Pixel Scroll 9/29/19 My Room In The Luna Hotel Had A Harsh Mattress

(1) ALL’S WELLS THAT ENDS WELLES. This meeting between H.G. Wells and Orson Welles was broadcast on Radio KTSA San Antonio on October 28, 1940.

(2) DIFFERENCE DECIDERS. Rochelle Spencer assesses “A New Hope: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s Vision for “The Dark Fantastic”” at LA Review of Books.

…Thomas’s investigation leads to one of the most radiant and thought-provoking descriptions of the potentials of fantastic literature. In particular, what Thomas terms “the dark fantastic” — fantasy that includes but hinders or stereotypes people of color — is problematic. Still, if we’re to write what Thomas terms “an emancipatory dark fantastic” — stories that break the cycle of the tragic, sacrificial Dark Girl, and instead, reveal her as complex, defiant, central, and vibrant — we may ultimately succeed in “decolonizing our fantasies and our dreams.” And, as Thomas suggests, the ability to reconsider and reinterpret “the crisis of race in our storied imagination has the potential to make our world anew.”

…Thomas wants us to consider difference as relative and circumscribed by power. Who has the power to label someone as different or monstrous?

(3) FINALLY RETURNING TO LONG FORM. Only her second, Susanna Clarke’s next novel will be sff and appear next fall.

Bloomsbury nabbed world English rights to the sophomore novel by the author of the 2004 bestseller Jonathan Strange & Mr. NorrellSusanna Clarke’s Piranesiis slated for a global laydown in September 2020. A Bloomsbury spokesperson said the novel is set in “a richly imagined, very unusual world.” The title character lives in a place called the House and is needed by his friend, the Other, to work on a scientific project. The publisher went on: “Piranesi records his findings in his journal. Then messages begin to appear; all is not what it seems. A terrible truth unravels as evidence emerges of another person and perhaps even another world outside the House’s walls.” Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has, per Bloomsbury, sold more than four million copies worldwide. Clarke, who’s won both a Hugo Award and a World Fantasy Award, was represented by Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown.

(4) FATHOM EVENTS. “‘Twilight Zone’ Anniversary Show Set for Nov. 14”Variety has the story. The Fathom Events info is here.

Fathom Events and CBS Home Entertainment have scheduled a Nov. 14 showing for “The Twilight Zone: A 60th Anniversary Celebration” at more than 600 North American cinemas.

The shows will combine digitally restored versions of six episodes with an all-new documentary short titled “Remembering Rod Serling” about the life, imagination and creativity of the show’s creator. It’s the first time that original episodes of the series, which ran from 1959 to 1964, have been presented on the big screen.

Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt said, “‘The Twilight Zone’ has inspired many filmmakers and storytellers, so it is a great honor to be able to bring these classic stories to the big screen, and to offer such an incisive look into the mind of the man who created them.”

(5) 2020 ACCESSIBILITY. CoNZealand asks those coming to the 2020 Worldcon: “Let us know if you have accessible accommodation needs”.

Do you have disability or accessibility requests for your accommodation in Wellington? We are busy confirming hotel information to share with our members later this year, and need to know your current accessibility requests as part of this planning by 15 October 2019.

If you have hotel accessibility needs, please email access-hotels@conzealand.nz with details of your hotel accessibility requests and an indication of the number of nights you think you will be staying as well.

(6) PRISING OFF THE LID. Alasdair Stuart previews this week’s Full Lid (27th September 2019). It opens with —

— the UK strand of Netflix’s new anthology show [Criminal UK] which is massively impressive and COLD in a way very little drama manages to be.  Then it’s a very welcome return for Warren Ellis, Jason Howard and co’s Trees from Image Comics. The third series is a Strugatskian deep dive into one of the oddest places in the scarred and painfully human world of the series and it’s off to a great start. Finally, I take a look at Ad Astra, equal parts towering spectacle, moments of surprising emotion and near total tonal misfire. 

(7) NELSON OBIT. VentriloquistJimmy Nelson, Jimmy Nelson – known for his Farfel and Danny O’Day characters – died September 24 at age 90.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 29, 1967 Trek aired the “The Changeling” episode. When Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiered in 1979, many fans suggested that the plot was simply a remake of this episode. 
  • September 29, 1967Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons first premiered into Supermarionation. This process was used extensively in the puppet series of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 29, 1873 Theodore Lorch. He might have the earliest birthdate in these Birthday Honors so far. He’s the High Priest in 1936’s Flash Gordon serial. He’s also shows up (uncredited originally) as Kane’s Council Member in the 1939 Buck Rogers serial as well. (Died 1947.)
  • Born September 29, 1930 Naura Hayden. Her best-known film appearance is a starring role in The Angry Red Planet where she was Dr. Iris “Irish” Ryan. Yes, she was a redhead. Unless you can her uncredited appearance as a harem girl in Son of Sinbad, this is her only film or series genre role. Though in 1955, she joined a Canadian musical cast of Li’l Abner. This was made possible by Sidney W. Pink who wrote the script for The Angry Red Planet. (Died 2013.)
  • Born September 29, 1942 Ian McShane, 77. Setting aside Deadwood, which is the favorite series of Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, where he’s Al Swearengen, he portrays Mr. Wednesday in American Gods.and it turns out, although I don’t remember it, he was Dr. Robert Bryson in Babylon 5: The River of Souls film. And he’s Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Now you tell me what your favorite genre role is by him. 
  • Born September 29, 1944 Isla Blair, 75. Her first credited film appearance was in Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors as an art gallery assistant.  She was Isabella in The King’s Demons, a Fifth Doctor story. She’s in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as the wife of her real-life husband Julian Glover, and credited as Mrs. Glover. 
  • Born September 29, 1952 Lou Stathis. During the last four years of his life, he was an editor for Vertigo. He had a fascinating work history including collaborating with cartoonist Matt Howarth by co-writing the first few issues of Those Annoying Post Bros. (Kindle has them available.) He was also a columnist and editor for Heavy Metal and a columnist for Ted White’s Fantastic magazine during the late Seventies through early Eighties. His fanwriting included the “Urban Blitz” column for OGH’s Scientifriction (the first installment appearing in 1977, Issue 9, page 29). (Died 1997.)
  • Born September 29, 1959 Scott MacDonald, 60. He’s been on four Trek shows:  Next GenerationVoyager, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise. He’s also up on Space Above and Beyond, Babylon 5X-Files, Stargate: SG-1, Carnivale and Threshold. He was also in Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, a film which you can guess the rating at Rotten Tomatoes is. 
  • Born September 29, 1961 Nicholas Briggs, 58. A Whovian among Whoians. First off he’s the voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen in the new series of shows. Second he’s the Executive Producer of Big Finish Productions, the audioworks company that has produced more Doctor Who, Torchwood and other related works that you’d think possible. Third he’s appeared as himself in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. 
  • Born September 29, 1969 Erika Eleniak, 50. Her film debut was a small part in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial as one of Elliott’s classmates.  Her first film role as an adult was as Vicki De Soto, a victim of the creature in the 1988 horror remake The Blob. She’s Vice-Captain Aurora in Dracula 3000, a film that had to have a disclaimer that it wasn’t a sequel to Dracula 2000
  • Born September 29, 1981 Shay Astar, 38. At age eleven, she portrayed Isabella, the imaginary friend of a young girl aboard the Enterprise in the Next Generation episode “Imaginary Friend”. She’s best known for her work as August Leffler, a recurring character on 3rd Rock from the Sun. Her only other genre role is as Mary Elroy in the “A Tale of Two Sweeties (February 25, 1958)” episode of Quantum Leap.

(10) FUR CHRONICLES. The late Fred Patten’s nonfiction book Furry Tales: A Review of Essential Anthropomorphic Fiction is now available from McFarland.

Tales featuring anthropomorphic animals have been around as long as there have been storytellers to spin them, from Aesop’s Fables to Reynard the Fox to Alice in Wonderland. The genre really took off following the explosion of furry fandom in the 21st century, with talking animals featuring in everything from science fiction to fantasy to LGBTQ coming-out stories.

In his lifetime, Fred Patten (1940–2018)—one of the founders of furry fandom and a scholar of anthropomorphic animal literature—authored hundreds of book reviews that comprise a comprehensive critical survey of the genre. This selected compilation provides an overview from 1784 through the 2010s, covering such popular novels as Watership Down and Redwall, along with forgotten gems like The Stray Lamb and Where the Blue Begins, and science fiction works like Sundiver and Decision at Doona.

(11) EMSH EXHIBITION. “Dream Dance: The Art of Ed Emshwiller”, the first major monographic exhibition of the artist’s groundbreaking work in film, video, and visual art, will be presented at the Lightbox Film Center in Philadelphia from October 18-December 7. Full details and ticket information at the link. See Vimeo preview here.

With an immensely diverse body of creative work, Ed Emshwiller (1925-90) is perhaps one of the most significant yet under-recognized artists of the latter half of the 20th century. 

Emshwiller’s career spanned abstract expressionist painting, commercial illustration, film, video and computer art, and collaborations with dancers, choreographers, and composers.  Dream Dance includes the preservation of two of Emshwiller’s earliest films, Dance Chromatic (1959) and Lifelines (1960), which will be screened at Lightbox along with 19 of his other films—some of which have never been publicly presented in Philadelphia—as well as notable films by other filmmakers for which he served as cinematographer. 

A concurrent exhibition at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery highlights Emshwiller’s visual and fine art background, including video works, early paintings, notes, sketches, ephemera, and many early science fiction cover paintings. Dream Dance is a full scale investigation of the artist’s legacy, presenting his multidisciplinary oeuvre to a new generation of audiences.

(12) VOYAGE TO THE INDIES. Cora Buhlert signs in with the highlights of “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for September 2019”.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, military fantasy, dark fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, Asian fantasy, Wuxia, paranormal mystery, space opera, military science fiction, time travel romance, Steampunk, LitRPG, horror, ghosts, fae, pirates, space marines, conscientious objectors, traffickers, trailblazers, time travel, crime-busting witches, crime-busting werewolves, literary characters come to life, Arthur and Merlin, defiant empires and much more.

(13) THOSE DARN REPLICANTS. By the time you reach the end of this list — “Blade Runner: 10 Things That Make No Sense”ScreenRant will have you thinking the whole movie makes no sense. (Maybe it doesn’t?)

10 IDENTIFYING A REPLICANT

In the beginning of the film, it’s established that in order to retire a replicant, they must be subject to a VK test to determine their empathy levels. When Holden is sent to give the test to Leon, why doesn’t he recognize him? It’s established that all replicants have dossiers, because we see their mugshots lined up later on in the film. This proves there’s a unique database that exists of every replicant’s face on record.

Also, if it comes to identifying replicants in the streets, why can’t Deckard or other Blade Runners use an EMF reader to locate them? They have machine components under their synthetic flesh, so their electromagnetic impulses would assuredly register on such devices.

(14) STARSHIP NEWS.  “SpaceX knows what a rocket should look like!” says John King Tarpinian, who sent in this photo. Meanwhie,BBC reports “Elon Musk upbeat on Starship test flights”.

The American entrepreneur Elon Musk has given a further update on his Starship and Super Heavy rocket system.

He plans to use the new vehicles to send people to the Moon and Mars, and also to move them swiftly around the Earth.

The SpaceX CEO is in the process of building prototypes and plans to start flying them in the coming months.

…Both parts of the new rocket system, which together will stand 118m tall on the launch pad, are being designed to be fully reusable, making propulsive landings at the end of their mission.

Mr Musk is well known for his aggressive scheduling, which even has a name: “Elon time”.

The scheduling often slips, but eventually he does tend to deliver.

(15) MARS SOCIETY. The organization has posted the “2019 Mars Society Convention Schedule Online”.

The full itinerary for the 22nd Annual International Mars Society Convention is now available for viewing online. Please visit https://bit.ly/2kPIDqa to see the four-day conference schedule, running from October 17-20 at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles).

The Mars Society convention program includes a series of plenary talks, panel discussions and public debates on important issues related to planning for a human mission to the Red Planet and general space exploration.

Conference highlights will include an update about NASA’s Curiosity rover with Ashwin Vasavada, a talk about SpaceX and its mission to Mars by Paul Wooster, a debate about NASA’s proposed Lunar Gateway project, an update about the Mars InSight mission by Tom Hoffman, a review by Shannon Rupert of her experiences with Mars analog research, the finals of the Mars Colony Prize Contest involving student teams from around the world and, as always, an address by Mars Society President Robert Zubrin.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Sherrill Patten, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

55 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/29/19 My Room In The Luna Hotel Had A Harsh Mattress

  1. 14
    I understand those fins are moveable, but not retractable; it has at least one retractable leg for landing.
    But damn, it sure looks like every rocketship on every cover before 1960.

  2. (9) Birthdays. Erika Eleniak has an earlier albeit uncredited genre appearance, before she was in E.T. She was one of the little girls dancing with R2-D2 in the Underoos commercial for Star Wars Underwear. I was Producer for Lucasfilm on the commercial and was one of R2’s operators.

  3. (13) Yes, much about Blade Runner made no sense. I watched this in the theater in 1982 (with narration and happy ending) and always assumed that the fact that the story didn’t add up had a lot to do with the movie’s box-office failure.

    Of course, I don’t necessarily think that a more faithful adaptation of DADoES – one that included Deckard’s wife, Roy’s android wife Irmgard, the Penfield mood organ, Mercer boxes, etc. – would have done any better. To me a much likelier adaptation prospect among Dick novels is Now Wait for Last Year (which was apparently announced in 2011 and hasn’t been heard from since, as is typical).

  4. 9) Ian McShane was also on an episode of Space: 1999 (Force of Life).

    And I see a listing for a 1970 film called Tam Lin which I’d never previously heard of, but whose existence fascinates me just because it’s apparently based on the ballad of the same name.

  5. (13) I’ve managed to avoid all of those ScreenRant things because they all sound obnoxious, but are they always as sloppy as that? The movie never says anything about replicants having any “machine components”; they seem to be entirely biological. The novel does vaguely mention that they have (IIRC) a “brain-box” rather than a brain, but that’s not in the film.

  6. @Daniel Dern & @Mike Glyer: I love the Pixel Scroll title!

    . . . . .

    Meredith Audible Moment: One ebook and one audio; probably U.S. only, but caveat lector.

    #1 The Shapeshifters a.k.a. Stallo (#1 of at least 2; the sequel is Trolls) by Stefan Spjut (translated by Susan Beard) is $1.99 from Mariner Books (uses DRM). This tale of missing children and Scandinavian folklore mixes suspense and the supernatural, from what I’ve read about it. Anyone read it? It sounds a little dark, but I was intrigued enough a while back to put it on my list to look into.

    #2 The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is $5.95 today only for Audible.com members – 3 more hours. From comments here, I gather this is horror-fantasy, is grim, and has lots of gore. It’s been recommended here by @JJ, @Contrarius, @BravoLimaPoppa3, @Darren Garrison, @Hampus Eckerman, and perhaps others.

    With that line-up of recs, though I’m not a horror person, I’m going to listen to the sample within the next 3 hours. 😉 I originally wrote this 8 hours ago, sorry, but didn’t get around to posting it!

  7. @Joe H: I think we discussed the Tam Lin movie briefly on Joanna Lumley’s birthday. Certainly doesn’t hurt to bring it up again though, as I am still curious, and the reminder is good. 🙂

  8. 9) Nicholas Briggs has a rare, actually appearing in person, role in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

  9. 14: I realised last night that Elon’s Starship is most of the way to looking like Fireball XL-5.

    Which got me further wondering if he’s reprising Gerry Anderson. With Tesla => Supercar and Starship => Fireball, do we get a diversion into submarines while he waits for his kids to be old enough to pilot Thunderbirds?

  10. Musk already had some submarine publicity when he wanted to send a minisub cave diving to rescue those Thai children.

  11. ScreenRants list of stuff that makes no sense in Blade Runner:

    Identifying replicants – no-one knew Leon and Roy’s crew were on Earth when Leon killed the tester – it was just a routine test. We see the insides of several replicants, and they are clearly biological, no machine parts.

    There is not much in the movie that suggests Deckard is a replicant, and plenty that suggests he is not. It makes sense either way, although rather more sense if he is human.

    This next list item makes no sense.

    Nor does the next one.

    The next one is pretty silly in a movie with flying cars and perfect manufactured androids (and snakes).

    Batty knows Deckard’s name in the finale, and we are not shown how. Big deal.

    The weather is bad. This actually makes perfect sense.

    Deckard and Rachaels relationship is problematic. Well, duh!!

    Why is Rachael on the kill-list? Because she is an escaped replicant, you idiot!

    What’s with the unicorn? Finally something that genuinely doesn’t make sense. Scott put this in the directors cut of the movie to mess with our heads.

  12. @Niall McAuley

    The unicorn is there to fubj Qrpxneq vf n ercyvpnag. Gung’f gur cbvag bs gur bevtnzv havpbea ng gur raq bs gur zbivr – gur pbc xabjf jung Qrpxneq’f orra qernzvat nobhg sbe gur fnzr ernfba Qrpxneq xabjf Enpunry’f frpergf.

  13. @Sophie – indeed, and an item earlier in the list is about Deckard’s origin.

    But that idea undermines the moral arc of Deckard in the story and destroys Batty’s big finish, which is probably why it was cut from the theatrical release.

  14. @Kendall, The Library At Mount Char made my Hugo ballot, but I feel obligated to warn that it has ALL the trigger warnings. For everything horrible you can imagine. I’m serious; this is a very, very dark book and very dreadful things happen in it.

  15. RE: Somtow Sucharitkul’s Inquestor Series Part 2

    After buying the digital versions on the Inquestor books on Amazon, I found out that they are all scans of books and not actual text. This was dismaying, though it is still nice to have them in some form.

  16. @Niall McAuley But that idea undermines the moral arc of Deckard in the story

    Do you think so? I’d say the Director’s Cut changes the moral arc, but I find it more satisfactory and arguably more true to the spirit of Philip K Dick. It’s not at all true to the novel, granted, but that doesn’t bother me in this case.

  17. (3) I will (and have) read anything SC writes and a new book is good news. I am disappointed that it’s not the next in the JS&MN trilogy that she spoke of when I heard her speak at the City Club of San Francisco in 2005. The second volume, about the working class and poor in that world, sounded fascinating. Oh well, writers write what they want.

  18. @Sophie:

    Deckard starts out a burned out Blade Runner, out of the business, but when called back he ruthlessly kills the first Replicant he tracks down, Zhora, shooting her in the back as she flees.

    By the end, he is running himself with Rachael, having been spared by the dying Batty. He has decided the Replicants are human after all.

    If the twist is that he is a Replicant himself, what’s the arc? Replicant shoots replicants while he thinks he’s human, but then teams up with them. Of course he does if he’s a replicant!

    And Batty, at the end of his short life, decides to spare… another replicant? Why wouldn’t he?

    It’s an empty dance of robots.

  19. @Niall McAuley

    I read it as a classic Philip K Dick treatment of real vs fake and what makes a human, myself. Deckard starts as a fake with a probably unconscious desire to be human (the collected photographs; the clumsy scripted “love” scene with Rachel) and no empathy for his targets. What he learns from Batty is that even a “fake” life has value and is worthy of compassion. (I read Batty’s arc as going from fear of death to desire for revenge and finally to acceptance, and with it a decision to spare and/or redeem Deckard.) And so he decides to make the best life he can in the little time he has. As do we all.

  20. @Joe H: as I noted on Joanna Lumley’s birthday (cited by @Xtifr) that’s a weird adaptation of “Tam Lin”; the IMDB synopsis suggests that unlike (e.g.) the Pamela Dean or Diana Wynne Jones versions (both also ~contemporary), this one drops everything supernatural — e.g. the shapeshifting Tom goes through is a series of LSD-induced hallucinations, although it seems to keep all the key plot points of the ballad. (OTOH, some of the publicity cited appears to be trying to tell people the supernatural is literal.) Sounds like a rather nasty movie, along the lines of The Wicker Man — including the fact that it was recut before release, although there’s a restored version that may be closer to the original than I hear the ~restored tWM is.

    @Niall McAuley: that list sounds about par for the few Screen Rants I’ve looked at, which is why I usually don’t bother any more.

    @Sophie Jane: that sounds unusually human for Dick — as if the movie were a net improvement. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of it; maybe I will now that we’ve replaced cable with an internet service.

  21. @Xtifr/@Chip Hitchcock — Thanks! I had completely forgotten that the Tam Lin movie had come up previously. (And may or may not have forgotten AGAIN when next Joanna Lumley’s birthday rolls around.)

  22. I have to agree with Niall McAuley: making Deckard a replicant changes the movie from a powerful message about learning to see the humanity of those who are Not Like Us™ to a simple action-adventure film with a cheesy Twilight Zone–style twist. Now, I like Twilight Zone, BUT!…

    Sophie Jane raises an interesting point about the message of learning to accept who you are, but that is a message I always have mixed feelings about. While it certainly has some value, it’s also a favorite among oppressors. What can I say? I prefer to hear “resist!” instead of “submit!” 🙂

  23. Peer asks Speaking off: Why is it called „Blade runner“?

    Wiki says The novel The Bladerunner (also published as The Blade Runner) is a 1974 science fiction novel by Alan E. Nourse, about underground medical services and smuggling. It was the source for the name, but no major plot elements, of the 1982 film Blade Runner.

    Somebody wanted a cool name and found one one.

  24. A noticeable difference between the book and the movie is that while in both the initial assumption is that there is a profound moral difference between humans and replicants, the way that barrier is violated is very different. In the book, the shock is finding humans who are as absent of compassion as replicants are, while in the book the shock is finding that replicants have internal lives not very different than the humans do (warning, I’ve read the book far more recently than I’ve seen any version of the movie).

  25. @Andrew: I’d say that’s accurate. In the book, the replicants’ lack of empathy is pretty stark – the Voight-Kampff test doesn’t need to be subtle, it’s just a way to quantify what would be obvious by looking at their behavior (IIRC, Pris spends some spare time cutting legs off of a spider). It’s not their fault they were made that way, and one could still argue over whether it’s completely innate or just a consequence of having been raised under abusive conditions, but to Dick the immediate concern is that it would be bad for human society to be infiltrated by a bunch of sociopaths… and the ironic element is (as you say) that we’ve already been doing that to ourselves without their help, so the creation of replicants has just sped up an existing process and getting rid of them won’t save us – the only real hope is something like Mercerism.

  26. Cat and Peer: I remember leaving the theater and wishing they had adapted Nourse’s The Bladerunner, rather than just using the title.

    If anyone is looking for another modern day version of Tam Lin, Laura A. Gilman’s Heart of Briar is a good one.

  27. Kathryn Sullivan says Cat and Peer: I remember leaving the theater and wishing they had adapted Nourse’s The Bladerunner, rather than just using the title.

    Errrr no. It’s a very boring novel. William S. Burroughs SF novellla Blade Runner might have made an interesting film.

  28. Cat Eldridge: Wiki says The novel The Bladerunner (also published as The Blade Runner) is a 1974 science fiction novel by Alan E. Nourse, about underground medical services and smuggling

    Not looking this up just going on memory — I recall Larry Niven bitterly complaining that Alexei Panshin had come up with the term “thumbrunner”, Niven wishing he had thought of it first, regarding it as far superior to the word he made up for his own stories about “organleggers”.

  29. @OGH: Yep. In “Words in SF” http://www.larryniven.net/stories/words.shtml, he says:

    “Villain to helpless heroine: “You’re going to be thumbs, my dear.” It was a bone-chilling line, because Alex set it up right.

    Alex was writing of the far future. I wrote of the near future, when people might well mutilate bootlegger to describe a vaguely similar crime. But if I’d thought of thumb runner I’d have used it.”

  30. @Joe H:

    9) Ian McShane was also on an episode of Space: 1999 (Force of Life).

    That episode gave my little sister screaming nightmares for weeks. That’s about when we stopped watching.

  31. Gladerunner – when air freshener is outlawed only outlaws will smell of spring rain
    Braidrunner – “You’re walking through the desert and you come across a wig laying on the ground…”
    Maidrunner – The sixth replicant, Marian, was killed by an exploding Tyrell vacuum cleaner
    Staderunner – Roi Batty was a Fly-Half for Stade Français before going rogue

  32. @Xtifr Sophie Jane raises an interesting point about the message of learning to accept who you are,

    I see it as more transcending your programming than accepting who you are, I think? Deckard knows who he is at the start of the film and doesn’t have any obvious doubts.

    I agree the book (or what I remember of it – it’s not one of my favourites) is less sentimental and more misanthropic than the film. That’s not surprising for Hollywood, I guess, but I can also see it made sense to cut out the satire on 50s middle class life and consumerism, which wouldn’t have played well in the 80s.

  33. @Peace Is My Middle Name — I don’t remember the Ian McShane episode of Space: 1999, but I do remember being traumatized by the episode Dragon’s Domain (which had an evil door that looked like the hanging flappy things in a car wash, and which ate people and spit out charred corpses).

  34. @Xtifr

    While it certainly has some value, it’s also a favorite among oppressors. What can I say? I prefer to hear “resist!” instead of “submit!”

    “May those who accept their fate find happiness. May those who defy it find glory.”

  35. Checking IMDB, it looks like most of Ian McShane’s filmography is genre, or genre adjacent.
    I liked him in “KINGS”, a retelling of the story of David and Goliath in a futuristic world.

  36. Since we’ve been mentioning Tam Lin, I’ll note that Jo Walton wrote a play pastiching Shakespeare based on the ballad, with bonus influences from Pamela Dean and Lois McMaster Bujold. I participated in a reading of the play at Minicon in 2001, and a few years back when I got into voice recordings, I put together an audio recording of it, bringing back as many of the participants from the MInicon reading as possible. It’s available for download from the website tamlinplay.net. No charge, free as in beer. (There is a Creative Commons license on it.)

  37. @Cat Eldridge: Errrr no. It’s a very boring novel. William S. Burroughs SF novellla Blade Runner might have made an interesting film. I’m a Nourse fan, but I have to agree; I found a copy just recently and was very disappointed — his heart was in the right place, but the implementation was dreadful.

    @Andrew / @OGH: I do not understand the Panshin, or Niven’s admiration of it; I get that thumbs may not be replaceable by random digits, but organs were critical before either of them was writing.

    @Kathryn Sullivan: that blip you just heard was not Dog shrinking, it was my TBR pile swelling — although I’m fascinated to note my local library classifies it as Romance even though the summary makes clear it’s supernatural. (Yes, I know non-mimetic (“paranormal”?) romance is a genre — but AFAICT it’s clearly separate from alleged-to-be-mimetic romance.)

    @David Goldfarb: Boskone reprised that play in 2009, when Walton was GoH. In theory it should have been recorded, but in practice the sound engineer was variable — a pity, since Janet in particular was stunning.

  38. @Chip: I haven’t actually read the Panshin, but I think “thumbs” is effective and creepy slang because it’s so dismissive of the humanity of organlegging victims – Panshin’s thumbrunners look at a person as just a pile of ‘thumbs’ (like Spike of Buffy saying Earth has 7 billion Happy Meals walking about).

  39. Chip Hitchcock: Interesting that you should say so, because I didn’t find “thumbrunner” a grabber either, though other fans he told the story to seemed to agree with him that it would have been an excellent fit for his stories in that theme. Our mileage varied.

  40. @Joe H. Dragon’s Domain was indeed scary. I remember it myself, and I’ve heard the same from others.

  41. @Cassy B.: Thanks!

    @Various: “Thumbrunner” just sounds silly; I like organlegger much better. It may have been a little creepy in context, but it just doesn’t grab me. It makes me think of thumb wrestling and some cute animated videos using thumbs to be people – not creepy at all.

  42. “Thumbrunner” sounds to me like an odd description of a hitchhiker. I don’t think of thumbs as a body part people are particularly likely to steal. Organleggers makes a whole lot more sense to me.

    But I will admit that I have just spent several minutes trying, unsuccessfully, to adapt the recently departed Robert Hunter’s song “Tales of the Great Rum Runners” into something about thumbs. 🙂

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