Pixel Scroll 4/11/24 One Scroll, Furnished In Early Pixelry

(1) IT PAYS TO BE A GENIUS OF COURSE. The Steampunk Explorer updates fans about the Girl Genius Kickstarter:

Call it mad science or just good storytelling, but Phil and Kaja Foglio are blazing through Kickstarter with their latest Girl Genius graphic novel. The campaign for An Entertainment In Londinium reached its US$50,000 funding goal within 24 hours and is now in six-figure territory. It launched on April 3.

Stretch goal rewards include the “Envelope of Madness” with bookplates, bookmarks, and other printed items. Backers will also get PDF downloads of Volumes 12 through 14. All Girl Genius titles are now available for 50 percent off from DriveThru Comics through May 5.

The campaign itself runs through May 1. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

(2) OCTOTHORPE. Episode 107 of the Octothorpe podcast unpacks“The Significance of the Acorn”.

At Eastercon we welcomed Stunt Liz, Nicholas Whyte, to the podcast for the first time, and he brought an excellent tartan rocket! We discuss Glasgow 2024’s April Fool’s Day joke, before moving onto the Hugo Award finalists, what we think of Telford, and chatting about a lot of British TV.

Transcript here.

John, Alison, and Nicholas Whyte stand in front of a projection of the Octothorpe podcast and behind a panel table. Each of them wears a convention badge, and Nicholas holds the Glasgow Landing Zone Rocket. Nicholas is looking at the camera, while John and Alison are not quite as good at this. The table they stand behind holds beers, coffees, convention newsletters, phone batteries, microphones, and table tents.
Octothorpe at Levitation. Photo by Sue Dawson.

(3) HUGE RESPONSE. “’Joker 2′ Trailer Hits 167 Million Views in First 24 Hours” reports Variety.

The trailer launch for “Joker: Folie à Deux” was no laughing matter for Warner Bros. The marketing for the studio’s upcoming DC sequel, headlined by Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, got off to a stellar start with 167 million viewers in its first 24 hours. The teaser trailer went online right after it debuted at Warner Bros.’s CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas.

Sources tell Variety that the “Joker” sequel’s trailer numbers and social engagement surpassed that of the first “Barbie” trailer to become Warner Bros.’ biggest launch in recent years. The release was no doubt bolstered by Lady Gaga’s massive 150 million follower social media footprint. The trailer instantly became the #1 trending video on YouTube on premiere night and currently boasts 15.6 million views and counting on that platform alone, where it remains the #4 trending video nearly two days after its launch…

(4) ANOTHER DISNEY CASTING KERFUFFLE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] OK, this has gotten out of hand. It seems like every time there’s a movie remake (especially a Disney remake) somebody has to find way to get all bent out of shape about casting. Much of the time, a racist way.

But this time they jumped the gun extra early. There’s a rumored casting of a live action remake for Disney’s Tangled. But, let’s be clear, there’s no further rumor of the remake itself, just the casting.

So now some people online are jumping all over the actress (Avantika Vandanapu) who happens to be Indian-American. Because reasons. Stupid, racist, reasons. 

As one online commentator said, the haters seriously “still need a hobby.” “Avantika Vandanapu receives backlash for rumored casting as Rapunzel in ‘Tangled’ remake” says Variety.

…Although Avantika’s rumored casting received criticism from some on social media, fans also showed support for the “Senior Year” actress.

“These comments are so awful. I’m so sorry girl you are perfect,” one Instagram user wrote, while another added, “She is my Rapunzel ❤”

“Never Have I Ever” star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan also appeared to weigh in on the online controversy, writing on X Tuesday, “And they finally woke up to realize it was all just rumors and the sources never existed. … And to the racists, y’all still need a hobby (for real)”…

(5) ELUSIVE BRADBURY COLLECTION. Episode 2 of Phil Nichols’ Bradbury 101, first aired in 2021, is devoted to a rare OP anthology.

DARK CARNIVAL is Ray Bradbury’s great “lost” book, one of his finest short story collections. But it’s out of print, and has been for decades! Find out why in this episode..

(6) TRINA ROBBINS (1938-2024). Trina Robbins, artist, writer and editor of comics, died April 10. The New York Times has a biographical tribute.

…In 1970, Ms. Robbins was one of the creators of It Ain’t Me Babe, the first comic book made exclusively by women. In 1985, she was the first woman to draw a full issue of Wonder Woman, and a full run on a Wonder Woman series, after four decades of male hegemony. And in 1994, she was a founder of Friends of Lulu, an advocacy group for female comic-book creators and readers….

…Ms. Robbins was responsible for the first publication of some notable cartoonists in The East Village Other, including Vaughn Bode and Justin Green, but she took particular pride in the women’s anthologies she edited and co-edited, and in their explicitly feminist content: It Ain’t Me Babe Comix, Wimmen’s Comix and the erotic Wet Satin.

She also designed the famously skimpy outfit for Vampirella, a female vampire who appeared in black-and-white comics beginning in 1969 — although her design was not as skimpy as the costume later became. “The costume I originally designed for Vampi was sexy, but not bordering on obscene,” Ms. Robbins told the Fanbase Press website in 2015. “I will not sign a contemporary Vampirella comic. I explain, that is not the costume I designed.”…

Prior to her career in comics, Robbins was a clothing designer and seller, and for awhile a pinup model. She was in contact with fandom in the Fifties and Sixties, and posed for the cover of an issue of Fanac, the fannish newzine, wearing a propellor beanie and with her feminine attributes strategically covered by a copy of Fancyclopedia.

Harlan Ellison and Trina Robbins at the 1955 Midwestcon.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born April 11, 1920 Peter O’Donnell. (Died 2010.) London-born Peter O’Donnell was the creator of the Modesty Blaise comic strip along with illustrator Jim Holdaway sixty-one years ago. She has no past as she doesn’t remember anything about her life before escaping from a displaced persons camp in Greece after WW II at the age of fifteen. She runs a criminal gang called The Network, and takes her last name from Merlin’s tutor. Her sidekick, of course she has one, is Willie Garvin, to give a bit of friendship in her life.

Peter O’Donnell from the rear dustjacket flap of the Archival Press edition of The Silver Mistress. Photo by Robert K. Wiener.

O’Donnell and Holdaway met when they worked together on a strip about Romeo Brown, a dashing private detective and reluctant ladies’ man, that ran in the tabloid Evening Standard for most of the Fifties. Blaise, too, would run here. It was quickly picked up globally running in the US, Australian, Indian, South African, Malaysian and other papers as she had a great appeal.

After Holdaway’s death in 1970, the art was by Spanish artist Enrique Romero. He would leave eight years later with three artists replacing him until he came back until the end of the strip with it still running in the Evening Standard thirty-eight years after it debuted. 

Yes, it became a film which came just three years into the running of the strip. My did it piss O’Donnell off. Why so? Because he was hired to write the script which they then shitcanned and wrote a new one that had almost nothing to do with characters, the storyline or, well, anything else with the strip. Remember that friendship between her and Willie? Here it becomes full blown romance. And that’s just one of many, many changes. 

A later film, Modesty Blaise, would be done as a pilot for a series that never happened and yet another film, My Name is Modesty Blaise, would be done for yet another series that never happened.  The one had O’Donnell as a consultant and he liked it.

My Name is Modesty Blaise would be the only one with a British actress as the first had an Italian actress. Now Modesty wasn’t necessarily British as O’Donnell repeatedly said her nationality was deliberately not revealed. 

I’ve not touched upon the plethora of books, short stories, graphic novels and original audiobooks that came of these characters in the part sixty years, and I’ll skip detailing them here. 

So there you are. I did enjoy the strip when Titan, one of many who did, collected them in trade editions. I think there’s at least fifty trade paper editions available right now on Amazon. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) BE KIND TO YOUR WEB-FOOTED FRIENDS. This July, Marvel and Disney honor the 90th anniversary of Donald Duck and the 50th anniversary of Wolverine with an unexpected mashup adventure—Marvel & Disney: What If…? Donald Duck Became Wolverine #1.

Crafted by two acclaimed Disney comic creators, writer Luca Barbieri and artist Giada Perissinotto, MARVEL & DISNEY: WHAT IF…? DONALD BECAME WOLVERINE #1 is the latest comic book collaboration between Marvel and Disney following the What If…? Disney Variant Covers of the last few years and the highly anticipated Uncle Scrooge and the Infinity Dime #1 one-shot comic out this June. Fans can look forward to even more exciting crossovers between Marvel heroes and Disney icons throughout this year and next! 

The comic will introduce Donald-Wolverine along with all sorts of reimagined Disney and Marvel mashups in a wild adventure inspired by one of Wolverine’s most memorable story arcs, Old Man Logan. In addition, the saga will revisit some of the greatest moments in Donald-Wolverine’s history including his time spent with Weapon X and the Uncanny X-Men!  

Travel to the near future where chaos rules as Pete-Skull transforms Duckburg into a super-hero-less wasteland. Only Old Donald Duck can turn the tide, but he’s given up his battling days and prefers naps and his grandma’s apple pie over fighting villains. But when Mickey-Hawkeye comes knocking at the door with Goofy-Hulk at his side, Wolverine-Donald has to make a choice! Will a trip down memory lane change his mind to save the world? Or will the lure of the backyard hammock and a long nap keep him from popping his claws one last time?

(10) FOLLOWING GODZILLA’S ACT. Variety learns, “‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ Renewed, Multiple Spinoffs Set at Apple”.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” has been renewed for Season 2 at Apple TV+Variety has learned.

In addition, Apple has struck a deal with Legendary Entertainment to develop multiple spinoff series set in the so-called Monsterverse….

…The official description for Season 1 states: “Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ tracks two siblings (Sawai, Watabe) following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows.”…

(11) SO WE’LL WALK UP THE AVENUE. “They Made a Movie About a Pack of Sasquatches. Why?” The New York Times asks the filmmakers.

…An earthquake and an eclipse weren’t the only natural rarities that happened in New York City this past week. Did you hear about the sasquatch in Central Park? The makers of “Sasquatch Sunset” sure hope you did.

That’s because the sasquatch was a costume and his stroll through the park was a publicity push for the new film from the brothers David and Nathan Zellner. Opening in New York on Friday, the movie spends a year in the wild with a sasquatch pack — a male and female (Nathan Zellner and Riley Keough) and two younger sasquatches (Jesse Eisenberg and Christophe Zajac-Denek) — as they eat, have sex, fight predators and reckon with death.

Droll but big-hearted, the movie sits at the intersection of the ad campaign for Jack Link’s beef jerky, the 1987 comedy “Harry and the Hendersons” and a 1970s nature documentary, down to the hippie-vibe soundtrack.

Is it a family-friendly movie?

KEOUGH It depends on the family. [Laughs] I think the audience is everybody. It might be scary for small children.

DAVID ZELLNER It’s rated R for nudity, which is the funniest thing.

(12) CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER. Meanwhile, Camestros Felapton has fled the country, leaving behind to distract pursuers “McEdifice in: MYCOPHAGE! Part 1”.

Cliff “Edge” McEdifice is MYCOPHAGE the intoxicating new thriller from Timothy the Talking Cat, Straw Puppy and the ghost of Michael Crichton.

It is the Year 1995 and Cliff “Edge” McEdifice (ancestor of future soldier Chiselled McEdifice) is entangled in a web of conspiracy, tendrils and webs.

(13) NEXT TREK. “Star Trek Origin Movie Officially Announced By Paramount For 2025 Release” at ScreenRant.

Paramount Pictures officially announces the next Star Trek movie, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters in 2025. As reported in January, the next Star Trek movie isn’t the long-delayed, Chris Pine-led Star Trek 4 produced by J.J. Abrams, which remains in development at Paramount. Rather, the next Star Trek movie is an origin story directed by Toby Haynes (Star Wars: Andor) and written by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter).

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Arnie Fenner, Kathy Sullivan, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Steven French, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]

Cats Sleep on SFF: Girl Genius Kickstarter

From Phil Foglio we hear —

Studio Foglio is pleased to announce that our latest Kickstarter for Girl Genius Volume 21 has launched: “An Entertainment In Londinium: A Girl Genius Graphic Novel by Studio Foglio” and is already doing quite well. 

Girl Genius is a webcomic that can be read here for free and it updates every Monday/Wednesday/Friday. It won 3 Hugos™ for Best Graphic story before stepping aside for other creators. This volume is written by Kaja and Phil Foglio, drawn by Reuben Award winner Phil Foglio, and colored by Cheyenne Wright.

We have also included a picture for the “Cats Sleeping on SFF” Department, though in all honesty, it could be sub-filed under “Cats Lolling About Adjacent to SF”.


Photos of your felines (or whatever you’ve got!) resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com

Court Exhibit Names Artists Midjourney Scraped To Train Its AI; Includes Many Hugo Winners

Phil Foglio

Hugo-winning artist Phil Foglio told Bluesky readers today “They just dropped a list of All the artists that Midjourney admits to having scraped to train its A.I. engine. Are YOU on it? (We are) Do you have a good lawyer? (We do).”

Early in 2023 artists filed one of the many cases brought against developers of so-called generative artificial intelligence programs – which can create media based on text prompts – against Stability AI and Midjourney, with artists claiming the text-to-image generators only function by being trained on copyrighted artwork.

“Though Defendants like to describe their AI image products in lofty terms, the reality is grubbier and nastier,” the artists said. “AI image products are primarily valued as copyright-laundering devices, promising customers the benefits of art without the costs of artists.”

The plaintiffs listed thousands of artists whose styles Midjourney’s CEO claimed their service could emulate in an exhibit filed with the court on November 29, 2023. These names were publicly posted by the CEO on the Midjourney Discord:

260. In February 2022, near the release of the initial version of the Midjourney Image Product, Midjourney CEO David Holz posted messages on the Midjourney Discord server promoting the Midjourney Image Product’s ability to emulate existing artistic styles, in particular the styles of certain artists.

261. Over a series of Discord messages, Holz said “i think you’re all gonna get [your] mind blown by this style feature … we were very liberal in building out the dictionary … it has cores and punks and artist names … as much as we could dump in there … i should be clear it’s not just genres its also artist names … it’s mostly artist names … 4000 artist names.”43

262. Holz then said, “here is our style list”44 and posted a link to a spreadsheet on Google Docs called “Midjourney Style List.”45 One of the tabs on the spreadsheet was called “Artists” and listed over 4700 artist names. In other words, Holz published a list of artists who the Midjourney Image Product recognizes with the express purpose of these names being used by users and licensees of the Midjourney Image Product as terms in prompts. Holz’s comment, and the list, have remained available ever since.

The complete list is available online: Exhibit J: Midjourney Name List.

Nearly all Best Professional Artist Hugo winners are on the list: Rovina Cai, John Picacio, Charles Vess, Julie Dillon, Shaun Tan, Donato Giancola, Stephan Martinière, Jim Burns, Bob Eggleton, Michael Whelan, Don Maitz, Vincent DiFate, Rick Sternbach, Frank Kelly Freas, Leo and Diane Dillon, Jack Gaughan, John Schoenherr, Ed Emshwiller, Virgil Finlay.

So are many other famous genre artists including Chesley Bonestell, Richard M. Powers, Ray Harryhausen, and Frank Frazetta.

Artwork by Bill Rotsler.

And fans might be surprised how many fanzine artists are on the list. William Rotsler is there, as are these winners of the Rotsler Award named for him: Alexis A. Gilliland, Arthur (ATom) Thomson, Brad W. Foster, Dan Steffan, Steve Stiles, Teddy Harvia, and Tim Kirk.

Not all Rotsler Award winners names are on the list, though. (Sorry?) Missing are Alan White, Alison Scott, Dick “Ditmar” Jenssen, Grant Canfield, Harry Bell, Jeanne Gomoll, Jim Barker, Ken Fletcher, Kurt Erichsen, Marc Schirmeister, Ray Nelson, Ross Chamberlain, Sue Mason, Stu Shiffman, Taral Wayne, Terry Jeeves, and Ulrika O’Brien. I’m not sure how they will feel. They probably should be glad. However, I remember when Robert Silverberg visited eastern Germany after the Berlin Wall fell he was disappointed not to be more well-known because they hadn’t pirated much of his work there. You never know.

[Thanks to Anne Marble for the story.]

Phil Foglio Among 2023 Reuben Award Winners

The National Cartoonists Society presented the 77th annual Reuben Awards at a ceremony in New York on September 7.

Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead, received the top honor, while the divisional winners included Phil Foglio in the Online Comics – Long Form category.

Here is the complete list:

NCS CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR

  • Bill Griffith

ONLINE COMICS – LONG FORM

  • Phil Foglio

ONLINE COMICS – SHORT FORM

  • Rich Powell

NEWSPAPER COMIC STRIP

  • Will Henry

NEWSPAPER PANEL COMIC

  • Dave Blazek

COMIC BOOKS

  • Ben Bender

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • Alex Ross

EDITORIAL CARTOON

  • Matt Davies

GAG CARTOONS

  • Christopher Weyant

BOOK ILLUSTRATION

  • Ed Steckley

MAGAZINE/NEWSPAPER ILLUSTRATION

  • Nick Galifianakis

ADVERTISING/PRODUCT ILLUSTRATION

  • Dave Whamond

VARIETY ENTERTAINMENT

  • Scott Nickel

Also presented during last night’s ceremony:

MILTON CANIFF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

  • Bill Plympton 

SILVER T-SQUARE AWARD

  • Brian Walker

Pixel Scroll 8/9/23 Raiders Of The Lost Pixel Scroll Archive

(1) VIDEO GAME INSPIRED BY FOGLIO UNIVERSE. The Girl Genius™: Adventures In Castle Heterodyne game will release on Steam on September 5 (PC, Mac, Linux). You can now play the game demo there.

We’re told a full press release may be coming. Meanwhile, here’s a preview trailer from March 2023.

(2) GOLDMAN FUND APPLICATIONS FOR PALESTINIANS ATTENDING WORLDCON ARE OPEN. Dream Foundry has opened applications for grants from the Goldman Fund Applications for Palestinian creatives and fans seeking to attend the 2024 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow. The application window runs from July 31 – November 5, 2023 although applications outside this window may be considered for any remaining funds. 

This is the Goldman Fund’s inaugural year. Offered through Dream Foundry’s Con or Bust program, the fund has a total of £8,000 per year for five years, and will assist citizens of Palestine and self-identified members of the Palestinian diaspora with expenses incurred from travel to and attendance at the annual WorldCon. The fund was created by Farah Mendlesohn in memory of her mother, Carole Goldman. 

Con or Bust is a grant-making program that provides greater access for creators and fans of color to science fiction conventions, events, and professional development opportunities. Since its relaunch as a Dream Foundry program in 2023 it has provided direct support to fifteen individuals, and hosted multiple networking and support events. Dream Foundry is actively accepting donations and endowments to expand this program.

To find more information or apply for support from the Goldman Fund visit Con-or-Bust.

(3) JUNK BOOKS GONE AFTER FRIEDMAN RAISES ISSUE. “Amazon removes books ‘generated by AI’ for sale under author’s name” reports the Guardian.

Five books for sale on Amazon were removed after author Jane Friedman complained that the titles were falsely listed as being written by her. The books, which Friedman believes were written by AI, were also listed on the Amazon-owned reviews site Goodreads….

…The books were “if not wholly generated by AI, then at least mostly generated by AI”, Friedman said. She began looking for ways to get the titles taken down immediately and submitted a claim form to Amazon. Yet according to Friedman, as she had not trademarked her name, Amazon told her it would not remove the books.

However, the books had been taken down from both Amazon and Goodreads by Tuesday, which Friedman suspects is due to her speaking out about the issue on social media. “Unless Amazon puts some sort of policy in place to prevent anyone from just uploading whatever book they want and applying whatever name they want, this will continue, it’s not going to end with me,” said Friedman. “They have no procedure for reporting this sort of activity where someone’s trying to profit off someone’s name.” On her blog, she called on the sites to “create a way to verify authorship”….

…When asked about Friedman’s case, an Amazon spokesperson told the Guardian: “We have clear content guidelines governing which books can be listed for sale and promptly investigate any book when a concern is raised. We welcome author feedback and work directly with authors to address any issues raised. We invest heavily to provide a trustworthy shopping experience and to protect customers and authors from misuse of our services.”

(4) PAY THE WRITER. Alan Dean Foster discusses revenue issues that writers are striking over in “Alan Dean Foster: The BFG Interview” at Book and Film Globe.

The writers’ and actors’ strike going on now in Hollywood raises urgent issues. The evolution of film distribution has got writers and actors concerned about their rights to “residuals,” i.e., present and future earnings from adaptations and streaming of their creative work. Do you see this as pretty much the crux of your dispute with Disney over Star Wars revenues? 

Alan Dean Foster: The great majority of performers who make any kind of reasonable living do so because of their residuals. Yes, my dispute with Disney involved royalties (author’s residuals, if you will). 

But the current issues are much greater. A good example is the use of CGI to allow the producers of the remake of Willy Wonka to cast Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa, thus shutting out all true Little People from casting. If such continues, every one of them will be out of work.  

It’s one thing to use CGI to resurrect a deceased actor to reprise a role, quite another to replace an actor with CGI. This will only get worse as the technology gets better. Actors know this, and it is something they are fighting against.

(5) PUBLISHERS BALKING. Publishers Weekly finds book publishers are resisting a request they believe would “make them ‘complicit’ in an act of censorship” — “As New Law Looms, Follett Asks Publishers to Help ‘Rate’ Their Own Books for Sale in Texas”.

…But with the law’s September 1 effective date bearing down, Follett School Solutions, the nation’s largest distributor of books to schools, does see a path forward in Texas—and that path apparently includes asking publishers to help rate their own books.

“Without having a 3rd party yet for the required ratings (Sexually Relevant and Sexually Explicit), our goal is to get as robust of a collection of purchasable content ready on September 1st and continue building as titles are rated,” reads the text of a memo from Follett officials addressed to Publishing Partners, which was shared anonymously with PW. “However, this is quite a workload. Follett is asking you to provide us with a simple spreadsheet helping us to identify titles which fall into two categories: either NO Questionable Content or Possible SR or SE Content (which we would send to a 3rd party for rating). Again, our goal is to get as many of your titles [available] on September 1st as possible.”

In the memo, Follett officials acknowledge that Texas has yet to provide detailed “guidelines” for how to rate books for sexual content. “But every title we can deem ‘OK’ to provide to them on September 1 for sale will be of benefit,” the memo states.

However, with their pending federal lawsuit seeking to block the new Texas law from taking effect, publishers and other industry stakeholders are balking at Follett’s request to help the vendor rate their titles. Though all of the Big Five publishers declined to comment directly on the Follett memo for this story, multiple publishers confirmed its details. One publishing executive told PW on background that they understand the bind Follett faces in Texas with the new law but that complying with the request to rate their books would make them “complicit” in an act of censorship. And in a statement, one publisher, Hachette, went on record to broadly reject the idea of rating its books.

(7) ARTHUR SCHMIDT (1937-2023). Film editor Arthur Schmidt died August 9 at the age of 86. Deadline led with his many genre credits: 

Arthur Schmidt, the film editor whose decades-long collaboration with director Robert Zemeckis on classics such as Forrest GumpWho Framed Roger RabbitCast AwayContact and all three Back to the Future films won him two Oscars, has died, Deadline has confirmed. He was 86.

Schmidt’s two Best Film Editing Oscars came for Roger Rabbit (1988) and Forrest Gump (1994). His other collaborations with Zemeckis included Death Becomes Her (1992) and What Lies Beneath (2000)….

(8) MEMORY LANE

2007 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Ian McDonald is the author of our Beginning this Scroll. He’s one of my favorite writers with Desolation Road and its sequel, Ares Express, being the works of his I’ve read the most times. 

Up next is River of Gods. It’s wonderful.  Our Green Man reviewer said of it, “You can hold whole universes in your hand, between the covers.”

Then there’s The Dervish House, the best Istanbul set SF novel ever. Really it is.  It may not be our Istanbul, but it is a great SF Istanbul. 

Now we come to our Beginning from Brasyl, which was published by Pyr sixteen years ago with a cover illustration by Stephan Martiniere. It won a BSFA, and was nominated for a Hugo at Denvention 3 as well as a Campbell Memorial, Nebula, Quill Awards and the Warwick Prize for Writing.

And now for our Beginning…

MAY 17–19, 2006 

Marcelina watched them take the car on Rua Sacopã. It was a C-Class Mercedes, a drug dealer’s car, done up to the tits by the Pimp My Ride: Brasileiro design crew with wheel trim and tail and blue lighting that ran up and down the subframe. Subwoofers the size of suitcases. The design boys had done a good job; it looked a fistful more than the four thousand reis Marcelina had paid at the city car pound. 

One time they passed it: three guys in basketball shorts and vests and caps. The first time is the looking time. A second time, this time the checking time, pretending to be interested in the trim and the rosary and Flamengo key-fob hanging from the mirror (sweet touch) and was it CD multichanger or a hardpoint for MP3? 

Go, my sons, you know you want it, thought Marcelina in the back of the chase car in a driveway two hundred meters up hill. It’s all there for you, I made it that way, how can you resist? 

The third time, that is the taking time. They gave it ten minutes’ safety, ten minutes in which Marcelina sat over the monitor fearing would they come back would someone else get there first? No, here they were swinging down the hill, big pretty boys long-limbed and loose, and they were good, very good. She hardly saw them try the door, but there was no mistaking the look of surprise on their faces when it swung open. Yes, it is unlocked. And yes, the keys are in it. And they were in: door closed, engine started, lights on. ‘We’re on!’ 

Marcelina Hoffman shouted to her driver and was immediately flung against the monitor as the SUV took off. God and Mary they were hard on it, screaming the engine as they ripped out onto the Avenida Epitácio Pessoa. ‘All cars all cars!’

Marcelina shouted into her talkback as the Cherokee swayed into the traffic. ‘We have a lift we have a lift! Heading north for the Rebouças Tunnel.’ She poked the driver, an AP who had confessed a love for car rallying, hard in the shoulder. ‘Keep him in sight, but don’t scare him.’ The monitor was blank. She banged it. ‘What is wrong with this thing?’ The screen filled with pictures, feed from the Mercedes’ lipstick-cams. ‘I need real-time time-code up on this.’ Don’t let them find the cameras, Marcelina prayed to Nossa Senhora da Valiosa Producão, her divine patroness. Three guys, the one in the black and gold driving, the one in the Nike vest, and the one with no shirt at all and a patchy little knot of wiry hair right between his nipples. Sirens dopplered past; Marcelina looked up from her monitor to see a police car turn across four lanes of traffic on the lagoon avenue and accelerate past her. ‘Get me audio.’

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 9, 1899 P.L. Travers. Yes, she’s genre. A flying nanny is certainly fantasy. Did you know there are total of eight books? I’m sure I’ve seen the film but it’s been so long that I remember ‘nought about it another than her flying and the animated penguins. Tell me that I’m actually remembering that were animated penguins in it and it’s not my brain trauma adding them to it… (Died 1996.)
  • Born August 9, 1914 Tove Jansson. Swedish speaking Finnish artist who wrote the Moomin books for children, starting in 1945 with Småtrollen och den stora översvämninge (The Moomins and the Great Flood). Over the next decades, there would be a total of nineteen books. Moominvalley, the animated series, played on Netflix. And Terry Pratchett in “My family and other Moomins: Rhianna Pratchett on her father’s love for Tove Jansson” credited her for him becoming a fiction writer. (Died 2001.)
  • Born August 9, 1927 — Daniel KeyesFlowers for Algernon was a novel that I read in my teens. Two of my teachers, a married couple if memory serves me right this long on, decided that SF was to be the assigned texts for that school year and that was one of them. I don’t now remember if I liked it or not (A Clockwork Orange was another text they assigned and that I remember) and rewriting this I remembered that I did see Charly. He has three other genre novels, none that I’ve heard of. (Died 2014.)
  • Born August 9, 1947 John Varley, 76. One of those authors that I’ve been meaning to read more of. I read both The Ophiuchi Hotline and Titan, the first novels respectively in his Eight Worlds and the Gaea Trilogy series, but didn’t go further. (See books, too many to read.) If you’ve read beyond the first novels, how are they as series? Worth pursuing now? He was nominated for quite a few Hugos with wins coming at Heicon ‘70 for “The Persistence of Vision” novella, Chicon IV for “The Pusher” short story and at Aussiecon Two for “Press Enter []” short story.
  • Born August 9, 1949 Jonathan Kellerman, 74. Author of two novels in the Jacob Lev series (co-authored with Jesse Kellerman), The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. I’ve read the first — it was quite excellent with superb characters and an original premise. Not for the squeamish mind you.
  • Born August 9, 1954 Victor Koman, 69. Three-time winner of the Prometheus Award, his short stories have appeared in such publications as The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Galaxy and Fred Olen Ray’s Weird MenaceKings of The High Frontier which won of those Prometheus Awards also was on the long list for a Nebula. 

(10) CRITICS RECOGNIZE MS. MARVEL.  Comicbook.com celebrates as “Ms. Marvel Wins Television Critics Association Award”.

Ms. Marvel has won a Television Critics Association award. On Monday, it was announced that the Disney+ series had won the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Family Programming. This was a new category for 2023 and saw the series up against fellow Disney+ programs American Born ChineseHigh School Musical: The Musical: The Series and The Mysterious Benedict Society, Disney Channel’s Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Apple TV+’s Jane, Hulu’s Love, Victor, Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, and Paramount+’s Star Trek: Prodigy….

(11) DIMINISHED RETURNS. CBR analyses why the viewers stayed away from “Doctor Who’s Lowest Rated Episodes, According To IMDb”. For example:

#12 “Sleep No More” – Series 9, Episode 9

IMDb Rating: 5.8

In “Sleep No More,” the accomplished Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald find themselves in the mysteriously silent Le Verrier space station. With the help of a military rescue team led by Nagata, the Doctor and his companion try to discover what happened with the station’s personnel.

The episode utilizes a found footage style to tell the story, with one of the characters interrupting certain sections to explain what the audience is about to see or has just experienced. This gimmick, though interesting on paper, seems to do nothing but over-complicate the plot as it goes along. Furthermore, many fans found the main enemy of “Sleep No More” to be ridiculous and childish, which immediately hurt the episode as a whole.

(12) TRAILBLAZER. Sharon Lee gave a speech at Colby College in February 2010, including a career retrospective. Listen to an audio recording here.

(13) CATMAN. “Mark Twain Liked Cats Better Than People” says the Smithsonian. Don’t you?

…Twain owned up to 19 cats at one time, writes Livius Drusus for Mental Floss, “all of whom he loved and respected far beyond whatever he may have felt about people. His cats all bore fantastical titles, among them: Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal and Pestilence, writes Drusus.

Twain also wrote cats into his fiction. “Cats make cameos in some of his most famous works,” writes the National Portrait Gallery.  In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a cat named Peter features, but he was one of many, writes the gallery….

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Jessica Eanes, Danny Sichel, Hampus Eckerman, Sharon Lee, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]

Buffalo NASFiC 2024 Announces Guests of Honor

The bid for Buffalo, NY – the only bid filed for the 2024 NASFiC – today was officially announced the winner of the site selection vote at a business meeting held during Pemmi-Con in Winnipeg. The WSFS Constitution provides for a NASFiC (North American Science Fiction Convention) to be held in years that the Worldcon is held outside North America, as it will be again next year.

Buffalo NASFiC 2024 will be held July 18-21 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo and the Niagara Convention Center. The con will be chaired by Wayne Brown. Their website is here.

The convention’s Guests of Honor are:

ALAN DEAN FOSTER – AUTHOR GUEST OF HONOR

Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster’s writing career began when August Derleth bought a long Lovecraftian letter of Foster’s in 1968 and much to Foster’s surprise, published it as a short story in Derleth’s bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. Sales of short fiction to other magazines followed. His first attempt at a novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was bought by Betty Ballantine and published by Ballantine Books in 1972. It incorporates a number of suggestions from famed SF editor John W. Campbell.

Since then, Foster’s sometimes humorous, occasionally poignant, but always entertaining short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines as well as in original anthologies and several “Best of the Year” compendiums. His published oeurve includes more than 120 books.

NILAH MAGRUDER – YA/COMICS GUEST OF HONOR

Nilah Magruder

Nilah Magruder is based in Maryland. She is the author of M.F.K., a middle-grade graphic novel and winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity, HOW TO FIND A FOX, and WUTARYOO. She has published short stories in Fireside Magazine and the All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages anthology. Nilah has also written for Marvel Comics, illustrated children’s books for Disney-Hyperion, Scholastic, and Penguin, and works as a writer and storyboard artist in television animation. She is currently making graphic novels for middle-grade and young adult readers. When she is not working, Nilah is baking, gardening, and snuggling with her assortment of cats and dogs.

KAJA FOGLIO & PHIL FOGLIO – ARTIST GUESTS OF HONOR

Kaja Foglio is a Seattle-based writer, artist and publisher. She founded Studio Foglio, LLC in 1993 as a venue for her Magic the Gathering art prints, but quickly expanded into publishing. She co-writes the comic series Girl Genius with her husband Phil, and is the chief graphic designer and Web mistress for Studio Foglio and Airship Entertainment, and masterminded their stunningly successful transition to webcomic form. She won a Hugo award in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for Girl Genius along with her husband, Phil. You can read Girl Genius comics online at www.girlgenius.net.

Phil Foglio got his B.F.A. in Cartooning the same year he won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist back in 1977 and 1978 and is still waiting for the wealth and unlimited power he was told this would bring. In the meantime, he has made a career as a writer and artist because he liked the idea of commuting fifty feet to his office. Over the years he has worked in the fields of science fiction, comics, and gaming. His current project is the Hugo award winning comic book series Girl Genius, which he works on with his wife, Kaja. His hobbies include travel, gardening, and waiting.

TONY & SUFORD LEWIS – FAN GUESTS OF HONOR

Suford Lewis was active in LASFS and appeared in Westercon masquerades before going to Radcliffe in 1961 and joining MITSFS. Now in Boston, she is a founding member of the New England SF Association, has chaired Boskone, and was a member of TAPA. She is a computer scientist. Since 1968, she has been married to Tony Lewis, a physicist who is also a fan.

Tony Lewis is a longtime Boston fan who was born in Gotham City Hospital (he claims no relation to the Wayne family). He joined MITSFS in 1957 and was very active in the club while he earned a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from MIT, including serving as Librarian and Onseck. He was known as the Evil Dr. Lewis, a title he relished.

Pixel Scroll 6/7/23 Pixels Sleep On Scrolls

(1) MARKOWITZ AWARD WINNERS. Naseem Jamnia and Maya Salameh are the winners of the 2023 Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers. Naseem Jamnia is a widely-recognized sff writer. See Lambda Literary’s interview here: “Four Questions with Naseem Jamnia”.

The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. The award includes a cash prize of $1,500. This year, the award goes to Naseem Jamnia and Maya Salameh.

Naseem Jamnia (they/them) is the Locus-nominated author of The Bruising of Qilwa, a novella introducing their queernormative, Persian-inspired world, which was shortlisted for the IAFA’s Crawford award. Named the inaugural Samuel R. Delany Fellow, they’ve also received fellowships from Lambda Literary and the Otherwise Award, and their nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, New Orleans Review, Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup newsletter, and other venues. They are the managing editor of Sword & Kettle Press, a tiny independent publishing house of feminist speculative writing, and their debut middle grade horror, Sleepaway, is out in 2025 from Aladdin. Find out more and sign up for their newsletter at naseemwrites.com, or follow them on social @jamsternazzy.

How has access to queer literature/queer stories impacted your life as a queer person and shaped you as a queer writer?

When I was growing up, the closest I saw my gender portrayed in stories was with the “girl disguises herself as a boy to do the thing” trope, a la Mulan and Tamora Pierce’s Alanna books. I had to resort to fanfiction to explore queerness in terms of sexuality (and even then, rarely or never saw a portrayal of someone on the asexual spectrum). Much of my own writing growing up explored these issues inadvertently and vaguely, as I did not know what I was exploring at the time. However, once terms like “nonbinary” or understanding of transness outside a binary entered the public lexicon in the last 10-ish years, the wealth of queer literature we’ve seen explicitly including various identities has made a world of difference, helping me to understand and embrace my own various identities, which has since allowed me to live as my truest self. With this clearer understanding, I’ve taken the lack of what I saw growing up to turn into what I wish I had seen and where I wish we can go in the future. I’m grateful so many queer books exist now for kids and adults alike to explore the multiplicity of queer experiences….

(2) REUBEN FINALISTS INCLUDE TWO SFF ARTISTS. [Item by Dariensync.] Girl Genius creator Phil Foglio and frequent Neil Gaiman collaborator Colleen Doran have both been nominated for Reuben Awards by the National Cartoonist Society. Foglio for Online Comics: Long Form for Girl Genius, Doran for Best Graphic Novel for her adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry. “Finalists Announced For 2022 NCS Divisional Awards For The 77th Annual Reubens”.

(3) STARS ON MARS. You can watch the first aired episode of Stars on Mars on the FOX website. William Shatner serves as Mission Control.

Here’s an excerpt. “Celebrities Try To Fix A Fallen Satellite Tower”.

(4) NOT AS SPECIAL EFFECTS? Oh no, some of them were very special. Ranker came up with a list of“11 Classic Fantasy Movies Made Before CGI”.

Many fans feel that modern fantasy movies began in 2001 with the one-two punch of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Both having been produced after the CGI revolution of the 1990s, they applied the full power of the latest visual effects techniques to bring two beloved fantasy book series vividly to life.

But fantasy films go back a lot further than 2001. Since the dawn of movies, imaginative filmmakers have striven to use the medium’s unique capabilities to bring to life visions that cannot exist in reality. Long before computers were rendering T. rexes and Orc armies, special-effects crews had already amassed a huge bag of tricks to put fantastical stories on the screen, including stop-motion, bluescreen, forced perspective, puppets, and giant props.

Three of the four most highly-rated films have effects by Ray Harryahausen. Number one is –

Jason and the Argonauts

A retelling of the myth of the Golden Fleece, 1963’s Jason and the Argonauts was one of the peaks of Ray Harryhausen’s special effects career. Numerous striking effects appear throughout the film, but the show-stopper is the epic battle where Jason and his men confront an army of magically animated skeletons.

Harryhausen recalled the incredibly painstaking work that went into the sequence:

I had three men fighting seven skeletons, and each skeleton had five appendages to move in each separate frame of film. This meant at least 35 animation movements, each synchronized to the actor’s movements. Some days I was producing just 13 or 14 frames a day, or to put it another way, less than one second of screen time per day, and in the end the whole sequence took a record four and a half months to capture on film.

(5) YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST. At Galactic Journey, John Boston reviews the issue of Amazing which scored the coup of publishing an excerpt from Delany’s Nova, the novel Campbell declined to serialize in Analog: “[June 6, 1968] The Stalemate Continues (July 1968 Amazing)”.

Once more, all but one item of fiction are reprints, though this issue’s exception is more considerable than some: House A-Fire, by Samuel R. Delany, described as a short novel (at 33 pages!) on the cover and contents page, though editor Harrison acknowledges in the letter column that it is actually an excerpt from Delany’s new novel Nova, forthcoming from Doubleday.  Delany’s name is misspelled on the cover and contents page and in Harrison’s editorial, spelled correctly on the story’s title page and in the letter column.  Are you getting tired of all this nit-picking?  So am I.  But the persistent sloppiness of this magazine continues to irritate….

(6) LIAGUNO Q&A. One of the Horror Writers Association “A Point of Pride” blog posts is an “Interview with Vince A. Liaguno”.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?

I’m less certain that I chose horror; I think horror chose me. Truthfully, from as far back as I can remember, I was drawn to all things dark. As a kid, my earliest recollections of being terrified were watching made-for-TV movies from the 70s like Don’t Be Afraid of the DarkGargoyles, and Trilogy of Terror. I can still remember damn near pissing myself when that little Zuni fetish doll from the latter chased poor Karen Black around her apartment! (laughs)

As I got a little older, my Dad would take me to the movies as part of our weekend “buddy days”. They were usually Irwin Allen disaster flicks or movies with a lot of car chases, but then a little film called Jaws was released. I was eight years old and can still feel the knot in my stomach the first time I heard those opening notes of John Williams’ now-legendary score. I think I only made it up to the point that the ill-fated skinny-dipping Chrissie gets slammed into the buoy before I pleaded with my Dad to leave. It would take three subsequent tries before I could make it through the entire film, each time making it a little further into the film before my ever-patient father heard the desperation of the “Please, Daddy…can we leave now?” in my voice. Jaws was a rite of passage for me; it was the first time I needed to summon and sustain any sense of real bravery. When I finally saw those end credits, it was a mark of accomplishment… a hint of manhood, if you will.

1978 was a game changer for me—the cusp of adolescence and the release of John Carpenter’s Halloween. If Jaws hooked me, Halloween reeled me in and cemented what would become a lifelong adoration of both slasher films and a certain actress named Jamie Lee Curtis.

(7) MEMORY LANE.

2005[Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

I won’t say that Haruki Murakami is author that I’m at familiar as he isn’t. Kafka on the Shore is the English translation of the original Japanese publication which is this, 海辺のカフカ. 

Alfred Knopf published the first English language edition eighteen years ago.

It would win a World Fantasy Award. 

It is an available from the usual suspects. 

And now for our Beginning…

So you’re all set for money, then?” the boy named Crow asks in his typical sluggish voice. The kind of voice like when you’ve just woken up and your mouth still feels heavy and dull. But he’s just pretending. He’s totally awake. As always. 

I nod.

 “How much?” 

I review the numbers in my head. “Close to thirty-five hundred in cash, plus some money I can get from an ATM. I know it’s not a lot, but it should be enough. For the time being.”

 “Not bad,” the boy named Crow says. “For the time being.

I give him another nod. “I’m guessing this isn’t Christmas money from Santa Claus.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I reply. 

Crow smirks and looks around.

“I imagine you’ve started by rifling drawers, am I right?” 

I don’t say anything. 

He knows whose money we’re talking about, so there’s no need for any long-winded interrogations. 

He’s just giving me a hard time.

“No matter,” Crow says. “You really need this money and you’re going to get it—beg, borrow, or steal. It’s your father’s money, so who cares, right? Get your hands on that much and you should be able to make it. For the time being. But what’s the plan after it’s all gone? Money isn’t like mushrooms in a forest—it doesn’t just pop up on its own, you know. You’ll need to eat, a place to sleep. One day you’re going to run out.”

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 7, 1944 Mildred Downey Broxon, 79. Author of three novels and some short stories, heavy on Nordic-German mythology.  The Demon of Scattery was co-written with Poul Anderson. There are no digital books available for her and her printed editions are out of print now. I see no sign that her short fiction has been collected into a volume to date.
  • Born June 7, 1952 Liam Neeson,  71. He first shows up in genre films as Gawain in Excalibur and as Kegan in Krull. He plays Martin Brogan in High Spirits, a film I enjoy immensely. Next up is the title role in Darkman, a film I’ve watched myriad times. He’s Dr. David Marrow in The Haunting which I’d contend is loosely off of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Now we get him as Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. Followed unfortunately by his horrid take as Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins and as a cameo in the The Dark Knight RisesNow he voiced Aslan with amazing dignity in The Chronicles of Narnia franchise and voiced Zeus as well in the Titans franchise. 
  • Born June 7, 1954 Louise Erdrich, 69. Writer of novels, poetry, and children’s books featuring Native American characters and settings. She is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Her genre work includes according to ISFDB the Ojibwe series of The Antelope Wife which won a World Fantasy Award and The Painted Drum, plus stand-alone novels of The Crown of Columbus (co-written with her husband Michael Dorris) and Future Home of the Living God.
  • Born June 7, 1968 Sarah Parish, 55. In “The Runaway Bride“, a Tenth Doctor story, she got to play, with the assistance of extensive CGI, one of the nastiest Who villains to date, The Empress of the Racnoss, an oversized vicious spider with a human face. Great episode. It’s our introduction to Donna Noble, his Companion for quite some time to come. In a much lighter role, she played Pasiphaë on BBC’s Atlantis series.
  • Born June 7, 1969 Anthony Simcoe, 54. Ka D’Argo in Farscape, one of the best SF series ever done. If you don’t watch anything else, just watch the finale, The Peacekeeper Wars as it’s fairly self contained. Farscape is the SF he did. If you can find a copy, Matt Bacon’s No Strings Attached: The Inside Story of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is a wonderful look at the creation of the creatures on the show including D’Argo facial appendages. 
  • Born June 7, 1972 Karl Urban, 51. He’s in the second and third installments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy as Éomer. He is McCoy in the Trek reboot franchise, Cupid on Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, John Kennex on Almost Human, Vaako in the Riddick film franchise, and Judge Dredd in Dredd. For the record, I liked both Dredd films for varied reasons.
  • Born June 7, 1974 David Filoni, 49. Creator and an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels, a most awesome series, for all four seasons, and was supervising director and a writer on another excellent series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (I like the animated series far better than the live action films.) He makes his live acting debut in The Mandalorian playing Trapper Wolf, an X-Wing pilot, in “The Prisoner” episode. It’s also worth noting that he his first job was directing episodes during the first season of animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Born June 7, 1979 Anna Torv, 44. She’s best known for her role as FBI agent Olivia Dunham on Fringe. She also played an ITU nurse in Frankenstein, a modern adaptation of that novel. She voiced the lead of Nariko in the animated Heavenly Sword film based off the game of the same name. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Argyle Sweater reveals an astronomical feature apparently known only to Federation navigators.

(10) HAMMER AND CHISEL. The Tom Brevoort Experience reproduces some of the 1938 letters between Detective Comics Inc. (DC) and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. The issue? Money, naturally. “The Selling of Superman: Correspondence between Jack Liebowitz and Jerry Siegel”.

…Above you see the first page of a letter sent by Jack Liebowitz to Jerry Siegel on September 28, 1938. For context, as this point, ACTION COMICS #5 had been published and the character of Superman was heating up. The McClure Newspaper Syndicate, which had been noncommittal about their interest in developing Superman as a newspaper strip, suddenly showed new signs of life, which had caused Siegel to write to Detective Comics and request that they return all rights but first publication to Superman to Siegel and Shuster. As you can imagine, Jack Liebowitz and his boss Harry Donenfeld weren’t having any part of that….

(11) VISITING SPACE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] This $50 Lego set was inspired by a group of “space travel posters” created by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA. In turn, those were inspired in part by classic travel posters from the golden age of luxury travel. “Retro NASA Space Tourism Posters made from LEGO Bricks are a Space Nerd Must-Have” at Yanko Design.

Here are the four LEGO “posters”.

Here are examples of NASA’s space travel posters.

(12) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] On Monday’s episode, a clue from Single Jeopardy and one from Double Jeopardy.

In the first round, the category was “Task: Force”, and the $400 clue:

This term for a fictional energy barrier has been traced back to the 1931 sci-fi story “Islands of Space”

Returning champion Jared Watson knew it was a force field.

In the second round, “Movie Continents” for $2000:

Antarctica: a shape-shifting alien menaces helicopter pilot Kurt Russell

Harrison Seidel identified “The Thing”.

On Tuesday’s episode, “Books and Authors” had this at the $2000 level:

Her novel “Kindred” tells of Dana, a young Black woman who is transported from the 1970s back in time to the pre-Civil War South

Jared Watson (who gave the Vulcan sign during the intro, and made the A in Jared into a little Star Trek glyph) responded correctly.

(13) FREE FLASH SF EVENT. Space Cowboys Books of Joshua Tree, CA is hosting a “Flash Science Fiction Night Online Event” on Tuesday June 27 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Pacific. Register for free here.

Join us online for an evening of short science fiction readings (1000 words or less) with Shacklebound Books authors Marisca Pichette, Eric Fomley, and Jenna Hanchey. Flash Science Fiction Nights run 30 minutes or less, and are a fun and great way to learn about new authors from around the world.

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. With a new Transformers movie coming out, How It Should Have Ended decided to remaster its episode “How Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Should Have Ended”.

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

Pixel Scroll 8/26/18 Pixels Of Unusual Size? I Don’t Think They Exist

(1) ALL SYSTEMS WIN. Martha Wells posted a Worldcon 76 report including her experiences at the Hugo Awards ceremony —

Then we got to novella, and I was extremely nervous. I felt like I had a strong chance and was hopeful, but it was still awesome to win. I managed to get up the stairs to the stage, give my speech without crying (After the Nebula Awards I didn’t want to be the author who cries all the time.) (I saved it all up for Monday, when every time anyone said anything nice to me, I would start crying.) Managed to get down the Stairs of Doom backstage with the help of about four people, got stopped to get a photo outside the auditorium in the reception area, went back in the wrong door and could not get it open and had to thump on it until the backstage people heard me, and then got back to my seat in time to see Nnedi Okorafor win for Best YA novel and N.K. Jemisin win for Best Novel!

And she has some Worldcon photos on her Tumblr.

(2) DIGBY IN ONE PLACE. The Golds reminded readers today about the extended electronic edition of Tom Digby’s amazing fanwriting that’s available online, “Along Fantasy Way”. Originally produced for the 1993 Worldcon where Tom was a guest of honor, the collection was expanded in its 2014 digital version. What a treasure trove of wonderfully creative idea-tripping. Delightful poetry, too – for example:

…OR MINERAL(2/07/76)

Pet rocks are OK, but some people prefer more variety.
The guy upstairs from me
Has a 1947 Chevrolet engine block.
I think his apartment is too small for it,
But there it is.
And the family down the street
With the goldfish pond in the yard
Has an old ship’s anchor
To keep the fish company.

But of all the inorganic pets in the neighborhood,
The happiest is an old beer can
Belonging to a small boy.
It would never win a prize at a show:
Too many dents
And spots of rust
And paint flaking off.
And besides, it’s a brand of beer
Most people don’t like.
But that doesn’t really matter.
What matters is FUN
Like afternoons when they go for a walk:
The can leaps joyously ahead
CLATTERDY RATTLEDY CLANG BANG!
Then lies quietly waiting for its master to catch up
Before leaping ahead again.
I may get a beer can myself some day.

But I still don’t think it’s right
To keep a 1947 Chevrolet engine block
Cooped up in such a small apartment.

The collection is illustrated by Phil and Kaja Foglio.

(3) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. A very nice set of Bradbury quotes at Blackwing666: “Ray Bradbury – Born August 22, 1920”

(4) GUNNED DOWN. You could see this coming. The Hollywood Reporter says “‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Production Put on Hold”. The studio still expects to make the movie later on.

Sources say that crewmembers, which is, at this stage, a small group that was prepping for preproduction, are being dismissed and are free to look for new work.

The Marvel project was originally to have been directed by James Gunn and was to have begun principal photography in the winter, either in January or February. The project was crewing up and was to have gone into full preproduction mode in the fall.

But Gunn was let go as the director in July when old tweets were resurfaced in response to his vocal political posts. While some held out hope that the director would be given a reprieve by Disney, a mid-August meeting with Disney chairman Alan Horn closed the door on that.

(5) LAST DAYS OF BANG ON EARTH. Big Bang Theory has started production of its final season.

Let What Culture tell you Why The Big Bang Theory Just Got Cancelled.

(6) HUGO STATISTIC. I don’t have time to check. Could be….

https://twitter.com/thedesirina/status/1033055204508401664

(7) HOW THEY STACK UP. Rocket Stack Rank’s Eric Wong writes:

With the recent release of the TOC for the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2018 (BASFF), I’ve updated RSR’s 2017 Best SF/F Anthologies article with the 20 stories in that anthology plus their honorable mentions.

The grand total from five 2017 “year’s best” SF/F anthologies is 114 stories by 91 authors, from which we can make the following observations:

o   Magazines: Asimov’s (12), Clarkesworld (9), Lightspeed (9)

o   Anthologies: Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities (3/7), Extrasolar(5/14), Infinity Wars (5/15)

o   Nancy Kress (3), Rich Larson (3), Robert Reed (3), Alastair Reynolds(3)

To see other outstanding stories that didn’t make it into the five “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, go to RSR’s 2017 Best SF/F article, which has also been updated with the BASFF stories for a total of 256 stories by 201 authors.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • August 26, 1953The War of the Worlds premiered. (“Welcome to California!”)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge]

  • Born August 26 — Katherine Johnson, 100. NASA mathematician and physicist awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama in 2015. Her work made space travel possible. And yes she’s African-American as well! (Makers has a post celebrating her birthday.)
  • Born August 26 — Barbara Ehrenreich, 77. Social activist and author of one genre novel, Kipper’s Game which gets compared to the works of Connie Willis.
  • Born August 26 — Stephen Fry, 61. Narrator, all of the Harry Potter audiobook recordings, Col. K. In the animated Dangermouse series and any number of other delightfully interesting genre related undertakings.
  • Born August 26 — Wanda De Jesus, 60. Genre work includes Robocop 2, SeaQuest 2032, Tales from The DarksideBabylon 5, and Ghosts of Mars
  • Born August 26 — Melissa McCarthy, 48. Now starring in The Happytime Murders which apparently is the first film from the adult division of Jim Henson Productions. Also Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.
  • Born August 26 — Chris Pine, 38. James T. Kirk in the current Trek film franchise; also Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman film franchise as well as A Wrinkle in Time and Rise Of The Guardians.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brevity shows some movie dinosaurs who keep comic back.

(11) SPACE ANNIVERSARY. JPL celebrates “15 Years in Space for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope”, an instrument that has far outlasted its predicted useful life.

Launched into a solar orbit on Aug. 25, 2003, Spitzer was the final of NASA’s four Great Observatories to reach space. The space telescope has illuminated some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, revealed a new ring around Saturn, and peered through shrouds of dust to study newborn stars and black holes. Spitzer assisted in the discovery of planets beyond our solar system, including the detection of seven Earth-size planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1, among other accomplishments.

 

(12) OH NO, WHERE CAN THE MATTER BE. Gizmodo reports “Scientists Will Soon Drop Antimatter to See How It Behaves in Gravity”.

In a new study, physicists attempted to find differences between matter and antimatter—confusingly, also a kind of matter, but with the opposite charge and other differences. It’s like an evil twin. Confusingly, the universe has way more matter than antimatter, for no clear reason. Physicists haven’t found the specific differences they were looking for when studying the antimatter version of hydrogen, called antihydrogen, but they have demonstrated a way to study antimatter better than ever before.

Mike Kennedy forwarded the link with the note, “It’s a complicated story, and mostly about recent measurements of the Lyman-? emission lines of anti-hydrogen… in particular it being the same wavelength as for hydrogen <http://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0435-1>. The bit about laser cooling anti-hydrogen and dropping it to observe how it reacts to gravity is IIUC speculative at this point.”

(13) MORE ON NEXT SHATNER RECORD. SYFY Wire brings us news that William Shatner is releasing a holiday album (“William Shatner teases Christmas cover record: Shatner Claus”):

Set phasers to jolly.

The legendary actor and musician William Shatner is giving us another reason to be excited about the holiday season. Shatner tweeted the Amazon link to pre-order his first upcoming record: Shatner Claus The Christmas Album. You can add the self-described godfather of dramatic musical interpretation’s album digital audio, CD, or vinyl in your letter to the North Pole. With vinyl record sales on the constant rise, it’s exciting to see if this will find Shatner Claus’ sleigh riding its way to the top of the Billboard charts.

(14) JURASSIC BLETCHLEY PARK. In “Dinosaur DNA clues unpicked by researchers at University of Kent”, scientists are theorizing-from-clues that dinosaur DNA, like birds’, had many chromosomes, making mix-and-match easier.

Researchers at the University of Kent say their work uncovers the genetic secret behind why dinosaurs came in such a variety of shapes and sizes.

This variation helped the creatures evolve quickly in response to a changing environment – helping them to dominate Earth for 180 million years.

But the researchers behind the DNA work say they have no plans to recreate dinosaurs, Jurassic Park style.

(15) FLAME OFF. BBC assures us, “Yes, Antarctica has a fire department”.

But fighting fires in freezing temperatures also calls for some specialist equipment.

Surprisingly, water is still an option. McMurdo’s fire engine has a pump, which cycles water constantly through the vehicle to prevent it from freezing.

Remembering to set the pump going is, says Branson, a lesson quickly learned.

“You do not want to be the person who freezes all the water in the fire engine. Then you’re stuck with a 500 gallon engine with an ice block in it… and nobody on base is going to like you.”

(16) BEARLY VISIBLE. BBC has video: “Bear roams ‘The Shining’ hotel in Colorado”. It’s a good thing Jack Nicholson didn’t try swinging an axe at this guest….

A bear was filmed going through the lobby of the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s classic horror novel in Colorado.

(17) YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. While excavating on YouTube, Carl Slaughter found Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965): “Frankenstein, ie, Frank the android, does battle with a Martian beast to prevent a Martian princess from replenishing Mars with voluptuous and sometimes bikini-clad Earth women.  The Pentagon monitors the situation and tries to lend Frank a hand.  Turns out Frank wears an Air Force uniform and holds military rank  – like Data.  This is in the so bad it’s good category.”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

Balticon 50 Opening Ceremonies

Last night’s opening ceremonies for Balticon 50, photographed by Sean Kirk. Pictured are the past and present Guests Of Honors in attendance for the convention’s 50th anniversary.

From left to right: George R. R. Martin, Jo Walton, Joe Halderman, Jody Lynn Nye, Charles Stross, Connie Willis, Larry Niven, Peter S. Beagle, Steve Barnes, Steve Miller, Sharon Lee, Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Harry Turtledove, Allen Steele, Donald Kingsbury, and Nancy Springer.