Pixel Scroll 4/11/23 Starship Tribbles! Ad Astra Per Felix Flattus!

(1) UKRANIAN BRADBURY TRANSLATOR MOURNED. [Item by Susan de Guardiola.] It’s being reported that Ukrainian researcher/editor/translator/”culturologist” Yevhen Gulevich (Gulevych), who, among other things, was the translator of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, was killed fighting at Bakhmut in Ukraine. 

His death is covered in Daily Kos’ news roundup “Ukraine Update: If the leaked documents are real, then they’re a good sign for Ukraine”. More detail:

Gulevich was a critical figure in detailing the history of Ukrainian art, explaining the origins of Ukrainian culture, and in mapping that history onto modern Ukraine. He was the editor of a Ukrainian magazine and frequently in demand for his skill at translating books written in other languages into Ukrainian while preserving the emotion and beauty of language. Among others, he translated Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes” so that it can be read by generations of Ukrainians the way it has been read and enjoyed by generations of Americans. Gulevich died on Bakhmut. He probably died all the way back at the end of December, but his body could not be found, and his fellow soldiers maintained some level of hope that he was still out there until he was finally declared dead last month. “

The image at the top of that article is from his funeral (”A guard of honor for Yevhen Gulevich at Garrison Church, Lviv, Ukraine. April 10, 2023”) and you’ll see another picture from it if you scroll down to the quote.

(2) TOLKIEN AND WHITE SUPREMACY. Robin A. Reid has posted “Why White Supremacy No Longer Provides Cover for White Academia”, which she presented at the Roundtable on Racisms and Tolkien, Tolkien Studies Area, PCA/ACA 2023.

 …As I discussed yesterday in the roundtable on adaptations of Tolkien, the backlash against Amazon’s Rings of Powers series is part of the ongoing “culture war” effort by contemporary fascists, many who love Tolkien’s work. They are creating “a new front . . . in a decades’-long, international, far-right, culture war. The people waging it aren’t just fighting to keep Tolkien’s imaginary world white and manly and straight. They’re fighting to restore that white-supremacist system in the real world, too” (Craig Franson, personal communication). Yesterday I focused on the question of what fandom, or more specifically, what progressive fans might do. Today, I focus on the question of what white academics can do….

…Too many of the articles on race and Tolkien dismiss racist readers as atypical, as ignorant, as reading the Legendarium badly, and, by extension, dismiss the question of structural/systemic racisms in Tolkien’s legendarium as unimportant to the field of Tolkien scholarship….

(3) JEREMY RENNER ON JIMMY KIMMEL. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] The “Live!“ in the name of Jimmy Kimmel’s show may never have been more relevant than it was Monday night. Jeremy Renner made his first talkshow appearance following his January 1st accident that saw him basically crushed by a multi-ton snowplow.

Renner was there nominally to promote his new Disney+ show “Rennervations,” but it’s certain that his fans were cheered by his ability to walk to the interview chair using nothing more than a cane.

(4) SEE PICARD FINALE IN THEATERS. “’Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3 Finale Gets Special IMAX Screenings” reports Collider. Requests for free tickets open April 12 at 1:00 Eastern.

It’s time to boldly go back to the big screen! The final two episodes of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 are getting a one-night-only theatrical release in select IMAX theaters on April 19 followed by a pre-taped Q&A with the cast of the hit series. Participating cities include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. What’s even better is that tickets for the event are free, and they’ll be available on Wednesday, April 12 at 1 PM ET.

(5) GUGGENHEIM. The 2023 Guggenheim Fellows were announced April 5, 171 fellows from 48 fields. Jacqueline Woodson, who has done much genre work, was one of the people named as fellows in the Fiction category.

Fiction 

Lucy Corin, Writer, Berkeley, California; Professor of English, University of California, Davis 

Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Writer, Arvada, Colorado; Endowed Chair in Creative Writing, Texas State University 

James Hannaham, Writer, Brooklyn, New York; Professor, Writing Department, Pratt Institute 

Jac JemcWriter, San Diego, California; Associate Teaching Professor, University of California, San Diego 

Don Lee, Writer, Baltimore, Maryland; Professor, Director of MFA Program in Creative Writing, Temple University 

Rebecca Lee, Writer, Wilmington, North Carolina; Associate Professor, Department of Creative Writing, University of North Carolina Wilmington 

Héctor Tobar, Writer, Los Angeles, California; Professor, University of California, Irvine 

Jacqueline Woodson, Writer, Brooklyn, New York 

(6) RONDO VOTING. Steve Vertlieb reminds us that April 23 is the last day for the public to vote for the Rondo Awards, “fandom’s only classic horror awards”, and he’d be thrilled if you voted for the nominee who interviewed him for the magazine We Belong Dead.

Cinema Retro is looking for votes, too: “Cinema Retro And Mark Mawston Nominated For This Year’s Rondo Awards”.

…Also, Cinema Retro contributor Mark Mawston, who recently brought CR readers a rare, exclusive interview with actor John Leyton, has been singled out for a nomination in the category of Best Interview. This time, the subject of his work is the life and career of noted writer, film, and film music historian, Steve Vertlieb, who reflects on his interactions with a “Who’s Who” of film legends from over the decades. The superb 12-page interview appeared in issue #31 of the popular British horror magazine “We Belong Dead”. Mark is known professionally as “The Rock and Roll Photographer To The Stars” (having photographed such music luminaries at Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Yoko Ono, and Brian Wilson)….

Click here for the ballot and instructions on how to send in your vote.

(7) BOOK REVIEW. I am the Law: How Judge Dredd Predicted Our Future launched a few weeks ago. Jonathan Cowie has a review in the forthcoming seasonal edition of SF2 Concatenation and tweeted an advance post.

Even if you do not know of Judge Dredd but have an interest in policing and legality, then this is a fascinating introduction into twentieth and early twenty-first century trends, that, if they continue, lead to a worrying future…

For SF fans, this book is an exemplar of science fiction’s value to society and how the genre can, on occasion, seem to predict the future. In this case the seeming predictions – note the plural, for there are many – are unnervingly spot on and so if Judge Dredd is some sort of quasi-reflection of our future, then it is an unsettling one, and one at which we should rail against

Judge Dredd should come with a health warning when given to kids.

If perchance you have never heard of Judge Dredd (is there anyone in the western world under the age of 50 who hasn’t?), then he is a comic-strip character from the British weekly 2000AD as well as, now, the titular character of the monthly Judge Dredd Megazine. He is a 22nd century law enforcer of Mega-City 1: Mega-City 1 being effectively the amalgamation of former 20th century cities along the US’s eastern seaboard. Life in Mega-City-1, though futuristic, is harsh. Only a few Mega-Cities survived the early 21st century nuclear war and much of the middle of America (less protected by anti-missile shields) became a wasteland called the ‘Cursed Earth’. Meanwhile, the ocean off the city is now the polluted Black Atlantic.

Life in Mega-City 1 is also harsh for its citizens because the high automated future and advanced robotics have made many redundant and the majority are simply unemployed living on ‘welf’ (welfare benefits). Crime is rife as is the discontent and those who regret the loss of democracy. And then there are the threats from the technology used itself as well as external ones from other Mega-Cities both from within the former continental N. America and beyond.

So, to keep law and order, policemen are now both police, jury and judge who enforce the law and decide on guilt and punishment. These enforcers are the Judges.

This book is jam-packed with so many instances of where the strip has seemingly predicted the future that this review can but give you the barest of tasters….

The full review is here.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

1961[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

A work of Keith Laumer’s that I think doesn’t get as much appreciation as it deserves is where the Beginning comes from for the tonight’s Scroll. 

Worlds of The Imperium is the novel in question. It first appeared in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination in the February, March and April 1961 issues. The following year it was published by Ace Books as an Ace Double with Seven from the Stars by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Five years later, Dennis Dobson publishers would give it a handsome hardcover edition. 

I don’t consider it giving to be give y’all spoilers to note that Laumer wrote three sequels to this novel —The Other Side of TimeAssignment in Nowhere and Zone Yellow.

I consider it one of the better cross-time novels that I’ve read and I’ve read a lot of them in over the last fifty years. The antagonist is interesting, the worlds thought out to be more than the cookie cutter alternative ones we so often get and the story here moves along at a rather admirable  pace. With ale too. 

So here’s our Beginning… 

I STOPPED in front of a shop with a small wooden sign which hung from a wrought-iron spear projecting from the weathered stone wall. On it the word Antikvariat was lettered in spidery gold against dull black, and it creaked as it swung in the night wind. Below it a metal grating covered a dusty window with a display of yellowed etchings, woodcuts, and lithographs, and a faded mezzotint. Some of the buildings in the pictures looked familiar, but here they stood in open fields, or perched on hills overlooking a harbor crowded with sails. The ladies in the pictures wore great bell-like skirts and bonnets with ribbons, and carried tiny parasols, while dainty-footed horses pranced before carriages in the background.

It wasn’t the prints that interested me though, or even the heavy gilt 

frame embracing a tarnished mirror at one side; it was the man whose reflection I studied in the yellowed glass, a dark man wearing a tightly-belted grey trench-coat that was six inches too long. He stood with his hands thrust deep in his pockets and stared into a darkened window fifty feet from me. 

He had been following me all day. 

At first I thought it was coincidence when I noticed the man on the bus from Bromma, then studying theatre announcements in the hotel lobby while I registered, and half an hour later sitting three tables away sipping coffee while I ate a hearty dinner.

I had discarded that theory a long time ago. Five hours had passed and he was still with me as I walked through the Old Town, medieval Stockholm still preserved on an island in the middle of the city. I had walked past shabby windows crammed with copper pots, ornate silver, dueling pistols, and worn cavalry sabres; very quaint in the afternoon sun, but grim reminders of a ruder day of violence after midnight. Over the echo of my footsteps in the silent narrow streets the other steps came quietly behind, hurrying when I hurried, stopping when I stopped. Now the man stared into the dark window and waited, the next move was up to me. I was lost. Twenty years is a long time to remember the tortuous turnings of the streets of the Old Town. I took my guide book from my pocket and turned to the map in the back. My fingers were clumsy. 

I craned my neck up at the stone tablet set in the corner of the building; it was barely legible: Master-Samuelsgatan. I found the name on the folding map and saw that it ran for three short blocks, ending at Gamla Storgatan; a dead end. In the dim light it was difficult to see the fine detail on the map; I twisted the book around and got a clearer view; there appeared to be another tiny street, marked with crosslines, and labeled Guldsmedstrappan. I tried to remember my Swedish; trappan meant stair. The Goldsmith’s Stairs, running from Master Samuelsgatan to Hundgatan, another tiny street. It seemed to lead to the lighted area near the palace; it looked like my only route out. I dropped the book back into my pocket and moved off casually toward the stairs of the Goldsmith. I hoped there was no gate across the entrance.

My shadow waited a moment, then followed. Slowly as I was ambling, I gained a little on him. He seemed in no hurry at all. I passed more tiny shops, with ironbound doors and worn stone sills, and then saw that the next doorway was an open arch with littered granite steps ascending abruptly. I paused idly, then turned in. Once past the portal, I bounded up the steps at top speed. Six leaps, eight, and I was at the top and darting to the left toward a deep doorway. There was just a chance I’d cleared the top of the stair before the dark man had reached the bottom. I stood and listened. I heard the scrape of shoes, then heavy breathing from the direction of the stairs a few feet away. I waited, breathing with my mouth wide open, trying not to pant audibly. After a moment the steps moved away. The proper move for my silent companion would be to cast about quickly for my hiding place, on the assumption that I had concealed myself close by. He would be back this way soon.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 11, 1867 William Wallace Cook. Newspaper reporter and pulp writer who wrote four novels (The Fiction FactoryA Round Trip to the Year 2000, or A Flight Through Time, Cast Away at the Pole and Adrift in the Unknown, or Adventures in a Queer Realm) which were serialized in Argosy in the early part of the last century. Clute at EoSF says he was “was a crude writer, but is of interest for his attempts to combine adventure plots and Satire.” (Died 1933.)
  • Born April 11, 1892 — William M. Timlin. Author of The Ship that Sailed to Mars, a remarkable work that has 48 pages of text and 48 color plates. It has become a classic of fantasy literature. You can view the book here. (Died 1943.)
  • Born April 11, 1920 Peter O’Donnell. Best remembered as the creator of Modesty Blaise of which EoSF says that her “agility and supple strength are sufficiently exceptional for her to be understood as a Superhero”.  He also wrote the screenplay of The Vengeance of She based on H. Rider Haggard’s Ayesha: The Return of She novel. (Died 2010.)
  • Born April 11, 1941 Gene Szafran. He did cover art for genre books published by Bantam and Ballantine during the Sixties to the Eighties, including a series of Signet paperbacks of Robert A. Heinlein’s work including Farnham’s Freehold, The Green Hills of Earth, and Methusaleh’s Children. His art would garner him a 1972 Locus Award.  (Died 2011.)
  • Born April 11, 1949 Melanie Tem. She was the wife of genre author Steve Rasnic Tem. A prolific writer of both novels and short stories, she considered herself a dark fantasy writer, not a horror writer. Bryant, King and Simmonds all praised her writing. If I had to make a recommendation, I’d say start with Blood MoonWitch-Light (co-written with Nancy Holder) and Daughters done with her husband. ”The Man on the Ceiling” won her a World Fantasy Award.  She died of cancer which recurred after she’d been in remission. (Died 2015.)
  • Born April 11, 1955 Julie Czerneda, 68. She won the Prix Aurora Award for her Company of Others novel. She’d also receive one for Short Form in English for her “Left Foot on A Blind Man” Story, both of these early in her career.  She has a long running series, The Clan Chronicles which is as sprawling as anything Martin conceived.
  • Born April 11, 1963 Gregory Keyes, 60. Best known for The Age of Unreason tetralogy, a steampunk and magical affair featuring Benjamin Franklin and Isaac Newton. He also wrote The Psi Corps Trilogy and has done a lot of other media tie-in fiction including Pacific RimStar WarsPlanet of The ApesIndependence Day and Pacific Rim

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Eek! shows a notoriously fannish circle of hell.
  • The Far Side shows the cow’s real motivation for jumping the moon.
  • The Far Side wonders, “What did people use for fuel before the dinosaurs died?”

(11) GRAPHIC NOVELS MARKET ANALYZED. [Item by Dann.] In “Tilting at Windmills #295: Looking at NPD BookScan 2022” at ComicsBeat, Brian Hibbs does an annual assessment of graphic novels sold via bookstores.  His data does not include direct market sales nor does it include digital sales; only physical books sold via a bookstore (including Amazon).  The quick takes from his 2022 report that I found:

  • Scholastic is the king of physical book sales via bookstores with 40% of sales by western* publishers. (* Publishers from western nations – not publishers of western-themed graphic novels, natch)
  • The largest bookstore market is middle school/junior high-aged kids.  Dav Pilkey rules the roost with 8 of the top 20 titles.
  • Manga is the next largest sub-market with Viz Media being the most significant publisher at 60% of all manga sales.
  • Of the traditional “superhero” publishers, DC does a good job at #6 among western publishers with 20 titles in the top 750 and Marvel is struggling with only one title in the top 750.  DC’s success seems to be largely driven by what is being adapted for TV plus their youth-oriented titles.  Scholastic’s licenses of Marvel properties beat all of the Marvel-published titles.  Together, Marvel and DC comprise 10% of the market sold via bookstores.

Though Hibbs says, “But this seems paltry when you see that at least four other publishers licensed to publish Marvel characters … beat every single comic Marvel itself published, except for one: ‘Moon Knight by Lemire & Smallwood’, with 17k.”

The data is based on NPD BookScan and does not include sales via/to libraries, schools, specialty stores (like comic book stores), book clubs, and fairs.  There are other data issues arising from how publishers apply BISAC codes to their products.  For example, the novel Bloody Crown of Conan appeared on the list for many years while Dork Diaries comes and goes.  Brian has to get the data for The Complete Persepolis and Maus manually pulled for inclusion in his dataset.  He makes it clear that there are known unknowns with respect to his dataset.

The Daily Cartoonist has done its own overview of Hibbs’ work in “2022 Book Scan Graphic Books Report”.

(12) CELEBRATING ADDITIONS TO THE COLLECTION. For sff scholars at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY, “Pandemic Donations Moving Day” arrived at the end of February. The Science Fiction at City Tech blog has the story.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, Professor and Collections Management Librarian Wanett Clyde and English Department Professor Jason Ellis moved donated materials acquired during the first phase of the pandemic into the City Tech Science Fiction Collection’s space in the Archives and Special Collections of the Ursula C. Schwerin Library.

During the pandemic, we received a lot of new material for the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, including magazines, novels, collections, academic journals, and monographs. These materials were donated by Charlie Seelig (~20 boxes of EVERYTHING), Analog Science Fiction and Fact (~4 boxes of magazines from their old office space), City Tech Professor Lucas Bernard (2 boxes of material that belonged to his father Kenneth Bernard, the experimental playwright and English professor), and Emeritus Professor of English at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and former president of the Science Fiction Research Association David Mead (1 box of Jack Vance materials), The Special Collections and Archives in the City Tech Library unfortunately were unable to open enough shelf space for these materials, so Wanett and Jason stored everything in their offices–with most of it being in Jason’s office (see below)…..

(13) FINISHED PROJECT. EV Grieve, in “This is the way”, has a photo of the completed Mandalorian-themed art on a building in New York’s East Village. See it at the link.

Here’s a follow-up to last week’s post and a look at the final “Mandalorian“-related mural by local artist-illustrator Rich Miller on the NE corner of Seventh Street and Avenue C. 

(14) THE MARVELS TRAILER. Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau return in Marvel Studios’ The Marvels, only in theaters November 10.

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. SpaceX has released a “Starship Mission to Mars” video.

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