Pixel Scroll 10/18/23 Jetpack Crashes, An Old Scroll Dies, Its Pixels Fall To The Floor

(1) LUKYANENKO NOT AT WORLDCON. There’s no sign of the Chengdu Worldcon’s Russian GoH Sergey Lukyanenko in social media coverage of the con. And the latest posts to his blog on his official website (devoted to anti-Israel remarks, and a report that his wife rescued a migrating woodcock in the backyard) suggest he’s at home. Although he made two other professional visits to the Far East earlier in 2023 he hasn’t mentioned Chengdu on his blog this year.

(2) 2023 HUGO BASE. This year’s Hugo base was debuted at the Chengdu Worldcon Opening Ceremonies by Hugo Administrator Dave McCarty. Here’s a screencap from the video. There are much better closeup photos of the base at his Facebook page.

(3) CHENGDU WORLDCON SOUVENIR BOOK. The “Member Guidebook” Member Guidebook for 2023 Chengdu World Science Fiction Convention has been released. It’s a publicly available download here (PDF).

The member guidebook for the 2023 Chengdu World Science Fiction Convention is available online. The guidebook consists of the welcome message from the co-chairs, an introduction to the main venue, notes for participants, an introduction to theme activities, a brief introduction of Chengdu, and an appendix.

(4) UYGHURS REMEMBERED. Andrew Gillsmith moderated a pre-Worldcon panel for the “World Uyghur Congress” which can be viewed on X.

(5) CHENGDU WORLDCON ROUNDUP. [Item by Ersatz Culture.]

Unofficial (?) Bilibili video of the opening ceremony

This seems to have been ripped from the stream, as it has a jump near the start where the video froze for me and others and audio glitches later on.  It is mostly in Chinese.

I don’t think that opening ceremony video is complete; there was a section at the end where a bunch of the VIPs came up on stage to declare the con open. Most of that is in this 2-minute video, but it also has bits chopped out for some reason.

Some people also struggled to get access to the video stream of the opening ceremony; hopefully whatever glitch or capacity issue caused that will be resolved soon.

Various arrivals photographed at the airport

Donald Eastlake, Kevin Standlee, Chris M. Barkley and Nicholas Whyte are amongst several Western fandom figures pictured in this Xiaohongshu photo gallery.

Longer fannish reports on Weibo

(Note: in the last couple of weeks or so, Weibo has added a “Translate content” link to posts, similar to what you get for foreign language tweets on Twitter.  However, for long-form posts like these, it tends to time out, so you might instead want to use any translation tools built into browsers such as Chrome to read the following links.)

For those not keen on the more commercial or “mainstream” stuff in some of the prior links, Best Fan Writer and Fanzine finalist RiverFlow has a long Weibo post going over his activities today, which included meeting various fans and pros, and being on a panel about university SF societies.  

From left to right: Hua Wen, Wei Ran, Bei Yu, RiverFlow (Best Fan Writer and Best Fanzine finalist), Tian Tian, San Ma, Dan Fan.
(left) Best Fan Writer finalist Arthur Liu; (middle, in blue polo shirt) Ling Shizhen, who worked on the Best Fanzine finalist, Zero Gravity SF

SF Light Year aka Adaoli, who has commented here on File 770, has also posted some long reports on Weibo, such as this one.

English language promo video from Chengdu Museum

This 6-minute English language video is for the most part covers things that are more likely to appeal to general tourists, but is framed within a time-travel story featuring the Kormo mascot, and ends with the SF museum.

Xiaohongshu videos and photo galleries

As is to be expected with the con now underway, there are loads of these out there, and there’s a lot of repetition of material.  These are a fairly arbitrary selection of the ones that showed up in search results:

(6) LE GUIN VIDEOS. Available for viewing on Literary Hub, The Journey That Matters is a series of six short videos from Arwen Curry, the director and producer of Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, a Hugo Award-nominated 2018 feature documentary about the iconic author. Here are the fifth and sixth installments.

In the fifth of the series, Theo Downes-Le Guin introduces “Where I Write,” an intimate peek into Ursula’s study and her writing process.

…Recently I viewed an online video titled “I Tried Ursula K. Le Guin’s Writing Schedule,” one of many such links. The production was snappy and well-intentioned, but the writer-presenter lost me when she described preparation of a “fancy breakfast.” The fried egg, tomato, and rocket sandwich bore no resemblance to mornings in my childhood home. Note to content creators: if you geek out on someone’s routine, do your research. Ursula wrote an entire essay about how to properly soft-boil an egg. That’s what she ate for breakfast. Not fancy.

In the final installment of the series, Julie Phillips reflects on “He’s My First Reader,” in which Ursula and her husband, Charles, discuss how their division of household labor helped Ursula thrive.

When Ursula Kroeber met and fell in love with Charles Le Guin, their meeting, on a ship bound for France, seemed to her almost magically improbable. “Obviously this sort of thing doesn’t happen,” she wrote him six weeks after they met. “I mean, conceivably you might exist, but you would never sit at Table 30 at 2nd sitting for dinner in tourist class on the Queen Mary on Sept 23rd 1953; I ask you, now would you?”

Charles felt the same, though he didn’t recognize true love quite as quickly as she. “I thought she was awfully snooty and shy the first meals; and she thought that I was British and very reserved. But after those first misapprehensions were displaced, we have scarcely been apart at all the last month,” he wrote his parents. “How do I tell you all this without it seeming silly or impossible? It is neither—not impossible because it has happened; not silly because it is too deep and too wonderful. Ursula and I are going to be married.”…

(7) GOOD DUDES. Charlie Jane Anders nominates “12 Male Role Models From Science Fiction and Fantasy” at Happy Dancing.

Lately I feel like everyone is talking about masculinity and what it means to be a good dude. The other day, I was on a panel at the Pride on the Page book festival with Jacob Tobia (Sissy) who was saying that we’ve spent decades expanding gender roles for women in mainstream society — women won the right to wear pants in the workplace (for now) — but meanwhile, most men remain trapped, unable to express healthy emotions or process all of their trauma.

As someone who was so successful at being a man that I actually graduated, I want to help!

So it’s a really good thing that science fiction and fantasy offer us so many excellent examples of guys who are secure in their masculinity and ready to do the right thing, even when it’s tough….

Take for example —

11) Henry Deacon (Eureka)

In a “town full of geniuses,” Henry Deacon might just be the smartest of them all — but when this underrated show begins, he’s working as a mechanic because he has ethical objections to the work that Global Dynamics is doing. Henry isn’t just the guy who steps in and fixes things when all the out-of-control science goes off the rails, he’s also the town’s moral center. (And eventually, he becomes its mayor.) Emmy-winning actor Joe Morton, who plays Henry, also plays a resourceful, kind alien refugee in the movie The Brother From Another Planet.

(8) LARA PARKER (1938-2023). Actress Lara Parker, age 28 when she was cast as Dark Shadows’ beautiful and evil witch Angelique Bouchard Collins, died October 12. She was 84. The Deadline tribute  also mentions her writing career:

…In her later years, Parker turned to writing and teaching — her novels include Angelique’s Descent (1998), The Salem Branch (2006), Wolf Moon Rising (2013) and Heiress of Collinwood (2016). The books proved popular among Dark Shadows‘ still-devoted, conventions-attending fan base, as well as devotees of romance and horror genre novels.

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1992 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a suggestion by Mike Glyer.]

So let’s talk about Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book which is where our Beginning is from this Scroll.

It’s a novel in her series about Oxford time-traveling historians, which consists of Fire WatchDoomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump  and Blackout/All Clear.

It was published thirty-one years ago by Bantam Spectra with the cover art being by Tim Jacobus. 

The series has an extraordinary history when it comes to awards. Fire Watch started off with a Best Novelette Hugo at ConStellation, along with winning a Nebula and being nominated for Balrog. Next up was a BSFA nomination for this novel followed by a Hugo win (a tie with with Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep) at  ConFrancisco and a Nebula as well as picking up Clarke and Mythopoeic nominations. 

To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last won a Hugo at Aussiecon Three and also picked a Nebula nomination too. 

Blackout/All Clear got a Hugo at Renovation and Nebula, plus a Campbell Memorial nomination. 

So now that we’ve got those out of the way, let’s turned to the Beginning….

Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.

 “Am I too late?” he said, yanking them off and squinting at Mary.

 “Shut the door,” she said. “I can’t hear you over the sound of those ghastly carols.” 

Dunworthy closed the door, but it didn’t completely shut out the sound of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” wafting in from the quad. “Am I too late?” he said again. 

Mary shook her head. “All you’ve missed is Gilchrist’s speech.” She leaned back in her chair to let Dunworthy squeeze past her into the narrow observation area. She had taken off her coat and wool hat and set them on the only other chair, along with a large shopping bag full of parcels. Her gray hair was in disarray, as if she had tried to fluff it up after taking her hat off. “A very long speech about Mediaeval’s maiden voyage in time,” she said, “and the college of Brasenose taking its rightful place as the jewel in history’s crown. Is it still raining?”

“Yes,” he said, wiping his spectacles on his muffler. He hooked the wire rims over his ears and went up to the thin-glass partition to look at the net. In the center of the laboratory was a smashed-up wagon surrounded by overturned trunks and wooden boxes. Above them hung the protective shields of the net, draped like a gauzy parachute.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 18, 1917 Reynold Brown. Artist responsible for many SF film posters. His first poster was Creature from the Black Lagoon with other notable ones being Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Mothra vs. Godzilla. (Died 1991.)
  • Born October 18, 1925 Walter Harris. He wrote a New Avengers novel, To Catch a Rat, and novelized Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Werewolf of London. ISFDB lists four more genre novels by him, The Mistress of Downing Street, The Day I DiedThe Fifth Horseman and Salvia. (Died 2019.)
  • Born October 18, 1944 Katherine Kurtz, 78. Known for the Deryni series which started with Deryni Rising in 1970, and the most recent, The King’s Deryni, the final volume of The Childe Morgan Trilogy, was published several years back. As medieval historical fantasy goes, they’re damn great.
  • Born October 18, 1951 Jeff Schalles, 72. Minnesota area fan who’s making the Birthday Honors because he was the camera man for Cats Laughing’s A Long Time Gone: Reunion at Minicon 50 concert DVD. Cats Laughing is a band deep in genre as you can read in the Green Man review here.
  • Born October 18, 1964 Charles Stross, 59. I’ve read a lot of him down the years with I think his best being the rejiggered Merchant Princes series especially the recent Empire Games and Dark State novels. Other favored works include the early Laundry Files novels and both of the Halting State novels though the second makes me cringe.
  • Born October 18, 1965– Kristen Britain, 58. She is writing the Green Rider series of which Green Rider was nominated for the Crawford Award and Blackveil was nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award. It’s now a dozen novels deep. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Far Side — This is mainly about Mrs. Frankenstein’s monster? 
  • Ziggy is suspicious of his shrink’s credentials.

(12) THAT POPEYE FILM. Daniel Dern (as a longtime fan of the movie) encourages Filers to watch “Popeye – It’s Not THAT Bad – The Insane True Story Behind the Movie”. Interesting enough. One notable item early in: the initial leads casting offer went to Dustin Hoffman (for Popeye) and Gilda Radner (for Olive Oil).

The final selections were Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, both delightfully great… but I would still love to have seen Radner’s take on Ms. Oil, particularly playing opposite Robin Williams.

(13) DOWNLOAD VECTOR’S “CHINESE SF” ISSUE. The British Science Fiction Association opens issues of Vector to the public after about two years. The 2021 issue on Chinese SF is now available to download here.

 Vector 293 is a collaboration with guest editors Yen Ooi and Regina Kanyu WangYen Ooi introduces the issue as well as many of its recurring concepts, such as techno-orientalism. Regina Kanyu Wang takes us through the history of women writing SF in China. Artist and curator Angela Chan interviews Beatrice Glow about her work with colonial histories and the ability of science fiction to ‘tell truthful histories and envision just futures together’ through art. The conversation about history, futures, science fiction and art continues in Dan Byrne-Smith’s interview with Gordon Cheung. Chinese SF scholars Mia Chen MaFrederike Schneider-Vielsäcker and Mengtian Sun offer glimpses of their recent and ongoing research. Authors Maggie Shen King (An Excess Male) and Chen Qiufan (Waste Tide) interview each other about their recent novels. Feng Zhang introduces us to the SF fandom in China, while Regina Kanuy Wang brings us up to speed with accelerating Chinese SF industry. Dev Agarwal questions the maturity of the Chinese SF blockbuster as can be judged from Shanghai Fortress and The Wandering Earth (both available on Netflix). Virginia L. Conn explores Sinofuturism, while Emily Xueni Jin delves into the implications of translating a growing body of SF work from Chinese into English. We learn about the global perspectives on Chinese SF from an illustrious panel assembled at WorldCon 2019, and about transnational speculative folklore of the Uyghur people from Sandra UnermanNiall Harrison completes the issue with an illuminating survey of Chinese short SF in the 21st Century.’

(14) CLASSIC SFF ARTIST. Lots and lots of Virgil Finlay art can be viewed at this link: Raiders of the Lost Tumblr (posts tagged Virgil Finlay)

(15) TRAILER PARK. Beacon 23 – a series coming on MGM+. The series, based on a book by Hugh Howey, is set to premiere its first two episodes on MGM+ on Sunday, November 12 at 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. 

Aster (Lena Headey) and Halan (Stephan James) are drawn to Beacon 23 and face an onslaught of threats. When an object called The Artifact appears, they begin to unravel its mysteries, and develop a deep bond just in time to face a deadly AI.

(16) ANNULAR ECLIPSE. “What the ‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse looked like to a satellite nearly 1 million miles from Earth” at Popular Science.

The recent “ring of fire” solar eclipse looked stunning across portions of North and South America and we now have a new view of the stellar event. The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite created the image of the eclipse on Saturday October 14, depicting the mostly blue Earth against the darkness of space, with one large patch of the planet in the shadow of the moon. 

Launched in 2015, DSCOVR is a joint NASA, NOAA, and U.S. Air Force satellite. It offers a unique perspective since it is close to 1 million miles away from Earth and sits in a gravitationally stable point between the Earth and the sun called Lagrange Point 1. DSCOVR’s primary job is to monitor the solar wind in an effort to improve space weather forecasts

A special device aboard the satellite called the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) imager took this view of the eclipse from space. According to NASA, the sensor gives scientists frequent views of the Earth. The moon’s shadow, or umbra, is falling across the southeastern coast of Texas, near Corpus Christi….

The official NASA broadcast can be viewed here: “The Ring of Fire: 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse”.

[Thanks to Ersatz Culture, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Lise Andreasen, Daniel Dern, Steven French, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter, for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]

Pixel Scroll 7/27/23 Take Back The Links, Take Back The Scrolls

(1) WORLDCON VENUE CONSTRUCTION REPORT. A Weibo user posted a video showing progress at the Chengdu Science and Technology Museum and Science Fiction Museum construction site. Here is a screencap from the video.

(2) WHEN FACEBOOK IS OUT OF TUNE. Somtow Sucharitkul shared his good-natured response to an annoying example of Facebook moderation.

(3) FIGHTING BACK. “Booksellers Move to the Front Lines of the Fight Against Book Bans in Texas” reports the New York Times.

With a book-rating law set to take effect in September, a group of booksellers, along with publishers and authors, filed suit to argue that it is unconstitutional.

A group of booksellers, publishers and authors filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to stop a new law in Texas that would require stores to rate books based on sexual content, arguing the measure would violate their First Amendment rights and be all but impossible to implement.

The law, set to take effect in September, would force booksellers to evaluate and rate each title they sell to schools, as well as books they sold in the past. If they fail to comply, stores would be barred from doing business with schools….

…Charley Rejsek, the chief executive of BookPeople in Austin, said that complying with the law would be impossible. BookPeople — which takes its name from Ray Bradbury’s novel “Fahrenheit 451,” in which a group of people try to preserve books in a world where they are burned — was founded in 1970, Rejsek said. The store does not have records of titles sold over the last half century, much less a way to know which of them are still in circulation — but under the law, BookPeople would be responsible for rating those books.

“I don’t see a clear path forward for complying with the law as written,” she said. “I don’t know how I can rate them if I don’t have any records.”

Going forward, she said, BookPeople would have to read and rate many thousands of titles requested by school districts. Some might be in languages her staff cannot read, she said.

“I want to work with schools,” she said. “But I just literally can’t find a way to comply.”

(4) BLERDCON. Listen as NPR’s “Here and Now” shares how “Blerdcon celebrates Black nerd fandom throughout the year.

While summer may be the season for fan conventions, Blerdcon is unique in catering expressly to Black nerds (or blerds).

Founder and CEO Hilton George explains the rise of Black nerdom and the events he puts on to celebrate it throughout the year.

(5) FAMED MYSTERY BOOKSTORE OWNER. The Bookshop Podcast’s Mandy Jackson-Beverly interviews Otto Penzler of The Mysterious Bookshop.

In this episode, I chat with Otto Penzler, owner of The Mysterious Bookshop about publishing, the genre of mystery and crime fiction, female mystery writers, and collecting first editions.

Opened in 1979 by Otto Penzler, The Mysterious Bookshop is the oldest mystery specialist book store in America. Previously located in midtown, the bookshop now calls Tribeca its home.

The bookshop stocks the finest selection of new mystery hardcovers, paperbacks and periodicals and also features a superb collection of signed Modern First Editions, Rare/Collectible hardcovers and Sherlockiana.

(6) THE SPACE PROGRAM’S ORIGINAL COMPUTERS. PBS’ American Experience covers “The Women Who Brought Us the Moon”.

…The women working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1960s were all highly trained mathematicians, and many possessed advanced degrees. Helen Ling was born in China and experienced a tumultuous childhood formed under the pressures of WWII. Coming to the United States for college, she earned her master’s degree in mathematics before leading the computing section in a managerial role for over three decades. There was also Janez Lawson, the first African American hired in a technical position at the laboratory. She held a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UCLA and by modern qualifications would be hired today as an engineer. However, in the 1950s, her gender and race impeded her employment and she was brought in as a computer….

The section on JPL is followed by another devoted to the African American computers at the Langley Memorial Aeronautic laboratory in Hampton, Virginia made famous by Hidden Figures.

…In a system designed to repress their advancement, the African American women became indispensable. “A Trojan horse of segregation opening the door to integration,” Margot Lee Shetterly wrote in Hidden Figures, her 2016 nonfiction book documenting the groundbreaking female African American computers at Langley and adapted into a feature film of the same name. In the book, Shetterly focuses her narrative on three human computers turned engineers: Katherine Johnson, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. While their careers spanned decades, their contributions to early human spaceflight are most frequently lauded…

(7) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] A number of SF-related clues in Wednesday’s Jeopardy! episode, for some reason all in the first round.

I’m Blue, $200: This Oscar-winning actress has a certain mystique playing Mystique, who, deep down, is all blue

Challenger Lucas Partridge got it right: “Who is Jennifer Lawrence?”

All Kinds of Literature, $600: “Bowman could bear no more. He jerked out the last unit, and HAL was silent forever” is a line from this sci-fi work

Lucas knew this one.

Recent TV Shows by Episode Title, $400: “Chapter 13: The Jedi”

Lucas tried “Obi-Wan”, which left the field open for returning champion Julie Sisson to respond, “What is ‘The Mandalorian’?”

I’m Blue, $400: In this novel, a character is described as having “the half-tint blue eyes that told of off-planet foods in his diet”

Nobody knew what this one does. (I’ll presume that all the Filers do.)

Recent TV Shows by Episode Title, $600: “Dear Offred”

Lucas got it right: “What is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?”

“Da” or “Ba” or “Dee”, $800: It’s a word describing motorcyclist Bud Ekins, or the name of a Marvel hero

The third player, Alex Muhler, responded with “What is Daredevil?”

(8) ONE RING. Josh Hutcherson and Morgan Freeman star in 57 Seconds, debuting September 29.

Time bends, revenge ignites, and survival hangs by a thread in 57 SECONDS! Josh Hutcherson and Morgan Freeman team up in this heart-racing action thriller. Franklin (Hutcherson) seeks vengeance against the man who killed his sister and the corporate empire he reigns, as he discovers a time-altering ring dropped by tech guru Anton (Freeman) that propels him into a pulse-pounding battle for survival.

(9) DAVID K. M. KLAUS (1955-2023). Longtime fan and File 770 contributor David K. M. Klaus died July 27 at the age of 67. He is survived by his sons Kevin and Ryan.

Gary Farber wrote a reminiscence on Facebook which begins with meeting David at Suncon, the 1977 Worldcon. About the David he knew for the next almost-fifty-years he says:

…Eager to help, friendly like a puppy, and occasionally overdoing it a bit. He helped several more times on sf conventions I worked on in later years, as well as many others. He also remained a major fan of fanzines and attempted to contribute to local clubs in the various places he lived. Science fiction clubs being what they are, sometimes his efforts were more compatible than others. But he truly wanted to help and was looking for no other reward.

David felt passionately, beyond passionately, about his various enthusiasms, especially his beloved STAR TREK, which remained central to the core of his ethos and who we was. David Klaus was always Starfleet in his own mind.

And now he no longer has to deal with the pain of his relatively recently deceased wife of many years, Nila….

Nila and David met at a Star Trek club meeting, married, and were together for many years, til he lost her to ovarian cancer in 2016.

I was honored with the rare opportunity to have dinner with the whole family when I was in St. Louis on business in 2010.

However, over the years our friendship experienced sudden peaks and valleys, the reasons for which I won’t go into here. Fortunately our last exchange of emails in 2022 ended on an up note when I told him, “I should just point out some things I respect about you. You took care of your family, raised your sons, worked hard. You kept it together. There are some things in that line I’d like to have done as well as you did.” 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 27, 1938 Gary Gygax. Game designer and author best known for co-creating Dungeons & Dragons with Dave Arneson. In addition to the almost beyond counting gaming modules he wrote, he wrote the Greyhawk Adventure series and the Dangerous Journeys novels, none of which is currently in print. I’ll admit that I’ve not read any of the many novels listed at ISFDB, so I’ve no idea how he is as a genre writer. (Died 2008.)
  • Born July 27, 1938 Pierre Christin, 85. French comics creator and writer. In the mid Sixties, collaborated with Jean-Claude Mézières to create the science-fiction series Valérian and Laureline for PiloteTime Jam: Valerian & Laureline, a French animated series was released, and a feature film directed by Luc Besson, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, was released as well. A officially released compilation of the Valerian & Laureline series is on YouTube here.
  • Born July 27, 1948 — Juliet Marillier, 75. She’s a New Zealand-born and Western Australian resident fantasy writer focusing entirely on historical fantasy. She has a number of series including Blackthorn & Grim which at two volumes is a good introduction to her, and Sevenwaters which at seven volumes is a serious reading commitment. She contributed to the fiction writing blog, Writer Unboxed.
  • Born July 27, 1939 — Sydney J. van Scyoc. Her first published story was “Shatter the Wall” in Galaxy in 1962. She continued to write short stories throughout the Sixties and Seventies, and published Saltflower, her first novel in the early Seventies. Assignment Nor’Dyren is one of her better novels. Over the next twenty years, she published a dozen novels and likewise number of short stories. (Died 2023.)
  • Born July 27, 1952 Bud Webster. Writer known for his essays on the history of science fiction and genre anthologies. His Bubba Pritchert series, all four stories, is fun reading indeed. He did but a handful of stories but essays as I alluded to above, oh my. Mike has a loving look at him and everything he did here. (Died 2016.)
  • Born July 27, 1968 Farah Mendlesohn, 55. She’s an historian and prolific writer on genre literature, and an active fan. Best works by her? I really like her newest work on Heinlein, The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, which won a BSFAHer Diana Wynne Jones: Children’s Literature and the Fantastic Tradition is also a fascinating read. And I highly recommend her Rhetorics of Fantasy as we don’t get many good theoretical looks at fantasy. Her only Hugo to date was at Interaction for The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. She’s also garnered a BFA for Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction (shared with co-writer Michael Levy) which also got a Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy, and she is a Karl Edward Wagner Award winner as well.
  • Born July 27, 1973 Cassandra Clare, 50. I read at least the first three or four volumes of her Mortal Instruments series which I see means I’ve almost completed it. Damn good series. Anyone read her Magnus Bane series? Interestingly she’s been nominated for myriad Goodreads Choice Awards and won two for City of Fallen Angels and City of Heavenly Fire.

(11) A HOWARD BROTHER. Slashfilm points out that “Star Trek: SNW’s Latest Guest Star Appeared in Star Trek When He Was Six Years Old”.

…In “The Corbomite Maneuver,” the U.S.S. Enterprise is approached by a massive and mysterious alien spaceship, perfectly spherical and possessed of immense destructive power. The ship is called the Fesarius, and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) can only communicate with the Fesarius’ captain, Balok (voiced by Ted Cassidy), via audio. Balok declares that he very much intends to destroy the Enterprise using his superior weapons. Thinking quickly, Kirk bluffs; he says that the Enterprise is equipped with an imaginary substance called Corbomite that would react negatively to a weapons attack and destroy both ships. The bulk of the episode is a standoff between the two captains. 

Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is able to hack into the video cameras on board the Fesarius and gets a visual of Balok. Children of multiple generations likely recall the nightmare-inducing image of Balok’s evil face. Cruelly, the “Star Trek” producers included Balok’s evil face over the credits of every episode. 

At the end of the episode, however, it is revealed that Balok was also enacting a bluff. He was not an evil, blue-skinned alien, but a creature that looks an awful lot like a six-year-old boy. Balok was merely testing Kirk and would love to chat diplomatically. 

Balok was played by a six-year-old Clint Howard, an actor who has revisited “Trek” periodically over the decades, and he appears in the latest episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” as a general in the Klingon Wars. 

…Howard’s latest “Star Trek” appearance is in “Under the Cloak of War,” a flashback episode which shows what Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) and Dr. M’Benga (Bab Olusanmokun) experienced during the Klingon Wars. Nurse Chapel arrives at a remote Federation outpost that is being aggressively bombarded by Klingon forces and is immediately made one of the chief medical officers because her predecessor was just killed in combat. Howard shows Nurse Chapel around, completely jaded by death and unaffected by the violence. …

Collider has an episode recap: “’Strange New Worlds’ Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: War Makes Monsters of Us All”.

(12) SFF COFFEE BREAK. Bones Coffee Company offers the Crusader’s Cup blend.

Crusader’s Cup is a wise choice for those who want to embark on a flavor-filled journey with hints of nutty chocolate, butterscotch, and caramel. If you’re ready to take on the world and explore new horizons, grab Crusader’s Cup and set out on your next adventure.

(13) PRIME REAL ESTATE CAN BE YOURS. Here’s another plug…. GameSpot says “Lord Of The Rings Monopoly Is On Sale At Amazon Right Now”.

Ever wondered what it would be like to own property in Middle-earth? Well, you can find out if you pick up the Amazon-exclusive Monopoly: The Lord of the Rings edition while it’s on sale for just $26 (normally $45). This price is from a third-party seller, but if you’d rather buy directly from Amazon, you can get it for $32.49 with Prime shipping.

Monopoly: The Lord of the Rings Edition reimagines Hasbro’s classic board game with locations, characters, and items from The Lord of the Rings film series directed by Peter Jackson. For example, instead of the original game pieces like the top hat and thimble, the game uses the iconic members of the fellowship–Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Pippin, Merry, Boromir, and Gandalf. Monopoly: The Lord of the Rings edition also adds new rules where players compete for control over The One Ring and journey to Mordor along with the classic Monopoly gameplay….

(14) WRITER NOTED AS BODYPAINTING SUBJECT. “At NYC Bodypainting Day, Naked Bodies Become Artists’ Canvases” in the New York Times.

…Across from a Pret a Manger near Union Square Park, Nicolette Barischoff held still as an artist painted an open blue eye across her sternum on Sunday. It was around 88 degrees and a crowd had assembled around them. But the temperature and the audience did not faze Ms. Barischoff. Nor did the fact that she was naked.

“It’s a very Zen experience,” she said, as photographers snapped pictures from behind police barricades. “This is my fishing.”

Ms. Barischoff, 38, a writer in Los Angeles, was among the 60 people who had paid $100 to become mostly nude human canvases for 40 artists during NYC Bodypainting Day, a public art exhibition that has been staged annually since 2014. This year’s installment was the 10th — and the last, according to the event’s founder, Andy Golub, an artist. He said he was ending it to focus on other projects for his organization, Human Connection Arts….

Barischoff’s online bio at Uncanny Magazine tells about the many sff projects she’s worked on:

Nicolette Barischoff has spastic cerebral palsy, which has only made her more awesome. She qualified for SFWA with her first three stories, published in Long Hidden, Accessing the Future, and Unlikely Story’s The Journal of Unlikely Academia. Her work has been spoken aloud by the wonderful people of PodCastle, and one of her novelettes is mandatory reading at the University of Texas, Dallas. She edited the personal essays section of Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, which won a Hugo Award. She’s also a fierce advocate for disability and body-positivity, which has occasionally landed her in trouble. She made the front page of CBS New York, who called her activism “public pornography” and suggested her face was a public order crime. She has the exact same chair as Professor X, and it is also powered by Cerebro.

(15) THE MARTIAN PARTICLES. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Today’s Nature reports a wide range of organic compounds found by Perseverance rover in the Jezero Crater on Mars: “Diverse organic-mineral associations in Jezero crater, Mars”.

The results come from the rover’s Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) instrument.

The SHERLOC instrument is a deep ultraviolet (DUV) Raman and fluorescence spectrometer designed to map the distribution of organic molecules and minerals on rock surfaces.

(16) NUCLEAR PROPULSION BACK ON THE DRAWING BOARD. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Rocket geeks of a certain age will remember the NERVA program, one of the first attempts to design a nuclear thermal rocket engine.

Well, NASA and DARPA are reviving that concept with the intent of a test flight as early as 2027. This version will be limited to cislunar space, but the idea is to enable flight to Mars and possibly beyond. “The US government is taking a serious step toward space-based nuclear propulsion” at Ars Technica.

Four years from now, if all goes well, a nuclear-powered rocket engine will launch into space for the first time. The rocket itself will be conventional, but the payload boosted into orbit will be a different matter.

NASA announced Wednesday that it is partnering with the US Department of Defense to launch a nuclear-powered rocket engine into space as early as 2027. The US space agency will invest about $300 million in the project to develop a next-generation propulsion system for in-space transportation.

“NASA is looking to go to Mars with this system,” said Anthony Calomino, an engineer at NASA who is leading the agency’s space nuclear propulsion technology program. “And in this test is really going to give us that foundation.”

… The basic idea is straightforward: A nuclear reactor rapidly heats up a propellant, probably liquid hydrogen, and then this gas expands and is passed out a nozzle, creating thrust. But engineering all of this for in-space propulsion is challenging, and then there is the regulatory difficulty of building a nuclear reactor and safely launching it into space….

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. One of many trailers shown at SDCC is this one for Popeye The Sailor, a live-action fan-made film.

Based on characters created by E.C. Segar, Popeye The Sailor is a No budget, action, adventure fan film coming later this year. Before Olive, before Bluto, before Sweet Haven and its many residents, this feature film tells the story of a younger Popeye, wandering the world alone, living with questions of his past. In his quest to find answers, new foes are met, and new allies are made.

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

Pixel Scroll 6/16/22 Scrolls Against Pixelry

(1) HALFWAY THRU THE YEAR. Emily St. John Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility tops Amazon.com’s list of the twenty “Best science fiction and fantasy of 2022 so far”.

And joining Sea of Tranquility on Amazon.com’s overall “Best Books of the Year So Far” are Saara El-Arifi’s The Final Strife and John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society.

(2) BROOKS BY THE BOOK. The New York Times’ interview with Geraldine Brooks gives backhanded praise to a Hugo winner.

Can a great book be badly written? What other criteria can overcome bad prose?

The “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” trilogy, by Liu Cixin, is full of insight into everything from China’s Cultural Revolution to why we have yet to experience first contact, and why we maybe shouldn’t want to. But there’s a clunkiness to some of the sentences and I can’t know if it’s the writing or the translation. Alas, it’s too late for me to learn Mandarin in order to get a definitive answer.

(3) HEAVY DUTY. TrekMovie.com reports “Toymaker TOMY To Make 32-Inch Die-Cast ‘Star Trek’ USS Enterprise Weighing 20 Pounds”. Twenty pounds!!! What, have they got Garfield the Cat as the Captain?

… TOMY has announced a new collaboration with Paramount to develop a number of Star Trek products, starting with a limited edition highly-detailed 1/350 scale premium die-cast U.S.S. Enterprise model from The Original Series. Made of 90% die-cast metal, the model includes precision detailing and decorations with over 70 LED lights and a premium stand with collector packaging…. 

Gizmodo has more of the story and – brace yourself – the price tag: “Star Trek USS Enterprise Model Created With Smithsonian’s Help”.

…As you’ve probably guessed, this replica isn’t priced for casual Trekkies. Tomy is taking a crowd-funded approach and will only put the limited run replica into production if it receives 5,000 pre-orders for the ship, with pre-orders starting tomorrow. That’s a lofty goal, especially with a price tag of $600, and with pre-orders being limited to just Star Trek fans in the United States. If Tomy finds enough backers, its Prestige Select U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 replica will ship out to fans next Summer in 2023.

This video shows off the prototype with the lights in action.

(4) INTO THE WEST. HBO’s Westworld Season 4 Official Trailer says, “Maybe it’s time you questioned the nature of your own reality.” Sounds right.

(5) CARNEGIE AND GREENAWAY MEDALS. The Yoto Carnegie and Yoto Kate Greenaway Awards 2022 were announced today. Neither winner is a genre work.

The 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal 

  • October, October by Katya Balen, illustrated by Angela Harding (Bloomsbury)

The 2022 Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal 

  • The Midnight Fair illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio, written by Gideon Sterer (Walker Books)

(6) YOUNG XENA AND OTHER ROLES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] I listened to this podcast Leonard and Jessie Maltin did with Rose McIver. “Maltin on Movies: Rose McIver”.  Nearly all of her work is genre-related, including her current role in CBS’s Ghosts and her best-known role in IZombie.  Of course, being a Disney fan, Leonard Maltin made sure to ask about her work as Tinker Bell (spelled that way) in Once Upon a Time.

McIver has a good story about Lucy Lawless.  When she was nine she played young Xena while Lawless stepped away from her role during her pregnancy.  Lawless sent McIver several cassette tapes where she explained Xena’s story and gave her a chance to listen to the cadences of Lawless’s voice so she could do a better job of being a young Lucy Lawless.  McIver fondly remembered Lawless’s kindnesses over two decades later.

I thought this was a good interview.

(7) A VISIT TO THE INSTRUMENTALITY. Rich Horton tours the worldbuilding of Cordwainer Smith in “The Timeless Strangeness of ‘Scanners Live in Vain’” at Black Gate.

I recently had occasion to reread Cordwainer Smith’s Science Fiction Hall of Fame story “Scanners Live in Vain.” This was probably my fifth rereading over the years (soon followed by a sixth!) — it’s a story I’ve always loved, but for some reason this time through it struck me even more strongly. It is a truly great SF story; and I want to take a close look at what makes it work….

(8) PORT YOUR HELM. If you can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, you can certainly make an anime feature from Tolkien’s appendix. “’Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim’: Brian Cox, Miranda Otto Cast”Deadline has the story.

…The movie centers around the fate of the House of Helm Hammerhand, the mighty King of Rohan, a character from the J.R.R. Tolkien book’s appendix. Succession actor Cox will provide the voice of that protagonist.

The anime feature, directed by Kenji Kamiyama, is set 183 years before the events chronicled in the original trilogy of films. A sudden attack by Wulf, a clever and ruthless Dunlending lord seeking vengeance for the death of his father, forces Helm and his people to make a daring last stand in the ancient stronghold of the Hornburg – a mighty fortress that will later come to be known as Helm’s Deep. Finding herself in an increasingly desperate situation, Hera, the daughter of Helm, must summon the will to lead the resistance against a deadly enemy intent on their total destruction.

Wise (A Walk in the Woods) will play Hammerhand’s daughter Hera; and Luke Pasqualino (Snowpiercer) will portray Wulf…

(9) DOCTOR DOOGIE HOWSER WHO? “Neil Patrick Harris Joins Doctor Who’ for 60th Anniversary Special” reports Yahoo! But what’s he doing on the show?

…“It’s my huge honour to open our studio doors for the mighty Neil Patrick Harris…but who, why, what is he playing? You’ll just have to wait,” [Russell T] Davies said in a statement. “But I promise you, the stuff we’re shooting now is off the scale. Doctor beware!”

Harris is currently filming his scenes for the special, though details about his role are being guarded safely behind the closed doors of the TARDIS…

Harris released a photo of him in character on Instagram.

(10) THREE MORE MONGOLIAN TRANSLATIONS. [Item by Ferret Bueller.] I stopped in at the really snazzy bookstore at the State Department Store today and found three more recent translations: Second Foundation (the Mongolian is literally more like “Second Storehouse/Coffers/Holdings”), Fahrenheit 451, and Zamyatin’s We (between Ahmet Ümit’s Istanbul Souvenir and Moby Dick).

(11) ESSAY: GEORGE ALEC EFFINGER’S WHEN GRAVITY FAILS

1986 [By Cat Eldridge.] No, When Gravity Fails wasn’t published this month. It was published in January of 1986 by Arbor House. It’s just one of my favorite novels. And it’s one of the few truly great genre fictions set in the Middle East or whatever you want to call that region. (Jon Courtney Grimwood’s Arabesk trilogy and G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen are two other great ones set there. Do suggest others ones to me please.) That When Gravity Fails is the first in the Marîd Audran series makes it even better.

SPOILER ALERT Effinger’s novel, set near the end of the 22nd Century in an Islamic world in the rise while the West is fast descending or so we are told, describes an ascendant Arabic/Muslim is Center around Marîd Audran, a young man whose has a deep phobia about getting his brain wired. Hence he’s always on the outside of society. He and his trans girlfriend sometimes get along, sometimes want to kill each other. END SPOILER

I re-read about a half a decade ago. I was pleasantly surprised that the Suck Fairy hadn’t trod her steel studded combat boots upon this work. It feels remarkably fresh and Effinger’s society still rings true. Like the settings in Grimwood’s Arabesk or Wilson’s Alif, it feels real. That a neat trick that not many genre writers accomplish when trying to create a different culture. 

I understand that Effinger said in interviews that a lot of his society there was based on his living in the New Orleans French Quarter. If that’s true, the sex, violence, and moral ambiguity shown in the novel suggests a lot about the French Quarter in the Eighties! 

A note for y’all to consider. Most reviewers consider it a cyberpunk novel. I do not. It’s very good SF novel but the personality chips just don’t feel cyberpunkish to me. Neither the Arabesk trilogy or Alif is cyberpunk either.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 16, 1896 — Murray Leinster. It is said that he wrote and published more than fifteen hundred short stories and articles, fourteen movie scripts, and hundreds of radio scripts and television plays. Among those was his 1945 “First Contact” novella, a 1996 Retro Hugo-winner, one of the first (if not the first) instances of a universal translator. So naturally his heirs sued Paramount Pictures over Star Trek: First Contact, claiming that it infringed their trademark in the term. However, the suit was dismissed. I’m guessing they filed just a bit late given the universal translator was used in Trek prior to that film. (Died 1975.)
  • Born June 16, 1924 — Faith Domergue. Dr. Ruth Adams in the classic Fifties film This Island Earth. She has a number of later genre roles, Professor Lesley Joyce in It Came from Beneath the Sea, Jill Rabowski in Timeslip (aka The Atomic Man) and Dr. Marsha Evans in Voyage to a Prehistoric Planet. She amazingly did no genre television acting. (Died 1999.)
  • Born June 16, 1938 — Joyce Carol Oates, 84. To my utter surprise, she’s won a World Fantasy Award for a short story, “Fossil-Figures”. And though I didn’t think of her as a horror writer, she’s won five, yes five, Stoker Awards.  Her short fiction, which is legion, is stellar. I recommend her recent Night, Neon: Tales of Mystery and Suspense collection . 
  • Born June 16, 1939 — David McDaniel. A prolific writer of The Man from U.N.C.LE. novels penning seven of them, with such names as The Vampire Affair and The  Hallow Crown Affair. He also wrote a novel for The Prisoner series, The Prisoner: Number Two which I must find. As a fan, he was quite active in LASFS, serving as its Director, writing various APAs and is remembered as a “Patron Saint” which is to say he financially support the Club. (Died 1977.)
  • Born June 16, 1940 — Carole Ann Ford, 82. Best known for her roles as Susan Foreman in Doctor Who, and as Bettina in of The Day of the Triffids. Ford appeared in the one-off 50th-anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.
  • Born June 16, 1957 — Ian Buchanan, 65. Best remembered as Dick Tremayne on Twin Peaks. He’s done one-offs on the first Flash series, Quantum Leap, voice roles on GargoylesBatman: The Brave and the BoldBatman Beyond and Justice LeagueCharmed and Stargate SG-1
  • Born June 16, 1972 — Andy Weir, 50. His debut novel, The Martian, was later adapted into a film of the same name directed by Ridley Scott. He received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. His next two novels are Artemis and Project Hail Mary. Intriguingly, he’s written one piece of Sherlockian fan fiction, “James Moriarty, Consulting Criminal”  which is only available as an Audible audiobook. Project Hail Mary is nominated for the Hugo Award this year. 

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Argyle Sweater is based on a gag I bet every comics reader has thought of at some point.
  • Bizarro finds it’s time to have that discussion when little robots wonder where they came from.
  • Close to Home overhears what the next thing is that a kaiju wants to eat.

(14) VOYAGE CONTINUES WITH A NEW PILOT. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna interviews Randy Milholland, who has just taken over Popeye from 95-year-old Hy Eisman.  Cavna explains that Milholland is trying to preserve Popeye’s noble spirit and champion of the underdog while making Popeye a GenXer and Olive Oyl a MIllennial. “Popeye is getting a makeover at age 93”.

…Today, he thinks characters like Olive Oyl, as shaped long ago by Segar and writer Tom Sims, can speak to modern audiences. He notes that their Olive was outspoken and in your face. “She was never the damsel in distress in the comics.” He says her stance was: “I’m here and I will fight either at Popeye’s side or I will get in front of him.”

All these characters have flaws — and Popeye’s father, Poopdeck Pappy, “is a flaw on his own,” Milholland notes with a grin — but Popeye and Olive are the types to “find their moral centers” when needed.

Milholland likes to play with character faces and shapes, including the antagonistic witch the Sea Hag and the magical pet Eugene the Jeep. He enjoys designing the ballet of fisticuffs that flows across the page. Yet, for all the enduring dynamics of “Popeye,” Milholland comes back to valuing the familial heart that beats at the center of the strip….

(15) DINO MIGHT. Did you ever ask yourself “Why Does Batman have a T-Rex in the Batcave?” MSN.com’s Aman Singh did.

Debuting in 1943, the Batcave is a fascinating place that holds many mementos to Batman’s long history. The Caped Crusader’s lair features many interesting items such a giant penny and a large replica of Joker’s playing card. Though some may say it’s ridiculous, the cave is a reflection of Batman’s character evolution. Despite going through many changes over the years and different iterations across creative teams, one of the few items that remains constant is the iconic T-Rex prop. The origins for this unusual memento go way back into Batman’s formative years….

(16) NINEFOX GAMBIT TRPG ON ITS WAY. Yoon Ha Lee has designed an RPG for his Machineries of Empire universe.

(17) ONE THUMB DOWN. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] This reviewer pretty much hates Kyra Sedgwick‘s directorial premier, indie feature film Space Oddity. I’ve seen others reviews that were kinder to it. Me? I have no clue. “Space Oddity Review: Kyra Sedgwick’s Sexless, Spaceless Rom-Com” by Samantha Bergeson at IndieWire.

….But the film heavy-handedly relies on a climate change component to beat people over the head with a bouquet of reasons why the world as we know it is dying. True, but this film makes a good reason for why it should.

At one point, Alex angrily lectures a mirror: “I hope you all had a good time at the farewell party for the tigers and the lions!” And no, he is not talking about Detroit teams finishing their seasons. It is hysterical in the best way. “I’m going to Mars!” is Alex’s refrain in “Space Oddity,” and he even says it to himself — “over and out.”….

(18) BUGS, MR. RICO. ZILLIONS OF ‘EM. “Spilling the Tea: Insect DNA Shows Up in World’s Top Beverage” is the jolly news from The Scientist.

How do you monitor which species live in an area? In addition to traditional ecological tools such as camera traps, researchers have reported new methods in recent years that allow them to detect minute traces of DNA known as environmental DNA, or eDNA, that animals leave behind in water and even air. In a study published June 15 in Biology Letters, a group reports picking up eDNA from a new source: dried plant material. The team purchased tea from grocery stores, and were able to detect hundreds of species of arthropods in just one bag….

TS: Was there anything about the results of this study that surprised you? 

HK: What really surprised me was the high diversity we detected. . . . We took one tea bag, and . . . I think it was from 100 [or] 150 milligrams of dried plant material, we extracted DNA. And we found in green tea up to 400 species of insects in a single tea bag. . . . That really surprised me. And the reason probably is that this tea, it’s ground to a relatively fine powder. So the eDNA [from all parts of the tea field] gets distributed.  

(19) THEY’RE DEAD, JIM. The Scientist reports on evidence that the “Black Death Likely Originated in Central Asia”.

In the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains in what is now Kyrgyzstan, tombstones in the Kara-Djigach cemetery with Syriac inscriptions showed that the village’s death rate skyrocketed over a two-year period. Phil Slavin, a historian at the University of Stirling in Scotland, says that “out of a total of 467 stones that are precisely dated to the period between 448 and 1345, 118 actually turned out to be dated to the years 1338 [and] 1339.”…

(20) A CLOSER LOOK. “NASA’s Perseverance rover begins key search for life on Mars” reports Nature. “Rolling up an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater, the rover starts crucial rock sampling.”

More than 15 months after landing in Jezero Crater on Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover has finally begun its hunt for ancient life in earnest.

On 28 May, Perseverance ground a 5-centimetre-wide circular patch into a rock at the base of what was once a river delta in the crater. This delta formed billions of years ago, when a long-vanished river deposited layers of sediment into Jezero, and it is the main reason that NASA sent the rover there. On Earth, river sediment is usually teeming with life.

Images of the freshly ground spot show small sediment grains, which scientists are hoping will contain chemical or other traces of life. Poet William Blake’s “‘To see a world in a grain of sand’ comes to mind,” wrote Sanjeev Gupta, a planetary geologist at Imperial College London, on Twitter.

The rover will spend the next few months exploring the Jezero delta, while mission scientists decide where they want to drill and extract rock samples. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) plan to retrieve those samples and fly them back to Earth for study, no earlier than 2033, in the first-ever sample return from Mars….

(21) DEL TORO OPENS HIS CABINET. Guillermo Del Toro and Netflix have shared the first teaser trailer for Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, an eight-episode horror anthology featuring original plots and adaptations of short stories. No release date has been set.

The maestro of horror – Guillermo Del Toro – presents 8 blood-curdling tales of horror. This anthology of sinister stories is told by some of today’s most revered horror creators, including the directors of The Babadook, Splice, Mandy, and many more.

(22) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Jurassic World: Dominion Pitch Meting,” Ryan George, in a spoiler-packed episode says that neither the producer or the screenwriter can remember the names of the characters Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt play so a quick Wikipedia search is in order. Also, when the producer learns that several characters from Jurassic Park have come back, he asks, “Is there any other way to make money? We’re rapidly running out of iconic characters to bring back!”

[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Nancy Sauer, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Rich Horton, Ferret Bueller, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]