Pixel Scroll 4/30/23 I Demand That The Emergency Pixel System Be Activated Immediately 

(1) ROAD TRIP. Connie Willis told her Facebook readers all about attending the 2023 Jack Williamson Lectureship in mid-April:

…This year’s guest of honor was Arkady Martine, and she brought her wife, Vivian Shaw, with her, so we got two guests for one. They were great, and so were the panels, which the Lectureship features. I especially loved the one on Artificial Intelligence, which focused on the new dangers and possibilities of ChatGPT, and one on worldbuilding. I also loved Cordelia’s lecture on a very out-of-the-ordinary experience she had while working at the Santa Clara County Crime lab. Unlike the usual investigation of shoeprints, surveillance tapes, cell phones, etc., she suddenly found herself in a convoy with a SWAT team in L.A., driving a coworker’s car without the lights on in an attempt to arrest a bunch of human traffickers….

(2) SAWYER GETS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. Robert J. Sawyer was presented with the L. Ron Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award at the Writers and Illustrators of the Future award banquet in LA on April 28. In his acceptance speech Sawyer describes career decisions where he followed his heart in ironic terms as if they had been mistakes. But they weren’t mistakes, were they.

…Many writers do media tie-ins or work in other people’s universes. My first agent tried to steer me in that direction, too, getting me a three-book contract in the STAR WARS universe. But I bailed out; I just couldn’t bring myself to play in somebody else’s sandbox.

And then I screwed up AGAIN: my second novel was called FAR-SEER, and, at its end, I gave the protagonist, a talking dinosaur named Afsan, a heroic death scene. Well, when I sent the manuscript to my agent, he said I was nuts for killing the main character: “Rob, baby,” he said — that’s how agents talk — “Rob, baby, this could be an ongoing series, and, if not a cash cow, then certainly a monetary Megalosaurus!”

So, Afsan got a reprieve and I forced out two more books about the lovable lizard. But, as before, I just couldn’t stand it; at the end of the third book, I took the same escape route Charlton Heston did from the PLANET OF THE APES sequels: I destroyed the entire planet!…

(3) BEM IN A FLASH. Cora Buhlert has had a flash story called “Bug-eyed Monsters and the Women Who Love Them” published at Way Station, a brand-new space opera magazine, which she says doesn’t have an actual issue out yet.

Captain Crash Martigan of the rocket scout squad was on patrol, protecting New Pluto City and its inhabitants from bug-eyed monsters.

Of course, bug-eyed monsters wasn’t their real name. No, the creatures had a long and official Latinate name that no one could remember nor pronounce. So the colonists took to calling them bug-eyed monsters, because that’s what they looked like….

(4) IS ANALOG USEFUL AGAIN? [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Back in the day (the 1970s when I was an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Alabama), I had occasion to build a special-purpose hybrid analog/digital computer. The only reason for its existence was so high school students visiting us as prospective UA engineering students could play tic-tac-toe and see EE at work. It was used one day, then stripped down for parts. The very idea of a programmable analog component gets my EE juices flowing a little bit, though it’s certainly nowhere enough to entice me out of retirement. There have always been problems for which analog computation was perfectly suited. But, as the article below notes, building those damn things is no joke, and every time the problem changes, the design changes. Or, perhaps, the tense should be changed to, well, “changed.“ This could become a very exciting field going forward.  “The Unbelievable Zombie Comeback of Analog Computing” in WIRED.

When old tech dies, it usually stays dead. No one expects rotary phones or adding machines to come crawling back from oblivion. Floppy diskettes, VHS tapes, cathode-ray tubes—they shall rest in peace. Likewise, we won’t see old analog computers in data centers anytime soon. They were monstrous beasts: difficult to program, expensive to maintain, and limited in accuracy.

Or so I thought. Then I came across this confounding statement:

Bringing back analog computers in much more advanced forms than their historic ancestors will change the world of computing drastically and forever.

Seriously?

I found the prediction in the preface of a handsome illustrated book titled, simply, Analog Computing. Reissued in 2022, it was written by the German mathematician Bernd Ulmann—who seemed very serious indeed.

I’ve been writing about future tech since before WIRED existed and have written six books explaining electronics. I used to develop my own software, and some of my friends design hardware. I’d never heard anyone say anything about analog, so why would Ulmann imagine that this very dead paradigm could be resurrected? And with such far-reaching and permanent consequences?

I felt compelled to investigate further….

(5) HOWARD DAYS. Ken Lizzi shares a report and several photos of the Robert E. Howard Days, which took place in April this year: “Howard Days 2023. Plus Savage Journal Entry 41.”

I made the Hajj, the Pilgrimage, to Cross Plains, Texas this weekend to visit the Robert E. Howard museum. Not coincidentally, it was also the weekend of the 2023 edition of Howard Days. I am, to be blunt, tired. It is only a five hour drive from Casa Lizzi, which is why I had no excuse to put off the visit. Still, on top of non-stop activity and limited sleep, that drive back proved less pleasant than the lovely drive out: putting a Gulf Coast thunder storm behind me Thursday morning as I wended my way north and west deep into the heart of Texas, into cattle and old oil boom country to the AirBnB I shared with Bryan Murphy and Deuce Richardson….

(6) APPENDIX N. The good folks at Goodman Games continue their articles on SFF authors listed in Appendix N:

Ngo Vinh-Hoi profiles Jack Williamson: “Adventures in Fiction: Jack Williamson”.

In the storied list of Appendix N authors, there is one name that encapsulates nearly the entire course of modern American science fiction and fantasy: Jack Williamson. John Stewart Williamson was born on April 29th, 1908 in an adobe hut in what was then still the Arizona Territory. Seeking to better themselves, the Williamson family travelled by horse-drawn covered wagon to New Mexico in 1915, where Williamson recalled that they “homesteaded in Eastern New Mexico in 1916 after the good land had been claimed. We were living below the poverty line, struggling for survival.”

This isolated, hardscrabble existence continued throughout Williamson’s entire youth, but his imagination and inquisitive mind helped him to endure…. 

Jeff Goad profiles Fletcher Pratt: “Adventures in Fiction: Fletcher Pratt”.

The Appendix N is a list of prolific authors of science fiction and fantasy. But Fletcher Pratt is not one of them, at least not in comparison to most of the authors on the list. He primarily wrote historical nonfiction about the Civil War, Napoleon, naval history, rockets, and World War II. So why is Fletcher Pratt listed in the Appendix N and why does he have the coveted “et al” listed after The Blue Star?

Well, digging a bit deeper into his writings and his career, it is no surprise that Gary Gygax was smitten with this fellow….

(7) MEMORY LANE.

1999[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Our Beginning this Scroll comes courtesy of Richard Wadholm. Green Tea was a novella first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction in the October-November 1999 issue. It was shortlisted for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. 

Wadholm, a Clarion graduate, had a very brief visit in our corner of things writing one novel, Astronomy, and six stories. None are available at the usual suspects. 

He was, interestingly enough, a contributing writer, to Synapse, the Electronic Music Magazine  which published in the Seventies.

And now for our Beginning…

Friend Beltran, this moment has weighed on me for the past six days. At last we meet.

Will you take tea with me? Not to worry, I am not here to poison you with tainted tea. Not from a beautiful service like this, certainly. This tea kettle is pewter, yes? And the brew pot— terra cotta, in the manner of the great smuggling mandarins of the Blanco Grande? Quite so. I must beg your indulgence for its use. I was very thirsty; I have come a long way to see you.

Perhaps my name escapes you. That is the way in this profession we share. Say that I am your delivery man. Indeed, the item you procured at such dear cost is close to hand.

My fee? Whatever you arranged with the navigator Galvan will suffice. A cup of tea from this excellent terra cotta pot would do nicely. And, if you are not too pressed, the answer to a simple question?

Who was it for, the thing you birthed on our ship? Was it for the mercenaries on Michele D’avinet? Or for the Chinese smugglers who used the glare of D’avinet to hide their passing?

I suppose it doesn’t matter much either way. Whoever your treasure was intended for, they were someone’s enemy, but they were no enemy of Beltran Seynoso’s, yes? And we, the crew of the Hierophant, we were merely witnesses. Our only offense was that we could connect you with the destruction of a little star in the outer reaches of Orion.

I wronged you, my friend. You are indeed a man of pitiless resolve. Sitting here, making tea in your kitchen, in this rambling manse, on this pretty little moon of yours, I underestimated you. I pictured a dilettante, playing at a rough game.

Forgive, forgive.

That story you told our captain, that you represented an Anglo syndicate dealing in—what was it? April pork bellies? We took that for naivete. No one goes from trading in April pork bellies to dealing in ‘Tuesday morning perbladium. Not even the Anglos.

And then there was that improbable load you hired us to turn.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 30, 1913 Jane Rice. Her first story “The Dream” was published in the July 1940 issue of Unknown. Amazingly, she’d publish ten stories there during the War. Her only novel Lucy remains lost due to somewhat mysterious circumstances. Much of her short stories are collected in The Idol of the Flies and Other Stories which is not available in digital form. (Died 2003.)
  • Born April 30, 1920 E. F. Bleiler. An editor, bibliographer and scholar of both sff and detective fiction. He’s responsible in the Forties for co-editing the Best SF Stories with T.E. Dikty. They later edited Best Science-Fiction Stories. He also did such valuable reference guides like The Checklist of Fantastic Literature and The Guide to Supernatural Fiction. (Died 2010.)
  • Born April 30, 1926 Edmund Cooper. Pulpish writer of space opera not for the easily offended. His The Uncertain Midnight has an interesting take on androids but most of his work is frankly misogynistic. And he was quite prolific with over twenty-four novels and a dozen story collections. A lot of his work is available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 1982.)
  • Born April 30, 1934 William Baird Searles. Author and critic. He‘s best remembered for his long-running review work for Asimov’s  where he reviewed books, and Amazing Stories and F&SF where he did film and tv reviews. I’m not familiar with his writings but I’d be interested to know who here has read Reader’s Guide to Science Fiction and Reader’s Guide to Fantasy which he did, as they might be useful to own. (Died 1993.)
  • Born April 30, 1938 Larry Niven, 85. One of my favorite authors to read, be it the Gil Hamilton the Arm stories, Ringworld, Protector, The Mote in God’s Eye with Jerry Pournelle (The Gripping Hand alas didn’t work for me at all), or the the Rainbow Mars stories which I love in the audiobook version. What’s your favorite Niven story? And yes, I did look up his Hugos. “Neutron Star” was his first at NyCon followed by Ringworld at Noreascon 1 and in turn by “Inconstant Moon” (lovely story) the following year at L.A. Con I,  “The Hole Man” (which I don’t remember reading but did listen in preparing this Birthday — most excellent!) at Aussiecon 1 and finally “The Borderland of Sol” novelette at MidAmericaCon. He’s not won a Hugo since 1976 which I admit surprised me.
  • Born April 30, 1968 Adam Stemple, 55. Son of Jane Yolen. One-time vocalist of Boiled in Lead. With Yolen, he’s written the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy TalesPay the Piper and Troll Bridge which are worth reading, plus the Seelie Wars trilogy which I’ve not read. He’s also written two Singer of Souls urban fantasies which I remember as engaging. 
  • Born April 30, 1973 Naomi Novik, 50. She wrote the Temeraire series which runs to nine novels so far. Her first book, His Majesty’s Dragon, won the Astounding Award. She most deservedly won the Nebula Award for Best Novel for Uprooted which is a most excellent read. I’ve not yet read her Spinning Silver novel which won a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, so opinions are welcome. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) WHAT’S ON THE WAY? John Shirley interviews Charles Stross about The Future in “Optimism Optimized & Pessimism Prodded” at Instant Future.

Q. Will the pace of change overwhelm us? I seem to perceive, behind many of your novels, a writer conflicted about technological advancement; not against it, certainly no luddite, but concerned about its nature. It would seem that we need that advancement—but we’ve failed to develop a protocol for advancing technology intelligently. For one thing, a technology that pollutes is only half-invented. This seems clear in the age of anthropogenic climate change. Should we slow the pace? Can we?

A: I think, going by the news headlines, the pace of change has *already* overwhelmed us. The Tofflers made this case fairly well in their book *Future Shock* back in the 1970s, and that was in a then-stable media environment that wasn’t polluted with memes generated by bad actors (eg. state level disinformation agencies) and chatbots (often just trying to sell something — Ivermectin as a cure for COVID19, for example).

One problem is that we’re nearing the crest of a sigmoid curve of accelerating advances in a new technological area — computing, networking, and information processing. It seems unlikely progress on miniaturization of semiconductors will proceed for many more generations (our densest integrated semiconductor circuits already have tracks and other features on the order of a hundred atoms wide: it’s hard to see how we can shrink mechanisms below the atomic scale). So, just as progress with steam locomotion had tapered off by the 1920s after a brisk acceleration from roughly 1790 through 1870, and aviation surged from the original Wright Flyer and its contemporaries around 1900 to the SR-71 and Boeing 747 by the early 1970s but subsequently stopped getting bigger or faster, we’re approaching an era of consolidation and very slow incremental gains in our IT. People are now exploring the possible ways of monetizing the technologies we’ve acquired over the past few decades, rather than making qualitative breakthroughs. I first saw a virtual reality headset and interface in use at a conference in the early 1990s; the fact that Apple are apparently bringing one to market this summer, and Meta (aka Facebook) sank billions — evidently fruitlessly — into trying to commercialize VR over the past few years, should be a huge warning flag that some technologies just don’t seem to be as useful as people expected.

(11) UPHEAVAL IN THE SIXTIES. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] At Galactic Journey I was talking about some of the 1968 unrest in (West) Germany as well as the 1968 Oberhausen Short Film Festival, where George Lucas won an award for the original short film version of THX-1138 4EB. Also present at the festival was a very young Werner Herzog, which is interesting since Herzog claimed not to be familiar with Star Wars or Lucas, when he guest-starred in The Mandalorian. Of course, Herzog might just have forgotten meeting at a festival Lucas 55 years ago. Oh yes, and there also was a scandal at that festival surrounding a short film with a very upstanding cast member. “[April 14, 1968] In Unquiet Times: The Frankfurt Arson Attacks, the Shooting of Rudi Dutschke and Electronic Labyrinth THX-1138 4EB” at Galactic Journey.

…With West Germany burning and all the terrible things happening here and elsewhere in the world, it’s easy to forget that there are bright spots as well. One of those bright spots is the 14th West German Short Film Days in Oberhausen….

(12) SURVIVING THE RUNWAY. “Louis Vuitton collaborates with the director of Squid Game in a bid to woo South Korea’s elite”Yahoo! has the story.

…The event was dreamed up by Ghesquière and Hwang Dong-hyuk, the director of the hit Netflix series, Squid Game, in which contestants compete in a series of children’s games and are murdered if they lose. He could hardly have found a more effective way of winnowing out weaklings than this runway. HoYeon Jung, a Korean actress who opened the show, took it in her stride. She was probably used to tough conditions having starred in Squid Game….

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Paul Di Filippo, Lise Andreasen, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Lis Carey.]

Pixel Scroll 7/3/18 Too Bad I Don’t Have A Scrollographic Memory

(1) THE PRICE OF LIBERTY. It isn’t cheap — Gizmodo has the story: “USPS Ordered to Pay $3.5 Million After Putting Artist’s Weird ‘Sexier’ Lady Liberty on Stamps”.

The USPS put a Getty Images photo of artist Robert S. Davidson’s Las Vegas version of the sculpture on roughly 3.5 billion stamps before the incongruity was noticed in 2011. In his original civil complaint, art market platform Artsy wrote last year, Davidson wrote the USPS never asked permission and that his version is materially different than the one from 1875 and thus protected under copyright—specifically that it is “more ‘fresh-faced,’ ‘sultry’ and even ‘sexier’ than the original located in New York.” (Davidson very weirdly added that he took the inspiration for this sex bomb Lady Liberty from, umm, “certain facial features of his close female relatives.”)

(2) BRAM STOKER HISTORY TOUR. The Horror Writers Association has revamped their Bram Stoker Awards site. HWA President Lisa Morton says:

For the first time ever, you can now find all the information you need on the awards gathered in one place, with each winner/nominee listed individually, cross-linked to year and category. The site also includes galleries of photos going all the way back to the beginning of the awards, trivia, rules, and more.

…We expect this site to be a continuing work in progress as we add more data and fun stuff.

As the “Fun Facts” article shows, Stephen King is the Babe Ruth of the Stoker Awards:

  • The top number of nominations by any one author: Stephen King, with 32 total nominations.
  • The top number of wins by any one author: Stephen King, with 12 total wins.
  • The top number of losses by any one author: Stephen King, with 20 total losses….

(3) LEAKAGE. ScienceFiction.com says the Time Lords are in hot pursuit of the leaker of the missing minute: “BBC Goes To Court To Find Who Leaked ‘Doctor Who’ Footage Of Jodie Whittaker”.

‘Doctor Who’ fans are breathless with anticipation, awaiting the first trailers or clips from the upcoming eleventh season.  Excitement is extra high this time around because for the first time in the show’s 54-year history, said Doctor will be a woman, Jodie Whittaker.  But fans want to abide by the BBC’s plans to unveil what they choose to at their discretion.  (Whittaker will be present for a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, so chances are high that there will be some new footage shown.)  But when a pirate released a minute-long clip featuring the first scenes of Whittaker’s thirteenth Doctor on American messaging app Tapatalk, which then found its way to Twitter, fans revolted, attacking the poster for spoiling the new season.  The BBC quickly had the post deleted but they aren’t stopping there.  They want to know who leaked the footage and they’re going after them!

The British Broadcasting Company “requested a clerk at the California federal court issue a subpoena to Tapatalk, a mobile community platform.”  The BBC is demanding that records be turned over which could help identify the responsible persons.  They have also enlisted the aid of law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, which has made a name for itself over the past few years for going after pirates of major events like these.

(4) WORLDCON 76 PROGRAM. The committee is making a list and checking it twice —

(5) THE SHEEP LOOK OUT. Let a Filer be your guide. “I was asked to write a travel blog for the Dublin 2019 site,” he says. The result is: “Touring Tuesdays: Round Renvyle with Nigel Quinlan”.

This week Nigel Quinlan takes us into the wilds of Connemara…

Drive vaguely and meanderingly northwest out of Galway city, following signs for Connemara or Clifden or Sheep On The Road or Invasive Species Do Not Eat. Through Oughterard with its pleasant riverside park on the far side, Maam Cross with a rather musty replica of the cottage from John Ford’s The Quiet Man and the film itself on repeat in the bar at the hotel, turning right down the genuinely spectacular Inagh Valley where your attention will be divided between the splendid bleak majesties of the open boglands, the rocky glories of the mountains and watching out for the sodding sheep that are ON THE ROAD.

(6) HOW TO VOTE FOR AN SF AWARD. The SF & Fantasy Poetry Association’s SPECPO blog tries to make “Approaching the Elgin Voting” less daunting and more accessible. Between the Elgin’s two categories, members have 51 finalists to consider. SFPA President Bryan Thao Worra’s guidance could also be adapted for use by newbie Hugo voters.

History demonstrates that often, readers, reviewers and literati of any given age have varying degrees of success identifying works of enduring merit and literary impact. Who actually survives into the next decades, let alone the next centuries as “must read” authors is often very surprising, whether it’s in mainstream literature, pulp fiction and genre offerings.

That being said, here are some grounding principles:

  • You don’t have to read a book that’s not grabbing you all of the way through. With a full-length chapbook or book, we’re looking for works that are consistently outstanding, not one filled with one amazing gem to rival “The Raven” and 99 uninspiring verses filling out the rest of the set.
  • This isn’t the search for the greatest of all time, but within the set of this year. You don’t necessarily need to fret about how well a given book stands up against the great works of the last 5 to 100 years. You can leave that concern at the door. But are you reading a book where you can see yourself recommending it to another, and returning to it regularly yourself?
  • Try breaking your options into batches. Picking 3 out of 30 is difficult, but when one starts by sorting it into more manageable batches of approximately 5 to 6 books, it becomes easier to pick your 2 favorites of that batch, and then in the final set, identifying your three favorites.
  • Each member has their own tastes, preferred literary traditions and forms, and if you come across a text that isn’t meeting your tastes, that’s fine. Fans of a particular style are more likely to vote it up into the effective running than those who aren’t. So if you’re not a scifaiku fan, feel free to weigh in if you want, but you can also “sit it out” on that text if you don’t feel strongly about what you’re reading.

(7) LEARNING CURVE. “11 Essential Books On Writing, Based On The Genre You Want To Write” at The Bustle.

Now, before we dig into these books, please note that I’m talking about genre and not subgenre. No matter if you write steampunk, space westerns, or post-apocalyptic stories, you’re looking for the Science Fiction recommendation below. Similarly, whether you want to make your mark on sword and sorcery, paranormal, or grimdark, the book listed under Fantasy is for you. I know that all six of those subgenres are very clearly defined and different from one another, but I’m aiming for broad utility here.

For example, if you want to write Fantasy, read Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 3, 1985 Back to the Future was released.
  • July 3, 1996 Independence Day landed in theaters.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born July 3—Tom Cruise, 56. Genre films include Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, OblivionEdge of Tomorrow and, shudder, The Mummy.
  • Born July 3 – Olivia Munn, 38. A surprising number of roles in genre films including Insanitarium, Scarecrow Gone Wild, Iron Man 2X-Men: Apocalypse and the latest Predator reboot.

(10) RETRO LAW AND ORDER. David Doering rediscovered these forgotten charges against L. Ron Hubbard in Fantasy News Annual, v. 7, issue 1, whole no. 150, July 27, 1941.

HUBBARD MAKES MURDEROUS ATTACK ON SHEA!

PERPETRATOR OF WEIRD LITERARY CRIME SEEKS REFUGE IN U.S. ARMED FORCES!

Harold Shea, popular fantasy hero, created by L. Sprague de.Camp and Fletcher Pratt, was subjected in the August UNKNOWN to an assault with intent to kill by L. Ron (“Golden Egg”) Hubbard, author of the lead novel, “The Case Of the Friendly Corpse”.  The red-haired adventurer-author caused his competitor’s character to be seized and swallowed by a gigantic snake into which a magic wand carried by one of his minor characters turned.

Shea’s creators, however, with fiendish snickers, have announced that they are taking suitable steps to rehabilitate their hero, and obtain revenge for this bit of outrageous literary impertinence, They are working on a story which will tell what r?e?a?l?l?y? happened to Shea in the College of the Unholy Names, site of the crime. (This institution is headed by the President J. Klark, believed to be the astral body of Dr. John D. Clark, well-known Philadelphia fan.)

“Just wait”, sneered Pratt, “till you see what we do to Hubbard’s characters!” They explained that, as the explorer and bear-tamer is now Lieut. Hubbard, USN, he probably would not have time to reply in his turn.

“You see”, leered de Camp, “we’re altruists. That means we believe in doing unto others what they would like to do unto us, and doing it first!”

(11) ON LOCATION. Joe Flood, writing in the Washington Post, says he enjoyed watching the Wonder Woman shoot at the Hirshhorn Museum last weekend, but “what wasn’t so cool was Wonder Woman 1984 shutting down Pennsylvania Avenue all weekend long, blocking off bike lanes with no alternate accommodations.” — “There are no superheroes in D.C.”

And then, there were Gadot and Pine, wearing the same clothes as the stand-ins but anointed with the familiarity of stars. You know them, but you don’t. Their images are the only things truly accessible.

They duplicated what the stand-ins did. Walk, talk, react. Pine gawked at whatever was in the sky but with considerably more subtlety than the stand-in. That’s probably why he’s the movie star.

(12) BAGGED THEIR LIMIT. A handsome hunting credential poses with its SJW:

(13) RECIPE FOR HUMOR.

(14) MARVEL PANELS AT SDCC. If you’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con this month you’ll have a chance to see these Marvel Comics panels.

MARVEL: Making Comics the Marvel Way
Thursday 7/19/18, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Room 25ABC

Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and Talent Scout Rickey Purdin join a multitude of Mighty Marvel Guests to take you behind-the-scenes and show you how a Marvel comic book is made! Learn about every aspect of production including writing, penciling, inking, coloring, lettering, editing, and more – with creators on hand to offer personal insights and anecdotes. If you’re interested in the ins-and-outs of the comic book industry, this is the one panel you can’t miss!

MARVEL COMICS: Spider-Man
Friday 7/20, 12:30-1:30pm
Room 5AB

Editor Nick Lowe with his Amazing Friends Nick Spencer (Amazing Spider-Man) and Donny Cates (Venom) swing into SDCC with all the hottest spider-news! Nick Spencer ushers in a new era for Spidey that takes the web-head back to basics, while all-new Venom writer Donny Cates lays out what’s in store for the symbiotic hero in both the past and present in his definitive take on the character. PLUS, learn the latest about your favorite spider-heroes from across time and space as they crawl closer and closer towards the Edge of Spider-Geddon!

MARVEL: Cup O’Joe – Marvel Knights 20th Anniversary
Friday 7/20, 1:30-2:30pm
Room 5AB

Join Joe and fellow comics legend Jimmy Palmiotti as they reflect on the industry-redefining MARVEL KNIGHTS imprint as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.  What was it like to pioneer this bold new storytelling style for Marvel’s heroes, and how has it impacted Marvel comics, movies, and television series over the last two decades?  Learn about all this and more at this must-attend retrospective – and bring your own burning questions!  NOT to be missed by any fan of the Mighty Marvel Manner!

MARVEL COMICS: Next Big Thing
Saturday 7/21, 1:45-2:45pm
Room 6A

Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and star Executive Editor Nick Lowe are joined by Donny Cates (Cosmic Ghost Rider, Death of Inhumans) and Margaret Stohl (Life of Captain Marvel) to discuss the startling stories and initiatives that are truly the NEXT BIG THINGS in the Marvel Universe!  In Fantastic Four, the Richards family is heading back to Earth, but they still have one more cosmic obstacle to overcome. Meanwhile, the specter of death hangs around the Inhumans and the Ghost Rider of a dark future in Donny Cates’ Death of Inhumans and Cosmic Ghost Rider. And as the Infinity Wars ignite, are any characters truly safe? All this, plus learn more about the definitive origin of Captain Marvel as Margaret Stohl opens up about Life of Captain Marvel!  If you want to learn about the biggest Marvel stories of 2018, this is THE panel not to miss!

MARVEL COMICS: Meet the Editor-in-Chief!
Saturday 7/21, 3:00pm-4:00pm
Room 6A

This is your chance to meet the new head of editorial at Marvel! In this exclusive one-on-one interview led by Skottie Young (Deadpool), freshly-minted Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski will talk about anything and everything involved in what’s next for Marvel. Want to know where to search for the Infinity Stones? Dying to find out what’s next for Wolverine? What does Forbush Man really look like without his helmet? Ask C.B. these questions and more in the Q&A!  PLUS – don’t miss a surprise exclusive giveaway variant comic!

MARVEL: True Believers*
Sunday 7/22, 10:00am-11:00am
Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Join Executive Editor Nick Lowe along with creators Ryan North (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), Robbie Thompson (Spider-Man/Deadpool), and Jeremy Whitley (Unstoppable Wasp) for a private panel discussion of what’s happening inside the Marvel Universe.  Get FREE merchandise, never-before-seen sneak peeks of upcoming comics, Q&A session and more!  Not to be missed! Open only to Marvel Unlimited Plus members and Marvel MasterCard cardholders.

*Panel line-up is subject to change. Free items available while supplies last.  Must have valid ID and one of the following for entry: Marvel MasterCard Member – Event Invite, Marvel MasterCard, or event RSVP confirmation; Marvel Unlimited Plus Members – membership card, or MU+ order confirmation email.

MARVEL COMICS: X-Men
Sunday 7/22, 11:15am-12:15pm
Room 5AB

Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski, Sina Grace (Iceman), Seanan Maguire (X-Men Gold Annual), Matthew Rosenberg (Astonishing X-Men), and Tom Taylor (X-Men Red) take you through the full spectrum of current X-Men madness! The Red, Blue, and Gold teams confront Atlanteans, uncertainty, and Extermination, and the secrets of a NEW X-team are revealed! Deadpool and X-23 both rediscover their roots, and the Astonishing team faces ever stranger challenges! PLUS- Stay for the whole panel for an exclusive giveaway variant comic!

Don’t miss your chance to hear all the news and excitement from Marvel Comics at San Diego Comic Con!

(15) REMAKE. Cnet frames the art: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi remake poster mocks angry fans”.

An artist is poking fun at Star Wars fans clamoring for a remake of The Last Jedi.

Fernando Reza — an LA-based graphic artist — on Monday tweeted an image of his poster for the project, which centers on a muscled Luke Skywalker wielding a lightsaber and massive handgun.

 

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, David Doering, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH, taken from an email he wrote to Steve Davidson after being told he repeated a Scroll title Steve submitted in 2016.]

Wells’ Little Wars

Today it’s easy to find science fiction writers who are game creators, too. What may come as a surprise is to hear that H. G. Wells, so important in founding the sf genre, had just as great an impact on the creation of hobby war gaming.

Wells’ Floor Games (1911) and Little Wars (1913) established rules for fighting battles with toy soldiers – with an emphasis on action. A BBC article notes:

Wells was not bothered by casualties to his soldiers. He fired inch-long wooden dowels from his favourite toy cannons, models of 4.7in (120mm) naval guns, and they could take the head off a fragile hollow-cast lead soldier.

The author’s sons’ nurse Mathilde Meyer once wrote: “Hopelessly damaged soldiers were melted down in an iron spoon on the schoolroom floor, and others had a new head fixed on by means of a match and liquid lead.”

Wells stressed in his rules that combat “should be by actual gun and rifle fire and not by computation. Things should happen and not be decided” – a contrast with cerebral predecessors like the Prussian General Staff’s Kriegsspiel (from the early 1800s) or Fred T. Jane’s “The Naval Game” (1898).

Wells’ rules for Little Wars, available through Project Gutenberg, make clear that in his own way he agreed with Napoleon that artillery is the queen of battle.

THE beginning of the game of Little War, as we know it, became possible with the invention of the spring breechloader gun. This priceless gift to boyhood appeared somewhen towards the end of the last century, a gun capable of hitting a toy soldier nine times out of ten at a distance of nine yards. It has completely superseded all the spiral-spring and other makes of gun hitherto used in playroom warfare. These spring breechloaders are made in various sizes and patterns, but the one used in our game is that known in England as the four-point-seven gun. It fires a wooden cylinder about an inch long, and has a screw adjustment for elevation and depression. It is an altogether elegant weapon.

His rulebook makes entertaining reading for anyone with an interest in these games.

I’ll close by mentioning another sf writer who gained fame as a wargame developer —Fletcher Pratt. Best known within the genre for The Incompleat Enchanter, co-authored with L. Sprague De Camp, and widely known outside it for his naval histories, he was also the creator of Fletcher Pratt’s Naval War Game, published in 1940. It was played on the floor with numerous wooden ships. Game enthusiasts organized clubs around the U.S., and on one occasion ran the game in a ballroom with over 60 participants on each side.