familiar SweeTARTS Ropes candy….

(17) DINOMUMMY. “Quick-dried Lystrosaurus ‘mummy’ holds clues to mass death in the Triassic”Nature explains the research.

The fossilized skin of young mammal-like reptiles hints that drought led to their demise some 250 million years ago, at the start of the Triassic period1.

A few millennia before their deaths, climate change thought to be caused by volcanic eruptions led to the Permian extinction, the largest mass-extinction event in Earth’s history. Among the small number of animals to survive the cataclysm were reptiles in the genus Lystrosaurus.

While looking for clues to what the climate was like after the mass extinction, Roger Smith at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and his colleagues uncovered the remains of 170 four-limbed animals in South Africa’s Karoo Basin. Among the tangled remains, the researchers found young Lystrosaurus of two species that had died in clusters around what was once a dry riverbed.

Several of the younglings were in a spreadeagled position seen in some animals when they collapse from heat exhaustion. Two of the fossils also had what appeared to be mummified skin, which probably formed through rapid drying after death.

Together, this evidence points to a mass die-off of young Lystrosaurus owing to heat and water shortages, suggesting that the climate after the Permian extinction underwent periods of drought.

Primary research here.

(18) DAN DARE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] The BCC posted this clip in which Patrick Stenson interviews Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson in this clip from 1975.

(19) HE ISN’T SPOCK. (OKAY, HE LIED). [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Leonard Nimoy chats with the BBC’s Terry Wogan in January 1989 about his autobiography I Am Not Spock, how he became a director, and how in classic Star Trek he was so “emotional” “it was like doing Mutiny On The Bounty” in this clip which dropped yesterday.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Rob Thornton, Ersatz Culture, Cora Buhlert, Steven French, John Hertz, Daniel Dern, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day John A Arkansawyer.]

28 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/11/22 Once Is Pixel Scrolls. Twice Is Files. Three Times Is Fannish Activity

  1. The reason I have always been unhappy with mainstream media coverage of fandom and cons: they find the woman in the skimpiest outfit, the big guy in the Klingon outfit, and 95% of the time, never, never talk to authors, editors, or con runners. It’s mostly “look at these weirdos”.
    5/6. Fantasy as escape? I’ve read any number of times the same thing about sf. Never mind the stories that are clearly current events recast… no, no…. It’s nice to know the Guardian has a more nuanced view. (But then, that’s why I read it.) I started to read, then skim, “A Deeper Cut”. I got tired of every paragraph beginning with “They were both CIS white men…” which very seriously appears to be trying to fit them into the same bucket. For one thing, HPLovecraft’s sexuality is rather speculative. For another, Tolkien a) had fought in WWI, and by 1919, every single friend but one was dead in that war, and b) his entire career was in studying northern European literature. He wrote to fit into that literature – he was not looking at creating something different.

    I have issues with people who expect or criticize authors from a different culture – and certainly pre-WWII and during WWII UK was an immensely different culture than now… to apparently have expectations that they should have modern sensibilities. Would Dearie have similar criticism of, say, Mark Twain?

    Finally, Mary Poppins. Loved the movie as a kid. Never read the books. But Charlie Stross has emphasized a number of times on his blog that in the original, she was extremely creepy, which would explain why the author disliked the movie.

  2. Re (2) EMERGENCY BACKUP SCROLL TITLE. ..

    I woulda been fine going for the win with just:
    Seventy-Six Tron Clones Led The Masquerade
    and left the filk as an exercise for the Filers.

    (John A’s winner is a winner, of course.)
    I can’t speak to whether your tech theory has legs; it’s possible, with apologies to Professor Thomas Wright (“Fats”) Waller, “Your HTML Extensions Are Simply Colossal” (I’ve had that one kicking around the grey cells for over a decade, glad to have a legitimate opportunity to let it out)

  3. @mark:

    For one thing, HPLovecraft’s sexuality is rather speculative.

    It really is not. http://www.hippocampuspress.com/h.p-lovecraft/about-hp-lovecraft/sex-and-the-cthulhu-mythos

    Would Dearie have similar criticism of, say, Mark Twain?

    Mark Twain (1835-1910) overlapped with the very beginning of their lives, but didn’t live to see World War I. Twain’s contributions to fantasy like A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT (1889) are fascinating and influential, and representative of a strain of American fascination with the medieval period that would continue into the 20th century. You could make arguments about CYIKAC as a white mythic space, and I think it is clear that Twain was writing primarily for a white audience, but works like HUCKLEBERRY FINN and PUDDINHEAD WILSON show that Twain was not afraid to address and play with contemporary issues of race. As with Tolkien and Lovecraft, the context of the period Twain lived in informed his work, and to ignore that is to misunderstand both what they accomplished and some of the ideological limitations they were working within.

  4. mark notes Finally, Mary Poppins. Loved the movie as a kid. Never read the books. But Charlie Stross has emphasized a number of times on his blog that in the original, she was extremely creepy, which would explain why the author disliked the movie.

    No as she was really happy with the performance of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins so that belies the theory of Stross, doesn’t it?

  5. A little math correction on the Mary Poppins piece. I actually did see Mary Poppins when it came out in 1964, but I’m not 68, so… I can verify it was 58 years ago, not 68.

  6. 11) My favorite Kirby McCauley anthology remains Dark Forces, which I initially picked up because it had a new Stephen King story (The Mist) in it, but which in hindsight was almost certainly my introduction to Gene Wolfe, Karl Edward Wagner, and any number of other great authors.

    (And a personal favorite story from it remains “Where There’s a Will” by Richard & Richard Christian Matheson, which is a perfect little Tales from the Crypt-style gem.)

  7. @mark

    I guess you’re not familiar with Bobby Derie, who’s one of the leading Lovecraft and Howard scholars working today. But since Bobby himself replied, I don’t need to bother.

  8. I took my sisters to see Mary Poppins when it came out (I was 12, they were 9 and 7–I had money from my paper route).

    I enjoyed the movie a lot (I still play the soundtrack every once in a while). I’d read the books before seeing the movie–I’m not sure I’ve read them since. (I guess I should.)

    Mary Poppins Returns didn’t make much of impression on me (other than watching 95-year-old Dick Van Dyke get in a few dance steps). I’ll stick with the original.

  9. Unimportant little nit-pick: You say that Mary Poppins was Julie Andrews’ first acting role. I’m assuming you mean first film acting role. Ms. Andrews starred in the 1960 Broadway production of Camelot as Guinevere. She was, of course, fabulous, and I wore the album down to scratches and nubs with constant replaying. (Strangely, my mother didn’t complain–I guess she loved it, too.) It broke my heart when the film replaced her with Vanessa Redgrave. Not the first time that happened to her either. She played Eliza in the original 1956 Broadway production of My Fair Lady, but was replaced by Audrey Hepburn in the film. And to add injury to insult, they got Ms. Andrews to dub the singing for (the charming) Ms. Hepburn, who couldn’t sing. None of which has anything to do with Mary Poppins. (The book, by the by, was even better than the movie.)

  10. Cat, Travers did not like the Mary Poppins movie.

    “Tears ran down my cheek because it was all so distorted. . . . I was so shocked that I felt I would never write–let alone smile–again!”

    Her feelings about Julie Andrews were that she could have been a decent Poppins in a different movie.

  11. Jeff, I said she didn’t like it. I do wish folks would fully read these essays:

    Did I mention that P.L.Travers loathed this film with all her heart save Andrews as Poppins?

  12. 11 – Malibu Comics was a smallish indie comics publisher in the late 80s through mid-90s. In June 1992 they launched a superhero line called the Ultraverse, and they had some innovative color printing technology.

    Which is why Marvel bought them. The IP was a bonus (remember the character Topaz from “Thor: Ragnarok”? Originally an Ultraverse character.)

  13. @Michaele Jordan

    I thought that they ASKED Julie Andrews to dub for Audrey Hepburn, but she turned them down, so they got Marni Nixon to do it (a chore she did a lot of over the years, IIRC).

    Which ALSO has nothing to do with Mary Poppins.

  14. Until I did this essay, I hadn’t realised there was a total of eight books. The last, Mary Poppins and the House Next Door, came out in 1988. She wrote eighteen books overall including Gingerbread Shop, an expansion of the Mrs. Corry chapter in Mary Poppins.

  15. @Bobbie D: I read your post, and was left confused as to what you were saying, much less how it related to my post.

    Several points: first, let me note that the US had a much larger black population than Britain did during much of Tolkien’s life (there’s a wikipedia page on population statistics for Britain). We know Twain had a lot of interaction with blacks, where Tolkien had far less.
    I was also trying to point out not merely some ethnic space, but that Tolkien was explicitly writing to a literature that was his specialty, and that any awareness of racial issues would have not been large during most of his life.
    With the two points above, I was saying, in my post, that I find it unreasonable to expect someone in one, shall I say silo?, to break out of it, when doing so might actually break the focus of the story.
    Additionally, I note that both Twain and Tolkien had seen war… and had dealt with many people not of their own social class/circle, as opposed to Lovecraft.
    Finally, I have not read your book – I’m simply not that into Lovecraft – but I have seen a fair bit of speculation about him. A quick google finds https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-complicated-friendship-of-h-p-lovecraft-and-robert-barlow-one-of-his-biggest-fans
    So, I’m not questioning your scholarship on Lovecraft, just that other people have suggested other possibilities over the decades.

  16. 11 – Other titles that Malibu published include Cat & Mouse, Dinosaurs for Hire, Ex-Mutants, and Ninja High School. (I’m cataloging a late friend’s collection. Those are the Malibu titles I’ve logged so far.)

  17. I read your post, and was left confused as to what you were saying, much less how it related to my post.

    You stated Lovecraft’s sexuality was speculative, when it is not; and you asked if I would apply the same focus and analysis on Mark Twain, which I would. I feel historical context is critical in understanding these authors and their works.

    Finally, I have not read your book – I’m simply not that into Lovecraft – but I have seen a fair bit of speculation about him. A quick google finds

    Paul La Farge was promoting his own fictional novel which featured a homosexual relationship between Lovecraft and R. H. Barlow. While Barlow was homosexual, he never claimed any sexual relationship with Lovecraft or made any claims regarding Lovecraft’s sexuality, aside from his awareness that Lovecraft had previously been married. His article in the New Yorker is effectively a puff piece for his book, not a serious work of scholarship.

    As someone not into Lovecraft and not having done any research on the subject, I don’t expect you to be aware of that. However, if you’re not going to do the research yourself, perhaps you might consider taking the word of someone who has?

    With the two points above, I was saying, in my post, that I find it unreasonable to expect someone in one, shall I say silo?, to break out of it, when doing so might actually break the focus of the story.

    While Tolkien’s combat experience impacted him personally and definitely found some influence on and expression in his fiction, I would not argue that his wartime experiences were a substantial influence on the culture of racism in the UK that also found influence in his work. Racism, and racial violence, were also prevalent in the UK during Tolkien’s lifetime – I pointed to the 1919 race riots as one prominent example in the essay.

  18. Okay, Cat, I confess I didn’t read the essay at all. I was just responding to your odd comment that Travers liked the Julie Andrews portrayal, therefore Charles Stross is wrong when he says the characterization of Mary Poppins is why Travers disliked the film. Yes, she disliked the songs and the cartoons in it, but you can’t think she liked the complete change in character of Mary Poppins, even if she thought Andrews played the part well. She wished that Andrews was playing her version of Poppins.

    Incidentally, Bjorn Nyberg wrote one Conan novel, The Return of Conan, and two short stories included in Conan the Swordsman. Everything else is retitling or repackaging of these.

  19. @mark I wouldn’t say ‘extremely creepy’ was accurate, but there was definitely a certain edge to Mary in the books that was missing in the movie.

  20. Jeff Smith says after admitting he did not my essay Okay, Cat, I confess I didn’t read the essay at all. I was just responding to your odd comment that Travers liked the Julie Andrews portrayal, therefore Charles Stross is wrong when he says the characterization of Mary Poppins is why Travers disliked the film. Yes, she disliked the songs and the cartoons in it, but you can’t think she liked the complete change in character of Mary Poppins, even if she thought Andrews played the part well. She wished that Andrews was playing her version of Poppins.

    All the histories of the film insist that the only thing that she did like was the depiction of her character by Andrews. Indeed it was the only thing that was not a sticking a point every time they negotiated over a sequel. She liked Andrews. Indeed insisted on her the part.

  21. Cat, you’re missing the point. Yes, Travers liked Andrews, but wanted her to portray the character as written in the books, not as shown in the movie. She did not like Andrews in the movie, she liked the idea of Andrews in a different movie.

    She said later that the film betrayed her beloved character. “Julie Andrews, a friend of mine, has all the necessary integrity to play the part – she was just directed wrongly.” she said.

    “[Andrews] was quite prepared to put on a black wig, with a knob of hair at the back, and a turned-up nose. She’s a great trooper and very honest. But to her surprise, as well as mine, Disney turned her into a very pretty girl, which really loses the point.”

  22. (6) Since it’s been mentioned, I will say that Paul La Farge’s The Night Ocean is terrific. It’s a horror novel – just not the kind of horror you think it is going in.

  23. Even though it’s not in the speculative genre, most people remember Earl Holliman as the co-star of Angie DIckinson during the entire run of Police Woman.

  24. (18) That BBC clip about Frank Hampson was great. I know of another: A British Pathé newsreel from 1956, when Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future was fairly new–but had already captivated youthful readers across the UK.

    I grew up in the wrong country to enjoy Dan in my youth, but I’ve acquired a few collections. The art is amazing, the stories are thrilling, and I can always summon my inner 9-year-old to appreciate them. Science fiction comics this good were nowhere to be found on my side of the Atlantic in those days…

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