Pixel Scroll 9/27/17 How Do You Get Down Off A Pixel? You Don’t, You Get Down Off A Scroll

(1) THUMBS UP. Good words: “Blade Runner 2049: The first reactions are in”.

“Good news!” tweeted Guardian scribe Jordan Hoffman. “Blade Runner 2049 is a terrific continuation and expansion of the orig[inal].”

Erik Davis from the movie site Fandango agreed, calling Denis Villeneuve’s film a “sci-fi masterpiece“.

“If you were worried, don’t be,” said Empire contributing editor Dan Jolin of the follow-up to Ridley Scott’s film.

(2) CONSPIRACY THEORY. The Wall Street Journal noticed a King Tut-like pattern among the companies shown in the original movie: “Science Affliction: Are Companies Cursed by Cameos in Blade Runner?” The story is behind a paywall, unfortunately.

The 1982 sci-fi classic is back with a splashy sequel but Atari, Pan Am, RCA and other companies featured in the futuristic original struggled in the real world

(3) SHAPE OF TREK TO COME. ScienceFiction.com points to the way: “‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Trailer Teases The Full Season”. BEWARE SPOILERS.

Given this somewhat unorthodox approach to their pilot, it’s only natural that they would want to give viewers a taste of what’s to come, a sense of what the show is actually going to be on a weekly basis, now that it’s underway. This is especially so given that CBS hopes to use ‘Discovery’ to drive interest in their streaming service, CBS All Access. To that end, the network has released a “what’s next?” trailer for the show’s first season


(4) UNBEARABLE. BBC review of “Goodbye Christopher Robin”, which “looks sweet on the surface, but is quite depressing – ‘a wolf in teddy bear clothing,’ writes Nicholas Barber.”

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a strange proposition. It’s a film that won’t attract many viewers who aren’t already fans of AA Milne’s classic Winnie-the-Pooh books, and yet its explicit purpose is to ensure that anyone who sees it will never enjoy those books in the same way again. Remember Saving Mr Banks? Remember how it suggested that PL Travers wrote Mary Poppins because she had an alcoholic father and a suicidal mother? Compared to Goodbye Christopher Robin, that was a feel-good treat for all the family.

(5) DEDICATED SPACE. The Marsh Collection covers both science fiction and Scientology: “SDSU Library Debuts New Science Fiction Room”.

The Edward E. Marsh Golden Age of Science Fiction Room will open on Thursday, Sept. 28, giving San Diego State University and the local community access to one of the most comprehensive collections of science fiction in the United States. The opening celebration begins at 2 p.m. on the first floor of the Love Library on the SDSU campus. Eventually, the Marsh Room will serve as the main point of contact between the community and SDSU’s Special Collections and University Archives, which is home to Marsh’s collection.

Marsh, who attended SDSU in the 1960s, spent 30 years assembling his $2.25 million collection of signed and inscribed first editions by science fiction greats, including Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Included are the fiction and non-fiction writing of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Marsh gifted the entire collection to SDSU in 2013.

Donald Westbrook, who received a Ph.D. in religious studies from Claremont Graduate University in 2015, called the collection “a preeminent resource for scientology studies [which] continues to receive fuller academic attention as one of many American-born new religious movements.” His book about the Church of Scientology is due out next year from Oxford University Press.

Living history

The Marsh collection is a recent addition to SDSU’s Special Collections, a repository for more than 80,000 printed volumes, over 500 manuscript and archival collections, 800 linear feet of university records, plus numerous graphic and digital collections and ephemera.

[Gale Etschmaier, dean of the Library and Information Access] said relocating Special Collections to the library space in and around the Marsh Room will strengthen SDSU’s role as a source of “living history”—the documents, photos, letters, newspaper clippings and oral accounts that enable researchers to understand the past through their own critical senses rather than through another’s interpretation.

(6) MORE WOMEN ACCUSE KNOWLES. Indiewire reports that in the wake of allegations against the Ain’t It Cool News founder, more women have stepped forward with stories about their experiences: “Four More Women Accuse Harry Knowles of Sexual Assault and Harassment”.

Another film writer, who goes by the online handle “sick__66” and wishes to stay otherwise anonymous, alleges that as recently as this May, Knowles harassed her on Twitter. The Miami resident, 23, was first approached by Knowles online in April, after he followed her on the social media platform and reached out via Twitter direct messages. The two have never met in person.

Over the course of a month, the pair shared a friendly conversation over direct messages about film history, with Knowles frequently sharing stories of his career and connections. (IndieWire reviewed the full history of these messages.) In the messages, Knowles writes frequently about things he’s done over the course of his work, name-dropping such celebrities as Kevin Smith, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro. (At one point, he sent “sick__66” a link to his wedding invite video, noting that it was directed by Jackson.)

After a month of communicating, Knowles asked “sick__66” to come to Austin, to which she did not respond, deeming the interaction “creepy.” …

(7) WORKAROUNDS NEEDED. Jason Sanford asks “What happens to storytelling when the audience knows everything?” Stories of a certain type become harder to set up, though others must surely be easier to tell – what would they be?

We’re already seeing major changes in society from people having access to information through mobile devices. Paper maps and guides, which existed for thousands of years, are nearly extinct in some countries as people use their phones and GPS to navigate. Printed encyclopedias and dictionaries have also mostly disappeared, replaced by Wikipedia and other online resources. And social movements like the Arab Spring owed much of their power to the instantaneous sending of information between people by social media.

Those are merely the start of the changes we’ll see when every human has instant access to any information they desire. And one intriguing question I’ve been pondering is what this continual access to information will do to storytelling.

Here’s the issue: the vast majority of stories deal with an information gap between that story’s characters. This gap between what is known and not known by different characters helps create a story’s drama.

For example, in Romeo and Juliet a main character commits suicide because he believes his lover is dead. But what happens to that story when the characters can instantly find out they’re both alive?

Or what about Liam Neeson’s film Taken, where a father hunts for the people who kidnapped his daughter? What happens to that story when the father can instantly know the address where his daughter is being kept? Or his daughter can access an online database to learn of her kidnapper’s true nature when she first meets him?

(8) WRITTEN IN STONE. In “Did Ron Howard tweet out a Han Solo clue through Ralph McQuarrie’s art?”, SyFy Wire explains how the clue was solved and speculates about what it means for the Han Solo film.

Less than two hours later, one fan with an eagle eye named Paul Bateman recognized this carving and distressed ruin to be the language seen on a piece by the late Star Wars conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie, who inspired the aesthetic for what we all visualize as the world of Star Wars. Bateman, also a concept designer and art director, called McQuarrie one of his friends.

(9) BOARDING PARTY. News From ME’s Mark Evanier had a bad experience with an airline – not so unusual – but received a surprisingly frank answer when he complained, as he explains in “Fright Attendants” and “Fright Attendants: Part 2”.

What occurred is kind of difficult to explain but basically, one employee of the airline — a lady at the gate — told me something. A second employee — a flight attendant — told me something different during the boarding process. I said, “That’s not what I was told” and I repeated what the lady at the gate had told me and I even gave her name. The attendant accused me of…well, basically lying about her telling me that. “That’s contrary to our policies, sir,” she said. “No one would tell you that.” My traveling companion backed me up strongly and she was accused of being rude and suddenly this flight attendant was announcing that she had the power to have us both removed from the flight.

…The Customer Relations lady was totally with me and clearly frustrated. She said — and this is a quote — “When I fly now, I just do whatever they say, even when I know it’s wrong because you never know what’s going to set some of them off. If they somehow get it into their heads that you’re a threat to the flight, you’re in for a lot of trouble.”

This is a woman who works for this airline. She is in a position to receive and deal with complaints about flight attendants who misbehave. And she is afraid of the occasional flight attendant on that airline. She also told me that recently, they had two incidents where flight attendants ejected pilots’ wives.

Rhetorical Question: If you were a pilot and they thought maybe your wife was a threat to the safety of the flight, what does that say about you?

(10) ON WRY. Anatoly Belilovsky entertains with “Dear Editor” at the SFWA Blog. The story doesn’t lend itself to an excerpt, but his bio does —

Anatoly Belilovsky was born in a city that went through six or seven owners in the last century, all of whom used it to do a lot more than drive to church on Sundays; he is old enough to remember tanks rolling through it on their way to Czechoslovakia in 1968. After being traded to the US for a shipload of grain and a defector to be named later (courtesy of the Jackson-Vanik amendment), he learned English from Star Trek reruns and went on to become a pediatrician in an area of New York where English is only the fourth most commonly used language. He has neither cats nor dogs, but was admitted into SFWA in spite of this deficiency…


  • September 27, 1967  — My Mother, The Car begins to air in France. Unlike Jerry Lewis, the French did not find any deep, previously unappreciated cultural significance in this export.
  • September 27, 1979 — Buck Rogers in the 25th Century began its regular episodic run (after the telefilm) with a show titled “Planet of the Slave Girls.”
  • September 27, 1985The Twilight Zone returns to television with brand new episodes.

(12) ON THE ROAD AGAIN. Our literary cartographer, Camestros Felapton, discusses how the territory and the story interact in “The Plot Elements of Fantasy Maps”.

There is a new good article on fantasy maps at The Map Room Blog: http://www.maproomblog.com/2017/09/the-territory-is-not-the-map/ The point being that much of the discussion of fantasy maps is not the map as such but rather the implausible territories that they depict. Fair point. However, I wanted to loop back to the post I made on the simplified Middle Earth map. A successful fantasy geography requires the terrain to shape the story and The Lord of the Rings does this well. It matters to the story whether the characters are in forests or towns/villages or mountains.

Roads, paths trails

These imply places where the story covers a greater distance. Travel is either uneventful or involves encounters with others. Leaving the path implies not only danger but a shift from the main objective. They are also (random encounters aside) boring but may also imply more personal conversation between characters. Outside of fantasy, a road trip has its own conventions and expectation of bonding between travellers.

(13) DISH SERVED COLD. “Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Radio Telescope Suffers Hurricane Damage”, but not as much as first believed.

When Hurricane Maria raked Puerto Rico last week as a Category 4 storm, it cut off electricity and communications island-wide, including at the Arecibo Observatory, one of the world’s largest radio telescopes.

Initial reports, received via ham radio, indicated significant damage to some of the facility’s scientific instruments. But Nicholas White, a senior vice president at the Universities Space Research Association, which helps run the observatory, tells NPR that the latest information is that a secondary 40-foot dish, thought destroyed, is still intact: “There was some damage to it, but not a lot,” he says.

“So far, the only damage that’s confirmed is that one of the line feeds on the antenna for one of the radar systems was lost,” White says. That part was suspended high above the telescope’s main 1,000-foot dish, which lost some panels when it shook loose and fell down.

(14) UNUSUAL ANIMATION. NPR says “‘Loving Vincent’ Paints Van Gogh Into A Murder Mystery”. It would be hard to pay homage to Vincent Van Gogh with more fervor or devotion than filmmakers Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman bring to Loving Vincent, in which they’ve not only created thousands of new oil paintings in his style, but also made him the subject of a murder-mystery.

It begins in 1891, a year after Van Gogh died, when a postman discovers an undelivered letter the artist wrote to his brother Theo, and sends his very reluctant, very drunk son to deliver it — a task that will prove difficult. The postman’s son discovers that Theo died soon after Vincent did, and then tries to find others who knew him, realizing as he goes that the death that was said to be a suicide, may not have been so cut and dried.

All of this is about what you’d expect of a film — in this case an animated film — that means to make a mystery of Van Gogh’s suicide. But if you’re picturing “animation” in the Disney-drawn or Pixar-computerized senses of the word, you’ll need to think again. In Loving Vincent, it’s as if the paint has leapt directly from Van Gogh’s canvases to the screen, and then started moving.

(15) TROLLING FOR DOLLARS. Intellectual judo, using science against itself! “Rapper B.o.B. raising funds to check if Earth is flat”. But you know that check is going to bounce.

Spoiler: The Earth is not flat.

But US rapper B.o.B. is crowd-funding the launch of satellites to see if he can get some evidence to the contrary.

The rapper, whose real name is Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, has been a vocal proponent of the Flat Earth theory – the claim the Earth is, in fact, a disc and not spherical.

Some proponents of the Flat Earth theory claim NASA employees guard the edge of the world to prevent people falling off.

(16) THINGS THAT GO BUMP. Developing driverless cars based on traffic in India: “Could India’s crowded roads help us create better cars?”

“In 60 seconds you have to consider 70 options,” says my rickshaw driver Raju, leaning over his shoulder as we weave through traffic. We’re navigating the infamous congested streets of Bangalore, and he’s explaining the rules of the road.

Having lived in India for two-and-a-half years, I get what he means. Not an inch of the road is wasted – if there’s a gap, a scooter will fill it. Vehicles travel bumper to bumper. Overtaking is attempted as frequently as possible. Indicators and wing mirrors are optional extras. Most drivers seem to rely on the incessant honking of nearby vehicles – almost a form of echolocation.

But there is method to the madness. Drivers deftly navigate around manoeuvres that would lead to accidents in the UK, and offenders rarely elicit more than a mutter. They’ve adapted to predictable unpredictability.

(17) A BATTERY OF TESTS. “Why switching to fully electric cars will take time” – the BBC has the story.

…Other companies, including Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda have made similar pledges.

These are undoubtedly ambitious plans – but it is important to recognise their limitations.

They are not saying they will get rid of diesel or petrol cars completely. They are simply promising to make electrified versions of them available.

It is also important to recognise what “electrified” actually means.

It can, of course, refer to fully electric battery powered vehicles. But it can also be used to describe hybrids – and hybrids come in many forms

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Don’t Say Velcro” is a pretty wild musical in which Velcro® protects its trademark!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Edd Vick, Keith Kato, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/27/17 How Do You Get Down Off A Pixel? You Don’t, You Get Down Off A Scroll

  1. @5: The collection at Harvard’s Houghton Library may well be bigger (and probably more significant, as most of the works are older), but AFAICT nobody is likely to know because getting into Houghton (~rare-books-collection) is so difficult. Good on SDSU for making this available.

    @7: Or his daughter can access an online database to learn of her kidnapper’s true nature when she first meets him? Do the more wired-in people check on everyone they meet? (I don’t know; I still use a flip-phone.) And What does that story turn into when the characters … stay in continual touch with each other instead of splitting up to be killed? Being in touch doesn’t mean having someone’s back; they may get suspicious when someone stops texting, but they can still be picked off unless they rejoin. Running individually to the site of the last text would just make the monster’s job easier. This is a specific instance of a principle also shown by Jance’s latest Beaumont novel; when there are a few mobile bad guys, they can do a lot of damage because they can’t be traced. (Jance isn’t explicit, but the obvious thing for the gang to do is use burners and flip phones, not smart phones, as security against their numbers being discovered.) Jance also plays the “why won’t anyone believe me?” trope well enough to show that it’s still valid; unless the viewpoint character can take any action (e.g., like a Dickson-style hero) they need to convince other people (authorities, in contemporary stories, or some established utterly ruthless person) to help.

    @9: with today’s security hysteria, why is anyone surprised that some flight attendants are trending hysterical? The pilots can at least block the cockpit door (I’ve lost track of whether U.S. airlines have gotten near the security measures of El Al); some attendants have probably concluded they’ll be the first to die in the event of trouble — and others may be afraid that one misbehaving passenger will set off two others, and so on. They’ve got a horrible job, AFAICT for poor pay and no support. The one good thing about this story is that (unlike the United mess a few months ago) the pilot, who’s paid enough to be expected to be the adult in the room, actually was.

    @11(a): hands up anyone who can’t see the difference between Jerry Lewis and Jerry Van Dyke. (I recall a major news source making Chartrand-style comparison between the Van Dyke brothers.)

    (edit) @10: the bio is fun, but the story isn’t bad either.


    Most flight attendants I’ve encountered have been fabulously attentive and helpful. But I’ve had two different encounters with flight attendants who went from zero to ballistic in 2 seconds. One of them was when my very attractive partner, the opposite gender of the flight attendant, boarded a plane in front of me with their carry-on and was given a gracious, fawning greeting and directed further into the airplane. But as I moved to step into the aircraft, the attendant blocked me and said in a hostile tone, “You’ll have to leave your carry-on here to be checked into the cargo hold. It’s too big.” And I said, “But my partner just boarded the plane in front of me, with a carry-on identical to mine, and that was apparently just fine.”

    A look of “oh shit, I’ve been caught out” flashed across the attendant’s face, and then they immediately escalated to threatening to throw me off the plane if I didn’t obey them right away and stop questioning their orders. It took about a split-second for my brain to do the computation “just give them whatever they want, you can’t afford to miss this flight”, and then I handed my carry-on over and boarded.

    In the wake of 9/11, flight attendants were given absolute authority over passengers. Unfortunately, there will always be people in positions of authority who get off on having power over others and abusing it, who have the ability to make things very hard — or even deadly — for anyone they don’t like. I’m lucky enough not to be one of the targets for the ones who are wearing police uniforms and guns, but a lot of people aren’t. 😐

  3. (9)–After the week I’ve had dealing with “the public”, in my current mood I’m all in favor of anyone who has to deal with the public being armed with dart guns enabling them to just knock the idiots out and put them in a corner.
    That’s the calmer version–the original one was more along the lines of 007.
    So–if I’ve read it correctly, he was given the wrong info to begin with and chose to argue with the person who knew it was wrong. Then, double-teamed her with his friend; all while they’re trying to load a plane with a large percentage of people who don’t bother to find out what they can take on-board; then those who stuffed the outside zippered pockets to overflowing can’t get it into the overhead; those who decide to wait until they get to the seat to open their case to get out the book/sweater/whatever thus slowing everyone down; pull their over-stuffed suitcase behind them thus increasing the amount of aisle space they take up while obliviously looking for their seat; decide that even though they’re on the window seat they really really have to use the restroom NOW; secure the plane and get everything ready to depart.
    Yeah, my heart bleeds for him.

  4. Harold Osler on September 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm said:
    That’s a lot of assumptions there, all going in favor of Person With Authority.
    Especially since most people don’t know which one is correct – we tend to go with what we’ve been told, and when we get told two different things by people who SHOULD have the same answer, what are you expecting the result to be?

  5. Harold Osler: Yeah, my heart bleeds for him.

    If the forbidden item had been some sort of electronic toy, I’d agree with you.

    But it was a CPAP device, and he may be one of the many people who are at serious risk if the device gets lost in transit and he can’t use it. He had been conscientious enough to double-check with the gate agent ahead of time, instead of just assuming it was okay to bring it onboard. So I’m going to disagree with you on this one; the flight attendant’s behavior was uncalled-for.

  6. Harold Osler may have no clue what a CPAP is, or why stopping breathing during sleep is,a bad idea.

    Or he may not have clicked through to see that a vital piece of medical equipment was involved.

  7. 15) Way I see it, best way to expose this conspiracy is to get to Mars before NASA and show everyone it’s flatness. Then they will be forced to tell the truth. What do you think, a valid use of the funds?

  8. A CPAP is supposed to be allowed.

    Meanwhile, I’m concerned abut a filer who may be facing a serious medical problem.

  9. Filer Lee “Starcat” Billings has asked me if I would post an update for you all:

    I’ve been feeling increasingly worse for a couple of months, and all the tests were coming back “can’t see anything wrong here”. I finally collapsed in my doctor’s office due to dehydration, and she sent me to the ER. The people there listened to my description of what had been happening and admitted me for a CAT scan. That showed a mass on my pancreas, and the subsequent biopsy came up malignant. Now waiting for an appointment for a full PET scan, which will tell us exactly what we’re up against. If it hasn’t spread, it will be treated surgically. If it has, I’m looking at chemo.

    Right now she’s accessing the net through a cell phone, which is not ideal for reading File 770. If you wish to contact her, you can use the email fgnepngwrjry@tznvy.pbz *.

    * rot13’ed for spam avoidance

  10. (2) A case of Betteridge’s law of headlines?

    (6) I’m not surprised. It is hard to even come forward about having been harassed, but knowing that someone else out there has said a similar thing and is being taken seriously helps a lot.

    (7) I was a little confused here, it started out about the audience (ie the reader) but then went mostly for in-work interactions. I’m not so sure the question is as game-changing as Sanford believes.

    A lot of the information gap can be handled since not all information is out there, or not available yet, or very hard to find, or because it’s very much internal to the characters. Most love or romance plots still will work nicely, eg. And real-life criminals already have strategies to make surveillance less useful.

    (9) Another episode in the intersection between the perpetual fearfulness and limited authority.

    (12) Interesting analysis. I’ve had thoughts about the topology of movement in fantasy stories as well, and TLotR is of course one of the major examples. (I really should return to that topic.) Fantasy researcher Stefan Ekman has also done map studies, in Here Be Dragons: Fantasy Maps and Settings.

  11. As I read it the CPAP device was inside the checked luggage, so I don’t think that was the issue. And he never did say what the whole issue was.

    Harold Osler on September 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm said:
    That’s a lot of assumptions there, all going in favor of Person With Authority.

    Actually, it was more of a “in favor of Person Who Has to Deal with Public” thing.

    Like I said, I’ve had one of those weeks. And it’s only Wednesday.

  12. Like I said, I’ve had one of those weeks.

    I remembered yesterday that this time last year I’d threatened to take this week and next as holiday. I work for a Cambridge College and the students are due back on Saturday, so everything I could have been asked to look at over the past three months of the long vacation…

  13. @steve davidson, I see you have title credit today. Unless Initial-Letters-Capitalized Steve Davidson is a different person from steve davidson, that is…

  14. One thing I noted about the various Star Trek series: While Tech and Science is advanced, they have problems thinking equally forward about the Justice and political systems and education.
    I notice that in all newer series (not just Discovery)- I mean, mainly they hover around the edges of these topics without actually stating specific things (What is the political system on Earth during Star Trek anyway?), but if the episodes do feature these topics somewhat prominent, they are always very backwards. The Justice system in Discovery seems very grim (Not seeing the faces of your jury for example seems wrong and is probably a violation against basic rights in the present) and the other series seems to indicate that its military law all the way down.
    Deep Space Nine and TNG all featured education and -in the episode were Molly went through a Portal and came back 10 years aged – you could clearly see that the writers were way over their heads thinking up what future child psychologists would do in this situation. Every time a “school” of some sort is featured I wonder if the writers are awhare of how much the education system has changed in the last 50 years alone and how much change would be expected in the next hundred. But apparently we will go back of memorizing facts for some reason (despite having a computer with us all the time)…
    I guess its much easier to make up “Hard facts” than “Soft Sciences”, were Technobubble isnt enough, but its about what you actually do.
    To go back to Discovery: I liked it, but I wonder if this representation of the justice system was intentional.

    Sorry, I had dot get that out of my system 🙂

  15. Reading: I finished Guy Gavriel Kay’s (magnificent) Children of Earth and Sky, and read just the first few pages of Provenance, on which I hope to make much more progress when I’m not actually working &c.

  16. 10 — My mother lived in a city that had been part of Austria-Hungary, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (when my mother was born), Hungary again, the Soviet Union, and is now part of Ukraine. I never know what to say when people ask me where she was from, but since she spoke Hungarian I just usually say Hungary.

    Belilovsky’s bio is much funnier, though.

  17. Ann Leckie’s Provenance is quite good. I am bad at telling what will be considering charming a la Goblin Emperor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s loved in the same way by many. It’s a bit of a surprise though, because it feels like Leckie set out to write a character the exact opposite of the viewpoint we’re all a bit used to in the Ancillary trilogy. Instead of the High Queen of I Don’t Give a F*ck, the protagonist is much more uncertain.

    Without giving too much away, I’ll say your back in a much different part of the same setting, but the setting has the similar charming “lived in, yet utterly strange” aspects of the Radch, done lightly and believably. Another excellent thing about the book is that if felt like it was often going deliberately against trope. It made for an unpredictable read, even by the standards of Leckie, and I liked that.

    I imagine there will be all the usual wails from all the usual sources, because the setting may not be the Radch, but hardly goes back to standard gender pronouns, nouns, anything, really. Either I’m getting used to the new world, or Leckie does a better job than many or most of making a third set of pronouns flow well in English. Tough Manly Men Who Are Manly And Men may have their feelings hurt. Or you’ll just hear a lot “harrumphing” about how it’s not a “real sci-fi story” and too obsessed with politics! Much harrumphing.

    Oh, and lastly in its way it’s more of a sci-fi story than the Ancillary series – not that those weren’t, but they also had some great action set pieces, whereas Provenance is more… verbal? I don’t know. But it made the same universe feel more Star Trek-y, after previous works have seemed a bit more Star Wars. There’s a bit more of the weird. Which I liked. And an excellent window on to how much human diversity there is in Leckie’s universe outside of the Radch, and none of the societies seem weird for the sake of weird.

  18. (3) Nope, not watching spoilers for ST:D!

    You wanted to hook me early and lure me into your streaming service, maybe you should have worked that into the pilot, huh?

    (I jest. I’m non-US, I get Discovery on Netfliiixxxxx and I feed on American Trekkies’ teeeeears)

  19. So they are doing a live-action J.J. Abrams remake of the recent anime Your Name

    (No, that isn’t the setup for a joke–they are doing a live-action J.J. Abrams remake of the recent anime Your Name.

  20. @Standback

    If someone isn’t vastly outraged at how the most recently produced series isn’t the biggest betrayal of Gene Roddenberry’s vision they could ever have done, is it still Star Trek fandom?

    TNG got it all too.

  21. I’m one of those olds that isn’t into cord cutting so therefore won’t be seeing Star Trek: Discovery because I’m not subscribing to a CBS on demand service.
    Oh well.

  22. So they are doing a live-action J.J. Abrams remake of the recent anime Your Name…

    I can understand why. It’s a strong story, it was a charming movie, and was hugely successful worldwide. But it only made $5 million in the US, less than 2% of its overall gross.

    As a live-action movie with an (I’m guessing) American setting, it stands to make another crapload of money, appealing to an audience that didn’t pay any attention to it as a dubbed, limited-release animated film.

  23. Today’s Meredith Moment:

    The first book in Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series, Trading in Danger, is $1.99 on Amazon US (and likely other venues).

    I read the 5-book series earlier this year and really enjoyed it; lots of great space adventure, mystery, and clever machinations.

  24. “Star Trek-y” makes me wonder what the proper adjective form of “Star Trek” would be.

    Star Trekkish? Star Trekesque? Star Trekial? Star Trekate? Star Trekful?

    [Debate ensues, with great clatter, disputation and gestures both grand and grotesque, cacophonies and calumny. In the background, Rome burns.]

  25. 3) It seems I have an infallible defence against spoilers called “living in the UK” – all I see is “This video is not available”. As usual. Oh, well. I think I can stand not knowing everything about the show until I actually watch it.

  26. As a live-action movie with an (I’m guessing) American setting, it stands to make another crapload of money, appealing to an audience that didn’t pay any attention to it as a dubbed, limited-release animated film.

    The forelash about the possible American setting has already started.

  27. It seems I have an infallible defence against spoilers called “living in the UK” – all I see is “This video is not available”. As usual. Oh, well. I think I can stand not knowing everything about the show until I actually watch it.

    The preview is tacked onto the end of episode 2, so if you watch it on Netflix (isn’t it on Netflix there?) you’ll see it.

  28. I did watch episode 2 on Netflix… and didn’t see any preview. Evidently it is such strong stuff that our delicate British constitutions can’t handle it!

    (I don’t mind. Some things are actually more effective if they’re not telegraphed weeks in advance – hence, spoiler warnings.)

  29. Steve Wright: It seems I have an infallible defence against spoilers called “living in the UK” – all I see is “This video is not available”. As usual.

    Usually stuff like this has been replicated within hours on YouTube by private users (I presume to drive their ad revenue), with no country restrictions. Try this one.

  30. Apropos of nothing, I was with my wife in rehab today (she fractured her hip and is in a certain a mouth of pain, requiring at least a week or so of in-patient physical therapy), and the occupational therapist was doing an exercise with her to see how well she could lift various household products from a basket on the floor to a table.

    Lo and behold, there was an actual box of actual Nutty Nuggets! And I thought Brad Torgersen was just making them up. They still exist! At least in cereal form. (Of course, they’re probably not the SAME Nutty Nuggets that they used to be, but still.)

    At least I refrained from interrupting the session to explain the whole issue in excruciating detail (unlike earlier in the day when in another session I explained how losing muscle mass is an issue on the International Space Station and could cause big problems on a Mars mission). My wife is very tolerant of my geekness.

    I’ll get my coat.

  31. Of course, they’re probably not the SAME Nutty Nuggets that they used to be, but still.

    Not since they put that photo of a tavern in the snow on the box.

  32. The forelash about the possible American setting has already started.

    Not unexpected. And I can understand the reaction, but at the same time it’s not like replicating THE LAST AIRBENDER with white faces or having a white actress play The Ancient One or the Major.

    If they translate the whole story to Ohio or Wisconsin or Castle Rock, they’re taking the plot and the gimmick, which don’t seem to be wedded to the culture, so to some degree it’s like complaining that 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU isn’t set in Italy.

    If they kept the idea of the shrine and the god and just whited it up, not so much.

    On the other hand, given how Asian actors and characters have been treated in Hollywood, that’s a whole ‘nother concern.

    So I’d expect them to make it about white kids, with any metaphysical mechanisms replaced by SF/psionics/whatever, because they’re targeting the USA first and the Japanese version has reached audiences globally so they wouldn’t be just trying to duplicate it. And I’d expect people to kick back against that, and have a point.

  33. Andrew on September 27, 2017 at 7:01 pm said:

    P.S. More movie/SF mashups

    “A Night to Remember Wholesale”
    “Yours, Mine and Our Man Flint”

    Not a mashup but:
    “We can Pixel it for you Scrollsale”

  34. @Peer Sylvester

    I notice that in all newer series (not just Discovery)- I mean, mainly they hover around the edges of these topics without actually stating specific things (What is the political system on Earth during Star Trek anyway?), but if the episodes do feature these topics somewhat prominent, they are always very backwards. The Justice system in Discovery seems very grim (Not seeing the faces of your jury for example seems wrong and is probably a violation against basic rights in the present) and the other series seems to indicate that its military law all the way down.

    This mirrors my own impression very much. When I read the reviews and recaps (I don’t have Netflix and won’t see this thing until it hits German TV) and read about the IMO overly harsh sentence given to a certain character, my initial thought was, “Okay, my suspicions have been confirmed. This is not Star Trek, but some overly grimdark new Battlestar Galactica wannabe. Because the Federation is supposed to be an enlightened egalitarian utopia and would never pass such an excessive sentence.”

    However, then I remembered the previous Star Trek series and remembered that Spock was threatened with execution, when court martialed in “The Menagerie”, while Harlan Ellison wanted to write an actual execution into “City on the Edge of Forever”. Tom Paris was in prison for something or other, which wasn’t very bad, during the first episode of Voyager, the Federation treated Data like property rather than a human being, Sisko sent his lover/ex-lover to prison for smuggling in Deep Space Nine. The Federation has a harsh and ugly justice system and has always been portrayed that way even during the original series. However, for some reason, neither Roddenberry nor those who followed him see anything wrong with the Federation having life sentences for mutiny and even the death penalty (and Peer and I are in Germany, where the death penalty has been abolished in 1949 and where life sentence means 15 to 20 years, unless the person in question is an unreformable Hannibal Lector type serial killer). So yes, there is a huge blind spot regarding the justice system in the Federation. I also agree on the education system – schools don’t function like that in 2017 and they certainly won’t in the 23rd century. None of which would be that much of a problem, if the Federation wasn’t presented to us as an egalitarian utopia.

    Anyway, just having watched the spoiler trailer (thanks for the link, JJ), it seems that the continued mistreatment and abuse of Michael Burnham will be a large part of Star Trek Discovery. And frankly, I don’t want to watch that. The fact that it’s a woman of colour who’s being abused and mistreated is even worse. Judging by what I’ve seen and heard so far, Discovery doesn’t feel like Star Trek (even if the Federation was never as good and noble as Roddenberry thought it was). A pity because I like Michelle Yeoh and Jason Isaacs a lot and Sonequa Martin-Green seems likeable.

    I guess I’ll have to give The Orville a try for my Star Trek fix, even though I still haven’t forgiven Seth MacFarlane for what he did when he hosted the Oscars.

  35. Cora: Tom Paris was in prison for something or other, which wasn’t very bad, during the first episode of Voyager

    He was in prison for treason, for colluding with the Maquis (after being expelled from Starfleet for covering up a piloting error he made which caused the death of 3 officers).

    Interestingly, Robert Duncan McNeill’s first role on Star Trek was in an episode of The Next Generation as the leader of a group of cadet pilots (which included Wesley Crusher) who secretly decided to perform an extremely difficult and dangerous piloting maneuver at their graduation ceremony, which resulted in the death of one of the cadets and the destruction of all of the ships. At first the group covered up the cause, blaming the dead cadet. Eventually McNeill’s character was forced to confess and was expelled from Starfleet, but by taking the blame, prevented Crusher and the other cadets from sharing his fate.

  36. I guess a harsh judical systems fits better with storylines (although its easy to circumvent that by using alien systems) and make better shots. The cells on the ships are not only very small, but also very barren – they dont have cleaning or toilet facilities. Not even a bed, not to mention food, drink or anything for the inmates to do. Its inhumane from todays standards, but it makes for good shots with cheap props (and it has an almost comic-book vibe. I remember when a villain in Flash was locked up for life in a small cell for stealing beer and punshing the flash).

    On the other hand its also telling that the producers behind Star trek never thought of punishment as a form of rehabilitaion, but only as a form of hard punishment. I dont think that can fully explained with “better stories” but as part of Trek lore, built in the philosophy when doing these shows.
    Probably the best example is Paris who was in prison, which looks suspiciously like a labour camp. But since hard labour doesnt make much sense in a Tech universe like Star trek, it wasnt really clear what he actually did there.
    (Probably humans dont need money and can do whatever they want -as Jake Sisko said – because inmates are doing the lowly work that tech cant?)

    (Oh and Paris was supposed to be the same character from Star Trek TNG, thats why they picked the same actor. It also fit with the flying manoevers. Problem was, that TNG depicted him as a “perfect leader, very charismatic” and that didnt fit with what they had in mind with him so they changed that background quite late in the progress).

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