Pixel Scroll 3/8/24 The Pixels Are All Tucked In Their Scrolls For The Night

(1) THERE WILL BE NO 2023 HUGO LONGLIST ANTHOLOGY. David Steffen says, “With all of the complications of this year’s nomination list, Diabolical Plots has decided not to produce a new volume of the Long List Anthology this year.”

Instead, Hal Y. Zhang, with assistance from Chelle Parker and David Steffen, have produced a set of reading recommendations, “The 2023 Hugo Award Nomination List (With Links!)”.

We do still want to help boost readership for the amazing authors involved, however, so in lieu of the anthology, we have done our best to compile the most comprehensive list of links to the works from this year’s Short Story and Novelette categories that we could.

(2) MORE MURDERBOT ACTORS. “’Murderbot’ Casts Sabrina Wu, Tattiawna Jones, Akshay Khanna & Tamara Podemski”Deadline has the story.

The Apple TV+ series Murderbot is rounding out its leading cast with Sabrina Wu (Joy Ride), Tattiawna Jones (Orphan Black: Echoes), Akshay Khanna (Polite Society) and Tamara Podemski (Outer Range). The quad will star opposite Alexander Skarsgård, who also executive produces.

Based on Martha Wells’ bestselling Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning book series The Murderbot Diaries, the 10-episode series Murderbot centers on a self-hacking security android who is horrified by human emotion yet drawn to its vulnerable “clients.” Murderbot must hide its free will and complete a dangerous assignment when all it really wants is to be left alone to watch futuristic soap operas and figure out its place in the universe….

(3) SANDERSON SETS BACKERKIT RECORD. Publishers Weekly is there as “Brandon Sanderson Raises $16 Million, Breaking Records Again”.

Brandon Sanderson, the bestselling author known for his epic fantasy novels, has already raised more than $16 million on crowdfunding platform BackerKit since launching it earlier this week.

The campaign is to fund a leatherbound edition of Words of Radiance, the second book in Sanderson’s fantasy series, The Stormlight Archive. The leatherbound edition will feature premium materials and illustrations, as well as a new “secret project,” Sanderson has teased. Add-ons include an audiobook, which Sanderson says will also be available on Audible, suggesting he has come to an agreement with the audiobook giant . (Sanderson had been in negotiation with the company for better terms for authors).

Sanderson’s BackerKit campaign, which has 55,000 backers and runs through March 30, is the most successful fundraising effort on the platform thus far. This follows Sanderson’s previous record-breaking Kickstarter campaign in March 2022, which raised $41.7 million from 185,341 backers, setting a new record for the most funded Kickstarter in the platform’s history. That campaign supported the release of four books.

(4) CHANGE AT KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel have updated the readers for their March 13 event. Christopher Rowe has suffered a death in the family. Therefore, Richard Butner will take his place, joining Moses Ose Utomi.

(5) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites listeners to nosh pastrami with Glenn Hauman in Episode 220 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

When I realized Glenn Hauman, with whom I’ve been crossing paths for decades on the con circuit, was going to be a guest at Farpoint, I thought it was about time I captured some of his wit and wisdom for you. Here’s just a small taste of what Glenn’s been up to over the years —

Glenn Hauman.

He’s an electronic publishing pioneer who founded BiblioBytes in 1993, which resulted in him being dubbed a “young Turk of publishing” in The New York Observer. He was an editorial consultant to Simon & Schuster Interactive for many years, during which time he contributed to many Star Trek CD-ROMs, such as the Star Trek Encyclopedia, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, plus additional projects for many other properties. He’s published fiction in the Star TrekX-Men, and Farscape franchises.

The particular piece of fiction which has probably brought him the most fame is Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers: Creative Couplings, co-authored with Aaron Rosenberg, which featured the first Klingon/Jewish wedding ceremony, and ended up getting him mass media coverage from outlets such as NPR and the Jewish weekly newspaper The Forward. In 2011, Glen teamed up with Peter David, previous guest of the podcast Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, and Aaron Rosenberg to launch an electronic publishing endeavor called Crazy 8 Press. He’s also a columnist over at ComicMix.

We discussed how he shook things up during the earliest days of electronic publishing, the embarrassing high school newspaper writings of Ted Chiang, the way the assembly-line nature of comics keeps many creatives from seeing the big picture, why he’s nobody’s first choice for anything but everybody’s second choice for everything, his pre-teen encounters with another pre-teen fan who became a Marvel Comics Executive Editor, the philosophical question he asked actor Michael O’Hare just before Babylon 5 began to air, the lunch that led to his first published short story being about the X-Men, what visiting Don Heck’s house at age 12 taught him about artists and taking an art class from John Buscema at age 13 taught him about himself, the plot of the Warren Worthington novel he never got a chance to write, the free speech lawsuit which had him going head to head with the Dr. Seuss estate, plus much more.

(6) GIBSON READING. Space Cowboy Books will host an “Online Reading and Interview with Adrian M. Gibson” on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. Register for free with Eventbrite at the link.

BLADE RUNNER, TRUE DETECTIVE and HANNIBAL meld with the weird worlds of JEFF VANDERMEER in Adrian M. Gibson’s fungalpunk noir debut novel.

TWO YEARS AFTER a devastating defeat in the decade-long Spore War, the island nation of Hōppon and its capital city of Neo Kinoko are occupied by invading Coprinian forces. Its Fungal citizens are in dire straits, wracked by food shortages, poverty and an influx of war refugees. Even worse, the corrupt occupiers exploit their power, pushing the native populace toward the brink of civil unrest.

As a winter storm looms over the metropolis, NKPD Detective Henrietta Hofmann begrudgingly partners up with mushroom-headed patrol officer Koji Nameko to investigate the mysterious murders of Fungal and half-breed children. Their investigation drags them deep into the seedy underbelly of a war-torn city, one brimming with colonizers, criminal gangs, racial division and moral decay.

In order to solve the case and unravel the truth, Hofmann must challenge her past and embrace Fungal ways. What she and Nameko uncover in the midst of this frigid wasteland will chill them to the core, but will they make it through the storm alive?

(7) THOMAS SADLER (1946-2023). Alexiad editor Joseph T. Major shared recently-learned news of the death last year of Thomas Sadler, longtime editor of the fanzine The Reluctant Famulus.

Thomas “Tom” David Sadler, age 76, of Owenton, KY, passed away on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at his home. Tom was born on March 3, 1946, in Piedmont, AL, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Tanner) Sadler. On October 8, 1966, he married Ruth Underhill, and she survives. He had been employed with the City of Adrian before moving to Kentucky. Tom was a published author, and enjoyed reading, writing, and gardening.

Sadler is survived by his wife, Ruth, their children, and grandchildren.

(8) AKIRA TORIYAMA (1955-2024). Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama died March 1. The New York Times tribute says a statement by his manga and design production company, Bird Studio, and Capsule Corporation Tokyo, attributed his death to acute subdural hematoma, when blood collects between the skull and brain. It did not specify where he died.

The Dragon Ball comic series debuted in 1984. It follows a boy named Son Goku in his quest to collect magical dragon balls to defend Earth against alien humanoids called Saiyans.

 … Mr. Toriyama’s absurd concepts and sense of caricature “sparked a real joyful hysteria” in Japan, Matthieu Pinon and Laurent Lefebvre wrote in their 2023 book, “A History of Modern Manga.”

In 1982, Mr. Toriyama married a former manga artist who published under the pen name Nachi Mikami, Mainichi Shimbun reported. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, according to the local news media.

When “Dragon Ball” was first published in 1984, it was an immediate hit, becoming one of the best-selling manga series of all time. The adventure story sold more than 260 million copies worldwide, according to the studio that produced the anime adaptation, Toei Animation.

The manga was serialized in the Japanese magazine Weekly Shonen Jump until 1995. In the year after the series ended, the magazine lost about one million of its six million readers, according to “A History of Modern Manga.” The story lived on through anime, such as “Dragon Ball Z,” and video games, including the “Dragon Quest” series for which Mr. Toriyama designed the characters….


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born March 8, 1921 Alan Hale Jr. (Died 1990.) Let’s talk about Alan Hale Jr. — son of Alan Hale Sr. who played Little John in the Robin Hood a century ago with Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Beery, reprised the role in The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone, then played him once more in The Rogues of Sherwood Forest. We agreed that Robin Hood is genre, didn’t we? 

Alan Hale Jr.

Now we come to Alan Hale Jr.’s Captain Jonas Grumby as he was referred to only in the Gilligan’s Island pilot, better known as The Skipper, which we’ve also agreed is genre. He’s owner and captain of the S.S. Minnow which ends up in the genre based lost island setting with its passengers and sole crew member.

Counting the pilot, it ran for ninety-nine episodes over three seasons sixty years ago. There would later be three television sequels in the late Seventies and early Eighties in color. I don’t remember any of them, do any of you remember them? 

There are two Filmation-produced animated sequel series which I’ve mercifully never seen. They were The New Adventures of Gilligan and Gilligan’s Planet, both short lived. Yes, he voiced his character.

Other genre appearances included Fantasy IslandMy Favorite MartinThe Wild Wild West and ALF for television series, whereas films were The Giant Spider Invasion,  The Fifth Musketeer, and well, and I didn’t see anything else but if I missed anything I’m sure I’ll hear about it. 

(10) RINGO AWARDS 2024 NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN. The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards return for their sixth year on Saturday, September 21, 2024 as part of The Baltimore Comic-Con. Access the Ringo Awards 2024 Nominations ballot at the link.

Unlike other professional industry awards, the Ringo Awards include fan participation in the nomination process along with an esteemed jury of comics professionals. 

More than 20 categories will be celebrated with top honors being given at the awards ceremony in September.

Fan and pro-jury voting are tallied independently, and the combined nomination ballot is compiled by the Ringo Awards Committee. The top two fan choices become nominees, and the jury’s selections fill the remaining three slots for five total nominees per category. Ties may result in more than five nominees in a single category. Nominees will be listed on the ballot alphabetically. Nomination ballot voting is open to the public (fans and pros) between March 8, 2024 and May 23, 2024.

New in 2024, we have changed two categories based on juror, publisher, and voter submissions: The “Best Inker” category has been combined with the “Best Artist or Penciller” category to form a combined “Best Artist or Penciller/Inker Team” category. This update reflects the changing way comics are being created, with more artists working digitally and going directly to inks. When a nominated Penciller/Inker Team wins the final ballot, both individuals will receive separate awards.

Final Ballot Voting

After processing by the Ringo Awards Committee and Jury, the Final Ballots are targeted to be available to comic creative professionals for voting on July 24, 2024 and will be due by August 21, 2024 for final tallying. Presentation of the winners will occur at the Baltimore Comic-Con on the evening of Saturday, September 21, 2024.

(11) STRANGER IN NEW YORK. “’Stranger Things’ Play: Broadway Opening Eyed With New York Casting”Variety has the story.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow,” the prequel play to the popular Netflix series, looks to be headed to the Great White Way after debuting in London.

Broadway World was the first to report that equity casting notices were posted on Thursday seeking New York City-based actors and stage managers for the show with a 2025 start date. There is no venue specified yet for the show. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Stephen Daldry is listed as the director of the New York City production.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow” was written by Kate Trefry, from an original story by the Duffer Brothers, Jack Thorne and Trefry. The play debuted at the Phoenix Theatre on the West End on Nov. 17, 2023 in previews, with an official opening date of Dec. 14, 2023. Daldry also directed the West End version….

(12) MOST-WATCHED OSCAR WINNING FILMS. JustWatch has published a new report covering the most popular Best Picture winners. JustWatch wanted to see if tastes have shifted to more modern titles, or if the classics have had a lasting impact on audiences. They ranked all of the Best Picture winners since the first Oscars ceremony in 1929. 

Key Insights: Modern titles like “Everything Everywhere all at Once” and “Parasite” ranked highest in our study. Meanwhile, classic titles like “Titanic” and “Forrest Gump” managed to break into the top 10. The genres of the top 10 varied between thrillers, dramas, and even one romance.  

We created this report by comparing the Best Picture Oscars winners from 1929-2023. JustWatch Streaming Charts are calculated by user activity, including: clicking on a streaming offer, adding a title to a watchlist, and marking a title as ‘seen’. This data is collected from >40 million movie & TV show fans per month. It is updated daily for 140 countries and 4,500 streaming services.

(13) SUCCESSFUL NETFLIX SFF LAUNCHES? JustWatch has also assessed how well three of Netflix’ anime live action remakes did right out of the gate.

Netflix has seen a lot of success with this format, and as their latest production, Avatar: The Last Airbender, is probably their most anticipated release to date, we wanted to see how it stacked up against previous attempts. 

Developments relevant to this report include Netflix’s release of Avatar: The Last Airbender and One Piece’s second season announcement in September 2023.

Key Insights:

  • Death Note topped the charts in almost 3x more countries than One Piece, and 10x more than Avatar: The Last Airbender 
  • Avatar has an above average rating, but by far the least ‘successful’ launch
  • One Piece had a lower popularity score, but the highest rating out of all three titles

(14) FLOOD WARNING US. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] My reportage of the coastal flood risk to US homes yesterday was a bit dry as I jumped straight to the research paper. This is what comes of speed scanning the electronic version of the journal.  When I got home and saw the paper edition, I found its cover story was that very research and it came with a far more readable descriptor…

The cover shows homes under threat from rising sea levels in Summer Haven, Florida. In this week’s issue, Leonard Ohenhen and colleagues suggest that a considerable amount of land in 32 US coastal cities could be at risk of flooding by 2050. Combining models of changes in land elevation with projected rises in sea levels, the researchers estimated the flooding risk in the cites, including Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco. They note that a combination of coastal subsidence and rising sea levels could put an additional 1,006–1,389 km2 of land at risk of flooding by 2050, which could affect up to 171,000 properties. As a result, they call for improvements to flood defences and subsidence control to bolster current coastal protection.

The original research is here.

(15) TWO, COUNT ‘EM, TWO! [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] “TWO Earth-like planets found in the HABITABLE ZONE (just 6% bigger than Earth!)”. This news has been covered elsewhere, but Dr Becky (Smethurst)   — the Oxford U. based astrophysicist — is rather good. Her YouTube channel has just shy of three-quarter of a million subscribers and — thanks to YouTube income has just moved house…

The holy grail of exoplanets research is to find an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone around its star (where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life to exist) and then study its atmosphere with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to determine if life is present there. But to do that, we have to find these planets first. This is where the TESS mission comes in; this month a research paper was published claiming to have found TWO possible Earth-like planets in the habitable zone. The hope is that we can use JWST to study at least one of them.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. From the Late Show, “Is ‘Dune’ A Perfect Movie? Neil deGrasse Tyson And Stephen Colbert Agree To Disagree”. The Hollywood Reporter tells some of the things they disagree about in “Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Colbert on Dune 2 Sandworms Accuracy”. Because Neil is like your fannish friend who knows why the movie you love is impossible!

…Tyson explained that the film takes place in the sand dunes on the planet of Arrakis. The dunes are home to massive, very hungry sandworms that will appear wherever a thumper — a device that sends repeated vibrations through the sand — is placed.

“Somebody didn’t do the research on that,” he stated. When Colbert asked if that’s because that’s not how sandworms — which are fictional creatures — actually behave, Tyson said, “I’m saying you can’t thump sand.”

He noted that if someone hits sand repeatedly, it’s not audible because it’s sand. “You can’t hear it, but a sandworm can. They hear things differently than we do, Neil Tyson,” Colbert retorted, jokingly. “If you wanted to insulate yourself acoustically from your surroundings, fill the volume with sand,” the astrophysicist responded. “No one will hear you. I’ve got to let it go because there’s no movie without it.”…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Robin Anne Reid, Ryan H., Joseph T. Major, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cat Eldridge.]

Pixel Scroll 3/4/24 We Had Scrolls, We Had Puns, We Were Yeeted In The Sun

(1) FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES: NO MORE LEO AWARDS. The day after we reported the 2024 shortlist, Furry Book Review pulled the plug on the Leo Awards. Here’s why:

They’ll be missed – there wasn’t a cuter award in the field!

(2) RECOGNITION IN TEXAS. Congratulations to Michael Bracken on being inducted to the Texas Institute of Letters. The honor society was established in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievement. Bracken, who long ago published the fanzine Knights of the Paper Spaceship, has since forged a distinguished career as a crime fiction author. His stories have been finalists for the Anthony, Edgar, Derringer and Shamus Awards.

(3) KEEPING UP WITH SOCIAL MEDIA. In this highly amusing video Andrea Stewart says, “I swear I see the same six discussions going around online, in perpetuity.”

(4) ONE FAN’S EFFORT TO PROMOTE WORKS ABOUT CHINESE SF. Ersatz Culture’s list – “My personal recommendations of Chinese SF-related works published in 2023” – gives fans something to start with. It begins with these notes and caveats:

  • Any of these recommendations that tagged with * is either someone I’ve corresponded or worked with, or a project which I’ve worked on, or contributed to, and so I can’t claim that those are unbiased recommendations.
  • Links are generally to Chinese language pages/sites unless otherwise stated. An exception are Twitter links, which will generally be comprised of English language posts.
  • My Chinese language skills are way too poor to be able to read the majority of real-world content without either a lot of effort or (far more likely) resorting to machine translation. As such, any writing that is particularly clever in a literary way is likely to pass completely over my head; I’m evaluating stuff on a very basic level. (This is why the writing I cover here is more on the news/factual side than criticism/reviews.)
  • Further to the previous point, my dependence on machine translation means that my understanding of materials that I only possess in a physical form – i.e. all the non-fiction works I list – is at a very shallow and surface level; not much better than “I liked looking at all the pretty pictures”, to be brutally frank. As such, feel perfectly free to discount any of my observations on those grounds alone.
  • This document only covers work published in 2023.

(5) VIOLENCE AND CHANGE. The Beeb remembers “The ‘banned’ Star Trek episode that promised a united Ireland”. There’s a reason viewers in Ireland might not.

When sci-fi writer Melinda M Snodgrass sat down to write Star Trek episode The High Ground, she had little idea of the unexpected ripples of controversy it would still be making more than three decades later.

“We became aware of it later… and there isn’t much you can do about it,” she says, speaking to the BBC from her home in New Mexico. “Writing for television is like laying track for a train that’s about 300 feet behind you. You really don’t have time to stop.”

While the series has legions of followers steeped in its lore, that one particular episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation has lived long and prospered in infamy.

It comes down to a scene in which the android character Data, played by actor Brent Spiner, talks about the “Irish unification of 2024” as an example of violence successfully achieving a political aim.

Originally shown in the US in 1990, there was so much concern over the exchange that the episode was not broadcast on the BBC or Irish public broadcaster RTÉ…

(6) NEW EDGE SWORD & SORCERY BACKERKIT CROWDFUNDER FOR ISSUES 3&4. New Edge Sword & Sorcery is crowdfunding its next two issues via “New Edge Sword & Sorcery 2024” at BackerKit. They’ve achieved their basic goal, now Editor Oliver Brackenbury says, “All our stretch goals from now on are pay raises for our contributors!” The campaign ends March 16.

Backing this campaign is a way to be a part of genre history: JIREL OF JOIRY will be returning with her first new story in 85 years! Jirel was the first Sword & Sorcery heroine, created by legendary Weird Tales regular, C.L. Moore. Like Alice in Wonderland with a big f***ing sword, Jirel had compelling adventures in bizarre dream-logic realms, balancing a rich emotional life with terrifying struggles against dark forces! Predating Red Sonja, she & Moore were a direct influence on Robert E. Howard’s writing, as well as so many who came after.

Alas, Moore only wrote a handful of Jirel tales – which are still collected, published, and read to this day. So it’s a good thing that when backers of the campaign helped it hit 100% funding in just under three days, they helped make sure a new story will be published! Authorized by the estate of C.L. Moore, “Jirel and the Mirror of Truth” has been written by the magnificent MOLLY TANZER (editor of Swords v. Cthulhu, author of Creatures of Charm and Hunger, and so much more).

Seventeen other authors are spread across the two new issues this campaign is funding, including names like Harry Turtledove, Premee Mohamed, and Thomas Ha. Even Michael Moorcock returns with an obscure Elric reprint not included in the recent Saga collection!

(7) APPLY FOR DIANA JONES AWARD EMERGING DESIGNER PROGRAM. Submissions are open for the Diana Jones Award Emerging Designer Program through April 2. This program focuses on amplifying the voices of up-and-coming tabletop/hobby game designers with a focus on creators from marginalized communities. The complete guidelines are here. Submit using the form at the link.

The Emerging Designer Program provides both access and support to those designers that have historically been excluded from the larger industry conversations. While we recognize this program is only a first step in that process, our organization is committed to pushing forward, learning from mistakes, and improving the industry we love.

Designers who are selected as finalists receive a free badge and hotel room at Gen Con, up to $2,000 travel reimbursement for both domestic and international travel, a $75 per day food stipend, a $2,000 honorarium for presenting their work, and a prize package of game design resources. They’re also showcased as a Diana Jones Award Emerging Designer at Gen Con.

Eligible designers should have released their first professional or commercial publication (including free, self-published, PWYW, and PDF releases) no more than three years before the selection year. A designer selected for 2024’s Diana Jones Award Emerging Designer Program should not have first published before 2021, for example. We interpret “hobby game designer” broadly, to include both narrative and game mechanics design. 

(8) CREATORS VISITING THE CLASSROOM. “Are author visits worth it?” Totally, says Colby Sharp.

…On Friday, author/illustrator Philip Stead visited our school. He did three presentations, so that each one of our students and teachers could hang out with him.

His presentations were captivating. I was on the edge of my seat for 65 minutes.

Phil showed them his books, his process, his studio. He answered questions. He read them one of his books.

All the things we have come to expect from an author visit….

(9) THUFIR, WE HARDLY KNEW YE. “Dune 2 director says cutting one character from the sequel was the ‘most painful choice’” at GamesRadar+.

Like all page-to-screen adaptations, Dune: Part Two makes a few changes from the novel it’s based on. For director Denis Villeneuve, though, one change in particular was the most difficult to enact: the omission of Thufir Hawat. 

“One of the most painful choices for me on this one was Thufir Hawat,” Villeneuve told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s a character I absolutely love, but I decided right at the beginning that I was making a Bene Gesserit adaptation. That meant that Mentats are not as present as they should be, but it’s the nature of the adaptation.”Thufir Hawat is a Mentat, AKA a human whose mind has been trained to have the same power as a supercomputer. Played by Stephen McKinley Henderson in Dune: Part One, he works for House Atreides and is a mentor for Paul (Timothée Chalamet), but was blackmailed into working for House Harkonnen after they orchestrated the murder of Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) – Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) poisons him and will only administer doses of the antidote if he complies….

(10) OUR EYEWITNESS. Camestros Felapton popped out to the theater and came home to write “Review: Dune Part 2”. He sounds worried about revealing spoilers, so be warned. Now it’s not like you don’t know the story, however, you haven’t seen what they do in the film.

…Dune Part 2 is nearly three hours long and if anything, the script has simplified the plot of the second half of the novel. The net effect is a film that appears to rush by in a stream of compelling images to the extent that it feels like a much shorter film. The space created by the simpler plot and expansive running time is filled with dramatic sequences that relish in the setting and the events of the story. Above all, the film taps into the sense of weirdness and immersion into another imagined culture that makes the book so beloved.

One thing I particularly liked was the way Fremen society was expanded upon. The impression of a planet of millions of hidden peoples with a variety of experiences and attitudes but also with a common culture was deftly done. The sietch communities feel like real places built by a complex society that is doing more than just surviving in the harsh environment and amid brutal oppression….

(11) BUCKET LIST. This reminds me of the crowd the last time I went to Dodgers game. Nobody was paying attention to what was happening on the field. “Dune 2 fans distracted by popcorn bucket after finally going to see the film” at Ladbible.

The glow of a mobile phone, the rustling of sweet wrappers and someone asking if they can squeeze past you to nip to the loo are things that can really distract you from the plot while you’re in the cinema.

But bizarrely, it’s the popcorn buckets which are diverting the attention of film fans flocking to watch Dune: Part Two.

Then again, when you see them, you can understand why.

Rather than fighting to get a ticket in a packed out theatre, audiences are instead scrapping over the limited edition container which the classic movie snack comes in.

Focus has fallen on the unique popcorn buckets which have been released as part of the promo for Dune: Part Two, rather than what’s actually going on in the sequel.

(12) NECESSITY! Tiny Time Machine 3: Mother of Invention, the final book in John Stith’s “Tiny Time Machine” series, was released today by Amazing Selects™, an imprint of Amazing Stories.

In Tiny Time Machine 1, Meg and Josh discovered a time machine built into a cell phone and used it to avert a disastrous future. But along the way, Meg’s father, the inventor, was killed.

In Tiny Time Machine 2: Return of the Father, Meg and Josh brought a sarcastic AI, Valex, from the future to help them enhance the tiny time machine so it can open a portal to the past, and did their best to rescue Dad before his ex-partner could harm him.

Now, Meg and Josh are back in a third installment, Their mission: to venture even farther into the past so they can save Meg’s mother before she dies in the hospital mishap that originally triggered Dad’s efforts to build the tiny time machine. Along the way, they must fix the future again and survive a final confrontation with Dad’s ex partner.


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born March 4, 1946 Patricia Kennealy-Morrison. (Died 2021.) Patricia Kennealy-Morrison as she later called herself was hand-fasted to Jim Morrison in a Celtic ceremony in 1970. It would be by no means a traditional relationship and that’s putting it mildly. 

So it shouldn’t surprise you that much of her writing would be Celtic-tinged. The Keltiad, a fantasy series, was set far, far away. I mean really far away, possibly in another galaxy. There are eight novels in the series and one collection of short stories. She intended more works but the publisher dropped it when sales fell off. 

So how are they? Well, maybe I’m not the best judge of literary style as I thought the Potter books were badly written and these I think are equally badly written. Think clichéd SF blended ineptly with Celtic fantasy.  

Now when she decides to write in a more a traditional fantasy vein she is quite fine, as in her Tales of Arthur trilogy which is The Hawk’s Gray Feather, The Oak Above the Kings and The Hedge of Mist. It’s actually pretty good Arthurian fiction. 

Now the last thing I want mention about her is not even genre adjacent. She did two mystery series, the best of which are The Rock & Roll Murders. All but one are set at music events such as Go Ask Malice: Murder at Woodstock and California Screamin’: Murder at Monterey Pop. The era is nicely done by her and the mysteries, well, less evocative than the people and the setting but that’s ok.

The other mystery series, the Rennie Stride Murders, involves and I quote online copy here, “She’s a newspaper reporter whose beat is rock, not a detective, and her best-friend sidekick is a blonde bisexual superstar chick singer.” It’s set in LA during the Sixties and is her deep dive in that music world according to the reviews I came across. 

They have titles, and I’m not kidding, like Daydream BereaverScareway to Heaven and Go Ask Malice. No idea how they are, this is the first time I’ve heard of them. 


  • Popeye – you’ll need to scroll down to read the March 3 strip, which is what we want to feature.
  • Peanuts from 1955 has more about satellites and other dangers.
  • Hi and Lois reveals a child’s-eye view of autographed books.
  • The Far Side shows who else unexpectedly lives on the Yellow Brick Road.

(15) GAIMAN ADAPTATION. At Colleen Doran’s Funny Business the artist explains “The Secret Language of a Page of Chivalry: The Pre-Raphaelite Connection”. Many images at the link.

Adapting Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry is a decades-long dream fulfilled. The story as text can be enjoyed on multiple levels, and so can the art. You look at the pages and see the pretty pictures, but the pictures also have meta-textual meaning. Knowing this secret language adds to the experience….

…For example, Ford Madox Brown’s Work, a painting which took some 13 years to complete, was first exhibited in 1865 with a catalogue explaining all its symbols and elements. There is nothing in that picture that doesn’t mean something.

I brought some of that visual meta-textual sensibility to Chivalry, (and I’ve written about the symbolism and meanings in the work in other essays.)

I also brought into the work direct Pre-Raphaelite art references….

(16) DUNE WHAT COMES CHRONOLOGICALLY. “’Dune’ Books in Order: How to Read All 26 Novels Chronologically” at Esquire. I can only agree with Cat’s comment: “Twenty six novels? You’ve got to be fucking kidding, aren’t you?”

So you’re fired up about Dune‘s recent big screen adaptations, and while you’re steel reeling from the shock and awe of Dune: Part Two, you’re wanting to dive into the world of Frank Herbert’s beloved science fiction novels. Congratulations! You’ve got an exciting literary journey ahead. And whether you’ve dabbled in Dune lore before or you’re completely new to the wild world of Arrakis, there’s something for everyone in this Titanic-sized series about power, violence, and fate….

(17) WHEN TO QUIT READING. PZ Myers knows there are a lot of books in the series, because he ends his review of Dune 2 at Pharyngula on FreeThoughtBlogs by reposting this infographic. (I don’t know its original source.) [Click for larger image.]

… There’s talk that there may be a third Dune yet to come, which worries me a bit. There are studio executives dreaming of a franchise now, I’m sure of it, but I have to warn them that that is a path destined to lead them into madness and chaos. The sequels are weird, man. Heed Chani and shun the way towards fanaticism and corporate jihad.

Ooh, just saw this summary of the Dune series. I agree with it. I should have stopped with Dune Messiah, years ago.

(18) GET READY FOR BAIRD’S LATEST. Keith Anthony Baird lives in Cumbria, United Kingdom, on the edge of the Lake District National Park. His SIN:THETICA will be released in May; pre-order now at the Amazon.ca: Kindle Store.

The Sino-Nippon war is over. It is 2113 and Japan is crushed under the might of Chinese-Allied Forces. A former Coalition Corps soldier, US Marine Balaam Hendrix is now a feared bounty hunter known as ‘The Reverend’. In the sprawl of NeuTokyo, on this lawless frontier, he must track down the rogue employee of a notorious crime lord. But, there’s a twist. His target has found protection inside a virtual reality construct and Hendrix must go cyber-side to corner his quarry. The glowing neon signs for SIN:THETICA are everywhere, and promise escape from a dystopian reality. But will it prove the means by which this hunter snares his prey, or will it be the trap he simply can’t survive?

Keith Anthony Baird began writing dark fiction in 2016 as a self-published author. After five years of releasing titles via Amazon and Audible he switched his focus to the traditional publishing route. His dark fantasy novella In the Grimdark Strands of the Spinneret was published via Brigids Gate Press (BGP) in 2022. Two further novellas are to be published in 2024 via BGP: SIN:THETICA (May) and a vampire saga in collaboration with fellow Brit author Beverley Lee, A Light of Little Radiance (November).

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Video Shows ‘Dune’ Fan Effortlessly Riding Homemade Sandworm at Movie Theater” at Complex.

…As seen below, an unidentified individual at an AMC theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma decked themselves out in full-fledged Fremen garb and proceeded to ride a homemade sandworm through the lobby to the presumed delight of fellow Dune-goers.

[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Kathy Sullivan, Daniel Dern, Lise Andreasen, Andrew (not Werdna), Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]