Pixel Scroll 5/16/24 The First Thing We Do, Let’s Scroll All The Pixels

(1) THE SHARP END OF SCIENCE FICTION. At Reactor, James Davis Nicoll delivers a highly scientific “Ranking of Science Fiction’s Most Dangerous Awards”.

… Most awards are woefully unfit as weapons3. Authors with a mantlepiece loaded with award trophies would have few options if, say, they had to ward off an attacker with a handy trophy. But there are a few such options.

Before I list the top candidates for most lethal award trophy4, I should grant an honorable mention to the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award, also known as the Skylark Award. The trophy looks no more dangerous than any random trophy, likely to break as soon as you hit someone with it. However, the trophy is topped by a perfectly functional lens through which sunlight can and has focused to start fires. This is why Skylark Award winner Jane Yolen has advised winners to put the Skylark “where the sun does not shine.” If I were assembling a list of SF trophies most useful for arson, the Skylark would be at the top…

To paraphrase Richard Pryor, I know that when a winner is walking through an airline terminal with a pointy Hugo Award in their hand “people get out of your way.”

(Nicoll omitted the otherwise obvious number one choice, Reddit r/Fantasy’s Stabby, because they’ve been on hiatus since 2021. Fair enough.)

(2) FAN REACTION TO THE NEW DOCTOR. The New York Times tells what it’s like “Watching the New ‘Doctor Who’ With 5 Superfans” (Gift link bypasses paywall.)

…On a recent evening, Richard Unwin, a 44-year-old writer and actor, gathered four other “Doctor Who” fans at his apartment in East London to watch the first two episodes. They were a little nervous about what the Disney influence, and the need to cater to a new, international audience, might have done to their favorite program.

…“I am worried that they will Americanize it,” said George Norohna, a 61-year-old retired civil servant, who remembers the show as the first thing he ever saw on a color television. They were joined by the fantasy author Janelle McCurdy, 28, Francis Beveridge, a 27-year-old neuroscience researcher, and Beth Axford, 26, who writes for “Doctor Who Magazine,” a fan publication….

What does casting Gatwa as the Doctor mean to you?

MCCURDY I know there’s old school Doctor Who fans who might see it as just a token thing. But it means a lot to me as a Black woman.

UNWIN It’s the first time that the Doctor talks like I do, as a gay man.

MCCURDY I feel exactly the same, he’s talking like how I talk.

BEVERIDGE The Doctor has always appealed to gay men, because he’s a nonconventional male role model. So having the doctor be more queer has allowed people to identify that bit more closely with him.

(3) GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS. The trolls have found a new way to get at Patrick S. Tomlinson. He posted this on Facebook yesterday.

(4) HOW GREEN WAS YOUR BALLET. Entertainment Weekly enthuses that“The new ‘Wicked’ trailer has us dancing through life”.

…The trailer shows young outcast Elphaba (Erivo) and the ever-popular Glinda (Grande) arriving at Shiz University, where they immediately clash. But their rivalry cannot keep them apart because Headmistress Madame Morrible (Michelle Yeoh) wastes no time in assigning them as roommates….

(5) HUGO BOOK CLUB BLOG HVP IN SCOTS. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Last year, we were one of several Hugo Award finalists who ensured that our Hugo Voter Packet materials were available in the local language out of respect for the fact that the Worldcon was being held in China. With the Worldcon being held in Glasgow in 2024, we started thinking about the fact that there are significant minority languages in Scotland, but that they don’t garner the same sort of respect from outsiders.

Having made a couple of (possibly ill-considered) jokes about the matter, Amanda and I reached out to experts in Scots languages and dialects to learn more. In the end, we decided that (although not strictly necessary), having our Hugo Voter Packet available in Scots would be an appropriate gesture in recognition of the country’s linguistic diversity and distinct cultural identity that is different than any of the other British nations. As of today, thanks to the Scots Language Centre, that translation is complete and is available on our blog. A PDF of this will be prepared and sent to the Worldcon. “Hugo Book Club Blog: Hugo Packet Translated (2024)”.

Note: Scots is one of three native languages spoken in Scotland, the other two being English and Scottish Gaelic.

Here’s a brief example of the Scots translation from the opening lines of “The Un-American wey that a Lee-Science Fan fae the Left wis haunelt” (English: “The Un-American Treatment of a Leftist Science Fiction Fan”.)

Chan Davis (1929-2022) wis weel kent tae fans o lee-science in the 1940s an 1950s. He wis a fanzine editor, an early filker, kent for his daffin at Worldcon, an a ongauin screivar wi Astounding Science Fiction.

But the publict in general is mair likely tae mind o him as a mathematician…an as a political presonar….

(6) HEARING FROM SAWYER. Science Fiction 101 podcast hosts Phil Nichols and Colin Kuskie present episode 42 “Off On A Tangent – more interview fun with award-winning novelist Robert J. Sawyer”.

Time for another regular episode of the podcast, and this time we have more interview goodness from the Hugo- and Nebula-winning SF writer Robert J. Sawyer. We had so much fun talking to Rob about his new novel The Downloaded (see episode 40) that we decided to gather up our more general discussion into a separate segment. So here you will hear talk of Planet of the Apes, science fiction conferences, and much much more.

We also have a mostly Star Trek quiz, but with a few Star Wars questions thrown in to trip Phil up.

And the usual recommendations of past/present/future SF.


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born May 16, 1969 David Boreanaz, 55. David Boreanaz is one of the performers that I really like as an individual as himself, and always as a character, though sometimes better in some series.  

Before I get to his genre roles, let me tell about about me about my favorite role by him. It’s  Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Jason Hayes in the SEAL Team series.  It’s a role that gives a depth of personality that mostly lacking in his previous role as Angel on his own series of Angel as he is executive producer here

David Boreanaz at GalaxyCon Austin 2023.

The series tells the story of a team of Navy operatives called Bravo that do covert missions overseas, many of which, if you pardon my slang, are SNAFUed. It got more realistically portrayed when the series moved off CBS to Paramount + and the language restrictions were gone, so fuck and such language were allowed. Their personal lives of course get messily intertwined with their professional ones. 

Speaking of Seeley Booth, let’s discuss Bones. I like the series as having seen all of it save the last season. Temperance Brennan and the other characters are mostly interesting, and her relationship with Seeley is fascinating. 

The show itself? It’s is pseudoscience-science. Like such series that shows lots pretty, impressive technology, it’s not really able to do what the writers say it can. Yes, I’ve read the actual forensic experts critique such series. That it crosses over into the fantasy of the Sleepy Hollow series makes it genre in some manner. Seeley Booth actually will be on that series for an episode. 

Now Seeley himself is great character. An FBI agent that is fun to watch and I think that Boreanaz early on figured out his character couldn’t be taken too seriously.  He looks like an archetypal agent FBI — tall, muscular and handsome. He’s even a deeply religious man here , as he was raised and still is a practicing Catholic. Philadelphia born, the sports teams show up in the series.  I like him at lot in this role as I do in the following series. 

And that is on Angel, and not Buffy on the Vampire Slayer, where I thought he was was interesting but didn’t live up to his full potential as character so I’m going to skip over him there. Why Angel, you say? Because that series, like SEAL Team, was centered on him. 

By the way, The “Smile Time” episode of the fifth season had the storyline of a television children’s show stealing the life forces of those children by hypnotizing them so when Angel goes to the studio to uncover the evil doings, he triggers a spell when entering there that transforms him into a puppet. 

So, the ever so cool puppet done at time I now realize I should’ve bought. The cheapest mint one on eBay, and I think the price is quite reasonable given the Angel series aired twenty years ago, is now one hundred and twenty-five dollars. 

But more than that and yes that was crucial to his development as a performer there, I thought the scripts there were far better than they were on Buffy. Oh. Buffy had its stellar storylines, but I think Angel just worked better in terms of pure ongoing storytelling than Buffy did. So that meant Angel there was a more rounded, interesting character there than he was on Buffy

Finally, though not chronologically, he voiced Hal Jordan in Justice League: The New Frontier. In an episode of Bones, “The Pain in the Heart”, Seeley is in his bathtub reading a Green Lantern comic.  Nice touch that was.

As always, this is not a full look at every genre role he did, so feel free to give me anything you feel I should have included here. 


  • Lola finds the new king.

(9) SFF AUTHOR ON JEOPARDY! THIS MONTH. Ellen Klages will be on Jeopardy! on May 22 (and possibly subsequently) reports Steven H Silver.

(10) JEOPARDY! SFF REFERENCES. [By David Goldfarb.] Monday’s episode of Jeopardy! Masters and Tuesday’s episode of Jeopardy! had some more SFF-related questions. Here they are:

Jeopardy! 5/14/2024

Prequels & Sequels, $1600: Suzanne Collins tells the backstory of Coriolanus Snow in her 2020 “Hunger Games” prequel, “The Ballad of” these 2 animals

Ashley Atkin responded, “What are songbirds and snakes?”

Prequels & Sequels, $1200: A book with famous sequels begins, “In a hole in the ground, there lived” one of these

Ashley, “What is a hobbit?”

Prequels & Sequels, $2000: “The Infernal Devices” is a prequel trilogy to this Cassandra Clare series that includes “City of Bones” & “City of Ashes”

This was a triple stumper. The series is “The Mortal Instruments”.

Jeopardy! Masters 5/13/2024

Game 1, Double Jeopardy round:

Looking for Something to Read, $2000: Published in the 1880s, his utopian novel “Looking Backward” was set in the year 2000

Victoria Groce was up on her utopias, responding “Who’s Bellamy?”

Speaking My Language, $1200: This fictional language in “Game of Thrones” has more than a dozen different words for horse

James Holzhauer knew it was Dothraki.

Speaking My Language, $2000: “The Epic of Gilgamesh” was written in Akkadian, which supplanted this, considered the world’s oldest written language

This one went to Matt Amodio: “What’s Sumerian?”

Looking for Something to Read, $400: Chess, reverse imagery & the poem “Jabberwocky” appear in this sequel from the 1870s

Victoria got it: “What is ‘Through the Looking-Glass’?”

Game 2, Single Jeopardy round:

I’m Chris Pratt, $800: “I worked hard to lose 60 pounds to play Peter Quill, also known by this name, in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. The toughest part — brace yourselves — I quit drinking beer.”

Amy Schneider sounded uncertain or even incredulous: “What is…Star-Lord?” But this was correct.

Mais Oui, French Lit, $400: The narrator of this children’s book believes the title royal is from out of town…asteroid B-612, to be Precise

It went to Yogesh Raut: “What is ‘The Little Prince’?”

(11) HALL OF FAMER’S LATEST. Matt Hughes writes fantasy, space opera, crime, and historical fiction. He has sold 24 novels as well as 100 works of short fiction. He’s won the Endeavour and Arthur Ellis Awards, and has been inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association’s Hall of Fame

His new novel is The One:

Meet Luff Imbry, an insidiously clever thief, forger, and confidence man . . . He likes good wine, good food, and good stolen goods, and he always maintains the upper hand.

Luff Imbry returns from the weird planet Fulda, to which he was shanghaied by a mysterious enemy, only to find that an impostor has stolen from the strongroom at his private club collection of magical paraphernalia he acquired from a would-be thaumaturge.

That’s impossible, but Imbry has to deal with reality. He sets off on a quest to solve the mystery and recover his goods, bringing him into conflict with shadowy forces that are preparing for the great change, when the universe once again gives up on rationalism and embraces an age of magic.

The odds are against him, but Imbry is a great improvisor.

The book is available as a paperback or ebook from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

(12) EAT THE FORCE, LUKE. Gizmodo promises “Oreo’s Special Edition Star Wars Cookies Are Here to Feed Your Inner Wookiee”. (Oreo’s dedicated Star Wars webpage is at the link.)

…The fun catch? You won’t know which side you’ve got until you actually open the package. Each pack will feature one of two different color fillings: red for the dark side and blue for the light side—both infused with “kyber” sugar crystals inspired by lightsaber cores. The Oreos also feature heroes or villains embossed on the cookies themselves, with characters like Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and a stormtrooper representing the dark side, and Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and Princess Leia representing the light side. In total, there will be 20 iconic characters featured….

Greg Hildebrandt’s hand-painted pack art features 14 individual one-of-a-kind characters by the iconic Star Wars™ poster artist.

(13) INTEGRAL TREES? “Tree seeds that flew around the moon are now are being planted across the U.S.”NPR is a witness.

In late 2022, a NASA flight around the moon carried a variety of tree seeds. After their time in space, they returned to Earth. And now, the hope is that they will become moon trees. Troy, Ala., is one of the first places to get one. Here’s Troy Public Radio’s Joey Hudson….

MCCARTHY: There was a very significant preparation process to make sure they were completely dry and that there would be no moisture or potential. They tried to protect the seeds as much as possible from any impacts related to heat.

HUDSON: The mission was a success. After about four weeks, the seeds returned to Earth and were tested for radiation levels and genetic variants. And then the seeds became seedlings to be planted in communities around the country, like here at Troy University….

(14) BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. “After 250 hours, a Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom player lost an 82% complete save and declared ‘I’m free’ until he tragically realized he could get it back”. GamesRadar+ relays the pathos.

One The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom player suffered what seemed like the ultimate tragedy in losing a 250-hour, 82% complete save file. But it turns out there’s a fate even worse: getting that save file back.

Back on April 23, Brian ‘Brian_F’ Foster, a competitive fighting game player and commentator, revealed that he had beaten Tears of the Kingdom after 250 hours, having gotten all Shrines, all light roots, all Armor sets, all Sage’s Wills, and all Yiga schematics. But with six sidequests missing and the map only 77% completed, Brian_F decided to keep going for a 100% completion run.Tears of the Kingdom is an amazing, expansive game that’s an absolute joy to explore – up until the very moment you decide you want to 100% complete it. We’re talking about a feat that initially took speedrunners 139 hours – that’s over five days straight – to complete, and while Speedrun.com shows those runs are now down to ‘just’ one or two days, that’s still a good metric for you to judge just how arduous and menial going for full completion here can be….

(15) I THEME OF JEANNIE. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Not new, but only just discovered it: “Jeannie’s Diner” by Mark Jonathan Davis (1990) – Nick At Nite TV Promo from 1995.

I’m familiar with Mark Jonathan Davis from his great Star Wars parodies, including “The Phantom Medley, Bob Hope At The Mos Eisley” comedy routine (also a Johnny Carson one), and more.

(I’ve got the CD, and more recently found his “The Star Wars Cantina” parody of “Copacabana” (1997) which he wasn’t allowed to include on the CD).

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Daniel Dern, David Goldfarb, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]