Pixel Scroll 1/13/16 Scrollilas in the Mist

(1) MIND MELD. SF Signal’s latest Mind Meld asks —

Q: What Speculative Fiction titles are you most looking forward to consuming in 2016?

The answers this time come from Rachel Cotterill, Fran Wilde, Lisa Taylor, Paul Weimer, Foz Meadows, Rachel Cordasco, Lynn Williams, Amanda Rutter, Robert Davis, Sally Ember, Ed.D., Nick Mamatas, Delilah S. Dawson, and Sunil Patel.

(2) ARE THE GUNS BIG ENOUGH? Camestros Felapton has added Sad Larry to his line of Hugo figure trading cards. Looks like he’s holding a pair of .32 Lego Specials. Hmm. May need to rethink that. Larry was shooting a .44 Magnum when he was eight years old, and later in life was a licensed machine gun dealer.

Camestros will post additional figure cards posted over the next few days. He says they are all male, and that he is worried about the gender balance of the collection.

So 9 figures only one of which *looks* female (by the crude standards of lego), only one of which is referred to as female and some which could be female. That’s a pretty bad showing. I really want to add some more but avoid anything that looks like I’m mocking somebody’s appearance.

Funny that someone who’s messing with Sad Larry thinks that is what he should be worrying about…

(3) GOING TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE. George R.R. Martin’s update on the progress of The Winds of Winter indicated if the manuscript had been turned in by year-end it could have been out by March. Chris Lough at Tor.com explains how a book could be produced at warp speed in “How Could The Winds of Winter Be Published In Only Three Months?”

…The production process is broken into six steps below, with an overall explanation of how the process typically works, coupled with speculation on how that process could be condensed into a span of three months. It should be noted that some of the terminology used may be publisher-specific, even though the terminology describes a universal process within the industry….

(4) LITIGATION. The Last Unicorn Film Tour investors have filed a lawsuit against Connor Cochran. Support Peter Beagle’s summary is:

They’re suing Cochran for $450,000, based on the original investment, not to mention punitive damages for fraud and all legal costs incurred by them. You can read the sordid details here in Sandbox-Complaint-for-Damages.

(5) MARGULIES OBIT. Character actor David Margulies died January 11 of cancer at the age of 78. He was best known for playing the mayor in Ghostbusters and Tony Soprano’s sleazy lawyer. The New York Times recalled:

In “Ghostbusters” (1984) and “Ghostbusters II” (1989), he played the mayor, Lenny Clotch, who evoked the incumbent New York mayor at the time, Edward I. Koch. In the sequel, Mr. Margulies invokes a former mayor (“I spent an hour last night in my bedroom talking to Fiorello La Guardia, and he’s been dead for 40 years”) and expresses skepticism that the citizenry’s obnoxious behavior is to blame for the river of pink slime that is inundating the city.

“What am I supposed to do?” he asks the Ghostbusters team (including Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd). “Go on television and tell 10 million people they have to be nice to each other? Being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorker’s God-given right.”


  • January 13, 1128 — Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God.
  • January 13, 1930Mickey Mouse comic strip debuted in newspapers.
  • January 13, 1957 – The Wham-O Company developed the first Frisbee.


  • Born January 13, 1893 — Clark Ashton Smith
  • Born January 13, 1933 — Ron Goulart

(8) CAMPBELL AWARD PARAPHERNALIA. Okay, we’ll definitely be watching for this to show up.

(9) NO SANITY CLAUS. Steve Davidson at Amazing Stories proves he’s as tired as anyone of writers who don’t finish in “F**K YOU, Dead Writers”.

The other day I was reading some commentary on George R.R. Martin’s FAILURE to meet his latest installment’s deadline and about how concerned he was regarding fan reaction.

Then, this morning, I was reading the comments to David Gerrold’s latest analysis of the CBS vs Axanar lawsuit and was reminded of David’s FAILURE to get the latest War with the Chtorr novel out – for 23 years,

And THAT reminded me of Harlan Ellison’s FAILURE to finish up a certain anthology I don’t dare mention by name for fear of invoking the wrath of Elcin, the wind god.

And THEN I was reminded of the fact that these living icons of science fictional disappointment are pikers compared to some.

You can not imagine how absolutely apoplectic I am about Robert A Heinlein.  Or Arthur C. Clarke.  Not to mention Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Eric Frank Russell, Fred Pohl, A. Bertram Chandler, Leigh Brackett, Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, Henry Kuttner, Judith Merrill, C.L Moore, Doc Smith, Hamilton, Campbell, Bester, Chalker, Zelazny, Henderson, McCaffrey, Farmer, ….

You’re all dead and now you’ll NEVER finish ANYTHING! …

(10) CRITICAL MORASS. Lou Antonelli’s “On constructive criticism” manages to thread Lois Tilton, criticism, last year’s Hugos, and Catholic theology together on one string.

Most of the reviews of my short story “On a Spiritual Plain” boiled down to “The premise sucks, and it’s a weak story, and it’s badly written, and Lou Antonelli is a miserable human being, anyhow.”

Occasionally I was surprised by some genuinely thoughtful reviews. Any author worth his salt will recognize VALID criticisms. For example, saying a story of mine relies too much on dialogue and first person narration is valid; I lean on that a lot, and it indicates a weakness in my writing skills.

But IMHO, overall most so-called constructive criticism I hear simply reminds me (having been raised a Catholic) of original sin. Deep down, we’re all sinners, and it’s something we all have to fight constantly – to do good and help people, and improve the world.

Constructive criticism is usually just a justification for hatefulness.

(11) KNOW NOTHINGS. ScreenRant learned nothing about the next Star Trek series from an interview with the head of CBS Entertainment – because he doesn’t know anything either.

Despite being the launchpad for the new Star Trek series, CBS Entertainment’s new president Glen Geller revealed to Slashfilm that the show has been developed exclusively by and for the All Access streaming division.

“I’m not sure about the plans creatively for new characters. I don’t have anything to do with it. It really is for All Access. While the network will be broadcasting the pilot, I actually can’t answer any creative questions about it. I’m looking forward to seeing the new Star Trek. I think it’s going to be an exciting project.”

…While Geller says the new TV show will have no connection to the upcoming film, it may be inspired tonally by that franchise. Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote and produced the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), will executive produce the 2017 series. He’ll be joined by Heather Kadin, with whom he also produces CBS series Limitless and Scorpion.

The first episode of the sixth Star Trek series will have to be impressive enough to convince viewers to sign up for a subscription service to see the rest. Netflix has set a precedent for getting new fans to sign up in order to watch episodes of series like Orange is the New Black and Daredevil, and CBS will be hoping longtime Trek fans will be extra motivated. For $5.99 a month, viewers can watch the new Star Trek series, plus every episode of its five predecessors. The service also includes on-demand viewing and live streaming of many of CBS’s other shows.

Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 22, 2016. The new Star Trek TV show will debut on CBS in January 2017.

(12) TOUGH TO BE TOLKIEN. Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison’s “Doing Tolkien Wrong” is a reprint of a 2005 article.

I was given The Hobbit for my sixth birthday, The Lord of the Rings for my ninth. I’ve read The Silmarillion. I own the extended edition DVDs of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King–even though I don’t own a DVD player. In other words, I love Tolkien as much as the next really geeky person.

So when I say that Tolkien is an affliction and a curse, you understand that I’m saying it for a reason.

Specifically, Tolkien is an affliction and a curse to fantasy writers. This is a horribly ungrateful thing to say, when it’s largely thanks to Tolkien that fantasy writers can exist as a sub-species today at all. Certainly it’s thanks to Tolkien that so many fantasy novels, especially series of novels, can get published. But, nevertheless, the genre has reached a point where Tolkien causes more problems than he solves.

The reason for this is that, while Tolkien was a genius and a godsend to readers prepared to love secondary-world fantasy, he is a terrible model for writers. And that for a number of reasons, ranging from, on the macro level, his use of the quest plot to, on the micro level, the nature of his prose style. Imitating Tolkien – in and of itself, not a bad idea – has become mired down in slavish adherence to his product, rather than careful attention to his process.

(13) DICK AWARD. Joel Cunningham’s post “This Year’s Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Take SF in Strange New Directions” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog gives the Hugos a little bump en route to praising his favorite sf award.

Sorry Hugos, but for my money, there’s no more interesting award in sci-fi than the ones named for Philip K. Dick. In the tradition of everyone’s favorite gonzo pulpist, the “PKD Award” honors innovative genre works that debuted in paperback, offering a nice reminder that you don’t need the prestige of a hardcover release to write a mind-blowing book (just ask William Gibson, whose seminal cyberpunk classic Neuromancer claimed the title in 1984), and in fact, if past winners are any evidence, the format might be seem as a license to take greater risks.

 [Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Will R., for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day  Soon Lee.]

Peter S. Beagle eBooks from Conlan Press

Conlan Press logoThe big news is – Peter S. Beagle’s ouerve is finally available in digital form.

The Last Unicorn — the only fantasy classic that has never been commercially available in eBook format – has been released in two electronic editions. Along with it the company is releasing seven previously-published Peter S. Beagle titles and four new ones. This set is a heavily-promoted worldwide Amazon exclusive (non-Kindle ebook editions will be released next year) and all titles are DRM-free. Preorder pages are live now, with an official release date of November 1.

THE LAST UNICORN: CLASSIC EDITION. Cover by Rebekah Naomi Cox. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016SBMNO0


THE LAST UNICORN: DELUXE EDITION. Contains the text of Peter’s classic novel, its Hugo and Nebula award-winning sequel “Two Hearts,” and an extensive interview with Peter. Cover by Rebekah Naomi Cox. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016SBMNM2

TLU-Deluxe_456x730FOUR YEARS, FIVE SEASONS (new story collection). Five fantasy stories set during Peter’s teenage years in the Bronx, featuring himself and his friends from ages 11 through 15. Cover by Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016P6K3O0

LILA THE WEREWOLF AND OTHER TALES (new story collection). 6 classic Beagle stories and 10 new ones collected here for the first time. Introduction by Catherynne M. Valente. Cover by Sarah Allegra and Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016P6K3SG

Lila_456x730SMÉAGOL, DÉAGOL, AND BEAGLE: ESSAYS FROM THE HEADWATERS OF MY VOICE (new nonfiction collection). Peter explores the roots of his own creative inspiration in 10 revealing essays about the artists, writers, musicians, teachers, and family members who have most profoundly shaped his own work and style. Includes a detailed behind-the-scenes look at Peter’s “Adventure with Crazy Ralphie” (i.e., his scripting of Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 animated version of THE LORD OF THE RINGS). Cover by Sarah Allegra and Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016PO4ODI



THESE ARE THEY (new nonfiction collection). In the ’60s Peter wrote several major magazine pieces about his front-line experiences during the ’60s Civil Rights movement, but the commissioning magazines were afraid to print them, and it wasn’t until the mid-’90s that a radically shortened and watered-down version of just one of them was finally made available. This edition presents Peter’s unfiltered, unbowdlerized original drafts for the first time — and given race relations in the United States in 2015 they are more relevant than ever. A must-read. Cover design by Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016P6K0O8

TheseAreThey_456x730I SEE BY MY OUTFIT: CROSS-COUNTRY BY SCOOTER, AN ADVENTURE (nonfiction travel memoir). Brilliant and evocative tale of Peter’s 1963 scooter journey from New York to California, in the company of his childhood friend, artist Phil Sigunick. For the first time ever Peter’s text is accompanied by 15 pieces of Phil’s beautiful full-color artwork. Cover layout and design by Connor Cochran, featuring a page from the actual AAA Triptik used by Peter and Phil on their trip. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016PY2NCM

Outfit_456x730A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE (Peter’s acclaimed debut novel). Cover by Ann Monn and Connor Cochran. The photo was taken in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, the place that inspired Peter S. Beagle to write this book when he was only 19 years old. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016QPVDGC

AFPP2_456x730THE LINE BETWEEN (2006 story collection). 11 stories, including “Two Hearts” (the sequel to THE LAST UNICORN) and “Mr. Sigerson,” Peter’s take on Sherlock Holmes. Cover by Sarah Allegra and Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016SBMNP4



THE MAGICIAN OF KARAKOSK: TALES FROM THE INNKEEPER’S WORLD. 6 stories set in the same world as Peter’s award-winning novel THE INNKEEPER’S SONG. Previously published in 1997 under the title GIANT BONES. Cover design by Ann Monn and Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016P5VMMS

MOK_456x730MIRROR KINGDOMS: THE BEST OF PETER S. BEAGLE, selected by Jonathan Strahan. Ebook edition of the 2010 Subterranean Press collection. 18 stories. Cover by Sarah Allegra and Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016SBMNLS

MirrorKingdoms_456x730SLEIGHT OF HAND (2011 story collection). 13 stories, including “The Best Worst Monster” and “The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon,” a Schmendrick tale set before THE LAST UNICORN. Cover by Sarah Allegra and Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016RL10GI

SleightOfHand_456x730WE NEVER TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER (2009 story collection). Nine stories, and one poem cycle inspired by the Unicorn Tapestries. Cover by Sarah Allegra and Connor Cochran. Direct sales link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016PY2NGI Brother2_456x730

Last Unicorn Tour Arrives in Big Apple

Peter Beagle and Connor Cochran.

Peter Beagle and Connor Cochran.

After making its way north from Virginia via New Jersey and Pennsylvania, The Last Unicorn movie tour plays New York City this weekend. The four showings are scheduled for —

TODAY @ 7 PM — Village East in Manhattan on 2nd Avenue
Saturday 9/28/2013, 2 PM — Cinemas 123 in Manhattan on 3rd Avenue
Sunday 9/29/2013, 7 PM — Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers in Yonkers NY
Monday 9/30/2013, 7 PM — City Cinemas 86th Street East in Manhattan on 86th Street

“Peter will be at every screening to do a Q&A session, sign things, give hugs and great conversation,” says Connor Cochran, “and he’ll stay as long as it takes for every last person there to get their proper turn with him.”

Peter Beagle, ready to hit the road.

Peter Beagle, ready to hit the road.

One of the most interesting places to host the movie in the past week was the Strand Theatre in the college town of Kutztown, PA:

The Strand is pure history, over 100 years old and cobbled together from bits and pieces of other local movie theaters that went out of business over the decades. Yet inside we found one of the newest, nicest projection and sound systems we’ve yet to work with.

The Last Unicorn actually played there during its original release in 1982. The classic old theater marquee reminds me of the one shown in Field of Dreams just before Ray Kinsella finds Doc Graham.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Parke Godwin (1929-2013)

Parke Godwin

Parke Godwin

Fantasist Parke Godwin died June 19 at the age of 84 reports Connor Cochran, his business manager. Godwin had been in declining health for a couple of years.

He was particularly known for his novels placing Arthur and Robin Hood in realistic historical settings.

The excellent discussion of Godwin’s literary output by Maria Nutick at Green Man Review begins with a selected quote from the Arthurian novel Firelord that epitomizes the writer’s style. King Arthur tells the reader —

A king should write his own story, especially a Briton. We’re a race of musical liars, and who you are may depend on who’s singing your song.  Many’s the tree-spirit come tripping out of yesterday to find itself a saint today and rudely surprised by the change. I’ve been called Artos and Artorius Imperator, but it seems to stick at Arthur, the way the monks write and the bards sing. That’s unimportant; what matters is who we are and what we did. I want to write of us the way we were before some pedant petrifies us in an epic and substitutes his current idea for ours. As for poets and bards, let one of them redecorate your life and you’ll never be able to find any of it again.

However much his novels were praised, Godwin received the most accolades for his ghost story “The Fire When It Comes,” a novella published in 1981. It was nominated for a Hugo and Nebula, and won the World Fantasy Award.

Besides writing,  Godwin worked at times as a radio operator, a research technician, a professional actor, an advertising man, a dishwasher and a maitre d’ hotel.

He published his first novel, Darker Places, in 1973. And during the early stages of his career he collaborated with Marvin Kaye on Masters of Solitude, Wintermind, and A Cold Blue Light.

Godwin’s two favorite volumes, according to a guest of honor intro published by the 2011 World Fantasy Con, were his controversial religious satires Waiting for the Galactic Bus and The Snake Oil Wars, containing such scenes as a meeting between the protagonists and Yeshua of Nazareth who says, “They’ve spent two thousand years turning me into something out of Oxford or a Tennessee Bible college. Both my parents were Hebrews, I look like an Arab, spent all my life in the desert, and if they let me into one of their nice ‘white’ restaurants at all, I’d get the table by the kitchen door.” The author was reported at work on the third book in the series, Is There A God in the House?

Godwin’s short story “Influencing the Hell out of Time and Teresa Golowitz,” was the basis of an episode of the television series The Twilight Zone.

Last Unicorn Screening Tour

A rare chance to see The Last Unicorn movie on a big screen and personally meet the novel’s author Peter S. Beagle are two compelling reasons to attend the premiere of The Last Unicorn Screening Tour on April 20 in San Francisco’s Castro Theatre.

The organizers hope to continue the tour with screenings all over America, as well as several major cities in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany. The tour’s next stop is tentatively slated for Texas in June, although the dates have not been posted.

After the screening, a benefit for the Cartoon Art Museum, there will be a special VIP birthday blast to celebrate Peter’s 74th birthday at the Museum that includes Peter’s first public reading of a brand-new Schmendrick story.

Beagle and his manager Connor Freff Cochran discussed The Last Unicorn and Peter’s career on April 8’s Atomic Array podcast.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Peter Beagle Getting Paid

Peter S. Beagle and Connor Cochran, who in August announced a settlement of the 8-year fight over rights to the movie The Last Unicorn, have issued an e-mail discussing the resolution in detail. Conlan Press also has announced some new projects made possible by that development.

Q: What was the problem, exactly?

A: Peter wasn’t getting paid. The animated version of The Last Unicorn was making millions of dollars around the world from VHS sales, DVD sales, cable distribution, and satellite broadcasts — but despite having a contract, Peter wasn’t getting his due share of that money from Granada Media, the English company that owned the film. In fact, he basically wasn’t getting any money from the film at all. For example, between January 2001 and January 2011 over 2.5 million copies of The Last Unicorn sold through North American retail video outlets, and the royalty Peter got from all those sales was exactly zero.

Q: Was anybody doing anything about this?

A: Certain people were trying. Connor Cochran took up the cause in 2003, when he read a news article in The Hollywood Reporter announcing all kinds of new international media business with the film. Since Connor is Peter’s business manager, he immediately got on the phone to England and tried to get Peter the money he was owed. Granada Media responded by claiming they didn’t owe anything…and what followed was an eight-year conflict over which side was right. It wasn’t a constant battle — sometimes things would be incredibly intense, and other times months would go by without anything shifting — but there were many twists and turns along the way, and the fight took lots of time, energy, and money. A bunch of Peter’s fans made direct donations which helped defray some of the legal expenses, while many others helped with the costs by purchasing things from Peter at conventions, or through Conlan Press. More than a thousand fans, from 55 different countries, posted messages of support on a public website. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Peter got additional important assistance from friends like David Roudebush and Terri Kempton, and from his attorney, Charles E. Petit. But despite all this effort, between 2003 and 2010 there really wasn’t anything that could be called progress. Just a frustrating and expensive game of corporate Whack-A-Mole.

Q: What changed?

A: In spring 2010, Peter and Connor decided to take Granada Media to court. After some research they picked the law firm of Holme Roberts & Owen for the job (because they had offices in LA, San Francisco, and London) and settled on attorney Richard J. Mooney to handle the case. Then, during prep for the filing, Connor noticed something which wound up making all the difference in the world.

Q: What was that?

A: All along, Peter and Connor had known that Granada Media was a subsidiary of a much bigger company — a huge European media conglomerate called ITV. What Connor noticed was that ITV had recently gotten a new CEO, a man named Adam Crozier, who came in from outside the company and had a mandate to pretty much completely clean house: get rid of things that weren’t working, make marginal properties more profitable, etc. To put it bluntly, this new CEO had no reason to cover up for anyone’s past bad judgment or mistakes and every incentive to make good new business happen. So, after some internal discussion, Connor sent a letter directly to Adam Crozier himself. The person at ITV who was tasked with responding was the company’s Group Legal Director and Corporate Secretary, Andrew Garard. Andrew really took the situation seriously. He dug in, did his research, met with Peter and Connor and Richard Mooney in New York City last November, and ultimately came to the conclusion that we were was right — (a) Peter wasn’t getting his due, and (b) if we stopped fighting and started working together, The Last Unicorn could be even more successful than it already was. Settlement details were worked out at a second meeting, this time in Los Angeles, and finally, last August, the settlement paperwork was signed.

Q: What does this mean for Peter?

A: First, from now on he will get his contractually-due share of Last Unicorn earnings. If the movie is shown on cable TV in Kuala Lumpur, or a Blu-ray sells in Joplin, Missouri, Peter will get his proper piece. Second, over time he’ll get a series of payments that will make him whole for all the years he wasn’t be paid.

Q: What does this mean for Connor?

A: He gets to stop putting time and resources into this problem, and will finally be able to catch up on some long-delayed Peter S. Beagle/Conlan Press projects. (Hooray!)

Q: What does it mean for ITV?

A: Adam Crozier and Andrew Garard and ITV proper all get a big round of richly-deserved applause for doing the right thing, and the company eventually winds up making more money as all the new business gets worked out.

Q: What does it mean for Last Unicorn fans?

A: A lot of exciting things, we hope. That’s the new business part. The original 1978 animated film contract divided up rights in the property in ways which didn’t make a lot of sense (even at the time), but which are flat-out ludicrous in today’s media world. The third part of the Peter S. Beagle/ITV deal was an agreement to work out a way to put those scattered rights back together in a powerful unified package. It’s going to take a while to figure out all the details, but we’ve begun, and already a bunch of things which weren’t legally possible before are about to happen.

Q: For years there’s been talk of a live-action Last Unicorn film. Does the settlement mean that there will finally be one?

A: The live-action film is a separate issue. A small London-based company called Continent Films currently has the exclusive right to do a remake of The Last Unicorn, and they will own that right until February 2015. Maybe they’ll get a movie off the ground before they lose the rights, maybe they won’t: we don’t know. All we can say is that Peter hopes they won’t get anything made, because he doesn’t trust them to do a good job.

The settlement deal means Conlan Press can finally do real Last Unicorn merchandising and licensing, using original development/production art from the animated film and brand new art based on it. See the items here.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]