Pixel Scroll 9/7/21 I’ve Scrolled Through The Desert In A File With No Name

(1) TROPE THE LIGHT FANTASTIC. The Nerds of Color had the opportunity to interview Denis Villeneuve. Their headline asks “Is ‘Dune’ Truly a White-Savior Story?”, however, there is much more to the interview than the part relating to the title, excerpted here:

There is a storytelling trope called the White Savior where a Caucasian will go into a foreign land and act as a rescuer or messianic figure to the indigenous people there. And Herbert’s work has been criticized for falling into that trope. So how do you contemporize the story to avoid falling into the problematic areas that trope may potentially present?

That’s a very important question. And it’s why I thought Dune was, the way I was reading it, a critique of that [trope]. It’s not a celebration of a savior. It’s a condemnation and criticism of that idea of a savior. Of someone that will come and tell another operation how to be and what to believe… it’s a criticism. That’s the way I feel it’s relevant and can be seen contemporary. And that’s what I’ll say about that. Frankly it’s the opposite [of that trope].

(2) DISCON III RATE HIKE SEPT. 15. DisCon III membership prices go up on September 15. Purchase your Attending, Virtual, or Supporting Worldcon membership now.

(3) NYRSF READINGS. Michael Bishop will feature in the New York Review of Science Fiction readings series on September 9. The program will livestream from the NYRSF Readings Facebook page at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

(4) CAR TUNES. Bob Gale finally got his wish. “In ‘Back to The Future: The Musical,’ the Car Is the Star of the Show” – and the New York Times has the story.

During a recent performance of “Back to the Future: The Musical,” at the Adelphi Theater here, the audience couldn’t stop cheering.

They cheered a preshow announcement asking everyone to turn off their cellphones, “since they weren’t invented in 1985,” the year the original movie was released. They cheered when Marty McFly, the show’s main character (played by Olly Dobson), skateboarded onstage in an orange body warmer. And they cheered, again, when he started singing, surrounded by break dancers and women in aerobics getup to complete the 1980s vibe.

But the loudest applause came about 20 minutes in. After three loud bangs and a flash of light, a DeLorean car seemed to magically appear in the middle of the stage, lights bouncing off its steel bodywork and gull-wing doors.

The audience went wild.

Bob Gale, who co-wrote the original movie with Robert Zemeckis and wrote the musical’s book, said in a telephone interview that he always knew the car would be vital to the show’s success. “We knew if we pulled it off, it was going to make the audience go nuts,” he said.

He added he had been working on making that happen for over 15 years. 

(5) GAME ON. The “Montegrappa Winter Is Here Limited Edition Fountain Pen” is marked down to $4,400! Hmm, shall I buy it, or do my laundry for the next 220 months?

Made under license to HBO, Montegrappa’s new Game of Thrones pen, Winter is Here, pays homage to the mysterious forces from north of The Wall.

Using the ancient jeweller’s art of lost wax casting, Montegrappa has created half pen, half objet d’art.

Three-dimensional effigies of the Night King and White Walker form a sterling silver superstructure that encases a body of shiny lines celluloid. The figure of Viserion wraps around the cap, and the dragon’s head with a tongue of ice coming out of its mouth acts as an innovative pocket clip. Enamelled, crystal blue flames encircle the base of the cap, while semi-precious apatite stones emulate the cold, mysterious eyes unique to beings of the North.

(6) MOUNTAIN CLIMBER. James Davis Nicoll devises “Five Extremely Unscientific Methods for Picking Your Next Book” at Tor.com.

Anyone can apply logic, taste, and methodical research to the problem of selecting which limited subset of the vast number of books available one is to read. Conversely, one can half-ass one’s way through Mt. Tsundoku using methods of dubious reliability. Don’t believe me? Here are five methods I have used, each more ludicrous than the one before….

(7) FREE MARS EVENT. Explore Mars, Inc., is holding a free S2021 Humans to Mars Summit (H2M 2021) on September 13–15. It will be a virtual event, however, Explore Mars plans to also conduct some in-person elements in Washington, D.C. Register here.

The topics include:

  • Planet of Robots: Recent Milestones and Discoveries on Mars
  • Artemis to Mars: Utilizing the Moon to sending Humanity to Mars
  • How Space Exploration Improves Life on Earth
  • Making it on Mars: 3-D Printing and Other Critical Technologies
  • Building a Space Workforce: Inspiring and Motivating Preprofessional     and Early Professionals
  • EVA Suits and Surface Operations
  • Nuclear Propulsion and Surface Power
  • Robotic Support: Prior, During, and After Crewed Missions to Mars
  • How Can Space Exploration Expand Inclusiveness and Diversity?

(8) BEAR MEDICAL UPDATE. A Livejournal post from Elizabeth Bear for public sharing: “if memories were all i sang i’d rather drive a truck”.

Just wanted to let everybody know that my surgical consult is on Thursday afternoon, and I expect to be scheduled rapidly for surgery after that. If that goes well then I can look forward to a month off to heal and then radiation. If it goes poorly, alas, it’s probably straight into chemo but right now that is considered unlikely.

Scott can’t come in to the consult with me because plague. I’m going to ask if I can record it.

Got my You Are A Cancer Patient Now covid booster which was surprisingly emotional. Cue crying in a CVS. Could be worse… so glad I’m not doing this last year….

(9) WALL OF FAME. “Muppets creator Jim Henson’s London home gets blue plaque” reports The Guardian.  

Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, has been honoured with a blue plaque at his former London home.

The US puppeteer, acclaimed for his work on Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock and as director of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, lived at 50 Downshire Hill in Hampstead from 1979….

…His son Brian, who is chairman of the board at The Jim Henson Company, said: “My father moved to London to make The Muppet Show, and then chose to stay because he was so impressed by the UK’s many gifted artists and performers….

(10) TONY SELBY (1938-2021). Actor Tony Selby died September 5 after contracting Covid-19. His genre work included Doctor Who and Ace of Wands.

…In a different vein – and sporting a beard – Selby was one of Doctor Who fans’ favourite guest stars. He played Sabalom Glitz, the selfish mercenary from the planet Salostopus who forms uneasy alliances with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy’s incarnations of the Time Lord in two adventures, the series-long story The Trial of a Time Lord (1986) and Dragonfire (1987). The unbroadcast back story for the second revealed that Glitz had taken the virginity of the doctor’s young companion Ace (Sophie Aldred).

Alongside guest roles as crooks in various television series, the actor played Sam Maxstead, reformed convict and assistant to the magician who uses his real supernatural powers to fight evildoers, in the first two runs (1970-71) of the children’s fantasy series Ace of Wands….


  • 1974 – Forty-seven years ago this night, the Land of the Lost series premiered on NBC. (It went into syndication for the last two seasons.) It was created by Sid and Marty Krofft and (though uncredited during the series) also by David Gerrold, and produced by the Kroffts who were previously known for H.R. Pufnstuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. (I actually remember the former. Particularly the theme song which is earworming its way into my brain now.) Starring Spencer Milligan, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Phillip Paley, and Ron Harper, it ran for three seasons and forty-three half hour episodes. A number of SF writers wrote scripts including  Ben Bova, Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon and Norman Spinrad.  The Kroffts continue to claim that they are working on an updated remake to the series and that this time it will be an hour-long series.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 7, 1921 — Donald William Heiney. Under the pseudonym of MacDonald Harris, which he used for all of his fiction, wrote one of the better modern set novels using the Minotaur myth, Bull Fever. His time travel novel, Screenplay, where the protagonist ends up in a film noir 1920s Hollywood is also well crafted. Most of his work is available from the usual digital suspects. (Died 1993.)
  • Born September 7, 1924 — Gerry de la Ree. He published fanzines such as Sun Spots ran for 29 issues from the that Thirties through the Forties, and as editor, he published such work as The Book of Virgil FinlayA Hannes Bok Sketchbook, and Clark Ashton Smith – Artist. He was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame. (Died 1993.)
  • Born September 7, 1955 — Mira Furlan. Damn, another early death among that cast. She’s best known for her role as the Minbari Ambassador Delenn on the entire run of Babylon 5, and also as Danielle Rousseau on Lost, a series I did not watch. (and have absolutely no interest in doing so.) She’s reunited with Bill Mumy and Bruce Boxleitner at least briefly in a Canadian SF series called Space Command. (Died 2021.)
  • Born September 7, 1956 — Mark Dawidziak, 65. A Kolchak: Night Stalker fan of the first degree. He has written The Night Stalker Companion: A 30th Anniversary Tribute, Kolchak: The Night Stalker ChroniclesKolchak: The Night Stalker Casebook and The Kolchak Papers: Grave Secret. To my knowledge, he’s not written a word about the rebooted Night Stalker series. Proving he’s a man of discriminating taste. 
  • Born September 7, 1960 — Susan Palwick, 61. She won the Rhysling Award for “The Neighbor’s Wife,” the Crawford Award for best first novel with Her Flying in Place, and the Alex Award for her second novel, The Necessary Beggar. Impressive as she’s not at all prolific. All Worlds are Real, her latest collection, was nominated for the 2020 Philip K. Dick Award. She was one of the editors of New York Review of Science Fiction which was nominated for the Best Semiprozine Hugo at Noreascon 3. 
  • Born September 7, 1966 — Toby Jones, 55. He appeared in “Amy’s Choice,” an Eleventh  Doctor story, as the Dream Lord. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he voiced Dobby the house elf. And in Finding Neverland, Mr. Smee, Captain Hook’s bo’sun. Guess what work that film was based on. Finally I’ll note that he was using motion capture as Aristides Silk in The Adventures of Tintin. 
  • Born September 7, 1973 — Alex Kurtzman, 48. Ok, a number of sites claim he single-handedly destroyed Trek as the fanboys knew it. So why their hatred for him? Mind you I’m more interested that he and Roberto Orci created the superb Fringe series, and that alone redeems him for me. And I’m fascinated that he was Executive Producer on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess!
  • Born September 7, 1974 — Noah Huntley, 47. He has appeared in films such as 28 Days LaterThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (excellent film), Snow White and the Huntsman (great film), Event Horizon (surely you’ve something else to do) and Dracula Untold (well, not so great). He’s Gawain in The Mists of Avalon series which I refuse to watch, and shows up as Donovan Osborn in the CW series Pandora which, I’m not kidding, which gets a Rotten Tomatoes zero percent audience rating. Ouch. Anyone here seen it? 


(14) IF ONLY IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE. It’s a good thing the writers didn’t wait – reality has already overtaken the future predicted in this 2006 movie: “The oral history of ‘Idiocracy,’ Mike Judge’s time travel triumph” at Inverse.

Mike Judge’s science fiction satire imagined what the United States might look like in the year 2505. From his perspective, that meant:

A population made stupid by advertising

A brash president who used to be a wrestler

Crocs dominating the footwear landscape

Society seems doomed until a 21st-century everyman (Luke Wilson) gets frozen by the military and wakes up 500 years later, making him the smartest person in America and the only man who can save it.

Beset by a low budget and little-to-no-advertising support from 20th Century Fox, Idiocracy almost didn’t happen at all. The fact that it exists is a miracle. The fact that it managed to accurately predict the future is just a bonus, though Judge loves to downplay his prescience….

JUDGE: I started talking to other writers; Etan Cohen was over at my house and I told him about the idea and the next day he said, “I really like that idea. I was thinking there could be a fart museum.” I thought, “Maybe his head’s in the right place for this.”

ETAN COHEN (CO-WRITER): It was great because there wasn’t a rush. It was a luxury to have that much time to generate the idea….

COHEN: One of the great things about the movie was it was very cathartic because you could just drive around and if anything got you angry it could go right in the movie….

(15) ANOTHER BITE OF THE POISONED APPLE. Two more authors think it’s not too late to mock the spirit of the times. Canadian authors Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock have produced a new installment in their cult-classic graphic novel series, The Silent Invasion, coming out from NBM Publishing on October 19.

Dark Matter is the latest installment in the graphic novel series which began 35 years ago. The series originally focused on the paranoia and conspiracy theories in the 1950s including UFOs, alien abductions and invasions — both alien and communist. The current book continues with an emphasis on brainwashing by religious cults that may be in league with a secretive cabal of industrialists, military authorities and scientists, who may have the assistance of alien overseers . 

The Silent Invasion is a visually striking series drawn in a bold and expressionistic European-influenced black and white style . However, Dark Matter is a complex, compelling and sometimes humorous tale filled with numerous twists and turns. 

Referring to the current political atmosphere filled with rampant conspiracy theories, writer Larry Hancock, said, “If there is any time for a good dose of paranoia that doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s now.” 

Co-author and illustrator Michael Cherkas added, “I’ve always been fascinated by the phenomenon of UFO sightings, aliens abductions and conspiracies. It’s interesting that this sort of “magical thinking” is no longer confined to the fringe element. It’s now part of the mainstream.” 

(16) STOLEN AND FOUND. Suggest brings us “The Wild Story Of Nicolas Cage’s Issue Of The First Superman Comic”.

Nicolas Cage’s love of comic books is fairly well known. The star of Ghost Rider and Kick-Ass once owned the legendary Action Comics No. 1, featuring the first appearance of Superman. What happened to this specific issue is quite wild, and the story even features a connection to the hit A&E series Storage Wars. Here’s what happened….

I can’t resist an item that mentions Storage Wars — my friend Elst Weinstein appeared as an expert in the show’s first season.

(17) SCARY LEGO SPECIAL. There can be more terrifying things than stepping on them barefoot — “LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales debuts Disney+ trailer” at SYFY Wire.

Marvel isn’t the only one capable of exploring alternate realities within established canon. The official trailer for the LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales special (coming to Disney+ early next month) teases a trio of stories that put a fresh — and borderline What If…? — twist on beloved characters and storylines.

Set on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, Terrifying Tales follows Poe Dameron (Jake Green), BB-8, and plucky mechanic Dean (Raphael Alejandro) as they’re treated to a hair-raising tour of Vader’s old castle. One of the most foreboding locations in the Star Wars mythos, the castle is being turned into a galactic tourist attraction by Graballa the Hutt (Dana Snyder)….

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Shang-chi Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George, in a spoiler-packed episode, has the producer take out the “Marvel Movies checklist” to find that Shang-Chi does have “a big messy CGI Battle,” ‘color-coded energy blasts,” and a hero who takes off his shirt to reveal sic-pack abs.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, Alan Baumler, Jeffrey Smith, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

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37 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/7/21 I’ve Scrolled Through The Desert In A File With No Name

  1. (9) I remember the character of Glitz – his brand of untrustworthy alliance with the Doctor was fun to watch

    (10) I adored Land of the Lost – I think I watched it before I ever saw Star Trek.

  2. Ah, Gerry de la Ree … bought soooooo many books from him. He lived in New Jersey and I lived in Northern Virginia. His mimeoed catalog showed up monthly or so. Mailed off an order and less than a week later the order arrived. Bought a ton of Ace Doubles from him. And those Finlay books he published, just wonderful stuff.

  3. 10) I was also a big Land of the Lost fan back when I was right smack in its target audience; and to this day I have fondness for it, especially the episodes with Sleestaks and pylons and time travel shenanigans, as opposed to the episodes where Will & Holly Learn a Valuable Lesson About Sharing.

  4. (11) The Land of the Lost! I should watch it to see if it holds up. And other live-action shows like Korg!

    (12) I loved Toby Jones in “The Mist.” He was also Claudius Templesmith in “The Hunger Games.” Not to mention his MCU appearances. (Not genre, but I’ll put in a good word for his performance as Capote in “Infamous.”)

  5. Anne Marble says The Land of the Lost! I should watch it to see if it holds up. And other live-action shows like Korg!

    A not terribly good video of the first episode is up on YouTube. Since I’m reasonably sure that it’s bootleg, I won’t link to it here. The dinosaurs are awesome, the matting effects not so great.

  6. Melanie Stormm exclaims that I am hearting this earworm so hard.

    I was gobsmacked me that this song came back to me fifty years after I last heard it. It is a great piece of ear candy, isn’t it?

  7. “HR Pixeling Stuff! Whose Your File when things get rough
    HR Pixeling Stuff! Can’t Scroll a Title, ’cause he Stalks God enough!”

  8. 12) I’d missed the news about Mira Furlan 🙁

    11) I wonder if it’s streaming anywhere; I’ve never seen the show, but I’ve seen references to it in other works (the first one that comes to mind is book 1 of InCryptid, by McGuire, which references Sleestaks).

    Been watching The Librarians series; currently in Season 2. Definitely much better than he movies, although I’m glad we watched the movies first since there’s occasional references.

  9. Another interesting thing about LotL is the character of Enik, who had his own motivations and goals, which sometimes aligned with the Marshalls and sometimes opposed them, making interactions with him very interesting (at least to 10 year old me (LotL was the kid-version of “watercooler discussion-worthy” – I remember discussing it with another kid as we both tried to dodge balls thrown at us).

  10. Lis Carey says Got my flu shot yesterday. May have mentioned that. Or not. I don’t feel awful, but I do feel more sleepy than usual.

    Isn’t that early for a flu shot? Or are PCPs doing them early again this year? I know I got mine in September last year because of the Pandemic but I assumed they’d be going back to normal this year. Of course it may be that nothing is going back to normal his year after all.

    (I get mine when Jenner says I should. It’s that simple.)

  11. @Cat Eldridge–They’re recommending it early again this year. Possibly because of the delta variant. We certainly aren’t “back to normal” in quite a few ways.

  12. Lis Carey says to me: They’re recommending it early again this year. Possibly because of the delta variant. We certainly aren’t “back to normal” in quite a few ways.

    Yeah, no shit. Because of the anti-vaxxer idiots, it’s likely that I won’t get my right shoulder operated on as was planned this autumn as Maine Medical is cancelling most elective surgeries as they’re dealing with a surge of Covid-19 patients that has overwhelmed their system. So I get to live with high pain that only Hydrocodone can cope with.

  13. “Norseascon” is one of the finest typos I’ve seen in a while. North Seas Con? Norse Ease Con? (a great name for a relaxacon)

  14. Land of the Lost; “Over the falls!” is one of our catchphrases.

    I’ve been trying to remember what I just saw Toby Jones in, without success. Have to go look it up. Ah. First Cow. Non-genre. Her films aren’t for everyone, but I love Kelly Reichardt’s work.

  15. Back to First Cow, if anyone here has seen it. I’ve been thinking about it since typing my last comment, and it occurs to me that it contains an utterly unique version of Chekov’s gun: the gun is briefly shown near the end of the film, and is used, off camera, after the end and before the beginning of it. (Sorry this only makes sense to the few people who have seen it, but wow.)

  16. (11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY. Yay, “Land of the Lost” . . . but 47 years ago?! Lordy I feel old!

    @Joe H.: My preferences for “Land of the Lost” episodes match yours. 🙂

    @Andrew (not Werdna) & @Joe H.: LOL at your Krofft lyric riffs! 😀

  17. (9) Another genre outing for Tony Selby was the sitcom Mulberry, in which the title character is hired to work for an elderly lady as her butler, but a sinister figure keeps appearing to remind Mulberry that he must kill her, and it takes a turn into the fantastic before the end of the first season. Sadly, that one season is all they made, so we never find out where the story was going to go after that.

  18. As it turns out, I have actually seen all of Pandora to date, done over a couple of weekends recently – we got started on it based on the blurb and, since there wasn’t much of it, pushed on through. It’s the perfect median CW series, which, for our non-American readers, means that everyone involved is really physically attractive, and far more time is spent on their various interlinking romantic couplings than on anything less important like plot or character development. Also, multiple characters have died and come back as different versions of themselves or as relevations that they were never actually who they appeared to be, which I also understand to be in the CW script bible.

  19. 11) Seems to be available in a lot of places but not America.

    I see it listed as being on Peacock Premium here in the US (which we get free because we’re Xfinity customers).

  20. Flu shots start to be available end of July, I always got my kids vaccinated before school started. Most people do them later though- after it starts to get cold.

  21. John Lorentz says I see it listed as being on Peacock Premium here in the US (which we get free because we’re Xfinity customers).

    No, it’s not. That’s the film remake with Will Ferrell that came out twelve years ago. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a rather poor thirty two percent rating.

    Currently it’s not streaming anywhere in the States.

  22. bookworm1398 says Flu shots start to be available end of July, I always got my kids vaccinated before school started. Most people do them later though- after it starts to get cold.

    My PCP always did mine at the very end of September or the beginning of October. The Pandemic was the first year that she, or rather Martin’s Point, the practice she works for, decided to move it up to August because of Covid-19. No idea what they’re doing this year.

  23. No, it’s not. That’s the film remake with Will Ferrell that came out twelve years ago. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a rather poor thirty two percent rating.

    Whoops, you’re right. I forgot to add “series” when I ran the search.

  24. John Lorentz says Whoops, you’re right. I forgot to add “series” when I ran the search.

    No need to apologise. All the streaming services have truly shitty search engines. All the Peacock service needed to is add a single word that identified that as the film, not the series. And don’t get me started on films with similar names…

  25. Andrew (not Werdna) says To avoid any other potential confusion, there was a sequel Land of the Lost series in the early 1990s

    Actually it’s not a sequel, but a new version. In other words, they rebooted the series.

  26. @Cat: Ah. At one point they were thinking of having an older Holly show up, establishing the series as a sequel, but they abandoned the idea – I misremembered that.

  27. Andrew (not Werdna) says Ah. At one point they were thinking of having an older Holly show up, establishing the series as a sequel, but they abandoned the idea – I misremembered that.

    Yeah, I had to look it up as I didn’t think it was a sequel. The effects were definitely better in the new series than they were in the first go-around. The matting in particular was quite badly done at times (shudder).

    Now listening to Simon R. Green’s An Ishmael Jone Mystery: Very Important Corpses

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