Pixel Scroll 2/22/24 Home Is The Pixel, Home From The Scroll

(1) WE’RE BACK. “Odysseus becomes first US spacecraft to land on moon in over 50 years”CNN not only has the story, they enlisted Captain Kirk – William Shatner – to help tell it on the air.

The US-made Odysseus lunar lander has made a touchdown on the moon, surpassing its final key milestones — and the odds — to become the first commercial spacecraft to accomplish such a feat, but the condition of the lander remains in question.

Intuitive Machines, however, says the mission has been successful.

“I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface, and we are transmitting,” Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus just announced on the webcast. “Welcome to the moon.”

Odysseus is the first vehicle launched from the United States to land on the moon’s surface since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

Mission controllers from Intuitive Machines, the Houston-based company that developed the robotic explorer, confirmed the lander reached the lunar surface Thursday evening….

…After some intense waiting, Intuitive Machines, the company behind the Odysseus lunar landing mission, has confirmed the spacecraft is “upright and starting to send data.”

That’s a major milestone…

William Shatner on CNN.

(2) 2023 BUSINESS MEETING MINUTES POSTED. [Item by Kevin Standlee.] The 2023 WSFS Business Meeting minutes are now available at the WSFS rules page.

All documents are updated except the Resolutions of Rulings of Continuing Effect, which are still being reviewed by the Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee. 

(3) HELP PAY TRIBUTE TO STEVE MILLER. Sharon Lee is asking people to send Locus their recollections about her husband, Steve Miller, who died on February 20. This link should work: [email protected].

(4) THE YEAR’S BEST AFRICAN SPECULATIVE FICTION VOLUME THREE: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Volume Three anthology is now open to submissions through March 31, 2024. See full guidelines at the link.

This next volume of the series covers works originally published in 2023. It will be published with a release date of late 2024 under the Caezik SF & Fantasy imprint (Arc Manor).

​Editors for this volume are Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Chinaza Eziaghighala.

(5) LINK Q&A. “Interview: Kelly Link on Writing Her First Novel” at New York Magazine.

How did you intellectually and practically and physically and spiritually transition from writing short stories to writing a rather long novel?

Even if one is a short-story writer at heart, this is a world of novels. This is a world where readers love novels, which I get. I love them too. But if you’re a short-story writer, any time that you are talking with somebody, they will say, “Well, have you ever thought about writing a novel?”

My husband and I ran a small press for a couple of decades. I had the enormous privilege of working with a bunch of writers on novels. I also, in my writing life, have a group of friends that I meet with, sometimes on a daily basis, and they are all novelists. We spend a lot of our time talking about the possibilities that novels present to a writer. And I love their books. I get to read them when they’re working on them. And eventually, if you’re me, at least, you start to think, Well, what could I do at this length? My very good friend, one of the writers that I work with, Holly Black, said to me about nine years ago, “If you don’t intentionally write a novel, you will write one by accident. And so you might as well plan out how to do it intentionally.”

(6) MYMAN ON THE 2023 HUGOS. Francesca Myman, who attended the Chengdu Worldcon, has written several illuminating posts about the current Hugo Award crisis.

Here’s the first post from February 16:

…The thing that gets me is, if they truly believed they were taking care of people’s safety, and they couldn’t possibly think about it creatively and find other solutions because {reasons}, they were remarkably blasé about a lack of reasonable guidance.

And it does seem that the internal justification was safety. On June 7 Kat Jones says “I’m pointing out examples of both that I find for these fan writers out of an abundance of caution, because I’m assuming we’re talking about the safety of our Chinese con-running friends when we’re making these evaluations. Maybe any fan writer concerns can be mitigated by asking them to curate their voter packet materials with our Chinese friends’ safety in mind?” Of course, “I’m assuming” isn’t the same thing as “I’m asking” and no answers are given.

Then in the February 3 interview, when Chris Barkley asked if people were likely to be endangered on some sort of social or physical level, Dave’s response was some aggrandizing bluster about “the friends I would make and how much I love them and how much I would set myself on fire for them if I needed to,” which inappropriately puts the blame for everything underhanded and weaselly and inexcusable that he did into the laps of the very people he’s claiming to protect.

I’m not here to say Chinese censorship doesn’t exist, we ourselves had to comply with regulations and couldn’t sell magazines and books at Worldcon and it did cause me a considerable amount of stress (and to be fair it was incredibly difficult to obtain any information about exactly what we needed to do to be in compliance, things like whether or not we were allowed to sell digital subscriptions and the actual problem was physical materials sold on site, or whether no sales at all were permitted), but the active participation of Westerners in hand-selecting targets for censorship is stomach-churning….

The second post appeared on February 17:

Soooo while I do think you should read my last long-but-important post about the Hugos, literally the MOST important news about what happened to the Hugos is this: Vajra Chandrasekera on Bluesky linked to a Chinese language post by “zionius” explaining that the supposed “slate” of Chinese voters that was removed from the voting was actually the result of a recommended list from Chinese publication Science Fiction World, their most respected and popular magazine. To be clear, a close analogy is if people removed a batch of Hugo votes from the voting process because they were listed in the Locus Recommended Reading List and voters had too-similar patterns because of that. A recommended reading list is NOT a slate.

Apparently there were one to nine recommendations per SF World category including both Chinese and non-Chinese creators. I suppose the “one recommendation” category, whatever that was, could be tough — but nine recommendations? That’s quite normal for a recommended reading list. The readership of SF World is vast, way higher than Locus, let me tell you that (Chandrasekera claims it’s bigger than that of every western SF magazine put together which seems plausible to me), so they have a ton of influence, but that doesn’t make it illegal….

The third post came out on February 19:

…If McCarty DID receive an earlier heads-up — I’m envisioning something like “you must remove these things because their inclusion will harm us” — we have no way to be sure. And it’s possible I’m wrong here. We lack a WHOLE lot of papertrail, and it’s probably not the worst thing we don’t have it, in terms of all the aforementioned safety concerns.

About which I would like to add: I imagined that if I had been in the committee’s position I would have been most worried about someone saying something about “Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, negatives of China” onstage. But I don’t really have a basis to determine the impact of speeches, so. . .

. . .I asked an expat friend yesterday what the consequences would be if someone, for example, used the Worldcon stage to opine on the political situation in Taiwan, and got an “eek” face emoji.

Eek face emoji situation, I guess. Here’s what he said, which I found particularly illuminating:

“The entire community would face repercussions. Outright censoring, problems for the organizers, attracting Beijing’s ire. The government liaison who helped bring this thing to Chengdu would have severe career blowback and would either lose position or have to pivot and punish to save themselves. It would be a very selfish thing to do and would hurt the Chinese sci fi community significantly. Think of what happened when Bjork called out ‘Free Tibet!’ She said that one phrase on a stage in Beijing and for a decade + afterwards there was a massive crackdown on all artist performances and a massive impoverishment of live music in general. All the festivals struggled. Probably the most damaging thing done to China’s live music scene in the modern era. And Bjork did it because she didn’t know or care about consequences, she just wanted to say her piece. Because the West teaches Westerners that we are morally superior to everyone else and have a right or obligation to ‘speak truth to power’ especially in non white non European places.”

So based on this and other research I absolutely believe safety concerns were real. Which is why I keep coming back around to the point that the best way of handling that was just letting the rules play out and letting Chinese voters take the lead as they were meant to.

(7) ANOTHER ONE ON THE SHELF. “Stephen King Is Baffled by Decision To Keep New Salem’s Lot Movie on the Shelf” reports Comingsoon.net.

Salem’s Lot Still in Limbo

Back in November of 2023, King championed the adaptation of his celebrated vampire novel, saying it had a feeling of ”Old Hollywood” to it. The movie was originally due to be released in 2022, and then in the Spring of 2023, where it lost its spot on the calendar to Warner horror stablemate Evil Dead Rise.

Then came the SAG-AFTRA strike, which reportedly caused Warner Bros. to reconsider a theatrical release altogether, subsequently being eyed for a streaming debut on Max. However, a Warner spokesperson told Variety that ”No decision has been made about the film’s future distribution plans.”

Yet nothing else has been said about the film’s status since.

King isn’t feeling all that patient with Warner Bros. and has once again reiterated his praise for the film while failing to hide his bafflement at its continued release limbo.

”Between you and me, Twitter, I’ve seen the new SALEM’S LOT, and it’s quite good. Old-school horror filmmaking: slow build, big payoff. Not sure why WB is holding it back; not like it’s embarrassing, or anything. Who knows. I just write the fucking things.”…

(8) PRODUCTION ALMOST SHUTTERED, NOW OSCAR CONTENDER. The Hollywood Reporter found out “Why Megan Ellison Saved the Animated Film ‘Nimona’”.

In January of 2021, Megan Ellison got a call from Erik Lomis, the former head of distribution at her company, Annapurna Pictures, asking if she’d like to take a look at a movie whose filmmakers needed a lifeline. Disney was days away from announcing that it planned to shutter Blue Sky Studios, the 500-person, Greenwich, Connecticut-based animation studio it had inherited in the 2019 Fox acquisition, and with that closure, the Burbank media giant would be dropping Blue Sky’s most promising movie, Nimona.

“I wasn’t really engaging in new film projects at the time, but being curious, I said yes,” Ellison said, in an email.

Ellison watched the hand-drawn storyboard reels, which directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane had adapted from ND Stevenson’s 2015 graphic novel, and instantly connected with the title character, a shape-shifter voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz who appears most often as a young woman, but can change into animals or other people. “I had never seen a character like Nimona in a film, let alone an animated family movie,” Ellison said. “I needed this movie when I was a kid, and quite frankly, I needed it right then and there. It was the perfect story to come into my life at that moment.”

Nimona — which has LGBTQ themes that Disney executives wanted to downplay — seemed destined to become a tax write-off before Ellison scooped it up. Now the movie, which Netflix released last June, is nominated for an Oscar for animated feature…. 

(9) ANALOG SCORES GERROLD INTERVIEW. There’s a “Q&A With David Gerrold” at The Astounding Analog Companion.

Analog Editor: What is your history with Analog?
David Gerrold: I have a long personal history with Analog. My first year of high school was at Van Nuys High. The library was a good place to hang out at lunch time and they had a subscription to Astounding. I started working my way through every issue they had. Astounding represented (to me) the high point of science fiction magazines. It introduced me to so many great stories and writers, that it became a goal. It was decades before I sold a story to the magazine, but that was one of the high points of my career.
This story was a sequel to an earlier piece where Ganny knit a spaceship out of cables and plastic sheeting. I suspect that construction of habitats in space would probably use a lot more fabricated materials than metal. So that was the spark. But once I’d written about how to build the ship, I began to wonder about the interplanetary politics, the economics, and how it all might work where everything is light minutes away from everything else. I think that’s part of the effect that reading Astounding/Analog had on me—I want to know how things work, especially in science fiction.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born February 22, 1959 Kyle Maclachlan, 65. I of course came to know Kyle Maclachlan first for playing Paul Atreides in David Lynch’s Dune. Like Timothée Chalamet, who was twenty-six when he played Paul Atreides, Maclachlan also was too old at twenty-five for the teen aged character. Just noting that.

(Remember that I’m not going to not noting everything that he’s done, just what I find interesting,)

Kyle Maclachlan at Cannes in 2017.

It was his first film role which I didn’t know until now, so he was old for an actor getting his film career going.

Next up was Blue Velvet in which he was Jeffrey Beaumont. Definitely genre, as it is a thriller mystery blended with psychological horror. Also directed by David Lynch. Weird film, and even weirder role for film. 

He did an excellent job as Lloyd Gallagher in The Hidden, a great SF film. He was not in The Hidden II which was not a great film. 

Yes, the Twin Peaks franchise is genre given some of the things that happened here. His Dale Cooper character is played to perfection over to the thirty episodes of the original series and the eighteen episodes of Twin Peaks known as Twin Peaks: The Return and Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series. He was also in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

Did you know that he voiced Superman? Well he did. In one of the better animated films, Justice League: The New Frontier, he was as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman. He voiced him very well. 

He showed up as Edward Wilde, a librarian in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, one of the films in The Librarian franchise. Just on the off chance that you’ve not seen it, I’ll say no more as it, but it like all The Librarian franchise, is great popcorn viewing. 

He was Cliff Vandercave in The Flintstones, the only Flintstones film worth watching. 

Lastly he was in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the dual role of Calvin Johnson / The Doctor. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) MASTODON UNDER ATTACK. TechCrunch says “Discord took no action against server that coordinated costly Mastodon spam attacks”.

Over the weekend, hackers targeted federated social networks like Mastodon to carry out ongoing spam attacks that were organized on Discord, and conducted using Discord applications. But Discord has yet to remove the server where the attacks are facilitated, and Mastodon community leaders have been unable to reach anyone at the company.

“The attacks were coordinated through Discord, and the software was distributed through Discord,” said Emelia Smith, a software engineer who regularly works on trust and safety issues in the fediverse, a network of decentralized social platforms built on the ActivityPub protocol. “They were using bots that integrated directly with Discord, such that a user didn’t even need to set up any servers or anything like that, because they could just run this bot directly from Discord in order to carry out the attack.”

Smith attempted to contact Discord through official channels on February 17, but still has only received form responses. She told TechCrunch that while Discord has mechanisms for reporting individual users or messages, it lacks a clear way to report whole servers.

“We’ve seen this costing server admins of Mastodon, Misskey, and others hundreds or thousands of dollars in infrastructure costs, and overall denial of service,” Smith wrote to Discord Trust & Safety in an email viewed by TechCrunch. “The only common link seems to be this discord server.”…

(13) A TUNE, NOT TUNA. “Whale song mystery solved by scientists” reports BBC.

… Baleen whales are a group of 14 species, including the blue, humpback, right, minke and gray whale. Instead of teeth, the animals have plates of what is called baleen, through which they sieve huge mouthfuls of tiny creatures from the water.

Exactly how they produce complex, often haunting songs has been a mystery until now. Prof Elemans said it was “super-exciting” to have figured it out.

He and his colleagues carried out experiments using larynxes, or “voice boxes”, that had been carefully removed from three carcasses of stranded whales – a minke, a humpback and a sei whale. They then blew air through the massive structures to produce the sound.

In humans, our voices come from vibrations when air passes over structures called vocal folds in our throat. Baleen whales, instead, have a large U-shaped structure with a cushion of fat at the top of the larynx.

This vocal anatomy allows the animals to sing by recycling air, and it prevents water from being inhaled….

(14) DEAR SCHADENFREUDE. Between bites of popcorn Neolithic Sheep exacted a little payback.  

(15) YOU DON’T SAY. Vox Day also is not one to overlook an opportunity for payback: “SF Freaks Gonna Freak” [Internet Archive link.]

Dave McCarty, the head of the Hugo Awards, has been accused of sexual assault by several women in the literary ghetto formerly known as the science fiction community…. 

Even though Vox credited the news to something called Fandom Pulse, Jon Del Arroz’ project to replace Bounding Into Comics, he knows the actual source of the story was File 770, which came in for a little smack, too:

…I simply note that longtime Hugo-centric SF fandom site File 770 is named, by the owner’s own admission, after what was either an orgy of sorts, or even more tragically, just the first party that the sort of losers whose social lives revolve around an annual science fiction event ever attended.

[Quoting the Wikipedia] “File 770 is named for the party in Room 770 at the 1951 Worldcon that upstaged the convention….

As Jar Jar Binks famously said, “How wude!”

(16) MIDNIGHT PALS. But do you know who’s really spinning in his grave? Read this and Bitter Karella will tell you.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, Laura, Joyce Scrivner, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Kevin Standlee, 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 OGH.]

Pixel Scroll 10/2/23 Mammas Don’t Let Your Pixels Grow Up To Be Scrollboys

(1) THIS WEEK. My mother has been hospitalized since last Friday. While her main medical problem is abating, it’s still not clear to me what will happen next. She’ll be 97 next week, which makes the outcome hard to predict. I’ve been with her four or five hours a day, then coming home and working on the daily roundup. If something develops and I want to spend more time there, I will put up a placeholder Scroll for the day.

(2) CAINE PRIZE WINNER. “A Soul of Small Places” by Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo is the 2023 winner of The Caine Prize for African Writing. The story appeared in Africa Risen edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Z. Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.

(3) THE DARK: CASE STUDY. The Dark’s Sean Wallace lays bare the facts about what the end of Amazon Newsstand did to his magazine. Thread starts here. Subscriptions absolutely welcome here.

(4) COIN OF THE REALM. Todd Allen has launched a Kickstarter for the audiobook of The Dragon Who Dabbled in Crypto.

Something wanted the podcaster dead.

An attempt to blow the whistle on a cryptocurrency scam drew a response: a botched assassination by supernatural means. Management brought in a consultant to “fix” the problem, but a trail of scorch marks from incinerated bodies leads into a web of demonic financial crimes, purloined precious metals and eSports game fixing. What is the secret of the “Schatzhorde des Drachen” coin and will it lead Mister Lewis into the lair of… The Dragon Who Dabbled in Crypto?

[No actual dragons were harmed in the writing of this book. Egos, on the other hand…]

 And Todd hopes you want to ask:

How did I come up with “The Dragon Who Dabbled in Digital?”

I typically lampoon the tech world or business world as a subtext for the Hardboiled Magic books. When I was looking around for something worth poking at the things that were bubbling to the surface were questionable behavior across the crypto world and the Gamestop stock shorting incident was still a meme until itself, if I could get a little punny.  When you bring memes into stock trading, the lines between that and crypto start to blur when you look at meme-based cryptocurrency like Dogecoin, so I felt confident putting those two things side by side in the plot.

And since Dumb Money came out as I was finalizing the release schedule, I’m apparently not the only person who was thinking in this general ballpark

The working title for quite awhile was “Dragoncoin,” and then I got to the point where I had finalize a name for the cryptocurrency the scam in the title would be based around. Would you believe most of the good crypto names are already taken. I retreated to German and named it “Schatzhorde des Drachen” or Dragon’s Treasure Hoard.

As I was thinking about names for the book, Dragoncoin is just way too close to some actual coins, I was bouncing around “Dragon” and “cryptocurrency” and “The Dragon Who Dabbled in Crypto” popped out when I was thinking about some of the more verbose titles I’ve seen lately. 

Todd Allen and narrator Erik Braa “The King of Voice” put together a promotional video.

(5) CHENGDU WORLDCON ROUNDUP. [By Ersatz Culture.]

  • Various con merchandise on sale

Mostly badges, but there’s also a pillow, fridge magnets, ornaments and brooches.  I’ve struggled to navigate the Taobao shop page, because it keeps wanting me to log in whenever I click on anything.

Weibo announcement: https://weibo.com/7634468344/Nm11GjBkX

Taobao store page: https://shop58985787.taobao.com/

  • Summary of the ticket/event schedule situation

Here’s a long Weibo post from SF Light Year aka commenter Adaoli, summarizing the current state of play.  A precis of the numbered points is (via Google Translate, and my summarizing skills, so there’s plenty of scope for error here):

  1. The 5-day in-person tickets that were priced at 320 yuan (approx $44 USD) were discontinued (over a week ago).
  2. Single day passes – reportedly costing 128 yuan (approx $18 USD) – have been promised, but are not yet available.  Holders of these tickets will not be able to attend the opening, closing or Hugo ceremonies.
  3. Supporters of the Chengdu bid at DisCon III will also have to apply via the lottery to attend any of those ceremonies
  4. People who already bought the 5-day in-person tickets also have to apply via the lottery to attend those ceremonies.  It won’t be possible to attend all the ceremonies.
  5. Foreigners don’t have to apply via the lottery, if they’ve previously applied to the “1/100 Light Second Plan”.  That said, if the “3000km travel distance” mentioned is strictly enforced, I think that might exclude people travelling from places like Korea, Thailand or the west of Japan?
  6. Hugo Finalists also don’t have to apply for the lottery, although I think they need to have had contact with someone from the organizing staff.
  7. Ditto Guests of Honour.
  8. Apparently announcements of the schedule are/were expected during China’s National Day Holiday, but that ended a few hours ago as I type this, and I don’t think anything has been announced.  However, the “Golden Week” holiday period runs until Saturday 7th, so it’s possible that’s the timeframe those announcements are expected in?
  • Three-Body Problem immersive experience

Here are a couple of posts to the Xiaohongshu social network, and a news report, showing a Three-Body Problem branded attraction that has just – I think – opened in Chengdu.  The images in the first linked post are actually short videos, although I could only get them to play in the app; I tried the website in a couple of different browsers, and they only appeared as static images.

  • More images of the con venue

I suspect these have long lost their novelty, but if not, here are some new aerial shots — https://weibo.com/1649289953/NlqFZcgzH?refer_flag=1001030103_

(6) LOST AND FOUND CAUSES. [Item by Bill.] An interesting thread about recent Russian propaganda novels in service of generating support for Putin and the invasion of the Ukraine, including a uniquely Russian strain of Alternate History. Thread starts here.

Here are a few excerpts from the 52-tweet thread.

(7) SCARIER THAN PUMPKIN SPICE. Variety gives us the “Best Halloween Movies Ever, Ranked”. Here’s one I wasn’t expecting —

13. Casper (1995)

This sweet film centers its biggest reveal around a tween Halloween party. A father and daughter (played by Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci) move into a haunted mansion to rid the pad of its poltergeist tenants (Casper and his three uncles, the Ghostly Trio). After lots of spirited capers and calamities, the true story behind Casper the friendly ghost is revealed. But the record scratch moment is truly when Casper is transformed into a human boy in the form of 90’s Tiger Beat sensation, Devon Sawa. The new boy surprises Ricci at the party and whisks her into the air for a floating dance that ends with a kiss as the human boy then returns to his original ghostly shape. It’s charming, it’s innocent and his presence scares all the other kids away. — M.W.

If you think you can guess what’s #1 on the list, you are probably right.

(8) KICKIN’ IT GUNDAM STYLE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] For only $3 million (give or take, depending on the ¥/$ exchange rate) you could be running the controls inside your own Mobile Suit Gundam-inspired robot. Start-up Tsubame Industries plans to build 5 of the 3.5 ton, nearly 15-foot tall, bots. “Japan startup develops ‘Gundam’-like robot with $3 mln price tag” at Reuters.

… Called ARCHAX after the avian dinosaur archaeopteryx, the robot has cockpit monitors that receive images from cameras hooked up to the exterior so that the pilot can manoeuvre the arms and hands with joysticks from inside its torso….

“I wanted to create something that says, ‘This is Japan’.”

Yoshida plans to build and sell five of the machines for the well-heeled robot fan, but hopes the robot could one day be used for disaster relief or in the space industry….

(9) SAUNDERS TRIBUTE. The Washington Post’s Michael de Adder wrote a piece about colleague Charles R. Saunders, who died in 2020. Saunders was an African-American author and journalist, a pioneer of the “sword and soul” literary genre with his Imaro novels. 

(10) ED YOUNG (1931-2023). Ed Tse-chun Young, children’s book illustrator and author died September 29 at the age of 91. Young illustrated more than 100 children’s books, including Jane Yolen’s The Emperor and the Kite, which received a Caldecott Honor in 1968. The annual award from the American Library Association recognizes the previous year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children”. He also wrote and illustrated Lon Po Po, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1991, and Seven Blind Mice, which received a 1993 Caldecott Honor.

For his lifetime contribution as a children’s illustrator, he was U.S. nominee in both 1992 and 2000 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition available to creators of children’s books. In 2016, Young was honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Eric Carle Museum and the Society of Illustrators.

(11) DOUG BERRY OBIT. Bay Area fan Doug Berry died on September 30. Kevin Standlee said, “While he wasn’t a high flyer known much outside of certain SF Bay Area fan circles, he was a nice person who had a hard life, and he and his wife Kirsten (who is fighting cancer herself) were friends of Lisa and mine. They worked on the newsletter staff at Worldcon 76 in San Jose, and were active members of the local fandom.”

Dave Gallagher told Facebook readers, “Doug had medical issues that did not keep him from a job that he loved as a school crossing guard with the Santa Clara Police Department. He was also a rabid San Francisco Giants fan. His health took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago and was hospitalized.”

He also was a former game writer and served in the Army. He did this self-introduction video on his YouTube channel.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 2, 1909 Alex Raymond. Cartoonist, generally only known for creating Flash Gordon for King Features in 1934. The strip has been adapted into many media, from a series of movie serials in the Thirties and Forties to a Seventies TV series and the Eighties feature film not to be confused with the American-Canadian tv series of the same vintage. Radio serials, myriad films, comic books, novels — any medium that exists has seen Flash Gordon fiction. And more action figures than I care to think about. Here’s a review of one of the better ones. There are at least fifteen authorized strips and a number of bootleg strips as well. Needless to say there are bootleg films and serials too. (Died 1956.)
  • Born October 2, 1911 Jack Finney. Author of many novels but only a limited number of them genre, to wit The Body Snatchers, Time and Again and From Time to Time. He would publish About Time, a short story collection which has the time stories, “The Third Level” and “I Love Galesburg in the Springtime”. The film version of The Body Snatchers was nominated for a Hugo at Seacon ‘79. He has a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. (Died 1995.)
  • Born October 2, 1919 Edward Wellen. Mostly remembered for the most excellent mysteries he wrote in great number that showed up in the Alfred Hitchcock Magazine and other outlets. He’s here because he wrote an ongoing column in Galaxy called Spoofs with first one in July entitled “Origins of Galactic Slang”. It was followed by similar Galactic Origins well call them for lack of a better term spoofs over the following decade. He wrote a fair amount of short fiction, all if it quite good, most, if not all, is collected in two digital Golden Age Metapacks. (Died 2011.)
  • Born October 2, 1921 Edmund Crispin. He’s well remembered and definitely still read for his most excellent Gervase Fen mystery series. It turns out that he was the editor of the Best SF anthology series that ran off and on between 1955 and 1972. Writers such as Kuttner, Moore, Blish, Bradbury and Von Vogt had stories there. These anthologies alas are not available digitally or in hard copy except in gently or not so gently remaindered copies.  Buyer beware. (Died 1978.)
  • Born October 2, 1944 Vernor Vinge, 79. Winner of five Hugo Awards, none for what I consider his best series which is the Realtime/Bobble series. I’m also very fond of his short fiction, much of which is collected in The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, though the eighteen years’ worth of his work since remain uncollected.
  • Born October 2, 1954 Diane Carey, 69. A major contributor to the Trek multiverse of novel. I mean really, really major contributor. I learned there are lines of Trek novels that I never knew existed. She uses three pen names (Lydia Gregory, Diane Carey, and D. L. Carey) which helps when you’re pumping out a lot of product. She has novels in the Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise franchises. So nothing surprising there you say. Then under Diane Carey, she has the New Earth series and there’s at least three other series which extrapolate off the existing series. She also did a novel about Kirk as a cadet at Starfleet Academy. 
  • Born October 2, 1972 Graham Sleight, 51. Editor of Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction between 2007 and 2011, and was a Locus reviewer 2005 to 2012. He is the Managing Editor of the 3rd edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and was so when the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Related Work was given to it. He oft times writes about Doctor Who. He co-edited (along with Simon Bradshaw and Antony Keen) The Unsilent Library, a book of essays about the Russell T Davies era. His other Doctor Who work, The Doctor’s Monsters: Meanings of the Monstrous in Doctor Who, is now available in a trade paperback edition. 

(13) COMICS SECTION.

(14) ALT RIGHT FOOD FIGHT. Camestros Felapton’s “Yet more scuttlebutt” is all about butts being shown, belonging to brawling authors Larry Correia, Jon Del Arroz, and Vox Day. If you can never get enough of that, uh, why?

It’s over ten years since the first Sad Puppy campaign, its over six years since this blog began covering Jon Del Arroz and yet the storm keeps rumbling. Adding to the Correia v Arroz fight is, of course, Vox Day. Unlike JDA, Day does exercise some diplomatic phrasing before joining the fray… However, Day feels he must defend JDA…

(15) SPACE FOR SURPRISES. Explore the eerie depths of the cosmos on Halloween in the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater. The American Museum of Natural History in New York is offering an in-person event “Spooky Space: Planetarium Tour of the Universe” on October 31 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Ticket info at the link.

Prepare to be spellbound by hauntingly spectacular views of monstrous stars, devilish supernova explosions, and frightful collisions that await you in the eerie depths of the cosmos!  

Join Jackie Faherty, senior scientist in the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics, for a spooky tour of our universe.  As you settle into the darkness of the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater, the universe’s most spine-tingling phenomena will be unveiled before your eyes, leaving you in awe of the cosmic mysteries and eerie enigmas. 

(16) MUSIC OF THE SPHERE. Chris Barkley asks, “Could this be Hugo-worthy in the Best Related category? Stay tuned.” “U2’s Sphere Opening Night Lives Up to the Hyperbole: Concert Review” in Variety.

This is pretty much the antithesis of any accepted, traditional rock ‘n’ roll orthodoxy. It is also the natural human reaction to just about any or all of “U2:UV Live at Sphere Las Vegas,” the greatest-show-on-earth that opened Friday night in an enormous dome just off the Strip. The just-over-two-hour show marks the apotheosis of a bigger-is-better ethos that has regularly occurred throughout the band’s career, and which they are not about to give up now that they’re in their 60s for any back-to-basics false modesty. The group that has spent so much of its recording output urging you to think about God, and other only slightly less weighty matters, is in Sin City mostly to make you say: “Oh my God.” And we can vouch that we were hearing that utterance, from people above, below and around us, in a kind of reactive, quadrophonic effect that nearly matched Sphere’s vaunted 22nd-century sound system….

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Moid over at Media Death Cult has recreated that scene from Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

It’s the Moideverse…

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, Todd Allen, James Reynolds, Kevin Standlee, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Pixel Scroll 12/15/22 Pixel’s Turn To Scroll

(1) LOCUS REACHES CROWDFUNDING TARGET. The Locus Magazine Indiegogo appeal hit the target today. When I checked in they had exceeded their $75,000 goal and were at $78,571. Although today was the announced deadline, Locus has extended the appeal to the end of the year.

…But, wait, it’s not over yet! On advice from those that know, we are going to extend our campaign to the end of the year: if we hit $85k that will cover all of the expenses of the fundraiser and we will get the whole $75k. FTW!

Also, we really want to reach our Special Short Story Issue stretch goal!! At $85,000 we’ll dedicate one of our 2023 monthly issues to the art of short fiction, and already have Kelly Link, Usman T. Malik, and Ted Chiang lined up for a roundtable feature. 

Oh, and (Jan-Erik Zandersson might want to cover his eyes here) Locus hitting its goal means John Scalzi is going to do a Christmas story.

(2) TRUMP’S BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. Former President Trump’s hyped “big announcement” would probably not be covered in today’s Scroll except that it proved to be the introduction of his “’official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card’ collection with a picture of himself in superhero costume, cape and ‘Trump Champion’ belt.” “’Losing the plot’: Trump mocked after announcing superhero card collection” at Yahoo!

… But when the announcement came on Thursday, Trump said he was merely offering supporters “limited edition cards featur[ing] amazing ART of my Life & Career”, which he promised would prove “very much like a baseball card but hopefully much more exciting”.

“GET YOUR CARDS NOW!” the 76-year-old former president commanded, above the picture of himself standing in a ring for boxing or wrestling, muscles rippling under a red leotard and wearing high blue boots emblazoned with “45” (his presidential number) and an American flag as a cape.

The cards, the declared candidate for the Republican nomination in 2024 said, cost “Only $99 each” and “would make a great Christmas gift”….

And how did the base react? We take you now to Jon Del Arroz’ reaction video titled “Trump HUMILIATES Himself With His New CRINGE Announcement. Make It STOP!”

“This is ridiculous. This reeks of an nft scam where you’re just like collecting these things that are not actually collectible. They’re digital pictures just like this one. Just take a screenshot friends and you’ll have it yourself. Let’s go to the website and check it out. All right. Collecttrumpcards.com here we go. [laughs] And it’s loading slow, too, how exciting. How exciting. Gosh this is so sad. I mean to me like a president doing this, somebody who is a 2024 Contender or kind of was. Uh, the site’s not even loading. Womp womp uh it is actually embarrassing. Like he he should not be stooping to this kind of thing, especially as like a big businessman or whatever. Like I mean you’d think that he’d have a better sort of business plan going forward to where he’s making real money. I mean this is like selling stupid trinkets that aren’t even actual trinkets, you don’t even get anything out of it, and it’s just kind of sad to watch. I think this is really the downfall of Trump when you’re doing a big announcement in all this and this is what you come out with….”

It’s my blog so I don’t have to run an image of Trump’s superhero card to illustrate this item. I think that’s a right guaranteed to me by the Constitution. Or the LA County sanitation code. Somewhere.

(3) MARLEY WAS DEAD. Open Culture invites you to “Hear Neil Gaiman Read A Christmas Carol Just Like Charles Dickens Read It”. (It’s an updated 2014 post.) The recording is here.

In Christmases past, we featured Charles Dickens’ hand-edited copy of his beloved 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. He did that hand editing for the purposes of giving public readings, a practice that, in his time, “was considered a desecration of one’s art and a lowering of one’s dignity.” That time, however, has gone, and many of the most prestigious writers alive today take the reading aloud of their own work to the level of art, or at least high entertainment, that Dickens must have suspected one could. Some writers even do a bang-up job of reading other writers’ work: modern master storyteller Neil Gaiman gave us a dose of that when we featured his recitation of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” from memory. Today, however, comes the full meal: Gaiman’s telling of A Christmas Carol straight from that very Dickens-edited reading copy….

(4) HORROR HOSTESS. Via the Horror Writers Association blog, “Nuts and Bolts: Interview with Aurora Gorealis”. There’s a substantial excerpt at the link, however, only HWA members have access to the full article.

In the tradition of such sinister seductresses as Vampira and Elvira, Aurora Gorealis is a Baltimore-based horror host who weaves dark magic from a combination of campy movies, sassy attitude, and the occasional pun of dubious quality.

Since 2017, Aurora (aka: Melissa LaMartina) has been playing the character during “Shocktail Hour” at the Golden West Café in Baltimore, combining live comedy and screenings of off-the-wall classics such as “Phantom of the Paradise” and “House on Haunted Hill” (complete with William Castle-style gimmicks)….

(5) STONE THE PHONE. “‘Luddite’ Teens Don’t Want Your Likes” reports the New York Times.

…“Lots of us have read this book called ‘Into the Wild,’” said Lola Shub, a senior at Essex Street Academy, referring to Jon Krakauer’s 1996 nonfiction book about the nomad Chris McCandless, who died while trying to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. “We’ve all got this theory that we’re not just meant to be confined to buildings and work. And that guy was experiencing life. Real life. Social media and phones are not real life.”

“When I got my flip phone, things instantly changed,” Lola continued. “I started using my brain. It made me observe myself as a person. I’ve been trying to write a book, too. It’s like 12 pages now.”

Briefly, the club members discussed how the spreading of their Luddite gospel was going. Founded last year by another Murrow High School student, Logan Lane, the club is named after Ned Ludd, the folkloric 18th-century English textile worker who supposedly smashed up a mechanized loom, inspiring others to take up his name and riot against industrialization….

… “But that wasn’t enough,” she said. “So I put my phone in a box.”

For the first time, she experienced life in the city as a teenager without an iPhone. She borrowed novels from the library and read them alone in the park. She started admiring graffiti when she rode the subway, then fell in with some teens who taught her how to spray-paint in a freight train yard in Queens. And she began waking up without an alarm clock at 7 a.m., no longer falling asleep to the glow of her phone at midnight. Once, as she later wrote in a text titled the “Luddite Manifesto,” she fantasized about tossing her iPhone into the Gowanus Canal.

While Logan’s parents appreciated her metamorphosis, particularly that she was regularly coming home for dinner to recount her wanderings, they grew distressed that they couldn’t check in on their daughter on a Friday night. And after she conveniently lost the smartphone they had asked her to take to Paris for a summer abroad program, they were distraught. Eventually, they insisted that she at least start carrying a flip phone….

(6) THERE’S A LOT AT THE END OF GRAVITY’S RAINBOW. “Thomas Pynchon, Famously Private, Sells His Archive” – and the Huntington Library is its new home reports the New York Times.

For years, archival traces of the novelist Thomas Pynchon have been almost as rare as sightings of the man himself.

Only a handful of confirmed photos of him are known to exist. While letters by him sporadically pop up for sale, those that have surfaced in publicly accessible archives have tended to disappear from view just as quickly, following protests from the famously private author.

But now, the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., has acquired Pynchon’s literary archive, promising to open a window into the mind and methods of an author whose dense, erudite, playfully postmodern and often extremely long novels like “Gravity’s Rainbow” (760 pages) and “Against the Day” (1,085) have inspired serious scholarship, cultish devotion and wild-eyed conspiracy theories.

The archive includes 48 boxes — 70 linear feet, in archivist-speak — of material dating from the late 1950s to the 2020s. There are typescripts and drafts of all his published books, from “V.” (1963) to “Bleeding Edge” (2013). And there are copious research notes on the many, many subjects (World War II rocketry, postal history, 18th-century surveying) touched on in his encyclopedic novels.

But for all its richness, those hoping for a more intimate view of the man who twice made a cheeky cameo on “The Simpsons” with a paper bag over his head may be out of luck.

The archive includes correspondence relating to the publishing process, the library said, but no private letters or other personal material. And no, there are no photographs of Pynchon either…..

(7) DEFENDING SANDMAN. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Last night BBC Radio 4 Front Row arts programme had Neil Gaiman. Neil, apparently, has been getting a fair bit of criticism saying that Sandman is too woke what with non-binary characters and all.  Neil thinks this strange as 30 years ago when Sandman first came out there was no problem.  OK, so woke did not exist then, but Neil points out that nobody back then complained that Sandman was too PC.. “Neil Gaiman, China’s art censorship in Europe, Decline of the working class in the creative industries”.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

1995 [By Cat Eldridge.] Winnie statues in the London Zoo

Yes, we already had a look at the Winnie the Pooh statue in White River, Ontario, but neither one of those statues is of him. Rather the examples today are of the bear that inspired A.A. Milne to create that marvelous bear.

The first, not at all surprisingly, stands close to the War Memorial.

This bronze statue, which is called the Winnie the bear and Lt. Colebourn Statue, was sculpted by Canadian artist William (Bill) Epp, and donated to London Zoo by the Canadian province of Manitoba. A copy of an identical statue in the Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg.

The plaque reads:

Winnie and Lt. Colebourn
by Bill Epp
presented by the people
of Manitoba
unveiled July 1995

But it’s not the only sculpture of Winnie you’ll find here in the London Zoo! There is another bronze of Winnie, shown as a young cub, by sculptor Lorne McKean. It was unveiled by Christopher Robin Milne in 1981. It is located near Animal Adventure right by the Blackburn Entrance.

McKean likes swans since two of her commissions have been them, Girl and A Swan and simply Swans. She also did a stellar Fox fountain with a bronze fox on a rock with water in Old Fox Yard, Stowmarket.  

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 15, 1923 Freeman Dyson. Physicist best known in genre circles for the concept he theorized of a Dyson Sphere which would be built by a sufficiently technologically advanced species around a sun to harvest all solar energy. He credited Olaf Stapledon in Star Maker (1937), in which he described “every solar system… surrounded by a gauze of light traps, which focused the escaping solar energy for intelligent use,” with first coming up with the concept. (Died 2020.)
  • Born December 15, 1937 John Sladek. Weird and ambitious would be ways to describe his work. The Complete Roderick Is quite amazing, as is Tik-Tok, which won a BSFA, and Bugs is as well. He did amazing amounts of short fiction, much of which is collected finally in the ironically named Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek. He is generously stocked at the usual suspects. (Died 2000.)
  • Born December 15, 1949 Don Johnson, 73. Though Miami Vice is where most will know him from, he has impressive genre creds including the lead in the Ellison-derived A Boy and Dog, voicing Wazir’s Son in Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Office Andy Brady in the Revenge of the Stepford Wives film and another Sheriff, Earl McGraw, in the From Dusk till Dawn: The Series.
  • Born December 15, 1951 David Bischoff. His “Tin Woodman” which was written with Dennis Bailey and nominated for a Nebula would be adapted into a Next Generation story. He also wrote the Next Gen story “First Contact” (with Dennis Russell Bailey, Joe Menosky, Ronald D. Moore and Michael Piller.) And he continued the Bill the Galactic Hero story with Harry Harrison.  He’s also written a kickass excellent Farscape novel, Ship of Ghosts. (Died 2018.)
  • Born December 15, 1952 Marta DuBoi. Her first genre role is on the Starman series as Dr. Ellen Dukowin the “Fever” episode though you’ll likely better recognize her as Ardra on the “Devil’s Due” episode of the Next Generation. She also had roles on The Land of The LostThe Trial of the Incredible Hulk and Tales of the Golden Monkey. (Died 2018.)
  • Born December 15, 1953 Robert Charles Wilson, 69. He’s got a Hugo Award for Spin, a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for The Chronoliths, a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the “The Cartesian Theater” novelette and Prix Aurora Awards for the Blind Lake and Darwinia novels. He also garnered a Philip K. Dick Award for Mysterium. Very, very impressive indeed. 
  • Born December 15, 1963 Helen Slater, 59. Was Supergirl in the film of that name, and returned to the 2015 TV series of the same name as Supergirl’s adoptive mother. Also within the DC Universe, she voiced Talia al Ghul in in Batman: The Animated Series. Recently she also voiced Martha Kent in DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year. And Lara in Smallville… And Eliza Danvers on the Supergirl series. Me? I’m not obsessed at all by the DC Universe.  Her other genre appearances include being on Supernatural, Eleventh HourToothlessDrop Dead Diva and Agent X
  • Born December 15, 1970 Michael Shanks, 52. Best known for playing Dr. Daniel Jackson in the very long-running Stargate SG-1 franchise. His first genre appearance was in the Highlander series and he’s been in a lot of genre properties including the Outer LimitsEscape from MarsAndromeda (formally titled Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda and there’s a juicy story there), Swarmed, Mega Snake, Eureka, Sanctuary, Smallville, Supernatural and Elysium. Wow! 

(10) A “KING KONG” BIRTHDAY CAKE. [Item by Steve Vertlieb.] For my 70th birthday (December 15th, 2015), dear friends Bruce and Ann Gearhart in Baltimore surprised me with the most wonderful celebratory cake I’ve ever been given.

“The Girl In The Hairy Paw,” edited and compiled by Ronald Gottesman and Harry M. Geduld, with wonderful cover art by Dave Willardson, was published by Avon Books in 1976 and featured, as its lead chapter, my lengthy essay on the making and production of the original “King Kong.” Its release was a significant benchmark in my life and career, as it was the first time that my work had ever been published in a book.

The opening chapter of this legendary volume was adapted from my series of articles comprising the cover story for the premiere issue of “The Monster Times” in 1972. This astonishing birthday sheet cake, replicating the book’s famous “King Kong” cover, thrilled me beyond words.

Carving into this wondrous pastry was delayed by a solid half hour while we all took pictures of it. It was simply too precious to deface. Fortunately, sanity eventually prevailed and this wondrous cake was ravenously devoured. Still, I wish that it might somehow have been preserved forever…. a delectable artifact commemorating my lifelong favorite film.

After seven years, the astonishing, childlike joy of having received this unforgettable gift brings a wondrous smile to my aging lips.

(11) TURKISH CARVINGS COULD BE FIRST COMIC STRIP. “Prehistoric carvings are oldest known story sequence” behind a paywall in Nature.

An 11,000-year-old carving in Turkey is the earliest known portrayal of a narrative scene. Archaeologists have uncovered other etched images in southeastern Turkey from the Neolithic period, which in the Near East stretched roughly from 10,000 bc to 7,000 bc and
includes the transition from nomadic life to settlements. But, unlike previously identified images, the latest discovery consists of two adjacent panels with a progressing storyline….

Although the Nature article is paywalled, the source journal article with numerous photos is available: “The Sayburç reliefs: a narrative scene from the Neolithic” at Cambridge Core.

(12) SF READER LITMUS TEST. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Having pre-registered as press for the rapidly-approaching CES (I’m not going IRL/F2F, but want some of the PR email barrage), Daniel Dern just got this:

Subject: CES to Feature FoodTech Sessions, Exhibits & More – Connect w/ Cultivated Meat CEO Panelist?

Dern asks/thinks (but did not reply with) this, to a mix of fellow tech journalists and Filers: Who else first quick-read this as a, with all due respect to SF writer Terry Bisson [1] ‘made-of-cultivated-meat’ panelist rather than the more likely meaning?

[1] http://www.terrybisson.com/theyre-made-out-of-meat-2/

(13) WITH ALICE. [Item by Daniel Dern.]It zooms through the skies with the greatest of ease! “Antimatter Could Travel Through Our Galaxy With Ease, Physicists Say”Gizmodo has the story.

A team of physicists determined that enigmatic ‘antinuclei’ can travel across the universe without being absorbed by the interstellar medium. The finding suggests we may be able to identify antimatter that is produced by dark matter in deep space.

The physicists estimated the Milky Way’s so-called transparency to antihelium-3 nuclei—meaning, how permissive the galaxy’s interstellar medium is to antinuclei zipping through space.

“Our results show, for the first time on the basis of a direct absorption measurement, that antihelium-3 nuclei coming from as far as the centre of our Galaxy can reach near-Earth locations,” said ALICE physics coordinator Andrea Dainese, in a CERN release….

(14) WHY IT CRATERED. MLive takes you back to “Space World: The Michigan amusement park that never was”.

In the late 1970s, a Detroit-area aeronautical engineer who helped make NASA’S Apollo program possible dreamed up an amusement park called Space World. He hoped to build it on what was then farmland in Ypsilanti Township. He eventually broke ground on the park in nearby Huron Township, but down-to-earth troubles like high interest rates scrubbed the project.

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. From The Late Late Show With James Corden, “Avatar Ed: James Explains The First ‘Avatar’ To Kids”.

This group of schoolchildren is getting older, so it’s time they got… “the talk”. That is of course, the talk about what “Avatar” is and why they should care.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, Steve Vertlieb, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, and Chris Barkley for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask #69

Fandom and the Pendulum: The Astronomicon 13 Fan Guest of Honor Speech

By Chris M. Barkley:

“We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.”  — Anais Nin 

I was resetting a cuckoo clock the other day when I became transfixed with the motion of the pendulum. Back and forth, in a hypnotic, rhythmic action.   

Looking at it, I think that it is the best visual representation of the passage of time.

In doing so, I was also reminded of several conversations I had with friends at Chicon 8 several weeks earlier.

Separately, without prompting or encouragement, each of them described how in the current state of sf fandom the pendulum had taken a strong, hard excessive turn and in a direction that they did not particularly like very much.

All of them had similar complaints and, oddly, all of them mentioned the same metaphor; that it seemed that the pendulum of change had taken a hard swing and it was in a direction that they didn’t like.

To wit, that recently, fandom seems to be a not a very inviting place unless they strictly adhered to a particular ideology.

And I concur.

Because, like the pendulum, the recent social and political shifts in sf fandom, particularly the branch I know well, literary fandom, can be observed and measured. 

Chris M. Barkley

In order to understand where we are now, we must examine the origins of sf fandom. Even today, the general public believes a very persistent myth that conventions and fandom began after the cancellation of Star Trek and the gathering of fans that started taking place in the early 1970’s. In truth, it began over forty years before then… 

In the early 1930’s, Amazing Stories and several other pulp magazines in the United States, began running letter of comment columns. The published letters included the addresses of the fans who sent them. These letter writers, who were nearly all white and male, began to correspond with each other. Local fans found each other and began to form clubs dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. A similar movement was also underway in the United Kingdom as well. By late 1936, they began to call some of these larger meetups conventions.

In the US, the New York contingent of fans decided to hold a World Science Fiction Convention (NyCon 1) in New York City, in conjunction with the futuristic theme of the World’s Fair being held in the nearby borough of Queens.

(BTW, fandom’s first significant feud began at that convention, as several well known members of First Fandom were excluded from attending, mainly because of personality conflicts but at the time, their political differences were played up. More on this later in this speech).

The progenitors of fandom began a whole host of fannish traditions; fanzines and fan writing, literary serious criticism of genre fiction, small press publishing, cos-play, filk singing, convention panels and ‘dead dog’ parties.

As the decades flew by, the marginal popularity of sf, fantasy and horror with the public came and went but remained constant in that initial group of fans, some of whom eventually became well known authors, editors, artists and convention runners. 

In the early years, the first two main genre fiction awards, the Hugo (in 1953) and the Nebula (in 1965) were established. 

Women authors and editors (Andre Norton, C.L. Moore, Cele Goldsmith, Leigh Brackett and Judith Merril) paved the way for the next generation of better known and renowned writers of the 1970’s and 1980’s, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey, Vonda McIntrye, Joanna Russ and Octavia Butler among others.

I entered fandom in June 1976. I was a witness to and a participant in a lot of the pendulum swing in fandom; the slow but persistent emergence of women and the LGBTQ+ community, the calling out of sexism and harassment and the inclusion of more people of color in fandom.

In other words, the fandom of the early days is as far removed from today’s fandom as the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne is from N. K. Jemisin, the art of Rembrandt from Jon-Michel Basquiat, the musical Oklahoma! is to Hamilton and the swinging moves of Benny Goodman are from the grooves of Rihanna.

And I want to be quite clear about this, as an African-American citizen of the United States of America, I applaud, encourage and welcome all of these changes in fandom. Because in 2022, representation, in the face of an increasing societal turmoil and partisan division, matters even more than ever.

But, as a close observer (and an active participant) in some of these changes, I can tell you that none of this came very quickly or very easily.

As the pendulum swung, other factors and effects came into play; personal computers, cell and smartphones, social media sites and the internet became a double edged sword. Technological advances made it easier to call out toxic fans and their behavior but it also enabled bad actors to disrupt fannish activities and the lives of fans on an incredibly personal level.

Fandom is subject to the same major sources of social change, including population growth and composition, culture and technology, the natural environment, and social conflict as any other artistic movement. 

Here’s the thing; these changes, shifts and, if you will, the swings of the pendulum are not only true and observable, they are unavoidable and inevitable.

Because, as history has shown us again and again, in every movement of substance, whether it be music, art, literature, science, sports and (especially) politics undergo the change on a regular and inevitable basis.

A sizable portion of the fans attending genre conventions are female, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. The people who are a part of the sf/f community today are more diverse, more knowledgeable, technically adroit, and, for the most part, they’re unafraid to let you know how they feel. And, as much as their right-wing adversaries would like them to go away, this newly emerging segment of fandom is not likely because they are the new majority, which was mainly brought on by the Puppies’ overt and militant actions against fandom.

And inevitably, with the advances came some pushback, in the form of harassment and trolling, by privileged individuals, who are mostly white, are either frightened by an otherness of others outside of their own experiences or their own racist upbringing and xenophobic tendencies.

In the early to mid-2010’s, this all came to head with is now known as the “Puppy Wars” (Sad/Angry/Rabid) which were expertly chronicled by Camestros Felapton in his Hugo Award nominated non-fiction work, Debarkle

The fannish backlash against this reprehensible group of egocentric bullies played out over several years; the Puppies may have disrupted the Hugo Award nomination process for a few years but they eventually lost the war when nearly all of their gamed nominees lost and the World Science Fiction Convention Constitution was sufficiently amended to stop it being successfully attempted again.

But this wasn’t to say there were no lasting effects from this conflict; while diversity has become even more celebrated (at least more so in this branch of fandom), there were several troubling, high profile incidents in the past few years:

  • Conservative provocateur Jon Del Arroz filed a lawsuit against Worldcon 76 (which was held in San Jose. California) when it banned him (rightfully so) from attending the convention due to his overtly inflammatory statements about fandom. But Del Arroz filed a lawsuit in response to the convention committee’s public announcement of that decision, which claimed he made racist statements. Worldcon 76 and Del Arroz announced in June 2021 they had settled the suit shortly before it was scheduled to go to trial. Four of the five claims had been dismissed by the judge, but the charge of defamation, of him being a “racist”, would have been the bone of contention if a trial had gone forward. The convention ceded a $4000 settlement to Del Arroz and a public apology, which can still be seen on the Worldcon 76 website. It is believed that the legal fees incurred by the convention committee were around $100,000.
  • In 2019 and 2020, sf writer Adam-Troy Castro and his late wife Judi were beset by a series of increasingly vicious cyber identity thefts that drained their bank accounts, ruined their credit rating and forced them to move out of their longtime home. Go-Fund Me campaigns saved them from being homeless but the culprits of these attacks remain unknown and at large.
  • A few months ago, white supremacist trolls somehow arranged the suspension of the Twitter accounts of authors Harry Turtledove and Patrick Tomlinson. Both accounts were eventually restored but Twitter has no explanation of how this occurred nor have they offered an explanation of how it happened or any whether they are investigating the breach.
  • Patrick Tomlinson and Hugo Award nominated Nigerian sf author and editor Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki received death threats as they attended Chicon 8. In the four years preceding the convention, Tomlinson and his family members were the constant and frequent targets of identity theft, trolling and death threats. 

To counter these reactionary fans, many convention committees enacted Codes of Conduct over the past decade. The trouble was that in the years since they were first introduced, some of these CoC’s were either not very well defined, not very transparent on how they were implemented or, in the worst case scenario, poorly enforced. The most recent examples include:

  • At the 2022 Nebula Award Conference in Los Angeles, newly minted Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association Grandmaster Mercedes Lackey, during a panel titled “Romancing Sci-Fi and Fantasy”, was alleged to have uttered a racial slur. Author of color Jen Brown, complained about the incident on Twitter and Lackey, without the benefit of an investigation or a hearing, was summarily dismissed (along with her husband Larry Dixon, who vociferously defended her on social media) from further participation in the Conference. Lackey fully apologized two days later and said she had not intentionally said anything racist, but had fumbled saying “person of color”. While friends and colleagues (such as authors of color Samuel R. Delany and Steven Barnes) rallied to her defense, Jen Brown and a legion of others continued to condemn her and boycott her works. As of this writing, SWFA has not offered a full explanation, any indication that an investigation was conducted or an apology for their actions.
  • Almost exactly a week later on Memorial Day weekend at Balticon 56, local author and conrunner Stephanie Burke found herself in a strikingly similar situation; she was accused by the Programming staff of racist statements and behavior. To compound matters, Burke was accused of never responding to an email about the incident, but it was discovered later that the email was never sent. On top of all of that, Ms. Burke suffered the embarrassment of being removed from an ongoing panel she was on and then was verbally abused by a “senior staffer” of Balticon, who was found in violation of the Code of Conduct. The very next day,Yakira Heistand, the Chair of Balticon 56, publicly apologized for Ms. Burke’s treatment but also stated that the allegations would be fully investigated. 
  • On September 1, 2022, 105 days after the alleged incident, Balticon 56 issued this statement:

Of the complaints against Ms. Burke, our Investigation Team determined there were no Code of Conduct violations. Witnesses confirmed that she was speaking of her own experiences and not making general statements about another individual or class of people. Speaking one’s own truth is not a violation of our Code of Conduct. Ms. Burke is welcome to be a program participant in the future. Again, we apologize for the manner in which the reports were communicated.

“The BSFS Investigation Team and Board of Directors have found that Senior Staffer 1 who approached Stephanie Burke prior to her panel and asked her to step away acted courteously and in accordance with our policy. Senior Staffer 2’s behavior during the discussion violated our Code of Conduct. The Board has determined that Senior Staffer 2 will be barred from volunteering for Balticon for a period of 2 years and from serving as a Department Head for an additional 2 years.”

  • In researching this speech, I have read many Codes of Conduct from other conventions. My partner was reading one and they came across a line in one upcoming convention that really stood out:

(Convention X) prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort.”

To me, there is nothing ordinary about this statement. 

While it is all good and well to try to be welcoming to marginalized fans, Convention X’s committee would do well to focus on the safety of EVERY fan attending their convention.

The Code of Conduct should be a group’s fail safe to deal with fans and participants who commit unseemly and disruptive behavior but it must be done as fairly, equitably and transparently as possible.


These incidents I have outlined have exposed some of the more serious divisions within our fannish community. My feeling is that fandom, in my estimation, is rapidly approaching a societal impasse; it seems it cannot go towards any sort of future without reconciling with its present set of circumstances. 

I take no joy in pointing out these deficiencies in fandom. I am also saddened that there will be those in fandom who will see this speech as a personal attack on the very progressive wing of fandom.

To them I say this; no one, including myself, is above criticism. And that constructive and earnest criticism can only be helpful. 

Because together, we can change the direction and velocity of the pendulum in a more useful direction.

For the record, I will make the following confession; when stating one’s preferred pronouns or gender preference became an ongoing issue at the beginning of the last decade, I was very confused about the point of doing so. Gradually, I came to understand that it was a matter of personal acknowledgement, empowerment and respect for the trans community. And if asked, I show the same respect that is offered to me.

I also think that while I support this affirming stance, I am not in favor of anyone being forced, coerced or being required to do so in order to participate in an activity or social event.

Because when diversity is coerced in such a manner, it ceases to be that. It is perceived, rightly, as a matter of control. And when the cost of diversity is a rigid, inflexible set of standards that is almost impossible for anyone to meet, it disallows those who may have differing opinions. That’s the moment it becomes oppression and we become the sort of people we have come to loathe and fear.

Again, I refer to the pendulum of history, which has shown, time after time, that the exclusion or purging of members of the aforementioned groups I referred to earlier in this speech. 

In many of those historical instances, in order for the movement to improve and become more just, those being excluded were involved in heinous, insidious and vile beliefs. 

Robert Silverberg, who had attended an unbroken string of Worldcon appearances dating back to the early 1950’s, said that he would not attend Chicon 8 because he did not want to be subjected to any abuse because of his past statements that have been considered, even by me, as insensitive and ill advised. (You want to know what he said? Google it.)   

George R.R. Martin, the creator of Game of Thrones and a multiple winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, said he wasn’t attending this year’s Worldcon, either. Although he is quite busy writing the last two novels in the Westeros series and overseeing several television projects for HBO, he may have an entirely different reason for not attending. After hosting and producing a disastrously long winded and nostalgia tinged 2020 Hugo Award Ceremony, many think that he has worn out his welcome at Worldcons. 

I know both of them quite well and I, for one, would tell either one of them that they would be welcomed at any convention I was running. Why?

Because neither of them are our enemies. Our enemies are fear, hate and prejudice in the absence of understanding.

My good friend David Gerrold has repeatedly stated over the years that when you attend Worldcon, it is like an annual family gathering. Fathers and mothers, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and so on. And, like all families, there are rivalries, grudges, simmering resentments, educational, class and political differences as well.

But despite those differences, we all unite because of our mutual love of science fiction, fantasy, films, television shows, art, comics, manga, graphic stories and much, much more.

Any imposition of a lock-step set of ideological beliefs, no matter on which extreme of the political spectrum it comes from, are dividing fandom right now and fandom, particularly this progenitor of all the others, will eventually, and tragically, become unsustainable. 

The first mention of a “graying of fandom” came to my attention around the turn of this century. In short, the people who are currently attending, running and administering conventions and other fannish activities are getting older. 

I have observed that there are a number of younger fans attending Chicon 8, they were far outnumbered by older fans. Collectively, we need to attract a legion of younger, more diverse fans, who are not only interested in merely extending our existing traditions, but creating new ones as well.

Being one of those older fans, I can see that my time in fandom will someday be coming to an end. I have already announced (to anyone who will listen) that I will be attending conventions and other events into the near future, I will no longer be actively working on any future local conventions or Worldcons.  

I am not doing this because I am tired or unenthusiastic, I am doing so because I have other, more pressing pursuits such as remaining healthy and active, seeing to the safety and well being of my four adorable grandchildren and other family members and, of course, more writing.

I wrote this speech not just as a warning (although it can be read that way), but as a cry into the abyss that we need not act against our own best interests and be seen as the overseer of the death of fandom.

As I see it, the pendulum has already swung to an extreme position. And the direction it swings next may cleave fandom into many, many pieces that cannot be made whole again. We must not let this happen.

My final words of advice to everyone consists of the following:

As a family, we should treat each other as peers, not rivals with agendas.

And in this family, there will be arguments and disagreements. And when we have these arguments,  we’ll argue ferociously. But let’s argue with facts, logic, evidence, and most of all respect for the person you are arguing with. Argue with empathy.

Act towards others as you would act towards yourself. People who are unable to do that will become evident and will soon find themselves on the outside of our social circles, looking in.  

Let’s show kindness, even in the face of hate and adversity.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

And finally, ask not what fandom can do for you, but what you can do for fandom.

“Never seen a true statement, a wise statement, that existed in only one culture or tradition. Truth isn’t created, it is observed.”

– Steven Barnes

Pixel Scroll 6/27/22 Scroll Ain’t Nothing But Pixel Misspelled

(1) STOP STICKING IT TO AUTHORS. In “Amazon’s e-book return policy comes under criticism from authors” NPR takes up the cause of the writers whose pockets are being picked.

… Authors are protesting Amazon’s e-book return policy, a system they say allows readers to “steal” from self-published authors. Amazon’s current return policy for e-books allows customers to “cancel an accidental book order within seven days.” But, for some readers, seven days is more than enough time to finish a book and return it after reading, effectively treating Amazon like a library.

When an Amazon customer returns an e-book, royalties originally paid to the author at the time of purchase are deducted from their earnings balance….

…Those suggesting the read-and-return practice think they’re “sticking it to Amazon,” but in reality are only harming the authors, said Eva Creel, a fantasy writer who publishes under the name E. G. Creel.

“I have my book available at the library. If somebody wants to read it for free, they can,” Creel said. “But reading it and making me think that I’ve made an income and then that income being taken away from me, that feels like stealing.”

Science fiction and fantasy author Nicole Givens Kurtz said she’s concerned that this trend will continue.

“If people continue to promote [reading and returning e-books], it impacts my income, which impacts my quality of life and my ability to take care of my family,” she said. “I don’t think readers quite understand or see the person behind the product.”

(2) STURGEON SYMPOSIUM CFP. The Gunn Center reminds everyone that the deadline for proposals for the first annual Sturgeon Symposium is only 3 days away. The event takes place September 29-30 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. See the call for papers here.

(3) INCIDENT INTERRUPTS BUSINESS AT MACMILLAN. “After ‘Security Incident,’ Macmillan Closes, Will Not Process Orders” reports Shelf Awareness. The details are not disclosed.

Macmillan sent a notice to customers saying that because of “a security incident” on Saturday that involved its servers and internal system, the company has closed offices today, Monday, June 27, in order to continue its investigation and to rebuild “a secure working environment.” As a result, Macmillan is currently not able to process, receive, place or ship orders. The company added that it will keep customers posted.

(4) HUGO TAKES. This month the SF Insiders blog launched. Who’s writing it? No idea! It’s a secret.

Not unlike other writers hoping to break into the science fiction and fantasy field, we have high hopes, many opinions, and no power. We remain anonymous to protect ourselves from the Internet horrors we’ve seen inflicted on others.

The blog’s first order of business is evaluating the 2022 Hugo finalists. They’ve written about two Hugo categories and the Astounding Award so far.

2. Sheila Williams

Williams is the only previous winner on this year’s ballot and the editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction. She’s also edited several anthologies, but none of those were published in 2021. Asimov’s output for 2021 was exactly what we’ve come to expect and Williams continued involvement with the Dell Award did not go unnoticed by us. There’s a reason she’s won two Hugos and continues to appear on this list.

5. Escape Pod

A science fiction podcast that publishes a mix of reprint and original stories. Their editors are finalists for Editor Short form and we stand by the opinions stated there. On discussing this publication for the second time, however, we questioned why the same work is eligible for two awards. This isn’t the first time it has happened, but we think it would be more fair if these magazines choose to be in one or the other. With how often there are repeat finalists in these categories, restricting it to one would give us more variety to choose from.

We were supposed to talk about the Astounding Award finalists during this week’s Zoom, but we went in a different direction instead: the “not a Hugo” status of the award. Maybe someone can tell us how has this never become an official Hugo Award? As writers, the current status feels like a slap in the face and we’re not even eligible yet….

(5) LE GUIN, ROBINSON, AND UTOPIAS. The Tin House podcast offers “Crafting with Ursula : Kim Stanley Robinson on Ambiguous Utopias”.

Today’s guest, Kim Stanley Robinson, is perhaps the living writer most associated with utopian literature today. And as a student of the philosopher, political theorist, and literary critic Fredric Jameson, Robinson has thought deeply about the history of utopias, the history of the novel, and the strange hybrid form that became the utopian novel. In his mind it was Ursula K. Le Guin who wrote the first truly great utopian novel. We discuss Le Guin’s utopian work alongside his, and contextualize her importance historically. Robinson also shares some incredible anecdotes from his time in the 70s as her student and the ways their lives as fellow writers have intersected over the decades.

What is a utopian novel? What is an ambiguous utopia? And why has this genre become a particularly vital form and even a critical tool of the human imagination today? Listen in to find out. 

(6) NO COUNTRY FOR YOUNG MEN. [Item by Olav Rokne.] The Ringer does some interesting research into the trend of Hollywood blockbuster action movies that center on older actors and finds that it’s a multifaceted phenomenon that can be tied to economic heft of older moviegoers, changing media tastes in younger generations, and shifts in how movie studios build tentpole features around intellectual property rather than around individual actors and their personal brands. “The Golden Age of the Aging Actor”.

They quote film historian Mark Harris: “Maybe they’re gamers, or maybe what they really enjoy is TikTok, or maybe it’s something else, but a generation can’t generate stars if it doesn’t really love the medium that creates and accommodates stars.”

(7) BRYAN BARRETT OBITUARY. Fan and bookdealer Bryan Barrett, who co-chaired the 1998 World Fantasy Convention, died June 21. Lucy Huntzinger relayed the news from Bryan’s nephew, and wrote a tribute about him on Facebook which says in part:

…I can’t say enough about what a genuine, caring, intelligent, interesting man he was. He was always willing to help out friends with his little truck while he still had it, and he had a marvelous time at the San Jose Worldcon in 2018 seeing many old fannish and mystery friends again.

Because of his poor health in the last few years he lived a life that became increasingly housebound and full of medical appointments, but he never stopped caring about the world, about fairness and justice, about democracy….

(8) MEMORY LANE

1966 [By Cat Eldridge.] Fifty-six years ago this evening on ABC, the rather at first mundane soap opera Dark Shadows first aired. Now it wasn’t until ten months later that the Toothy One, vampire Barnabas Collins, as played by Jonathan Frid, made his first appearance. 

Before its six seasons and one thousand two hundred and twenty-five episodes ran their course, those of us who watched it will have seen Frankenstein style monsters, ghosts, a parallel universe, time travel, warlocks, werewolves, witches, and even zombies. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something of a fantastic nature that happened there. 

It has never left syndication in forty years. Dark Shadows (later referred to as Dark Shadows: The Revival) was attempted in 1991. That too created by Dan Curtis who was responsible for Dark Shadows, it lasted twelve extremely poorly received episodes. Dan Curtis also did two films set in the Dark Shadows continuity, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.

It was somewhat unusual in a small company of performers played many roles; and as performers came and went, some characters were played by more than one performer.

I am not going to comment about Tim Burton directing a film version of this starring Johnny Depp, who finally realized one of his childhood fantasies of being Barnabas Collins. Really. I’m not. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 27, 1909 — Billy Curtis. You’ll best remember him as the small Copper-Skinned Ambassador in Trek’s “Journey to Babel” episode. His genre experience goes all the way back to Wizard of Oz where he was a Munchkin, and later on he’s a mole-man in Superman and The Mole-Men, and later on a midget in The Incredible Shrinking Man. He had lots of one-offs, be it on Batman (twice there), Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, Planet of The Apes or Twilght Zone. (Died 1988.)
  • Born June 27, 1941 — James P. Hogan. A true anti-authoritarian hard SF writer in the years when that was a respectable thing to be. The group that gave out the Prometheus Award certainly thought so with fifteen nominations and two Awards for two novels, The Multiplex Man and Voyage from Yesteryear. I’m sure that I’ve read at least a few of his novels, most likely Inherit the Stars and The Gentle Giants of Ganymede. A decent amount of his work is available at the usual suspects. (Died 2010.)
  • Born June 27, 1952 — Mary Rosenblum. SF writer who won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel for The Drylands, her first novel. She later won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History Short Form for her story, “Sacrifice”. Water Rites and Horizons are the only ones available at the usual suspects. (Died 2018.)
  • Born June 27, 1959 — Stephen Dedman, 63. Australian author who’s the author of The Art of Arrow-Cutting, a most excellent novel. I really should read Shadows Bite, the sequel to it. He’s the story editor of Borderlands, the tri-annual Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine published in Perth. Kindle has The Art of Arrow-Cutting and a few other titles.
  • Born June 27, 1966 — J.J. Abrams, 56. Executive Producer of AliasLost: Missing PiecesStar Trek, Lost, FringeStar Trek Into DarknessAlmost Human… Well you get the idea. Most fans really like, a few very vocal ones really hate his guts mostly for his Star Trek work. I love Fringe unreservedly and therefore will forgive any transgressions he committed elsewhere. 
  • Born June 27, 1972 — Christian Kane, 50. You’ll certainly recognize him as he’s been around genre video fiction for a while first playing Lindsey McDonald on Angel before becoming Jacob Stone on The Librarians. And though Leverage ain’t genre, his role as Eliot Spencer there is definitely worth seeing. 
  • Born June 27, 1975 — Tobey Maguire, 47. Spider-man in the Sam Raimi trilogy of the Spidey films. His first genre appearance was actually in The Revenge of the Red Baron which is one seriously weird film. Much more interesting is his role as David in Pleasantville, a film I love dearly. He produced The 5th Wave, a recent alien invasion film. 
  • Born June 27, 1987 — Ed Westwick, 35. British actor who has roles in the dystopian Children of MenS. Darko (a film I couldn’t begin to summarize), Freaks of Nature (a popcorn film if ever there was one), the “Roadside Bouquets” episode of the British series Afterlife (which I want to see) and The Crash (which may or may not be SF).

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Nancy shows a writer with ambitious goals.

(11) TRALFAMADORIAN TOOLKIT. Emily Temple has collected “Kurt Vonnegut’s Greatest Writing Advice” for Literary Hub.

5. Sound like yourself
The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad’s third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish. And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.

In some of the more remote hollows of Appalachia, children still grow up hearing songs and locutions of Elizabethan times. Yes, and many Americans grow up hearing a language other than English, or an English dialect a majority of Americans cannot understand.

All these varieties of speech are beautiful, just as the varieties of butterflies are beautiful. No matter what your first language, you should treasure it all your life. If it happens to not be standard English, and if it shows itself when your write standard English, the result is usually delightful, like a very pretty girl with one eye that is green and one that is blue.

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

(12) HISTORY JUMPS THE TRACKS. Annalee Newitz joins Margaret Atwood on the list of sff writers who didn’t set out to predict the present in “Science fiction, abortion, and predicting the future” at Slate.

A few months before COVID shut the world down in 2020, I published a book called The Future of Another Timeline. Set in 2022, it’s about a group of time travelers who live in an alternate United States where abortion was never legalized. Working in secret, they travel 130 years back to the 19th century to foment protests against the anti-abortion crusader Anthony Comstock. Their goal is to change the course of history. Spoilers: They succeed—sort of. When they return to 2022, abortion is legal in a few states, though it remains illegal in the majority of them.

It is not a good feeling to live through a version of the dark timeline I imagined in my fiction….

(13) A LONG TIME AGO. Craig Miller posted the letter he sent to winner of a contest he ran for The Star Wars Corporation in the Seventies.

In issue two of the Newsletter of the Official Star Wars Fan Club, I announced a contest to come up with an actual name for the newsletter. Fans could send up to three suggestions. We received a huge number of entries. I don’t remember how many but, apparently, there were thousands.

…The winning name: Bantha Tracks. And the winner, Preston Postle.

The letter is dated just 10 months after I started this newzine. I should have asked Craig for some of his discards – I’ll bet there were some better ideas in there than File 770, eh?

(14) THIS REMINDS ME. [Item by Chris Barkley.] When I heard this story, naturally I thought of this quote: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” Listen to the Here and Now report on WBUR: “Don’t worry about the robot revolution: One expert explains why AI is nowhere near sentience”.

For decades, robot revolutions have been a staple of science fiction stories. But earlier this month, the stuff of fiction came a little too close to reality when Blake Lemoine, a Google engineer, claimed that the company’s artificial intelligence had achieved sentience, the ability to experience feeling and thought.

While Lemoine’s claims made waves online, many experts are pretty skeptical. They argue that just because a program can imitate human language doesn’t mean it’s actually human.

One of those critics is Emily M. Bender, a professor at the University of Washington specializing in computational linguistics and grammar engineering. She spoke with Here & Now‘s Celeste Headlee.

(15) GOOD FORM. Walter Jon Williams told readers he recently leveled up in his martial arts training: “Achievement Unlocked”.

…I successfully tested for my 6th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate. In the days since, I’ve been judging at the tests of lower-ranking belts, and participating in a demonstration in front of a live audience.

All with a torn achilles tendon which requires me to walk with a cane much of the time.

Fortunately most of the test consisted of theory and philosophy. I was required to do some forms, but I designed most of these myself, and could alter them when I needed to. (For the demonstration, I was able to do my own kata more or less without modification, and the other form requires me to alter the steps once. It was uncomfortable and a little awkward, but I wasn’t left with the impression I’d bungled anything.)…

(16) POORFEADING. Jon Del Arroz, who styles himself a leading figure of ComicsGate, wrote an article belittling Heather Antos’ work for IDW. A true case of Muphry’s law in action, as Taylor Talks Comics pointedly reveals in a thread that starts here. A couple of excerpts —

(17) YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Thanks for a friend alerting me that Dr Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is now available on the Disney+ streaming service for free (well, no $ other than the monthly fee), I’ve got one non-spoiler question (not directly germane to the movie, but I suddenly found myself wondering):

What happens when Blackadar Boltagon (aka Black Bolt), a (Jack Kirby-created) Inhuman usually ruler of Attilan and (often but not always) spouse to (the Inhuman named) Medusa, whose slightest whisper is explosive, burps, hiccups, or sneezes. (Or, for that matter, snores — let’s hope he doesn’t have sleep apnea.)

(18) OLDER THAN LUCY AND PROBABLY DESI. “Ancient fossils in the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ are more than 1 million years older than previously thought” reports Yahoo!

In 1936, archeologists began unearthing a trove of early human fossils in a South African cave. Now, researchers say most of those ancient bones date back 3.7 million years, which makes them more than 1 million years older than previously thought….

To gauge the ages of the hominid skeletal remains, Granger and his team used a technique known as “cosmogenic nuclide dating,” or burial dating, which involves examining the rocks that encased the ancient bones. It works like this: When energetic particles from space, or cosmic rays, hit rocks, they produce elements like aluminum and beryllium that build up and decay at a known rate.

“We’re able to take a rock that was exposed to cosmic rays, and if it falls into a cave, it’s shielded from more radiation,” Granger told Insider, adding, “It’s called burial dating because, really, what we’re doing is dating when the rock was buried.”

Granger used the same method in 2015 to estimate that one set of Australopithecus remains found in the Sterkfontein Caves, nicknamed Little Foot, was about 3.4 to 3.7 million years old. The new study suggests that in addition to Little Foot, all Australopithecus remains on the site are between 3.4 and 3.7 million years old, rather than roughly 2 million years old, as scientists previously thought.

The remains’ shifting age puts the species within roughly the same time frame that the famous human ancestor “Lucy” — which belonged to the species Australopithecus afarensis — roamed what’s now Ethiopia, 3.2 million years ago. According to Granger, that refutes the theory that the Sterkfontein individuals descended from Australopithecus afarensis. “There must be an older common ancestor somewhere,” Granger added…

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Olav Rokne, Stephen Burridge, Alan Baumler, Daniel Dern, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

Jon Del Arroz’ Twitter Account Restored

Jon Del Arroz let everyone know he’s back on Twitter today. It didn’t take Elon Musk buying the company to make that happen after all.

For reasons not explained, none of his tweets prior to today are displayed, and a long string of them are labeled “This tweet was deleted by the author.” When asked why, JDA answered:

Two of JDA’s other accounts — @leadinghispanic and @rislandiabooks – remain suspended at this writing.

Twitter Pitches Third Strike at Jon Del Arroz

Jon Del Arroz’ @Rislandiabooks Twitter account has bitten the dust, suspended only a matter of days after launching. Previously, it took months of people reporting his @JonDelArroz (“Jon Del Arroz Permabanned from Twitter”) and then his @LeadingHispanic (“JDA Out of GAMA, Suspended by Twitter”) accounts before Twitter acted on JDA’s violations of the service’s rules against “hateful conduct.”

Someone has even made a watch-it-played style video of them reporting JDA’s latest account to Twitter.

Of course, this is whack-a-mole, not baseball. When his @LeadingHispanic account was shuttered, JDA was back with @Rislandiabooks five days later. The third account started out by pretending to be run by one of his friends, however, he could never remember not to use the first person when tweeting the usual links to his crowdfunding appeals, comics, books, and misogynistic BS. So if JDA pops up again it won’t come as a surprise.

Pixel Scroll 5/11/22 Pixelled In The Scroll By A Chuck Tingle Pixel Scroll Title

(1) STAR TREK SPOILER WARNING. Let that be said right up front. Anybody that doesn’t want Picard Season 2 spoiled, please skip to the next item.

Okay. Now for the rest of you: “Star Trek Producers Fought Over Which New Shows Get To Bring Back Wesley Crusher” reports TrekMovie.com.

Today Paramount released a “Wesley Crusher’s Return” video feature that was also included in The Ready Room. The video features executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman discussing the fact that after the idea of Wesley returning on Picard was brought up, it started a sort of Crusher conflict with at least one other series…

Actor Wil Wheaton commented on Facebook:

I had no idea that the showrunners of the different Star Trek shows were fighting over who could write Wesley into their story.

This just feels like such a huge validation and such a huge win for Wesley, for me, and for all the other kids who were weird, unseen, awkward, or any of the other qualities we all had in common that made him important to us.

And as long as I have your attention: I feel seen and celebrated right now, in a way I never have before. I feel like it’s personal in a way that is brand new, that *belongs* to me, because it is a gift that was given to me.

I don’t know who all the people were, at every step of the way, who made Wesley’s return to Star Trek canon happen, but I am so grateful to all of them for making this happen.

And I’m so grateful to everyone who has celebrated me, and Wesley. It feels really good and it means a lot to me.

Here’s the clip:

(2) LMB MAKES HISTORY. “Bujold interview by Asena Ideus, 23 March 2022” was posted by Lois McMaster Bujold at Goodreads.

Raw version of an email interview I did for a college student for her history thesis paper. I was rather bemused to have my teen fannish enthusiasms viewed as history; my parents would have been quite surprised…

When it comes to Star Trek zines, you are featured in Spockanalia 2 (issued 1968) for your short piece The Free Enterprise. Could you talk more about that, especially since fanzine culture is so different (practically nonexistent) today? What were fanzines like during the ‘60s and ‘70s? The first documented fanzines began in the 1930s, but were they extremely popular among SF fans when Star Trek: TOS was airing or were they still an emerging medium?

LMB: Fanzine culture is thriving today, its content just moved online. It’s just called blogs and websites. It may not know its own history in some cases, true.

One commenter described the internet hitting fanfic as like throwing a gasoline tanker truck onto a campfire, which sounds about right to me….

(3) COMICMIX BACK IN THE SEUSS BUSINESS. Publishers Weekly has the details. “ComicMix Launches Campaign to Publish Public Domain Seuss Stories”. The Kickstarter is here. (People have pledged $4,813 of its $5,000 goal at this writing.)

Less than a year after settling a lawsuit with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, ComicMix is launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of The Zaks and Other Lost Stories by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, to be released in July. The stories, which are in the public domain and available digitally on the Seussville website, include the titular story The Zaks, and The Sneetches, among others. ComicMix plans to release the titles of the other stories in the compilation as successive crowdfunding goals are met.

Between 1950 and 1956, Geisel published 23 stories in Redbook, including the seven that will be published in this compilation…. The ComicMix edition of the stories was created with high-quality scans from the original Redbook stories, tracked down from collectors of the magazine. Redbook reverted the copyright to these stories to Geisel, but the copyright was not renewed, so the versions that appeared in the magazines are now in public domain. 

ComicMix issued an official comment about the publication, stating, “This book is not associated with, nor approved by, nor even particularly liked by Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P., a California limited partnership, which owns some of the copyrights of the works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, the author and illustrator who created many works under the pseudonym ‘Dr. Seuss.’ ” Hauman, who preferred to comment about the upcoming book in Seuss-like rhyme, had this to say:

“We found Dr. Seuss stories, once thought to be lost,
that we’re bringing to you at a reasonable cost.
Some tales are familiar, though not quite this way,
but all fine examples of Seuss’s wordplay!
We spruced them all up, and now are good times
to rediscover his artwork and rhymes.
We filled up a book to put on your shelf
So that you can at last read them for yourself!” OY

Dr. Seuss Enterprises declined to comment on the story.

(4) WOKE SF TROLLS. [Item by Mlex.] A thoughtful discussion of the flap of people complaining about “woke” sf by Christopher Reeves, commentator for DailyKos. “Right-wing trolls accusing science fiction of being ‘woke’ are messing with my childhood”.

Sometimes, I fall into a rabbit hole I didn’t even know was going to happen. I was following along with a YouTube thread regarding Stargate SG-1 when it was pointed out a reboot was possible. I, having followed the series, thought, “Cool, cool, I might really enjoy this so tell me more.” I sat down to watch and learned a few things, but within the first three minutes, something interesting came about. According to a video on the subject: “Fans have become concerned following the recent release of The Wheel of Time series, and the upcoming Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series. Both of those series have taken significant creative license to change the characters and story to fit what many science fiction and fantasy fans believe is a ‘woke’ or progressive agenda at a cost to the canon of the original stories.

Wait, what? I’ve read almost all of Tolkien. I’ve watched every Star Trek series. I’ve read some of Ringworld, and in general, I devoured science fiction. What on Earth are these fans so upset about? What am I missing here? I decided last night to do a little bit of looking, and I regret some of the time I sacrificed but it certainly left me with some thoughts. I can always tell things are going wrong when people use terms like “woke” which is just one of those right-wing slurs that they use to replace “compassionate” or “reasonable” it seems….

(5) FREE READ. The “Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog,” a Best Fanzine Hugo finalist, has made their submission to the Hugo Voter Packet available as a free read at the link. And a very nice job they did, picking the material and creating the design.

(6) JDA SNEAKS BACK ONTO TWITTER. You knew that wouldn’t take long. Jon Del Arroz after being ousted from Twitter on May 6 simply opened another account and immediately resumed tweeting the usual links to his crowdfunding appeals, comics, and books. And misogynistic BS. (The last image below wasn’t posted by JDA, but I bet he wishes he’d thought of it.)

(7) LYNN HARRIS DIES. [Item by Joel Zakem.] Long-time Midwestern and Southern fan Lynn Harris passed away on May 10, 2022. She was 70 years old. Lynn was an artist who was known for running and/or working on many convention art shows, including at the late lamented Rivercon and Kubla Khan. She received the Rebel Award at the 2000 Deep South Con.

(8) PATRICIA MCKILLIP (1948-2022). World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement honoree Patricia A. McKillip died May 6 at the age of 74. Her best-known works included the books in the Riddle-Master trilogy, The Riddle-Master of Hed (1976), Heir of Sea and Fire (1977), and Harpist in the Wind (1979) — the latter her only Hugo finalist, also a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, and winner of a Locus Award.

Four of her books won the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature or Adult Fantasy, Something Rich and Strange (1995), Ombria in Shadow (2003, which also won the World Fantasy Award), Solstice Wood (2007), and Kingfisher (2017). Her other World Fantasy Award winning book was The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (1975), which was published in 1974, the year after the appearance of her first published work, The Throme of the Erril of Sherrill (1973), a novella.

McKillip’s Encyclopedia of Science Fiction entry written prior to her death summed up her career: “Over the past two decades, eschewing the use of fantasy backgrounds for inherently mundane epics, McKillip has become perhaps the most impressive author of fantasy story still active.”

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1999 [By Cat Eldridge.] The considerable joy of doing these anniversaries is finding these weird little shows that I’ve never heard of. So it is with a Disney series called So Weird whichran for sixty-five episodes. So Weird could best be described as a younger version of the X-Files and it far darker than anything which was on Disney when it debuted in 1999. It lasted for just three seasons. 

It was centered around teen Fiona “Fi” Phillips (played by Cara DeLizia) who toured with her rocker mom Molly Phillips (played by Mackenzie Phillips). They kept running into strange and very unworldly things. For the third and final season, she was replaced by Alexz Johnson playing Annie Thelen after the other actress gets the jones to see if she could make in Hollywood. (Well she didn’t.)

The story is that one of the characters, Annie, while visiting an Egyptian museum encounters a cat who once belonged to Egyptian queen that now wants her very much missed  companion back. Yes, both the cat and the princess are either immortal or of the undead. 

The writer of this episode, Eleah Horwitz, had little genre background having written just three Slider episodes and a previous one in this series. He’d later be a production assistant on ALF. 

Now if you went looking to watch So Weird’s “Meow” on Disney + after it’s debuted, the streaming service pulled the second season within days of adding the series but returned it a month later within any reason for having pulled it. The show has never been released on DVD. 

However the first five episodes in the first season of the series were novelized and published by Disney Press as mass-market paperbacks, beginning with Family Reunion by Cathy East Dubowski. (I know the Wiki page says Parke Godwin wrote it but the Amazon illustration of the novel cover shows her name. So unless this is one of his pen names, it is not by him.) You can find the other four that were novelized in the Amazon app by simply doing So Weird + the episode name. No they are not available at the usual suspects.

I didn’t find any critics who reviewed it, hardly surprising given it was on the Disney channel but a lot of folks really liked including John Dougherty at America: The Jesuit Review: “As a kid, my favorite show was about death. Well, not just death: it was also about faith, sacrifice and trying to make sense of life’s ineffable mysteries. Strangest of all, I watched it on the Disney Channel. ‘So Weird’ ran for three seasons from 1999 to 2001. It was Disney’s attempt to create a kid-friendly version of ‘The X-Files,’ tapping into an in-vogue fascination with ghosts, alien encounters and other paranormal phenomena. In practice, it became something more: a meditation on mystery and mortality.” 

I think I’ll leave it there. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 11, 1930 Denver Pyle. His first genre performance is in The Flying Saucer way back in 1950 where he was a character named Turner. Escape to Witch Mountain as Uncle Bené is his best known genre role. He’s also showed up on the Fifties Adventures of SupermanCommando Cody: Sky Marshal of the UniverseMen Into  SpaceTwilight Zone and his final role was apparently in How Bugs Bunny Won the West as the Narrator. (Died 1997.)
  • Born May 11, 1935 Doug McClure. He had the doubtful honor of appearing some of the worst Seventies  SF films done (my opinion of course and you’re welcome to challenge that), to wit The Land That Time ForgotThe People That Time ForgotWarlords of the Deep and even Humanoids From The Deep. Genre wise, he also appeared in one-offs in The Twilight ZoneOut of This WorldAirWolfAlfred Hitchcock PresentsFantasy Island and Manimal. Some of which were far better. (Died 1995.)
  • Born May 11, 1936 Gordon  Benson Jr. Publisher and bibliographer who released the first of his many SF bibliographies around the early Eighties. Writers such as Anderson, Lieber and Wellman were covered. Early bibliographies written solo were revised for the Galactic Central Bibliographies for the Avid Reader series, are listed jointly with Phil Stephensen-Payne as later ones. (Died 1996.)
  • Born May 11, 1952 Shohreh Aghdashloo, 70. Best known genre role is Chrisjen Avasarala on The Expanse series. (I’ve not seen it, but have listened to all of The Expanse series.) She also had a recurring role as Farah Madani on The Punisher. She was also in X-Men: The Last Stand as Dr. Kavita Rao, but her role as The Chairman in The Adjustment Bureau didn’t make it to the final version. She was Commodore Paris in Star Trek Beyond, and she had a recurring role as Nhadra Udaya in FlashForward
  • Born May 11, 1976 Alter S. Reiss, 46. He’s a scientific editor and field archaeologist. He lives in Jerusalem, and has written two novels, Sunset Mantel and Recalled to Service. He’s also written an impressive amount of short fiction in the past ten years, which has appeared in Strange HorizonsF&SF, and elsewhere. 

(11) DISNEY, PAY THE WRITER. LA Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik reports at length about #DisneyMustPay in “Disney’s unpaid artists”.

Given its immense appetite for entertainment content to keep its movie and television pipelines filled, you would think that Walt Disney Co. would do its best to treat its creative talent fairly.

You would be wrong.

For years, Disney has been cheating the writers and artists of tie-in products — novelizations and graphic novels based on some of its most important franchises — of the royalties they’re due for their works. That’s the conclusion of a task force formed by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and joined by the Writers Guild East and West and several other creator advocacy organizations.

…[Mary Robinette Kowal] and others say that Disney has refused to take a proactive approach to identifying the creative artists who are owed money and paying what it owes. The company has ignored pleas by the task force and individual agents to post a portal on its website and a FAQ page to inform writers how to file claims and to whom their claims should be addressed.

The company has also refused to accept names and contact information from the SFWA for writers and artists who have reached out to the organization. “Disney gets away with this by using the exhaustion tactic,” Kowal told me. “They wear people down.”

The tactic works, she says: “Some authors have just given up because Disney puts up roadblocks and makes people jump through hurdles.”

The company, according to Kowal, has told some authors who stopped receiving royalties or royalty statements that this happened because it didn’t have their addresses. “They tell that to authors they’ve sent author copies of books to,” Kowal says, “so clearly they have their mailing addresses.”…

(12) FLASHBACK. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] BECCON’s 40th anniversary reunion has been held – a year late due to CoVID.

BECCON was a series of biennial conventions in the 1980s: 198119831985; and the 1987 UK Eastercon. BECCON standing for the Basildon Essex Centre CONvention with ‘Centre’ becoming ‘Crest’ when the hotel changed its name. The 40th anniversary reunion would have taken place last year but was postponed due to CoVID. The gathering took place in Arlesey, Bedfordshire, where previous reunions had taken place so as to give one of BECCON’s film projectionists, Graham Connor, a fan experience (Graham had severe mobility issues several years prior to his passing and could not get to conventions). BECCON may be a thing of the past but those involved with it, for the most part, are still very active in fandom and BECCON did spawn two spin-out ventures still going today: Beccon Publications (a number of whose books have been short-listed for Hugos) and the SF² Concatenation (the winner of a number of Eurocon Awards).

Those present at the reunion were from far left and clockwise: John Stewart,Roger Robinson (Beccon Publications), Jenny Steele (sadly obscured), Brian Ameringen (Porcupine Books), Peter TyersArthur Cruttenden, Caroline Mullan (2023 Eastercon committee), Anthony Heathcote and Jonathan Cowie (SF² Concatenation),

The BECCON ’87 programme book front cover. This was back in the days (prior to the 2010s) when Eastercons had a souvenir programme book in addition to the schedule timetable booklet.  It is particularly notable as being the first British Eastercon programme book to have a full colour cover. The cover art was by one of the convention’s GoHs, Keith Roberts.

(13) DOCTORAL THESIS. At Nerds of a Feather, Arturo Serrano concludes “’Doctor Strange 2′ is visually delightful and narratively bland”.

Despite the refreshing shift in visual style brought into the MCU by director Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is far from the milestone it was expected to be. The ongoing saga of the Avengers was supposed to expand into a wealth of possibilities with the addition of alternate realities, character variants, and reclaimed franchises just acquired by Disney from Fox. But what this movie delivers is smaller than the sum of its parts….

(14) LOST IN SPACE. Serrano also finds another franchise lacking: “‘Star Trek: Picard’ season 2 is aimless and inconsistent”

Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard bites more than it can chew. In the span of ten episodes, it tries to explore xenophobia, eugenicism, the weight of self-blame, repressed trauma, the tragedy of finitude, the tension between open and closed societies, the human yearning for intimate connection, the fear of loneliness, the responsibilities that come with parenthood, immigration policy, the purpose of life in old age, the narcissism inherent to the search for a legacy, authoritarianism, temporal paradoxes, suicide, and the uncertainty about the turbulent direction of humankind in the 2020s. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t manage to say anything insightful about any one of its myriad themes….

(15) SAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Inverse presents “The 8 best movie time machines of all time, ranked by scientists”. You’d be surprised what kind things scientists have to say about the TARDIS.

These time-defying contraptions fill us with wonder because, while we’re innately curious with a desire to explore, we also love fawning over shiny screens and elaborate gadgetry. Humans are hardwired to push any button we see. No matter the ramifications….

6. DOCTOR WHO’S TARDIS

WHAT IT DOES: It takes you to another realm that enables you to move through time (the time vortex).

Everyone we spoke to mentioned this iconic machine, which looks like an old, blue, British police box.

“What other time machine gets a decorating job every few years, keeps updating its canon, and has an Olympic-sized swimming pool? Or even a personality?” Šiljak says. “The way the TARDIS operates and interacts with the Doctor is also a great suspension of disbelief catalyst that allows me to enjoy a plot that has holes.”

Its properties are bizarre, but its time-travel abilities are appealing to real scientists.

“The core of the TARDIS is a tesseract, which is a four-dimensional cube,” says Dr. Erin Macdonald, an astrophysicist, writer, producer, and Star Trek science advisor. “The reason this is great scientifically is our universe is four-dimensional, but we can only control three of those dimensions (space, not time). It logically makes sense that if we had an object that had four dimensions, that extra dimension could be time and could have more control than just space.”

Jan J. Eldridge, a theoretical astrophysicist and associate professor in the physics department at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, adds that the TARDIS’ ability to travel freely through both space and time also helps explain another of its key features: the interior doesn’t match the exterior.

“Any technology that allows you to bend space-time to travel through time would also leave you with the ability to stretch and square space-time itself,” she says.

(16) JEOPARDY! A whole category about sci-fi trilogies on tonight’s Jeopardy!, and Andrew Porter was tuned in. Unfortunately, the contestants weren’t!

Category: Sci-Fi Trilogies

Answer: This Alphanumeric book series follows up on the “Judgment Day” film, telling more of the story of Skynet & John Connor.

No one could ask, What is T-2?

Answer: The first in a Cixin Liu trilogy, this numerical novel is partially set during China’s Cultural Revolution.

No one could ask, What is ‘The 3-Body Problem”?

(17) SPACE EXTRICATION. “I hate that MS Word considers this an error,” says John King Tarpinian. “Double Space” at Nerdy Tees.

(18) CEREAL KILLER. Today’s Heather Martin says, “I tried Tropicana Crunch, the new cereal designed to be eaten with orange juice”.

Tropicana Crunch Honey Almond Cereal is a limited-edition offering for the “cereal curious” released to honor National Orange Juice Day on May 4. It’s the first cereal made specifically for pairing with OJ, and the company claims it’s “crispy and ready to get citrusy.” It comes thoughtfully packaged with one of Tropicana’s famous red-striped straws, so you can finish the cereal … juice … with class instead of lapping it from the bowl like a dehydrated Labrador….

It’s hard to swallow, I’ll grant you, but hear me out: It might be a sound concept. I often talk to clients who either don’t like milk or are allergic to it, and just like the box says, many times they tell me that they have tried orange juice on cereal.…

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers:  The Batman,” the Screen Junkies say Robert Pattinson is the first Gen-Z Batman, because the “villains are influencers, he’s worse off than his parents, and his home town will very soon be under water.”  Also, the Riddler “talks a big game abou cleaning up the city while dressed like a garbage bag.”

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cora Buhlert, Cat Rambo, Joel Zakem, Michael J. Walsh, Rich Lynch, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Adam Rakunas, Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

JDA Out of GAMA, Suspended by Twitter

Jon Del Arroz said today in a video that the Games Manufacturers Association – a group for tabletop game publishers – “suspended me for hate speech and bullying, now they’ve fully removed me from the group under false pretenses, and they’ve also engaged an attorney on the matter.” Del Arroz confirms he has been removed from both the Facebook group and GAMA and adds, “I’ve forwarded the matter to my attorney who has handled the Worldcon suit and we are working on it.”

Del Arroz joined GAMA and introduced himself in its private Facebook group on May 4. Rodney Smith of Watch It Played (YouTube) protested his admission to the organization and wrote a comment about JDA’s track record of harassment. After an FB group moderator deleted Smith’s comment he tweeted a copy of it, making the situation public knowledge.

GAMA pointed members to their Code of Conduct and the form to be used in reporting violations. Several people tweeted that they were going to fill out the form and submit it. GAMA initially announced that Del Arroz was suspended from the FB group for 28 days. They have not yet made a statement about his removal from the organization.

Also today, Twitter suspended JDA’s @leadinghispanic account.

Last August his @jondelarroz account was permabanned from Twitter. But he soon popped up again as @leadinghispanic, another transparently JDA-written account. As the months passed many complaints were lodged with Twitter about the evasion of the ban and for the content of some of @leadinghispanic’s tweets without effect. It is unknown why Twitter decided to act today.

Del Arroz still has an active Facebook account at this writing, however, after his Twitter suspension he told FB followers:

Several GAMA Members Protest Addition of Jon Del Arroz to Organization

Jon Del Arroz has apparently joined the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA.org – a group for tabletop game publishers), and it’s already causing dissent.

Rodney Smith of Watch It Played, a YouTube game reviewer, wrote a comment to the private GAMA Member Facebook group to acquaint them with JDA’s track record but the moderators immediately took it down. Therefore, he reposted it to Twitter along with a copy of Jon Del Arroz’ self-introduction.

Del Arroz says he’s working with The Gaming Goat (TGG), a publisher whose CEO Jeff Bergen has several times been embroiled in controversy. For example, last year in a Board Game Geek forum over 1500 posts were made after TGG advertised the availability of a Tournament Fishing Rulebook in an ad that included a prominent image of a frog making the okay hand gesture, accused of being a right-wing dogwhistle combining the gesture with Pepe the Frog, another figure in alt-right memes.   

Rodney Smith also said:

GAMA answered on Twitter, and was engaged by another writer.

Will GAMA take action?

Meanwhile, JDA is, as usual, enjoying the attention.

Incidentally, GAMA runs Origins Game Fair, which made news in 2018 when its previous Executive Director John Ward withdrew the event’s invitation for Larry Correia to be one of its guests of honor after the announcement was met with numerous protests: “Origins Game Fair Drops Larry Correia as Guest”.

Update: GAMA subsequently announced a suspension of JDA’s account.

GAMA member Eric Lang also had thoughtful comments. Thread starts here.