Pixel Scroll 5/31/24 Scroll Dol! Pixel Dol! File A Dong Dillo!

(1) ARISTOTLE! In 2017 The New Yorker considered “Fantastic Beasts and How to Rank Them” Aristotle isn’t the only one who had an opinion.

Consider the yeti. Reputed to live in the mountainous regions of Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal. Also known by the alias Abominable Snowman. Overgrown, in both senses: eight or ten or twelve feet tall; shaggy. Shy. Possibly a remnant of an otherwise extinct species. More possibly an elaborate hoax, or an inextinguishable hope. Closely related to the Australian Yowie, the Canadian Nuk-luk, the Missouri Momo, the Louisiana Swamp Ape, and Bigfoot. O.K., then: on a scale not of zero to ten but of, say, leprechaun to zombie, how likely do you think it is that the yeti exists?

One of the strangest things about the human mind is that it can reason about unreasonable things. It is possible, for example, to calculate the speed at which the sleigh would have to travel for Santa Claus to deliver all those gifts on Christmas Eve. It is possible to assess the ratio of a dragon’s wings to its body to determine if it could fly. And it is possible to decide that a yeti is more likely to exist than a leprechaun, even if you think that the likelihood of either of them existing is precisely zero….

(2) IGLESIAS REVIEW COLUMN. Gabino Iglesias reviews four new horror books in the New York Times, Stephen King’s You Like It Darker: Stories (Scribner), Layla Martínez’s debut novel, Woodworm (Two Lines Press), Christina Henry’s The House That Horror Built (Berkley) and Pemi Aguda’s Ghostroots: Stories (Norton).

(3) SOME PIG! [Item by Dann.] Author Paul Hale has released the first episode of his next series for the Cinema Story Origins podcast.  This time around, he will be comparing and contrasting the book and movie versions of “Charlotte’s Web”. “Charlotte’s Web Part 1”.

(4) SPEED UPDATING. The latest in Joe Vasicek’s continuing series at One Thousand and One Parsecs is “How I would vote now: 2018 Hugo Award (Best Novel)” – a decision made easier by the fact that he didn’t read three of the books at all, and only read “the first couple pages” of a fourth.

How I Would Have Voted

  1. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
  2. No Award

Everything else from this year is pretty much terrible, in my opinion. I skipped The Stone Sky, Provenance, and Raven Strategem because those were all series that I had already DNFed….

A fourth finalist that he actually started was Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2140.

(5) CCB CASE ANALYZED. At Writer Beware a guest post looks over a case involving “Disney, Books, and the Copyright Claims Board”.

Writer Beware has been covering the Copyright Claims Board since it started accepting cases in 2022. A small claims court for copyright matters, the CCB offers an alternative to the expensive court battles that previously were the only path to resolving copyright disputes, providing creators with a streamlined, inexpensive method of adjudicating cases of infringement, misuse, and other alleged malfeasance…..

Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today says:

…Overall, the CCB did a good job. Though it cited the most recent Supreme Court ruling, which was handed down just four days before this final determination was published, the CCB didn’t get bogged down needlessly in the injury rule/discovery rule debate. Instead, it turned to the Raging Bull case, allowing the case to move forward but only looking back three years.

That filing delay deeply hurt the claimant. Not only did the vast majority of the alleged infringement take place during the excluded time, but much of the relevant evidence was also from then. Key pieces of that evidence were simply gone.

As the CCB pointed out, the burden of proof is on the claimant. While Disney may have some responsibility, there wasn’t enough (or any) evidence to prove it. If the case had been filed before 2018, things might have progressed very differently.

It is a frustrating case. As small as the infringement may have been, it feels like someone should be held responsible for it. However, the evidence simply didn’t support holding Disney accountable. If this case had been filed earlier or targeted Hoopla directly, there might have been a different outcome.

Ultimately, I think the CCB made the right call, even if my sympathies lie with the author and her publisher….

(6) FANS B.C. Atlas Obscura finds that “Before ‘Fans,’ There Were ‘Kranks,’ ‘Longhairs,’ and ‘Lions’” – a study that encompasses sports, theater, and finally, science fiction.

THE EXACT ORIGINS OF THE modern term “fan” are disputed, but most look to the 1880s, where it was first used by American newspapers to describe particularly invested baseball enthusiasts. But “fan” was just one of the words the press, leagues, clubs, and baseball enthusiasts themselves were using at the time. They were called “enthusiasts,” but also a whole host of other names, from “rooters” to “bugs” to “fiends” to “cranks,” sometimes spelled—as in the German word for “sick”—as “krank.”…

… This, of course, stretches across the history of fandom: Differences like age, geography, approach, and values can lead to different groups forming around the same thing. Trekkies versus Trekkers, for instance, or Holmesians versus Sherlockians. “How you name yourself says a lot about what you think of yourself and your very intense passions,” Cavicchi says. “But at the same time, another name or variation on the name, or another use of your name, maybe in a derogatory sense, may say something about what the culture thinks about you.” Modern fandom terms like “stan” and “fangirl” can connote very different things depending on the speaker—overly emotional and uncontrollable to a critic, or a term of in-group recognition to fellow fans….

(7) TAKING POPCORN OUT OF THE MOUTH OF A SUPERHERO. Does this popcorn bucket need a trigger warning? Consider it given. “Ryan Reynolds unveils hilarious ‘Deadpool and Wolverine’ popcorn bucket” at Entertainment Weekly.

Dune began this war, but Ryan Reynolds isn’t backing down from it. Following the popularity of the Dune: Part Two custom popcorn bucket (which was shaped like the gaping jaws of a sandworm), Reynolds unveiled Deadpool and Wolverine‘s own bucket on Thursday….

…Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige teased that the bucket would be “intentionally crude and lewd” at CinemaCon, and now we get to see it for ourselves.

Similar to the Dune bucket, the top of the Deadpool and Wolverine popcorn container is shaped like a mouth — Wolverine’s mouth, that is. If you’ve ever wanted to shove your hand down the clawed mutant’s throat…well, now’s your chance….

(8) MEMORY LANE.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

May 31, 1993 Total Recall, the one and only true Total Recall, premiered on this date in Los Angeles thirty-four years ago. So let’s talk about it.

As you most likely know, it’s based off Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” which not surprisingly can be found in the We Can Remember It for You Wholesale collection. 

Ronald Shusett who wrote the original script for Alien, not the one that was filmed, bought the film rights to it fourteen years prior to it making it to the screen. It went through at least four studios over sixteen years, some forty script drafts, seven different directors and a potential cast of what seemed like hundreds. In other words, what is called development hell. 

It didn’t get better as it was being film when the De Laurentiis company went bankrupt. Oh well. 

Schwarzenegger wanted to play that role but had been dismissed as inappropriate for the lead role by, well, everyone including the De Laurentiis company, but he convinced the Carolco Pictures to purchase the rights and develop the film with him as the star.

In 2024 terms, the film cost two hundred million dollars.  Quite a bit given that Foundation is only costing Apple five point five million an episode for the current season.  Cost overruns were so common that the bankers gave up trying to figure out what it’d cost to make it. No, none jumped out windows but I bet they thought about it… 

Shusett was the co-director here along with Frederick Feitshans. Why him? Because he’d directed Schwarzenegger on Conan the Barbarian and he wanted him here. If you’re getting the idea, that is a vanity project of Schwarzenegger, you’re not far off as the shooting script was also approved by him. 

Setting him aside, it had a lead cast that you’ll (mostly) recognize— Rachel Ticotin,  Sharon Stone,  Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox. Each went to be a major star save Rachel Ticotin. The other three you’ll know as being in any number of genre films though Stone is best known for Basic Instinct which cannot ever be stretched under any circumstances to be genre adjacent and shouldn’t even be really considered for its police procedural angle really. Seriously no one went to see it for that. 

It’s an entertaining film that I like. I’m amazed Gary Goldman, a film producer, director, animator, writer and even voice actor, was able to make sense of the nearly forty scripts that everyone had a hand in – even Dan O’Bannon at one point. But he did. He even went back to the original script based off the Dick work. Verhoeven read each one of these, bless him, and highlighted those he wanted Goldman to reference.

Yes, the specials effects by Industrial Light & Magic were extraordinary, as is the actual physical work that had to done like The Earth train station which was filmed in the Mexico City Metro and all of the exterior Mars scenes took place at the Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada. 

The critics were mostly either unfavorable or meh on it with a few impressed. Even when they praised the production values and Schwarzenegger’s performance, they really, really criticized the violent content. 

It turned to be one of the year’s most successful films. On its release, the film earned approximately $261.4 million worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year.

I rewatched it a few years back. Does it hold up well? The Suck Fairy says yes and I agree. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brewster Rockit reports there are some things everyone must watch.
  • Non Sequitur demonstrates a problem that might be unfamiliar today.

(10) TEDDY HARVIA CARTOON.

(11) DON’T LOSE YOUR WAY WHEN YOU CHOOSE YOUR WAY. “These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books”Atlas Obscura unveils an example.

Reading a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book can feel like being lost in a maze and running through twists and turns only to find dead ends, switchbacks, and disappointment. In the books—for those not familiar with them—you read until you come to a decision point, which prompts you to flip to another page, backward or forward. The early books in the series, which began in 1979, have dozens of endings, reached through branching storylines so complex that that trying to keep track of your path can seem hopeless—no matter how many fingers you stick into the book in order to find your way back to the key, fateful choice. You might end up back at an early fork again, surprised at how far you traveled only to reemerge at a simple decision, weighted with consequences that you couldn’t have imagined at the beginning.

The last installment of the original “Choose Your Own Adventure” series came out in 1998, but since 2004, Chooseco, founded by one of the series’ original authors, R.A. Montgomery, has been republishing classic volumes, as well as new riffs on the form of interactive fiction that seemed ubiquitous in the 1980s and ’90s. The new editions also carry an additional feature—maps of the hidden structure of each book….

…The meat of “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories are gender-neutral romps in worlds where there are no obviously right or wrong moral choices. There’s danger around bend, usually in the form of something like space monkeys, malicious ghosts, or conniving grown-ups. Even with a map, there’s no way to find out what really comes next without making a choice and flipping to another page….

(12) BROOKER Q&A. “Black Mirror Season 7: Charlie Brooker Talks AI, USS Callister Sequel” in The Hollywood Reporter.

…In the conversation below, Brooker reveals what inspired him to create the episode (while musing about what a sequel could look like) and weighs in on the AI conversation now, while also discussing the upcoming seventh season of Black Mirror and the show’s first-ever (and highly anticipated) sequel to the Emmy-winning season four “USS Callister” episode.

***

The timing of the release of “Joan Is Awful” may be the most Charlie Brooker thing that has ever happened. What was it like to watch that play out as the AI conversation began to explode?

It was really odd. So, I must have written it in June-July in 2022. When we shot it, it was September-October. It was just before ChatGPT launched. I think it was about a week later that ChatGPT came out and suddenly, everyone was talking about generative AI and how all creative jobs were going to be replaced, pushed out or automated. There’s also a lot of raw animal panic that takes over as a writer as soon as you see some of that generative AI output. I’d seen some of [AI chatbot app] Midjourney, the image generating stuff.

For a while I had wanted to do a story about a news network that bills itself as satire that isn’t showing news but is showing satirical content, which is photorealistic imagery of political figures either being humiliated or looking heroic. And the idea that was a strange way of doing propaganda that they could claim was satirical, but that was ridiculous and absurd. It was a funny and disturbing idea, but I couldn’t work out quite what the story was.

Then I was watching The Dropout, the Hulu drama about the Theranos scandal starring Amanda Seyfried, with my wife and we were discussing how weird it would be — because it was dramatizing very recent events — if you were Elizabeth Holmes watching this and it’s getting so up to date that in a minute, she’s going to put the TV on and see The Dropout. And so those two ideas kind of glommed together: of AI-generated imagery starring real figures — and a dramatization of somebody’s life that’s depicting them in a terrible light. (Laughs.)

As “Joan” came out, I knew it was timely. That season was originally going to be a season of all horror stories called Red Mirror. I was part way into the season and then I had this idea and I thought: It’s not horror. I mean, it’s existentially terrifying, but it’s not horror. It’s definitely a very Black Mirror idea. So I thought, “Fuck it, OK” [about the Red Mirror idea]. I felt like it had to be done now. I definitely couldn’t wait for another season to do it. So when the ChatGPT conversation caught fire and when it became a huge issue because of the strikes, I was slightly wiping my brow with relief that we got the episode out before. The timing of it was surreal. Hopefully, it added to the conversation….

(13) ANOTHER ENTRY RAMP. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] …On the infinite helical slide into the bottomless pit. “Hollywood Nightmare? New Streaming Service Lets Viewers Create Their Own Shows Using AI” in The Hollywood Reporter.

Fable, the studio behind the viral AI-generated ‘South Park’ clips, has announced a streaming platform that allows users to create their own content.

Generative artificial intelligence is coming for streaming, with the release of a platform dedicated to AI content that allows users to create episodes with a prompt of just a couple of words.

Fable Studio, an Emmy-winning San Francisco startup, on Thursday announced Showrunner, a platform the company says can write, voice and animate episodes of shows it carries. Under the initial release, users will be able to watch AI-generated series and create their own content — complete with the ability to control dialogue, characters and shot types, among other controls.

The endeavor marks the tech industry’s further encroachment onto Hollywood as it eyes the exploitation of AI tools embroiled in controversy over their potential to streamline production and the possibility they were created using copyrighted materials from creators they could eventually displace. Amid the industry’s historic dual strikes last year, in which the use of AI emerged as a contentious negotiating point, Fable released an AI-generated episode of South Park to showcase its tech. While some mocked it for its comedic misses, others pointed to the video as a leap forward in the tech and proof of concept that AI tools will soon allow viewers to more actively engage with content, possibly by creating their own. It also demonstrated the threat the tech poses to creators whose labor could be undermined if it’s adopted into the production pipeline.

“The vision is to be the Netflix of AI,” says chief executive Edward Saatchi. “Maybe you finish all of the episodes of a show you’re watching and you click the button to make another episode. You can say what it should be about or you can let the AI make it itself.”…

(14) CAN THE NEXT MUMMY BE A WHALE OF A TALE? World of Reel reports “’The Mummy’ Sequel in the Works, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz to Return”.

According to Daniel Richtman, “The Mummy” franchise has a new sequel in development over at Universal — Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz set to return in their respective roles. If you remember, the franchise abruptly ended after 2008’s “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” — budgeted at $175 million— barely made a profit.

The 1999 original was written and directed by Stephen Sommers and was a remake of the 1932 film of the same name. Despite mixed reviews, it was a commercial success and grossed over $416 million worldwide. The film’s success spawned two direct sequels, 2001’s “The Mummy Returns,” and 2008’s “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.”

“The Mummy” was an incredible success for Universal on home video, selling 7 million units on VHS and 1 million on DVD, making it that year’s best-selling live-action VHS and second best-selling DVD. This all resulted in Universal grossing over $1 billion in home video sales. It seemed as though everyone you knew owned a copy of this movie.

Fraser is hot right now and is in the comeback phase of his career. In 2023, he won an Oscar for “The Whale” and has been piling up projects ever since….

(15) VOYAGER NOW. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] In this week’s Science journal there is a look at the Voyager probe, its recovery from computer failure and the mystery region of space it is now entering.  It appears that pulses of Solar plasma are hitting the interstellar medium boundary causing reverberations or it could be plasma clouds from another star…. “Voyager 1 science resumes after interstellar crisis”.

Before a computer crash, venerable NASA probe entered mysterious new region of space Voyager 1, the first earthly object to exit the Solar System may be traversing a plasma cloud from another star.

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

Pixel Scroll 4/22/24 Pixel Walked Through A Wall Where She Encountered More Pixels

(1) CLARKE AWARD SUBMISSION LIST. The complete list of eligible books received by Arthur C. Clarke Award judges has been posted in “Carbon-Based Bipeds: Apr 22nd. This year the judges received 117 eligible titles from 50 UK publishing imprints and independent authors. 

(2) PEN AMERICA MAKES LITERARY AWARDS DECISIONS. “PEN America Cancels 2024 Literary Awards Ceremony” reports Publishers Weekly.

PEN America has canceled its 2024 Literary Awards ceremony, which was previously scheduled to be held at the Town Hall in New York City on April 29, although some awards will still be conferred. The move follows months of steadily mounting criticism of the organization over its response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which culminated last week in 28 authors withdrawing books from consideration for the awards, including nine of the 10 authors nominated for the organization’s top prize, the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award.

“We greatly respect that writers have followed their consciences, whether they chose to remain as nominees in their respective categories or not,” PEN America literary programming chief officer Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf said in a statement. “We regret that this unprecedented situation has taken away the spotlight from the extraordinary work selected by esteemed, insightful and hard-working judges across all categories. As an organization dedicated to freedom of expression and writers, our commitment to recognizing and honoring outstanding authors and the literary community is steadfast.”

The $75,000 prize accompanying the PEN/Stein award will be donated, this year, to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund at the direction of the Literary Estate of Jean Stein….

The five finalists and winning titles for each of the more than 20 awards conferred by PEN America had already been selected by judges during deliberations held before the mass withdrawals, the organization said in a statement. As a result, the organization continued, the two winners who remained under consideration for their awards will receive their cash prizes. Those include Countries of Origin by Javier Fuentes (Pantheon), which was chosen to win the $10,000 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, and The Blue House: Collected Works of Tomas Tranströmer by the late Tomas Tranströmer, translated from the Swedish by Patty Crane (Copper Canyon Press), which was chosen to win the $3,000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.

No winners will be announced if the winning title was withdrawn from consideration for the award,…

(3) CLARION WORKSHOP 2024. The Clarion Workshop at UCSD has announced the Clarion class of 2024:

The Clarion Workshop at UCSD  also plans to bring back the Write-A-Thon this year.

Last summer we saw enormous success in our Indiegogo fundraising campaign, but we also missed joining in writerly solidarity with the larger Clarion community. That’s why we’re returning to our roots–but we’re also hoping to shake things up a little (more news on this soon!)

As always, this year’s Thon will run concurrently with the workshop (June 23 to Aug 3) to help Clarion raise scholarship money to support future students. The Write-a-Thon also helps participants commit to writing goals for the summer. 

We’ll include more details for how to participate and contribute in our next newsletter. In the meantime, it’s time to start thinking about your writing goals for the summer. We can’t wait to hear more about them!

(4) THE X-MAN AND THE WHY-MAN. Deadline shares “’Deadpool and Wolverine’ Trailer”. Deadpool & Wolverine is set to arrive in theaters on July 26. Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool, and Hugh Jackman reprises his role of Wolverine in the Marvel film.

(5) READERS TAKE DENVER, AUTHORS GIVE IT BACK. [Item by Anne Marble.] On Threads, there are a lot of upset posts about Readers Take Denver — an event for authors and readers. If you see “RTD” trending, that’s why. This weekend, it was one of the top trending items on Threads. On Twitter, the Readers Take Denver posts were mostly positive — until later on Sunday. (On Twitter, if you search for RTD, you get mainly posts about Russell T Davies of Dr. Who, so I had a hard time finding information at first.) Here are some newer Twitter posts taking on the event:

On Threads, there are so many posts that “RTD” got its own tag on Threads: tag on Threads (registration required).  

Here is a good starting place on Threads (registration not required): @charlottedaeauthor: “After scouring Threads for information regarding Readers Take Denver, here’s what I’m gathering”.

This Thread also has details: @storiesdontcare “Readers Take Denver is an absolute logistical atrocity. $300 for a ticket”.

How influencers were treated: @authorncaceres “Influencers received different treatment. 1st they were told not to film anywhere. Then they were…”.

There were also accessibility issues: @rinkrat702 “Readers take Denver. Accessibility: me when I signed up. ‘I’d love to be on the ADA team’”.

It’s mostly a romance event, but it included romantasy authors — including big names such as Rebecca Yarros (“Fourth Wing”). There was also a day for thriller authors, including Jason Pinter and Mark Greaney. It sounds as if the organizers got way in over their heads. They had something like 3,000 attendees. And a huge list of authors (“Attending Authors / Narrators – Readers Take Denver”). Many think they aimed too high and ended up with a logistical nightmare.

There are allegations that the registration line took 3 hours — Also, signing lines took a very long time as well — too many authors in a small space without enough time allotted for the event. Authors are alleging that items were stolen from them (such as boxes of books). I’ve read about at least one case where an author’s books were accidentally given away as “swag.”

Also, the organizers apparently ran out of lanyards (!) and swag bags. And they didn’t have enough bottled water for the authors. Many readers enjoyed the event and had no issues, but other readers felt that they were ripped off.

It sounds like they needed better security, too. Later on Sunday, sexual assault allegations emerged. Several men attending another event entered RTD (despite having no badges) and groped women at RTD.

(6) SOFANAUTS LAUNCHES. Tony Smith hosts a new podcast — Sofanauts. He says the podcast mixes science fiction and technology. Two episodes are already available.

…Each week I’ll be joined by futurist, educator, speaker and writer Bryan Alexander (Thursdays) to talk about science fiction and technology. We’ll be discussing our favourite books, movies, and TV shows, as well as the latest technological developments that are shaping the future from the the very books, films and TV shows we’ve watched and read over the years….

(7) RAY GARTON (1962-2024). [Item by Anne Marble.] Horror author Ray Garton passed away on April 21. The announcement came from Dawn Garton on his Facebook page:

On April 9, 2024, he had posted on Facebook that he was in the hospital with stage 4 lung cancer.

Garton was named a World Horror Convention Grand Master in 2006.

Among others, Stephen King posted about his death:

A GoFundMe was started earlier in April by a family friend. “Ray Garton~Beloved Master of Horror”.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born April 22, 1937 Jack Nicholson, 87. My all-time must watch again performance by Jack Nicholson is that of him playing Daryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick. I’ve refused to watch any of the later versions of The Witches of Eastwick simply because I can’t picture anyone else being that character.   

Bill Murray had been cast in the role had dropped out before even preliminary filming began. Jack Nicholson expressed interest in playing the role of Daryl to the producers through his then-girlfriend Anjelica Huston who was then being seriously considered for a role there. (Apparently the role Susan Sarandon got according to several sites.) So thus we got The Devil in the form of him. Brilliant role.

Jack Nicholson, center, Murray Close, right.

Now his first role in the genre was in The Little Shop of Horrors, the true one of course, not the latter one, as Wilbur Force, The Dentist.  Because Corman did not believe that The Little Shop of Horrors had any chance of making money at all after its first run, he did not bother to copyright it, resulting in the film entering public domain immediately, so I can show you this scene with him in that role.

His next film, another Roger Corman affair, The Raven, was better known forc who he was performing with than for him being in it, those performers being Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff. He played Lorre’s son, Rexford Bedlo. Poe’s “The Raven” poem was very, very faintly the basis of this film. Think a drop of blood in a gallon of water.

He’s Andre Duvalier in The Terror. Here he’s a French officer who is seduced by a woman who is also a shapeshifting devil. 

Now we come to what critics consider his best performance of all time, that of Jack Torrance in The Shining based off King’s novel which was produced and directed by Kubrick who co-wrote it with Diane Johnson. Look I can’t judge his role there as I do not do horror of that sort, so it’s up to the collective wisdom here to tell me how he was there. Go ahead, tell me. 

Now I did see Batman. Several times. And yes, I like it a lot. And yes, I thought he made a most excellent Joker. And one of the best Jack Napiers as well, a role that is even harder to get right. (The animated B:TAS series did so by showing him smartly dressed and grinning evilly but not speaking after committing a cold blooded murder. They’d refer to him several times over the series and in The Mark of The Phantasm film which I highly recommend.) So it was a very good role for him.

In Wolf, he was Will Randall. A middle-aged chief editor who hits a wolf with his car who is actually a werewolf who bites him. A Very Bad Idea Indeed. He chews a lot of scenery here. A lot. And he can, as we saw in Batman, chew scenery really, really well. Actually he did so in The Witches of Eastwick brilliantly as well. 

Finally there’s Tim Burton’s LoneStarCon 2 Hugo-nominated Mars Attacks! where he plays two roles, President James Dale and Art Land. I’ll be damn if I remember the latter role now nearly thirty years on after seeing it. One moment… Oh I see, he was the Galaxy Casino owner. No, that still didn’t help. The President James Dale character was fascinating if only as for being a much less in your face role than some of his other genre roles such as those of The ShiningBatman, and Wolf

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) TEDDY HARVIA CARTOON. Another of Teddy’s Belphegor cartoons. “I must have sold my soul to the Devil to come up with such funny stuff.”

(11) X MARKS A LOT OF SPOTS. Check out the first half of Scott Koblish’s connecting cover that run across four upcoming X-Men titles: X-Men #35 (Legacy #700), X-Men #1, Uncanny X-Men #1, and Exceptional X-Men #1. (Click for larger image – though still might not see a lot of detail.)

It’s a great time to be an X-Men fan! In addition to their animated resurgence in Marvel Studios’ X-Men ’97, the X-Men’s comic book line is closing out its’ revolutionary Krakoan age of storytelling AND gearing up for the exciting all-new From the Ashes era this summer! To celebrate this iconic franchise’s recent milestone, acclaimed artist Scott Koblish has crafted an insanely epic connecting cover that will grace some of the most highly-anticipated upcoming X-Men comic releases…. 

Showcasing the entirety of the X-Men’s 60-year publication history, including core X-Men series as well as spinoffs and limited series, this breathtaking group shot spotlights A-List X-Men, obscure mutants, super villains, allies, super hero guest stars, and much more. Test your knowledge of the mutant mythos by finding your favorites and identifying as many characters as you can!  For more information, visit Marvel.com.

(12) ASTEROIDS QUIZ. Brick Barrientos’ “Asteroids One-Day Special” went live on April 15. He says “Rich Horton was among my playtesters.” Here is the link to the quiz: https://www.learnedleague.com/oneday.php?5701.

The first question has audio which can only be heard by Learned League members – but you can eavesdrop on the copy hosted at Brick’s Google Drive:

1.  What astronomer and composer of this piece first suggested the term “asteroid”, just after the discovery of Pallas, the next body discovered after Ceres? Although at that time, the term was intended to apply also to the moons; objects with a star-like point appearance. 

(13) NOW, VOYAGER. [Item by PJ Evans.] In far-out news, Voyager 1 seems to be communicating again: “NASA’s Voyager 1 Resumes Sending Engineering Updates to Earth”.

…For the first time since November, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft is returning usable data about the health and status of its onboard engineering systems. The next step is to enable the spacecraft to begin returning science data again. The probe and its twin, Voyager 2, are the only spacecraft to ever fly in interstellar space (the space between stars)….

…The team discovered that a single chip responsible for storing a portion of the FDS memory — including some of the FDS computer’s software code — isn’t working. The loss of that code rendered the science and engineering data unusable. Unable to repair the chip, the team decided to place the affected code elsewhere in the FDS memory. But no single location is large enough to hold the section of code in its entirety.

So they devised a plan to divide the affected code into sections and store those sections in different places in the FDS. To make this plan work, they also needed to adjust those code sections to ensure, for example, that they all still function as a whole….

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. It’s a tight one. “Most awkward moments in superhero filming”.

Great power comes with… a painful costumes. Today, it’s about the unavoidable pain of being a superhero.

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

Pixel Scroll 4/14/24 Something For Everyone, A Pixel Scroll Tonight!

(1) PROBABLY SOMETHING. I would use Patrick Morris Miller’s entire verse as the title if it wouldn’t break Jetpack. Here are the lyrics he posted in comments.

Something quite fannish,
Something quite slannish,
Something for everyone,
A pixel scroll tonight!

from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Consuite

(2) TAFF NEWS. Taffluorescence 4, downloadable from the link, has the latest on the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund: (1) a two-vote correction to the TAFF results reported a couple weeks ago, (2) winner Sarah Gulde’s basic itinterary, and (3) financial information.  

(3) QUANTUM SHORTS WINNERS. The winners of the Quantum Shorts flash fiction contest have been announced. The stories can be read at the links.

First Prize

Runner-Up

People’s Choice Prize

The two stories were selected for the competition’s top honors by Quantum Shorts judges Chad Orzel, George Musser, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, José Ignacio Latorre, Ken Liu, Leonardo Benini and Tania De Rozario from a shortlist of ten quantum-inspired stories. The winner receives $1500, and the runner-up gets $1000.

The People’s Choice Prize was chosen by a public poll on the shortlist, and includes $500.

In addition to the shortlist award, certificate and digital subscription to Scientific American that is awarded to all the finalists, the three winners will receive cash awards and an engraved trophy.

(4) FOR XUYA COMPLETISTS. “The Universe of Xuya by Aliette de Bodard” at Laura’s Library.

…The Universe of Xuya by Aliette de Bodard is one of the Best Series finalists for the 2024 Hugo Awards.  As this point, there are two novels and 33 pieces of short fiction (4 novellas, 13 novelettes, and 16 short stories).  Since the main connection between them is the setting, they can pretty much be read independently and in any order.  Take a look at the author’s webpage about the series for suggestions on where to start and background information….

(5) WRITER BEWARE. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman explains “How a Book Really Becomes a Movie” in a guest post at Writer Beware. Here the introduction.

… The filmmaking industry baffles many—even those working in it. The reality is, there is no single way to get a film made. There are quite literally as many ways to break in as there are writers who’ve successfully done so, making scams harder to identify.

Sadly, when someone proactively reaches out to you, you have to assume it’s fake until you can prove otherwise. With scams abounding, the burden of proof has shifted. Due diligence has never been more important.

  • You do NOT need a screenplay to sell your book-to-film rights.
  • You do NOT need a sizzle reel or “cinematic trailer”.
  • You do NOT need storyboards.
  • You do NOT need mood boards.
  • You should NOT have to pay any upfront fees.
  • You should NOT be required to buy anything.

Let’s go through the traditional paths first, then I’ll share an unusual story to demonstrate how varied this process can be….

(6) IF YOU LIKE SCIENCE IN YOUR SF. AND ROMANCE. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] The Bookseller had an article about an upcoming romance novel that has a plot element that might be relevant to File 770: “Rights – Corvus snaps up Rose McGee’s STEM rom-com Talk Data to Me”.

Corvus has snapped up Rose McGee’s “delightful” STEM rom-com, Talk Data to Me…

“Physicists Dr Erin Monaghan and Dr Ethan Meyer are bitter rivals,” the synopsis says. “They are each at the forefront of their opposing fields and competing for everything: grant money, lab time, government backing. But fate has lined up a meet-cute on the pages of sci-fi magazine Galactica. Erin’s short story and Ethan’s illustrations are paired for publication, and when they meet online as their alter egos ‘Aaron Forster’ and ‘Bannister’, sparks fly.”

(7) HOMEMADE WHO. “Watch: The Doctor Who movie being filmed in Cardiff” at Nation Cymru.

A Doctor Who fan feature film described as a ‘passionate tribute to the classic ’70s and ’80s series’ is being filmed in Cardiff using local amateur actors and crew.

The movie titled ‘Dr Who meets The Scorpion’ is to be released as a non-profit film on YouTube purely for the pleasure of the fans to watch.

As of last month – 45 minutes of the 70 minute feature film is already in the can.

Now the makers of the movie have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed to complete filming…. [Dr Who meets the Scorpion at Greenlit]

Are there any copyright implications in making something like this and how would you circumnavigate them?

There are literally hundreds of Dr Who fan films out there on Youtube. As well as Star Trek, Star Wars, James Bonds fan films. As long as you don’t try to make money out of something like Doctor Who that belongs to the BBC there has never been a problem. If you put it out on Youtube for free purely for the enjoyment of the fans then I don’t think the BBC is concerned. I’m not trying to compete with the BBC series and wouldn’t want to. How could we on our tiny budget? We’re trying to give a flavour of the 70s/80s series with a bit of the Peter Cushing Dalek movies thrown in as well. It’s my homage to the days of the classic series where the ingenuity of the designers faced with a tight budget produced some iconic sets and monsters out of nothing. Just like I’m having to do! That’s always been the charm of the classic series for me.

What is the plotline of Dr Who meets The Scorpion without giving away spoilers obviously?

The Doctor bumps into Jennie in a deserted warehouse at night, both there to find out more about the mysterious Scorpion company. They start to unravel a fiendish plot by the arch villain Scorpion and his right hand man Taylor which takes them from Earth to a planet far, far away! Thrills, spills, monsters, peril and adventure await them…and we couldn’t resist including the iconic Daleks as well!…

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born April 14, 1925 Rod Steiger. (Died 2002.) Let’s start with Rod Steiger’s best-known genre role as Carl in The Illustrated Man. The film is based off of three short stories from Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man released first seventy-three years ago, “The Veldt”, “The Long Rain” and “The Last Night of the World” with all three having been published elsewhere previously. 

Need I say that I madly, deeply love this collection?  I have it as an audiobook from Audible with the narrator being Scott Brick who does the Philip Marlowe series. 

Rod Steiger being illustrated.

Steiger gives his usual commanding performance though I do think he was a bit much at times. Hostile and violent, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for him. That of course is the role. And setting aside the role, there’s that illustrated body. I wasn’t sure if it was his body that got illustrated or not until I actually found the image below which indicates that indeed he got inked before every filming session. Cool.

Let’s not forget the other two principal actors, Claire Bloom and Robert Drives, who put on magnificent performances as well.  It was nominated for a Hugo at Heicon ’70.

He had several genre roles after that, all interesting. 

A decade after this film, he’s in The Amityville Horror as Father Francis ‘Frank’ Delaney, a rather great role. 

He’s Dr. Phillip Lloyd in The Kindred. Hey, it has a tentacled baby in it. Need I say more? 

In Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! he is a United States Army General who did not trust the Martians, and advised nuclear warfare against them, an action which that is not allowed by President Dale.

He sank his teeth, no I couldn’t resist into his next role as Dr. Van Helsing, leader of Van Helsing’s Institute of Vienna in Modern Vampires (also known as Revenant). 

Finally he’s in an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, End of Days, a horror film about a young woman who is chosen to bear the Antichrist. He’s Father Kovac here. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) ALSO KNOWN AS. Rich Horton has put together a “Pseudonyms Quiz” for readers of Strange at Ecbatan.

…Most of these questions are about writers, but there are some from the film world, one singer, and one more politically-oriented individual. I’ll have answers in a couple of days. If you wish, leave your guess in the comments….

I got 11 out of 16, greatly aided by the hints that Horton sprinkled along the way. Not bad, but I expect to hear from Filers who have run the table.

(11) ADD ONE TO THE BUCKET LIST. “Deadpool & Wolverine Getting ‘Intentionally Crude’ Popcorn Bucket Kevin Feige Reveals” – story at Comicbook.com.

…While the folks behind the Dune: Part Two bucket (probably) didn’t intend for people to view it in a lewd way, Marvel Studios has decided to take the idea and run with it for Deadpool & WolverineKevin Feige took the stage at CinemaCon today during Disney’s presentation and revealed the movie will have an intentionally risqué popcorn bucket. 

“Deadpool & Wolverine is getting a popcorn bucket which will be intentionally crude and lewd. #CinemaCon,” ComicBook.com‘s Brandon Davis shared on Twitter while attending the presentation…

(12) GRADE INFLATION. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] This Variety article about movies presented at industry-insider CinemaCon is packed with information on upcoming releases. But it’s hard to take their overall conclusions too seriously since none of the companies’ slates received a grade below a B-. “CinemaCon Winners and Losers: ‘Gladiator 2,’ ‘Wicked,’ ‘Deadpool 3’”.

Hollywood decamped for Las Vegas this week for CinemaCon, looking to reassure movie theater owners and executives that they had what it takes to keep audiences flocking to cinemas through 2024 and beyond. And despite odes to the magic of the big screen experience, there was a whiff of desperation in the artificially-oxygenated, cigarette-perfumed air of Caesars Palace, where the annual exhibition trade show takes place.

That’s because the box office hasn’t recaptured its pre-pandemic stride — studios estimate that roughly 15% to 20% of frequent moviegoers have yet to resume their old entertainment habits now that COVID has dissipated. Plus, the labor strikes that consumed the media industry for much of the previous year as actors and writers hit the picket lines resulted in production delays that left theaters with fewer movies to hawk on their marquees….

….After four days filled with hours-long pitches to tease blockbuster hopefuls and big gambles, Variety has assessed the studio presentations that may have missed the mark or could just salvage the struggling box office….

(13) STIFFED AGAIN. In Morecambe & Wise’s 1980 Christmas Special, Peter Cushing makes another attempt to get the money he’s owed for appearing in the M&W show in the early 70’s

(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Jim Benson’s TV Time Machine investigates “What Happened to the Rod Serling’s Night Gallery Paintings?”

What happened to the Night Gallery paintings? Night Gallery co-author Jim Benson reveals the strange and sometimes sad fate of these classic, and valuable, TV artifacts. The fate of the Night Gallery paintings has always been shrouded in mystery–until now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcript here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harlan Ellison and Trina Robbins at the 1955 Midwestcon.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(8) COMICS SECTION.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it a family-friendly movie?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pixel Scroll 3/31/24 I Shall Name This Clever WordPlay After Myself, Said Tom Eponymously

(1) WHY BARDON DECLINED A 2024 HUGO NOMINATION. Natasha Bardon has posted on Instagram her reasons for declining her Best Editor, Long Form Hugo nomination: 

Learn more about Bardon in this interview from 2020 – “An Interview With… Natasha Bardon” — and this news item from the Bookseller in 2022 – “Bardon promoted to publisher at HarperVoyager and Magpie Books”.

(2) WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT. Cora Buhlert analyzes all the categories in “Some Thoughts on the 2024 Hugo Finalists” which were announced at the UK Eastercon.

Here is Buhlert’s reaction to the voters’ picks for Best Related:

Best Related

I guess everybody knows my strong preference for well-researched non-fiction in this category by now, so I’m pleased that five of six finalists in this category are actually books.

The late Maureen Kincaid Speller was an always insightful critic, so I’m glad to see the collection  A Traveller in Time: The Critical Practice of Maureen Kincaid Speller by Maureen Kincaid Speller, edited by Nina Allan, on the ballot.

Volumes 2 and 3 of Chinese Science Fiction: An Oral History, edited by Yang Feng, are the sequels to the first volume which was nominated in this category last year and most worthy they are, too.

All These Worlds: Reviews & Essays by Niall Harrison does exactly what it says on the tin. I haven’t this collection yet, but it’s exactly the sort of thing I like to see in this category.

A City on Mars by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith is an illustrated popular science book about how feasible it is to colonise Mars. I wasn’t familiar with this book at all, though again it absolutely fits into this category.

The Culture: The Drawings by Iain M. Banks is an art book collecting drawings that the late Iain M. Banks did of spacecraft, locations, etc… of his Culture series. Again, I had no idea that this book existed, but it’s most fitting finalist.

Finally, we have a podcast or rather videocast named Discover X nominated in this category. Discover X appears to be a collection of interviews with various SMOFs and SFF professionaly done by Tina Wong at last year’s Chengdu Worldcon.

Discover X was initially nominated in Best Fancast, but since it is a professional project, it was moved into Best Related. This isn’t the first time a professional podcast was nominated in Best Related. Writing Excuses was nominated in this category several times approx. 10 years ago.  I’m not very happy with podcasts nominated in Best Related, but since there is no professional podcast (procast?) category, there really is no other place to put them. And podcasts are among the less edgy of the many edge finalists we’ve seen in this category in recent years.

There also was a withdrawl is this category, because Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood was nominated for a viral tweet promoting the Hugo-winning novella This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, which pushed the book up various bestseller lists due to Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood’s many Twitter followers. Now the Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood affair is a perfect example of how word of mouth works and can catapult a work into the stratosphere. Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood also appears to be a great person and it was very classy of them to decline a nomination. However, this nomination also illustrates why the Best Related Work needs to be reformed and the definition tightened. Because how on Earth can you compare a single tweet, even one which sold thousands of books, with a 400 page non-fiction book?

And even if we limited Best Related to non-fiction books and long essays, we’d still get a wide range of potential finalists as this year’s ballot shows….

(3) TAKEN FROM THE SHELF. Haven’t had enough Eastercon this weekend? Rob Hansen is prepared to immerse you in the 1956 edition — CYTRICON II – at his richly-detailed fanhistory site.

CYTRICON II, the 1956 UK national science fiction convention was held at The George Hotel in the town of Kettering over the Easter weekend, Friday 30th March – Monday 2nd April. Overflow hotel was The Royal, with The Swan Hotel hosting a further seven fans. Parties were held in both The George and The Royal. The con was organised by the London Circle.

Here’s a brief excerpt from a contemporaneous conreport.

ARCHIE MERCER:

At a quarter to four on Good Friday I staggered from the train at Kettering station, adjusted my two slung haversacks, took a tighter grip on my gramophone(in the right hand) and a parcel consisting mainly of records for same (in the left), and set my face firmly towards the George Hotel. About fifty yards ahead of me, Walt Willis stalked his proud and lordly way. About as far again behind me, I could discern the chatter of several more humans – if they too were fen, and if so who, I still don’t know. Besides I can’t say that it’s all that important.

Arriving at the George in good order, I was immediately caught up in a furious burst of misapprehensions by Joyce, the receptionist, who was practically insisting that I must have a car and wanted to know the number of it. I explained patiently that the nearest thing was the train I’d so carelessly abandoned down at the station and I hadn’t a clue as to its number. So she decided to humour me and let me in without it. I signed the book under Peter Reaney, moved within — and the Con was on….

(4) EX MACHINA REWATCH MOVIE REVIEW. [Item by Erin Underwood.] 2023 was AI’s breakthrough year, and as we move into 2024, I wanted to take a look back at one of the best AI films to see how it held up over the last decade. Check out my new rewatch review of Alex Garland’s groundbreaking AI film Ex Machina. Does the story and the technology hold up? Is it still the instant classic everyone thought it was back in 2014? “Ex Machina Movie Review – A groundbreaking AI film in 2014. What’s it like now?”

(5) BOOK PRESERVATION. Via WIRED: “This Woman Deconstructs 100-Year-Old Books To Restore Them”.

Author, educator and book restorer Sophia Bogle has nerves of steel: one slip of the hand and a century-old first edition book could be ruined. Come inside her workshop as she breaks down the amazing deconstruction, revitalization, and reassembly that goes into her history preserving speciality.

(6) READY FOR MY CLOSEUP. Forbes shares a look “Inside The Ambitious Plan To Broadcast The Entire Total Solar Eclipse”.

It’s nature’s most spectacular sight, but during North America’s total solar eclipse on April 8, the sun’s corona will only be visible for a few precious minutes from any one location.

However, totality itself will be viewed for a combined total of 100 minutes from a 115-mile path of totality stretching from Mexico to the Canada, via the U.S. So why not have cameras stationed all along the track and broadcast the entire thing as one continuous livestream?

That’s the thinking behind the Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast Initiative, a nationwide citizen science team armed with a $314,000 NASA grant, hoping to pioneer a unique new way to broadcast a total solar eclipse.

It’s as much about solar science as it is about broadcasting, however, with a new understanding of the solar corona the ultimate prize.

DEB is the brainchild of the team behind the successful Citizen CATE experiment from the 2017 total solar eclipse, the last to cross the U.S, which saw more than 60 identical telescopes equipped with digital cameras positioned from Oregon to South Carolina to image the solar corona.

The resulting images were then spliced together to reveal the plasma dynamics of the inner solar corona, which is 10,000 times hotter and dimmer than our star’s surface—and can only be studied in full during a total solar eclipse….

(7) VFX OSCAR WINNER TIM MCGOVERN DIES. Visual effects artist Tim McGovern died March 30 at the age of 68. He won an Oscar for his work on the 1990 film Total Recall. Deadline’s profile covers his other accomplishments.

…The Visual Effects Society recently recognized McGovern with the 2023 Founders Award for his contributions to the art, science, or business of visual effects and meritorious service to the Society.

McGovern was a founding member of Sony Pictures ImageWorks and ran it as the Senior VFX Supervisor as well as the SVP of Creative and Technical Affairs. After leaving Sony, McGovern continued as an independent VFX artist and filmmaker.

McGovern’s most recent film credits include Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023), Jungle Cruise (2021), Men in Black: International (2019), First Man (2019), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Dunkirk (2017), The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016), and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015), among many others….

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.

[Written by Cat Eldridge.]

Born March 31, 1960 Ian McDonald, 64. What works by Ian McDonald have I enjoyed so much that I’ve read them over and over, and then when they were available as audioworks listened to them several more times? That’s easy. The Desolation Road series, Desolation Road and Ares Express which I’m holding to be the best story ever set on Mars.

Ian McDonald

A town that develops around an oasis on a terraformed Mars with a cast of characters that are truly fascinating? What’s not to really like? Not to mention the Ares Express running across the desert. Damn I wanted to see that train! 

(I do have a list of other works set on Mars I like — Kage Baker’s The Empress of Mars, Larry Niven’s Rainbow Mars, Arthur Clarke’s The Sands of Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy and Frederik Pohl’s Man Plus.) 

Completely shifting his tone was King of Morning, Queen of Day. Multiple generations of Irish women might have the potential to bring the fey who are obviously quite dangerous into their world. That isn’t the best aspect of the novel — it’s the characters herein. He’s very skilled in his character crafting. 

The Chaga saga set in Africa (Chaga and Kirinya) with its slow moving alien biological invasion is perfectly horrific; I’ve not yet read the short fiction set in the series.

I read both of the future India series, River of Gods and Cyberabad. I throughly enjoyed River of Gods but found Cyberabad less than interesting.

I tried the first of Everness series. No, not my cup of tea. Really not. 

Which was not true of The Dervish House, my last choice. An alternative history of Istanbul set now, well it was twenty years in the future when it was written, though the changes there suggest a history that deviated a lot earlier. Loved the characters. Loved the technology he created. Loved the story. Brilliant all around.

(9) CREDIT GRAB? CBR.com explains why “Marvel’s New Addition to Wolverine’s List of Creators Draws Controversy”.

Marvel’s decision to add a new name among Wolverine’s creators in the upcoming film Deadpool & Wolverine has sparked controversy among fans and comic creators alike.

It has been revealed that Roy Thomas, former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, will be credited as one of the four creators of Wolverine. The other creators of the character include the late writer Len Wein, artist Herb Trimpe, and designer John Romita Sr. The news sparked a Facebook post from writer Bobbie Chase, who worked at Marvel in the 1980s and 1990s, asking others to discuss the true creators of the character as well as the implications for editors-in-chief to claim creation over other characters.

Chase also mentioned speaking to Wein’s widow about the changes, saying, “Recently my friend and Len Wein’s widow, Christine Valada, got a call from Marvel executive David Bogart, informing her that in the upcoming Wolverine & Deadpool movie, Roy Thomas will now be credited as the co-creator [of Wolverine], and David said it’s a done deal. […] Of course Christine is seriously concerned about Len’s legacy. Len was profoundly important to the comic book industry, and that legacy is being changed for the worse, six years after his death.”

Chase’s frustrations about this change stemmed from the fact that the other creators of Wolverine have all died, making it hard to dispute the authenticity of Thomas’ addition to the list…. 

(10) CLOWNS AND QUESTION MARKS. 13th Dimension called on fans to “Dig These 13 Great ‘Serious BATMAN’ Moments in BATMAN ’66”. Here’s one example:

The Joker Is Wild. Batman and Robin are nearly unmasked by the Joker after being momentarily grabbed by the villain’s henchmen. The heroes are engaging the villain while he hijacks a live TV performance of the opera Pagliacci – that is why Joker is wearing a white Pierrot clown costume. I think that this image is very much in the dramatic style and spirit of the amazing Norm Saunders paintings used for the 1966 Topps Batman trading card set, inspired by the series.

(11) TAKING IT OUT FOR A SPIN. Gizmodo says “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Incredible Musical Episode Is Getting the Vinyl It Deserves”. It comes out June 7.

Of all the highs Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ sophomore season pulled off—intense actionVulcan dramafamiliar faces, and plenty more—perhaps one of the most delightful of all was “Subspace Rhapsody,” its earnestly cheesy all-singing, all-dancing musical showstopper. And if you’ve had the soundtrack streaming non-stop since last year, we’ve got great news for you.

io9 can exclusively reveal that Lakeshore Records is going to release the complete 11-track score for the episode on a black vinyl record, with artwork inspired by the poster released for the episode at San Diego Comic-Con last year forming the cover….

(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Matt Mitchell says this is how it would sound “If Dune was Southern”. Y’all pay attention now.

(P.S. I’m told one of the references is to Tony Chachere’s spice.)

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

Wolverine Claws His Way Through Marvel History In New Covers

Next year marks 50 years of Wolverine being the best there is and Marvel Comics will celebrate its most ferocious hero in various ways including new series like the recently announced Wolverine: Madripoor Knights, special reprints, and a new variant cover program.

Launching in January, the Wolverine Wolverine Wolverine variant covers sees Logan take over the most iconic covers in Marvel Comics history, filling in as each and every character along the way. The covers gave artists the chance to spotlight their favorite Wolverine costumes, identities, and alternate versions, and also feature other members of the “Snikt Family.” It’s the perfect way to celebrate one of Marvel’s most ubiquitous and storied heroes and proves that there’s no such thing as too much Wolverine.

Check out 15 Wolverine Wolverine Wolverine covers following the jump. For more information, visit Marvel.com.

Continue reading

Pixel Scroll 3/2/23 I’m Looking For A Martian With True Grok

(1) X-MEN GO POSTAL. The Royal Mail marked the 60th anniversary of X-Men by releasing an issue of 17 stamps on February 16.

…The 12 stamps in the main set are all original illustrations and have been created exclusively for Royal Mail by renowned British comic book artist Mike McKone. They feature: Professor X; Kitty Pryde; Angel; Colossus; Jubilee; Cyclops; Wolverine; Jean Grey; Iceman, Storm; Beast; and Rogue….

An additional set of five stamps are included in a miniature sheet, exclusively illustrated by artist Lee Garbett, and feature some of the mutant enemies faced by the X-Men: Juggernaut; Mystique; Magneto; Emma Frost; and Sabretooth….

(2) AURORA AWARDS. Members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association will be able to make 2023 Aurora Award nominations from March 4-April 22. According to Garth Spencer in Obdurate Eye #25, due to a lack of eligible movies or TV shows, or works in the Best Fan Organizational category, CSFFA is no longer giving out an award for movies or TV shows, and works that were in the Best Fan Organizational category are now in the Best Fan Related Work category. CSFFA have redefined the Best Artist category as the Best Cover Art/Interior Illustration category. Rather than nominating an artist, CSFFA members will nominate each work that an artist has published in the past year. [Via Obdurate Eye #25.]

(3) LIKE A BASILISK? “Alex North On the Pleasures of Fictional Forbidden Texts” at CrimeReads.

You won’t find Von Goom’s Gambit described in any chess textbook.

… Because the character of Von Goom exists only in a short story. Von Goom’s Gambit by Victor Contoski was originally published in 1966, in Chess Review, before being reprinted a handful of times. One of those was in a slim volume of science fiction stories that somehow found its way into the reading room of my primary school.

…I remember being captivated by it.

Part of that was down to the idea of the Gambit itself. Out of all the possible arrangements of pieces on a chessboard, Von Goom had chanced upon one so alien to the logic of the human mind – so abhorrent – that it could wound and kill. Following that initial heart attack, Von Goom’s opponents in the story meet various terrible fates. One breaks down in tears at the sight of the board before him. Another is violently sick. A third is driven insane, while members of the watching crowd are turned to stone.

As a ten year old – obviously – I loved this a great deal….

(4) OCTOTHORPE. Episode 78 of the Octothorpe podcast is “Sqrrl Grrl”. (Or should that be the Ctthrp podcast?)

John Coxon is chuckling, Alison Scott is conversing, and Liz Batty is critical. We discuss the COVID policy from the 2023 Eastercon, Conversation, as well as discussing the latest news from the Chengdu Worldcon.

(5) ERASED FROM THE LANDSCAPE BUT NOT FROM HISTORY. The New York hotel where the 1967 Worldcon was held, then known as the Statler-Hilton, is in the midst of being demolished. The New York Times ran a full profile about its history, and about one person who tried to keep the historic structure from being torn down: “The Hotel Pennsylvania’s Great Disappearing Act”.

Bit by bit, floor by floor, the building that once rose 22 stories over Penn Station is shrinking before the city’s very eyes. The black netting draped over its ever-diminishing brick is like a magician’s handkerchief; once removed, it will reveal — nothing.

Behold: The Great Disappearing Act of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

This isn’t — or wasn’t — just any building. This was once the largest hotel on earth, with 2,200 rooms, shops, restaurants, its own newspaper, and a telephone number immortalized by the bandleader Glenn Miller with a 1940 song “Pennsylvania 6-5000,”…

You can find many of Jay Kay Klein’s photos taken at the 1967 convention on Calisphere.

(6) VALMA BROWN (1950-2023). Australian fan Valma Brown, a Melbourne fanzine editor married to Leigh Edmonds, died March 2. Edmonds announced her death on Facebook with the note, “It was sudden so there will be an inquest.” She and Leigh were Fan Guests of Honor at SunCon, the 1991 Australian National Convention. She ran unsuccessfully for GUFF in 1987.

(7) MEMORY LANE.

2019[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Elizabeth Bear’s Ancestral Night which was published by Saga Press four years ago this week is a novel that I fell in love the first time I read it. Now I’ll admit that I’m a long-term fan of her work going back to Hammered, the first in her Jenny Casey trilogy. I think she’s a brilliant writer and a wonderful person. And yes I’ve sent her chocolate. Actually she’s reviewed chocolate for Green Man.

The book is a stellar blend of characters, humans who are almost more than human, aliens that are truly alien, an silicon intelligence who is fully realised, a ship as the primary setting that doesn’t feel cliched and a story that’s fascinating. And it feels friendly I think is the best word. It’s so richly detailed that I notice something new every time I listen to it.

And yes I’m hoping there’s a third novel set in this universe.

And here is the Beginning for Ancestral Night

THE BOAT DIDN’T HAVE A name. He wasn’t deemed significant enough to need a name by the authorities and registries that govern such things. He had a registration number—657-2929-04, Human/ Terra—and he had a class, salvage tug, but he didn’t have a name.

Officially.

We called him Singer. If Singer had an opinion on the issue, he’d never registered it—but he never complained. Singer was the shipmind as well as the ship—or at least, he inhabited the ship’s virtual spaces the same way we inhabited the physical ones—but my partner Connla and I didn’t own him. You can’t own a sentience in civilized space.

Singer was a sliver of a thing suspended electromagnetically at the center of a quicksilver loop as thin in cross section as an old-fashioned wedding band, but a hundred and fifty meters across the diameter and ten meters from edge to edge. In any meaningful gravity, the ring would have crumpled and sagged like a curl of wax arched over the candleflame. But here in space, reinforced with electromagnetic supports, it spanned the horizon of the viewport in a clean arc.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 2, 1933 Leo Dillon. With his wife Diane, they were illustrators of children’s books and many a paperback book and magazine cover. Over fifty years, they were the creators of more than a hundred genre covers. They won the Hugo for Best Professional Artist at Noreascon (1971) after being nominated twice before at Heicon ‘70 and St. Louiscon. The Art of Leo & Diane Dillon written by Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon and Byron Preiss would be nominated for a Best Related Non-Fiction Hugo at Chicon IV. They would win a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Some of my favorites? The first cover for Pavane. The Ace cover of The Left Hand of Darkness. And one for a deluxe edition of The Last Unicorn. (Died 2012.)
  • Born March 2, 1939 jan howard finder. I’m not going to be able to do him justice here. He was a SF writer, filker, cosplayer, and of course fan. He was nicknamed The Wombat as a sign of affection and ConFrancisco (1993 Worldcon) was only one of at least eight cons that he was fan guest of honor at. Finder was even tuckerized when Anne McCaffrey named a character for him. (Died 2013.)
  • Born March 2, 1943 Peter Straub. Horror writer who won the World Fantasy Award for Koko and the August Derleth Award for Floating Dragon. He’s co-authored several novels with Stephen King, The Talisman which itself won a World Fantasy Award, and Black House. Both The Throat and In the Night Room won Bram Stoker Awards as did 5 Stories, a short collection by him. Ok you know that I’m rarely impressed by Awards, but fuck this is impressive! (Died 2022.)
  • Born March 2, 1960 Peter Hamilton, 63. I read and quite enjoyed his Night’s Dawn Trilogy when it came out and I’m fairly sure that I’ve read Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained as they sound familiar. (Too much genre fiction read over the years to remember everything…) What else have y’all read by him?
  • Born March 2, 1966 Ann Leckie, 57. Ancillary Justice won the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the Nebula Award, Kitschies Award Golden Tentacle, Locus Award for Best First Novel, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the BSFA Award. Quite amazing. Her sequels Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy did not win awards but are no less impressive. 

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • Dick Tracy seems to have started a crossover involving a Nero Wolfe character.
  • And Tom Gauld has been busy, too:

(10) FOR AMAZON PRIME MEMBERS. [Item by Dann.] Amazon just announced the First Reads books for Amazon Prime members.  The genre title for March is House of Gold by C.T. Rwizi.  He is the author of the outstanding Scarlett Odyssey series that concluded in 2022.

First Reads books are free to all Amazon Prime members.  It is how I encountered C.T.’s first book Scarlett Odyssey a few years back.  He is, in my opinion, a talented and overlooked author. House of Gold can be pre-ordered (free for Amazon Prime members) for delivery on April 1, 2023.

(11) PUT ANOTHER BARBIE ON THE MOON. Gizmodo reports how “Liquid Nitrogen Could Keep Moon Suits Free From Lunar Dust”. And promises “No Barbie dolls were injured in the course of these experiments.”

Pesky lunar dust is an annoying obstacle for astronauts landing on the Moon—it sticks to pretty much everything. New research from Washington State University may have cracked the code for keeping space suits dust-free, in which pressurized liquid nitrogen was used to literally blow the dust from surfaces.

(12) TINGLE TIME. Boing Boing points out that “Chuck Tingle’s latest story has Dilbert creator Scott Adams getting screwed by his own racism”.

https://twitter.com/ChuckTingle/status/1630575291738492928

(13) SCOPE IT OUT. Behind a paywall in Nature: “Asteroid photobombs JWST practice shots”.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has spotted a small Solar System rock by chance during a calibration run…

 …[the body is a] roughly 15-kilometre-wide object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The photos were taken to measure how one of the telescope’s infrared cameras would respond. While analysing the data, the researchers spotted what looked like a much smaller asteroid, which they estimated to be 100–230 metres across.

If confirmed by subsequent observations, this would be one of the smallest objects ever seen in space — and JWST detected it at a distance of more than 130 million kilometres

(14) WORKING…. From Politico we learn: “OK Computer: Romania debuts ‘world’s first’ AI government adviser”.

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă surprised his Cabinet on Wednesday by introducing them to a new member — run completely on artificial intelligence.

Ciucă introduced the new “honorary adviser” called Ion to the rest of his ministers in a demonstration, with a face and words appearing on a digital screen, responding to the prime minister’s prompts along with a computerized voice.

Ion was developed by Romanian researchers and will use artificial intelligence to “quickly and automatically capture the opinions and desires” submitted by Romanian citizens, Ciucă said.

“We are talking about the first government adviser to use artificial intelligence,” both nationally and internationally, he said.

Romanians will be able to send their ideas through an accompanying website (ion.gov.ro) as well as on social media and some in-person locations. Ion will then synthesize their contributions for the government to consider, according to the coordinator of the research team, Nicu Sebe. Users won’t, however, receive a response from Ion itself….

(15) LAST MONTH ON THE SCREEN. Here is what people were watching in February – according to JustWatch.

US Sci-Fi

Rank*MoviesTV shows
1Everything Everywhere All at OnceSeverance
2M3GANWestworld
3Infinity PoolThe Ark
4NopeThe Peripheral
5Edge of TomorrowDoctor Who
6InterstellarThe Twilight Zone
7The OutwatersQuantum Leap
8Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindLost
9VesperLa Brea
10Jurassic World DominionThe Nevers

*Based on JustWatch popularity score. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. An old TV interview has surfaced again: “KGW Vault: Leonard Nimoy talks Spock, Star Trek in 1967”.

Actor Leonard Nimoy who portrayed the now-famous Spock talks with KGW about his new role. The first episode of Star Trek aired on September 8, 1967. Nimoy explains that Spock is a man born of alien and human descent who has complete control over his emotions; a unique look at a character beloved by millions now.

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

Pixel Scroll 1/9/23 Pixeling The Night Away

(1) CHENGDU WORLDCON WSFS MEMBERSHIPS. The Chengdu Worldcon website has posted this description of its process for dealing with non-Chinese credit cards: “About Credit Card”.

Currently, you can purchase WSFS membership and admissions by transfer fees directly to our collaborator.

1.Please note the Order Number on the the transfer form.

2.Please upload a screenshot of the transfer receipt by clicking any of the “Receipt” buttons. We will check it and confirm your Order.

“WSFS membership” is the newly ratified terminology for memberships that come with Hugo voting rights and qualify the holder to buy a site selection voting membership.

The deadline to acquire a WSFS membership in Chengdu is 22 days away (based on WSFS 3.7.1) if you want to nominate for the Hugos.

(2) CAPTAIN FUTURE’S FUTURE. Allen Steele says he’s returning to Captain Future in 2023, beginning with these two items:

…The first is a new web site dedicated to my Captain Stories novels as well as Edmond Hamilton’s original. Here’s the link:

It’s still a work in progress and there’s not much there right now, but if you’ll toggle the tab marked History, you’ll find a brand-new essay, “The Original Captain Future”, about the genesis and history of the Hamilton series. Other items to be added soon will be an illustrated Captain Future bibliography featuring scans of the 40’s pulp covers, a short bio of series creator Edmond Hamilton, and — wait for it — an upcoming podcast featuring yours truly reading the Captain Future books I wrote as a series of regular installments.

The other major CF project I’m planning will be writing a new Captain Future novella. This will be a standalone story, told in one installment and unrelated to the previous stories. I’m not going to say much about it (I haven’t even settled on the title) but I’ll drop a hint: it has to do with a NASA Apollo mission of the 70’s that was tentatively planned but never flown….

(3) WELLES REMEMBERED. Steve Vertlieb invites you to read his article “Xanadu: A Castle in the Clouds: The Life of Orson Welles at The Thunderchild.

Celebrating the genius of this extraordinary artist with my published look at the turbulent life and career of Orson Welles, the fabulous, visionary film maker whose personal demons sadly overshadowed his staggering talent, and finally, tragically destroyed him.

Yet, in spite of his personal failings or, perhaps, because of them, Welles rose to become one of the most remarkable film makers of his, or any other generation.

From his groundbreaking first feature length motion picture “Citizen Kane,” regarded by many still as the greatest single film in motion picture history, to “Touch Of Evil,” his remarkable “Cinema Noir” tale of a squandered life and legacy corrupted by bribery and temptation, Welles remains one of the most extraordinary directors in the history of film.

His is a story of unwitting sabotaged achievement and haunting, incomparable genius.

Here, then, is “Xanadu: A Castle In Clouds … The Life of Orson Welles.”

(4) SCALZI SCOFFS. John Scalzi explains something about SFWA.

(5) FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES. [Item by Daniel Dern.] CNN’s Chris Wallace interviews Hugh Jackman on signing up for another round of Wolverine  (this time with Deadpool).

Some interesting stuff; mostly, I’m amused by this being a medium-long CNN segment.

(6) GENRE LOVE. The “Art Directors Guild Awards 2023 Nominations” in Variety cover film and TV in 14 categories. This isn’t one File 770 devotes standalone posts to, however, the award does boast a separate Fantasy Feature Film category. The nominees are —

FANTASY FEATURE FILM

“Avatar: The Way of Water” (Production Designers: Dylan Cole, Ben Procter)
“The Batman” (Production Designer: James Chinlund)
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Production Designer: Hannah Beachler)
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” (Production Designer: Jason Kisvarday)
“Nope” (Production Designer: Ruth De Jong)

Winners will be named at the ADG Awards ceremony on February 18.

(7) FREE READ. The Library of America’s “Story of the Week” is “A Scarab in the City of Time” by Marta Randall.

“I wasn’t going to be the one stuck at home baking cookies,” Marta Randall tells readers on her website. “I was going to be the one balancing on the raft in the lashing seas, gripping the mast with one hand while the other held on to the cookies somebody else had baked.”

Fifty years ago, in 1973, Randall published her first story in New Worlds Quarterly 5, a paperback series edited during the 1970s by British science fiction writer Michael Moorcock. (Despite its name, the “quarterly” came out only once or twice a year.) That summer, she attended a science fiction convention in San Francisco and met Robert Silverberg, whose novel A Time of Changes had recently won the Nebula Award. The two authors had a friendly argument about short stories; as Silverberg remembered it, she “preferred the sort of stories with an identifiable beginning, middle, and end,” and he responded that he did as well—but he didn’t “necessarily require that they happen in that order.” He wrote, “As is usual in such debates, neither of us held as extreme a position as it might have seemed to the other.” Six months later, Randall shared with him, “with some trepidation,” her second piece of fiction; “I read it on the spot and rather to her surprise accepted it then and there.” The story, “A Scarab in the City of Time,” was published the following year in the fifth issue of New Dimensions, an annual publication that Silverberg edited between 1971 and 1981….

(8) MORE ON PARTINGTON. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] SF2 Concatenation has published its Charles Partington tribute, an expanded and more illustrated version of the File 770 tribute last month. Charles was a lifelong SF aficionado, an SF fan, conrunner, fanzine editor, publisher, prozine editor and an all round, good egg.

Charles Partington

(9) MEMORY LANE.

1980 [Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

So let’s talk about tea. Tea has described by Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I’ve had tea served to me on a tea plantation high in the mountains of Sri Lanka by some of the Hindu population there that has been harvesting tea by hand for centuries now, so I can sympathize with Arthur when the machine doesn’t understand tea. The English, wherever they are, love tea.

Then he decided he’d be damned if he’d give up.

“No,” he said, “look, it’s very, very simple … all I want … is a cup of tea. You are going to make one for me. Keep quiet and listen.”

And he sat. He told the Nutri-Matic about India, he told it about China, he told it about Ceylon. He told it about broad leaves drying in the sun. He told it about silver teapots. He told it about summer afternoons on the lawn. He told it about putting in the milk before the tea so it wouldn’t get scalded. He even told it (briefly) about the history of the East India Company.

“So that’s it, is it?” said the Nutri-Matic when he had finished.

“Yes,” said Arthur, “that is what I want.”

“You want the taste of dried leaves boiled in water?”

“Er, yes. With milk.”

“Squirted out of a cow?”

“Well, in a manner of speaking I suppose …”

“I’m going to need some help with this one,” said the machine tersely. All the cheerful burbling had dropped out of its voice and it now meant business.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 9, 1890 Karel Čapek . Author of the 1936 novel War with the Newts and 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), which introduced the word robot. R.U.R.was a dystopian work about a really bad day at a factory populated with sentient androids. ISFDB shows two additional works by him, Krakatit: An Atomic Fantasy and The Absolute at Large which I’ve not heard of. (Died 1938.)
  • Born January 9, 1931 Algis Budrys. I think I remember reading his Some Will Not Die which I remember because of the 1979 Starblaze edition cover. I’ve also read and enjoyed his Rogue Moon. Setting aside his work as a writer which was exemplary, he was considered one of our best genre reviewers ever reviewing for GalaxyMagazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and even in Playboy. He edited a number of the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future anthologies. (Died 2008.)
  • Born January 9, 1950 David Johansen, 73. He’s the wisecracking Ghost of Christmas Past in the oh-so-perfect Scrooged, he played Halston in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie in “The Cat from Hell” episode, and he appeared as a character named Brad in Freejack. I think the brief Ghost of Christmas Past riff in the aforementioned Scrooged is enough to earn him as Birthday Honors here.
  • Born January 9, 1955 J.K. Simmons, 68. You may know him as J. Jonah Jameson in the various Spider-Man films but I find his more interesting genre role to be as Howard Silk in the Counterpart series where he plays two versions of himself in two versions of parallel Berlins in a spy service that may or may not exist. He also portrayed Commissioner James Gordon in Justice League.
  • Born January 9, 1956 Imelda Staunton, 67. Voice of the Snow Queen in The Snow Queen’s Revenge, A Nurse in Shakespeare in Love, Polly in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dolores Jane Umbridge In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which I thought was a so-so film at best) and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as well and Knotgrass In Maleficent and the sequel. 
  • Born January 9, 1957 Greg Ketter, 66. A Minneapolis SF bookstore owner, Dreamhaven to be precise in its new incarnation, a huckster, and con-running fan as well. He is a member of MN-Stf. He’s been involved in myriad regionals and Worldcons. He‘s chaired Minicons and World Fantasy Conventions alike.
  • Born January 9, 1976 Jenna Felice. Tor Books Editor. She suffered what the doctors are called a massive allergic reaction compounded by asthma. She died having never emerged from her coma. There’s a memorial page for her here. (Died 2001.)

(11) MERGER MANIA. Put ‘em together and what do you get? “Marvel Comics Celebrates 100 Years of Disney with Variant Covers Starring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and More”.

…The variant program in honor of Disney100 will celebrate Marvel’s past, present, and future through the classic “What If” lens with a fantastic reimagining of Marvel’s most classic comic book covers. While the initial trio of these first-of-its-kind art pieces paid homage to the foundational stories of the Marvel Universe, the next set will celebrate some of Marvel’s more modern game changing stories! See Disney’s iconic characters immersed in pivotal moments of the Marvel mythos including the earth-shattering 90s event Infinity Gauntlet, the debut of the lineup of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that would define the 2000s in New Avengers #1, and the transformative journey Tony Stark went on in the pages of Invincible Iron Man.

With 12 covers in total, fans can look forward to a new Disney100 variant cover (also available in Black and White versions) hitting stands each month of 2023 at local comic book shops. The variant covers will be found on select upcoming issues of Amazing Spider-Man starting with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #17 on January 11….

(12) HERE’S WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF NEXT. The Guardian tells about “Chameleon cars, urine scanners and other standouts from CES 2023”.

From colour-changing cars, dual-screen laptops and satellite emergency texts to AI-ovens and a urine-scanning smart toilet upgrade, the annual CES tech show in Las Vegas had more concepts of the future on show than ever before….

Asus glasses-free 3D display

Asus’s Vivobook Pro laptop with a 3D screen hopes to succeed where 3D TVs failed – as no glasses required. Using an eye-tracking camera system and a lenticular lens built into the 16in OLED screen, the laptop can accurately display a different image for each eye giving the impression of 3D, including objects that jump out of the screen. It will play 3D movies and games but is most impressive with creative software, for which Asus has developed plugins to take advantage of the screen.

The laptop is expected be available later this year and joins rival devices from Acer and Sony in trying to make glass-free 3D computer screens a reality….

(13) BIRDS DON’T DO IT, BEES DO IT. CNN is there when “USDA approves first-ever vaccine for honeybees”. So how do you administer that anyway? Is this another take on Digby’s lyric, “Like you need teeny tiny branding irons for ants”?

The United States Department of Agriculture has approved the first-ever vaccine for honeybees to prevent American foulbrood disease, a fatal bacterial disease that can destroy honeybee colonies, officials say.

The USDA told CNN that it issued a conditional vaccine license to Diamond Animal Health, the collaborating manufacturer for Dalan Animal Health, on December 29. The agency said that it was its “first licensure of a honeybee product.”…

(14) PAUSE AND EFFECTS. “Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Megalopolis’ in Peril As Crew Exits”The Hollywood Reporter tells why.

Francis Ford Coppola’s latest movie, the sci-fi-tinged Megalopolis, has descended into chaos, according to multiple sources. The movie, currently halfway through shooting in Atlanta, has in the last week lost key creative talent including its production designer and supervising art director. That’s on top of losing the entire visual effects team in the first part of December.  

To many insiders, the production is giving severe Apocalypse Now redux vibes, and it’s one on which the iconoclastic 83-year-old director is breaking a cardinal Hollywood rule: Never spend your own money.

…Sources say Coppola, who has never made an effects-heavy movie, fired almost his entire visual effects team Dec. 9, with the rest of that department soon following. Mark Russell, a veteran whose credits include In the Heights and The Wolf of Wall Street, was leading the team as visual effects supervisor. (Coppola famously fired his visual effects department on Dracula 30 years ago.)…

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Eleanor Morton plays both authors as C.S. Lewis tells J.R.R. Tolkien about his new book.

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

Pixel Scroll 9/28/22 Pokéscroll – Gotta File’em All!

(1) PLACE YOUR BETS. “Here are the bookies’ odds for the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature” at Literary Hub.

Do you enjoy gambling—but, you know, in a cultured way? None of that racetrack nonsense or three card monte for you? Well you’re in luck: the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced next Thursday, October 6, and the bookies have begun taking bets. (You know literary prize season has truly begun when the Lit Hub editors start lurking on online betting sites.)

Here are a few names of genre interest among the 44 listed.

Salman Rushdie – 8/1
Stephen King — 10/1
Haruki Murakami — 14/1
Margaret Atwood — 16/1
Maryse Condé — 16/1

(2) FUTURE TENSE. The latest short story in the Future Tense Fiction series, published this past Saturday, is “Yellow,” by B. Pladek, a story about risk-assessment technology, protest, and future conflicts over water.  

It was published along with a response essay by health economist Lorens Helmchen, “How risk scores could shape health care”.

If a medical treatment for a life-threatening disease had a 60 percent chance of success, but another treatment with a 50 percent success rate had a lower risk of bankrupting your family, which would you choose? What if the success rates were 95 and 90 percent? Would you change your answer?

How we use probabilities like these to guide our choices is at the heart of “Yellow,” a new Future Tense Fiction story written by B. Pladek. The story’s main character, Chase, works for a private company that helps people navigate these numbers…

(3) CLI-FI. “Is This the Way the World Ends?: PW Talks with Stephen Markley”. A Q&A with the author of The Deluge, about future responses to global warming.

Why choose fiction to explore the subject?

Here is my truly arrogant answer that will embarrass me but is still the truth: every artist who has ever pursued a career with passion and commitment believes their art has the power to change everything. That’s why we all do it. I read no shortage of nonfiction climate change books. I watched no shortage of earnest environmental documentaries. Many of them I don’t even remember because you read about potential catastrophe, and sure, it sounds like a bummer, but it leaves no lasting emotional impact. The point of narrative, of art, is that it can reorient us emotionally. If done well, it can make vivid what is abstract. Given the enormity of the task ahead of everyone alive on this planet, we desperately need that reorientation.

(4) WOLVERINE, COME FORTH. Ryan Reynolds answers people who say, “”How can Wolverine be in Deadpool 3 when he died in Logan?” “Deadpool Update, Part Hugh”.

Quick #Deadpool explainer video that tackles… 1) Timeline questions 2) Logan canon 3) MCU FAQ 4) Whether we can do this all day or not

(5) SEATTLE WORLDCON BID NEWS. SWOC, the Seattle Westercon Organizing Committee has awarded a grant of $5000 to the Seattle Worldcon in 2025 bid.

This grant will be used to promote, advertise, and recruit for the Seattle Worldcon Bid; to assist members of the bid in covering the costs of attending this year’s SMOFCon in Montréal; and to co-sponsor a night of the SMOFCon hospitality suite.

(6) THAT’S HIM. This time Nick Stathopoulos is on the receiving end of an award-winning portrait. His friend Xavier Ghazi’s artwork “Nick 2” won the Joshua Smith Memorial Award for Best in Show at a Drummoyne Art Society exhibition.

(7) WHEATON RETURN ENGAGEMENT. “Wil Wheaton presents and signs Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, CA on October 26 at 7:00 p.m. (And if this sounds familiar, he was there in August, too.)

From starring in Stand by Me to playing Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation to playing himself, in his second (third?) iconic role of Evil Wil Wheaton in The Big Bang Theory, to becoming a social media supernova, Wil Wheaton has charted a career course unlike anyone else, and has emerged as one of the most popular and well respected names in science fiction, fantasy and pop culture.

Back in 2001, Wil began blogging on wilwheaton.net. Believing himself to have fallen victim to the curse of the child actor, Wil felt relegated to the convention circuit, and didn’t expect many would want to read about his random experiences and personal philosophies.

Yet, much to his surprise, people were reading. He still blogs, and now has an enormous following on social media with well over 3 million followers.

In Still Just a Geek, Wil revisits his 2004 collection of blog posts, Just a Geek, filled with insightful and often laugh-out-loud annotated comments, additional later writings, and all new material written for this publication. The result is an incredibly raw and honest memoir, in which Wil opens up about his life, about falling in love, about coming to grips with his past work, choices, and family, and finding fulfillment in the new phases of his career. From his times on the Enterprise to his struggles with depression to his starting a family and finding his passion–writing–Wil Wheaton is someone whose life is both a cautionary tale and a story of finding one’s true purpose that should resonate with fans and aspiring artists alike.

(8) TAKING NOTES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Well, I guess no Filer watches The Masked Singer because the figure of “The Knight” was revealed to be William Shatner! The Reveal: Knight / William Shatner | Season 8 Ep. 1 The Masked Singer.

(9) MEMORY LANE.  

1964 [By Cat Eldridge.] The Munsters premiered fifty-eight years ago this past weekend on CBS and I could hardly not write their series coming into existence, could I, after just doing the Addams Family? No, I could not.

I think that The Munsters had a better, sweeter family than the Addams Family. Every character here from Fred Gwynne as the sort of monster created by Frankenstein who was the head-of-the-household Herman Munster; Yvonne De Carlo as his vampire wife Lily; Al Lewis as Lily’s father, Grandpa, the somewhat over-the-hill vampire; Beverley Owen (later replaced by Pat Priest) as their college-age niece Marilyn, who was a conventional human but the “ugly duckling” of the family; and Butch Patrick as their werewolf son Eddie, all worked perfectly. 

On paper, it’s a lot of movie tropes into one series and hope they work, but Allan Burns and Chris Hayward did a stellar job here. Burns had nothing before and Hayward had been responsible for the Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties segment of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Yes, I remember both the segment and the series very fondly. 

The creators intended it to be a satire of American suburban life, the wholesome TV family fare of the era, and traditional monster movies. It certainly was a satire of the first and the latter, but I’ll be damned how it was a satire of the wholesome TV family fare of the early Sixties. 

It achieved much higher ratings than the similarly themed Addams Family, which aired concurrently on ABC. Though seventy episodes were produced over its two years, it would be cancelled after ratings dropped to a series low due to competition from ABC’s Batman.

It was rebooted as The Munsters Today in 1988 with John Schuck as Herman Munster and Lee Meriwether as Lily Munster. It lasted three seasons and seventy episodes. And then there was the very, very weird Mockingbird Lane pilot of a decade ago. I liked but it didn’t go to series. And there’s Rob Zombie’s The Munsters which is on Netflix and gets a rave review here.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 28, 1913 Ellis Peters. Nom de plume of the writer of The Cadfael Chronicles, which I’ll admit I broke my rule of never watching a video adaption of a print series that I like. Derek Jacobi as Cadfael was damn perfect. She is here because she was the writer of two excellent haunting aka ghost novels, The City Lies Four-Square and By This Strange Fire, under her real name of Edith Pargeter. (Died 1995.)
  • Born September 28, 1923 Erle Korshak. He’s a reminder of how old fandom is. He discovered SF in 1934 with the August Astounding magazine and became a very serious collector in 1937 according to several sources. By 1939 he was a well-known fan and one of the leaders of the Moonstruck Press which was created to publish a bibliography of all fantasy books.  He was part of the leadership triumvirate of Chicon 1, the 1940 Worldcon. He later founded a publishing house whose first major work was Everett F. Bleiler’s The Checklist of Fantastic Literature in the late Forties, a pioneering work of SF bibliography. This was followed by major works by Heinlein, Bester, Fredric Brown and other SF suthors. He was absent from fandom from the late 50s for thirty years, then rejoined fandom and was attending cons with his children.  He was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1996, and won the Barry R. Levin Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Lifetime Collectors Award in 2001. He was a guest of honor of Chicon 8, however he died before the convention.(Died 2021.)
  • Born September 28, 1923 William Windom. Commodore Matt Decker, commander of the doomed USS Constellation in “The Doomsday Machine” episode, one of the best Trek stories told. Norman Spinrad was the writer. Other genre appearances include being the President on Escape from the Planet of the Apes, The Major in “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” episode of Twilight Zone and Ben Victor in the “The Night of the Flying Pie Plate” story of The Wild Wild West. This is a sampling only! (Died 2012.)
  • Born September 28, 1932 Michael G. Coney. British-born writer who spent the last half of his life in Canada. He’s best remembered for his Hello Summer, Goodbye novelI’m very fond of The Celestial Steam Locomotive and Gods of the Greataway which might be set on what could be Vancouver Island. His only Award was from the BSFA for Brontomek!, one of his Amorphs Universe works, although he was a 1996 Nebula nominee for his “Tea and Hamsters” novelette, and a five-time finalist for the Aurora Award. (Died 2005.)
  • Born September 28, 1935 Ronald Lacey. He’s very best remembered as Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark. (A series where they should’ve stopped with first film.) He’s actually in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as Heinrich Himmler though it’s an uncredited role. One of his first genre appearances was as the Strange Young Man in The Avengers episode “The Joker”.  In that same period, he was the village idiot in The Fearless Vampire Killers which actually premiered as The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My NeckAnd he’s in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as President Widmark. This is but a thin wafer of his genre roles so do feel free to add your favorite. (Died 1991.)
  • Born September 28, 1938 Ron Ellik. Writer and Editor, a well-known SF fan who was a co-editor with Terry Carr of the Hugo winning fanzine, Fanac, in the late 1950s. Ellik was also the co-author of The Universes of E.E. Smith with Bill Evans, which was largely a concordance of characters and the like. Fancyclopedia 3 notes that “He also had some fiction published professionally, and co-authored a Man from U.N.C.L.E. novelization.” The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction says he died in an auto accident the day before his wedding. (Died 1968.)
  • Born September 28, 1966 Maria Pilar Canals-Barrera, 56. She’s getting Birthday Honors for being the voice of Hawkgirl on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. She’s also voiced Commissioner Ellen Yindel in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and voiced Rio Morales, the mother of the Spider-Man, Miles Morales, on the Ultimate Spider-Man series. I just picked this to watch as it looks very good. 
  • Born September 28, 1982 Tendai Huchu, 40. Zimbabwean author who’s the editor along with Raman Mundair and Noel Chidwick of the 2020 issue of Shores of Infinity zine. He’s also written a generous number of African centric stories of which “The Marriage Plot” won an African Speculative Fiction Society Nommo Award for African Speculative Fiction for Best Short Story (2017), as did his novel The Library Of The Dead (2022). That issue of Shoreline of Infinity (Issue 18, Summer 2020) is available from the usual digital suspects. His newest novel, Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, came out in April this year.

(11) ONLINE ARCHIVE MOVES.  “British comic fanzines archive ‘The Fanscene Project’ has a new online home” reports downthetubes.net.

An incredible project aiming to document the history of British comic fanzines and fandom, both as an online archive and in print, has a new home on the web.

Founded back in 2015 as the Classic UK Comic Zines site, artist and comic archivist David Hathaway-Price has been constantly adding to what is now The Fanscene Project.

Now residing at comicsfanzines.co.uk, the project is an online, read-only archive of British comic fanzines, published across the last 50 years, including, with the permission of their original editors, titles such as BEMComic Media NewsFantasy TraderInfinitySpeakeasy, and many more. It even includes incredibly rare digital editions of very early zines such as Ka-Pow, published by Phil Clarke and Steve Moore back in 1967/68.

… The aim of The Fanscene Project is to create a digital repository of as many of the Comics Fanzines published in the UK as possible; fan publications containing work by artists and writers who would sometimes later move into, and shape, the industry that they loved….

(12) JEOPARDY! Unlike the contestants, Andrew Porter knew the right question to go with this answer on tonight’s episode.

Category: Cliff Notes

Answer: “Dizzy sunless cliffs above the Great Abyss” paints a picture in H.P. Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of” this.

No one could ask, “What is Madness”?

(13) SMALL BANG THEORY. In the Washington Post, Planetary Society editorial director Rae Paoletts says the asteroid-smashing DART mission was an important achievement because it shows that planetary defense against asteroids is possible. “Three cheers for NASA’s asteroid smasher”.

…Asteroids are a notoriously sticky wicket. On one hand, they’re remnants from the birth of our solar system; relics from the beginning of everything — or whatever our slice of that is. On the other, asteroids have caused inconceivable damage to our planet. Roughly 66 million years ago, a 6-mile-wide asteroid slammed off the coast of what is now Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. A single asteroid robbed us of the chance to see pterodactyls soar across the sky, or to have them use us for food, depending on which way you look at it.

DART can’t undo the damage of past asteroid impacts, but it can help us prevent them in the future. With DART’s collision, scientists tested a planetary defense strategy known as the “kinetic impactor technique,” which aims to move — but not destroy — an object….

(14) WHO’S THAT? These are IndieWire’s nominees for the “Most Controversial Movie and TV Recastings Ever”. Most are from sff productions.

Marvel Cinematic Universe — The Hulk

Edward Norton played Bruce Banner for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, starring in Louis Leterrier’s “The Incredible Hulk.” When it was revealed that Norton would not continue his journey in the growing multiverse, Marvel’s Kevin Feige released a statement citing “the need for an actor who embodies [creativity and a] collaborative spirit.” Norton has since said he had a great time doing the project and holds no ill-will toward Feige. Mark Ruffalo went on to play the lovable green giant in seven films with more to come.

Other notable MCU recastings include War Machine, originated by Terrence Howard in “Iron Man” and taken over by Don Cheadle; as well as Howard Stark, played by Gerard Sanders (in a non-speaking role), John Slattery, and Dominic Cooper.

(15) WILL THEY MAKE THE CUT? At Eclectic Theist, J. W. Wartick continues screening entries in the second annual Self-Published Science Fiction Competition: “SPSFC2 First Impressions: ‘Mercury’s Shadow,’ ‘Ever the Hero,’ and ‘A Hardness of Minds’”.

The Self-Published Science Fiction Contest (“SPACEFIC”) is underway, and my group is going through one of my favorite parts of the contest: sorting through a slush pile. Basically, we get a stack of books and need to sample them all to narrow down our selections for quarter- and semi-finalists. Here, I’ll be going over my first impressions of some of these books. Please note my “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe” vote is only indicative of my opinion and may not reflect the opinion of our whole group. Since we advance books as a group, it’s possible a “Yes” from me may end up a “No” overall and vice versa. Let me know what you think of the books in the comments!

(16) A LOOK BEHIND AT A LOOK AHEAD. YouTube’s The 1920s Channel presents The Future Of The 1920s.

“Futurism” is what people believed the future would be like at a given time. Similarly, “retrofuturism” is futurism of the past. Most people think of Victorian futurism (steampunk) and 1950s/1960s futurism (atompunk). 1920s futurism sits right in the middle, mostly forgotten. Technically, it’s grouped in with “dieselpunk,” which extends into the WWII period, but I think the aesthetic of the 1920s is a bit different. For example, in the 1920s version of the future, zeppelins and airships are all over the place, though by WWII, zeppelins were a thing of the past. In this video, I’ll explain a little bit about the 1920s conception of the future, then show a lot of examples from a 1920s science and technology magazine called “Science And Invention.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

Return To The Wastelands Of Old Man Logan In Brand-New Series Of Wastelanders Comics

Podcast Connecting Variant Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN

Return to the post-apocalyptic Wastelands of Old Man Logan this December in five all-new stories set in the Marvel future where heroes have fallen, villains have won, and fan favorite characters defy all odds to survive. These five one-shots by all-star creators including writers Steven S. DeKnight, Ethan Sacks, Rich Douek, and Torunn Grønbekk will focus on Wolverine, Hawkeye, Doctor Doom, Star-Lord, and making their first appearance in the Wastelands, Black Widow.

DeKnight, known for his work on Netflix’s Daredevil and Wolverine: Black, White & Blood, will lead the return alongside artist Ibrahim Moustafa in Wastelanders: Wolverine, an all-new story set in the days after the conclusion of the original Old Man Logan, as he fights once again to save the people of the Wastelands who have been crushed under the heel of the Red Skull and Bruce Banner. The super villains united and took out most of the world’s super heroes decades ago, and while the man known as Logan attempted to live a life of peace, he had to pop the claws once again to do what he does best! But saving the day looks different with the Baby Hulk under his care. Is Logan doing the right thing by protecting the progeny of the Hulk or dooming what’s left of the war-torn world? Logan may not have long to ponder if he is crushed by the adamantium armor of his newfound enemy Downfall!

“It’s such a rare, bloody joy to be able to transport readers back to the universe of Old Man Logan in the one-shots for Wastelanders: Wolverine and Wastelanders: Black Widow,” DeKnight said. “Old friends, new foes, and quite a few surprises await. You don’t want to miss this one!”

Wastelanders mastermind Ethan Sacks, writer of both Old Man Hawkeye and Old Man Quill, is also back with artist Ibraim Roberson bringing readers a never-before-told story of Hawkeye’s training with Stick—the man formerly known as Daredevil—in Wastelanders: Hawkeye. Clint Barton’s sight may be gone, but his will to avenge is stronger than ever, and with the training and expert guidance of Matt Murdock, arrows will fly again! But what is Murdock’s actual target? And how will this change Hawkeye’s path in the Wastelands?

The Mighty Valkyries writer Torunn Grønbekk and Julius Ohta explore the complex nature of everyone’s favorite tyrant in Wastelanders: Doom! Doctor Doom helped wipe out the heroes on the Day the Villains Won, but even as he rules his domain in the Wastelands, a greater destiny calls to him. When a mysterious power blocks his oversight of a particular region, what he discovers will have ripple effects across the Wastelanders stories.

Writer Rich Douek (Superman: Red and Blue) makes his Marvel Comics debut alongside artist Brent Peeples in Wastelanders: Star-Lord. The legendary Star-Lord has fallen on hard times. With the Guardians of the Galaxy disbanded, Peter Quill returned to Earth to find it a wasteland unlike anything he’s seen across the stars – heroes dead, villains in power. While he’s taken out one threat, others remain in the Wastelands, and Star-Lord’s own desire to assuage his guilt for being off-world during the calamity will land him right in the middle of another. Will Quill overcome the mysterious force waiting for him at the site of his lost love’s death? Or is she not really dead at all?

“I’ve been a huge fan of Marvel’s Wastelands setting ever since the original Old Man Logan series, and it’s been an honor to contribute to it with Wastelanders: Star-Lord,” Douek said. “Both the new podcast series by Ben Percy, and Old Man Quill from Ethan Sacks and Robert Gill inspired me to really dive into what makes Peter Quill tick, and to send him on a thrilling adventure in this grim and gritty version of the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait for readers to come along for the ride and see what we’ve cooked up!”

Bookending the saga, DeKnight will team up with artist Well-Bee to introduce the Wastelander’s take on Natasha Romanoff in Wastelanders: Black Widow. The Lizard King has grown monstrous and deadlier than ever as the lord of his southern domain. But when rumor breaks that critical information is believed to be stored in his impenetrable fortress, only the greatest spy of all is up to the infiltration: the deadly Black Widow! But who is she, and how has she survived this many decades in the Wastelands undetected? 

Since Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s legendary 2008 Wolverine story arc, the universe of Old Man Logan has gripped readers with its hard-hitting stories in multiple spinoff titles and a hit podcast series. Don’t miss the latest evolution of this fascinating saga when this all-new group of Wastelanders adventures hit stands in December.

See the series cover art following the jump.

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