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).]