Pixel Scroll 9/26/19 Pixel, Pixel On The Wall, Who’s The Filest In The Scroll?

(1) LITIGATION. Brianna Wu announced in a public Facebook post:

Alex Jones is suing me for defamation. Not a joke. He’s suing Young Turks too.

I obviously can’t comment on the legal aspects of the case until I get representation, but this is my statement for media.

If the Sandy Hook parents can stand up to Alex Jones, I can too.

According to a Boston News story, “Alex Jones Says Brianna Wu Defamed Him in a Tweet”, this is the provocation:

The lawsuit filed in Texas on Wednesday names Wu, as well as Cenk Uygur, of the news outlet the Young Turks, and Mark Follman, of the magazine Mother Jones. It seeks damages and a “jury trail [sic].”

(2) SPACE DRAMA. For All Mankind premieres November 1 on the Apple TV app for those with an Apple TV+ subscription. The series will dramatize an alternate history depicting “what would have happened if the global space race had never ended” after the USSR succeeds in the first manned Moon landing. It’s created by Emmy Award winner Ronald D. Moore (Outlander, Battlestar Galactica), Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi.

Told through the lives of NASA astronauts, engineers and their families, For All Mankind presents an aspirational world where NASA and the space program remained a priority and a focal point of our hopes and dreams.

(3) RESTORE THE LEGEND! Chris Garcia has given himself a task – to make Jack C. Haldeman II (or as everyone else called him, Jay) famous again! The legendary writer and SMoF, Jay was also the master of the SpecFi Sports story! This plan all starts with a simple plan – an issue of The Drink Tank!

We’re looking for stories about Jay, personal reminiscences, appreciation of his writings, anything! We’d love stories particularly about folks who knew him from the 1970s and 80s, and especially anything about the Discon II!  If you’ve got any photos of Jay, that’d be great, too!

We’ve set November 20th, 2019 as the deadline!

Any questions? Drop a line at [email protected]

(4) GAHAN WILSON APPEAL. Paul Winters, organizer of the “Help Gahan Wilson find his way” GoFundMe, is calling for more donations after Wilson had a medical emergency.

We have a crisis.

Gahan had surgery over the weekend and he was discharged from the hospital yesterday. It turns out that the hospital and the memory care facility didn’t have the best communication going, because today we were told that the memory care unit could not care for Gahan because of the severity of the surgery. The hospital won’t take him back and he can’t go to a rehabilitation facility.

We were informed that for him to stay in the memory care facility, we would need to get him a 24 hour care person to stay with him for the next thirty days until the doctors can assess his condition.

All through this gofundme I have been careful not to take in too much money. A few months ago, I suspended donations because it looked like we would have enough. Today, that all changed. Please, if you can spare any more, we could use it to pay this unexpected expense.

The circumstances of this whole hospital event have been surreal. I will spare everyone the details of the surgery, but we did it because the doctor said he would die without it. None of the medical experts warned or prepared us for the change that would make in his care level after the surgery.

I know that even with Alzheimer’s Gahan wants to live. Whenever we are with him, he speaks of how lucky we all are to be alive and the last cartoon he drew was of a guy holding a sign that read “Glad to remain alive!” I know he was drawing himself. We will keep trying to give him the best quality of life until the end.

(5) ATTENTION, BUCKAROOS! Chuck Tingle’s game was released at the beginning of the month: “The Tingleverse: The Official Chuck Tingle Role-Playing Game”.

This rulebook contains everything a group of buckaroos will need, including four playable types (bigfoot, dinosaur, human, and unicorn), five trots (bad boy, charmer, sneak, true buckaroo, and wizard), several unique ways, as well as hundreds of cool moves that are specially crafted for each unique play style.

Within these 270+ pages you will also find various magical items and a menagerie of monsters, ranging from pesky Void crabs to this villainous Ted Cobbler himself.

The only question left is: what are you waiting for?

(6) WISDOM SEEKER. Likewise, UrsulaV knew who could help her navigate the recent fannish storm.

Tingle even promised to get into the topic on his “My Friend Chuck” podcast — but I must be in the wrong timeline, it hasn’t dropped yet.

(7) THE CAT’S MEOW. Orbit’s cover reveal for Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes explains why we’re interested. SJW Credentials in SFF… Irresistible.


  • September 26, 1937 The Shadow radio serial premiered with the first episode being titled “The Death House Rescue”. The introduction to the program, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” was spoken by actor Frank Readick. 
  • September 26, 1987 Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Encounter at Farpoint” opening episode premiered in television syndication. The series would run for seven years, the longest Trek series to date. 
  • September 26, 2001 Star Trek: Enterprise debuted. It was called simply Enterprise for the first two seasons. “Broken Bow” was the name of the first episode. Captain Archer was played by Scott Bakula, star of Quantum Leap. It ran for four seasons before being cancelled. 
  • September 26, 2007 The Bionic Woman first aired. This is NBC’s retooling of the 1970’s SciFi channel series Bionic Woman which starred Lindsay Wagner, and now starring Michelle Ryan. It lasted exactly eight episodes. 
  • September 26, 2014 Star Wars: Rebels first aired. It was produced by Lucasfilm Animation and set in the Star Wars universe five years before A New Hope. It lasted four seasons. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 26, 1866 Winsor McCay. Cartoonist and animator who’s best remembered for the Little Nemo strip which ran between The Wars and the animated Gertie the Dinosaur film which is the key frame animation cartoon which you can see here. He used  the pen name Silas on his Dream of the Rarebit Fiend strip. That strip had no recurring characters or theme, just that a character has a nightmare or other bizarre dream after eating Welsh rarebit. What an odd concept. (Died 1934.)
  • Born September 26, 1877 Edmund Gwenn. Dr. Harold Medford in the classic Big Insect film Them.  He showed in the Fifties show Science Fiction Theatre twice, once as Dr. Pliny in “A Visit from Dr. Pliny” and another time as Dr. Lorenz in “The Strange Doctor Lorenz”. (We’re not mentioning his famous role as Santa Claus: since we all still believe, that must be classified as merely a courtroom drama.) (Died 1959.)
  • Born September 26, 1927 Charles Macaulay. He appear twice in Trek, once in “The Return of the Archons” as Landru, and in the “Wolf in the Fold” as Prefect Jaris. He was Captain Townsend in “God Save The Queen” in The Tales of The Golden Monkey, and in the Wonder Woman series, he was Ambassador McCauley in “Formula 407”. (Died 1999.)
  • Born September 26, 1941 Martine Beswick, 78. Though she auditioned for Dr. No, she was instead cast in From Russia with Love as Zora. She also appeared  as Paula Caplan in Thunderball. She would appear in One Million Years B.C. opposite Raquel Welch.  She made several Hammer Studio films including Prehistoric Women and Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde.
  • Born September 26, 1948 Olivia Newton-John, 71. She was Kira in Xanadu which is considered responsible for the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards. In 2017, she appeared in Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. A coincidence? I think not. It got a 30% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Born September 26, 1956 Linda Hamilton, 63. Best known for being Sarah Connor in The Terminator film franchise and Catherine Chandler in the Beauty and the Beast series. She also played Vicky Baxter in Children of the Corn, and Doctor Amy Franklin in King Kong Lives. She would be Acacia, a Valkyrie in “Delinquents” of the Lost Girl series, a role she would reprise in two more episodes, “End of a Line” and “Sweet Valkyrie High”.
  • Born September 26, 1957 Tanya Huff, 62. Her Confederation of Valor Universe series is highly recommended by me.  And I also give a strong recommendation to her Gale Family series. I’ve not read her other series, so I’ll ask y’all what you’d recommend.
  • Born September 26, 1968 Jim Caviezel, 51. John Reese on Person of Interest which CBS describes as a “crime drama”. Huh. He was also Detective John Sullivan in Frequency, and Kainan in Outlander. And yes he played Number Six in the unfortunate reboot of The Prisoner
  • Born September 26, 1985 Talulah Riley, 34. Miss Evangelista in “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”, two Tenth Doctor stories. She also portrays Angela in Westworld, and she shows up in Thor: The Dark World as an Asgardian nurse. 


  • Crankshaft obviously has seen authors hawking their books in the dealer’s room.
  • Free Range gets a laugh from an unexpected link between the Olympics and UFOs.

(11) KIDS IN THE HALL. The Chicago Tribune says even Stan Lee paid a visit: “He dared to build the Hall of Justice in his backyard — now there’s a superhero museum in Elkhart, Ind.”

As with any decent superhero origin, the Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum here began in ambition and humility, overreach and wonder: Allen Stewart loved superheroes and comic books and spent every dime from his paper routes on superhero comics and toys and refused to throw anything away. His fever never abated, not as a teenager, not after he entered the military, not after he started a family, and so, when he became an adult and made some money in local real estate, he decided to splurge: He decided he would build the Justice League’s Hall of Justice in his backyard.

This was a dozen years ago.

…Still, the Hall of Heroes and its unlikely Hall of Justice were becoming a draw in Elkhart County. Within a few years of opening, he had 10,000 annual paying visitors, and the collection — which he now calls the largest superhero memorabilia collection in the world, and believes is worth about $5 million — exploded to include: a nine-foot tall Hulk statue, a Captain America shield used in the 2011 movie, rare Superman toys, original artwork and the debut comics of nearly every major superhero. His Hall went from something like a child’s bedroom shrine to superheroes to something like a museum.

(12) DEADLY WALL. At Galactic Journey, Cora Buhlert precedes her reviews of the latest (in 1964) German sff with a local news bulletin: “[September 26, 1964] A Mystery Mastermind Double-Feature: The Ringer and The Death Ray of Dr. Mabuse”.

…Another visitor who received a warm welcome in Germany was American Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when he visited Berlin earlier this month. The official reason for the visit was a memorial service for John F. Kennedy, but Dr. King also used the opportunity to visit the Berlin Wall, where only hours before a young man had been shot during an attempt to flee East Berlin and only survived due to the heroic actions of an US Army sergeant who pulled him to safety, a sad reminder that about fifty people have already been killed trying to surmount the Berlin Wall….

(13) THE HUBBLE GAZE. Abigail Nussbaum drills into new sff film Ad Astra at Asking the Wrong Question.

…This is absolutely a film that revels in the stark visual of a single space-suited protagonist made small against a backdrop of endless stars, or in stunning vistas of planetary bodies and orbital installations.  It absolutely features long wordless stretches in which the cosmic soundtrack strives to create a 2001-esque sense of grandeur.  And it absolutely filters all those sensory feasts through Pitt’s character, a soulful Competent Man whose emotional turmoil is both soothed and magnified by the scale of the setting he’s been placed in, and the challenges of surviving it.  But Ad Astra also feels like a film aware of its antecedents, of the movies that have come before it over the last decade and the tropes they’ve established.  If it isn’t quite a dismantling of those tropes, it is at least a more measured, more humane response to them….

(14) NOT SURPRISED BY DAN SIMMONS. RedWombat was ahead of the curve, like usual.

(15) ALT-RIGHT HATES SEEING THOSE CLICKS GO TO WASTE. Jon Del Arroz hopes he can rev up the last couple days of his latest Kickstarter campaign by tweeting his own crap about Greta Thunberg. Was getting banned for a week part of the plan? No idea. “BANNED On Twitter And Can’t Promote!” [Internet Archive link.]

(16) SOUND AND FURY. FastCompany explains “What it means that Samuel L. Jackson is the new voice of Alexa”.

…To get started, just say, “Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson.” You can then choose whether you want him to use explicit language or not, so it’s safe to assume that those who want him to curse will get a dose of his iconic “Motherf—er!” The beauty of it is, you can always change your mind and toggle between clean and explicit content as much as your heart desires.

(17) NO DISASSEMBLE. BBC reveals how “Bacterial ‘striptease’ evades antibiotics”.

Bacteria have been caught “stripping off” in order to evade antibiotics and survive, scientists show.

Researchers at Newcastle University filmed bacteria “undressing” and taking off their outer layer – or cell wall.

Antibiotics can attack cell walls so scientists think this is a new form of drug resistance and could explain why some infections keep coming back.

But experts said it was still unclear if this was having an impact on patients.

What are they taking off?

Some species of bacteria have a cell wall built out of sugars and amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

It gives the bacterium shape and protection but it is also a weak spot that can be exploited by antibiotics.

The first antibiotic to be discovered, penicillin, disrupts the cell wall and causes bacteria to burst.

The study, published in Nature Communications, looked at bacteria from elderly patients with urinary tract infections that kept coming back.

Researchers spotted that some bacteria were responding to antibiotics by slipping out of their cell wall in order to escape the drug’s effects.

(18) STARKILLER! [Item by Olav Rokne.] Stars and galaxies are being torn asunder, and nobody really knows why.  Could it be The Doomsday Machine from Star Trek’s original series? Has some alien civilization found a Tox Uthat? Is it just a bunch of busy Vogons? Well, probably not. But hopefully, Canadian scientists working with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) will be able to figure out the exact mechanism that explains why galaxies are being destroyed. The New York Post has the story: “Something in the universe is killing off entire galaxies”.  

The cause of death is thought to be a shutdown of star formation, and a new project aims to use one of the world’s leading telescopes to observe the process in detail.

The Canadian-led project is called the Virgo Environment Traced in Carbon Monoxide survey (VERTICO).

It will investigate how galaxies can be killed off by their own environment.

Principal investigator Toby Brown explained in The Conversation that he is leading a team of 30 experts who will be using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) telescope to map stars being made in our nearest galaxy cluster, the Virgo Cluster.

(19) UP, UP AND AWAY. BBC learns: “Balloon ‘taxi service’ to take satellites to space”.

A satellite delivery “taxi service” using a giant helium balloon is being developed by a start-up company.

B2space is looking primarily to launch commercial satellites, but it has even fielded an inquiry about “space funerals”, sending ashes into space.

…Described as a satellite “taxi service” by the company, balloons have already been sent to the edge of the atmosphere to test their components and systems – their first launch was from Snowdonia Aerospace Centre, and they have since taken off from Shetland Space Centre.

B2space’s technology will use a giant helium balloon to lift an unmanned rocket up over the sea to a height of around 22-25 miles (35-40km). The rocket, carrying a satellite, will then blast into space to deliver its cargo, while the balloon deflates and falls to earth to be retrieved from the sea.

This will be cheaper because the rocket does not have to power itself up through dense air up to 22 miles, using 85% less fuel, and the rocket will be smaller, the company claimed.

(20) MODERN BUSINESS. Not like Macy’s telling Gimbel’s, any more… “Star Wars: Marvel boss Kevin Feige to develop film for Disney”.

The man behind Marvel Studios’ string of comic book movie blockbusters is to develop a new Star Wars film, a senior executive at Disney has revealed.

Alan Horn, co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios, said it “made sense” for Kevin Feige to work with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy on the project.

The film would be part of “a new era in Star Wars storytelling,” Horn told the Hollywood Reporter.

Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios are both subsidiaries of Walt Disney Studios.

Horn described Feige – who has been president of Marvel Studios since 2007 – as “a die-hard fan” of the Star Wars universe.

Under Feige’s leadership, the films that make up the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) have made more than $22 billion (£18 billion) worldwide.

(21) JEDI GAMES. EA has dropped a Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game trailer — “Cal’s Mission.”

In the Galactic Empire, the Inquisitorius has only one mission: seek out and destroy all remnants of the Jedi Order. Learn more about what Cal Kestis is searching the galaxy for and why the Empire will stop at nothing to bring him down. Become a Jedi in Respawn Entertainment’s third-person action-adventure game, STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order™. Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC this holiday season, November 15, 2019.

[Thanks to Chris Garcia, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

54 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/26/19 Pixel, Pixel On The Wall, Who’s The Filest In The Scroll?

  1. (3) I never meant Jay but I did enjoy his stories, like “We the People” and “A Tale of Two Cities”.

  2. Jim Caviezel also played Christ, which is — as far as I am concerned— also genre.

    Tanya Huff is one of those authors where I recommend every single book, short story, novella, or word she’s written. You can’t go wrong with Huff. The gatekeepers are similar to the Gales (that’s the series with the cat, Austin, and the memorable gateway to hell in the basement of the B&B).

    First? Dang, second.

  3. (4) Best health care system in the world.

    Provided you have unlimited wealth.

    Which is not by any means assured merely by having a great and widely loved talent.

  4. Cora Buhlert: I thought your reviews were interesting. I had no idea there were five Dr.Mabuse movies in the 1960s. The only one I’ve ever heard of was the one Fritz Lang directed.

  5. (14) I know many people found Song of Kali to be creepy and xenophobic in a different way than Simmons may have intended, but I haven’t read that one. However, I’m a little surprised that I never see people mention the bit in the first (I think) Hyperion book that goes roughly like this: 1. Raving mad mullahs, with no motivation other than being raving mad mullahs, are involved in multiple simultaneous hostage crises or something like that. 2. Tough military guy realizes the problem can be solved by targeting ultra-precise satellite weapons to summarily execute all of the mullahs. 3. He gets in trouble for this and we’re meant to see him as perhaps a bit harsh and reckless, but it’s one of those he sure got results, didn’t he things with kind of a Dirty Harry tone. Now, as a Gen X person I didn’t see this as unusually right-wing or Islamophobic, because I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s when there were lots of caricatured Islamic terrorists as villains in all forms of entertainment… so I just thought of Simmons as having familiar asshole tendencies along those lines. But if I had had to pick someone who would’ve been much likelier than most people to go around the bend after 9/11, he would’ve been high on the list.

  6. @Martin Wooster
    Including The Death Ray of Dr. Mabuse, there are actually six Mabuse films made between 1960 and 1964, though Fritz Lang only directed the first of them, The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (as well as the two original Mabuse movies during the Weimar Republic). The quality varies a bit, but all six of them are entertaining and well worth watching, if you can find them.

    There were four more not quite official Mabuse movies made after 1964. The first one is Scream and Scream Again from 1969, a Hammer mad scientist movie which was turned into a Mabuse movie in the German dubbing (Vincent Price gets to be Mabuse). The next is The Vengeance of Dr. M. from 1972, an unwatchable piece of trash directed by Jess Franco that was so bad that the screenwriter had his name taken off the movie and the heirs of Mabuse creator Norbert Jacques tried to prevent its distribution. In 1983, Mabuse appeared in an episode of the Austrian Tv show “Kottan ermittelt” (Kottan investigates), which is the only Mabuse film I have never seen (though I bailed on Vengeance after twenty minutes, because it is so bad). The last one is Dr. M. by Claude Chabrol, where the character cannot be called Mabuse for legal reasons, but obviously is him. It’s pretty good. I keep hoping that someone will revive Mabuse for the 21st century, but no luck so far.

    The main antagonist in the Gereon Rath historical mysteries by Volker Kutscher (upon which the TV show Babylon Berlin was based) is Mabuse in all but the name, again because of the rights issue. The books are much better than the anachronism riddled TV series BTW and have been translated into English thanks to the success of the TV show.

    I have no idea if Norbert Jacques’ original Mabuse novels from the 1920s have ever been translated. Though the books weren’t all that easy to find in German for many years either. To read one of the Mabuse novels, I had to go to the newspaper archive of the University of Bremen and read the serialised version on microfilm. A few years later, the novel as reprinted.

    PS: Glad you like my reviews.

  7. (9) Re Edmund Gwenn, and “Them!”: for those who’ve heard of TVTropes “Somewhere a (fill in the blank with the word “Myrmecologist”) is weeping” the scene in which the elder Dr. Medford gives the ancestor species of the giants as Camponotus vicinus provides a good example; the giants have stingers, but the ant species named belongs to a group that delivers formic acid via an acidopore (think “squirtgun,” rather than a stinger’s “hypodermic needle”) .

  8. 9) A piece of obscure trivia about Martine Beswick: she was the female lead in The Solarnauts, an unsuccessful pilot for a live-action SF series by Roberta Leigh. Leigh (creator of the puppet series Space Patrol, or Planet Patrol in the US) is someone I think of as the alternate history Gerry Anderson; in a timeline where Anderson fell under a bus in the early Sixties, we got Leigh’s shows instead, and The Solarnauts would fill the gap left by UFO and Space:1999 – and if you have seen The Solarnauts, you know how lucky we are to live in this timeline.

    As the female lead, Beswick didn’t have much to do except get rescued and patronized by the male leads, one of whom was Derek Fowlds, some years before finding fame in political comedy. If you have ever wanted to watch a show where Bernard from Yes, Minister parachutes out of a flying saucer, zaps green-skinned bad guys with a “transitizing ray”, and at one point sneaks an appreciative peek down the top of Beswick’s skin-tight silver space suit, then The Solarnauts is the show for you! – and your friends and family are quite right to be concerned.

  9. Yeah, after 9-11 Simmons did that time travller story about how the Muslims were going to turn everyone into dhimmis or whatever it was. There was a lot of that sort of thing about.

  10. Nigel on September 27, 2019 at 2:23 am said:
    Yeah, after 9-11 Simmons did that time travller story about how the Muslims were going to turn everyone into dhimmis or whatever it was. There was a lot of that sort of thing about.

    Still is a lot of that sort of chat around in certain parts.

  11. I’m sure I’ve seen Roger Zelazny’s A Night In The Lonesome October mentioned very positively by folks around here. It’s currently 99p on Amazon UK if any Brits want to pick it up cheaply.

  12. rob_matic says I’m sure I’ve seen Roger Zelazny’s A Night In The Lonesome October mentioned very positively by folks around here. It’s currently 99p on Amazon UK if any Brits want to pick it up cheaply.

    I’m not sure where you can find it but I’ve listened to Zelazny read A Night In The Lonesome October which is quite wonderful to hear. I might have it on a hard disc somewhere. I’m fairly sure that it’s not commercially available currently.

  13. 9) A long while ago I bought a beautiful full-size (broadsheet) collection of Little Nemo comics from Sunday Press. It was a lot of money but well worth it. Thanks to File 770, I have discovered that Sunday Press are still selling a second volume of broadsheet Little Nemo comics–O frabjous day! Still a lot of money, but they are so lovely….

  14. I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s when there were lots of caricatured Islamic terrorists as villains in all forms of entertainment

    Ach, the poor IRA has been totally forgotten.

    I was stuck when rereading Ing’s Soft Targets and Scortia’s Earthwreck! how inclusive the old time terrorists were back then. Irish, Japanese, Middle Eastern bomb-tossers, all working together on ambitious projects like trying to kill not-Walter Cronkite or setting off WWIII.

    (Ing’s version of Cronkite was a lot more heroic than pretty any journalist in right wing skiffy since then)

  15. @JDN:

    For some reason your post reminds me of this bit from Dave Barry: ” Or take the Russian leaders. When they were young, they`d pull any kind of crazy stunt, kill the Czar, anything, but now they mostly just lie around in state.”

  16. Ach, the poor IRA has been totally forgotten.

    Not by me. There was a very fine comic shop blown up by them in the 1996 Manchester bombing.

  17. @Juan Sanmiguel

    The original Bionic Woman was on ABC (1976-1977) and NBC (1977-1978).

    Which allowed Rudy Wells and Oscar Goldman to be nearly unique as fictional characters appearing on two different networks at the same time (still on ABC on The Six Million Dollar Man, while on NBC on The Bionic Woman)

    @Miles Carter
    Wasn’t collateral damage the intended target?

  18. Which allowed Rudy Wells and Oscar Goldman to be nearly unique as fictional characters appearing on two different networks at the same time (still on ABC on The Six Million Dollar Man, while on NBC on The Bionic Woman)

    it’s become more common in the last couple of decades. Several characters appeared in both Angel and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer even after Buffy changed to a new network (moving from The WB to UPN in 2001, while Angel stayed on The WB).

    And more recently, there was the Supergirl/Flash crossover while Supergirl was still on CBS (before joining the Flash on The CW).

  19. (8) not really SF related, but Lindsay Wagner and Lee Majors recently appeared in a romcom on the Hallmark Channel playing two people that disliked one another but had to co-share a dog. Alternating days for walkies…etc.

    @Lis Carey

    (4) Best health care system in the world.

    Provided you have unlimited wealth.

    Quality….Speed….Price…..pick any two. ‘Access’ is a subset of ‘Speed’ in this case.

    In a room full of ducks, sometimes the one that woofs is needed to point out the quacks.

  20. @rob_matic

    It’s excellent*! And some do an annual re-read of one chapter a day over the course of October. I have never been able to stop at one chapter a day.

    *Set over the month of October, it’s a tail told from the PoV of a doggy Familiar. The protagonists** are manouvering in preparation for a momentous occult event when the moon is full on Halloween.

    **It’s fanfic of the highest order IMO. The characters would be familiar to readers of genre.

  21. Listening to A Night in the Lonesome October means missing all the wonderful Gahan Wilson illustrations! This is one book I recommend actually reading.

    As for Simmons–yeah, I think 9/11 merely made him more crazy.

  22. In addition to the jihadists in Hyperion, there’s Simmons’ treatment of future Palestinians. After Earth’s destruction, they spend four centuries living in slums on Mars. Why are they in slums? Nobody’s oppressing them, herding them there, denying them opportunities to live or work elsewhere. They’re just apparently shitty people who can’t be bothered to do any better. Col. Kassad’s path to heroism begins with his decision to denature himself, shedding absolutely everything distinctive to his upbringing in favor of totally generic Hegemony life.

    So yeah, it wasn’t just 9/11.

  23. (1) The phrase ‘JURY TRAIL DEMANDED’ is festooned right onto the cover page of plaintiff Jones’s legal complaint, ostensibly drafted and filed by an actual Los Angeles attorney, one Robert E. Barnes. Well done, Mr. Barnes: You cannot buy comedy like that.

    Although such formal complaints in court are notoriously a hotbed of cheeky bushwah not intended to stand up to scrutiny, this one, filed Wednesday in Federal District Court in San Antonio, Texas, raises some points that may be of interest here.

    (a) Identification. Key to Jones’s complaint is his contention that he never sent child porn to Sandy Hook families, which his lawyer asserts makes statements to the contrary libel per se (about which, see next item). This is exactly the area where statements of the form ‘A did horrible deed B on the Internet’ are risky, because are you prepared that the person who did the deed was actually A? Even though I’m a senior system administrator with decades of experience at Internet operations, and knowing the nuts and bolts, I am careful to never put myself in a situation where I might have to prove user identity in court.

    Remember a few years ago, when Mr. Beale’s house blog published a big innuendo piece attempting to convince readers that SF conventions are hotbeds of child sexual abuse? That was when the Marion Zimmer Bradley story was breaking and MZB & Breen’s daughter Moira Greyland’s exposé was due out soon. Ms. Greyland commented briefly in the reader feedback. To my surprise, her comment drew further feedback from someone identifying himself as Wayne Earl of Silicon Valley Linux User Group (someone I met there and at several SF conventions) — and, to my great surprise, he described someone named Rick whom he knew from SVLUG, described encountering this Rick and his ‘girlfriend’ [sic] Deirdre around 2001 at SF cons, and strongly implied we were conducting child sexual abuse there. I replied to the clamed-to-be-Wayne person, saying that, no, Deirdre was then my wife of around a year, not my girlfriend, that yes, we do attend BayCons, LosCons, WorldCons, Westercons, and sometimes Eastercons, but we would immediately summon the police if we ever became aware of child abuse and hoped he would, too. And, by the way, that the only thing either of us had to do with the recent claims from Ms. Greyland is that my wife had powerfully backed her. (No reply from the alleged Mr. Earl.) My point, though, is that in describing this incident, which I happen to have done recently, I’m always careful to say this was someone who claimed to be SVLUG’s Wayne Earl, but of course might have been an imposter — on account of care to not make derogatory factual claims about someone I’m not perpared to prove in court.

    In general, extreme caution about facts you allege in highly contentious matters (likely to inspire litigation) is the right ground to defend. Make no factual contentions harmful to others’ reputation (about which, see point d) that you’re not sure you can prove in court — and that includes who really sent that illicit e-mail.

    (b) Libel per se. As the complaint details, a few categories of factual claims about others, enumerated in libel law, are deemed so inherently hurtful that plaintiff (if plaintiff prevails) needn’t prove general damages. They are assumed automatically. Accusing someone of having committed a crime within one’s profession or occupation is one of those categories. Having to defend a libel lawsuit is bad; having to defend a suit claiming libel per se is worse.

    (c) Jurisdiction/venue. Plaintiff in a tort case will pretty much always try to pick a court convenient (and, if possible, friendly) to plaintiff and inconvenient to defendant, and then throw up a cloud of justifications for that choice. (See also: Del Arroz.) One of defendant’s first countermoves (if he/she is in a different USA state) is to contest venue, which a US court then settles using what is called the ‘effects test‘, which is necessary to establish ‘minimum contacts’ that are in turn necessary to give the court ‘personal jurisdiction’ over the defendant. The body of facts produced will then either succeed or fail in getting the court to order the case moved to the defendant’s local court venue.

    (d) Reputation. Essential elements of the defamation tort are that it is a deliberately or recklessly erroneous claim of fact made to third parties that causes an injury to plaintiff’s reputation. One of the rarer but more interesting defences is that plaintiff is so notorious that no harm was possible. Far be it from me to say that this can be proved of Mr. Jones, but it would make an interesting court proceeding, nei?

  24. (4) @Dann665–Except that the whole point of health coverage is that it spreads the cost and relieves people of the need to be individually, personally, extremely rich. Universal health coverage has been instituted in various ways, in every developed country in the world except ours, and it works. Works in the utterly boring sense that people do get care, don’t go bankrupt due to medical bills, and don’t face Gahan Wilson’s family’s dilemma. And of course, spreading the cost that way, and eliminating the problem of people showing up in emergency rooms much sicker than they would be if they had coverage, and therefore much more expensive to treat, lowers the overall per capita cost significantly.

    If you want to blather about long waits and denied treatment in such systems, I’m going to be asking you for details, body counts, and real references to reliable sources, not wingnut claptrap from people who worship The Great God Profit, and think people like me are trash to be thrown away.

    Meanwhile, I still live in Massachusetts, where we implemented something close to universal coverage in 2006, and found it to be So Incredibly Awful that, um, sorry, even Republicans here know better than to try to attack it–or even fail to protect it from the damage Trump and national Republicans keep trying to do to it.

    It is twisted and sick beyond measure that a family should have to put up a GoFundMe appeal to provide appropriate care for a sick, old man, even if he weren’t a treasured American artist.

  25. Xtifr says Listening to A Night in the Lonesome October means missing all the wonderful Gahan Wilson illustrations! This is one book I recommend actually reading.

    The ePub version also has these illustrations. It’s a $1.99. Though hearing Roger reading this also has its own considerable charm.

  26. @Dann665: Quality….Speed….Price…..pick any two. ‘Access’ is a subset of ‘Speed’ in this case. Calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg; Access here is a subset of Price, as it is in most cases. ISTM the three-way split has limited applicability to health care — and to the extent that it does, I’d suggest some public (e.g. Canada) or publicly-controlled (France?) systems match or beat the US on all three, if you grade on substance. Yes, there are examples that may net worse — e.g. the UK; but the NHS has been being systematically carved down by the Tories (and sometimes the neolibs) for decades.

  27. Bruce,
    And now I can’t even think of the Hyperion series well.
    Ah, well. There are many books out there without the racism.

  28. @Dann665: As an American who’s lived in Canada for some time now, you’re just wrong. Canada has two problems compared to America: it’s a tenth the population of the US and it’s spread out over a larger area. So Canada has less money overall than the US (compounded by the fact that Canada does health care on a provincial basis) and Canada also has to serve sparsely populated areas in a way that is (believe it or not!) not as common in the US.

    The US still spends more money on health care per capita than Canada (and drugs as well even though those aren’t covered by provincial health care). Health care costs are a drag on the US economy; I have known multiple people who have been unwilling to leave corporate jobs to work for small startups or start their own companies because of health care.

    And frankly I’ve actually found it much easier to get in to see a doctor in Toronto than I did in the US, but that’s my own personal experience.

    I may not be able to respond in a timely manner; I’m travelling.

  29. @Bruce: which book did he do that in? I think I just read the first two Hyperion books, but I don’t remember all that much. I was left with the sense that it was starting to fall apart already.

  30. While small on the scale of the sins of Hyperion, I remember vividly the bit where a caucasian-type character puts on blackface in order to pass for black, and not only do they seriously expect it to work, but, fiat author, it actually works. I probably remember it so well because involuntary attacks of disbelieving laughter are memorable.

    I remember little else of the quartet other than that it seemed to devolve into torture porn toward the end. I finished them mainly to find out how they finished, and then I returned them all to the Little Free Library from whence they came.

  31. @Michael Eochaidh: It’s in Kassad’s back story, so I think but am not sure it’s in the first volume. If not, than in the second.

  32. @dann665: “Quality….Speed….Price…..pick any two.”

    Thank you for making me something I’d never realized about that formulation before. What it’s actually getting at is that there are tradeoffs involved among the three and that you can’t optimize them all. So in this case, I’ll take good enough quality, good enough speed, and good enough price, rather than optimizing one or two of them.

    If one of those isn’t sufficient for peoples’ needs, then the point is to raise the level of resources available. Anything else is a sucker bet.

  33. @John A Arkansawyer: “If one of those isn’t sufficient for peoples’ needs, then the point is to raise the level of resources available.”

    It probably can’t be emphasized enough that the US already spends more per capita than any of our peers, for vastly inferior results. Better, more honest and more moral, use of what we’re spending would improve quality, speed, and price, and we can know this because it’s being done all over the world. An argument that we can’t get what they can is, at heart, an argument that Americans as a group are just too shitty to manage it. I’d like to think that’s not true.

  34. @Bruce Baugh: This article from Slate gets at that point nicely: We’re Getting Ripped Off

    Let’s start with taxes. Officially, Americans don’t pay very much of them. But that picture changes dramatically if you count private insurance premiums as a tax on labor. If you do, Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project has found that U.S. workers are some of the most highly taxed in the world—ahead even of the French and Finns, who, unlike us, get a decent welfare state with universal coverage as part of the bargain.

    Some might argue that it’s misleading to treat insurance premiums as taxes since, technically, nobody is forced to buy coverage (R.I.P. individual mandate), and many employers offer relatively inexpensive options, like high-deductible plans. But the reality is that most people don’t feel they have much choice about whether or not to buy insurance, and having premiums deducted from your paycheck every two weeks is functionally the same as paying a tax. (This is a point Bernie Sanders likes to bring up when arguing for single payer.)

    The “Graph of labor taxes and compulsory payments as percent of average wage in different countries” is worth looking at, too. We aren’t quite number one. Yay us.

  35. (14) Augh. What has Dan Simmons done now?

    @Lis Carey:

    Meanwhile, I still live in Massachusetts, where we implemented something close to universal coverage in 2006, and found it to be So Incredibly Awful that, um, sorry, even Republicans here know better than to try to attack it–or even fail to protect it from the damage Trump and national Republicans keep trying to do to it.

    I am very, very glad it was implemented, even though it was almost exactly one year too late to save my father’s life.

    The US has been truly terrible about health care coverage.

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