Pixel Scroll 5/18/24 Come On You Pixels, Do You Want To Scroll Forever?

(1) R. F. KUANG’S BABEL WINS AWARD AT A CEREMONY AT THE CHENGDU SF MUSEUM. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] The Chinese edition of R. F. Kuang’s Babel, as translated by Chen Yang, won the “Best Translated Work” category of the Xingyun (Chinese Nebula) Award.  The award ceremony took place in the Hugo Hall at the Chengdu SF Museum on Saturday May 18.

China.org.cn have published a brief English language article on the awards; a longer Chinese-language report, including all the winners, was published by the Xingyun Award account on WeChat/Weixin, which is where the pictures below are taken from.   A five-and-a-half-hour long video has also been posted to Weibo.

Judging by the logos in the hall and on photos from the event, the awards appear to have been sponsored by Guojiao 1573, an alcohol brand.  The aforementioned WeChat/Weixin report mentions that a member of the Pidu district local government gave a welcoming speech, but the report does not mention if there was any discussion of the 10-year science fiction plan.

(2) TRIPLETS. “Red Dwarf ‘returning to TV with 3 brand new episodes’” promises Radio Times.

It has been reported that long-running sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf will be returning for a new set of three specials in 2025, the first time the show has been seen on-screen since 2020.

British Comedy Guide has reported that one feature-length instalment will be split into three episodes, with filming set to begin in September, and stars Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Robert Llewellyn all returning.

Robert Llewellyn reportedy confirmed the news on his Fully Charged YouTube channel, saying: “We knew we were going to do more Red Dwarf, and we’re actually now doing it in the middle of October to the middle of November this year.

“A 90-minute special, three half-hours. So yes, we are making more. I can’t believe I’ve agreed to do it, I’m insane. I’m much too old.”

He previously told the channel: “We’ve all agreed to do more. We’re not going to do a new series, but we’re making something and it should be fun.”…

(3) BEAGLE Q&A. “Peter S. Beagle on his new novel, the hero’s journey, and why villains talk so much” at NPR.

[SCOTT] SIMON: Let me ask you about the wizard in the book ’cause he can’t keep his yap shut about what he’s hellbent on doing. Why is that?

BEAGLE: Well, you can’t possibly blame him. After all, he has been destroyed and come back. He has ridden with dragons. He knows so much about dragons, just not the important stuff. But because of his experience, he thinks he knows more than he does. And that’s fatal. I know that myself.

SIMON: That’s happened to you?

BEAGLE: It has. It has. Not with dragons, particularly….

(4) READ THE ANTHONY AWARD FINALISTS. The 2024 Bouchercon recently posted the Anthony Award Shortlists, and where one can read the short story finalists online.

(5) BWAH! Gizmodo’s James Whitbrook contends there are “25 Great Things About The Phantom Menace”. (Maybe you had trouble thinking of even one?) Seventh on his list —

I have to put “Sound Design” as one item on this list, because if wasn’t, 90% of this list would be me trying to find the onomatopoeia for practically every noise in this movie. The thrum of podrace engines, the clack of droideka feet, the little wibble Gungan energy shields make under fire, and yes, the Naboo blasters that go “bwah!”.

Especially the Naboo blasters that go “bwah!”.

(6) AND BLAB! “Did a Star Wars Producer Just Reveal the Title For James Mangold’s Movie?” asks Collider.

In a recent interview with SFX Magazine, Emanuel referred to the movie with a new title that could signal a significant shift in its direction. He said, “James Mangold’s Jedi Prime is set thousands and thousands of years before [the original trilogy], and I’m really excited to see what happens there.” While that quote does not officially confirm a title change, Emanuel’s use of “Jedi Prime” suggests exciting possibilities for the upcoming film.


[Written by Paul Weimer.]

Born May 18, 1930 Fred Saberhagen. (Died 2007.)

By Paul Weimer: I came to Fred Saberhagen through epic fantasy.  I came across a reference to his Empire of the East series in a piece discussing science fantasy and the mixture of the two.  So I sought out that series and started to devour it. The idea of a post apocalypse America now ruled by magic, but the protagonist finds an old tank, and then goes on to find the “g0d” that was once a supercomputer fighting a demon that was once a nuclear bomb…the appeal to me of this was obvious from the start. 

Fred Saberhagen. Photo by Patricia Rogers.

After Empire of the East, I fell into his Books of Swords stories (which are in the same verse although the connection between the two was very very thin), and then, once I had gone with all of those, looked to see what else Saberhagen had written. 

If you are a sophisticated reader, you are probably wondering where Saberhagen’s Berserkers came in. It actually took me a while to make my way to Saberhagen’s most famous creation, with stops in Dracula, Frankenstein, and more before I would finally come across the ultimate killer AI stories. When I watched a Babylon 5 episode that referenced Berserkers, I was absolutely delighted. Beserker’s Planet is probably the oddest one of the whole series, which is much taken up with the ultimate MMA tournament where fighters of different skills from across the planet compete to be the champion (this is all secretly run by a half broken berserker, but for a lot of this book you have no idea it’s even there)

My favorite Saberhagen, overall, though, is a novella, “The Mask of The Sun”, which is about an absolutely interesting artifact that almost works like magic, showing probabilistic results from actions when you put it on. The main character gets hold of this, and it turns out two timelines and timeline/time travelling empires want that same artifact, at any cost. The interesting fillip for me, back then, was that it was timelines and polities based on the Aztecs and the Inca, rather than (at the time) more usual choices.  A Time War with the Inca and Aztecs pushes a LOT of my buttons. And I vividly enjoyed the main character trying to figure out how to have the Inca defeat Pizzaro and the Spanish, sustainably, once he wound up in 16th century Peru. His solution is ingenious and it makes a lot of sense, and overall, the story has a strong playground of the imagination, and shows Saberhagen at his best. 


(9) LIBRARY’S STAR TURN. TrekMovie.com takes us “Inside How ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Transformed A Toronto University Library Into The Eternal Archive”.

Last week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Labyrinths,” featured an unusual location: the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. Star Trek fan Michael Cassabon, the Director of Advancement for the University of Toronto library system, assisted the production team on site and wrote about his experiences with the show and what makes the Fisher Library so unique.

… Modern-day Toronto is part of Trek canon (SNW: “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow”); for those of you keeping track, the library complex is a few blocks away from where the child Khan Noonien-Singh — the notorious ancestor of La’an — lives, and where an alt-universe Captain Kirk was killed trying to restore the timeline.

It is almost unheard of for filming to take place at the Fisher Library, but a rare exception was made for Star Trek: Discovery. Our library’s leadership believed that this collaboration would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the enduring relevance of libraries in the human quest for meaning. Libraries connect people to the information they seek in their quest for knowledge. The executive producers dedicated the episode with thanks “to librarians everywhere, dedicated to the preservation of artifacts, knowledge, and truth.”…

(10) LEARNING FROM THE SEVENTIES. Francis Hamit recommends Ken Miyamoto’s ScreenCraft article “25 Years Later: Why The DAZED AND CONFUSED Script Works”.

…So with no major character arcs being explored, surely there’s a compelling plot that takes us through the whole eventual film?

Not so much. Dazed and Confused is lacking in significant plot motivations and devices. There is no conventional plotting of moments beyond the overarching conflict of first-year students getting paddled by seniors. That is the sole piece of evidence of any consistent plot.

Instead, we follow the characters through their first day and night of summer. They drive in cars and bob their heads to now-classic seventies tunes, they play baseball, they smoke pot, they drink, they fight, they make out, and that’s about it….

The script teaches us that not every story needs broad character arcs, crucial plot points, and pinpoint structure. If you have stories that involve multiple characters, you can:

  • Engage the reader and audience by showcasing a specific world that attracts attention and interest
  • Offer characters that are void of the clichés we’ve already seen in multiple films and television series
  • Focus on small story windows to enhance the conflicts and drama
  • Use the multiple characters in creative ways to cut between scenes and showcase small character moment windows
  • Find creative ways to break up the dialogue to heighten each and every word that is spoken
  • Learn when too much is too much in scenes during the rewrite process
  • Set up the collaboration process by writing great characters that call for great casting

So go do likewise in your scripts and just keep livin’. L-I-V-I-N.

 (11) MONTY PYTHON. Eric Idle is fond of this take on King Charles’ portrait:

(12) DYSON SPHERES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] There may be seven Dyson spheres within 1,000 light years!

A collaboration of eight, primarily Swedish-based, astronomers have identified seven Dyson sphere candidates within 300 parsecs (about 1,000 light years) of Earth.  The astronomers looked a data from ESA’s Gaia satellite, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and 2MASS of around five million stars.

A Dyson sphere is a theoretical concept seriously developed in 1960 by Freeman Dyson, but actually originating from the novel Star Maker (1937) by Olaf Stapledon. The Dyson sphere is a construct that completely surrounds a star and so captures all of, or most of, its visible light. Similarly, a Dyson swarm is a multitude of small orbiting bodies about a star that captures the majority of its light. While Dyson spheres and Dyson swarms capture visible light, they in turn warm and so give off infra-red (IR) and this IR excess might be considered a ‘techno-signature’ of an extraterrestrial civilisation.

Combing through the Gaia, WISE and 2MASS data, the astronomers come up with 7 possible candidates for Dyson spheres/swarms. The nearest is 466 light years away. All are M-type stars or red dwarfs. The astronomers do point out that there are several alternate natural explanations to the Dyson sphere/swarm suggestions but none of them fully explain the spectra seen from these candidate stars.

See   Suazo, M. et al (2024) Project Hephaistos – II. Dyson sphere candidates from Gaia DR3, 2MASS, and WISE. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. vol. 531 p695–707.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. The “Young Frankenstein Movie Documentary (with Mel Brooks)” is a 2002 documentary. A bit self-adulatory, but worth it for the amusing anecdotes.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is a 1974 American comedy horror film directed by Mel Brooks. The screenplay was co-written by Brooks and Gene Wilder. Wilder also starred in the lead role as the title character, a descendant of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein, and Peter Boyle as the monster. The film co-stars Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Richard Haydn, and Gene Hackman. The film is a parody of the classic horror film genre, in particular the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus produced by Universal Pictures in the 1930s. Much of the lab equipment used as props was created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein. To help evoke the atmosphere of the earlier films, Brooks shot the picture entirely in black and white, a rarity in the 1970s, and employed 1930s’ style opening credits and scene transitions such as iris outs, wipes, and fades to black. The film also features a period score by Brooks’ longtime composer John Morris.

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Ersatz Culture, Joel Zakem, Francis Hamit, Lise Andreasen, Steven French, Teddy Harvia, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Dann.]

New Mexico Author Victor Milàn Dies

Victor Milàn

By Craig W. Chrissinger: Victor Milàn, New Mexico science fiction and fantasy author, died late afternoon February 13, 2018, at the Lovelace Westside Hospital in Albuquerque, NM, from complications of pneumonia, brought on by multiple myeloma cancer, close friend Patricia Rogers has announced. He was 63 years old.

Born August 3, 1954, in Tulsa, OK, Victor Woodward Milàn was known for his libertarian-oriented science fiction and an interest in cybernetics. In 1986, he received the Prometheus Award for early novel, The Cybernetic Samurai. Most recently, he produced three novels in the “Dinosaur Lords” series, with The Dinosaur Princess (book 3) released August 2017.

George R. R. Martin described Milàn’s “Dinosaur” novels as “like a cross between ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Game of Thrones.'”

Milàn is a founding member of the “Wild Cards” shared-world superhero series (edited by Martin, assisted by Melinda Snodgrass). He will have a story in Texas Hold ‘Em, the 26th “Wild Cards” mosaic novel, to be released October 2018; and a short “Wild Cards” story, “EverNight”, is available February 14 on Tor.com.

His science fiction/fantasy career began with the first three books in the “War of Powers” fantasy sequence, all published in 1980 and co-written with Albuquerque author Robert E. Vardeman. The first book in the series was The Sundered Realm. A second trilogy was ordered by Playboy Press, and sixth book, Demon of the Dark Ones was published in 1982. One of Milàn’s earliest stories was “Soldatenmangel” for Dragons of Darkness, a 1981 anthology edited by Orson Scott Card.

Other novels include Runespear in 1987, co-written with Snodgrass; The Cybernetic Shogun, sequel novel, in 1990; solo “Wild Cards” novel, Turn of the Cards in 1993; Star Trek: From the Depths in 1993; CLD: Collective Landing Detachment in 1995; Battletech: Black Dragon in 1996; and Mechwarrior: Flight of the Falcon in 2004.

Milàn told the Albuquerque News in 1979 that his writing career began with the co-authoring of a cheapie novel at the age of 20. That same year, western novel The Night Riders, set in 1883 New Mexico, was published under the pen name Keith Jarrod.

He also wrote several action/adventure and near-future works under pseudonyms: James Axler for several Deathlands and Outlanders books, Richard Austin for The Guardians series, Robert Baron for the Stormrider trilogy, S. L. Hunter for two Donovan Steele books, and Alex Archer for many books in the Rogue Angel series. All in all, he had almost 100 novels and numerous short stories published.

Milàn also was a member of the Critical Mass writers group, a peer-to-peer group of New Mexico writers that he once asserted is a massive help in critiquing and helping each other grow as writers. And in 1979 he served as editor of the bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Before turning to writing full-time, Milàn also worked as a cowboy, a computer support technician, a semi-pro actor, and a night DJ for KRST, at that time an Albuquerque progressive-rock station. He graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 1972, and went to Yale University on a scholarship as well as the University of New Mexico. He was a National Merit finalist his senior year, president of the school’s community council, and active in the Academy’s drama club. As an eighth grader, he won The Albuquerque Tribune Spelling Bee, and represented the newspaper at the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

He enjoyed reading, birding, playing games, cycling, firearms, spending time with friends, and taking walks in Albuquerque’s North Valley. He also enjoyed serving as Master of Ceremonies for St. Louis’ Archon Masquerade and Albuquerque’s Bubonicon Costume Contest.

A celebration of his life will be held at Bubonicon 50 this August in Albuquerque.

He is survived by many friends and writers in the science fiction community.

— Craig W. Chrissinger


Patricia Rogers writes that she was with Vic when he passed, and posted this to Facebook —

Hi All,

I have very sad news.

Friend and wonderful author Victor Milán, passed at 430pm this afternoon of Myeloma complicated by pneumonia.

I was with him holding his hand. Spent the afternoon telling him how much he was loved.

It was a gentle passing.

Pixel Scroll 2/13/18 Contents Of The Pixels May Have Scrolled During Flight

Editor’s note: A lean Scroll because I’m on the road overseeing my mother’s care and the motel wi-fi is deadly slow!

(1) DUANE AND MORWOOD APPEAL. Diane Duane and Peter Morwood have run into a financial shortfall, and are in danger of losing their house. Diane tweets about it, and points to an ebook sale:

Their ebookstore is https://ebooksdirect.co/

Duane details the background on her blog: “A Difficult Appeal” and concludes —

…What’s most infuriating (and mortifying) about all this is that if what’s happening now was instead happening in six or eight weeks, it’d be less of an issue, as Peter’s entire (newly revised) backlist will be coming online in paperback format at Amazon. But it’s happening now, and the truth is that without assistance, we won’t make it to the spring—not and keep our home. So, swallowing our corporate pride, it’s time to turn to the larger community and ask for help.

(2) FUNDRAISER FOR A BIG HEART FAN. Big Heart winner Samanda Jeude needs financial help – Marcia Kelly Illingworth explains —

Due to the recent passing of Don Dea Cook, and Samanda Jeude now in residence in a Canton nursing home, there will be a number of sales and auctions of their vast collection of books, art, and collectibles, with all proceeds going to the continuing care of Samanda.

For those younger fans who may not have known Don and Sam, they were very active in the Science Fiction community for many years.  Don/Dea was the Chair of the Atlanta in 1995 Worldcon Committee.  Samanda was the Founder of Electrical Eggs, which started the move toward access to conventions for people with different physical challenges. She spent the biggest part of her adult life working to help others. Now it’s our time to help her.

Sam has asked my husband Tim Illingworth and myself to coordinate the disposition of their collection. Our plan is to hold auctions at as many conventions as possible, as well as online auctions and fixed price sales. We are awaiting word from this year’s DeepSouthCon, ConCave in Kentucky later this month, where we hope to be able to hold the first auction.  After all, Samanda is a past winner of the Rebel Award.

We welcome any suggestions for venues, and volunteers for assistance.  With careful oversight and management, we should be able to take care of Samanda’s needs. If you have any further questions, please contact me via Messenger or email. This post is public, so please feel free to share it far and wide.  Thank you.

If you, or anyone else, have any questions, or suggestions for venues or methods, please feel free to email me. My email address is no secret.

[email protected]

(3) TOLKIEN EXHIBITION. The “Maker of Middle-Earth” exhibit will be on view at the Weston Library, Oxford from June 1-October 28, 2018.

Journey into Tolkien’s worlds in this once-in-a-generation exhibition…

Wizards, elves, hobbits and creatures: the life and worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien are revealed in this unique exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth explores Tolkien’s legacy, from his genius as an artist, poet, linguist, and author to his academic career and private life….

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth explores Tolkien’s amazing legacy from his genius as an artist, poet, linguist, and author to his academic career and private life. The exhibition takes you on a journey through Tolkien’s famous works, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, displaying an array of draft manuscripts, striking illustrations and maps drawn for his publications. Discover Tolkien’s early abstract paintings from The Book of Ishness, the touching tales he wrote for his children, rare objects that belonged to Tolkien, exclusive fan mail; and private letters.

This once-in-a-generation exhibition runs from 1 June to 28 October 2018 at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.

(4) MILÀN OBIT. Victor Milán died February 13 of myeloma complicated by pneumonia announced Patricia Rogers on Facebook.

Mark Lawrence summarized his career on Reddit’s r/Fantasy section:

In 1986 he won the Prometheus Award for his novel Cybernetic Samurai. More recently he wrote the Dinosaur Lords books.

He was a regular contributor to the George Martin’s Wild Cards series and Tor.com will have one of his Wild Cards short stories on their site tomorrow morning.

(5) RAPP OBIT. Tom Rapp (1947-2018). Joel Zakem writes —

I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite musicians, singer and songwriter Tom Rapp from the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 11. While I can only recall two songs that have SFF connections, I believe both are based on favorites of yours.

First, from their second album, “Balaclava” (!968) this adoption of some of Tolkien’s most famous lines (extra credit for knowing the meaning of the album title):


And this Bradbury-based number from 1970’s “The Use Of Ashes”.


(6) I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. Rose Eveleth, in the podcast Flash Forward, has an episode called “You’ve Got  Brainmail” where she interviews author Ramez Naam, sf scholar Roger Luckhurst, and the etiquette columnist of the Boston Globe about such questions as the history of telepathy, whether brain to brain interfaces are possible, and what happens when your first wedding invitation is sent telepathically.

(7) MORE 1976 WORLDCON VIDEO. The FANAC Fan History Project has posted another video from the Video Archeology project, “Fifty Amazing, Astounding, Wonderful Years, a talk by James Gunn.”

MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Kansas City in 1976. It was also the 50th anniversary of the first science fiction magazine. In this video, Professor Gunn talks about the impact of the magazines on science fiction and the creation of fandom. There’s also an entertaining description of the responses of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne to each other, a brief account of how to create a science fiction writer, and a sense of what the field was like in the early days, all delivered with charming wit. This essay later appeared in Gunn’s “Inside Science Fiction”, published by Scarecrow Press. (1992). The material is brought to you by the FANAC Fan History Project, with video from the Video Archeology project.


(8) RESEARCH ALREADY DONE. I didn’t think this was news. In fact, I’m sure crusading journalist (and frequent blockee) Jon Del Arroz has written about it quite often, in the process convincing people it’s the right choice.


(9) NOT MAXWELL’S SILVER HAMMER. Marvel’s Thor will tee up a new hammer in the next Avengers movie:

Thor Ragnarok had Chris Hemsworth lose his trusty hammer, Mjolnir, but the God of Thunder will get a NEW one in Avengers Infinity War and we have our first look! Jessica has the reveal (WITH SPOILERS) on today’s Nerdist News!


[Thanks to Marica Illingworth, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Joel Zakem, Rose Embolism, Danny Sichel, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

Pat Rogers Visits Ray Bradbury’s Old Neighborhood


On the quiet tree-lined streets of Cheviot Hills in Los Angeles there is the new house being built on Ray Bradbury’s old lot.

In November, Pat Rogers made a pilgrimage to see what the new owner is doing. She wrote, “The owner said he bought in that area because he liked the quaint charm of the neighborhood. Which is now a little less quaint and charming. He also just had the last tree over the sidewalk cut down. Sigh. So it goes.”

John King Tarpinian’s photos of the Bradbury house being torn down went viral in January 2015.

Interior A RESIZE


Bradbury house


The property had been acquired by Thom Mayne – a famous LA architect — and his wife, Blythe Alison-Mayne. They discussed the plans for their new house with a KCRW reporter a week after the teardown.

DnA: What are you planning to build? On the blogosphere one of the terms that’s being thrown around is McMansion.

BM: That is so, so wrong. It’s the exact opposite of a McMansion.

We are building this really, really modest house. Most of it is landscaping.

It’s really interesting because the ground is being excavated and the house is going down below the level of the ground, a lot of it, not all of it. We come up only four feet from the ground level.

TM: If you look at the maximum envelope which everybody’s building, we are we are building only 20 percent of the volume that we are allowed to build so it’s actually an anti, a super-anti-McMansion.

We are attacking that issue because I see this very much as a prototype for a California house. I’m aware of the Case Study program; I studied with Pierre Koenig and I see this as the next generation of a Case Study for a residential environment in California and it has do with scale, it it has to do with landscape, it has no air conditioning, it has to do with climate, it has to do with lifestyle. The main room is exterior, it’s an outside room and we’ve learned that because that’s how we live in our house currently.

Blythe also said, “There is a wall that we will design that will be seen from the outside of the house and all of the titles of his books will be embedded in this wall.”

How does it look right now?

Pat Rogers said, “If I put aside my bias about Ray’s house being torn down and take it as interesting architecture (the metallic looking walls may be adapted solar panels) — I would still have a problem with it in this neighborhood. Maybe if it was located out in the desert near Palm Springs or on Mars, it would be OK.”


Pat's shadow points to where the last tree used to be.

Pat’s shadow points to where the last tree used to be.

Ruth Speer Update

Patricia Rogers gave Andrew Porter an update on Ruth Speer, and the preservation of the late Jack Speer’s science fiction stuff:

Ruth Speer is doing well. She has moved into a lovely apartment in an adult living complex. Her room is decorated with several SF paintings and lots of photos of Jack. I took her to Bubonicon (our local SF con) last year and spent time with her on both her birthday and Christmas eve. The Speer home is up for sale and the family has had many garage sales to finish clearing everything out. Last March I packed up the last of 60 large legal size boxes of Jack’s SF papers and sent them out to ENMU (Eastern New Mexico University, home of the Jack Williamson Special SF Collection). It was good timing as they had just expanded the space for the Special Collections and had room to take it all. Even included several mimeograph machines and typewriters.

Patricia will be going out in April for the Williamson Lectureship and may have more news then.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story, and Patricia Rogers’ permission to run it.]

SF in LA: Patricia Rogers’ Photo Album

You can pack a lot of stfnal adventure into a week in LA if you time it right. Patricia Rogers picked the last week of April and set some kind of record – and she has picture to prove it.

Here are some photos from my whirlwind trip to LA which was pretty much all SF all the time. Harlan, Nebulas, Eaton Conference, book stores, LA Festival of Books, and best of all (time) – Ray Bradbury invited me over his house! Gosh I love him! Thought y’all would enjoy seeing them. 

Patricia Rogers even stopped to help clean up fire debris at Len Wein and Christine Valada’s house. Afterward, looking at the photo of her smudged face she wondered, “Maybe I should have worn a mask – Huh?!” 

New File 770 Issue
Posted at eFanzines

Cover of File 770 #154Now find File 770 #154 at eFanzines.com.

A cover collaboration by Brianna Spacekat Wu with Frank Wu adorns the issue. The news inside is complemented by Taral’s article about La Dolce Vita of being a fanartist. My Denvention 3 report is matched with Chris Garcia’s autobiographical explanation about “How to Present a Hugo.” John Hertz’ Westercon Notebook covering the con in Las Vegas, is followed with con reports by Martin Morse Wooster, James Bacon and Francis Hamit, and the collected Adventures in Speerology from Patricia Rogers.

Adventures in Speerology #3

Patricia Rogers has been writing some wonderful posts about helping Ruth Speer sort through Jack’s fan stuff. Patricia sent me the newest installment on July 22, and I’m finally catching up. She’s attending the San Diego Comic-Con as I write. Here is her third installment of Adventures in Speerology:

Jack Speer was a very lucky man. I am just home from spending another wonderful afternoon with the charming Ruth. Now here is a woman who just lost her life companion, best friend, and beloved husband of 57 years. Yet even in her time of grieving she is the perfect hostess: full of life, quick to laugh, and exuding the very essence of joie de vivre. A pearl of great price.

We laughed so often in the 3½ hours I was there that even though I am exhausted from running a zillion errands today, Ruth’s laughter has energized me… Shouldn’t I be giving her my energy? Well, maybe it is mutual.

I told her of all your good wishes and comments on what I have written describing our forays into Jack’s ziggurat. I also gave her hard copies of Speerology 1 & 2 to read. Now I am the anxious student waiting to find out if I will get a passing grade on my term paper. I gave her veto power on anything I have written before it is committed to paper and asked her to please let me know if I have gotten anything – I used the word “wrong,” her more ladylike take was “interpreted incorrectly.”

Let me jump back to last night. While washing, packing, cleaning, and doing a myriad of other chores that needed doing in my home before I leave for San Diego early Wednesday, I would occasionally take a few moments out and sift though Jack’s 1938 envelope of photos. Some of these photos are very small – postage-stamp size. Ruth says that Jack enjoyed developing and printing them himself, which explains why there are multiple copies of some photos. The pictures are so small that after a while I found myself wandering back to my library/office in search of a loupe so I might better make out what was in them. One tiny landscape needed no magnifying glass to identify, though it did take my brain a moment to register what I was seeing; with a childlike smile I realized that here was a teensy-tinesy Munchkin-sized photo of the Emerald City. Dorothy and friends have just turned the last corner on the Yellow Brick Road and a breathtaking Emerald City looms before them. The first thing I thought was: “Oh look – Jack took a photo of The Wizard of Oz on the TV. All the problems with this statement quickly occurred to me and just as fast I remembered that the movie came out in 1939 and he must have been seeing it in a theater during its opening run. So I pictured our 19-year-old Jack seeing The Wizard of Oz for the first time and being so in awe of the futuristic design of the Emerald City that right then and there in the dark theater he pulled out his camera and took a photo of the screen. You can even see the outline of other moviegoers’ heads in the foreground. I feel like I know and like him all the better now because of this postage stamp image.

Another image also looked familiar, but took me a few more moments of thought to figure out with its strange spires, angles and shadows. Finally it hit me: here was a photo from a World of Tomorrow, the General Motors “Futurama” ride from the 1939 World’s Fair – Jack must have snapped the photo from the chair moving past the models. WOW! So now we have a photo from the time and place of the World Con in 1939! There must be more! There are some photos of individuals standing on what appears to be New York City street corners. Also, there are shots of lots of young men surrounded by paper and books. Maybe just maybe we are on the right track. Really, I will scan these for you when I get back… I promise. There will be prizes for anyone that can identify anybody in the photos… But remember these images are so very small!

I kidded with Ruth that here we have Jack taking photos of everything from The Wizard of Oz to the World’s Fair – surely there have to be World Con photos!!!! Unless Jack filed them separately… Always a possibility.

Speaking of filing: Ruth and I chatted for a long time and I mentioned Curt’s idea of taking documentary photos so we headed off to Jack’s office. I got down at the level of his chair and started snapping pictures of Jack’s office as he would have seen it every day. Ruth laughed and said “Wait, he would not have this (mundane) business paper out,” and we quickly got out his last mailing of Synapse. (Which by-the-way, Robert – Jack had opened and made a file for but had not started to work on yet. Ruth says he never worked on anything until the last possible moment.) I also started taking documentary photos of the myriad of filing cabinets.

After taking several dozen photos we headed to the garage and on the way I grabbed a few shots of the front hall and living room which are, in the words of my mother, “Company Ready.” Not a SF zine in sight. Oh, and I did ask Ruth to pose for a photo. She said, “But I’m not a Science Fiction Fan.” I came right back and said, “But you are a fan of Jack’s!” She laughed and with a soft smile said I had her there and she sat down for the camera.

Once we got to the garage I went right over to the wonderful pulp magazine area and I started opening a few envelopes to place the pulps out for aesthetic picture purposes. Of course the ones I picked up were completely different than those I had seen the other day. All I wanted to do was stop right then and there and open each and every one! But with great determination and strength of will I wrenched myself free after talking only a few photos.

Ruth and I went over to a wall of small file drawers (index card size). We started opening them to peruse the treasures inside – then the laughing started in earnest! Look, this drawer is full of old wallets, and this one is filled with old broken belts, broken eyeglasses in another… Have I mentioned that Jack never threw anything away? I liked the one full of SF pins, badges and name tags. There is more – like the one full of plastic coffee cups from the late 1960s, but also in there was what I am sure is a Bakelite red and black marbled holder that once held shaving cream circa 1910-1930. So like every good dig, there may be a mountain of oyster shells in your midden, but if you keep looking you may just find a perfect spear point.

We took lots and lots of photos amidst our laughter. I said I had better get some shots of the attic and Ruth asked for the camera so she could take photos of me on the way up. I started to climb and Ruth, standing below me with camera in hand, kept saying – “Just go up one more rung, OK, one more, well, maybe one more so they see your head going up into the dark.” I envisioned the classic Grand Canyon scenario: “No, really, Honey – just step back one more step.” I took some photos in the attic too and of the garage from that angle.

We dug around for a while longer in drawer after drawer of bill statements that had been paid 25 years past and ancient Christmas holiday giveaways in a festive card – small plastic devices that you could press into you checks like a notary seal that would protect your writing from fraud. There were a bunch of these from some fifty years back. I said to Ruth – “Well, now you are all set for next Christmas.”

To escape the heat of the garage we took a cool respite in the lovely green backyard which is complete with fountain and recently-added gazebo. Camera in hand I headed over to the shed to document the plethora of boxes housed there and some of the oh-so-water-damaged files.

Finally we went back into the living room and had another long chat and made a date for next Tuesday July 29 when I am back from Comic Con.

Ruth said during our afternoon conversations that – “Jack tied to squeeze every last bit out of life.” Not a bad thing to emulate… I am sure going to try to do the same.