Pixel Scroll 9/6/17 The Itsy Bitsy Pixel Scrolled Up To Kilgore Trout

(1) OUR LOCAL WATERING HOLE. It couldn’t be more perfectly named. I really need some Filers to scout out this place in Hollywood. the Scum & Villainy Cantina. They welcome not only Star Wars cosplayers, but also Trekkies, Marvel fans, and fans of Alf. Sci-fi trivia nights, intense lightsaber battles, and other antics provide entertainment.

The Scum and Villainy Cantina is nestled in the black hole of Hollywood, CA. We’re open to the public! Come in and get your geek on. All fandoms welcome. We feature themed drinks, food and games from all your favorite geek staples. Costumes always highly encouraged


(2) DEL TORO. Here’s what Guillermo del Toro told The Frame’s John Horn in his latest interview: “Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ brings the filmmaker to tears”.

On seeing ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ as a child:

In a strange way, “Creature” is an off-shoot of “King Kong.” And “King Kong” is an off-shoot of “Beauty and the Beast” and the fascination with gorillas in the 19th century … But what I loved about it — I was six years old, watching [“Creature”] on TV and three things awakened in me: one that I shall not disclose; the second one was, I thought it was the most beautiful image I’d ever seen. I had the Stendahl Syndrome moment, in which I was overwhelmed with beauty; and the third one I felt, I hope they end up together. And they didn’t … It took me 40-something years and 25 years as a filmmaker to correct that cinematic mistake.

On his adaptation of “Creature”:

That was the point of [“The Shape of Water”] for me: the celebration of otherness, which I think is very timely. Also, the idea that we are controlled by fear right now. We are divided by fear. I wanted to make a movie about love, which sounds disingenuous because right now cynicism sounds smarter.

(3) FILM REVIEW. The BBC’s Nicholas Barber gives the new del Toro five stars: “The Shape of Water is a new beauty-and-the-beast tale”.

If you want to know what to expect from The Shape of Water, just think of it as Amélie meets The Creature from the Black Lagoon – except that they also meet The Little Mermaid, some Hidden Figures and the inhabitants of La La Land. Oh, and they bump into James Bond, too. And then there are various characters from the Coen brothers’ back catalogue. That probably sounds like three or four meetings too many, but don’t worry – The Shape of Water is unmistakably a Guillermo del Toro film. Indeed, I’d be inclined to call it the Guillermo del Toro film: the fantasy masterpiece that blends all of his fondest obsessions into one sumptuous whole.

(4) SJW CREDENTIAL ALERT. We interrupt this newscast….

(5) JUST PLAIN BILL. The LA Doctor Who convention Gallifrey One has pulled off a coup: “Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas and David Bradley at Gallifrey One 2018”. The event takes place February 16-18 next year.

Gallifrey One is delighted to announce the confirmation today of three major headline guests for our 2018 convention, The 29 Voyages of Gallifrey One, taking place next February: Doctor Who Series 10 stars Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas, and the new incarnation of the First Doctor himself, David Bradley.

(6) STAR WARS. Hear Craig Miller tell about his work “Marketing Star Wars in 1977” on the Blabba the Hutt podcast.

Today Jamie gets to combine his love for Star Wars, and his love for Marketing as he speaks with -Lucasfilm consultant on Marketing, Publicity and Licensing for Lucasfilm from 1977 – 1980, including the marketing for Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 and The Empire Strikes Back in 1980.

How did Craig help build the profile of a film that should have been a complete failure? How did the Lucasfilm marketing team capture the imagination of film lovers in 1977?

Join us for a trip back in time with one of Lucasfilm’s hero’s Craig Miller.

(7) HELSINKI REMEMBERED. Tiffani Angus and Chris Butler have more to say about Worldcon 75 at the Milford SF Writers Blog. The excerpt is from Angus’ report.

I also spent time on the more mentally taxing side of volunteering by being on two panels and giving a paper. On the Friday, I was on Building Resistance, which was more about real-life than fictional situations. Later in the afternoon I participated in Two’s Company: Collaborative Genre Writing, which was an odd place for me as someone whose only collaborative genre project was my first novel—which took 10 years to write and hasn’t seen the light of day! Between those two panels I gave a paper/presentation with a rather attention-grabbing title: Where are the tampons? The Estrangement of Women’s Bodies in Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction. Luckily, the audience forgave my zombie and menstrual-blood images and I received some very positive feedback and a lot of questions. Once things settle down a bit, I hope to be able to find a home for the piece. In between all of that, my colleague Dr Helen Marshall and I conducted audio interviews with several editors and authors to use as part of the distance-learning component of the MA in SFF that will start next spring at Anglia Ruskin University.

(8) CHARLES DICKENS. The Man Who Invented Christmas comes to theaters on November 22.


The E. in Wile E. Coyote stands for Ethelbert.


Read A Book Day

On Read a Book Day, it’s not compulsory to read a whole book but the day serves as inspiration to people to read a section of a book they particularly enjoyed, to read with children, to donate a book to a children’s school library, or to host a book reading party.


  • September 6, 1956 Fire Maidens from Outer Space premiered.
  • September 6, 1957 20 Millions Miles to Earth made its West German debut.

(12) SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE. What comes after blonde stout(*)? Pink chocolate! Callebaut introduces naturally rosy form; will fans bite?  The Bloomberg reporter hopelessly demands: “Don’t Call It Pink Chocolate”.

Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest cocoa processor, has come up with the first new natural color for chocolate since Nestle SA started making bars of white chocolate more than 80 years ago. While it has a pinkish hue and a fruity flavor, the Zurich-based company prefers to refer to it as “ruby chocolate.”

The new product may help boost sales in a struggling global chocolate market that producers hope has touched bottom. As Hershey cuts 15 percent of its staff and Nestle tries to sell its U.S. chocolate business, ruby chocolate raises the possibility that next Valentine’s Day may arrive with store shelves full of natural pink chocolate hearts.

(*) Chip Hitchcock remarks that blonde stout is “available at Yard House chain, at least in this area. Yes, it sounds strange — and it’s not perfectly blonde, actually a little murky — but it tastes like stout.” Now you know.

(13) WELL EXCUUUUUUSE ME! More whinging about US cultural imperialism. Do the Brits need something like that French academy that tells people to stop saying “hot dog”? “How Americanisms are killing the English language”.

Throughout the 19th Century, Engel contends, “the Americanisms that permeated the British language did so largely on merit, because they were more expressive, more euphonious, sharper and cleverer than their British counterparts”. What word-lover could resist the likes of ‘ornery’, ‘boondoggle’ or ‘scuttlebutt’? That long ago ceased to be the case, leaving us with words and phrases that reek of euphemism – ‘passing’ instead of dying – or that mock their user with meaninglessness, like the non-existent Rose Garden that political reporters decided No 10 had to have, just because the White House has one (it doesn’t exactly have one either, not in the strictest sense, but that’s a whole other story).

Call me a snob, but there’s also the fact that some American neologisms are just plain ungainly. I recently picked up a promising new American thriller to find ‘elevator’ used as a verb in the opening chapter. As in, Ahmed was ‘elevatoring’ towards the top of his profession in Manhattan.

Nowadays, no sphere of expression remains untouched. Students talk of campus and semesters. Magistrates, brainwashed by endless CSI reruns, ask barristers “Will counsel please approach the bench?” We uncheck boxes in a vain effort to avoid being inundated with junk mail that, when it arrives regardless, we move to trash…

(14) FOR RESIDENT ALIENS. The Guardian is touting this place: “Need more space? UFO-shaped home goes up for sale in New Zealand”.

A rare spaceship-shaped home has been put for sale in New Zealand, attracting international interest as sci-fi and architecture nerds scramble to secure a UFO abode by the sea.

Futuro houses were created in 1968 by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen as pre-fab, portable ski chalets. Shaped like an egg and constructed from fibreglass-reinforced polyester plastic the unusual houses became cult designs, with less than 100 ever produced.

“There is something magical about the shape of an egg, it’s smoothness and strength and the spaceship is like that; it is an iconic shape that attracts you to it,” says Juanita Clearwater, an architectural designer, who is selling her beloved Futuro.

(15) HISTORIC CAMERA. On the auction block is the “High Speed ‘Empireflex’ Camera Designed and Built by ILM” for The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Minimum bid: £100,000.

The high-speed ‘Empireflex’ VistaVision camera was designed and built by Industrial Light and Magic for Irvin Kershner’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and was used extensively on ILM productions for more than 20 years. The camera’s name references both the film for which it was built, and the reflex viewing system incorporated into the unit. It was the first reflex VistaVision camera ever built and was dubbed ‘one of ILM’s pride and joys’ by Cinefex magazine in 1980. After Star Wars: A New Hope, ILM sought to upgrade its equipment and manufactured some of the first new VistaVision cameras since the film format’s hey day during the 1950s. VistaVision, which is traditional 35mm turned on its side to create a larger image area, was originally conceived by Paramount as a response to television. ILM utilised it as the format of choice due to the need for a larger image area in photochemical effects work, where pieces of film were frequently copied several times.

(16) I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING. TV chef Gordon Ramsay’s best rants/insults have been synched up with Darth Vader’s scenes from the Star Wars movies. The maker found enough material for two videos —

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Camestros Felapton, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

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77 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/6/17 The Itsy Bitsy Pixel Scrolled Up To Kilgore Trout

  1. The other day I bought & read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “The Disappeared” (first in the Retrieval Artist series), liked it OK, so I picked up the next book in the series, “Extremes”.

    I am NOT best pleased. What bugs me is that it’s only sorta like they’re on the Moon/in space. For instance, when people are outside the Dome, there’s a lot of talk about techniques for moving in .17g, in way that kind of implies that this is news to people who’ve lived all their lives on the Moon.

    And then when in space, it’s like no-one can see what your spaceship is doing until they get close up? Like you were hiding in the dark or something?

    I know that part of my irritation is because James S. A. Corey has (have? are they singular or plural?) really raised the bar for me on describing actions in the Solar System. They never overlook that different parts of the System have different gravities, that (absent clever stealth tech) in space everyone can see what you’re up to, and that space is SERIOUSLY empty and large.

    Am I going to keep being irritated by such things in the Retrieval Artist series? Or will it get better? I really like the characters and some aspects of the world-building and want to have more, but not at the cost of my frail sanity!

  2. Doctor Science: And then when in space, it’s like no-one can see what your spaceship is doing until they get close up? Like you were hiding in the dark or something?

    Well, yes. Most ships in SFF aren’t lit up on the outside like the Enterprise, especially if they’re trying to evade detection. And even on The Expanse, ships are hard to find because space is vast, and if the ships don’t have a high albedo, they aren’t very visible, if at all. After all, the Canterbury got blown up because they didn’t detect the attacking ship until it was far too late. The question is what sort of tracking systems exist in a given fictional universe, and how good they are at detecting objects at a distance.

    I’m sure that one or more of the Filers has expertise in this area; I’d be interested in what they have to say.

  3. Re 13: I believe that noted critic and sometime Filer James Davis Nicoll has some very famous comments about the purity of the English language, which seem quite relevant here.

    (Something about the purity of a cribhouse whore.)

    Language changes. Get over it. Regionalisms appear and disappear. Some spread into the wider language, others don’t. The Internet may help some spread faster, but it certainly doesn’t prevent new ones from appearing. Complaints about the “evil” spread of Americanisms (which, all too often, originated in the UK, spread to the US, and then were re-imported back into the UK) should be left to the Daily Mail’s letter column, and other places of equal intellectual merit. 🙂

    @IanP: I can sort of see where you’re coming from, but…wouldn’t it be just as bad to punish children for saying “know” instead of “ken” as it is to punish them for saying “ken” instead of “know”?

  4. 13) Those of us living in non-anglophone countries have been plagued by guardians of linguistic purity complaining about all those evil anglicisms and americanisms invading our language for decades. And yes, those complaints are always ridiculous.

  5. @Chip Hitchcock: The story quoted in (15) has “After Star Wars: A New Hope, ILM sought to upgrade its equipment” after specifying that the camera was built for The Empire Strikes Back. It wasn’t until the release of the latter film in 1980 that Star Wars gained the subtitle.

    I’ve seen pieces at The A.V. Club (e.g., concerning the two recent movies) where the writer was able to cleverly and concisely indicate that the 1977 movie didn’t always have the subtitle, and I’d quote one or two of them here – but they’ve just switched to a new format and the bugs aren’t all worked out; a search for “Star Wars” gives no results…

  6. @JJ Regarding Stealth in Space, I’ve been convinced by various discussions (especially this one http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacewardetect.php) that stealth in space is essentially impossible, given reasonable assumptions about technology (Turtledove’s aliens in wooden spaceships (“The Road Not Travelled”) might not be able to detect very well). Therefore, the stealth in “The Expanse” books dinged my suspension of disbelief a tad (there are a few other science blunders in those books, by the way – the Sun is not “just another star” when seen from the Asteroid belt).

    P.S. Scroll-long and thanks for all the Pixels (already done?)

  7. @Andrew:

    I’m able to buy the stealth tech in The Expanse precisely because it’s derived from alien tech that does Things Your Primitive Science Wots Not Of. It’s handwavium, but it’s not really *extra* handwavium.

  8. @Doctor Science:

    I hadn’t thought the bad-guys-experimenting-with-the-alien-tech had gotten that much out of their research at that point in the story, but I’m probably misrememberig – thanks.

    For the David Weber Harrington stealth, I use a similar assumption – the tech that allows ships to do tricks with gravity control is so easily detected by that same sort of tech that use of other detection techniques (ones using EM radiation) has fallen out of favor even though there are weird situations that might come up in which they would be useful.


    “It’s a Vor world, after all”

  9. On an even more unrelated note, I’m currently watching Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (although I can only manage about one episode every day or two) and it’s surprisingly ambitious in terms of how the world is presented — the matte paintings, miniatures, etc.

  10. @gottacook: Wikipedia agrees with you at the top of the entry, but later says

    Accounts differ as to when this designation was first added; some date the change at the theatrical re-release of April 10, 1981, while others place it much earlier at the re-release in July 1978.

    (Earlier date attributed to a Marcus Hearn overview of Lucas.) The latter is what I remember — for what that’s worth from this distance. (I couldn’t swear to the specific date, but I remember comment on the new title on a rerelease before SW V came out.) Add to this the discussion of whether the short title was just cosmetic (or even demanded by the studio, which as we’ve read had no idea how big a hit they had), and the grounds for certainty look crumbly.

  11. For what it’s worth, I found the following at http://www.starwars.com/news/the-star-wars-saga-us-release-and-re-release-history:

    “It’s back! The Force will be with you for two weeks only.” Star Wars is re-released for the third time, but with a major new addition: “Episode IV – A New Hope” is added to the opening crawl.

    This comports with what I remember. I didn’t see any of the rereleases (I’d seen Star Wars a more-than-adequate number of times during its initial run, starting Memorial Day weekend ’77 at Loews Astor Plaza, NYC) but had first learned of the added subtitle after the release of Empire.

  12. @Xtifr

    Well, I’d suggest not punishing either would be a better approach.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware language changes over time. I’d just be sad if the unique local dialects die out.

    Stealth in the Expanse wasn’t an alien tech import iirc, more a Martian development. Also it was useful only in certain circumstances, anything under thrust or otherwise radiating would be instantly visible. Mostly it gets used for lurking, or making things on long term orbits hard to find except by star occlusion.

  13. Well, yes. Most ships in SFF aren’t lit up on the outside like the Enterprise, especially if they’re trying to evade detection.

    It isn’t the visible light that would give spacecraft away, it is the infrared. You can’t stop radiating heat.

  14. In Leviathan Wakes a stealth ship strikes from ambush, unseen until it powered up and opened fire. Its target wasn’t military though so unlikely to have had highly sophisticated sensors.

    Later more of the same types intercept and attack a military vessel, as they are under power it sees them coming.

    Later books have more creative uses of stealth tech that would make the stealthy object very difficult to detect by anything less than star occlusion.

  15. Darren Garrison on September 8, 2017 at 6:20 am said:

    You can’t stop radiating heat.

    No, but you may be able to arrange to radiate most of that heat directionally, rendering you nearly invisible to anyone not directly in the path of your cooling laser.

    Perfect stealth is physically impossible, agreed, but then so is perfect detection. In between those two extremes, there’s a lot of room for hiding, as well as a lot of room for being caught. 🙂

  16. @Xtifr

    Perfect stealth is physically impossible, agreed, but then so is perfect detection. In between those two extremes, there’s a lot of room for hiding, as well as a lot of room for being caught.

    Seconded. That’s how modern stealth aircraft work out too, even the F117 Stealth Fighter was successfully (s)ambushed by the Serbs IIRC. Stealth is just another advantage that you can play to.

  17. Another example of a book with a stealth in space problem is “Saturn Run” which had an antimatter rocket in the other solar system barely detectable by late 21st century tech, while back of the envelope calculations (using project rho equations) suggest that it would be easily detectable using current tech well before reaching Pluto’s orbit (if I knew more, I’d figure out if (as Nicoll suggested in his review http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/review/the-tortoise-and-the-hare) it would be detectable by Galileo.

  18. @Darren Garrison: both of those links seem to arguing against the possibility of perfect stealth, which I already dismissed as a possibility.

    The second link in particular seems to contain an inherent contradiction. It says radiating the heat away in a particular direction won’t save you because the enemy might have sensors anywhere, and you can’t possible detect them all. But if you can’t get perfect stealth, how is the enemy going to make his sensors detection-proof? 🙂

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