Pixel Scroll 4/17/24 Root/File; Droppixels

(1) SECOND TIME AROUND. Rebecca F. Kuang brings us “The Poppy War (Becky’s Version)”. See the new cover at the link.

…I did the best I could for that book. I didn’t know how to ask for things. I made compromises. I knew I didn’t want the cover art to play into Orientalist tropes, and I knew I didn’t want a generic, European, epic fantasy cover, but I didn’t know how to communicate or negotiate something in between. I latched onto the first concept that wasn’t dreadful. I thought that if I said anything more, then I would hamstring my career before it had gotten off the ground. At twenty, I was scared of my own shadow.

We’ve grown a lot since then.

Last year, my editor asked me: if we could reissue The Poppy War again today, what would I change? How would the cover look? How would the interior art look?…

(2)  THE SUMMER OF ’24. The Clarion West Writers Workship has announced their Six-Week Workshop Class of 2024.

(3) DOCTOR WHO REJECTS AND SALVAGE JOBS. Den of Geek discusses “Doctor Who’s Unmade TV Episodes”. Here are two examples.

…. In 1964 Victor Pemberton submitted ‘The Slide’ (in which the Doctor discovered sentient, mind-controlling mud) to the Doctor Who production offices. The story was rejected and so Pemberton adapted it for BBC radio. ‘The Slide’ was then adapted back into a Doctor Who story that swapped the mud for seaweed in 1968’s ‘Fury from the Deep’.

Donald Cotton, who wrote two Hartnell stories, submitted a third which contained the idea that the Loch Ness Monster was of alien origin. ‘The Herdsmen of Venus’ suggested that the Loch Ness Monster was in fact a type of space bovine, bred by the titular herdsmen, and raising the very real possibility of a space helmet for a cow. Cotton’s story was rejected by the a new production team who felt Doctor Who should be a serious show, though seemingly conflicting alien origins for the Loch Ness Monster would appear in 1975’s ‘Terror of the Zygons’ and 1985’s ‘Timelash’….

(4) THE BASIC UNIT OF SOCIETY. Joe Vasicek by no means styles himself a liberal thinker, however, it’s thought-provoking to read his explanation for this change: “Why I no longer consider myself to be a libertarian” at One Thousand And One Parsecs.

… Families don’t just happen. They take a lot of work to build and to maintain, and unless they are planted in a culture that nourishes them, they will wither and die. Libertarianism does not foster that kind of a culture, yet it depends on families in order to raise the kind of people who can make a libertarian society work. People from broken families often lack the mental and emotional maturity to take upon themselves the personal responsibilities that come with personal liberty—in other words, they lack the capacity for personal independence which libertarianism depends on…. 

(5) WHEN IT’S TIME TO RAILROAD. “The U.S. is exploring a railroad for the moon. It has a good reason.”Mashable has the story.

… The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA — an ambitious federal innovations division — has begun collaborating with over a dozen companies on potential future lunar technologies, including a moon railroad. It’s called the 10-Year Lunar Architecture Capability Study, or LunA-10, and its mission is to find technologies that will catalyze a self-perpetuating lunar economy….

… DARPA recently chose the aerospace and defense giant Northrup Grumman to create the concept for the railroad. “The envisioned lunar railroad network could transport humans, supplies, and resources for commercial ventures across the lunar surface — contributing to a space economy for the United States and international partners,” the company wrote. They’ll aim to develop a railway that limits the human footprint on the largely still pristine lunar surface, and design a system that anyone could ride or load cargo on (such as with standardized, moon-worthy equipment that can withstand huge temperature swings)…

(6) CONAN IN 1969. Cora Buhlert is among the reviewers who contribute to Galactic Journey’s post “[April 16, 1969] The Men from Ipomoea (April 1969 Galactoscope)”.

Conan with a Metafictional Gimmick: Kothar, Barbarian Swordsman, by Gardner F. Fox

There has been an invasion at my trusty local import bookstore, an invasion of scantily clad, muscular Barbarians, sporting furry loincloths and horned helmets and brandishing gigantic swords and axes, while equally scantily clad maidens cling to their mighty thews….

(7) SOVIET NOSTALGIA? Gizmodo gripes and cheers: “The Greatest Sci-Fi Show You’re Still Not Watching Is Getting a New Season—and a Spinoff”.

The world of For All Mankind was forever changed when the Soviet Union arrived on the moon before the United States. That one event changed the course of the show’s alternate history, and now we’ll get to see exactly how it happened.

Apple TV+ has just announced that not only is For All Mankind coming back for a fifth season, it’s also getting a spinoff called Star City that will tell the story from the Soviet point of view, starting with them beating America to the moon….

According to Deadline:

…Apple is billing Star City is “a propulsive paranoid thriller” which will explore a key moment in the alt-history retelling of the space race — when the Soviet Union became the first nation to put a man on the moon. But this time, it will explore the story from behind the Iron Curtain, showing the lives of the cosmonauts, the engineers, and the intelligence officers embedded among them in the Soviet space program, and the risks they all took to propel humanity forward….


[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born April 17, 1959 Sean Bean, 65. Today’s Birthday is that of Sean Bean whose most well known role is either Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark in Game of Thrones or Boromir in Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings trilogy (though his scenes in The Two Towers are only available on the extended version.) I really liked him as Boromir in The Fellowship of The Ring which I’ve watched a number of times. 

Sean Bean in 2016.

If you count National Treasure as being genre adjacent, and I certainly do given its premise, he’s Ian Lowe there — a crime boss and treasure hunter who is a former friend of Benjamin Gate, the character Nicolas Cage plays. 

He’s James in The Dark, a horror film based off Welsh mythology with connections to the Welsh underworld Annwyn.  

He’s done a lot of horror films — Silent Hill is his next one in which he’s Christopher Da Silva, husband of Rose, and it’s a haunted mansion mystery as its sequel.  He played Ulric in Black Death. Guess when that is set?  

Genre wise, there’s Possessor where he’s a mind jumping assassin. Hey it’s also listed as being horror! Then there’s Jupiter Ascending where he’s Stinger Apindi, Over there we find The Martian where he’s Mitch Henderson, and in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief he’s Zeus.   

More interestingly he was Inspector John Marlottin The Frankenstein Chronicles, an ITV series about a London police officer who uncovers a corpse made up of body parts from eight missing children and sets about to determine who is responsible.

Lastly I’ll note that he was in the Snowpiercer series as Mr. Wilford. I’ve not seen it. So how is it? 


(10) BURSTING BACK INTO THEATERS. Comicbook.com tells fans “Original Alien Returning to Theaters This Month for Alien Day”. (Check Fandango for Alien 45th Anniversary Re-Release (2024) Showtimes.)

Just in time to celebrate 45 years since its release, Ridley Scott’s Alien is coming back to theaters this spring. Coming on “Alien Day” — that’s April 26 — the movie will screen at theaters across the U.S. Over at Fandango, you can see where screenings are, order tickets, and browse other merch like an homage poster, collectables, books, apparel, and more. The screenings on Alien Day will also feature an exclusive conversation between Scott and Alien: Romulus writer/director Fede Alvarez….

(11) ANOTHER HELPING OF GOOD OMENS, PLEASE. Radio Times intercepts the signal as “Neil Gaiman confirms when Good Omens season 3 begins filming”.

…Speaking in an interview with Deadline about post-strike Hollywood, Gaiman reflected on his upcoming projects – and in the process, offered up a timeline for Good Omens season 3 production.

He said: “That being said, you know, Dead Boy Detectives comes out in 10 days. I’ve seen half of Sandman season 2, and it’s astonishing. I’m writing Good Omens season 3, and we start shooting that in January.”…

(12) CLOSING THE BOOKS. San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. announces “Costume-Con 39, Westercon 74 Committees Discharged”.

At its March 16, 2024 meeting, the SFSFC Board of Directors discharged the standing committees previously established to operate Costume-Con 39 and Westercon 74. Both conventions have completed all of their tasks. This action means that both convention committees will close their financial books and turn over any remaining surplus assets to the SFSFC corporate general fund. Any residual responsibilities of these committees have similarly been absorbed by the corporation’s general fund.

SFSFC continues to maintain both conventions’ websites. Anyone with questions about either committee can still contact the organization through those convention’s general-information inquiry addresses or they can contact SFSFC directly.

(13) PET PUSHES THE BUTTON. This news item involving a dog continues a line of interest we began by covering Mary Robinette Kowal’s cat who talks using buttons. “Dog uses sound buttons to communicate with owner that she’s unwell” at USA Today.

A golden retriever turned into a doctor when he diagnosed his owner with an illness before she got sick.

Christina Lee, a software engineer from Northern California, taught her dog Cache to talk to her by pressing buttons on a communication device.

The device is pre-programmed with words such as “food,” “friend,” and “mom.” But when Cache pressed a button saying “sick,” Lee was initially skeptical as she felt fine. However, five hours later, she began to feel unwell.

“This is the first time that he’s predicted when I would get sick ahead of time,” says Lee. “I think he could smell it on me or something.”

[Thanks to Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, JJ, Kathy Sullivan, Kevin Standlee, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]