Pixel Scroll 8/1 Scroll forth, my song, like the rushing river

Ten stories, three videos and a partridge in a pear tree.

(1) It’s a privilege to be included in this Sasquan program item:

Writing About Controversies

M. J. Locke [Laura Mixon] , John Scalzi , Mike Glyer , William Frank (Moderator) , Eric Flint

Since before the Great Exclusion Act of 1939, the science-fiction community has had its share of controversies, feuds and flame wars — between pros, between fans, between pros and fans. Maybe more than its share. Discussion about these controversies — whether in fanzines or online — has often generated more heat than light.  How can we research and write about controversial issues in the field? Is it ever possible to just stick to the facts?  Panelists talk about what they’ve learned about how to approach these issues.

August 23, 3:00 p.m., CC – Bays 111A

(2) Fraser Cain discusses what would happen if a black hole met an antimatter black hole.

Here’s the part you care about. When equal amounts of matter and antimatter collide, they are annihilated. But not disappeared or canceled out. They’re converted into pure energy.

As Einstein explained to us, mass and energy are just different aspects of the same thing. You can turn mass into energy, and you can turn energy into mass.

Black holes turn everything, both matter and energy, into more black hole.

Imagine a regular flavor and an antimatter flavor black hole with the same mass slamming together. The two would be annihilated and turn into pure energy.

Of course, the gravity of a black hole is so immense that nothing, not even light can escape. So all energy would just be turned instantaneously into more black hole. Want more black hole? Put things into the black hole.

Cain says if this is your rescue plan in case you fall into a black hole, you’re out of luck.

(3) You may need a break after science-ing the shit out of that last item. Here’s the comic relief.

[Bill] Nye recently read some unflattering tweets in support of a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary about him, which, to be honest, we kind of hope just turns out to be two more hours of tweets.

 

(4) Ken Liu’s novel Grace of Kings is available from the Kindle Store for $1.99 today, as I learned from SF Signal. So far I’ve only read his short fiction. Now I’m diving into his novels.

(5) I listened to five minutes of the Superversive Hugo livestream today, long enough to hear a male voice opine that No Award will not win any of the categories. And I thought to myself, that kind of boldly contrarian thinking is exactly what a livestream panel needs to pull an audience.

(6) Talk about a dog’s breakfast…

(7) Tempest Bradford has a modest proposal.

Does she mean that literally, or is this another case where an idea suffers because it can’t be fully unpacked in a tweet? Think of all the minority/marginalized groups cishet white men belong to. Religious minorities. People with disabilities. Participants in 12 Step programs. (Do I need to say that I have seen convention panels involving each of these topics?) This rule needs to go back to the drawing board.

(8) August 2 is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

The modern version of the ice cream sandwich was invented by Jerry Newberg in 1945 when he was selling ice cream at Forbes Field.  There are pictures from the early 1900?s, “On the beach, Atlantic City”, that show Ice Cream Sandwiches were popular and sold for 1 cent each.

And here is the ObSF ice cream sandwich content.

c_c_sandwich_1

(9) I think it’s rather sad that the person who took the trouble of setting up this robotic tweet generator doesn’t know how to spell Torgersen.

(10) File 770’s unofficial motto is “It’s always news to someone.” The Hollywood Reporter must feel the same way. Capitalizing on the imminent release of Fantastic Four, THR just ran a story about the first (1994) movie adaptation of the comic produced by Roger Corman.

If you haven’t seen the movie that’s not because it was a box office bust. It was never allowed to get anywhere near the box office. Sony exec Avi Arad ended up destroying every available print.

Here’s the trailer, uploaded to YouTube in 2006.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

262 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/1 Scroll forth, my song, like the rushing river

  1. For the stats people who wanted peoples Hugo votes, mine are posted here. I may do some posts on my whys and wherefores, but that probably won’t be soon as I am working 21 days of the next 23.

  2. No, I don’t think #7 needs to go back to the drawing board. It’s pretty clear what Bradford means, and it’s not unreasonable.

  3. Re the minorities panel proposal, it’s clear enough in ordinary language, especially in the context of this weekend’s Bill Willingham Disaster at GenCon.

    Speaking of disasters, that Fantastic Four trailer really is terrible. Had it been relieased, the movie might have proven worse than the 1990-ish Captain America, where the Red Skull is Italian and Steve Rogers never really wears his costume after getting thawed out.

    ETA: Third! But I remembered to click the button this time, so I don’t need a separate comment about that.

  4. I think one of the roles of a good moderator is as audience surrogate. They will ask the questions the audience wants asked and stop panelists when they go off topic. A good moderator makes it about the rest of the panel, not themselves.

    While I see where KTB is coming from and organisers should be looking for more non-wasp men to take the reins, I have seen more mediocre to bad moderators than good, so if you have anyone who can do it, use them as much as they will allow.

  5. I don’t think Avi Arad destroyed every available print. I’m pretty sure I know people who’ve seen it and have even been offered a copy.

    But that completist, I’m not.

  6. Mike Glyer: I wonder if they still sell freeze-dried ice cream at the National Air and Space Museum? I can still remember the taste.

  7. 1. Heh. Sound like an excellent topic, and with some excellent and knowledgeable speakers. There will be transcripts/ recordings available right?

    7. While I see it more worthwhile as a guideline than a rule per se, I gotta say that even in those categories you mentioned Mike (ie, Religious minorities. People with disabilities. Participants in 12 Step programs…), I see the worth, if not the necessity, in having a perspective from someone who isn’t male, or someone who is also a racial minority.

    10. There needs to be a back to back screening of the Star Wars Holiday Special, the 90’s Fantastic 4 movie, and the 90’s era Justice League film (did that ever get filmed, or is it just an urban legend?

  8. @Writing About Controversies: How can we research and write about controversial issues in the field?

    Well, it kind of helps when everyone involved is dead. But not as much as you might think.

    @Mike Glyer

    I think that the specific event involving Bill “I’m just saying” Willingham kind of leads us to a more general rule. When doing an event involving minorities or underrepresented groups, a cishet white male MIGHT be OK as a moderator…but first make sure that the person involved is an ally, or at least has not already proven themselves to be a raging asshole in regards to the group.

    …which would probably exclude at least half the moderators I’ve seen in various panels. *sigh*

  9. @Brian Z:
    I have to note that I have a number of packets of freeze-dried ice cream from the Exploratorium and the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation. when the zombie invasion comes, I tell you I am going to be sittin’ pretty.

  10. @snowcrash: I believe you’re thinking of the domestically-unaired CBS 1997 pilot for a Justice League of America television series: It was reportedly fine except for plot, costumes, acting, special effects, and dialogue. (Poor Miguel Ferrer, hamming it up as the villain: I didn’t know he needed rent money that badly.)

    Critic Joseph Savitski: There really aren’t enough words in the English language to express just how bad “Justice League of America” is.

    Critic Ken Lieck: Comes across as Mystery Men without the jokes.

  11. @Mike regarding 7: That kind of reading that you do is detail-gazing used as a way to defend the status quo. I get exactly what Tempest Bradford tries to say: that when a panel is about a disadvantaged group, make sure that the moderator has some connection with said disadvantaged group, or at least has some real experience of being of the receiving end of structural disadvantage.

    I know finding good moderators is hard. Which is why I also believe we should make the pool where we search for moderators as big as possible. One way of doing that is forcing con-runners to find more women or PoC moderators.

  12. Uhg if you make it to the end of that podcast they start claiming that TOR should be sued for causing financial harm to authors if No Award wins.

  13. Rose: While I don’t take an ideological approach to organizing con programming, I make certain to use a moderator who will respect the topic and facilitate the panelists’ opportunity to speak.

    I will also say that earlier this year I attended a convention panel that had about six women TV writers and a male moderator. That felt awkward to me, although there wasn’t any antagonism or anything like that between the panelists. There just seemed an unintended old school symbolism in the choice.

  14. Karl-Johan Norén

    I get exactly what Tempest Bradford tries to say: that when a panel is about a disadvantaged group, make sure that the moderator has some connection with said disadvantaged group

    She could have said that if she wanted. But that’s not what she said in that tweet. As usual, she chose to make a statement about “cishet white males” in a way that will draw attention to herself. And sometimes I am going to grant her wish when she heaves out one of these axioms that tries to disqualify me from participating in fanac.

  15. @Iphinome: Lucky escape for Gerrold, then.

    I notice that the podcast’s title is The Hugo’s Again: As Sainted Inigo might say, ‘You keep using this “apostrophe”. I do not think it means what you think it means.’ (/me waves to the Subversive SF guys.)

    (On the plus side, the interviewer pronounces ‘schedule’ in a civilised fashion.)

  16. Pretty sure I have a copy of the Corman Fantastic Four somewhere. Didn’t get much past the sequence after they get their powers where they’re being tested by scientists. Fun fact though: The Thing makeup was done by Optic Nerve, who did the aliens in Babylon 5 and would later go on to do the vampire makeup on Buffy

  17. Jim Henley on August 2, 2015 at 12:31 am said:

    Re the minorities panel proposal, it’s clear enough in ordinary language, especially in the context of this weekend’s Bill Willingham Disaster at GenCon.

    Uh-oh. What happened?

  18. The Justice League of America TVM is real, is on Youtube somewhere, and has also been shown on Proper British Terrestrial Telly* a few times.

    (* OK, on Channel 5, but that still counts. If you squint.)

  19. This is coming a couple of years after Willingham got really really angry in public over Venture Brothers fans in cosplay sitting in on the Fables panel at SDCC (the Venture Brothers panel was up next in the room).

  20. @Rick Moen, @Kate H thanks. That’s the one I remember hearing about, and yes, looks a scary as I remember.

    @Iphinome, Thanks for making the solid effort. There is no way I could listen beyond the first 6 minutes or so, esp. after they started on the “USD 40 is too much for the Supporting Membership” (without ever considering the rationale for the cost, or the expenses incurred) and “why is Worldcon so small, it should be like Comicon or Dragoncon” nonsense.

    7. Looks like I misread both the tweet and the response, missed that it was specifically about moderators and not about the panels in general. Apologies for that. I think it’s a good idea, but I agree that the general sentiment should be maybe “Don’t get a moderator who is hostile (or at least disinterested) in the point of your panel”. That should winnow out the Need-a-Clue Division.

  21. Ten remained.

    The cabbage farmer. The pirate. The novice. The rabbit. The eaten one. The king. The traveler. The magician. The unicorn. The sage.

    One would join them.

    BRACKET

    Part III

  22. You may vote for either member of a pair, a tie, abstain, or vote for a work off the bracket entirely (any fantasy published up until 1999). Seeded works were given their own slot, then all other works were matched with them by random dice roll.

    I’m adding something new this time. Since 10 competing works will give us an odd number of candidates next time (unless there is a tie, which is possible), I’m adding a Free Bracket for people to suggest a work to be added, if they would like to do so. The ones that get the most votes will be added in as an unseeded candidate whenever there would otherwise be an odd number of works.

    They should be within the rules (e.g., nothing after 1999), and nothing by an author who has already been in the bracket. You can feel free to think about it and post your preference after you post your votes on the rest of them. And if you do suggest a work and someone suggests something midway through you hadn’t thought of that you like better, feel free to throw your support behind that one instead.

    Personally, I might recommend just nominating or voting for a personal favorite without worrying too much about how it will hold up, but feel free to play it however you want.

    To help kick that off, some eligible off-bracket works which have gotten support from multiple people in the past:
    The Compleat Traveler in Black by John Brunner
    The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
    The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson
    The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    Wizard’s Bane by Rick Cook
    The Black Company by Glen Cook.
    The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

    And a few that were strongly considered for the original lists:
    Illusion by Paula Volsky
    Dragon of the Lost Sea by Laurence Yep
    Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
    The Grey King by Susan Cooper

  23. And … the bracket!

    1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Watership Down, Richard Adams

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. GENERATION
    (Free bracket)

  24. @snowcrash there was nothing new in there, same old puppy talking points, some time to hate Ancillary Justice and If you were a Dinosaur, other cons have all these people and worldcon doesn’t, I like books that are nothing but non-stop action and that’s what should win (personally I get the feeling they’d fall all themselves to give Hugos to novelizations of Michael Bay movies,) someone actually said death to SJWs, admitting they didn’t read AS or TGE, a promise the puppies will keep coming back year after year (hey Brian Z why don’t you try talking to THEM,) and on and on. I feel dumber having listened to it especially the TOR thing after a certain writer’s own actions against his publisher.

    If you’re really missing puppy roundups then that hour and a half should carry you all the way to the Hugo ceremony.

    Bracket:

    1. The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    3. Abstain

    4. Abstain

    5. The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

    6. Sheepfarmer’s Daughter for my write-in

  25. 1. EDUCATION
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    Could be more for the film. Or more for the book. Both are good.

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    Sorry, whoever goes up against Pratchett kinda loses by default for me, right now… we’ll see about that in later rounds though.

    3. MATURATION

    Oh bugger. A hard choice, but I’m going to have to go with Tombs of Atuan (it was a bigger influence on my early life than The Once and Future King)

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    I guess this has to be a tie for now?

    5. RESTORATION
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    Sorry Mr Beagle, but I think Bridge of Birds wowed me more, or at least more recently.

    6. GENERATION
    I’m going to Broken Sword it since I forgot to add that to my original write-ins early on.

  26. 1. abstain

    2. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    I really need to re-read Watership Down. Tried it when I was fifteen or so, and was unimpressed. Maybe it has aged better.

    3. The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

    Tough choice this one.

    4. Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    5.Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. Black Company

    Bought the collections a couple of years ago, in the interim between the last 2 Malazan books. It’s stuff like this that makes me feel dreadfully antipathic towards the post-Game of Thrones purveyors of grimdark.

  27. 1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Watership Down, Richard Adams

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. GENERATION

    Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, by Elizabeth Moon.

    (edit to add: I did not see Iphinome’s nomination of this work before I voted; as soon as I see the brackets I go immediately to the reply window so my vote isn’t colored by other people’s preferences. So my nomination of Moon is independent. Which makes me pleased to know there’s another Paksennarian fan out there….)

  28. I see nothing wrong with the Bradford tweet. The objection seems very “aha! but what about socioeconomically disadvantaged white people??”

  29. Kyra said:

    I’m adding something new this time. Since 10 competing works will give us an odd number of candidates next time (unless there is a tie, which is possible), I’m adding a Free Bracket for people to suggest a work to be added, if they would like to do so. The ones that get the most votes will be added in as an unseeded candidate whenever there would otherwise be an odd number of works.

    Delurking to ask:
    Kyra, is “Operation Chaos” by Poul Anderson fantasy by your rules? If so, please consider this a vote for it in the Free Bracket.

    {And my brain keeps trying to make that the Leigh Brackett. Sigh.}

  30. I’m beginning to view the word ‘bracket’ in much the same way as ‘thumbscrew’:

    1. The Riddle Master heads the Princess here…

    2. Small Gods is supreme, even for those who like bunnies; grilled, roasted or put in a pie by the farmer’s wife…

    3. The Once and Future King still reigns…

    4. Corwin, of the Nine Princes of Amber, learned he did not wish to be king, and thus his kingdom’s fate was left on the horn of the Unicorn…

    5. and the Birds of the Bridge to this wisdom prevailed over the last Unicorn, who is gone but not quite forgotten…

    6. I would like to see Kai Lung honoured, though I have no bags of gold to offer…

  31. 1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Watership Down, Richard Adams
    NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! DON’T MAKE ME DO IT!
    But Pratchett! But Fiver! But Pratchett! But Bigwig! But Pratchett! But HAZEL-RAH!
    I’ll be the lone Watership Down vote. It is totally going to be Pratchett vs. Tolkien in the finals.

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance
    abstain

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. GENERATION
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (1987)
    I went back and double checked the 80s bracket to be sure this wasn’t already nominated. The first time I read it, I bounced off of it. The second time I read it was after reading The Privilege of the Sword, and then I enjoyed it more. No idea why, I’m weird that way.

  32. @Cassy B I walked around Chicon 7 dressed as a paladin of Gird, you can see a bit of my blue surcote in my avatar.

  33. @Mike: she covered 90% of the cases that are under discussion today in fandom. And did so in a specific case that easily falls under those 90%. On twitter, which is hardly the best forum for long-form and nuanced discussion.

    Also, all I saw that was she called out a problem. Of course, Martin Luther King’s fight for civil rights was all about himself, too. It’s only white cishet males who can be TRULY not about themselves all the time.

  34. First comment stuck in moderation — maybe I messed up the blockquote? Shorter form, Kyra, please write in Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson in the Free Bracket.

    Mike, if this becomes a duplicate go right ahead and delete it.

  35. 3. The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
    6. The Good Fairies of New York, Martin Millar

  36. 1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
    Watership Down, Richard Adams

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    4. DESOLATION
    Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny
    The Dying Earth, Jack Vance

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    6. GENERATION

    Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean

    Wonderful, wonderful book. Makes me wish I were eighteen and going to college. Life of the mind, with Faerie. And a ghost. Stunning. I dithered between this and her Secret Country trilogy, which is like Narnia without any of the icky bits and all the wonder and glory. Why does not everyone read these books?

  37. 5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

    Some people like to make it all about them, whether it’s KTB questioning cis or Bill Willingham interrupting panelists. Which is too bad, since Willingham is a fantastic artist. It sounds like he was an atrocious moderator.

    In my ‘how to moderate good panel’ notes, I put the onus on the moderator to play to the strengths of the panelists.

  38. Statistics:

    This bracket set is 20% women (2/10) and 80% men (8/10).
    (Previous Round: 35% / 65%; first round: 30.6% / 69.4%)
    5 men and 5 women were eliminated from the ballot from last round to this.

    70% of the authors are from the U.S. (7/10), 30% are from England (3/10), and 0% are from elsewhere (0/10).
    (Previous Round: 60% / 30% / 10%; first round: 58.3% / 25%/ 16.7%)
    From last round to this, 5 authors from the U.S., 3 authors from England, and 2 authors from other countries were eliminated from the ballot.

    10% date from the 90’s (1/10), 10% from the 80’s (1/10), 50% from the 70’s (5/10), 10% from the 60’s (1/10), 20% from the 50’s (2/10), and 0% prior to the 50’s (0/10).
    (Previous Round: 20% / 30% / 25% / 10% / 10% / 5%)
    All works from the 50’s and 70’s remained on the ballot between last time and this, effectively doubling their percentage. The period earlier than the 50’s lost 1, the 60’s lost 1, the 80’s lost 3, and the 90’s lost 5.

  39. Lydy: Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

    oooo I love that book too! It is on my regular re-read list! Kyra, can we change my Generation Vote to Tam Lin? Because though I do like Swordspoint, I *love* Tam Lin!

  40. > “Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean … Wonderful, wonderful book.”

    I agree! But this book has already been on the bracket (the one in the 7/26 pixel scroll), which unfortunately now makes Pamela Dean ineligible. Just letting you know so you can pick something else if you would like.

  41. 1. EDUCATION
    The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip
    The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    Things are looking tenuous for McKillip.

    3. MATURATION
    The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin
    The Once and Future King, T. H. White

    5. RESTORATION
    The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle
    Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart

    I actually love Bridge of Birds, and I wish that the bracket had put me in a position where I could reasonably vote for it.

    6. GENERATION

    I would love to support Pamela Dean — if not for Tam Lin, then for the similar but angrier and unjustly obscure Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary — but since Tam Lin was already eliminated in the ’90s round, it would feel to me like cheating. For now, I’ll join the Sheepfarmer’s Daughter contingent.

  42. @ Kyra: Arghh. This is what happens when you get behind and come in late without catching up because one does not have All The Times. Ok, let me think.

  43. Would it be helpful to people if I posted a Compleat List of what has already been in the bracket?

  44. 1. The Princess Bride, William Goldman

    2. Watership Down, Richard Adams

    3. The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

    4. God Stalk for Jim Henley

    5. God Stalk for Jim Henley

    6. Angela Carter, the one Kyra likes best

  45. 1. The Riddle-Master of Hed, Patricia McKillip

    Maybe gains an extra bit of heft from having two books behind it.

    2. EXPLORATION
    Small Gods, Terry Pratchett

    Who will rid me of these troublesome, albino-killing rabbits? Surely Sir Pterry can.

    3. The Tombs of Atuan, Ursula K. Le Guin

    4. Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny

    5. The Last Unicorn, Peter S. Beagle

    “Never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention.”

    6. Bloodstone, Karl Edward Wagner

    Back to my roots. If you like Conan and Elric, you really need to meet Kane.

  46. I’ve had “astronaut” ice cream sandwiches…Meh is the best thing I can say about it.

    Hey, I made another Roundup by Mike! Yeah, I saw a comment on the Correia fisking asking what was the movie where SJWs get killed, and followed the link to that movie.

    I also recall a bit in ISLAND IN THE SEA OF TIME and the ‘Jaguar people’ of 1250BC Mexico…

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