Pixel Scroll 8/9 A Dribble of Links

Birthdays, baseball and Bill Murray cannot disguise the fact that it’s all Lou Antonelli all the time in today’s Scroll.

(1) August 9 is a big day on the science fiction birthday calendar.

  • Frank M. Robinson (1926-2014)
  • Daniel Keyes (1927-2014)
  • Marvin Minsky (1927)
  • L. Q. Jones (1927)
  • Mike Hinge (1931-2003)
  • John Varley (1947)
Cheerleaders reenact “Red's wedding” during the Staten Island Direwolves game August 8. (Photo by Bill Lyons.)

Cheerleaders reenact “Red’s wedding” during the Staten Island Direwolves game August 8. (Photo by Bill Lyons.)

(2) George R. R. Martin was in the stands for the Staten Island Direwolves v. House Lannister minor league baseball game Saturday. The ‘Wolves won.

The Staten Island Direwolves successfully defended Richmond County Bank Ballpark against an invasion from the omnipotent House Lannister (Hudson Valley Renegades).

Ned Stark maintained that you could hold Winterfell with just 100 men, but the Direwolves needed just 30.

Be it an act of blood magic or sorcery, but RCBC was transformed into a fantastical realm in front of a record crowd of 7,529, celebrating Game of Thrones night and mastermind George R.R. Martin’s appearance.

Martin, a lifelong Mets supporter, had just one stipulation if he was to be in attendance; the Staten Island squad had to abandon the “Yankees” name for the game and adopt “Direwolves” instead.

Promotional activities overshadowed the game, as often happens in the minors, all advancing the Game of Thrones theme.

An opportunity to meet George R.R. Martin and receive an autograph highlighted a list of special events which included: an appearance by a live arctic wolf, jousting competition, trial by combat against Scooter, a reenactment of the red wedding featuring mascot Red and swearing in of honorary Night’s Watch induction.

(3) Deadline says Bill Murray will be in the next Ghostbusters after all.

Bill Murray, scared off the Ghostbusters train after his disappointment with 1989’s Ghostbusters 2, will appear in Paul Feig’s 2016 franchise reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth.

(4) Yesterday, Lou Antonelli reported Carrie Cuinn at Lakeside Circus had revoked a signed contract for one of his stories in reaction to the news about his contacting Spokane PD to warn against David Gerrold.

Cuinn soon thereafter sent this tweet —

https://twitter.com/CarrieCuinn/status/630254247200862209

Now Lou Antonelli has called on those involved to stop.

Ok, if anyone I know out there is contacting Carrie Cuinn and castigating her for the decision not to publish my story, knock it off. She and Lakeside Circus have their right to free expression, also. Lambasting her is certainly not helping things.

Insofar as the story is now available, and to make the best of a bad situation (since it probably will never be published anywhere anyhow – or anything I write in the future, for that matter), I will drop it in here now, so maybe some people can enjoy it.

Ladies and gents, I present “Message Found Written on an End Roll of Newsprint”:

The text of the story follows.

(5) Pat Cadigan gave her take on Lou Antonelli’s letter to the cops on Facebook –

In my opinion, the line crossed here can’t be un-crossed, certainly not with an apology.

Denouncing someone to the authorities for disagreeing, about science fiction or fantasy fiction or any other kind of fiction, is completely unacceptable. In my opinion.

1945 called; it wants its Iron Curtain and the Secret Police back.

David Gerrold responded:

Pat, I love you and will hug you ferociously every time I see you —

That said, I have to say this as well.

I am dismayed by where some of the comment threads are going — not just here, but everywhere.

So I’m asking people to please be compassionate. There is far more to this situation than has been reported, and I’m not going to violate anyone else’s confidentiality. I’m just going to say, please, let’s all take forty or fifty deep breaths, have some chocolate, or coffee, or a beer, or whatever — and recognize that we’re all just human, the missing link between apes and civilized beings.

It’s time to say, “This isn’t working. Let’s try something else.” It’s time for all of us to decide if we want our conventions to be war zones or places of celebration. If we want celebration, then we have to remember that despite our disagreements, no matter how ferocious they might seem, we’re all here because we love the sense of wonder that we find in science fiction and fantasy.

We have to stop beating each other up. Especially in comment threads, where it feels safe to say terrible things about people we’ve never met in person — because those ripples spread outward and generate more negativity and more and more.

The solution? It starts with one person saying, “if we’re the good guys, let’s act like it.” And then another and another. And send those ripples outward instead.

So please, it’s fair to report what happened — but let’s also be responsible enough to say that we can use this as an opportunity to look in the mirror and decide if we want to continue being angry every day or choose to be some other kind of person.

Thanks for listening.

(6) Adam-Troy Castro drew our attention to his sarcastic reply to Steve Tinel’s post about David Gerrold, linked in yesterday’s Scroll:

Question to blogger Steve Tinel: why would you even want to write a blog dedicated to science fiction when you have such bottomless loathing for science fiction?

What’s that? You don’t loathe science fiction?

How can you say that when David Gerrold’s criticism of one (1) Catholic Cardinal led you to accuse him of “vile anti-Christian bigotry?”

You attacked one science fiction writer! Clearly, you hate science fiction!

What’s that?

You weren’t attacking all of science fiction? You were just expressing your anger against one guy?

You mean you can do that, show outrage at one member of a group without being accused of venomous hatred for every single member of the group?

Oh.

That changes things.

Doesn’t it.

(7) Vox Day sure gets a lot of attention in Newsweek’s story about what it calls “the Nazi romance novel For Such a Time”.

Now, after being nominated for two major prizes at the Romance Writers of America’s annual conference in late July, the book’s Holocaust-set themes of Christian salvation are tearing the romance world apart…

“Obviously a lot of people liked the book, because they nominated it,” Day adds. “What they’re trying to do is disqualify all those people’s opinions because they disagree with them. It’s something that the SJWs are getting more and more blatant about, and I think people are getting more and more tired of their attempts to impose political correctness and impose thought-policing on everyone else. Donald Trump’s not having any of it, and I’m certainly not either.”

Donald Trump isn’t a political figure I’d expect to see Vox link himself to, even if it’s only to bait Newsweek readers.

[Thanks to Steven H Silver, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

238 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/9 A Dribble of Links

  1. Re: Lou
    I don’t think it was malicious but it was stupid. I respect other views on the matter but that is how I saw it; more of a look I got smacked for being an idiot, and thus the self-pitying tone to the post.

    He should respond I think to some of his commenters in FB who seem like they want to fight for him.

  2. *muse* Y’know, one I HAVEN’T seen yet is somebody doing it with…oh…Siri, say, or the Dragon voice-to-text programs.

    *bing!*

    “I’m afraid I don’t understand “Oh god it’s in the room how did it get in oh god oh god.” Can you repeat that?”
    *bing!*
    “I’m afraid I don’t understand “AUUUUUGHHHH.” Can you repeat that?”
    *bing!*
    “I’m afraid I don’t understand “…help me….” Can you repeat that?”
    *bing!*
    “I’m afraid I don’t understand “shlurp…schlurp…crunch…” Can you repeat that?”

  3. I could swear that kind of thing sounds familiar, though — dying character speaks to speech-recognition-capable software; software humorously/horrifically does not understand; The End (or end of the chapter at least — it’s a punchline or it’s drama, either way). In fact I think I recently read a short story where the software was an automated phone response system, and given human creativity, that’s probably not even the only short story about someone’s dying words being related to an automated phone system specifically.

    Though, yes, haven’t seen it with *Siri* specifically either.

  4. @ Shambles

    If it was not deliberate, why would he edit it and insert identifying cues into it before setting the dogs loose? You don’t post something like that publicly unless you WANT the person in question castigated.

  5. Clack —

    Same with Antonelli. We are in someone’s head, we don’t need to know how. Fiction is artifice.

    Except that the very title of the piece implies that the text we’re reading is the text that’s found on the roll of newsprint, detailing the events as they happen. There’s conventional narrative and there’s narrative that unintentionally pokes through the fourth wall by breaking the conventions it frames itself in. Even if it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment, it’s a perfectly valid criticism to point out that even the most dedicated hack’s narrative will stop before the zombies crack his skull open to eat his delicious brains. (Or whatever. I admit I haven’t read the story yet.)

    It reminds me of the prodigious writing skills of a couple of Gene Wolfe’s narrators. Severian in The Book of the New Urth comments a couple of times that he’s writing his account the night before his trip to decide his fate, implying a truly astonishing writing speed, not to mention speed of composition. While Latro in Soldier in the Mist has fantastic adventures and still (usually) finds time to write up detailed accounts at the end of the day before his memory fades. I love both those stories to bits, but once I noticed these conceits, they gave my suspenders of disbelief a twang whenever I encountered them ever after.

  6. @Gabriel F
    I can’t answer why he thought it was a good idea to do what he did. It was profoundly stupid and short-sighted but I can’t attribute a specific intentionality to it. It’s murky enough to be interpreted several ways but I can’t say with certainty what is the correct interpretation. I can be completely wrong and be trying to give the benefit of too many doubts to his action.

    It was wrong, I don’t know if it was actively malicious in intent but it was certainly malicious in result.

  7. RedWombat : *muse* Y’know, one I HAVEN’T seen yet is somebody doing it with…oh…Siri, say, or the Dragon voice-to-text programs.

    In “Mage : The Awakening”, there’s a description of an artifact called “The Hildebrand Recording”. This is a recording made by someone who tried to conduct a seance and ended up calling up something… else. The sourcebook gives a transcript of the last section, fortunately without the responses of that which he called up clear. It’s pretty chilling with just the transcript; in game, the recording *itself* has several useful and corrupting abilities. If they listen closely, ambitious mages can learn a lot…

  8. NelC —

    I get what you’re saying, but all narrative is illusion. Even a novel like ‘Lolita’, purportedly written by the narrator in prison, and recounting the events that brought him there with no breaking of the fourth wall, is suspiciously told in the style of the well-known author Vladimir Nabokov — whose name is indeed on the cover.

    And how can we watch a movie if we hold it to standards of real life? We’re in a room watching two characters talk — why don’t they see us? Are we invisible? And the suddenly we find ourselves in another location — did we teleport?

  9. Fiction isn’t supposed to be real–but many people judge how well a fictional narrative (or any fictional text) creates the appearance of reality (official English teacher term: verisimilitude). I remember when one of my students was shocked to discover partway through the term that writing a first person narrative in which the narrator commits suicide at the “end” wouldn’t work too well (unless, I said, as I often do, the narrator is established as a ghost, or there is some other fantastic framing that is built in). I seem to recall that student decided to have the first person narrative end with the speaker leaving their room, and then to end the story itself with a newspaper clipping about a suicide.

  10. I’m mystified by Antonelli’s decision to take private business correspondence and post it publicly on social media without the sender’s permission, AND to edit it before posting.

    “Bizarrely unprofessional” is the most innocuous interpretation of that.

    If, as he has since said, he wanted to make the point that there were professional consequences for behaving as he did (in making false claims to the police about David Gerrold), I don’t understand why he didn’t just say, “As a direct result of my actions, a publisher has withdrawn their offer on a story of mine and has advised me not to submit there again

    That would make the point he says he wanted to make. It would do so without turning the editor into a target for trolling, insults, and threats. And it would be the normal professional thing to do, whereas publicly reposting private correspondence from an editor without asking is not the normal professional thing to do.

  11. Clack — And all illusion is artifice. When you spot the illusionist palming the ball that she’s pretending to put under the cup, the illusion fails for most of us. One can continue to admire the patter, the finesse of the misdirection, the hunky assistant, and all the rest, but when the illusion’s broken, it’s broken.

    If you can continue to enjoy the story past the point where it breaks for most, or just ignore the thwacking of the suspenders of disbelief, then more power to you. It doesn’t always work that way for others, and it’s not something that one can be persuaded out of.

  12. Clack:

    No, we’re not in someone’s head, we’re supposedly reading a written manuscript.

    I have no problem with impossible narrative perspective either, and write like that often. But if you go to the trouble of framing your story as an artifact or artifacts, as in an epistolary novel, you are bound by the restrictions of the form. Lou wrote the story as found memoir, so it needs to have reality within that context.

  13. And no, we don’t imagine we’re in the room when we see a movie, but when we see a faux-documentary, we expect it to imitate a documentary. Pretending that Antonelli didn’t choose to write in that kind of form is just silly — he didn’t write standard novelistic narrative, he wrote something that’s meant to read as found-manuscript.

  14. @Kurt:

    Perhaps I read the ending differently, but I took it as the in-world author scribbling a couple of thoughts before going to investigate the noises (and not returning). Yes, I skipped right to the end of the story, but if that’s an accurate depiction… a little weird that he made those notes, but not earth-shattering. I did not read it as the author writing while in immediate peril.

  15. Rev:

    Not how I read it — or how I’d write it, were I trying to give that impression. But de gustibus.

  16. @Kurt:

    Oh, I definitely wouldn’t write it that way. Maybe an actual sentence about hearing a noise and getting up to investigate, but not fragments like that. But then, people do weird things (the idea of Puppygate comes to mind), and I found “he wrote quick fragments” to not fall totally outside the realm of plausibility.

    I try to be a forgiving reader, except when editing. 🙂

  17. I read that earlier today, Mark, and liked it quite a bit. I wouldn’t say it was award-level, but it was cleverly constructed and engaging.

  18. If you are writing a history of events, or a letter to someone, and you hear a noise, you don’t write “What’s that?” and get up to investigate. You just don’t. If it was someone speaking into a recorder, yeah, sure. (And of course you’d want to sell that through the story, having the speaker interrupt himself, lose his chain of thought, get up from the recorder to do things, explain background noises etc) You might get away with “oh, there’s the doorbell, right, I’ll continue this later”, but that only works if the narrator doesn’t feel they’re in any danger. And there’s a long tradition of “Wow, it’s a good thing the barricades held and none of the zombi…”

    Other narrative techniques break in other ways. If you’re making a found-footage movie and your cameraman stands in the middle of the street nonchalantly filming an approaching tidal wave, you’ve fucked up. Or if you’ve used found footage through the movie but switch to a standard shot for one scene, you break the movie. Or a novel where the writer can’t decide on point of view, so sometimes we’re in tight first-person and then we switch into third for no obvious reason, or the first person narrator knows and describes things they couldn’t possibly be aware of.

  19. I wouldn’t say it was award-level, but it was cleverly constructed and engaging.

    Precisely. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it left me smiling, and sometimes that’s all a story needs to do.

  20. “While Latro in Soldier in the Mist has fantastic adventures and still (usually) finds time to write up detailed accounts at the end of the day before his memory fades.”

    Not only that, he (presumably) manages to read it all the next morning …

  21. Mark – thanks for that link. It was, on the surface, a cute story, but with an intriguing edge of disquiet. It’s skeptical about transhumanism! The puppy types should love it!

    On the issue of narrators, one thing that amuses me about 19th century fiction is how often writers felt the need to invoke a framing device — an explicit teller of the tale. Until re-reading it for the brackets, for example, I had forgotten that Frankenstein begins with a totally uninvolved character writing letters home, and then most of the book is the story that is being told to this character.

    If the thought “who are you telling this story to?” crosses my mind, I think it’s usually because the story is badly written, not because I need that kind of narrative verisimilitude. Folk tales certainly don’t require it.

  22. I just read this Christopher Priest interview from 1995 and found this bit interesting with regard to Antonelli’s story:

    But I think I first noticed this narrative unreliability lark back in my teens, when I was still reading horror stories. I was fascinated by writers like Lovecraft, whose narrators famously go on scribbling even as the horrid thing is slithering up the garden path towards them. I kept trying to imagine this. What would I do if that happened to me? Sitting in my study, trying to set down an account of the horrible events of the afternoon … and blimey! It’s out there again! And this time it’s coming for me! Would I go on scribbling? Clearly not … so then who finished the story? The problem used to worry me for hours!”

    Unsurprisingly, Antonelli could probably learn something from Priest.

    (given Priest is one of my favorite authors, I would probably say this about nearly anyone; also, the entire interview is interesting)

  23. To be fair, the Lovecraftian sub-genre (the originals, I mean) really fetishizes written communication; it’s all they had, for one thing. But the ancient tomes, disturbing genealogical records, strange hieroglyphs, journals full of first-hand ravings, and letters between protagonists are a large part of how knowledge is passed on. I think the impulse to “finish your thought” was stronger in the 20s.

    The narrator of the story “Dagon”, for example, which turns out to be a suicide note, lets us know there’s “something” at the door before (presumably) killing himself. He wanted people to understand — to warn the world, even as he felt it was too late for himself.

    Note: I don’t know how this jibes with Antonelli’s story. I haven’t read it and I’m not so inclined.

  24. Laura Resnick: If, as [Antonelli] has since said, he wanted to make the point that there were professional consequences for behaving as he did (in making false claims to the police about David Gerrold), I don’t understand why he didn’t just say, “As a direct result of my actions, a publisher has withdrawn their offer on a story of mine and has advised me not to submit there again.”

    That’s exactly my take on it: Why even publish the contents of Cuinn’s private e-mail to him, when stating what had happened was sufficient, and would have kept the focus on his behavior and its consequences?

    Whereas publishing the e-mail, eliding the part about her having seen the video (and, I will point out, thus eliding the link to the incriminating video), omitting the fact that she had sent it before he made his public apology, and then adding in additional contact information for Cuinn, put the focus on Cuinn and her reaction to his behavior.

    I don’t for one moment believe that this was anything but deliberately malicious.

  25. Mike Glyer: I appreciate the thought, however, I can assure you I have already been richly rewarded by everyone’s creativity and efforts to develop a community here.

    … still standing by the open door with a glazed look in his eyes, as more fen continue to file in…

  26. @Shao Ping (about Lou Antonelli):

    I think he really didn’t know what he was doing.

    There’s a profession, whose name is right at the tip of my tongue, that requires being the master of words and of what they can accomplish. Ah, got it: I believe it’s called ‘author’.

  27. A “master of words and of what they can accomplish.”

    I’ve read some of Antonelli’s fiction. Are you sure we’re talking about the same person? 😛

  28. @JJ:

    … still standing by the open door with a glazed look in his eyes, as more fen continue to file in…

    Reminds me of something…wait…yep.

    Push your pharma at bargain rates!
    Diet pills improve your leanness!
    That’s what Glyer hates –
    Sell some herbs that grow your…greenness!

    Skip the preview! Munge all your links!
    Open tags and then close them not!
    Claim you know what a stranger thinks!
    Snark and jab when things are fraught!

    Swap your email and change your name;
    Answer all overtures with flame;
    And when you’ve posted, if all is still tame,
    Try disrupting the bracket game!

    That’s what Michael Glyer hates!
    So thoughtfully! Cleverly! with debates!

  29. @Shao Ping:

    I’ve read some of Antonelli’s fiction. Are you sure we’re talking about the same person?

    I’ll be glad to stipulate either that Antonelli is not an author, or that he knew perfectly well what he was doing. I’m delighted to believe either one, at your option.

  30. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 8/12 Scroll My Tears, the Policeman Said | File 770

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