Pixel Scroll 7/24/16 The Pixel Who Walks Through Walls

(1) CLOTHING SHRINKS. NPR takes a psychological look at cosplay in “Cosplayers Use Costume To Unleash Their Superpowers”.

These cosplayers are invoking clothing’s subtle sway over us. People have used clothing to subdue, seduce and entertain for millennia. In some outfits, people not only look different, but they feel different. Psychologists are trying to figure out how clothes can change our cognition and by how much. Adam Galinsky, a psychologist at Columbia Business School, spoke with NPR’s Hanna Rosin for the podcast and show Invisibilia. Galinksy did a study where he asked participants to put on a white coat. He told some of the participants they were wearing a painter’s smock, and others that they were in a doctor’s coat.

Then he tested their attention and focus. The people who thought they were in the doctor’s coat were much more attentive and focused than the ones wearing the painter’s smock. On a detail-oriented test, the doctor’s coat-wearing participants made 50 percent fewer errors. Galinksy thinks this is happening because when people put on the doctor’s coat, they begin feeling more doctor-like. “They see doctors as being very careful, very detailed,” Galinksy says. “The mechanism is about symbolic association. By putting on the clothing, it becomes who you are.”

Almost any attire carrying some kind of significance seems to have this effect, tailored to the article as a symbol. In one study, people wearing counterfeit sunglasses were more likely lie and cheat than those wearing authentic brands, as if the fakes gave the wearers a plus to cunning. “If the object has been imbued with some meaning, we pick it up, we activate it. We wear it, and we get it on us,” says Abraham Rutchick, a psychologist at California State University Northridge.

(2) WOMAN OF MYSTERY. The LA Weekly claims to know “Why This Might be Elvira’s Last Comic-Con (as Elvira)”.

Cassandra Peterson has been playing Elvira, the self-proclaimed Mistress of the Dark and horror movie hostess, for 35 years, and she’s been attending Comic-Con as the character for longer than she can remember.

“I was going through my records trying to find the first Comic-Con I came to, and it was in the basement of some motel or hotel or something,” she says. She used to come almost every year, but this year will likely be her last, at least as Elvira. She’s here now to promote her upcoming coffee table book, which features commentary and photos spanning Elvira’s 35-year history (including a few behind-the-scenes shots, like one of her in full costume, seven months pregnant).

Reflecting on her years at the convention, she’s enjoyed meeting her idols, like Forrest Ackerman, a prominent figure in the sci-fi and fantasy scene, and running into colleagues. “I saw Gene Simmons last time I was here, a couple years ago, and that was awesome, because I don’t often run into him, and he was in his KISS drag, I was in my Elvira drag, kind of scary. We were both going, ‘How long are we going to be doing this?’”

But what sticks out the most is a memory of her first Comic-Con, where she was one of the only women in attendance. “When I was there, I was really the ‘odd man out,’ being a woman,” she says. “And now, I am positive that it’s at least 50 percent women [here] that are interested in the whole genre, whether it’s horror, fantasy, sci fi. And I’ve seen that, in my 35 years, just completely change.” She adds, “I was one of those geek girls who was into that stuff when I was a kid, so to see it catch on, for me, is pretty thrilling.”

(3) ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE. Trek Core relays word from SDCC: “The Roddenberry Vault Reveals Lost Star Trek Clips, New Blu-Ray Release Arriving in Late 2016”.

In a surprise reveal today at its own San Diego Comic Con panel, STAR TREK: THE RODDENBERRY VAULT, a years-long endeavor to recover lost and cut footage from the making of the original Star Trek series, debuted with never-before-seen clips from production of the series.

The source of the recovered material (to be released as part of an extended documentary) comes from hundreds of film reels of archived, unused Original Series footage – called the “Holy Grail” by Denise Okuda – which remained in Gene Roddenberry’s possession after the conclusion of filming on the classic series.

Mike and Denise Okuda spoke to the motivations behind the nine-year (!) project, starting from hints of cut scenes in the James Blish novelizations of the classic Trek episodes to occasional publicity photos that the pair had never seen before.

Producer Roger Lay, Jr., who worked on the Next Generation and Enterprise Blu-ray releases, also confirmed that a Blu-ray release of this recovered footage will be arriving before the end of 2016 – but the team has not yet finalized the documentary, and could not specify how many minutes of recovered footage will be included.

…We have no information yet on the timetable for release of this fantastic-sounding new Blu-ray, but as Lay reiterates at the end of the panel, this is a Fiftieth Anniversary production that WILL be out before the end of 2016.

 

Roger Lay Jr. and Ray Bradbury back in the day.

Roger Lay Jr. and Ray Bradbury back in the day.

(4) YOU’RE THE CADET. Guelda Voien was at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to see an exhibit celebrating 50 years of Star Trek, and pronounced it “Every Dork’s Wet Dream”.

…It is Career Day at the Academy, and you’re given a chance to try out all the different stations—tactical, medical, navigation, command and communications. You perform tasks, like a phaser exercise or choosing which planet to evacuate your crew to, and take a sort of quiz at the end. Your RFID bracelet tracks your progress. It’s like the part of the Museum of Tolerance where you track a Jewish child through the Holocaust, but less horrible.

I did all of them except for communications. No offense, Uhura, but I did not go to Starfleet Academy to talk (though your role got way better in the reboots, thanks, J.J.). No, I went to shoot stuff, try to heal a Klingon and try the fucking Kobayashi Maru.

And I got to do all that stuff. The assessments straddled the obvious and full-on dorkbait in a way that kept me pretty much giddily entertained for an hour (the ticketed show is intended to take about that long and costs $25 for an adult nonmember). At some point, I turned to Danny and asked, “Is Kronos in the Alpha Quadrant?” He thought about it for a second. “I don’t think it is.” I thought about it. “Well, Bajor, Earth and Cardassia definitely are, so it must be Kronos that isn’t.” But I was also thinking, “Hmm, wasn’t Kronos destroyed by the time TNG began?” And that’s why they just call the Klingon homeworld “the Klingon homeworld” later in the timeline, right? And I was happy. This is why I came.

(5) MARVEL AT DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE. The Los Angeles Times says Marvel Studios has made official what fans have been speculating about for awhile — “Tower of Terror to get superhero makeover at Disney California Adventure Park”.

….Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment Inc. in 2009 for $4 billion but had yet to inject many of the Marvel characters into the Anaheim theme parks. The ride will reopen next summer.

The move to re-create the Tower of Terror into a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction has been rumored on Disney fan blog sites for months but the Burbank-based entertainment giant has refused to comment on the speculation.

The announcement was made by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic-Con, the annual celebration of comics and pop culture.

“We are eager to present the attraction to the millions who visit Disney California Adventure and place them in the center of the action as they join in a mission alongside our audacious Guardians of the Galaxy team,” he said in a statement.

In the past, Disney has added new features to existing rides to renew interest among park visitors. Space Mountain, for example, became Hyperspace Mountain when the park added elements borrowed from the popular Star Wars franchise, now owned by Disney.

But Disney representatives say that the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride will keep the fast-dropping elevator from the Tower of Terror, but the rest of the attraction will be completely overhauled.

They declined to say how much Disney will spend on the project.

Disney fans have speculated that the overhauled attraction will stand at the entrance to a new Marvel land at the park.

 

(6) GONE. Variety reports “Popular Movie, TV Set Location Sable Ranch Destroyed in California Wildfire”. IMDB shows a number of sf TV episodes were shot there.

Sable Ranch, a location boasting Old West-style buildings that have been used for countless movies and TV shows, is one of the latest casualties of a Southern California wildfire that has nearly blocked out the sun in Los Angeles all weekend.

The ranch in Santa Clarita, Calif., was destroyed by the fire on Saturday despite the efforts of dozens of firefighters, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some offices were reportedly able to be salvaged, but the set is gone.

Sable Ranch served as host to such movies as horror film “Motel Hell” and Chevy Chase’s “The Invisible Man,” as well as classic Westerns like “The Bells of Coronado.” Television shows including “The A-Team,” “Maverick” and “24” also shot at the location.

(7) HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED? Caroline Yoachim says this was her way —

(8) SDCC AS SEEN FROM WILLIAM WU BOOKS. Sundays are less crowded than Saturdays in front of William Wu Books.

wu books at sdcc

(9) I THINK HE LIKED IT. Ian Sales was surprised to be pleased by Station Eleven. By the end of his review I was convinced to add the book to my TBR list – something the thoroughly favorable reviews I read had never accomplished.

Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel (2014). This won the Clarke Award last year, and while I’d heard many good things about it, it’s a lit-fic post-apocalypse novel and I find post-apocalypse fiction banal at the best of times, and lit fic attempts at the genre all too often seem to think they’re doing something brand new and innovative, that no one has ever thought of before, and so the prose tends to reek of smugness. So my expectations were not especially high. Happily, Mandel proved a better writer than I’d expected, and I found myself enjoying reading Station Eleven. It’s still banal, of course; more so, in fact, because it trots out the Backwoods Messiah With The Persecution Complex plot, which should have been retired sometime around 37 CE. Anyway, a global flu epidemic wipes out most of humanity. Station Eleven opens in Toronto, when a famous actor has a heart attack on stage and dies. Then everyone else starts to die from the flu. The book jumps ahead twenty years to a post-apocalypse US, and a travelling orchestra/acting troupe, who travel the southern shores of the Great Lakes. And then there is a half-hearted attempt at a plot, which ties in with some of the flashback sections, which are about either the actor or the main character of the post-apocalypse story, a young actress in the travelling troupe. The writing was a great deal better than I’d expected, and so despite being post-apocalypse I came away from Station Eleven a little impressed. A worthy winner of the Clarke Award.

(10) AUTHOR EARNINGS. At Mad Genius Club, Fynbospress pointed out a new round of statistics has been posted:

Author Earnings just did an in-depth analysis of the romance genre, and presented it at the RWA (Romance Writers of America). …

2.) Down in the comments at the bottom, both of the report itself and in the comments at Passive Voice, Data Guy provides breakouts for SF&F, and for Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, too!

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 24, 1948 – Marvin the Martian (not yet given that name) appeared onscreen for the first time in the Bugs Bunny cartoon “Haredevil Hare”.

275px-Looney_Tunes_'Haredevil_Hare'_-_screenshot

  • July 24, 1969 — Apollo 11 returned to Earth, ending its historic moon-landing mission. After the spacecraft’s splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were flown by helicopter to the recovery ship USS Hornet.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRLS

  • Born July 24, 1951 – Lynda Carter, called by some the Only and True Wonder Woman.
  • Born July 24, 1982 — Anna Paquin

(13) THOUGHT FOR THE DAY. Neil Armstrong said the Apollo missions demonstrated that “humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that, and our opportunities are unlimited.”

(14) SELDEN’S XANATOS PLAN. Vox Day teases “No one foresaw it” at Vox Popoli.

It’s no wonder the SF-SJWs are always a few steps behind.

It had been believed that the slaters would lose interest if they couldn’t sweep entire categories, since it that would mean that they could neither get awards for their own favorites (since fans would No Award them) nor “burn down” the awards, since fans would have at least a couple of organic works to give awards to. No one foresaw the “griefing” strategy of nominating works whose mere presence on the finalist list would cast the awards into disrepute. – Greg Hullender at File 770

They still don’t quite get it, do they? Rabid Puppies didn’t nominate “If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” or “Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue” for the Hugo Award. We didn’t give a Best Novel Nebula to The Quantum Rose (Book 6 in the Saga of the Skolian Empire) or a Best Novel Hugo to Redshirts. We’re not casting the awards into disrepute, we are highlighting the fact that the SJWs in science fiction have already made them disreputable. I wonder what they will fail to foresee next? That’s a rhetorical question, of course. I already know….

(15) A VOX ON BOTH THEIR HOUSES. RameyLady doesn’t understand the impact of the Rabid Puppies slate on the finalists –

The nominees continue to suffer, in these shorter works, from poor selection but perhaps that’s as much a result of fan voting as it is the Puppies’ attempt at chaos and domination.

— but still writes a good overview of the Hugo-nominated novelettes.

In order of my appraisal:

  1. “Obits” by Stephen King is going to be my top pick in Novelette, though my #2 selection is within a hair’s breadth of taking my top vote.  But it’s hard to deny the feel of sentences coming off the pen of a man as experienced and talented as King.

(16) BALLOT SNAPSHOT. Mark Ciocco says Lois McMaster Bujold gets his vote for Best Novella in his survey of all five nominees.

After last year’s train wreck of a Novella ballot, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this year’s finalists. But it seems my fears were misplaced, as this might be the most solid fiction category of the year. Novellas can be awkward and to be sure, a couple of these don’t entirely pull it off, but even those manage better than the other categories.

  1. Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold – No surprise here, as I was one of the many who nominated this in the first place. I’m a huge fan of Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga and it’s very much to her credit that I’ve followed her from my preferred SF genre to her fantasy worlds. This story takes place in her Chalion universe and tells the story of a young man who accidentally contracts a demon. This is both better and worse than you’d expect. Better, because in Chalion, demon possession can grant great powers. Worse, because with great power comes intrigue and scheming by those interested in your new powers. That’s all background though, and the story itself is well plotted and the character relationships, particularly between Penric and his demon, and extremely well done. Easily and clearly tops this list. (Also of note: the sequel to this story is out!)

(17) RESPIRE OR EXPIRE. Spacefaring Kitten tackles The Martian in “Aspiration Porn — Campbell Nominee Andy Weir”.

While watching The Martian, I remember enjoying the cosmic visuals, but the reader of the book doesn’t have that and she has to be kept in awe of the science. It was quite impressive, considering that the natural sciences interest me very little. Still, Weir was able to force me into the aspiration porn mindset — ISN’T IT GREAT THAT THE HUMAN RACE HAS DONE SUCH A WONDERFUL THING AS GOING TO SPACE (AND MOSTLY ALSO MAKING IT BACK ALIVE??!!). Yeah, it is. Little less bable about making water and oxygen wouldn’t have hurt, but I guess that really paying attention to these technical details was what Weir’s project was about.

(18) IT’S ALIVE! Bradley W. Schenck tells how he achieved “My successful human hybrid experiment” – which is a piece of digital artwork.

It’s with no small amount of pride that I can now reveal my second, and most successful, human hybrid experiment. I wish I knew exactly what it was; but, as you can see, it’s keeping an eye on us until I figure that out.

Over the past year or so I’ve learned some new tricks with my morph-targeted character heads, and the most interesting tricks are the ones I can play on characters that are already done. Some of this is due to Collapse to Morpher, a very useful 3DS Max script.

Morphs are terrific, but they rely on the source object and its morph targets sharing the exact same topology. That means they need to have the same number of vertices, and (importantly!) those vertices have to be numbered in the same order. If you’re not careful you can end up with two objects that used to share those properties but which now are subtly and fatally different. You just can’t morph them any more.

(19) ANOTHER MARVEL SUPERHERO HEARD FROM. Doctor Strange movie trailer #2 dropped at Comic-Con.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day John King Tarpinian.]

DUFF Delegate da camera

Clare McDonald-Sims visited LASFS' labyrinthine library on July 21. Photo by Marty Cantor.

Clare McDonald-Sims visited LASFS’ labyrinthine library on July 21. Photo by Marty Cantor.

By John Hertz:  Voters earlier this year (including me and maybe you) elected Clare McDonald-Sims the 2016 Down Under Fan fund delegate.  DUFF has now brought her to North America.  On Thursday she attended a meeting of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.  LASFS has its own clubhouse, so I guess that’s a chamber.  Or maybe I meant we took photographs.

Three DUFF winners in a row -- John Hertz, Clare McDonald-Sims, and Marty Cantor.

Three DUFF winners in a row — John Hertz, Clare McDonald-Sims, and Marty Cantor.

As I write she’s at PulpFest – so Andy Porter was right again.

We have three intercontinental traveling-fan funds.

TAFF (the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund), the senior fund, was founded in 1953. In alternating years it brings over the Atlantic Ocean a fan nominated, and chosen by election, as someone whom fans across the water would like to meet.  The TAFF delegate attends the World Science Fiction Convention if it’s on the receiving side, otherwise the national convention, with any further fannish travel that can be managed, meeting fans, making friends, radiating goodwill, publishing a trip report, and becoming the TAFF Administrator in turn until the next cycle on the delegate’s home side.

DUFF (the Down Under Fan Fund) was founded in 1972, operating likewise between North America and Australia – New Zealand.

I was the DUFF delegate in 2010 and with the blessing attended both Aussiecon IV and the New Zealand natcon.

In 1978 we completed the triangle with GUFF, operating likewise between Australia – New Zealand and Europe – Britain – Eire; southbound it’s the Going Under Fan Fund, northbound it’s the Get Up and over Fan Fund.

The current TAFF delegate is Anna Raftery. The current GUFF delegate is Jukka Halme.

Clare McDonald-Sims is singular, being a McDonald with one A (like Ian McDonald but unlike John D. MacDonald) and a Sims with one M (like Pat & Roger Sims but unlike Virgil Simms).

However, maintaining balance in the multiverse, this was her second visit to the LASFS, and the second time she stood for DUFF. Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found?

Clare on the podium with LASFS officers Kristen Gorlitz (Scribe) and Nick Smith (President). Photo by Marty Cantor.

Clare on the podium with LASFS officers Kristen Gorlitz
(Scribe) and Nick Smith (President). Photo by Marty Cantor.

Of herself she’s said that, when her high-school librarian tired of her asking for reading recommendations and suggested starting with A, Asimov came up, and she never looked back; also she’d attended four Worldcons in four countries and wanted to break that one-for-one streak. So far so good.

At the moment we expect her to be in the Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood until the end of July; then the District of Columbia neighborhood until about August 3rd; then New York (the City That Has Two Names Twice; see above) till the 9th; then Minneapolis (and St. Paul – the twin cities – I keep telling you) till the 16th; then Kansas City and the Worldcon; then home.

You can reach her in care of the North America Acting DUFF Administrator Lucy Huntzinger (assisting Juanita Coulson), <huntzinger@gmail.com> or (650)869-5771 (Pacific Daylight Time).

Huntzinger would also be good for discussing your DUFF-benefit contributions to the Fan Funds Auction at the Worldcon. That will be conducted by Naomi Fisher.

Or you can reach McDonald-Sims by E-mail to <clare1701@warpmail.net>. You know, the year Telemann met Handel.  What’s that?  The number 1701 has some other significance?

Clare McDonald-Sims and Mike Glyer. Photo by Marty Cantor.

Clare McDonald-Sims and Mike Glyer. Photo by Marty Cantor.

I Go, Hugo, We All Go, to the MACII Business Meeting

By Jameson Quinn: As discussed in previous threads such as this one, I and others will be making an EPH+ proposal to the Business Meeting; and so I was running a fundraiser so that I could be there to help explain it.

The good news is that fundraiser has reached its goal. Yay! I’ll see you all there! Thank you to everyone who’s supported it so far. But the fundraiser is not over.

Jameson Quinn

Jameson Quinn

I have been working on these issues, unpaid, off and on since early last year. I’m doing that partly because I have always been a fan, though not prior to this a congoing fan. But my main motivation is just that I’ve devoted a nontrivial part of my life to thinking about better voting systems, and I see this as an opportunity to use that knowledge while helping educate people about the advantages such systems offer.

So, like my own involvement in this issue, my fundraiser is not merely for myself. I’m raising funds for the Center for Election Science (electology.org), and all donations are tax-deductible in the US. As an organization, we do education, research, consulting, and advocacy around issues of voting systems; that is, exactly the same kinds of work I’ve been doing with EPH and the Hugos. With the support this community has given so far, I’ll be able to be there at MAC II; but if you can give us more support, we can do more.

It doesn’t take more than a glance at the newspaper these days to see the fallout of poor election systems. I’ll discuss a few examples here, to help show what good systems have to offer. Let me begin by saying that the CES is a nonpartisan organization. I’m going to speak not as a voter with my own personal point of view on these matters, but as a voting system designer, in the faith that societies and organizations should be free to make their decisions democratically and that such democratic decision-making is the most sustainable, if not always the fastest, way to come to the correct decisions.

  • In the UK, a momentary bare majority managed to take a decision whose impact will last decades. Of course, every decision has impacts, and from a long term perspective every majority is temporary; but from my point of view as an election theorist, asymmetrical decisions like Brexit should require a supermajority. There were at least two asymmetries in this case. First, you can tear up a treaty any time, but once you’ve shredded it, it’s much harder to tape it back together. And second, the consequences of a “remain” vote were relatively clear, but the very meaning of a “leave” vote was quite vague, allowing a situation where there were groups of “leave” voters with entirely contradictory visions of what the post-Brexit relationship with Europe should be.In light of those asymmetries, the “Brexit” referendum should not have been symmetrical between yes and no. A “yes” result should have taken more than a “no” result. That could have taken the form of a supermajority requirement, but the problem with that is, any such requirement is essentially arbitrary. A better way to do it would be to have required two consecutive results in order to leave, with some time for deliberation in between.
  • In the US Democratic party, there was a tough battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Clinton won, and a key factor in that victory was her strong support from African-American voters, a cornerstone constituency of the party. Yet because of an antiquated primary election schedule, most of the early campaign for both Sanders and Clinton had focused on two of the Whitest states in the country: Iowa and New Hampshire. I believe both of the candidates would have been better served by a schedule where the initial states looked more like the country as a whole, especially in terms of the demographics of the Democrats.
  • Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Donald Trump won the nomination despite getting a minority of votes in the primary contests. Because the primaries used vote-for-one plurality, his numerous opponents split the vote, allowing his minority support to put him into the a clear lead from the start. If the primary elections and polls had been run using a better system such as approval voting, the anti-Trump voters would have had a much easier time showing their strength. We can’t know for certain who would have won under such a system; some might argue it still would have been Trump. But if it were, he would have had to win by uniting Republicans behind him, not just by dividing his opposition.
  • Elsewhere in the news, we see repeated terrorist attacks in various countries; and many of the attackers are affiliated with or claimed by ISIS/Daesh. ISIS arose in Iraq, in the power vacuum left after George Bush toppled Saddam Hussein. And George Bush would almost certainly never have become president in 2001 if it hadn’t been for the broken election system in Florida, where he got a minority of votes but still took the state’s electoral support. In this case, it’s pretty clear that under approval voting, things would have gone differently; if third-party voters had been able to support both their favorite candidate and a backup compromise, all evidence suggests that the minority Bush got would not have been enough to win the state.
  • (Bear with me for one last “river city” transition.) We recently saw a failed coup in Turkey, in which elements of a more-secular military tried to take the country from a democratically-elected Islamist president. This echoes the successful coup in 2013 in Egypt, in which Islamist president Morsi was overthrown by military strongman el-Sisi. Morsi was the only democratically elected president in Egypt’s history. But tragically, Morsi, like Bush, had won despite the fact that most of the country voted against him; and this “unpopular mandate” is arguably a large part of what led to the coup. His initial win was a two-round election. In the first round, there were several candidates: two Islamists (Morsi and Fotouh), a representative of the military and old guard (Shafik), and two more-secular reformers (Sabahi and Moussa). Morsi and Shafik were the top two in that round, and so, despite the fact that their combined total was under 50%, they faced each other in the runoff, with no reformist option on that second ballot. Though opinion polls in this situation were unreliable, all the two-way polls we have that matched either Morsi or Shafik against a reformer show that a reformer could have won if they’d made it to a runoff! And the reformist candidates’ combined total in the first round easily surpassed either of the individual totals of the two who did progress. Thus, it seems very plausible that a better voting system (such as approval with runoff, or majority judgment) could have avoided the situation that led to the Egyptian coup in the first place.

I don’t want to spark a thread of political debate — there are other blogs for that. But I hope I’ve made my point that election system reform is not just for the Hugos. In many countries, and especially here in the US, polls show satisfaction with available the political options at an all-time low, but across most of the English-speaking world we use plurality voting, a horrible system which is structured so as to blunt the incentives for the existing parties, or the ability of new parties, to viably offer new ideas. If you care about breaking this stalemate, you care about election systems, and electology.org deserves your support through my fundraiser. Or, sign up for our newsletter to learn more about how we’re working on this problem.

My original budget for going to the con was $1400, including membership, train fare (I prefer trains over airplanes to save on CO?), lodging, expenses, and youcaring’s small crowdfunding fees. I lowered that to $1300 in order to help get the fundraiser over the top. But really, I’d like to see this pass $2000, so please, if you can, support us. Frankly, the CES needs the money, as we testify before legislatures, attend other conventions and run straw polls, engage with media and produce educational materials, carry out research, work on software tools, consult with awards organizations such as the Hugos and Webbys, and other activities. Our Executive Director is committed to the cause and draws low wages, but I know for a fact there’s at least one other charity that wants to steal him from us at higher wages, so we really need to begin paying him a larger fraction of what he’s worth.

Cult Movie Bracket, Fourth Round

Cult Movie Bracket Logo SMBy Hampus Eckerman: For each pair, vote for the top cult movie. Vote for what is rememberable, what is fun, what is interesting, what is cult. You will have at least 24 hours to answer, but after that it depends on when I have time to count the votes.

1. BRING US A SHRUBBERY!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

2. STAYING IN THE PAST OR THE PRESENT
Groundhog Day (1993)
Army of Darkness (1992)

3. IF HIS BRAIN’S RAN DOWN, HOW CAN HE TALK?
Return to Oz (1985)
Young Frankenstein (1974)

4. PRINCESS VS QUEENS
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

5. RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Time Bandits (1981)

6. OUT OF THE DOOR, LINE ON THE LEFT, ONE BOMB EACH
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
Dr. Strangelove or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

7. DUDE VS DUKE
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Labyrinth (1986)

8. IT’S SUCH A FINE LINE BETWEEN STUPID, AND UH…
Blazing Saddles (1974)
This is Spinal Tap (1984)

9. GREAT HEAVENS! THATS A LASER!
Better Off Dead (1985)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Connolly, Yoachim Story Collections Coming August 16

By Carl Slaughter: Tina Connolly and Caroline M. Yoachim, who occasionally collaborate on short fiction, each have a short story collection coming out on August 16. And each has written the introduction to the other’s book.

TINA CONNOLLY

Tina Connolly

Tina Connolly

On the Eyeball Floor & Other Stories

On the Eyeball Floor cover 9.indd

 

Table of Contents

Introduction by Caroline M. Yoachim

On the Eyeball Floor: Stories of Climbing, Falling, and Spare Body Parts

  • On the Eyeball Floor
  • “On Glicker Street: A Seasonal Quartet”
  • “Selling Home”
  • “Left Hand”
  • “Rehydration”

Recalculating: Stories of Journeys, Dead-Ends, and the Friends Riding Shotgun

  • “Recalculating”
  • “The Bitrunners”
  • “Standard Comfort Measures in Earthling Pregnancies”
  • “Super-Baby-Moms Group Saves the Day!”
  • “That Seriously Obnoxious Time I Was Stuck at Witch Rimelda’s One Hundredth Birthday Party”

See Dangerous Earth-Possibles: Stories of Families, Baseball Bats, and Zombie Chipmunks

A Million Little Paper Airplane Stories: Stories of Myths, Legends, and the Uncatchable

Hard Choices: Stories of Tough Choices, Tough Love, and Fairy Dust

  • “Hard Choices”
  • “How Frederika Cassowary-Jones Joined the Ladies’ Society of Benevolent Goings-On”
  • “Inflection”
  • “Silverfin Harbor”
  • “As We Report to Gabriel”

Afterword

Artwork by Kazuhiko Nakamura

Trade Paper, On Sale Date: Aug 16, 2016

Find it at Fairwood Press, Goodreads, Powells, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Indiebound.

Kansas City Launch Party at WorldCon, Aug 19, 8pm, 2016

Seattle Launch Party at U Books in Seattle, Aug 25, 7pm, 2016

CAROLINE M. YOACHIM

Caroline M. Yoachim

Caroline M. Yoachim

Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World & Other Stories

7 Wonders cover full 15.indd

Table of Contents

Introduction by Tina Connolly

Part 1: Our World

  • Five Stages of Grief After the Alien Invasion
  • Betty and the Squelchy Saurus
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors, Love,
  • Death
  • The Philosophy of Ships
  • Temporary Friends
  • Interlude: Flash Fiction Worlds
  • A Million Oysters for Chiyoko
  • Carla at the Off-Planet Tax Return Helpline
  • Do Not Count the Withered Ones
  • Pieces of My Body
  • Everyone’s a Clown
  • Harmonies of Time

Part 2: Fantasy Worlds

  • Stone Wall Truth
  • The Little Mermaid of Innsmouth
  • On the Pages of a Sketchbook Universe
  • Seasons Set In Skin
  • The Carnival Was Eaten, All Except the Clown
  • Interlude: Flash Fiction Worlds
  • Paperclips and Memories and Things That Won’t Be Missed
  • Please Approve the Dissertation Research of Angtor
  • Grass Girl
  • One Last Night at the Carnival, Before the Stars Go Out
  • Honeybee
  • Elizabeth’s Pirate Army

Part 3: Alien Worlds

  • Mother Ship
  • Four Seasons in the Forest of Your Mind
  • Press Play to Watch It Die
  • Ninety-Five Percent Safe
  • Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World

Publication date: August 16, 2016

Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World is available for preorder at Fairwood PressAmazonBarnes and Noble

2016 Geffen Award Shortlist Revisited

The nominees for the 2016 Geffen Awards (Israel Speculative Fiction Awards) have been announced.

The Geffen organizers asked the nominated authors of original fiction in Hebrew authors for the English translations of their titles, which File 770 has obtained with the help of Standback. Adding the new information, the Geffen shortlist looks this way:

Best Original Short Story

  • “Tabula Rasa” by Gai Bosco
  • “Burning Alexandria” by Keren Landman
  • “Requiem to Mathew” by Avial Tochterman
  • “Drinking Dust” by Rotem Baruchin
  • “Who’s Afraid of the Dark” by Rotem Baruchin

Best Original Novel

  • Emerald, Fairy-Child: The Lost Children by Eshkar Erblich-Brifman
  • The Third by Yishai Sarid
  • Lake of Shadows by Roni Gelbfish
  • A City Forsaken by Amit Goldenberg
  • Mystia 2 – The Return of Ten Times by Galit Dahan Carlibach
  • Wanderers in Time by Sigal Adelmen

Best Translated Fantasy Book

  • Stolen by Kelley Armstrong, translated by Vered Tochterman (Yaniv Publishing)
  • Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, translated by Vered Tochterman (Yaniv Publishing)
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman, translated by Guy Herling (KM Press)
  • Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb, translated by Tzafrir Grosman (Opus Publishing)
  • A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin, translated by Tzafrir Grosman (Opus Publishing)

Best Translated Science Fiction Book

  • Ancillary Justice + Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, translated by Emanuel Lotem (Syal Publishing)
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, translated by Yonatan Bar (Syal Publishing)
  • The Hidden Family by Charles Stross, translated by Vered Tochterman (Yaniv Publishing)
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi, translated by Tzafrir Grosman (Opus Publishing)
  • The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate + The Lifecycle of Software Objects + The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang, translated by Didi Chanoch (Tara Publishing)

Best Translated Young Adult Book

  • The Road to Oz by Frank Baum, translated by Gili Bar-Hillel (Utz Publishing)
  • Cinder by Marissa Mayer, translated by Yael Achmon (Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir Publishing)
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, translated by Michal Alfon (Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir Publishing)
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, translated by Yael Achmon (Graf Publishing)
  • The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, translated by Noa Shavit (Utz Publishing)

Many thanks to Standback for assisting with the English versions of those Hebrew names that could not be established through Twitter or the Wikipedia.

Pixel Scroll 7/23/16 I Tasted The Pixels In The Scroll Of The Universe, And I Was Not Offended

(1) TRAFFIC. How do you get more pageviews for your blog? Talk about politics. But, of course, these things must be done delicately. Notice the daft, er, deft touch in Camestros Felapton’s post “Well, He Kept That Quiet”.

The local newspaper reports:

In a surprising move, presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton, has chosen local vermin catcher Timothy the Talking Cat as her Vice Presidential pick….

(2) SPACE, THE FASHION FRONTIER. Mayim Bialik of Big Bang Theory did a Star Trek-themed photo shoot. There are six pictures in the gallery, with Bialik costumed as a series of characters from classic Trek.

Mayim Bialik and fans everywhere geek out over Star Trek at 50. To celebrate, we boldy go where no man—or woman—has gone before, with a little help from this Trekkie pinup girl and The Big Bang Theory star. “I watched a lot of Star Trek when I was a kid, and being able to not only dress up like some of the most iconic characters from that universe,” Mayim Bialik said, “but be made up by some of the original innovators who created these looks, was personally so meaningful.”

trekkie1

She also appears in a two-minute “making of” video.

(3) LEGO SPACEWOMEN. LEGO has been asked to do a Women of NASA project about five female scientists and astronauts:

Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program, a.k.a. NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated — especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

This proposed set celebrates five notable NASA pioneers and provides an educational building experience to help young ones and adults alike learn about the history of women in STEM. The five Women of NASA are:

Women of NASA 2562129-o_1anriledce9i1qm5hpeki28vo1u-full

Margaret Hamilton, computer scientist: While working at MIT under contract with NASA in the 1960s, Hamilton developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo missions to the moon. She is known for popularizing the modern concept of software.

Katherine Johnson, mathematician and space scientist: A longtime NASA researcher, Johnson is best known for calculating and verifying trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs — including the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon.

Sally Ride, astronaut, physicist, and educator: A physicist by training, Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. After retiring as a NASA astronaut, she founded an educational company focusing on encouraging children — especially girls — to pursue the sciences.

Nancy Grace Roman, astronomer: One of the first female executives at NASA, Roman is known to many as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. She also developed NASA’s astronomy research program.

Mae Jemison, astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur: Trained as a medical doctor, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space in 1992. After retiring from NASA, Jemison established a company that develops new technologies and encourages students in the sciences.In addition to a desktop frame that displays these five minifigures and their names, the set includes vignettes depicting: a famous photo of the reams of code that landed astronauts on the moon in 1969; instruments used to calculate and verify trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo missions; a microscale Hubble Space Telescope and display; and a mini space shuttle, complete with external tank and solid rocket boosters.

The idea has gathered 2,513 supporters as of this writing – with 541 days left (that’s what it says). It needs 10,000 supporters to qualify for an official LEGO review.

(4) GHOSTBUSTER TOYS. Meanwhile, some toy shelves have become ghost towns due to strong sales  – “Mattel Reports ‘Ghostbusters’ Toy Sales Have ‘Exceeded Expectations’”.

Mattel is reporting strong early sales for its line of toys based on the female-led “Ghostbusters” — from both boys and girls.

In keeping with the tagline “Everybody wants to be a Ghostbuster,” Mattel’s retail strategy was to sell the female-led Ghostbusters action figures in the boys’ toy aisle. The sales figures at the top retailers in the country have exceeded expectations, the toymaker reported Friday.

(5) PULP STUDIES. James Madison University will host the 1st Annual Pulp Studies Symposium on October 7-8. One of the speakers is today’s Munsey Award winner, Laurie Powers.

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, James Madison University’s Special Collections hosts one of the finest publicly accessible collections of pulp magazines in the United States, including a recent acquisition of over eighty issues of Street and Smith’s romance pulp Love Story.

Speakers

David M. Earle

Associate Professor of Transatlantic Modernism and Print Culture at the University of West Florida

David M. Earle is Associate Professor of Transatlantic Modernism and Print Culture at the University of West Florida. He is author of Re-Covering Modernism: Pulps, Paperbacks, and the Prejudice of Form (2009) and All Man!: Hemingway, 1950s Men’s Magazines, and the Masculine Persona(2009). More recently, he has published on pulp magazines and modernism for The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Volume 2; the influence of pulps on William Faulkner for Fifty Years after Faulkner; and pulps and the modernist genre novel for The Cambridge History of the Modernist Novel (2016). His online projects include the Digital Newsstand, an online re-creation of a newsstand from 1925.

Laurie Powers

Laurie Powers, an Ada Comstock Scholar graduate of Smith College, developed her interest in pulp fiction in 1999 when she discovered that her paternal grandfather, Paul S. Powers, (1905–1971) had been a successful writer of stories that appeared in magazines such as Weird Tales, Wild West Weekly, Western Story Magazine, Real Detective Tales, Thrilling Western, and many more. Since then, Laurie has been very active in the community of pulp fiction historians, writers, and collectors. She wrote the prologue and epilogue that appear in her grandfather’s memoir, Pulp Writer: Twenty Years in the American Grub Street (University of Nebraska Press, 2007), has published several collections of her grandfather’s stories, and has spoken to a variety of audiences on the history of pulp fiction. Laurie is now writing a biography of Daisy Bacon, editor of Love Story Magazine, and has written articles and book introductions about Bacon and the romance pulps

(6) ONE WRITER’S PROCESS.

(7) KISS ANOTHER HISTORIC HOUSE GOODBYE. According to Los Angeles Magazine, “The Home Where Walt Disney Founded His First Studio Is Set to be Demolished”.

New owners have requested a demolition permit for Walt Disney’s first home in California. The well-preserved 1914 Craftsman bungalow at 4406 Kingswell Avenue in Los Feliz belonged to Walt’s aunt Charlotte and uncle Robert Disney, who in July of 1923 invited their young nephew to board in their home (at a rate of $5 per week) as he pursued his dream of becoming a film director. The 2-bedroom, 1458 square-foot home would stay in the Disney family for 30 years. Charlotte moved next door in 1955, spending five decades on Kingswell. When it was sold again in 1977 the owners described it as having “lots of wood trim, fireplace & cheery breakfast room.” The home exhibits tremendous architectural integrity, with the same porch, gables, shingles, windows, and beveled glass door that greeted 22-year-old Walt Disney.

According to the Los Angeles County Assessor the property was sold two months ago to Sang Ho and Krystal Yoo of Studio City, who submitted plans on Friday for a new 2-story, 1 or 2-family home they plan to build on the site. In November, the City of Los Angeles Survey L.A. program declared the property eligible for the National Register of Historic Places for its role as Walt Disney’s first studio in California. The same city planning department is now considering issuing a permit for its destruction.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 23, 1982 — Actor Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed when a helicopter crashed on the movie set of The Twilight Zone.
  • July 23, 1999 — Disney’s Tarzan became the first all-digital film.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born July 23, 1989 – Daniel Radcliffe

(10) WISE CRACKS. Ethan Mills at Examined Worlds reviews “Tectonic Fantasy: Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin”.

N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season is a difficult, complex, and engrossing tale.  Let me focus on the plot structure, the worldbuilding, and the major theme of living within unjust social structures….

Building a Volatile World The worldbuilding is amazing.  The Stillness (the sarcastically-named continent where it all takes place) is on a world of intense geological activity, which every few hundred years creates a “Fifth Season” that wipes out a lot of the life on the planet.  Worldbuilding aficionados will love the historical appendix that tells the history of each Fifth Season going back several thousand years.  There’s also a glossary for more general terms, which is helpful for forgetful readers like me (although most of the terms can be understood in context as you read the novel).  It’s obvious as you’re reading that this is the first book of a trilogy, so while I look forward to learning more about the characters, I’m most interested to learn more about the world.

(11) HUGO CHANGES. Steve Davidson gives “A 3SV Endorsement” at Amazing Stories.

3SV would insert an additional vote between nominations and final voting.  (Nominations > 3SV > Final Vote.) Up to the top 15 nominees in each category are presented to the voters, who in effect have an opportunity to preemptively vote No Award for each of the 15 nominees.  Based on the criteria of the proposal (here), nominees that receive above a certain threshold of “reject” votes during this round are removed from the list of 15 and the remaining top 5 nominees – based on the original nomination counts – are then placed on the final ballot.

Nominees of questionable origin, undeserving nominees and nominees gamed onto the ballot can be removed at this second stage, which will prevent bad actors from acquiring a “Hugo Award Finalist” designation;  voters will not have to choose to vote for something reprehensible or No Award the entire category;  the effectiveness of slate voting will be seriously reduced, if not eliminated.

The bar for rejection is high – 60% – so it is unlikely that anything but those works generally perceived as having arrived on the ballot through unfair means will be eliminated during the process.

(12) FANTASTIC BEASTS. There’s been an inundation of trailers tailored for showing at the San Diego Comic-Con. I’m including several in today’s Scroll.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Comic-Con Trailer

(13) JUSTICE LEAGUE. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment showed footage of Zack Snyder’s Justice League in Hall H.

(14) KONG. SciFiNow has a good intro: “Kong Skull Island trailer crash-lands in modern day”.

The first trailer for Kong: Skull Island has come rampaging in…

Letting us know that this is brought to us by same folks who created Godzilla, this should have given us a hint of what to expect from Kong: Skull Island. We’ll be honest though: we weren’t prepared for this.

Leads Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson don’t get a single line of dialogue. Instead, co-stars Samuel L Jackson and John Goodman get their time to shine in this modern-day reimagining of the King Kong mythos.

 

(15) MARVEL AND NETFLIX AT SDCC.

San Diego Comic Con Sizzle presented by Marvel and Netflix

A look back at Daredevil and Jessica Jones as we get ready for Luke Cage. All episode of Daredevil and Jessica Jones now streaming on Netflix. Luke Cage premieres on September 30.

 

Marvel’s Iron Fist – SDCC – First Look – Netflix [HD]

Marvel’s The Defenders – SDCC Teaser – Netflix [HD]

Marvel’s Luke Cage – SDCC – Teaser – Netflix [HD]

(16) MARCHING DOWN THE AISLE. Elaborate cosplay at SDCC.

(17) SOME DARE CALL IT ACTING. Hello Giggles really likes Margot Robbie.

This brand new “Suicide Squad” trailer ONLY features Harley Quinn and thus, it is awesome

Is it too early to start an Oscar campaign for Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad? This is a very serious question. She shouldn’t just with an Oscar for her role in the upcoming DC movie, but maybe like, four. And also probably an Emmy, and a Tony, and let’s just give her a Pulitzer and a Nobel Peace Price, why not. All the awards for Robbie, who is about to make WAVES as Harley Quinn.

 

(18) EVERYBODY NEEDS A CRISIS. Time Magazine explains “Why Aliens Are So Important to Star Trek” – but are they right?

“Gene was very big on not wanting to create conflict among the characters on the show,” says Rick Berman, who led the Star Trek franchise after Roddenberry died in 1991 until 2005 and produced several series and feature films. “He felt that humans, especially Starfleet humans, had evolved to a point where he didn’t want to see conflict between them.”

Yet conflict is at the core of all great storytelling. So if the Enterprise crew couldn’t squabble with one another, Star Trek writers had to find friction elsewhere. Aliens came to the rescue. “Often we were telling stories of how humans had progressed, or not, in the far reaches of space,” says longtime Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana. “But sometimes the theme of the tale was better told by demonstrating how aliens approached or solved problems, or how they failed.”

(19) ROGUE ONE. JJ says, “They’ve done a great bit of spot-on casting for this character, whose original actress is now 83.” Movie Pilot has the story: “Mon Mothma Sure Has Changed Since We Last Saw Her”

While the original Mon Mothma, Caroline Blakiston, is now 83, and thus a little too old to play the Rebel leader in a prequel, it seems that Star Wars: Rogue One has still managed to find a way to go old school with its Mon Mothma-related casting.

Our new Mon Mothma is the same Mon Mothma we (kind of) saw in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Genevieve O’Reilly.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]

2016 Munsey Award Winner

Munsey Award print. Art by David Saunders.

Munsey Award print. Art by David Saunders.

Laurie Powers is the winner of the 2016 Munsey Award, given annually by PulpFest to “a person who has worked for the betterment of the pulp community.”

The granddaughter of pulp author Paul S. Powers, Laurie was introduced to the pulp community in 2007 through the publication of PULP WRITER: TWENTY YEARS IN THE AMERICAN GRUB STREET, an autobiography and appreciation of her grandfather. She has also edited several collections of her grandfather’s work in various genres, releasing a number of previously unpublished stories. In 2013, she helped to arrange the donation of her grandfather’s personal papers as well more than 400 pulp magazines featuring his work to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Ohio State University in Columbus. Laurie also publishes Laurie’s Wild West, an Internet blog site that has become a favorite destination for those interested in the pulps.

Powers was selected by a vote of all living winners of PulpFest’s Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Awards.

The Munsey Award is a fine art print created by Dan Zimmer of a David Saunders painting.

2016 Lamont Award

PulpFest has presented David Saunders with a retro Lamont Award for his contributions to pulp research.

David Saunders, a New York artist, is the son of legendary illustrator Norman Saunders. In 1972, David became his father’s business secretary, which started a long project to catalog his father’s 7,000 published illustrations. After four decades, Saunders is widely regarded as the foremost scholar of American pulp illustrators. His website Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists has over 300 profiles.

This is deemed a “retro” award because it’s a throwback to a retired award series. The Lamont Awards used to be given at Pulpcons and were discontinued in after the final Pulpcon in 2008. PulpFest is now the main event serving the collector community, and presents its own Munsey Award. The Lamont and Munsey are both awards to a deserving person who has given of himself or herself for the betterment of the pulp community.