Pixel Scroll 10/11/23 We’re All The Children Of Pixels, Ancient Pixels Who Gave Birth To All Intelligence

(1) THE ROCKETS’ GREEN LIGHT. Early this morning in Los Angeles the last of two Space Shuttle Rocket Launch Motors made their way through Exposition Park to the California Science Center. Each is 116 feet long and around 12 feet in diameter.  

They are part of the “Go for Stack” project to move and lift space shuttle components for the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. What is Go for Stack?

“Go for Stack” is the complex process of moving and lifting each of the space shuttle components into place for Endeavour’s upcoming, awe-inspiring 20-story vertical display in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which is currently under construction. This technically challenging feat has never been done outside of a NASA facility. 

(2) ROBIN REID GUESTS ON TOLKIEN PODCAST. Episode 16 of Queer Lodgings: A Tolkien Podcast is a “Queer Anthology Interview with Robin Reid, Chris Vaccaro, Steven Yandell”.

We have a special treat for you this month – Leah, Alicia, and Grace welcome not one… not two… but three guests! They are the editors of the forthcoming edited anthology ‘”There Are Many Paths to Tread”: Queer Approaches to Tolkien’s Middle-earth’ from McFarland (due to release in 2025), and each is a well-known Tolkien scholar in their own right – Robin Reid, Chris Vaccaro, and Steve Yandell. Join us as we discuss the landscape of Queer and Intersectional Tolkien studies, why they’re important, and what these important and fresh outlooks can contribute to Tolkien scholarship.

(3) MALINDA LO ON BOOK SUPPRESSION. “My Books Have Been Banned or Challenged in 16 States” says Malinda Lo, and in this thoroughly-researched post the author explores many ways that has been done.

In the last two years, my books have been banned, challenged, or restricted in 44 cases in 40 communities across 16 states. Last Night at the Telegraph Club receives the most attention, but Ash, Huntress, A Line in the Dark and A Scatter of Light have also been targeted by book banners. The book bans have increased over time, and in the last couple of months I’ve learned about a new one almost every week…

In the spreadsheet, I’ve recorded 44 cases in which my books were targeted by right-wing activists. Those cases include: 

  1. Book bans, in which books are removed from school libraries and/or classrooms (either during an investigation of the challenge or completely);
  2. book challenges, in which a community member makes a complaint about a book to a school district or library (this may not lead to an outright ban);
  3. restrictions, in which a book is placed in a restricted section of the library or requires parental permission for access; and 
  4. instances in which a book published as young adult was moved to the adult section of a library. 

I have chosen to count more than straightforward book bans, and I include the challenges I have found even if the book is not ultimately banned, because I’m interested in tracking all the ways my books are targeted. This is a personal analysis of how book banning has affected my work, not a broader analysis of book bans in America….

Here’s an example of Lo’s detailed analysis:

…. When asked if they had read the entire book, the challenger wrote, “I read a summary and it told me everything I need to know.” What concerns them? “This book promoting a sexual agenda to young people.”

Since they didn’t read the book, you may be wondering where they found these summaries or sections that they object to. While I don’t know where these specific two challengers found their summaries, I suspect they may have used conservative book banning Facebook groups or websites like Book Looks (created by Florida-based Moms for Liberty) or Rated Books (affiliated with the Utah-based Laverna in the Library). I think that whoever made the entries about Telegraph Club for these websites has in fact read the book, or at least they have combed through it line by line hunting for excerpts that they believe prove their allegations of a book’s offensive nature….

(4) CHENGDU WORLDCON ROUNDUP. [By Ersatz Culture.]

New Worldcon logo

2023 Chengdu has changed its logo just before the con.  

Chinese-language article about the WSFS Business Meeting

The con posted an article to weixin.qq.com entitled (via Google Translate) “Everyone, please check the introduction of the 2023 Chengdu World Science Fiction Conference Business Meeting!”.  Most File 770 readers are likely to be already familiar with material about the WSFS Business Meeting – the article even has a section summarizing Robert’s Rules of Order – but there are a couple of interesting bits near the bottom of the page, as follows…

Who’s sponsoring the WorldCon?  Some answers

The October 9th Scroll pointed out that the list of Chengdu Worldcon sponsors in the Business Meeting Agenda did not match announcements at a June Brand Conference.  At the bottom of the page, there is what I believe is the first official confirmation of any sponsors on any of the Worldcon’s platforms.  There are four levels or types of sponsor, the information I’ve been able to glean so far is:

“2023 Chengdu Worldcon Starseeker”

  • China Telecom (the only sponsor confirmed at the aforementioned Brand Conference)
  • ICBC – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

“2023 Chengdu Worldcon Stargazer”

  • Das Security – cybersecurity firm, apparently also known as DBAppSecurity, according to this article which states they were also a sponsor of the recent Asian Games alongside China Telecom and ICBC.
  • Starry Dome – I assume that this is the same company as 上海瀚海星穹网络科技 / Shanghai Hanhai Xingqiong Network Technology, but I’m still a bit unclear what exactly they do; websites that provide company data mention both technology and marketing.  This listing states (via Google Translate) that “Shanghai Hanhai Xingqiong Network Co., Ltd. was established in 2023. It is a technology company dedicated to brand management, game distribution, omni-channel operation and entertainment innovation. At the beginning of its establishment, the company determined that the derivative incubation of the “Wandering Earth” IP would be its main business direction, and it has actively explored and developed in this field.”

“2023 Chengdu Worldcon Specially Supporting Brands”

“2023 Chengdu Worldcon IP Cooperative Partner”

  • Three-Body Universe is a name I’ve seen a few times, but I never looked into.  Per a recent Reddit thread“Three Body Universe is the Chinese company behind most Three Body Problem IP like the Zhang Beihai season of the Three Body Minecraft animation, the TBP animation, the radio drama, etc…”

Note that the above list(s) include neither of the organizations named as sponsors in the Business Meeting Agenda document.

(5) ON WORLDCON WEEKEND PUTIN WILL BE IN CHINA, BUT NOT CHENGDU. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Reuters News reports “China to host Belt and Road forum in Beijing Oct 17-18” on the same weekend as the Worldcon – and guess who will be there.

China will host its third Belt and Road Forum next week, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday, a President Xi Jinping signature event that President Vladimir Putin is due to attend on a rare trip abroad….

Putin attended the two previous forums, in 2017 and 2019, and the Kremlin said in September he had accepted an invitation to the forum and for talks with Xi.

The Russian leader is not known to have gone abroad since the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for him in March over the deportation of children from Ukraine….

Overlaps Worldcon in time, but not in space by a few provinces and about 1800 km by road. It might inform someone’s decisions on when and where to sightsee.

(6) TOLKIEN SOCIETY SEMINAR. The Tolkien Society Online Seminar 2023 will be happening November 26, 2023 with the theme “Tolkien and Religion in the Twenty-First Century.” Complete information at the link, including a schedule of paper presentations.

… Although J.R.R. Tolkien deliberately excluded explicit religious references from his legendarium and rejected narrow allegorical readings of The Lord of the Rings, he made no secret of his devout Roman Catholicism and its importance to his sub-creative endeavor. From the creation myth of the “Ainulindalë” to the eucatastrophic destruction of the One Ring, Túrin Turambar’s doomed warrior courage to Frodo Baggins’s self-sacrificial humility, scholars have long examined the influence of Tolkien’s Christian faith and his abiding admiration for pre-Christian legends on the nature and history of Arda. Explorations of the legendarium from other religious perspectives or explicitly nonreligious perspectives have received less attention, however, as have studies of the reception of Tolkien’s work among (non)religious readers and communities….

(7) MYTHOPOEIC ONLINE EVENT. “Something Mighty Queer” is the theme of the Mythopoeic Society’s Online Midwinter Seminar 2024, to be held next year on February 17-18. The call for papers is at the link. The deadline to submit is November 30.

We invite submissions for an online conference that focuses on queerness in fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction or other mythopoeic work. This can be queer representation within the work or engaging with mythopoeia through queer theory. “Queerness” is an intentionally ambiguous term, demonstrating the diversity of queer experiences, and the necessity of situating queerness as a liminal, complex paradigm. Queer theory is wider than the study of gender identity or sexuality, extending to taking positions against normativity and dominant modes of thought, and engaging with the indefinite….

(8) FIVE-YEAR MISSIONARY. In an NPR interview “Patrick Stewart says his time on ‘Star Trek’ felt like a ministry”.

Martin: I talk to a lot of people about spirituality and about the value of spiritual communities, which I think are when people who have similar values gather together and have or seek transcendent experiences. And I think Star Trek, in all of its incarnations, represents that to a lot of fans. It is a spiritual world. They treat it with religious reverence. Have you encountered that? Do you get it?

Stewart: Yes. I see it very, very clearly and very strongly. It was about truth and fairness and honesty and respect for others, no matter who they were or what strange alien creature they looked like. That was immaterial. They were alive. And if they needed help, Jean Luc Picard and his crew, his team, were there to give it.

In a sense, we were ministers. And I have heard now so many times from individuals who have been honest enough and brave enough to tell me aspects of their life, of their health, of their mental health. And how it was all saved and improved by watching every week….

(9) SIGNATURE MYSTERY. [Item by Danny Sichel.] From the collection of the late Sylvain St-Pierre, Montreal fan, comes this autograph page from the souvenir program book for Nolacon II (Worldcon 1988). The top autograph is obviously from George Alec Effinger, but does anyone have any idea who the bottom one is from?

(10) MEMORY LANE.

2004 [Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Charles de Lint’s Medicine Road which is where our Beginning is from has an interesting backstory, or at least the lead characters do. Now mind you, we won’t be meeting either of them in the Beginning. Well sort of we won’t. 

There’s a minor spoiler here. Very minor. 

 There’s a number of stories that he did that are set within a place, a very rural Appalachian setting, roughly now though the year is never known to the reader. A children book, A Circle of Cats which Lis will be reviewing is where these stories began followed  by The Cats of Tanglewood Forest which she has already reviewed here.  

There’s a single story in this set of stories “Somewhere in My Mind There Is a Painting Box”.  And now we get to the YA Seven Wild Sisters where Laurel and Bess, musical twins, younger here than they will be in the adult Medicine Road where they are a folk singing duo, will get involved in the fey world of the region. Both of these will also be reviewed by her. 

And here’s our Beginning…

CHANGING DOG AND CORN HAIR

One night, not so long ago, Changing Dog and Corn Hair met up in Sedona, Arizona, to have a talk about an old bargain they’d made with Coyote Woman. It’s funny, thinking of the two of them together like that; I can imagine them doing pretty much anything except getting along. Most times they’ll argue the colour of the moon, or the taste of water, if they can’t find something better to disagree on. There’s nothing much they ever seem to settle on, except that the other’s wrong.

But this night Corn Hair wasn’t aiming for an argument. She had herself a camp there by Oak Creek, on the south bank where the water runs below Cathedral Rock. It wasn’t much, just her bedroll laid out in the sand under the sycamores, with her pack doubling as a pillow. Close by, she’d built a small fire on which she was boiling water in a tin coffee pot, the bottom blackened from all its years of use. She ground some coffee beans using a flat rock and another the size of her fist for a mortar and pestle, scooping them into the now-boiling water when they were ground to her satisfaction. By the time Changing Dog came ambling down from the red rock scars skirting the solitary butte that towered above the creek, the coffee was thick and black, ready to drink.

Changing Dog nodded hello and sat cross-legged near the fire. He was a rangy, copper-skinned man with a narrow face and long, chestnut hair that streaked to a dark tan at his temples and was kept tied back with a thin strip of leather. You hardly ever saw him dressing up. That night he was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, dusty tooled-leather cowboy boots and an old brown leather jacket going thin at the elbows. He wasn’t a homely man and he wasn’t particularly handsome, but he had these eyes that would grab anybody’s attention, especially a woman’s. They were a vivid cornflower blue that looked violet in the right light, and there was always a promise in them–not that he’d necessarily deliver, but that whatever might come, it would at least be interesting.

He accepted the tin coffee mug that Corn Hair handed him and took an appreciative sip. Setting the mug in the sand, he pulled a tobacco pouch from his pocket and rolled them each a cigarette, lighting them with a twig from the fire. He left one hanging from his lips, offering the other to Corn Hair.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 11, 1949 Sharman DiVono, 74. She was the primary writer of the Star Trek comic strip from a year in the early Eighties.  She’s written a number of other strips such as Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, The Man from Planet X and Tarzan. She has written for three animated series — G.I. JoeBill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures and Star Wars: Droids. She’s written one genre novel, Blood Moon
  • Born October 11, 1960 Nicola Bryant, 63. Well known for her role as Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown, a companion to both the Fifth and Sixth Doctors. She also worked in “The Two Doctors” story so she appeared with the Second Doctor as well. Of course she’s done Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas. Like so many, many genre performers, she shows up in the video Trek fan fiction playing Lana in Star Trek Continues.
  • Born October 11, 1964 Michael J. Nelson, 59. Best known for his work on Mystery Science Theater. He was the head writer of the series for most of the show’s original eleven-year run, and spent half of that time as the on-air host. Bad genre films were a favorite target of him and his companions. Not that they don’t deserve it. 
  • Born October 11, 1965 Sean Patrick Flanery, 58. I really do think that his best work was on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the films that followed. It certainly wasn’t as Bobby Dagen in Saw: The Final Chapter, a film best forgotten. (It gets a forty-one percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes, much better than I expected.) He appeared as Jake Greyman in Demon Hunter, another low budget horror film, and as John in The Evil Within. I see a pattern…
  • Born October 11, 1972 Nir Yaniv, 51. Author, editor, musician, and filmmaker.  He founded a webzine for the Israeli Society for Science Fiction & Fantasy.  Currently, he’s the chief editor of Chalomot Be’aspamia, Israel’s only professionally printed genre magazine. His short fiction has appeared in Weird TalesApex Magazine and The Best of World SF. He co-wrote The Tel Aviv Dossier with Lavie Tidhar. 
  • Born October 11, 1972 Claudia Black, 51. Best known for being Aeryn Sun in Farscape, arguably the best SF video series ever done, Vala Mal Doran in Stargate SG-1 and Sharon “Shazza” Montgomery in Pitch Black. She also had a recurring role as Dahlia in The Originals and starred as Dr. Sabine Lommers in The CW’s Containment series.
  • Born October 11, 1976 Emily Deschanel, 47. Temperance “Bones” Brennan in Bones which crossed over with Sleepy Hollow twice (she visited the latter once) and she had a bit part on Spider-Man 2. More notably she was Pam Asbury in Stephen King’s Rose Red series. Actually the forensic science on Bones is genre, isn’t it? 

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) PRODIGY COMES IN FOR SAFE LANDING. So says The Hollywood Reporter: “’Star Trek: Prodigy’ Moves to Netflix After Paramount+ Cancellation”.

Star Trek: Prodigy, the animated kids show that was canceled at Paramount+ with its second season still midway through production, has found a new home.

Netflix has scooped up both the previously aired first season and has committed to airing the sophomore run once that completes production. Season one will stream later this year, with the second batch due in 2024.

The Paramount Global-backed Paramount+ axed Prodigy in June when it became the latest streamer to take advantage of tax write-offs. 

Prodigy, though, was a particular surprise given the series is produced in-house by CBS Studios, where Star Trek captain Alex Kurtzman is based with a nine-figure overall deal…. 

(14) DISNEY SOLVES FOR X. At CBR.com,“Disney Celebrates the X-Men and Avengers’ 60th Anniversary With What If…? Variant Covers”.

Classic Disney characters will grace the covers of Marvel’s comics in 2024 to celebrate the Avengers and X-Men‘s 60th anniversary.

The Disney What If…? variant cover series will be a monthly program adorning select issues of Amazing Spider-Man. There are twelve covers, and they will be released monthly throughout 2024. They will feature Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and other classic Disney characters in milestone moments from Avengers and X-Men history. Marvel revealed the first three covers, one recreating Avengers #1 with Peg Leg Pete as Loki, another with Mickey and friends as the original X-Men, and the third showing the iconic Disney characters assembling as the Avengers, even giving Goofy Captain America‘s shield and Pluto Thor’s hammer.

(15) 2 ARMS, 2 ARMS! The Heritage Auctions Blog promises “This Piece Will Hook You – T-1000 Arms from Terminator 2”.

When it comes to explosive sequels, few in the industry can make a more bombastic blockbusting entry into a franchise like James Cameron. Having taken audiences on a pulse pounding tour de force with his follow up to the critically acclaimed Alien and made a splash with the cutting-edge special effects technologies which brought to life his memorable creations in The Abyss, one would think that Cameron would be hard pressed to continue his upward trajectory as the king of Blockbusters. Then, on July 3rd, 1991, it happened. Like a nuclear blast from his harrowing future vision of a robotic apocalypse, he unleashed yet another pioneering action film with Terminator 2 . A sequel that not only raised the stakes presented in the original film but proved to be an even bigger critical success. Among the memorable characters and sequences, a particular liquid metal menace played by a then unknown actor, Robert Patrick, captivated audiences and the vast pop-culture consciousness, the T-100.

Flash forward 32 years, and I find myself typing this entry while sitting in a large warehouse. Don’t worry. It might be a little imposing, but a fallout shelter it is not. The world hasn’t been taken over by artificial intelligence (yet), and as a cataloger working on Heritage Auctions’ various upcoming auctions, I continually find myself in a movie memorabilia mecha. And though I’ve held pieces from iconic films spanning the history of Hollywood, very few pieces have made my heart race the way these prop T-1000 hooked arms have….

(16) COULD THIS KSR SCENARIO REALLY WORK? [Item by John A Arkansawyer.] A speculative article from the BBC on climate change uses Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ministry for the Future as a hook. Beware spoilers. “To avert climate disaster, what if one rogue nation dimmed the Sun?” at BBC Future.

…In Robinson’s imagined scenario, India’s rogue deployment of solar geo-engineering turns out to be broadly benign, and buys time to scale-up emissions reductions. But in the real-world, the idea that such a deus ex machina technology could ever be safely deployed remains highly speculative, with many risks and unknowns.

So if one rogue nation did decide to dim the Sun for real, what environmental and geopolitical consequences might unfurl? And is the safe deployment of such a technology even a conceivable goal? …

(17) PLAYING CHICKEN IN SPACE – AND LOSING. [Item by Steven French.] When worlds collide! (It’s kinda pretty…) “Afterglow of cataclysmic collision between two planets seen for first time” reports the Guardian. Photos at the link.

… After a detailed analysis of the observations, the astronomers concluded that the blast of infrared radiation came from a hot new object or “synestia” created by the collision of two planets nearly as large as Neptune. Based on the infrared readings, the vast spinning object had a temperature of more than 700C for about three years. It will eventually cool and form a new planet around the star.

According to details published in Nature, the star began to dim about 2.5 years after the afterglow began as a massive cloud of fine impact debris drifted across the face of the star.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen the afterglow from such an event,” said Simon Lock, another co-lead author at the University of Bristol. “We’ve seen debris and discs before, but we have never seen the afterglow of the planetary body that’s produced.”…

(18) BARBIE HALLOWEEN. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Part of an Utah neighborhood is transforming itself into Barbieland for Halloween. Each homeowner has picked a different theme related to the Barbie movie, Halloween+Barbie, etc. There’s the Barbie Dream House, a Barbie graveyard, Disco Barbie, and many more. Most of the houses are using pink floodlights, making the effect much more vivid at night. “Utah residents transform neighborhood into Barbieland for Halloween” at USA Today.

And the pink passion this season isn’t only in Utah. For instance, an Atlanta-area homeowner has decorated her front yard as the Barbie Scream House.

If you know of more examples of this trend, feel free to add links in the comments.

[Thanks to Ersatz Culture, John King Tarpinian, Steven French, Daniel Dern, Bonnie McDaniel, John A Arkansawyer, Lise Andreasen, Chris Barkley, 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 Cat Eldridge.]

Pixel Scroll 9/29/23 Only You Can Prevent Pixel Scrolls

(1) WHEN GRAVITY DOESN’T FAIL. “NASA Wants Ideas for How to Destroy the International Space Station”. Really. SYFY Wire explains why.

…At present, Roscosmos has committed to continued use and maintenance of the station through 2028 while the other four agencies will remain through 2030. After that, unless there’s another extension, everyone will come home, and the station’s life will end. Of course, we can’t just leave the largest spacecraft we’ve ever built unattended and uncontrolled. Instead, all five agencies share responsibility for bringing the ISS down in a controlled and safe way. No easy task.

Previous plans relied on Russian Progress vehicles to reduce the station’s orbit and push it into the atmosphere. Now, NASA is looking for a bespoke craft to do the job more efficiently. To that end, NASA has released their final Request for Proposals (RFP) for a novel deorbit vehicle to aid in the destruction of the International Space Station.

Interested parties must submit proposals by November 17. A virtual pre-proposal conference is planned for October 3 at 12:00 p.m. Central.

If you’ve ever wanted to destroy an orbiting science laboratory, this is probably your best chance. Who knows when we’ll have another station that needs vaporizing.

(2) WOLE TALABI INTERVIEW. “A Conversation With Wole Talabi” at the Hugo Book Club Blog.

… Talabi’s novelette A Dream of Electric Mothers was published in Africa Risen (edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, and Zelda Knight), which was one of the first anthologies published by a North American publisher focusing on science fiction and fantasy from African authors. He says the public response to the novelette — which explores identity, memory, and culture through artificial intelligence in an alternate history setting — has been gratifying.

“Some people have messaged me to ask if it’s a far-future science fiction story, and I enjoy telling them that it isn’t. It’s an alternate history story,” Talabi says. “I don’t make that obvious because the story uses the traditional Yoruba calendar, not the Gregorian calendar. It actually takes place in an alternate 2021 in a timeline where essentially European colonization of Africa never happened and they formed an intellectual partnership instead … that’s why it seems like a far-future story. Because we’ve made more progress by not fighting.”,,,

(3) WARNING. Ansible® 435, the October issue released today, warns fans:

Ripoff Alert. The US dealer Fifth Generation Books is selling Rob Hansen’s TAFF-benefit paperback Bixelstrasse: The SF Fan Community of 1940s Los Angeles on the Walmart website for $43.50 (allegedly discounted from the wholly made-up figure of $50.50), presumably filling orders by buying copies at $22.50 from the official Ansible Editions/Lulu sales page (linked from ae.ansible.uk/?t=bixel). They reproduce the AE blurb in full, including the assurance IN CAPITAL LETTERS that all proceeds will go to TAFF, but somehow one has one’s doubts. [RH]

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

Some Worldcon guests/speakers announced https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/trpOJYSgoWertsvyoPE5JQ

Yesterday (28th) a couple of panels were announced, I think by a children’s book publisher.  Most of the names weren’t known to me, but ones that were are academic and author Wu Yan, and Hugo Best Novelette winner Hao Jingfang.

Ground level views of the con venue http://xhslink.com/kK7e1u

A few photos seemingly taken by a member of the public in the area around the venue were posted to the Xiaohongshu social network earlier today.  I think these give a better idea of what it looks like in-person, compared to a lot of the images that have appeared before now.

Reminder that you need to press Submit on your Hugo votes https://mastodon.social/@[email protected]/111149676161220869

This was something I didn’t realize when I did my votes yesterday, and looking at the reposts, I suspect I’m not the only one.

Translated video about Chengdu publisher 8 Light Minutes Culture https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1aT411n7NS/

This 6:45 video from the Chengdu_Plus channel on the Bilibili video site dates from April, and doesn’t directly reference the con or Hugo Awards.  However, Best Editor (Short Form) finalist Yang Feng is interviewed, along with a bit about her Best Related Work finalist.  The issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine that features Best Novelette finalist The Space-Time Painter is also shown. Usefully, it has English subtitles and narration.

Note: Sergei Lukyanenko and his work are discussed at the 4 minute mark.

(5) SPACE COWBOY BOOKS CO-HOSTS BANNED BOOKS EVENT. A “Banned Books Reading with Desert Split Open”, co-hosted by Space Cowboy Books of Joshua Tree, CA is an in-person event that will take place October 1 from 5-7 p.m. Pacific.

The Desert Split Open and Space Cowboy Books will again celebrate Banned Books Week. Let’s meet at the Sun Alley stage, behind the bookstore (61871 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA). We will read from books that have been challenged or banned. What some attempt to silence, we will amplify. All are welcome at this free community event.

The sudden increase in book challenges motivated us to hold last year’s Banned Books Week event. This year, the situation is worse:

“The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data more than 20 years ago. … Censors targeted a record 2,571 unique titles in 2022, a 38% increase from 2021. Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.” (ala.org)

This is not just an issue for “Red” states – in fact, in 2022, California saw 32 attempts to restrict access to 87 different titles. The most challenged title in CA was a tie between Gender Queer: A Memoir and Beyond Magenta.

Now, more than ever, we must speak up – not just against censorship but in favor of diverse voices and stories.

Here’s a list of the most challenged books of 2022

Register for free here.

(6) DON’T TAKE THE MASK OFF THE OLD LONG RANGER. “Oscar Meyer again renames its mobile back to Wienermobile” reports Yahoo! [The typo above is intentional.]

Slotted in between items on a recent Associated Press news round-up that mentioned the impeachment inquiry into President Biden and the looming government shutdown was the report that the Oscar Meyer brand was again changing the name of its famous…vehicle.

The Wienermobile was renamed the Frankmobile only four months ago. But the meat-maker, apparently caving to pressure from the Hotdoggers—those who drive the thing and were upset by the change—has reverted the name back to Wienermobile.

Roll out the bun puns. Like, “I guess Frankmobile didn’t cut the mustard.”

…Today, Oscar Mayer maintains six of the 23-foot-long motorized sausages across the US. The custom-made fiberglass dog sits atop a lightly toasted fiberglass bun on a converted Chevrolet chassis with a 300-horsepower Vortec V8. It was designed by the General Body Company of Chicago….

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 29, 1934 Stuart M. Kaminsky. Though best remembered as a very prolific mystery writer for which I single out the Toby Peters series about a private detective in 1940s Hollywood and the Inspector Porfiry Petrovich Rostnikov series about a Moscow police inspector, he does have genre works. He did two Kolchak the Night Stalker graphic novels, plus wrote the scripts for two Batman stories, “The Batman Memos” and “The Man Who Laughs”. As an editor, he’s responsible for the On a Raven’s Wing: New Tales in Honor of Edgar Allan Poe anthology. (Died 2009.)
  • Born September 29, 1947 Scott Baker, 76. His first novel, l’Idiot-roi (Symbiote’s Crown), won the French Prix Apollo Award. In addition, he won the World Fantasy Award for his “Still Life with Scorpion” short story. All three of his short story collections and his one anthology are French only, though all of his novels are in English.
  • Born September 29, 1952 Lou Stathis. During the last four years of his life, he was an editor for Vertigo. He had a fascinating work history including collaborating with cartoonist Matt Howarth by co-writing the first few issues of Those Annoying Post Bros. (Kindle has them available.) He was also a columnist and editor for Heavy Metal and a columnist for Ted White’s Fantastic magazine during the late Seventies through early Eighties. His fanwriting included the “Urban Blitz” column for OGH’s Scientifriction (the first installment appearing in 1977, Issue 9, page 29). (Died 1997.)
  • Born September 29, 1954 Shariann Lewitt, 69. First, let me commend her for writing one of the better Trek novels in Cybersong set in the Voyager verse. Bravo, Shariann! Most of her fiction, be it Memento Mori or Rebel Sutra is definitely downbeat and usually dystopian in nature. Well written but not light reading by any means.
  • Born September 29, 1961 Nicholas Briggs, 62. A Whovian among Whovians who started out writing Who fanfic. First off he’s the voice of the Daleks and the Cybermen in the new series of shows. Well not just them as he also voices the Judoon, the Ice Warriors, the Nestene Consciousness, the Jagrafess and the Zygons.  Second he’s the Executive Producer of Big Finish Productions, the audio drama company that has produced more Doctor WhoTorchwood and other related works that you’d think possible. Third he did act twice in the Whoverse. Once on Torchwood as Rick Yates on “Children of Earth: Day Four” and The Sarah Jane Adventures as Captain Tybo in “Prisoner of the Judoon” episode. Fourth he’s appeared as himself in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
  • Born September 29, 1968 Stephen Deas, 55. British writer. He is most known for his fantasy franchise, the Memory of Flames which is set in a fantasy world inhabited by dragons. Yes, more dragons! Though dragon free free, I highly recommended his Thief-Taker’s Apprentice series as well. Good fantasy doesn’t always need dragons, does it?

(8) BEHIND THE SCENES. “Doctor Who Is Restoring Tradition Canceled 12 Years Ago with David Tennant’s 60th Anniversary Episodes”.

…The excitement doesn’t just stop at the return of Tennant. A cherished post-show tradition is making a grand comeback after a long hiatus of 12 years. As whispers and wonders swirl around, an official post from BBC Three’s Instagram has put all speculation to rest. Yes, the behind-the-scenes specials are back! Giving fans an intimate look into the creation and the intricate details, the series, aptly named Doctor Who: Unleashed, is all set to satiate the curiosity of aficionados and novices alike….

(9) BOOK REVIEW. From the New York Times: Empire Of The Sum: The Rise and Reign of the Pocket Calculator, by Keith Houston”. Daniel Dern notes, “I don’t necessarily feel the need/urge to read the book, but I love the title (which called to mind JG Ballard’s book Empire of the Sun, and while that book is not itself sf, Ballard of course wrote lots of sf, in case one wants a modicum of sfnality for items beyond simple, ‘an amusing pun.’).”

(10) PRODIGAL INSIGHTS. “Star Trek: Prodigy Featurette Clip Shows How Stories Go From Script to Screen (Exclusive)” at Comicbook.com.

Star Trek: Prodigy‘s final Season 1 comes to Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, and ComicBook.com has an exclusive look at one of the home media set’s bonus features. Star Trek: Prodigy: Season 1 – Episodes 11-20 is available to pre-order now on Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon and features more than 45 minutes of features diving into Star Trek: Prodigy‘s creation and place within the Star Trek franchise. The “Creating New Wolrds” clip sees series creators Kevin Hageman and Dan Hageman discussing how consistently impressed they are with the Star Trek: Prodigy art team’s ability to go beyond their expectations, with director Ben Hibon chiming in toward the end. You can watch the clip above….

(11) A LOT OF DOLLAR SIGNS. “Mars Sample Return got a new price tag. It’s big” reports the journal Science. “Independent review finds mission could cost as much as $11 billion and pushes NASA to delay or rethink program”.

NASA’s audacious Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission has serious technical flaws and “unrealistic” assumptions about its budget and timetable, an independent review found in a report released yesterday. Originally estimated to cost some $4 billion, the reviewers found that NASA’s share of the mission could end up costing between $8 billion to $11 billion, and that launch could happen no sooner than 2030, 2 years later than now planned.

joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), MSR would gather rocks collected by the Perseverance rover, which has been drilling samples since it landed on Mars in 2020. MSR would then rocket the samples off the planet and ferry them to Earth, where scientists would study them for signs of past life and planetary evolution. The top priority of planetary science for several decades, it remains a worthy goal and one still worth pursuing, especially in light of similar sample return plans for Mars planned by China for later this decade, according to the review report, which was commissioned by NASA.

(12) MEASURING DELAYS CAUSED BY STRIKES. After 5 months, the writers’ strike has come to an end. On that note, JustWatch summarized how it influenced the number of delays of movies and TV shows of original productions of various streaming services.

Global streaming giant: Netflix is the most affected by the writer’s strike with 3x more production delays than Apple TV+. Other major US streaming services: Max, Prime Video and Disney+ all suffer, collectively taking up 27% of the total content disruption for streaming platforms in the country.

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. The Wrap explains the “Argylle Trailer: Henry Cavill and Dua Lipa Are Spies in Meta Comedy”.

The first trailer for “Kingsman” and “X-Men: First Class” filmmaker Matthew Vaughn new spy film “Argylle” has arrived, and it’s hardly what anyone expected. The trailer begins as a standard spy thriller with Henry Cavill and Dua Lipa getting into some sexy spy shenanigans, but then the story pulls back to reveal they’re characters in a book written by a spy novel author played by Bryce Dallas Howard.

The problem? What she thinks is fiction is actually happening, and now real-life spies are after her for outing their dealings…

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Dan Bloch, Bill, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Ersatz Culture, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]

Pixel Scroll 6/26/23 This Is Not A Scroll Pixel Title

(1) GIVE ME A SIGN! Almost 16,000 people have signed the petition to “Save Star Trek Prodigy!” at Change.org. Here’s the text of the appeal:

Paramount+ have announced the cancellation of Star Trek Prodigy and have stated it will be removed from their streaming platform in the coming days. Their reasoning? It’s a tax write-off. 

In a statement to TrekCore.com, Paramount stated that, “Star Trek: Prodigy will not be returning for the previously announced second season. On behalf of everyone at Paramount+, Nickelodeon and CBS Studios, we want to thank Kevin and Dan Hageman, Ben Hibon, Alex Kurtzman and the Secret Hideout team, along with the fantastic cast and crew for all their hard work and dedication bringing the series to life.”

That’s right. Not only are they not moving forward with the show and removing the first season from their platform, but the second season (due to be completed) will not air unless picked up by another buyer.

Paramount have long mistreated the loyalty and generosity of Trek fans, but this feels like a gut punch; the final nail in the coffin of goodwill. 

Money talks, but so do fans and we can’t let this beautiful show go without a fight!

And CinemaBlend pointed to this tweet: “Star Trek: Prodigy Petition Hits Milestone As Anson Mount Joins Fans In Supporting The Canceled Series”.

(2) A MILESTONE IN HORROR. The New York Times commemorates Shirley Jackson’s story in “75 Years After ‘The Lottery’ Was Published, the Chills Linger”. Stephen King, Carmen Maria Machado, Tananarive Due, Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay and others tell how this classic first got under their skin.

Paul Tremblay

Author, “The Pallbearers Club”

I’ve reread “The Lottery” many times and remain haunted by the possibilities and ambiguity in the final line uttered by the doomed Mrs. Hutchinson: “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right.” Is she simply the victim of blind chance? Did she believe the lottery was fixed so that her name would come up? Was it supposed to have been fixed for her name not to be chosen? Is she decrying the entire lottery, the social/political system and its ugly inherent injustices? Is it existence itself that is unfair and not right? All great stories wrestle with that last question.

(3) DEATH BY ONE STARS. The New York Times investigates “How Review-Bombing Can Tank a Book Before It’s Published”.

Cecilia Rabess figured her debut novel, “Everything’s Fine,” would spark criticism: The story centers on a young Black woman working at Goldman Sachs who falls in love with a conservative white co-worker with bigoted views.

But she didn’t expect a backlash to strike six months before the book was published.

In January, after a Goodreads user who had received an advanced copy posted a plot summary that went viral on Twitter, the review site was flooded with negative comments and one-star reviews, with many calling the book anti-Black and racist. Some of the comments were left by users who said they had never read the book, but objected to its premise.

“It may look like a bunch of one-star reviews on Goodreads, but these are broader campaigns of harassment,” Rabess said. “People were very keen not just to attack the work, but to attack me as well.”

In an era when reaching readers online has become a near-existential problem for publishers, Goodreads has become an essential avenue for building an audience. As a cross between a social media platform and a review site like Yelp, the site has been a boon for publishers hoping to generate excitement for books.

But the same features that get users talking about books and authors can also backfire. Reviews can be weaponized, in some cases derailing a book’s publication long before its release.

“It can be incredibly hurtful, and it’s frustrating that people are allowed to review books this way if they haven’t read them,” said Roxane Gay, an author and editor who also posts reviews on Goodreads. “Worse, they’re allowed to review books that haven’t even been written. I have books on there being reviewed that I’m not finished with yet.”…

(4) FRAZETTA IS BIG BUSINESS. [Item by Arnie Fenner.] Frazetta’s cover painting for Karl Edward Wagner’s 1976 novel Dark Crusade set a new record, selling for $6m at Heritage. It became better known when Ellie Frazetta licensed it in 1979 to Molly Hatchet to use as the album jacket for Flirtin’ With Disaster.” “Frank Frazetta’s ‘Dark Kingdom’ Sells For $6 Million to Rule the Record Books at Heritage Auctions”.

Also, you’ll find this fun: Frazetta’s daughter Holly and granddaughter Sara under their Frazetta Girls imprint have released a light-up Death Dealer keychain.

(5) FROM A POE FAMILY. Publishers Weekly’s Mark Dawidziak says these are the “10 Essential Edgar Allan Poe Short Stories”. First on the list:

1. “The Tell-Tale Heart”
Is it a crime story? A horror tale? It’s both, of course, and it’s also a chilling masterpiece that finds Poe brilliantly prowling the murky boundary between obsession and madness. As the author’s “dreadfully nervous” narrator tells us how an old man’s filmy “pale blue eye” drives him to murder, Poe gives us a master class in establishing mood, building suspense, and maintaining pace, all while expertly employing wonderfully specific gradations of light and sound. Not just a remarkably constructed model for the short story form, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a near-perfect monologue, with Poe, the son of actors, displaying his ever-keen sense of the dramatic. He tells us just what we need to know, leaving enough unexplained that we continue to speculate about the characters long after the histrionic “tear up the planks” climax. Small wonder this chilling 1843 tale has remained a classroom favorite and a popular performance piece.

(6) HE’S AN AWFUL ISTANBULLY. Gizmodo is pleased that “1973’s ‘Turkish Spider-Man’ Film Now Has an HD Documentary”.

Film historian Ed Glaser, who previously found the last 35mm print of The Man Who Saves the World (aka, “the Turkish Star Wars”) has released another mini-documentary for his “Deja View” series. This one focuses on the interestingly named 3 Dev Adam—alternatively known as either 3 Giant Men or Captain America & Santo vs. Spider-Man. The big claim to fame for this movie is that it’s “the world’s first comic book crossover film,” well before the MCU or any imitators came onto the scene. Its other big boast is that its version of Spider-Man lives up to everything J. Jonah Jameson’s ever said about him, because he’s a menace and genuine villain who requires two heroes to team up and bring him down….

(7) MEMORY LANE.

2014 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Eugie Foster had a phenomenal life before it was tragically cut short when she died at Emory University Hospital on September 27, 2014 from  respiratory failure, a complication of treatments for large B-cell lymphoma, with which she was diagnosed on October 15, 2013. So now I’m depressed, and you should be too. 

She was the managing editor for The Fix and Tangent Online, two online short fiction review magazines. She was also a director for Dragon Con and edited the Daily Dragon, their onsite newsletter.

She’s here because of her amazing short stories which were nominated for a lot of Awards including “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” which nominated for an Hugo at Aussiecon 4. It did win a Nebula and was nominated for a BSFA as well. 

And that brings us to our Beginning take from her short story , “When it Ends, He Catches Her by” which was nominated for a Nebula and a Sturgeon. It was first published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2014.

And now for the Beginning…

The dim shadows were kinder to the theater’s dilapidation. A single candle to aid the dirty sheen of the moon through the rent beams of the ancient roof, easier to overlook the worn and warped floorboards, the tattered curtains, the mildew-ridden walls. Easier as well to overlook the dingy skirt with its hem all ragged, once purest white and fine, and her shoes, almost fallen to pieces, the toes cracked and painstakingly re-wrapped with hoarded strips of linen. Once, not long ago, Aisa wouldn’t have given this place a first glance, would never have deigned to be seen here in this most ruinous of venues. But times changed. Everything changed.

Aisa pirouetted on one long leg, arms circling her body like gently folded wings. Her muscles gathered and uncoiled in a graceful leap, suspending her in the air with limbs outflung, until gravity summoned her back down. The stained, wooden boards creaked beneath her, but she didn’t hear them. She heard only the music in her head, the familiar stanzas from countless rehearsals and performances of Snowbird’s Lament. She could hum the complex orchestral score by rote, just as she knew every step by heart.

Act II, scene III: the finale. It was supposed to be a duet, her as Makira, the warlord’s cursed daughter, and Balege as Ono, her doomed lover, in a frenzied last dance of tragedy undone, hope restored, rebirth. But when the Magistrate had closed down the last theaters, Balege had disappeared in the resultant riots and protests.

So Aisa danced the duet as a solo, the way she’d had to in rehearsal sometimes, marking the steps where Balege should have been. Her muscles burned, her breath coming faster. She loved this feeling, her body perfectly attuned to her desire, the obedient instrument of her will. It was only these moments that she felt properly herself, properly alive. The dreary, horrible daytime with its humiliations and ceaseless hunger became the dream. This dance, here and now, was real. She wished it would never end.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 26, 1929 Wally Weber, 94.  Cry of the Nameless co-editor when it won Best Fanzine; next year chaired the 19th Worldcon (called “Seacon”, being in Seattle; the 37th was “Seacon ’79” being by the sea; not my fault). In SAPS and the N3F (edited one ish of Tightbeam). TAFF delegate 1963.  W.W.W. collection published by Burnett Toskey 1975 (hello, Orange Mike). Has been seen, or at least photographed, in a propeller beanie. (John Hertz)
  • Born June 26, 1950 Tom DeFalco, 73. Comic book writer and editor, mainly known for his Marvel Comics and in particular for his work with the Spider-Man line. He designed the Spider-Girl character which was his last work at Marvel as he thought he was being typecast as just a Spider-Man line writer. He’s since been working at DC and Archie Comics.
  • Born June 26, 1954 James Van Pelt, 69. Here for the phenomenal number of nominations that he has had though no Awards have accrued. I count 26 nominations so far including a Sturgeon, a Nebula and, perhaps the longest named Award in existence, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer / Astounding Award for the Best New Science Fiction Writer.  He has but two novels to date, Summer of the Apocalypse and Pandora’s Gun, but a really lot of short fiction, I think over a hundred pieces, and two poems. 
  • Born June 26, 1965 Daryl Gregory, 58. He won a Crawford Award for his Pandemonium novel. And his novella, We Are All Completely Fine, won the World Fantasy Award and a Shirley Jackson Award as well. It was also a finalist for the Sturgeon Award. I’m also fond of his writing on the Planet of The Apes series that IDW published.
  • Born June 26, 1969 — Austin Grossman, 54. Twin brother of Lev. And no, he’s not here just because he’s Lev’s twin brother. He’s the author of Soon I Will Be Invincible which is decidedly SF as well as You: A Novel (also called YOU) which was heavily influenced for better or worse by TRON and Crooked, a novel involving the supernatural and Nixon. He’s also a video games designed, some of which such as Clive Barker’s Undying and Tomb Raider: Legend are definitely genre. 
  • Born June 26, 1969 — Lev Grossman, 54. Most notable as the author of The Magicians Trilogy which is The MagiciansThe Magician King and The Magician’s Land. Perennial bestsellers at the local indie bookshops. Understand it was made into a series which is yet another series that I’ve not seen. Opinions on the latter, y’all? 
  • Born June 26, 1980 Jason Schwartzman, 43. He first shows up in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as Gag Halfrunt,  Zaphod Beeblebrox’s personal brain care specialist. (Uncredited initially.) He  was Ritchie in Bewitched, and voiced Simon Lee in  Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation. He co-wrote Isle of Dogs alongwith Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Kunichi Nomura. I think his best work was voicing Ash Fox in Fantastic Mr. Fox. 
  • Born June 26, 1984 Aubrey Plaza, 39. April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation which at least one Filer has insisted is genre. She voiced Eska in recurring role on The Legend of Korra which is a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. She was in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as Julie Powers, and was Lenny Busker on Legion. 

(9) CREDIT CHECK. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Roy Thomas, Stan Lee’s successor as editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, has waded into the dustup surrounding the latest Lee documentary. Here he is with an editorial at The Hollywood Reporter. “Roy Thomas, Former Marvel Editor, Addresses Debate Over New Stan Lee Doc (Guest Column)”.

… The real question, I suppose, is whether he deserved his status as the major creator of the so-called Marvel Universe.

Gelb’s documentary wisely lets Stan himself narrate his story from start to finish. Virtually the only voice we hear during its 1½-hour length that speaks more than one or two sentences in a row is Stan’s, in extended sound bites harvested from a host of TV appearances, comics convention Q&A sessions, award ceremonies, previous documentaries, and radio guest shots — enlivened by the occasional deathless line of dialogue from one of his many late-life movie cameos.       

This is a refreshing way to encounter Stan the Man, and Gelb and his producers (which include Marvel Studios) are to be congratulated for letting him tell his own tale his way. By and large, the effort is successful and entertaining … and, so far as I can tell from my long association with him (which includes writing a humongous “career biography” of him for Taschen Books in the 2010s), it presents a reasonably accurate portrait of the man as he saw himself, and as the world came to see him:

As arguably the most important comicbook writer since Jerry Siegel scribed his first “Superman” story back in the 1930s…

As the creator (or at the very least the co-creator) of a host of colorful super-heroes and related comics characters…

…And as the creator (or at least the major overseer and guiding light) of a four-color phenomenon that became known as the Marvel Universe, and which formed the underlying bulwark of the now-even-more-famous Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most successful series of interconnected motion pictures in the history of that medium.

But of course he didn’t do it alone … and that’s where all the mostly ill-considered criticisms of Stan Lee’s life and work begin to kick in.

As recorded in the film, simply because he often (not always, but often) fails to credit the artists he worked with, Stan often seems to be claiming full credit for milestones, be they the powerful Hate Monger yarn in Fantastic Four No. 21 or such concepts as the Hulk and the X-Men. This is partly just a verbal shorthand, yet it is also in accordance with his expressed belief that “the person who has the idea is the creator,” and that the artist he then chooses to illustrate that concept is not. In L.A. in the 1980s (admittedly, at a time when I was not working for him), I argued that very point with him one day over lunch, maintaining that an artist who rendered and inevitably expanded that original idea was definitely a co-creator. I made no headway with my past and future employer. And clearly, when he wrote his celebrated letter, quoted in the doc, that he had “always considered Steve Ditko to be the co-creator of Spider-Man,” he was doing so only to try to mollify Steve and those who might agree with him. Later, he admitted as much….

(10) IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE. [Item by Dann.] Kids from a certain era…here I go dating myself again…will recall the jungle gyms that populated American playgrounds and schoolyards. These were fabrications of steel pipes set perpendicularly to create cubes of space for kids to climb and explore. The “jungle gym” was originally patented by Sebastian Hinton.

Sebastian got the idea from his father, Charles Howard Hinton. Charles was a British mathematician. He also was an author of science fiction. His interest was primarily in the so-called fourth dimension.

Charles constructed an early jungle gym out of bamboo for young Sebastian and his friends to use. Charles apparently thought that allowing children to play on three-dimensional equipment might enable them to develop the ability to perceive the fourth dimension. Spoiler – they didn’t.

(11) LAST GASPS. Live Science learned that “Dying stars build humongous ‘cocoons’ that shake the fabric of space-time”.

Since the first direct detection of the space-time ripples known as gravitational waves was announced in 2016, astronomers regularly listen for the ringing of black holes across the universe. Projects like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (better known as LIGO) have detected almost 100 collisions between black holes (and sometimes neutron stars), which shake up the fabric of the cosmos and send invisible waves rippling through space. 

But new research shows that LIGO might soon hear another kind of shake-up in space: cocoons of roiling gas spewed from dying stars. Researchers at Northwestern University used cutting-edge computer simulations of massive stars to show how these cocoons may produce “impossible to ignore” gravitational waves, according to research presented this week at the 242nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Studying these ripples in real life could provide valuable insight into the violent deaths of giant stars…. 

(12) DISCUSSIONS ON FILM MUSIC BY COMPOSERS/ORCHESTRATORS/ AND WRITERS. [Item by Steve Vertlieb.] This remarkable roundtable of composers and orchestrators assembled ten years ago for a sequence in the unfinished feature length motion picture documentary The Man Who “Saved” The Movies.

Pictured from left to right are acclaimed motion picture orchestrator Patrick Russ, Erwin Vertlieb, Emmy winning film and television composer/conductor Lee Holdridge, writer/film score musicologist Steve Vertlieb, and one of the most brilliant composers working in film today, the marvelous Mark McKenzie.

(13) PRESENTING THE BILL. “William Shatner Sings To George Lucas”.

William Shatner opens the 2005 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to George Lucas with a song performed the way only Shatner can perform it. Complete with backup Stormtrooper dancers and a cameos by Chewbacca!

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Arnie Fenner, Dann, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]

Pixel Scroll 6/23/23 Yes, We Have No Tom Bombadils

(1) NYT MARKS TWO DISASTER VICTIMS’ SFF CONNECTION. Two of the people who died aboard a submersible that imploded near the Titanic wreckage, Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, had an interest in sff, and the elder Dawood was a trustee of the SETI Institute. Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times obituary.

Shahzada Dawood, a British Pakistani businessman who was among the five people aboard a submersible journeying deep into the Altantic to view the Titanic, was killed when the vessel imploded during its descent to the ocean floor, the authorities said Thursday. He was 48.

His 19-year-old son, Suleman, who was with him on the Titan submersible, was also killed.

… His son was a business student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and had just completed his first year, a spokesman for the school said. Like his father, he was a fan of science fiction and enjoyed solving Rubik’s Cubes and playing volleyball, according to a statement from Engro….

…“Don’t adventures ever have an end?” Mr. Dawood wrote in a Facebook post last year from a trip to Iceland, quoting Bilbo Baggins from “The Fellowship of the Ring.” “I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”

Khalid Mansoor, another former colleague of Mr. Dawood’s, said that Mr. Dawood was a passionate champion of the environment. He was also a trustee at the SETI Institute, an organization devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence….

(2) YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE ONE. The Chengdu Worldcon committee attributed the Hugo ballot delay in part to needing to contact finalists to secure their acceptance. Naomi Kritzer urged her Twitter readers to check their spam filters.  Thread starts here.

(3) JONATHAN CARROLL Q&A. “What would it be like to live a different life? Jonathan Carroll explores the question in ‘Mr. Breakfast’” at Wisconsin Public Radio.

…The book is about a failing comedian named Graham Patterson. On a cross-country drive, he decides to get a tattoo. The tattoo artist not only gives Graham a one-of-a-kind tattoo, she also gives him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

The tattoo artist tells Graham that his lost soul can jump between three different universes. Through these experiences, he will find some combination of love, fame and fatherhood. Jonathan gives us insight into what it would be like to live a different life.

“I have always been fascinated with the life not lived, whether in real life, or in literature,” Carroll told Wisconsin Public Radio‘s “BETA.”

“There are so many wonderful versions of it, from Borges to the film ‘Sliding Doors.’ And I think it’s one of the universal questions that we ask, along the lines of why am I here? Or is there a god? The question is, what would my life be like if I had gone left instead of right? Or I’d taken that job or hadn’t taken that job? Those possibilities that you had in life that you chose to go in one direction rather than the other,” he continued….

(4) CULTIVATING CHAOS. When Frank Pournelle created Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor website, one of the things he posted was “Robert Bloch, Author of Psycho, Explains the Appeal of Jerry Pournelle”, Bloch’s entertaining introduction to his fellow toastmaster at L.A.con II, the 1984 Worldcon.

…Professionally, Pournelle has all the qualifications which I lack. To begin with, I never attended college, and he did. As a result I’ve won no honors. But Pournelle has more degrees than a rectal thermometer.

He was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1933, and just celebrated his birthday a few weeks ago. After a long and varied career during the most exciting years of the aerospace program, and a stint as a university professor, he began writing science fiction comparatively late in life as a mature adult. I started my professional writing at the age of seventeen, and haven’t matured yet.

Together with Pournelle’s colleagues, Arthur Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov, he subscribes to the Cartesian paradigm of “hard science” and believes that the scientific discipline will inevitably be the key to our future salvation. My own belief is in the opposite extreme; I keep waiting for Great Cthulhu to rise again and end it all.

Both Pournelle and I have had personal experience in politics. He was a professor of Political Science and also put theory into practice as executive assistant to a former mayor of Los Angeles. In contrast, my political activity is confined to supporting Norman Thomas for President. It’s true Thomas passed away a number of years ago, but I continue to vote for him because I believe the only good politician is a dead one….

(5) MEMORY LANE.

1976 [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]

Alice Sheldon also known as James Tiptree Jr. was without doubt one of the most brilliant writers our community was ever graced with. 

Writing under her preferred pen name of James Tiptree, Jr., she penned the “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” novella. It was first published in  Aurora: Beyond Equality as edited by Susan Janice Anderson and Vonda N. McIntyre in 1976. 

I’d normally spend some time talking about the author but I know that all of you know about this individual so I won’t. 

It would share a Hugo at Suncon with Spider Robinson’s “By Any Other Name”, and also a Nebula. 

Now here’s its Beginning…

Lorimer gazes around the big crowded cabin, trying to listen to the voices, trying also to ignore the twitch, in his insides that means he is about to remember something bad. No help; he lives it again, that long-ago moment. Himself running blindly—or was he pushed?—into the strange toilet at Evanston Junior High. His fly open, his dick in his hand, he can still see the grey zipper edge of his jeans around his pale exposed pecker. The hush. The sickening wrongness of shapes, faces turning. The first blaring giggle. Girls. He was in the girls’ can.

Oh! Her smile shows a chipped front tooth. Oh yes, I think Andy has. 

Andy?

For plays. Historical plays, Andy’s good at that.

Of course. Historical plays.

He flinches wryly now, so many years later, not looking at the women’s faces. The cabin curves around over his head surrounding him with their alien things: the beading rack, the twins’ loom, Andy’s leather work, the damned kudzu vine wriggling everywhere, the chickens. So cosy…. Trapped, he is. Irretrievably trapped for life in everything he does not enjoy. Strutturelessness. Personal trivia, unmeaning intimacies. The claims he can somehow never meet. Ginny: You never talk to me … 

Ginny, love, he thinks involuntarily. The hurt doesn’t come.

Lorimer’s brain seems to be expanding, letting in light. He is understanding actively now, the myriad bits and pieces linking into pattern. Deadly patterns, he perceives; but the drug is shielding him in some way. Like an amphetamine high without the pressure. Maybe it’s something they use socially? No, they’re watching, too.

Bud Geirr’s loud chuckle breaks in on him. Bud is joking with some of them, out of sight around a bulkhead. Dave is visible, though. Major Norman Davis on the far side of the cabin, his bearded profile bent toward a small dark woman Lorimer can’t quite focus on. But Dave’s head seems oddly tiny and sharp, in fact the whole cabin looks unreal. A cackle bursts out from the ceiling—the bantam hen in her basket.

You chicks have kids back home, what do your folks think about you flying around out here with old Andy, h’mm? Bud floats into view, his arm draped around a twin’s shoulders. The one called Judy Paris, Lorimer decides; the twins are hard to tell. She drifts passively at an angle to Bud’s big body: a jut-breasted plain girl in flowing yellow pajamas, her black hair raying out. Andy’s read head swims up to them. He is holding a big green spaceball, looking about sixteen.

At this moment Lorimer becomes sure he has been drugged.

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 23, 1945 Eileen Gunn, 78. Her story “Coming to Terms” based on her friendship with Avram Davidson won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Two other stories were nominated for the Hugo Award: “Stable Strategies for Middle Management” at Noreascon 3 and “Computer Friendly” at ConFiction. Some of her best stories are in Stable Strategies and OthersSteampunk Quartet and Questionable Practices. With L. Timmel Duchamp, she penned The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 2: Provocative Essays on Feminism, Race, Revolution, and the Future.
  • Born June 23, 1947 Mark Olson, 76. One could reasonably call him an Uberfan. And among his many accomplishments is that he oversees Fancyclopedia 3 which I constantly use. If you don’t know him, I’m going to send you to his Fancyclopedia 3 bio which is far too long to quote here. It’s just a little boastful as it should be. 
  • Born June 23, 1957 Frances McDormand, 66. She’s God. Well at least The Voice of God in Good Omens. Which is on Amazon y’all. Her first genre role was in the “Need to Know” episode of Twilight Zone followed shortly thereafter by being Julie Hastings in Sam Raimi’s excellent Dark Man. She’s The Handler in Æon Flux and that’s pretty much everything worth noting. 
  • Born June 23, 1963 Liu Cixin, 60. He won the Best Novel Hugo at Saquan for his Three Body Problem novel, translated into English by Ken Liu. It was nominated for the Campbell Memorial, Nebula, Canopus and Prometheus Awards as well. He picked up a Hugo novel nomination at Worldcon 75 for Death’s End also translated by Liu. 
  • Born June 23, 1972 Selma Blair, 51. Liz Sherman in Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. She also voiced the character in the most excellent animated Hellboy: Sword of Storms and Hellboy: Blood and Iron. She’s Stevie Wayne in The Fog, a slasher film a few years later and was Cyane on the “Lifeblood” episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Later on, she’d be Jessica Harris in the “Infestation” episode of Lost in Space. 
  • Born June 23, 1980 Melissa Rauch, 43. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory which is at least genre adjacent if not genre. She gets to be really genre in voicing Harley Quinn in Batman and Harley Quinn which Bruce Timm considers “a spiritual successor to Batman: The Animated Series”. Having watched a few episodes on HBO when I was subscribed to that streaming service, I vehemently disagree. 
  • Born June 23, 2000 Caitlin Blackwood, 23. She was the young Amelia Pond in these Doctor Who episodes; “The Eleventh Hour”, “The Big Bang”, “Let’s Kill Hitler” and “The God Complex”., all showing from 2010 to 2012. y She had a cameo in “The Angels Take Manhattan”.  She’s the cousin of Karen Gillan who plays the adult Pond.  I can’t find anything online that talks about how she was cast in the role but it was brilliantly inspired casting!

(7) STAR TREK: PRODIGY CANCELED. Variety says it’s on the hit list: “’The Game,’ ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Pulled Off Paramount+”.

…“The Paramount+ series ‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies,’ ‘Star Trek: Prodigy,’ ‘Queen of the Universe’ and ‘The Game’ have completed their runs on Paramount+ and will not be returning to the service,” a Paramount+ spokesperson said. “We want to extend our thanks to our tremendously talented cast and crew and our producing partners for their passionate work and dedication on these programs, and we wish them all the best on their future endeavors.”…

…The cancellation of “Star Trek: Prodigy,” the first animated kids show in the “Star Trek” universe, comes despite the fact that the show was renewed for a second season back in 2021. According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, although the show had aired on Nickelodeon in addition to Paramount+, it will not be returning to Nickelodeon either. Those on the show will complete post-production on Season 2 and then CBS Studios will be free to shop it to other outlets….

(8) DEFINITELY NOT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] No. Just… no. “Furby, the bug-eyed, gibberish-talking ’90s toy phenomenon, has been revived — again” reports CNN.

Loveable or creepy? Depends on who you ask.

Furby, the ’90s toy phenomenon that divided kids and parents into opposing camps when it first hit stores and quickly became a craze, is making yet another comeback.

Furby-maker Hasbro said Thursday it is reintroducing the bug-eyed, gibberish-talking furball. The latest iteration of the animatronic toy launched on Amazon Thursday and rolls into stores nationwide on July 15 after a nearly 10-year gap.

The new Furby — which is priced at $70 and comes in purple and coral — is much like the original but somewhat cuter. It is interactive and responds to hugs, pats on the head and tickles. You can also pretend to feed it a tiny pizza….

(9) JEOPARDY! [Item by David Goldfarb.] There was a whole category on Thursday’s Double Jeopardy round that was “Vampire-pourri”. Here are the clues in the order they were encountered:

$1200: In the “Twilight” saga, the Cullens avoid the sun not because it would kill them, but because this happens

Challenger Andrea Rednick Granados said, “What is twinkle?” This was accepted.

$800: “You’re Dead” by ‘60s folk singer Norma Tanega is used as the theme song to this FX series

Andrea: “What is True Blood?”

The correct response was, “What We Do in the Shadows”.

$1600: In “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, Anthony Hopkins played this vampire-hunting professor

Challenger Dan Meuse knew it was Van Helsing.

$2000: Benjamin Walker stepped into the Presidential shoes for this 2012 metafiction monster mash-up of a movie

Returning champ Ben Goldstein: “What is ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’?”

$400: Drusilla was one of the vampire antagonists on this TV series that debuted in 1997

Surprisingly (to me at least) this was a triple stumper. I guess I’m getting old.

In addition, there was one clue in “Writing on the Walls”. At the middle level ($1200):

Writing on the Walls, $1200: In his book “Stardust”, there is a hamlet named Wall & Tristran sets out on a journey through the only hole in that wall

This too was a triple stumper. Poor Neil!

(10) THE SPEED OF DARK. A European space telescope sets off to discover the nature of dark energy—the biggest ingredient in the universe: “Into the Dark” in Science.

When the Euclid space telescope blasts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida early next month, it will embark on an unprecedented effort to survey 1 billion galaxies—and perhaps solve cosmology’s greatest mystery. The search will cover more than one-third of the sky and look back in time to galaxies shining when the universe was just one-quarter of its current age of 13.8 billion years. Although the task is immense, Euclid’s primary goal is surprisingly simple. The data it collects will be boiled down to a single number, denoted by w. And cosmologists are hoping, maybe even a bit desperately, that it is not –1.

describes the effect of dark energy, the mysterious antigravitational force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe. All measures so far suggest that is close to –1. If it proves to be exactly that, it will confirm the vanilla solution to dark energy: that it’s a simple tweak—a cosmological constant—added to Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, which bestows empty space with an innate springiness of its own. As the universe expands, giving birth to more space, the total amount of dark energy also grows—so that the energy density always remains constant…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Susan de Guardiola, David Goldfarb, Danny Sichel, Michael J. Walsh, 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 Daniel Dern.]

Hugo Nominees and Other Anime

Star Trek: Lower Decks. ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved

By Michaele Jordan: About a month ago, when I posted my first file here on File 770, I was delighted to discover that I was not alone in my fondness for Korean SF/F. (Thank you all!) I immediately started collecting material for a post about fox spirits. (I adore kitsune.) But I had barely started jotting down titles and checking the spelling of Korean actors’ names, when the Hugo ballots were announced.

Of course, everything in the world stopped, while I rushed to order books from the library and line up titles on Netflix, et alia. I particularly noted the anime titles. Several were familiar to me, but I have to admit I the Star Trek titles caught me off guard. I had never even heard of them. So, naturally, my sweetie and I curled up with some snacks, and tuned our electronic hearth to Paramount.

We started with Star Trek: Lower Decks. My first impression—and I mean immediately, like within about 3 frames—was that it looked an awful lot like Final Space. Final Space, alas, did not make it onto the Hugo ballot, although the third season aired on TBS between March and July in 2021. (I like to think it might have been a close race.) It was created by Olan Rogers who then developed it with David Sacks. Officially ShadowMachine in Los Angeles was responsible for the animation but they outsourced it to a Canadian studio, Jam-Filled, who used Toon Boon Harmony software and NASA space images.

If that sounds like more about the animation process than you really wanted to hear, my apologies. I spent an embarrassing amount of time on the research. Because, as I said above, Star Trek: Lower Decks really, really looked like it had been drawn by the same people. Except it wasn’t. The Star Trek show was animated by Titmouse. Creator Mike McMahan (who I hold in high esteem for his work on Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites) specifically wanted a look reminiscent of shows from the turn of the millennium.

Star Trek: Lower Decks main characters.

You could even say the two shows had much in common. Both featured everyman heroes, goofy guys who, despite belonging to a glamorous interstellar military, didn’t have a lot going for them, except their good intentions. Yet they always managed to rise to their occasions, because—if nothing else—they believed in the dream. Unfortunately, Final Space did it a lot better than Star Trek: Lower Decks.

It’s not that I don’t love Star Trek. I’ve been watching it since 1966. (I missed the pilot—or rather, “Mantrap,” which was the first episode aired. I started with “Charlie X.”) My very first convention, back in 1973, was not an SF con, but the International Philadelphia Star Trek Convention. (My boyfriend took me. He had a press pass from the Doylestown Courier—his first job.) But Star Trek is almost as old as I am. It now has rules, and protocols, and boundaries. It is entrenched within its own mythology. You can sit down at any new Star Trek creation, confident that you know exactly what’s going to happen. That’s not what I came to SF/F looking for. Every frame in Final Space was unexpected. But Star Trek: Lower Decks was very predictable, not to mention snarky and sophomoric,

Mind you, I’ll still watch all the new shows, episodes and movies. For instance, we went straight on from Star Trek: Lower Decks to watch Star Trek: Prodigy. My hopes were high. For starters, instead of boring you with production details, I’ll just say it was computer animated. And it is beautiful. Be it aliens or alien worlds, star ships or kitchen tools, every image is gorgeous. If you are wondering why anime fans are, well, anime fans, go look at Star Trek: Prodigy. Anime fans want their field of vision to be filled with wonder. Star Trek: Prodigy does that.

The story starts out a bit darker than I expect of Star Trek. The protagonists are not just a rag-tag band of outcasts, but desperate orphans. They escape from a hellish world/culture by stealing a star ship from their gangster boss. They don’t even know that it’s a Federation ship—they barely know what the Federation is. The only flaw in their escape is that the gangster boss’s little daughter has snuck on board, hoping to stop them.

Pictured: Art for Star Trek: Prodigy . Photo Cr: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2021, All Rights Reserved.

From there on, the story is a bit more traditional. It turns out that, since this is a Federation vessel—and a prototype, at that—it is equipped, not just with a holodeck, but a whole cast of Star Fleet holograms. Foremost among these is Captain Janeway, who appears immediately and designates them as cadets. So our damaged naïfs have someone to train them, protect them from themselves, and, most of all, to care about them. Let the adventures begin!

While I was roaming around, looking for Hugo nominated anime, I stumbled upon (or rather bumped into the widely advertised) Samurai Rabbit. This is not on the Hugo ballot, for the simple reason that it is brand new. But I have high hopes of seeing it on next year’s list of nominees. It is based on the much-admired Dark Horse comic, Usagi Yojimbo, which relates the adventures of Miyamoto Usagi. (Usagi is Japanese for rabbit.) The character is a light-hearted reimagining of the great Japanese ‘sword saint’, Miyamoto Musashi, (1584-1645).

Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles,

I confess that I have never followed the comic. But I am, due to a complicated series of odd chances, in possession of the first issue. I am told it is valuable, and have never dared take it out of its plastic wrapper. So I cannot say how closely the anime follows the comic—I am told there are some significant changes. I can say that, aside from a more three-dimensional imagery, the anime looks very much like the comic.

And it is utterly delightful! The imagery—the sentient animals, the period costumes, the temples, the flying boats, the magic!—is awesome! (Although my husband complains with every episode that the fox should not have her tail growing out of the back of her head.) There is lots of action, and lots of silliness. Please, friends, give it a watch (it’s easy to find—it’s on Netflix) and consider nominating it for next year.


Michaele Jordan was born in LA, educated in New York, and lives in Cincinnati. She’s worked at a kennel, a Hebrew School and AT&T. Now she writes, supervised by a long-suffering husband and two domineering cats. She has numerous stories scattered around the web, and her novel Mirror Maze is available on Amazon. Her website, www.michaelejordan.com, is undergoing reconstruction, but just grab a hard hat, and come on in.

Pixel Scroll 10/10/21 The Lone And Level Pixels Stretch Far Away

(1) SAINT OF STEEL CONTINUES. Oor Wombat has a third Paladin book out today, written in her guise as T. Kingfisher.

Piper is a lich-doctor, a physician who works among the dead, determining causes of death for the city guard’s investigations. It’s a peaceful, if solitary profession…until the day when he’s called to the river to examine the latest in a series of mysterious bodies, mangled by some unknown force.

Galen is a paladin of a dead god, lost to holiness and no longer entirely sane. He has long since given up on any hope of love. But when the two men and a brave gnole constable are drawn into the maze of the mysterious killer, it’s Galen’s job to protect Piper from the traps that await them.

He’s just not sure if he can protect Piper from the most dangerous threat of all…

Here are some early returns from the readers on Twitter:

(2) BARRELLING OVER LEVIATHAN FALLS. In “The Expanse Saga Takes Its Final Space Flight”, Publishers Weekly interviews authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck about how they created the story arc.

…Their aspirations were extremely modest initially. “The original concept for this was we would write Leviathan Wakes and sell it for pizza money,” Abraham said.

Franck added, “We didn’t have high expectations for it being a big new title or anything. And that’s what Daniel means by pizza money—you know, you could sell it for a few thousand bucks, and high-five each other, and that’d be the end of it.”

They did have a firm idea of where their story could continue after that first novel, however. “When we sent it out, we wrote one-paragraph outlines of what the next two books would be,” Franck said. “We sent that to the publisher too. And they bought three books based on one complete book and two one-paragraph blurbs. It was when we started writing the second book that we actually sat down and said, ‘Let’s have a good plan for this. Let’s figure this out.’ And that was when we really started to plan out what the longer story would be.”

The plan, inevitably, changed a bit. While the authors once contemplated writing 12 books, they cut out three after realizing their ideas for what would have followed the sixth book, 2016’s Babylon’s Ashes, were just a “boring rehash.” Instead, the seventh book, 2017’s Persepolis Rising, featured a dramatic time jump that allowed the authors to give the solar system time to stabilize after the events of the prior book.

Not much else changed, though. Franck said he had pitched “the last scene and the last line of the last scene” of Levithan Falls to his colleague around 2012.

The Expanse has sold a total of four million copies in North American and has been translated into 21 languages, according to Orbit, its publisher. Interest in the series has continually grown and Levithan Falls has a first printing of 125,000 copies….

(3) SUPERSAVER. “How ‘Adventures of Superman’ star Jack Larson saved a piece of Charlie Chaplin history and met Seinfeld”Decades has a memory about the actor who played Jimmy Olsen.

… [In 1955] Chaplin had sent for his films and memorabilia to be shipped to Europe.

But Chaplin only kept certain costumes and props. Other props lying around Chaplin Studios were being tossed in the trash. One prop that was about to end up in the garbage can was a rubber wrench that Chaplin used to great effect in the classic film Modern Times.

While working on Superman, Larson saw this cinematic crime about to happen and couldn’t sit still. He begged them to let him have it. They thought he was nuts for asking for this piece of rubber….

(4) TRANSLATING TOLKIEN. The virtual Tolkien Society Autumn Seminar with the theme “Translating and Illustrating Tolkien will take place November 6. It is free, sign up at the link.

Tolkien’s appeal has led to his fiction and non-fiction being translated into over fifty languages. The art of translation is immensely complex and when discussing the Dutch translation of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien himself saw the task as “formidable”, offering his own supportive intervention to achieve a satisfactory result. The author’s invented names and languages prompt the question of how the translator should approach Tolkien’s immense mythology. Recent scholarship has emphasised the need for a wider range of Tolkien’s work to be translated in order for readers to gain a fuller understanding of Arda and the author’s development. But with a wealth of translated texts existing already, this seminar hopes to spark new interpretations about old texts and for unacknowledged translations to be brought to light and examined….

(5) TAFF REPORT AVAILABLE. Anna Raftery’s report of her TAFF trip to MidAmeriCon II (the 74th Worldcon) in 2016, Cuttlefish and Cake, can now be acquired for a donation of £5 at the link. Purchase will give you access to the PDF and MP3 versions of the report. All proceeds will go to TAFF.

(6) NEWS, GOOD AND OTHERWISE. David Brin has rounded up a bunch of interesting science links “Gravitational waves, Snowball Earth … and more science!” at Contrary Brin.

…A fascinating paper dives into the SFnal question of “what-if” – specifically if we had been as stupid about the Ozone Layer as we are re climate change. The paper paints a dramatic vision of a scorched planet Earth without the Montreal Protocol, what they call the “World Avoided”. This study draws a new stark link between two major environmental concerns – the hole in the ozone layer and global warming – and how the Montreal Accords seem very likely to have saved us from a ruined Earth.

Going way, way back, the Mother of Modern Gaia Thought – after whom I modeled a major character in Earth – the late Lynn Margulis, has a reprinted riff in The Edge – “Gaia is a Tough Bitch” – offering insights into the kinds of rough negotiations between individuals and between species that must have led to us. Did eukaryotes arise when a large cell tried and failed to eat a bacterium? Or when a bacterium entering a large cell to be a parasite settled down instead to tend our ancestor like a milk cow? The latter seems slightly more likely!

Not long after that, (in galactic years) some eukaryotes joined to form the first animals – sponges – and now there are signs this may have happened 250M years earlier that previously thought, about 890 Mya, before the Earth’s atmosphere was oxygenated and surviving through the Great Glaciation “Snowball Earth” events of the Kirschvink Epoch….

(7) EXPANSE REACHES ITS LIMIT. The Expanse’s sixth and final season arrives December 10 on Amazon Prime.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

  • 2008 – Thirteen years ago this October, G. Willow Wilson’s most excellent Air series would see its first issue on Vertigo, an imprint of DC comics, published. It’s illustrated by Turkish artist M. K. Perker, and it tells the story of Blythe, an acrophobic flight attendant, who gets involved with a terrorist from a country that doesn’t exist. Amelia Earhart and Quetzalcoatl are crucial characters. Reception was sharply divided with folks within our community such as Neil Gaiman and Gail Simone loving it but with mainstream critics pretty much dismissing it for both for the story and the artwork. It would last but twenty four issues before being cancelled due to low sales. It’s not available digitally but is easily had in the four trade paper collections for reasonable prices at online sellers. Oddly enough, it’s not listed on ISFDB even though it’s clearly fantasy, but then neither is her graphic novel Cairo which is also quite excellent.  Does ISFDB have a bias against graphic novels? 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 10, 1924 Ed Wood Jr. Though best remembered for Plan 9 from Outer Space which inexplicably has a sixty-eight percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes, he did a lot of terribly bad genre films including Night of the Monster and Bride of The Ghouls. (Died 1978.)
  • Born October 10, 1927 Dana Elcar. Most of you will remember him as Peter Thornton on MacGyver, but he has a long genre history including Russ in Condorman which was inspired by Robert Sheckley’s The Game of X. He also played Sheriff George Paterson in Dark Shadows, and showed up in 2010 as Dimitri Moisevitch. (Died 2005.)
  • Born October 10, 1929 Robin Hardy. Wicker Man is the film he’s known for though he followed that up with The Wicker Tree, an adaptation of his Cowboys for Christ novel. Anyone seen it? The Bulldance is at least genre adjacent. (Died 2016.)
  • Born October 10, 1931 Victor Pemberton. Writer of the script for the “Fury from the Deep”, a Second Doctor story in which he created the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. He had appeared as an actor in the series, in a non-speaking role as a scientist in “The Moonbase”, a Second Doctor story. In the Seventies, he wrote the BBC Doctor Who and the Pescatons audio drama which I remember hearing. It was quite excellent. (Died 2007.)
  • Born October 10, 1941 Peter Coyote, 70. He actually did two genre films in 1982 with the first being Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann in which he appeared as Porter Reese and the second being E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which he’s Keys, the Agent hunting E.T. down. (Not so named in the film but in the novelization.)  Sphere in which he’s Captain Harold C. Barnes is his next SF outing followed by The 4400 and FlashForward series being his next major genre involvements.
  • Born October 10, 1966 Bai Ling, 55. She’s Miss West in that wretched Wild West West and the Mysterious Women in the exemplary Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, she has a major role as Guanyin in The Monkey King which aired on Syfy. Nope, not seen that one. Her last genre role was Zillia in Conjuring: The Book of the Dead, a horror film riffing off Alastair Crowley. 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) NEVERENDING STORY. Read the first chapter of Douglas Wolk’s All of the Marvels: A Journey to the Ends of the Biggest Story Ever Told at Entertainment Weekly.

The twenty-seven thousand or so superhero comic books that Marvel Comics has published since 1961 are the longest continuous, self-contained work of fiction ever created: over half a million pages to date, and growing. Thousands of writers and artists have contributed to it. Every week, about twenty slim pamphlets of twenty or thirty pages apiece are added to the body of its single enormous story. By design, any of its episodes can build on the events of any that came before it, and they’re all (more or less) consistent with one another….

(12) BEFORE AND BEHIND THE CAMERA. A profile of Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the October 2 Financial Times notes she is involved in two franchises: she co-wrote No Time To Die and is an actor in Indiana Jones 5. (I had to take a three-question survey about underwear brands to get free access to the article – make sure your drawers are in order.) “Phoebe Waller-Bridge: the writer making James Bond ‘a little bit twisted’”.

…The marriage between quirky creativity and mega budgets can be fraught. Waller-Bridge, who stars opposite Harrison Ford in the fifth instalment of Indiana Jones, has been coy about her contributions to the latest Bond film. Those hoping to find Fleabag will be disappointed. The secret agent retains some of his old cheesiness. Yet the central speech by sinister villain Lyutsifer Safin contained a reminder of Waller-Bridge’s protagonist: “I just think I want someone to tell me how to live my life?.?.?. because so far I think I’ve been getting it wrong.”…

(13) TRIPPING. Victoria Silverwolf finds a clever lead for a review of the latest (in 1966) issue of Worlds of Tomorrow at Galactic Journey: “[October 10, 1966] Let’s Take A Trip (November 1966 Worlds of Tomorrow)”.

… Until this month, this hallucinogenic drug [LSD] was legal everywhere in the USA. On October 6, it became illegal in the state of California. In response to the new law, on the same day thousands of people showed up for a so-called Love Pageant Rally in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. They enjoyed music from local artists, and many took doses of LSD in defiance of the law….

Even if you live in California, you can enjoy a trip deep into your imagination in a perfectly legal manner, simply by opening the latest issue of Worlds of Tomorrow. Fittingly, almost all the fiction takes place in the far reaches of interstellar space….

(14) INSIDE TZ. Marc Scott Zicree is doing full episode commentaries on over 100 Twilight Zone episodes that will supplement those he did for the official disc set. To find out how to buy them, look at Twilight Zone Commentaries.

The official Twilight Zone BluRay set contained 54 full-length detailed, informative, and entertaining commentaries by Marc Scott Zicree. And now, Marc continues where that left off, with commentaries of the remaining 102 Twilight Zone episodes delivered in a convenient app on your phone, tablet, laptop, SmartTV, or other device.

(15) FOUNDATION GARMENT. You’ve read the series – now buy the shirt that looks as old as it is — Foundation unisex book t-shirt from Out of Print.

The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov received the 1966 Hugo Award for Best All-Time series, beating out the Lord of the RingsFoundation is the first book in that trilogy.

Each purchase helps to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need.

(16) ASTRO’S COUSINS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Also in the Financial Times, columnist John Gapper, in a column about the Amazon Astro, made a Doctor Who reference that was news to me.

There is a well-known Punch cartoon of some Daleks from Dr Who at the foot of a staircase, cursing that their plans to conquer the universe are ruined.  This machine (the Astro) suffers from similar limitations:  It can navigate apartments but would be stymied by a two-storey house.

(17) READY FOR EVERY EMERGENCY. “Star Trek: Prodigy Gives Extended Look at Captain Janeway Hologram” at CBR.com.

… At Prodigy‘s panel at New York City Comic-Con, the show debuted a minute-long clip from the show’s pilot episode. In it, the hologram introduces herself to the ragtag group of young aliens, announcing she is the Emergency Training Hologram for the USS Protostar. Little does she know that everything is far from routine on this ship.

After making her introductions, Tellurite Jankom Pog (Jason Mantzoukas) criticizes her looks, prompting a snippy response to show that Janeway’s snark made its way into the programming. The crew does no better job after that first impression to show that they have any idea what they’re doing. Shy Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) doesn’t even know what a Federation is.….

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, John Coxon, Lise Andreasen, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

Pixel Scroll 9/9/21 Please Remove Shoes Before Standing On Shoulders Of Giant

(1) TAKEI PAYS TRIBUTE TO BJO. [Item by David Doering.] If you didn’t catch it, last night the Paramount+ network put on a Star Trek Day special. They included short retrospectives on past Star Trek series from cast members. For TOS, they had George Takei. He described how the series was rescued for a third season, but then went out of his way with the short time he had to mention Bjo Trimble as the force behind it. His mention received a roar of applause and cheers from the crowd. I was deeply touched by both his highlighting Bjo and the audience’s response.

He went on to say that thanks to the third season, TOS could go into syndication, which is what cultivated a whole world of fans which led…and so on. Today we will have FIVE simultaneous Trek series on TV. Woah. So, SO glad to live to this era! 

(2) WATCH STAR TREK DAY SPECIAL. A recording of the three-hour-plus Star Trek Day livestream celebration is available at Facebook Live today.

(3) YOU WON’T EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN. They controlled the vertical. They controlled the horizontal. The 1965 Worldcon committee even found a way to tune out Harlan Ellison, writer of Outer Limits’ “Soldier” episode. The Hugo Book Club Blog replays that bit of history in “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bombastic Ego”.

…Though he backed down from that attempt, Ellison was adamant that there should be a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1965, and encouraged other fans to write in nominations for the category … with the apparent belief that if the category was being considered that year, his Outer Limits episode would be a shoe-in.

But the 1965 Hugo Awards operated under a unique set of rules that have not been used since; as per the convention committee, the shortlist was created via “nomination by a panel of experts, selecting from suggestions offered by the membership at large.” In practice, this meant that no matter how many voters included “Soldier” on their nominating ballot, the Hugo Committee could omit it if they so chose….

(4) REMATRIX. The Matrix Resurrections will be in theaters and on HBO Max on December 22.

From visionary filmmaker Lana Wachowski comes “The Matrix Resurrections,” the long-awaited fourth film in the groundbreaking franchise that redefined a genre. The new film reunites original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the iconic roles they made famous, Neo and Trinity.

(5) HE’S DEAD, JIM. Did you notice anything missing from the trailer above? Vice tries to explain the absence of a major character: “Is Morpheus Not in The Matrix Trailer Because He Died in The Matrix MMO?”

So you just watched the new Matrix Resurrections trailer and you’re wondering where Laurence Fishburne character Morpheus is. I’ve got bad news for you: Canonically, he’s been dead since the mid 2000s.

As part of an ambitious plan to continue The Matrix franchise after the films, the Wachowskis gave their blessing to a massively multiplayer online game based on the franchise, which launched in 2005. Victim of an overcrowded MMO market, The Matrix Online was canceled only four years later in 2009, and had less than 500 active players by that point. That this game is little known and now impossible to play does not also stop the following from being true: Technically, everything that occurred in that game is canon. The Matrix’s fan wiki considers The Matrix Online canon, and the Wachowskis were heavily involved in the creation of some of the Matrix games. They even appeared in The Matrix: Path of Neo.

According to The Matrix‘s fan wiki, Morpheus’s death was part of an in-game event where the character was, as always, up to some esoteric scheme…

(6) BYO. The real event was cancelled due to Covid, but 15,000 people showed up anyway. “Nevada sheriff says ‘Renegade’ Burning Man kept officers busy with rowdy behavior” reports the Reno Gazette Journal.

Things got a little salty on the playa at this year’s rogue Burning Man, according to the sheriff who has been overseeing the annual festival since 2015.

Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen described this year’s event — held outside the official auspices of the Burning Man organization — as  “people packed in a small space in the heat, no shade or cooling other than nighttime, little respect for your fellow man, and this year add the thick amounts of smoke and no (organized group) to attempt to diffuse situations.”

In addition to an increase in car crashes and open acts of speeding, there was a general “lack of care for fellow participants” over gathering that culminated Monday, Allen said.

He estimated more than 15,000 people flocked to what was dubbed “Renegade” Burning Man after organizers canceled the event for the second year in a row amid the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.usatodaynetworkservice.com/tangstatic/html/pren/sf-q1a2z3be0d353f.min.html Typically, the annual event attracts more than 80,000 people to the playa about two hours north of Reno.

Last year it was estimated that about 5,000 people gathered in the Black Rock Desert even though the arts festival was cancelled.  

(7) CALLING BUGGIRL200. The New York Times profiles the creator of “A T-Shirt Shop for the Semi-Ironic ‘Twilight’ Fan”.

… She started selling them on Depop — a site often used to list “pre-loved” items — but realized, after receiving nearly 80 requests in her first day, that she’d need to scale up. So, she bought a web domain, BUGGIRL200.com (after her TikTok user name), and built her own online store. She has since sold more than 15,000 shirts, each of them reflecting tongue-in-cheek nostalgia for cultural touchstones from the last two decades. 

…This shirt — one of several “Twilight”-themed items Ms. Sinclair has made — was posted by Olivia Rodrigo on Instagram.

Her work has not gone unnoticed by the celebrity class: Olivia Rodrigo, for instance, tagged her friend Iris Apatow — daughter of Judd — in a photo on Instagram of a BUGGIRL200 original that reads as follows: “I think the Twilight movies are AWESOME!!!!! If you don’t think that makes me SEXY and COOL, DON’T FREAKING TALK TO ME!!!!! I am not even kidding.”

The image caught the eye of Dulce Clara, 21, a student in San Marcos, Calif. “‘Twilight’ will forever have a special place in my heart because not only did I grow up watching the movies, but it was actually my first teen romance film,” she said. When she saw Ms. Rodrigo’s post, she said, “I instantly fell in love with the shirt and bought it.”

(8) CHUNG MEDICAL UPDATE. Winchell Chung of Atomic Rockets has announced he is battling cancer.

Ad Astra Games reports on the efforts to keep Atomic Rockets online:

(9) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1978 – Forty-three years ago this week, the Jason of Star Command series was first seen on CBS. It was created and produced by Arthur H. Nadel who was previously responsible for Shazam!The Secrets of Isis and Space Academy which this is a spin-off of. (The only series of these which I’ve seen is the first. I really liked it at the time. No idea what the Suck Fairy would make of it.) It would last but two seasons of twenty eight episodes.  (The first season episodes were fifteen minutes long and formed one story, the second were thirty minutes long.) James Doohan would be in the cast as Commander Canarvin for the first season before leaving to film Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and the chief villain here was Sid Haig who had appeared on Star Trek as the First Lawgiver in “The Return of the Archons”. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 9, 1922 — Pauline Baynes. She was the first illustrator of some of J. R. R. Tolkien’s lesser known works such as Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wootton Major and of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. With the help of cartographers from the Bordon military camp in Hampshire, Baynes created a map that Allen & Unwin published as a poster in 1970. Tolkien was generally pleased with it, though he didn’t particularly like her creatures especially her conception of a spider. (Died 2008.)
  • Born September 9, 1929 — Joseph Wrzos, 92. He edited Amazing Stories and Fantastic under the name Joseph Ross from 1965 through early 1967. With Hannes Bok, he edited in 2012, Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration. He won First Fandom Hall of Fame Award, and its Sam Moskowitz Archive Award twice.
  • Born September 9, 1935 — Topol, 86. He’s best remembered for his role of Tevye the Dairyman in Fiddler on the Roof, on both stage and screen, but that’s not why he’s getting a Birthday.  No, that’s because it’s because he was Dr. Hans Zarkov in the 1980 Flash Gordon film. He’s got just two other genre appearences, once in Tales of the Unexpected as Professor Max Kelada  in the “Mr. Know-All” episode, and in the Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.
  • Born September 9, 1943 — Tom Shippey, 78. Largely known as a Tolkien expert, though I see he wrote a scholarly 21-page introduction to Flights of Eagles, a collection of James Blish work. Under the pseudonym of John Holm, he is also the co-author, with Harry Harrison, of The Hammer and the Cross trilogy of alternate history novels. And early on, he did a lot of SF related non-fiction tomes such as Fiction 2000: Cyberpunk and the Future of Narrative (edited with George Slusser). He edited The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories thirty years ago. 
  • Born September 9, 1952 — Angela Cartwright, 69. Fondly remembered as Penny Robinson on the original Lost in Space. She, like several of her fellow cast members, made an appearance in the Lost in Space film. In her case, it was as Shelia Harris in the “Echoes” episode. She appeared in the Logan’s Run series in “The Collectors” episode as Karen, and in Airwolf as Mrs. Cranovich in the “Eruption” episode. 
  • Born September 9, 1955 — Janet Fielding, 66. Tegan Jovanka, companion to the Fifth Doctor. The actress had a rather short performing career starting with the Hammer House of Horror series in 1980 where she was Secretary Mandy on the “Charlie Boy” episode” before landing the Doctor Who gig through 1984 before her career ending in the early Nineties. She was part of the 2013 50th Anniversary The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. Her last acting role was voicing Dr. Mendez in the “Breakout” episode of the Australian Prisoner Zero series.
  • Born September 9, 1960 — Hugh Grant, 61. He appeared in The Lair of the White Worm as Lord James D’Ampton and in the remake of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as Mr. Waverly. And he was the Handsome Doctor in Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death, the 1999 Doctor Who special made for the Red Nose Day charity telethon. He’s in the forthcoming Dungeons & Dragons as Forge Fletcher. 
  • Born September 9, 1971 — Henry Thomas, 50. Elliot in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Let’s just say that he’s had a busy post-E.T. acting career for which I will single out his rather good work in Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King and The Haunting of Hill House series. He’s playing Doctor Mid-Nite in the ongoing Stargirl series which I really need to see. 

(11) COMICS SECTION.

Lise Andreasen supplies a Danish/English translation for the Wulffmorgenthaler 7/9 cartoon published at Politiken.

Good news!  Now that the apocalypse is over, we actually have the resources to rebuild the whole society, just as it was before!  What do you say!?

How about we don’t!  How do you think we ended up here?  Think, Lars!

(12) TILT. Somewhere down the I-10 from me a pop culture mecca is going away: “Pinball Museum Will Auction 1,700 Arcade Games After Closing Its Doors” says the New York Times.

Inside an unremarkable warehouse near Palm Springs, Calif., hundreds of pinball machines once beckoned arcade game aficionados from far and wide, their blinking lights and coin slots a throwback to a time long before Xbox.

But then came the coronavirus pandemic, and the game, one that the museum’s owner said was already a losing proposition because of the economic climate and the cost of real estate and insurance, was over. No flippers could keep the ball in play.

Now, the Museum of Pinball in Banning, Calif., one of the largest museums devoted to pinball machines, is about to do something that once might have seemed inconceivable: It will start on Friday to auction off more than 1,700 arcade games.

The auction will be conducted both online and at the museum itself, where in 2015 a Guinness World Record was set for the most people playing pinball simultaneously: 331.

The collection could be worth as much as $7 million, according to the auctioneer handling the sale, which includes some machines more than 60 years old. The holy grail of the sale could be a “Pirates of the Caribbean” collector’s edition pinball machine from 2018, associated with the Disney franchise, which the auction house said could fetch up to $35,000….

(13) MEET THE CREW. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds cast announcement does major fan service. See the video at StarTrek.com.

(14) CONTROL THAT IMPULSE. That’s the plan, says Yahoo! News: “A 150-Year Old Idea Could Lead To A Breakthrough In Space Travel”.

… Once the exclusive province of science fiction films, space colonization has been moving closer to becoming a reality thanks to major advances in astronautics and astrophysics; rocket propulsion and design, robotics and medicine. Trekkies, along with the otherworldly technology featured in the Star Trek series, have helped define the science fiction universe. One of the most mind-boggling of these technologies from those shows is the “Impulse Drive,” a propulsion system used on the spaceships of many species to get across the galaxy in amazingly short timeframes measured in months or a few years rather than centuries or millennia. 

And now scientists have unveiled the Holy Grail of Space Travel: A real-life Impulse Drive system able to achieve sub-light velocities using zero fuel propellants. After 30 years of tinkering and fine-tuning, a pair of scientists might finally be close to turning science fiction into science fact. 

And, NASA is taking the idea seriously. 

Conventional spaceships burn rocket fuel to achieve escape velocities, maneuver, and even land, in the case of SpaceX rockets. But what if you could build a spaceship that runs entirely on electricity?

That’s exactly what the Mach Effect Gravity Assist (MEGA) drive does.

Jim Woodward, a physics professor emeritus at California State University, Fullerton, and Hal Fearn, a physicist at Fullerton, have developed the Mach Effect Gravity Assist (MEGA) Drive propulsion based on what they say is peer-reviewed, technically credible physics.

With the help of a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) grant, the two scientists have developed MEGA Drive based on the physics described in Einstein’s theory of relativity….

(15) WHAT A TOOL. “Judge Says an AI Can’t Be an Inventor on a Patent Because It’s Not a Person”MSN.com has the verdict.

U.S. federal judge Leonie Brikema ruled this week that an AI can’t be listed as an inventor on a U.S. patent under current law. The case was brought forward by Stephen Thaler, who is part of the Artificial Inventor Project, an international initiative that argues that an AI should be allowed to be listed as an inventor in a patent (the owner of the AI would legally own the patent).

Thaler sued the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after it denied his patent applications because he had listed the AI named DABUS as the inventor of a new type of flashing light and a beverage container. In various responses spanning several months, the Patent Office explained to Thaler that a machine does not qualify as an inventor because it is not a person. In fact, the machine is a tool used by people to create inventions, the agency maintained.

Brikema determined that the Patent Office correctly enforced the nation’s patent laws and pointed out that it basically all boils down to the everyday use of language. In the latest revision of the nation’s patent law in 2011, Congress explicitly defined an inventor as an “individual.” The Patent Act also references an inventor using words such as “himself” and herself.”

(16) HIJACK THE STARSHIP. Star Trek: Prodigy is coming to Nickelodeon.

Developed by Emmy Award-winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) the CG-animated series STAR TREK: PRODIGY is the first “Star Trek” series aimed at younger audiences and will follow a motley crew of young aliens who must figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy, in search for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek Franchise – but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, N., Lise Andreasen, Chris Barkley, James Davis Nicoll, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, and  John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Pixel Scroll 8/8/21 It Is Pitch Black. You Are Likely To Be Pixeled By A Scroll

(1) EMERGENCY HOLOGRAPHIC CAPTAIN. Slashfilm rounds up everything they can find out about Nickolodeon’s “’Star Trek: Prodigy’ Season 1: Release Date, Cast and More”.

…Prodigy will be a kids-oriented show revolving around a group of alien teens who attempt to get away with stealing a Starfleet vessel of their very own, the U.S.S. Protostar. In a fun surprise for older fans, Captain Janeway from the Star Trek: Voyager series will appear as a hologram throughout this show, guiding the teens along their many adventures to the stars….

Pictured: Art for Star Trek: Prodigy . Photo Cr: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2021, All Rights Reserved.

(2) STEER CLEAR. A Starfleet Academy series is also in development. Fansided’s Chad Porto is adamant that “Star Trek series based around Starfleet Academy should avoid these ideas”. From the middle of his list —

The third idea is about Worf. Dang-it. Walked into that one. Do you want to see more Worf? You do? Do you want to see more Worf but not played by Michael Dorn!? Wait, where did everyone go!? No one wants to see it. Don’t do it. No more prequels. I feel like Edna Mode in The Incredibles. No prequels!

(3) HOLLYWOOD AUTO CREATOR GOING AWAY. “Holy hot wheels, Batman! Iconic auto shop site is for sale” reports the LA Times.

A foundation stone of Southern California car culture is about to be dislodged: The North Hollywood home of Barris Kustom Industries — birthplace of the Batmobile, the Munster Koach and a thousand other custom cars — is for sale.

The 10,000-square-foot commercial property, on an 18,000-square-foot corner lot, is offered at $3.995 million and is almost certainly destined for redevelopment.

The package includes the showroom that still houses a Batmobile; the garages where brothers George and Sam Barris did custom body work for celebrities including Elvis Presley, Elton John and Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark; and even the spray booth where “kustom kolors” concocted by George were applied to cars driven by James Dean, John Wayne and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, for whom Barris built a Bat Smart Car….

(4) IS IT A HOARD? Even if it is, calling the lot a collection sounds like good customer relations. Chuck Rozanki of Denver’s MileHiComics announced he has acquired another mountain of inventory. You should see the pictures: “Chuck Buys Another Huge Collection!”

I have just left California, and entered Nevada through Reno. I spent all day yesterday hauling 400 cases of toys, books, comics, and all sorts of pop-culture collectibles from a huge house on top of a mountain in Oroville, California. When you take a look at the sheer mass of material that I picked up, this ends up being the largest private collection that I have ever purchased. Of even greater importance is that this collection is incredibly diverse, as the gentleman who put it together was a thrift store devotee for the past 40 years, shopping pretty much every day on his lunch break. He picked up an amazing array of fun pop culture collectibles.

In case you are wondering, yes, this is the same collection that I mentioned back in June that I was going to return to pick up in California. There was so much material that it took six weeks for it to all get packed up. When I finished unpacking my two truckloads, I ended up with 13 full pallets out at FedEx, which is about 20,000 pounds. I have at least another thousand pounds in my cargo van, including a mint-in-box customized bicycle that was painted by the same guys who do the custom motorcycles down in LA. The last one sold on eBay for $4000…

(5) MARKIE POST (1950-2021). Actress Markie Post died August 7 reports Deadline.  

…Her first acting credits came in 1979, with appearances on episodes of … The Incredible HulkThe Lazarus SyndromeBuck Rogers in the 25th Century… 

She’d later appear in series such as The Love Boat, … Fantasy Island and The A-Team, before landing the role of bail bondswoman Terri Michaels in ABC’s The Fall Guy. She appeared in 65 episodes of that action drama between 1982 and 1985. Post was also a series regular on NBC’s Night Court, portraying public defender Christine Sullivan for 159 episodes between 1985 and 1992. 

(6) BRAD ALLAN OBIT. Stuntman Brad Allan, who worked on Wonder Woman and the Kingsman series, died August 7: “Brad Allan, Stuntman and Jackie Chan Protege, Dies at 48”. (msn.com).

Allan eventually carved out a space in Hollywood as one of the best in his craft. After serving as both a stunt actor and coordinator on a string of movies with Chan, including “Shanghai Noon” and “Rush Hour 2,” he went on to design action scenes for movies like, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” “Wonder Woman,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and the “Kingsman” series. 

By the time of his death, Allan had also completed work on “The King’s Man” and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which hits theaters next month. 

(7) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1988 – Thirty-three years ago at Nolacon II, Ursula K. Le Guin would win the Best Novelette Hugo for “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight.” Other nominated works that year were “Rachel in Love” by Pat Murphy, “Dinosaurs” by Walter Jon Williams, “Flowers of Edo” by Bruce Sterling and “Dream Baby” by Bruce McAllister.  

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 8, 1919 Dino De Laurentiis. Responsible for Dune obviously but less obviously also a lot of other genre including Conan the BarbarianFlash GordonKing KongHalloween II and Halloween IIIDead Zone and The Last Legion. His company even made Army of Darkness! (Died 2010.)
  • Born August 8, 1930 Terry Nation. Best known as scriptwriter for Doctor Who and creator of the Daleks. He later created Blake’s 7. He would also write scripts for Department SThe Avengers, The Champions and MacGyver. (Died 1997.)
  • Born August 8, 1935 Donald P. Bellisario, 86. His genre shows include Tales of the Gold MonkeyAirwolf, Magnum P.I. (according to some of you) and of course that truly amazing show Quantum Leap. He was a writer and producer on the original Battlestar Galactica.
  • Born August 8, 1937 Dustin Hoffman, 84. Ahhh — Captian Hook, the man who got swallowed by the vast crocodile in Hook. Yeah, I like that film a lot. By no means his only genre appearance, as he was Mumbles, Caprice’s fast-talking henchman in Dick Tracy (not a film I love), Mr. Edward Magorium in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and the voice of Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda.
  • Born August 8, 1943 Terry J. Erdmann, 78. He ran the media campaigns for such films as Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, (where he was credited as the film’s publicist). He’s also written such books as the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, which he co-wrote with Paula Block, his wife who works as a Trek publicist, and The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations.
  • Born August 8, 1949 Keith Carradine, 72. Genre roles include Special Report: Journey to MarsStar Trek: Enterprise, Kung Fu, voice work on the animated Spider-Man series, Dollhouse and The Big Bang Theory
  • Born August 8, 1993 Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, 28. She’s a Kahnawake Mohawk. Why I mention that will be apparent in a moment. Her most recent role is recurring one as Sam Black Crow on now-cancelled American Gods but she has a very long genre history starting with being Monique on the Stephen King’s Dead Zone series. From there, she was Claudia Auditore in Assassin’s Creed: Lineage, a series of three short films based on the Assassin’s Creed II video game before showing up as Ali’s in Rhymes for Young Ghouls which is notable for its handling of First Nations issues. She’s Daisy in Another WolfCop (oh guess which monster), an unnamed bar waitress in Being Human, Nourhan in Exploding Sun and Sam in the The Walking Dead: Michonne video game. Her latest genre role is Blood Quantum about a zombie uprising on a First Nations homeland.

(9) LIGHTEN UP.  John King Tarpinian swears he had none of these. Especially if it had anything to do with disco. “5 of the wildest pieces of vintage Star Trek merch” at Heroes & Icons.

THIS LIGHT-UP JACKET THAT’S PERFECT FOR DISCOS, CONVENTIONS, SF PARTIES AND SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Sure, a replica of the actual Starfleet uniform is rad, but not as rad as a shiny jacket that “lights up,” “flashes” and “creates a sensation,” with the Enterprise emblazoned on the back. This 1978 official licensed jacket surely would have impressed everyone at school and at the disco.

(10) ABANDONED STARSHIPS. Heroes & Icons also knows about “9 abandoned Star Trek series that never made it to the TV screen”. Some of these I’ve heard about, but not this one!

2. THE HARRY MUDD SHOW

Harcourt Fenton Mudd remains one of the most beloved rogues in the Star Trek universe, even appearing in the new Discovery series, as played by Rainn Wilson of The Office. Roger Carmel, also a delightful Batman villain, originated the role. He was the only character aside from the Enterprise crew to appear in more than one episode (“Mudd’s Woman” and “I, Mudd). No wonder NBC hoped to give him a spin-off. As Carmel himself recalled, “Gene Roddenberry was there and we started talking and Gene said, ‘It’s a shame that series thing for you never worked out.’ I said, ‘What series thing?’ He said, ‘Oh, didn’t you know? Well, after the successful Harry Mudd episodes, NBC wanted to know if I would develop a spin-off series for you starring the Harry Mudd character. A space pirate, intergalactic con-man kind of thing.'” A flabberghasted Carmel asked, “‘My God, Gene, I didn’t know anything about that. What happened?’ He said, ‘Well, the artists didn’t have enough time to develop it.'” Arg! 

(11) TWELVE IS NOT FIVE BY FIVE. Did Capaldi talk himself out of a job? “Doctor Who Is Canceling One Of Its Former Stars”Giant Freakin Robot has the story.

It’s in the area of voice work, in fact, where Capaldi recently may have gotten in a little bit of trouble. As Cinema Blend reported on Thursday, Capaldi was expected to play the Doctor for the Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama Timejacked. However, rather than Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor will now be voiced by Jacob Dudman, who has done voice work on previous Doctor Who audio dramas.

While it hasn’t been confirmed, there’s a lot of speculation that Capaldi’s recent interview on The Chris Moyles Show may be to blame for his replacement in the Doctor Who audio drama. Capaldi appeared on the show while doing press for The Suicide Squad. During the interview, after Capaldi mentions he’d like to be DJ, he’s asked if he’s ever worked in radio. The actor answers he’s done radio plays, and what he says about them isn’t very complimentary. Capaldi says he finds making them “quite dreary” and that they’re made “in the basement of the BBC with all the pipes and stuff.” He goes on to call it “an absolutely glamor free zone.” 

(12) FANTASTIC PLASTIC. I’d almost forgotten these (and now I’ll have to start all over again!) “It’s the 50th anniversary of the most horrific kids’ toys ever” reminds Input.

…Nabisco, the cookie and cracker conglomerate that bought Aurora soon after these kits were released, found itself in a world of pain after horrified parents, op-ed writers, and boisterous protesters decried the toys as misogynistic and grotesque — and wholly inappropriate for kids. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the torture-toy scandal, during which public outcry led to not only the discontinuation of an outrageously successful toy line, but also to the passage of legislation that would keep similarly objectionable toys off store shelves, at least in California.

But a half-century later, these kits still thrive, thanks, of course, to the internet…. 

(13) MIND ON THE GAME. In the Washington Post, Shannon Liao reviews the about to be released video game Psychonauts 2, a sequel to the 2005 Psychonauts, which was one of the first video games to address mental health issues.  She talks to game designers who explain how they tried to have a good story while trying to improve gamers’ mental health. “’Psychonauts 2’ preview: Double Fine discusses game’s bosses, mental health”.

…To undo the mistake he made, Raz must venture back into his mentor’s mind, but this time, it’s transformed into a fantastical level that’s part hospital, part casino. Eventually, he’s able to undo the bad mental connections he made in Hollis’s mind, undo other mental connections she’s formed such as “defiance is useless” and get her to recognize better connections such as “wisdom = decisions.” It’s clear throughout this level that Raz is genuinely feeling regret and guilt for messing with Hollis’s mind without consent. He reflects on what he did wrong, and apologizes to Hollis.

“It’s a small change between the first and second games,” Schafer said. “I noticed in the first game, Raz just kind of pops into everyone’s mind willy nilly. He’s like, ‘hey!’ And so in every level on ‘Psychonauts 2,’ except for some near the end where it’s an emergency situation, in every brain you go into, there is a moment of actually getting consent from the person’s brain that you’re going into, because it is an invasive process going into someone’s brain. There’s a lot more dialogue about that, which we try to be careful about in the second game.”…

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. We ran the trailer, now see the whole short film: Forsaken Mandalorian And The Drunken Jedi Master – A Star Wars Fan Film.

A Forsaken Mandalorian hunts down a Hutt Courier to recover an asset that unexpectedly leads him to team up with an outcast Drunken Jedi Master to fulfill his sworn duty.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Pixel Scroll 7/23/21 The Pixel Scroll Preservation Society

(1) TWITTER SUSPENDS CHUCK TINGLE. Chuck Tingle’s Twitter account has been suspended for reasons he explains on Facebook. He used music with some of his tweets, believing it was fair use, but the rights holder served Twitter with “many” DMCA takedown notices and his entire account was locked. Since this morning Tingle has been trying to get social media users to pressure the rights holder to withdraw the takedown notices. Getting paid for use of the music is what the rights holder would want, one expects.

(2) LEVAR BURTON’S TURN IS HERE. “LeVar Burton Shares His Excitement Over Finally Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’” at TV Insider. Includes some great tweets.

From Emmy-nominated actor to children’s television host to movie director to Grammy-winning Spoken Word artist, LeVar Burton has nearly done it all in his career. However, one dream has alluded him until now, and that is to host Jeopardy! But that is about to change.

The Star Trek: The Next Generation actor — and self-confessed Jeopardy! superfan — finally gets his go at hosting the long-running quiz show Monday, July 26 to Friday, July 30, as the conveyor belt of guest hosts keeps moving. Burton and his fans have actively been campaigning for the Reading Rainbow host to permanently take over from the late Alex Trebek.

(3) WHEEL OF TIME SERIES. Lots of media stuff from today’s Comic-Con@Home, like this Deadline item: “Amazon Debuts ‘The Wheel Of Time’ S1 Teaser Poster, Previews Premiere Date”.

During its Comic-con gig on Friday, the streamer unveiled the teaser poster which features Pike’s Moiraine. The series adaptation of Robert Jordan’s books, is set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists, but only women can use it. The Wheel of Time is co-produced by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television and comes from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Chuck writer Rafe Judkins, who is showrunner and exec producer.

(4) SPARE CLIMATE CHANGE? Last night The Late Show with Stephen Colbert started off with a local St. Louis weather report: “And Now For Your Weather Update… Everything’s On Fire Or Underwater”.

(5) MANGA’S OLYMPIC AMBASSADORS. In the Washington Post, Kyle Melnick says customers at Purple Narwhal Music and Manga in Rockville, Maryland are buying lots of Olympics-related manga and anime. “Anime and manga take center stage at the Olympics”. Nine Japanese anime characters are ambassadors for the Tokyo Olympics.

…Many anime — an umbrella term for animation produced in Japan — are adapted from manga, similar to how American comics are shaped into movies. The Olympics ambassadors, who are featured on official Olympics merchandise, are Son Goku (from the Dragon Ball series), Usagi Tsukino (“Sailor Moon”), Naruto Uzumaki (“Naruto”), Monkey D. Luffy (“One Piece”), Astro Boy (“Astro Boy”), Cure Miracle and Cure Magical (“Pretty Cure”), Shin-chan (“Crayon Shin-chan”) and Jibanyan (“Yo-kai Watch”).

Goku is perhaps the most well-known of the group. He’s a naive but determined warrior who is the main character of “Dragon Ball Z,” which was one of the first popular anime in the United States in the 1990s and introduced many fans to the genre. Usagi Tsukino, whose alter ego is Sailor Moon, is the star of another popular 1990s anime, and she welcomed many women into what had previously been a predominantly male fan base.

(6) RICK BOATRIGHT (1955-2021). Rick Boatright, stalwart supporter of and contributor to the 1632 series, died Thursday July 22 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 66. Eric Flint mourned him on Facebook:

My old friend Rick Boatright died today. It wasn’t exactly unexpected, because he’d been diagnosed with state four pancreatic cancer, but it came quicker than anyone had expected. I talked to him on the phone just a few days ago and he was in pretty good spirits and thought he still had at least a few weeks left and possibly even a few months. But… he didn’t.

I don’t have anything more to say about it right now. I’ll be writing encomiums about him in the future. But today… Today just sucks.

His ISFDB bio notes Boatright had been a software developer since the early 1970s for not-for-profit social service agencies. Since 2001 he’d been a writer and editor, as well as the Head Geek, for Eric Flint’s 1632 alternate history world. (He also held the Head Geek title for Jim Baen’s Universe magazine.) He also was famous for providing tech support for other authors at Baen Books. Boatright taught high school physics and chemistry in his home town of Topeka, Kansas.

Boatright said in 2014 that despite his fiction credits his real gift was, “… explaining science fiction from the inside. What are the limits and potentials of a slower-than-light multi-stellar civilization? What happens to radio in a time travel story to the 17th century? How do you make records in the 17th century? What is the likely social impact and the biological effect of the English War Unicorn on 21st century warfare?”

(7) ANDERSSON OBIT. Horror/fantasy writer C. Dean Andersson, who also wrote as Asa Drake, passed away July 5 after a long illness. He published 8 novels, the first in 1981 co-authored with Nina Romberg. His short fiction “The Death Wagon Rolls On By”  received a Bram Stoker Award nomination in 2008.  G.W. Thomas did an in-depth interview with him for Dark Worlds Quarterly.

(8) MEMORY LANE.

  • 2002 – Nineteen years ago, Jo Walton wins the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. She had finished second in the balloting for that award the previous year. It was her first major award. A year later, she would win the World Fantasy Award for her ever so tasteful Tooth and Claw.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 23, 1888 Raymond Chandler. He of the hardboiled detective genre who I hold in very high esteem is listed by ISFDB as doing some stories of a genre nature, to be exact ”The Bronze Door”, “The King In Yellow”, “Professor Bingo’s Snuff” and “English Summer: A Gothic Romance”. I’ve neither heard it nor read these. So who here has read them? (Died 1959.)
  • Born July 23, 1914 Virgil Finlay. Castle of Frankenstein calls him “part of the pulp magazine history … one of the foremost contributors of original and imaginative art work for the most memorable science fiction and fantasy publications of our time.”  His best known covers are for Amazing Stories and Weird Tales. “Roads”, a novella by Seabury Quinn, published in the January 1938 Weird Tales, and featuring a cover and interior illustrations by him, was originally published in extremely limited numbers by Arkham House in 1948. It’s now available from the usual suspects. (Died 1971.)
  • Born July 23, 1923 Cyril M. Kornbluth. I certainly read and really liked The Space Merchants and The Syndic which are the two I remember reading these years on.  His only Hugo was at Torcon II (1973) for “The Meeting” which he wrote with Frederik Pohl (the co-winner was “Eurema’s Dam” by R. A. Lafferty). He later was awarded a Retro Hugo for “The Little Black Bag” at Millennium Philcon, and was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame. (Died 1958.)
  • Born July 23, 1938 Ronny Cox, 83. His first genre role was in RoboCop as OCP President Dick Jones who comes to a very bad end. Later roles Gen. Balentine  in Amazon Women on the Moon in “The Unknown Soldier” episode, Martians Go Home as the President, Total Recall  as Vilos Cohaagen, Captain America as Tom Kimball and a recurring role for a decade on Stargate SG-1 as Senator Robert Kinsey/Vice President Robert Kinsey. 
  • Born July 23, 1956 Kate Thompson, 65. Author of the New Policeman trilogy which I highly recommend. Though written for children, you’ll find it quite readable. And her Down Among the Gods is a unique take on a Greek myths made intimate. She got nominations for the Hal Clement (Golden Duck) Award and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature. 
  • Born July 23, 1947 Gardner Dozois. He was founding editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology and was editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine for twenty years. He won fifteen Hugos for his editing and was nominated for even more. He also won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story twice, once for “The Peacemaker” and once for “Morning Child”. Stories selected by him for his annual best-of-year volumes have won, as of six years ago, 44 Hugos, 32 Locus, 41 Nebulas, 18 Sturgeon Awards and 10 World Fantasy. Very impressive! (Died 2018.)
  • Born July 23, 1982 Tom Mison, 39. He is best known as Ichabod Crane on Sleepy Hollow which has a cross-over into Bones. He’s Mr. Phillips in The Watchmen. It’s barely (if at all) genre adjacent but I’m going to note that he’s Young Blood in A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets. Currently he’s got a main role in second season the See SF series on Apple TV which has yet to come out.
  • Born July 23, 1989 Daniel Radcliffe, 32. Harry Potter of course. (Loved the films, didn’t read the novels.) Also Victor Frankenstein’s assistant Igor in Victor Frankenstein, Ignatius Perrish in Horns, a horror film, and Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic in London.  

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Mother Goose and Grimm show how you break the fourth wall of a comic strip.
  • Ziggy encounters a strange example of truth in advertising.
  • xkcd has a guide to commonly mispronounced equations. I know you’ll find it as helpful as I did. Daniel Dern says it reminds him of this equation from Fritz Leiber’s “Nice Girl With 5 Husbands” in the April 1951 issue of Galaxy

(11) MEET PUERTO RICO’S SUPERHERO. Publishers Weekly’s Brigid Alverson spotlights “La Borinqueña: A Puerto Rican Superhero for Our Time”.

In Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s comics series La Borinqueña, the eponymous superhero swoops down to Puerto Rico to solve problems that range from guiding lost turtles to rescuing people from a hurricane. Turns out the Puerto Rican superwoman comes to the rescue in real life, too.

Miranda-Rodriguez created La Borinqueña five years ago as a superhero who would entertain readers with her superpowered adventures, express Puerto Rican pride, and make more people aware of the island’s economic problems. Just like in the comics, though, there have been unexpected twists, and La Borinqueña and her creator are not only raising awareness of Puerto Rico and its dilemmas, but is also raising cold, hard cash to help Puerto Ricans recover from Hurricane Maria, fend off the pandemic, and move toward self-determination.

The third volume of La Borinqueña (with artist Will Rosado) will come out this month, and Miranda-Rodriguez plans to do a book tour in the fall. He will be bringing chocolate: He contracted with the 92-year-old chocolate maker Chocolate Cortés P.R., to include an original, four-episode La Borinqueña story on the inner wrappers of its bars. Proceeds from the sale of the limited-edition chocolate bars will go to the Fundación Cortés as part of the La Borinqueña Grants Program, which distributes grants to local nonprofits….

(12) JOHN NO LAST NAME. Stephen Haffner previewed some of the beautiful work on The Complete John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman, which can be preordered from Haffner Press.

(13) PRODIGY. This teaser trailer for the new animated Nickelodeon series, Star Trek: Prodigy debuted during the “Star Trek Universe” panel at Comic-Con@Home 2021.

Developed by Emmy® Award-winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) the CG-animated series STAR TREK: PRODIGY is the first “Star Trek” series aimed at younger audiences and will follow a motley crew of young aliens who must figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy, in search for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek Franchise – but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents

(14) CHEAPER THAN BEZOS: THIS, SURELY, IS A NO-SMOKING FLIGHT. “You can ride a hydrogen balloon to outer space for $125K” reports the New York Post.

Space flight company Space Perspective has debuted a $125,000 package that brings travelers to the edge of our atmosphere on a space-age hot air balloon.

The Florida-based firm aims to usher in a “new era in luxury travel experiences” with their groundbreaking — or air-breaking, if you will — tour aboard the Spaceship Neptune, a massive, hydrogen-supported balloon with a passenger capsule in tow that can float atop Earth’s atmosphere. There, amateur astronauts can soak up the splendor of our home planet, thanks to panoramic windows and reclining seats.

(15) DINO DRIVE-BY. Jurassic Quest has returned to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena from July 23-August 1. The concept kind of reminds me of the Lion Country Safari that used to be in Orange County.

The new Jurassic Quest Drive Thru version of the show features over 70 life-like dinosaurs including the very popular T. Rex, Spinosaurus and Triceratops. Jurassic Quest’s herd of animatronic dinos are displayed in realistic scenes that allow guests to experience them roaring and moving from their own vehicles  as they drive their way through the tour. Baby dinosaurs greet guests and bring big smiles to explorers of all ages. During the drive-thru experience, guests are guided by an engaging and informative digital audio tour featuring show entertainers and dino wranglers that lasts about an hour. Guests stay in their cars throughout the tour with limited contact, if any, with staff who wear masks, social distance, and follow all state and local guidelines regarding health and safety. To further ensure the safety of patrons and staff, all equipment and workstations undergo regular sanitization throughout the show. All attendees receive a free, safari-style family photo in their vehicles set against a dinosaur backdrop as a memento of their experience.

(16) FRANK. Here’s an alarming item you can squeeze into that empty space on your bookshelf. (As if any Filer would have that!) “Peeping On The Bookshelf Booknook” at Souamer.

(17) THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY. Wait, we’re not talking about just the end of the week — the End of the World is coming! But when and how? Isaac Arthur explores all the options from manmade to natural, tomorrow to a trillion years in the future.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY.  [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In a spoiler-filled “Space Jam 2:  A New Legacy Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George says the writer at the pitch meeting’s goal is to make a film that will convince children to tell their parents, “You know, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. really is my favorite multi-media and mass entertainment conglomerate.”

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Paul Weimer, David K.M. Klaus, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Daniel Dern, Michael J. Lowrey, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jack Lint (suggested in June 2019).]

Pixel Scroll 10/8/20 It’s Time For The Retro-Dragon Awards

(1) CATS MEOW, LIZARDS THUNDER, BOOK HAPPENS. Filers Charon Dunn and Sally Smith collaborated on a book that’s newly released! What’s it about? Rhonda Wray’s “favorite boy band is trapped on a dinosaur planet and it’s up to Rhonda to save them!” Let’s eavesdrop on what their cats think about it: “Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler by Charon Dunn and Sally Smith (according to their cats)”.

Charon Dunn (above) and Sally Smith (below)

…T.B. Kahuna: I helped write the Sonny Knight trilogy. She didn’t really give me any credit. She did give me some of the cake with the book cover decoration, and it had whipped cream frosting. 

Naomi: Pardon me, I didn’t mean to talk while you were interrupting. And yes, that was very good frosting. “Charon wanted to write about a girl adventurer going from zero to hero. And about dinosaurs, and boy bands, two things that have fascinated her for at least half a century. Sally wanted to make sure the science was tight and that the hero was truly heroic. They both undertook some serious #dinosaur research and many of their surprising findings are incorporated into the book.

For instance, raptors had feathers. There’s a little controversy over whether tyrannosaurids did, but raptors are basically birds with fangs, and they probably acted a lot more like crows or parrots than a pack of wolves. Which means they could probably communicate.” …

(2) NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE. The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2020 is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.

(3) MINTY FRESH. [Item by Dann.] Minty of Minty Comedic Arts dropped a “10 things” video about Dune recently.  He actually had quite a few things that I hadn’t heard before.  The behind-the-scenes ties to other genre properties were really interesting.

  • 10 Things You Didn’t Know About DUNE

As a result, I also saw this one from August.

  • 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Matrix

(4) HI TECH, HIGH FEAR. “Thoroughly Modern Hauntings: How Ghost Stories Keep Finding New Ways To Scare Us”: Frazer Lee explains at CrimeReads.

…Modern ghost stories, rather than being exposed as bunkum by technology, have instead utilised that technology to create new sources of terror. Our baby monitors, camera phones, and laptop webcams have of course given us a window on a secure and happy world. But they have also provided the ghosts with a way in. Just in the same way that Shirley Jackson’s paranormal investigators found themselves possessed by the evil in Hill House, our need to connect with each other is now providing fertile ground for the ghosts to emerge. Poltergeist’s entry point for evil was the TV set in the corner of every living room, swiftly followed by Stephen Volk’s Ghostwatch (1992), which made us afraid to watch live TV broadcasts ever again…. 

(5) A TREK FOR NICKELODEON. Ars Technica excites Trek fans with news of “Kate Mulgrew returning as Capt. Janeway in Star Trek: Prodigy.

…Mulgrew popped in to make made the surprise announcement during the end of a Star Trek panel at this year’s all-virtual New York Comic Con. “I have invested every scintilla of my being in Captain Janeway, and I can’t wait to endow her with nuance that I never did before,” Mulgrew said. “How thrilling to be able to introduce to these young minds an idea that has elevated the world for decades. To be at the helm again is going to be deeply gratifying in a new way for me.”

…Prodigy, the first modern* Star Trek series to be explicitly targeted to a young audience, will be coming to Nickelodeon at some point in 2021. According to ViacomCBS, the show “follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning, and salvation.”

(6) ROCKET STACK RANK. Eric Wong forwarded the link to Rocket Stack Rank’s annual Outstanding SF/F Horror of 2019 with 28 stories that were that were finalists for major SF/F awards, included in “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, or recommended by prolific reviewers in short fiction.

Included are some observations obtained by changing the Highlight from Free Online to Podcasts, changing the table View by Publication and Author, and Filtering the table by awards, year’s best anthologies, and reviewers.

(7) WHO HOLIDAY SPECIAL. There’s going to be a Doctor Who holiday special – but exactly which holiday, they haven’t said. “NYCC 2020: The Gang Has To Fight A Dalek While The Doctor’s Stuck In Space Prison In Holiday Special”.

A lthough the cast of Doctor Who couldn’t reveal much about the upcoming holiday special Revolution of the Daleks, they were able to give fans a taste of what to expect during the virtual Doctor Who Spotlight New York Comic Con panel.

During the panel, series stars Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, and Bradley Walsh explained that Revolution picks up where the Season 12 finale left off, with The Doctor stuck in a maximum security space prison, while her friends were back on Earth, completely unaware of the Time Lord’s incarceration.

(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.

  • Fifty years ago, the British SF Association Award went to John Brunner‘s The Jagged Orbit, and it followed his BSFA Award win in the previous year for Stand on Zanzibar which also won a Hugo at St. Louiscon. It would also be nominated for a Nebula but did not win. It was first published by Doubleday the previous year, but it hasn’t been printed in almost twenty years, though Open Road Integrated Media has it as an ebook available from the usual digital suspects. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born October 8, 1916 – George Turner.  Eight novels, a dozen shorter stories; anthology The View from the Edge; memoir In the Heart or in the Head; essays, letters, reviews, in AlgolAmazingAstoundingAustralian SF News, Australian SF ReviewFoundationMetaphysical RevNY Rev SFSF CommentaryVector; Chandler, Clarke Awards; nine Ditmars (three for fiction, six for criticism); more work outside our field.  Named Guest of Honor for Aussiecon Three the 57th Worldcon but died before it was held.  Stern, perhaps waspish, distinguished.  (Died 1997) [JH]
  • Born October 8, 1920 Frank Herbert. I’ll confess that I enjoyed Dune and Dune Messiah that’s as far as I got in the series. The BBC full cast audio version of Dune is quite amazing. The other Herbert novel I really liked was Under Pressure. Yes, I’ve read much more by him but all that I remember vividly. (Died 1986.) (CE) 
  • Born October 8, 1924 – Suzanne Martel.  Quatre Montréalais en l’an 3000 (tr. as The City Under Ground; rev. as Surréal 3000 and The City Undergound) seems to have been the first SF novel in Quebec (or Québec).  Two dozen novels in and out of our field.  Three ACELF Prizes (Association canadienne d’éducation de langue française), Metcalf Award (for body of work; Canadian Authors’ Ass’n), Canada Council Children’s Literature Award (for Nos Amis robots tr. Robot Alert), Governor General’s Literary Award.  (Died 2012) [JH]
  • Born October 8, 1928 John Bennett. A very long involvement in genre fiction starting with The Curse of the Werewolf in the early Sixties and ending forty years later with a role on the Minority Report series. Being a Brit, naturally he appeared on Doctor Who in the prime role of Li H’sen Chang as part of a Fourth Doctor story, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”. He had roles in Blake’s 7, Watership DownTales of The UnexpectedThe Plague DogsDark MythSherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (as Dr. Sigmund Freud!), Merlin of The Crystal Cave and The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells. (Died 2005.) (CE)
  • Born October 8, 1941 – Penny Frierson, 79.  Chaired DeepSouthCon 15, co-chaired ConFederation the 44th Worldcon.  Guest of Honor at Coastcon 1978 with husband Meade; fanzines with him e.g. Friersign Theater PresentsScarfing Humble Pie; play (with MF) Shattered Like a Clockwork Orange.  Rebel Award.  [JH]
  • Born October 8, 1946 – Andrew Stephenson, 74.  Two novels, five shorter stories; a dozen covers, five dozen interiors.  Here is Vector 69.  Here is the Aug 75 Galaxy.  Here is an interior for Inferno in its magazine serialization.  [JH]
  • Born October 8, 1949 – Richard Hescox, 71.  A hundred fifty covers, fifty interiors; more outside our field.  Artbooks The Fantasy Art of RHThe Deceiving Eye.  Gaughan Award.  Cover designer for DAW Books 1987-1994.  Here is Walkers on the Sky.  Here is Once on a Time.  Here is Dancer of the Sixth.  Here is The Sailor on the Seas of Fate.  Website here.  [JH]
  • Born October 8, 1949 Sigourney Weaver, 71. I’m picking her greatest genre role as being the dual roles of Gwen DeMarco and Lieutenant Tawny Madison in Galaxy Quest. Chicon 2000 did give the film Best Dramatic Presentation Award after all and it is a loving homage to all that is good in the genre. And yes, I know Conspiracy ‘87 gave Aliens a Best Dramatic Presentation Award as well but I’m really not a fan of that franchise. (CE)
  • Born October 8, 1951 Terry Hayes, 69. Screenwriter of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior which he co-wrote with George Miller & Brian Hannant, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with Miller, and From Hell (from the Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell novel) which he co-wrote with Rafael Yglesias. He’s also the writer of an unused screenplay, Return of the Apes. (CE)
  • Born October 8, 1954 Stephen Furst. Stephen is dead, damn it all. The saddest part of doing these birthdays is discovering how many folks have died that I reasonably expected were still living. Babylon 5 has had far too many deaths among its cast. He died of complications from diabetes at a far too young age. You know him most likely as Centauri diplomatic attaché Vir Cotto on Babylon 5, a decent being way over his head in a job he was ill-prepared for. He also directed three low-budget movies for the Sci Fi Channel: Dragon StormPath of Destruction, and Basilisk: The Serpent King; he additionally co-starred in the last two films. And he produced Atomic Shark which aired during Sharknado Week on Syfy. (Died 2017.) (CE) 
  • Born October 8, 1983 Molly C. Quinn, 37. Fey / Intern Molly / Melony on the Welcome to Night Night podcast and Pemily Stallwark on the sort of related Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast. She’s Jenny in the Authurian Avalon High series, and showed up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Howard’s date. (CE)
  • Born October 8, 1988 – Charlotte McConaghy, 32.  Author, screenwriter.  Eight novels.  Interested in nature and fierce women.  Migrations just released.  [JH]

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Off The Mark gives a genre example of a “senior moment.”

(11) BEA MOVIE. Leonard and Jessie Maltin’s latest podcast is “Howard Ashman Documentary” which is a double-length episode centering around Don Hahn’s documentary Howard:  The Howard Ashman Story, currently streaming on Disney+. Director Hahn, who the Maltins had interviewed before, is interviewed along with Ashman’s life partner, Bill Lauch; his sister, Sarah Gillespie;, composer Alan Menken; and Little Mermaid writer/director John Musker.

Fun fact:  the producers of The Little Mermaid modeled villain Ursula after Bea Arthur but Arthur never read for the part because her agent refused to send her the script because he didn’t want her playing a witch.

(12) GEORGE CARLIN. Matthew Berry’s ESPN fantasy football column begins with a reminiscence about his first boss, George Carlin, which some of you who don’t hang around sports sites might like to read just the same.

…To be specific, I was the stage PA (production assistant) for “The George Carlin Show,” a 1994 sitcom that ran on Fox, so technically I was the assistant to George and the rest of the cast. But George was the star and, you know, his name was in the title, so it was made clear to me by my bosses that my primary and even my secondary duty was taking care of George and anything he needed, any time he needed it.

I answered the stage phone for him (George didn’t have a cellphone back then). I got meals for him. I would drive scripts to his house, and then I would drive George’s handwritten notes on scripts (George preferred to write things out longhand, and if he used email back then I never saw it) and bring them back to the writers room, among many other various tasks, all of them with the sole purpose of making George’s life easier.

I absolutely loved working for him.

As kind and gentle a guy as you’d ever want to meet, someone if you didn’t know who he was you’d never guess was a living legend. The exact opposite of his on-stage persona, he was always positive, not angry. Soft-spoken and unassuming, he was the first guy on the set every morning and the last guy to leave….

(13) JEOPARDY! Rich Lynch says tonight’s Jeopardy! has a whole category on science fiction novels.

Andrew Porter found contestants had trouble with this item —

Category: The World is Not Enough

Answer: In a Larry Niven novel, a motley crew of explorers travel to this ribbon-like “world” that encircles a star.

Wrong question: What is Discworld?

(14) PEGG’S PARANORMAL PROJECT. SYFY Wire eavesdrops on the New York Comic Con program: “Truth Seekers: Nick Frost And His Co-Stars Share Their Own Ghost Stories At Nycc 2020”.

When the Ghostbusters are busy and can’t catch a last-minute flight to England, who ya gonna call? Truth Seekers! Before the new paranormal comedy series hits Amazon later this month, Nick Frost and most of the core cast stopped by New York Comic Con to discuss the project, which Frost co-created with Simon Pegg, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders. The panel kicked off with the actors recounting some of their personal experiences with the otherworldly.

After breaking up with a former girlfriend years ago, Frost came home to find all of his possessions (save for a single mattress) had been taken by his ex. With her gone, strange things started to happen.

“Me and Simon Pegg ended up sleeping on this single mattress and just watching The X-Files on this weird, TV-video player combo,” said the Shaun of the Dead actor, who plays Gus, a paranormal investigator posing as an internet technician. “But we’d hear the door banging all the time and this bell would ring. And then one day I was laying there, watching TV, and I felt a woman kiss my forehead. As I span ’round, thinking it was Simon mucking about, I was just there in the house on my own.”

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Daniel Craig was on Jimmy Fallon’s show on Monday and said that he had never had a martini until he was chosen as James Bond, so the first thing he did was to go to Whole Foods, get a bottle of vermouth and a bottle of vodka and learned how to make one.

[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Eric Wong, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinan, John Hertz, Rich Lynch, Dann, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]