Pixel Scroll 12/12/16 There Are Old Pixels And There Are Scrolled Pixels, But There Are No Old Scrolled Pixels

(1) GOLDEN GLOBES. The Golden Globe nominees announced today include these items of genre interest. The entire list of nominees is available in the official press release.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Deadpool

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

  • Amy Adams in Arrival

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

  • Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  •  “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
  •  “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

  • Jóhann Jóhannsson for Arrival
  • Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Benjamin Wallfisch for Hidden Figures

Best Motion Picture – Animated

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • Sing
  • Zootopia

Best Television Series – Drama

  • Game of Thrones
  • Stranger Things
  • Westworld

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

  • Rami Malek in Mr. Robot

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

  • Caitriona Balfe in Outlander
  • Winona Rider in Stranger Things
  • Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Christian Slater in Mr. Robot

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Lena Headey in Game of Thrones
  • Thandie Newton in Westworld

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

(2) INDIA’S NOT-SO-HIDDEN-FIGURES: Read about “The women scientists who took India into space” at the BBC.

Two years ago, as Indian scientists successfully put a satellite into orbit around Mars, a photograph that went viral showed women dressed in gorgeous saris with flowers in their hair celebrating at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) in the southern city of Bangalore.

It was reported that the ecstatic women were scientists and the photograph challenged the stereotype that rocket science in India was a male preserve.

Isro later clarified that the celebrating women were administrative staff, but it went on to add that there indeed were several women scientists who had worked on the mission and were in the control room at the time of the launch.

The BBC’s Geeta Pandey recently travelled to Bangalore to meet some of the women who have taken India into space.

(3) AS SEEN FROM EARTH. Great photos of stars: “Sparkling starscapes caught on camera”.

Chow says the first time he saw the Milky Way it was like seeing a special effect from a film.

“Being able to capture the real thing – the beauty of the night sky – is just amazing,” he says.

(4) NEWLY DISCOVERED KLINGONS. Variety reports Star Trek: Discovery has cast three actors as Klingons in the forthcoming series.

Chris Obi, Shazad Latif, and Mary Chieffo have joined the upcoming CBS All Access series, with all three set to play Klingons — members of the fan-favorite alien race that is fundamental to “Star Trek” lore. Obi will play T’Kuvma, a Klingon leader seeking to unite the Klingon houses. Latif will play Kol, commanding officer of the Klingons and protégé of T’Kuvma. Chieffo will play L’Rell, the battle deck commander of the Klingon ship.

(5) FOUNDING FATHER? Eric Flint uses the pronoun “we” when referring to the Dragon Award founders in his latest post “Literary Awards Are Not Competitions”. Did I know this? I don’t remember having that piece of information before.

The Dragon Award was not set up to compete with any of the existing awards. We didn’t launch this new award because we were dissatisfied or disgruntled with the existing awards, such as the Hugo or the Nebula or the World Fantasy Award.

Our attitude stems from a recognition of something that is all too often misunderstood about literary awards. And that is the notion that a literary (or any type of artistic) award in some way or another ratifies a competition. To put it another way, that an award establishes which story or author (or piece of art or artist, or song or singer) “won the competition” in the period of eligibility. According to this notion, what authors and other artists do is in some way analogous to what athletes do when they engage in sports competitions. And, thus, receiving a Hugo or a Nebula or a Dragon or any other award is equivalent to standing on a platform at the Olympics and being handed a gold medal, or being presented with the Stanley Cup.

This notion is wrong, to the point of being perverse. Writers—the same is true for all other artists—are not engaged in a competition in the first place. I will expand on this point as the blog progresses, but for the moment I will leave it at this:

No writer ever sat down to write a story in order to beat another story, or another writer. It’s enough to state the idea to realize how ludicrous it is.

(6) THE NEXT COURSE. Scott Edelman invites you to listen to Episode 24 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast and an interview with Sam J. Miller.

Sam J. Miller

Sam J. Miller

Still have the meat sweats thanks to my recent run of episodes centered around Kansas City BBQ? Then you’ll probably welcome a break for Eating the Fantastic’s first vegetarian episode, recorded at Baltimore’s One World Cafe during the Baltimore Book Festival.

My guest who stole away from the Inner Harbor to join me this episode is Sam J. Miller, a writer who’s been nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards, and who won the Shirley Jackson Award for his short story “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides.” And who last shared a meal with me during the 2015 Nebula Awards weekend at Alinea, considered to be one of the Top 10 restaurants in the world. His debut novel, The Art of Starving, will appear from HarperCollins in 2017.

(7) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

The 1985 movie Back to the Future was banned in China because of its time travel and “disrespectful portrayal of history.” In fact, many of the movies on Mental Floss list of “10 Movies That Were Banned in China” are sf/f.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 12, 1972 – Orange soil discovered by Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt during their second day of exploration on the lunar surface. Frank Zappa warned them not to eat it.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born December 12, 1893 – Edward G. Robinson, whose genre roles include Soylent Green.

(10) ROCK TO THE END OF THE WORLD. The Book Smugglers have the answer to a popular question — “N. K. Jemisin: ‘So what would you do if a Fifth Season happened for real?”.

A Runnysack Moment

I often get asked, “So what would you do if a Fifth Season happened for real?” …

This became sort of a double-edged thing with the other topic that I researched deeply for the Broken Earth, however, which was prepper communities.  I needed to get into the mindset of people who literally believe that civilization is going to end at any given moment.  So to that end, I watched some episodes of the TV show Doomsday Preppers, I bought a few issues of Offgrid Recoil Magazine, and visited some prepper forums online….

Now, I did end up meeting some people who live with the perpetual belief that civilization will end, and who have had rather more actual societal experience of Fifth Season-like events than most preppers.  When I went to Hawaii’s Big Island a few years ago, I met both some native Hawaiians and more recent comers who happily talked to me about what it’s like to live on top of an actively erupting hotspot that could turn into an Extinction Level Event at any moment.  Their philosophy was markedly different to that of the prepper communities I’d previously studied — much less stress and fear, a greater emphasis on preparing through skills and handed-down wisdom, and a general feeling of hey, if Pele’s pissed off, there’s really nothing you can do but deal with it in the moment.  It’s foolish to try and anticipate a goddess, after all.

(11) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #14. The fourteenth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for an autographed book from Laura J. Mixon.

Today’s auction is for an autographed hardcover copy of the book UP AGAINST IT, by Laura J. Mixon, writing as M. J. Locke.

About the Book:

Jane Navio is the resource manager of Phoecea, an asteroid colony poised on the knife-edge of hard vacuum and unforgiving space. A mishap has dumped megatons of water and methane out the colony’s air lock, putting the entire human population at risk.

Jane discovers that the crisis may have been engineered by the Martian crime syndicate, as a means of executing a coup that will turn Phocaea into a client-state. And if that wasn’t bad enough, an AI that spawned during the emergency has gone rogue…and there’s a giant x-factor in the form of the transhumanist Viridian cult that lives in Phocaea’s bowels.

Jane’s in the prime of her career?she’s only a bit over a century old?but the conflict between politics and life-support is tearing her apart. To save her colony and her career, she’s going to have to solve several mysteries at once?a challenge that will put her up against all the difficulties, contradictions, and awkward compromises entailed in the human colonization of outer space.

From Publishers Weekly (starred review): “Compulsively readable…Most of all, this smart, satisfying hard SF adventure celebrates human resilience.”

(12) YOU BETTER WATCH OUT. At this time of year we should all be getting to bed on time (remember “He knows when you’ve been sleeping/He knows when you’re awake”) but if Santa is not one of your worries, then viewing the annual Geminid meteor shower could be a late-night treat.

The Geminid meteor shower occurs every year from about December 4 to 16. The shower’s “maximum,” or time when the most meteors per hour fall, is usually on December 13 and 14. Get more information on our Meteor Shower Calendar.

(Note: In 2016, the meteors are battling a Full Moon, so it will be a bit of a hunt, but our observatory friends at Slooh predict that it “should still be one of the best, and most active, celestial shows of the year.”)

(13) THE EAGLE HAS LANDED. Foz Meadows’ post has moved into at its new home at Amazing Stories — “Guest Post by Foz Meadows: Unempathic Bipeds of Failure: The Relationship Between Stories and Politics”.

Steve Davidson has included his comments at the end about the definition of “neo-Nazi” and related questions.

(14) DUTY. Alexandra Erin, commenting on the Black Gate/Foz Meadows story: “The Banality of Banality”.

It’s part of the alt-reich’s standard operating procedure: you play at legalism and reference or even invent rules to get the other side, the side that cares about consequences and fairness, to abide by them, even while you don’t. He used these tactics to get Black Gate’s editor to back down, to blink, and now the text which correctly and accurately labels a neo-Nazi as a neo-Nazi politely redirects to another venue, to which it has deferred that duty.

And I look at this, and I look at what’s happening in Washington (well, mostly in New York and Florida, as our President-Elect sees the presidency as more of a side gig) and the way our national news media is covering things, and, I have to say… it doesn’t look nearly as pointless.

As above, so below.

(15) REINDEER SCIENCE. We’ve all heard the stories about dog owners who didn’t realize their pets were female ’til the puppies came. I’m just going to assume Santa is better informed than that…. The Farmers Almanac poses the question, “Is Rudolph a Girl?.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, both male and female reindeer grow antlers each summer. Male reindeer shed theirs from late November to mid-December, but females retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring.

This is because the mating season occurs in the fall. Once the male reindeer have used their antlers to impress their mates, they no longer have use of them, and they shed them before Christmastime. This means that the image most of us have of Rudolph with his antlers at Christmastime is not scientifically accurate.

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

87 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/12/16 There Are Old Pixels And There Are Scrolled Pixels, But There Are No Old Scrolled Pixels

  1. Greg – I think that viewing sport as only about who wins goes against the whole idea of sportsmanship, which is a strong concept in many sports. Yes, there are definitely many arenas for sport where competitiveness is encouraged and celebrated (with tons of money made off their efforts and the whole spectacle), but there are just as many other sports teams that participate in sport for other reasons: for the fun of it, for the physical challenge, to socialize with friends or neighbors, etc.

    Some even view it as an artform in itself, that doing the sport “properly” (ie hitting that homerun ball over the fence, making that punch-kick-spin combo,etc) is almost like a form of meditation, without another team being involved at all.

    When I used to be on a baseball team or played soccer with my friends, winning was officially the goal of the exercise but just being involved at all and having a good time played a bigger part for me emotionally. Whether we won or lost didn’t impact my enjoyment, the effort itself and being with people I liked mattered more.

  2. Andrew M, the first description of the airborne reindeer and sleigh is of how they appeared from a distance; the “miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer” are Our Protagonist’s first glimpse out the window. A truly miniature sleigh would not have been able to haul the full-grown man described later….

  3. Andrew M: Regarding Flint: I’m guessing that by ‘we’ he just means DragonCon, in which case he’s not claiming to be personally responsible for the awards;

    Mere contradiction is not an argument. What is your reason for assuming he doesn’t include himself in “we”?

  4. Bruce Diamond: I don’t know if anyone should be alarmed and start consulting lawyers, but VD is already sending feelers out to the Dread Ick asking if anyone practices in New Hampshire and/or Australia.

    Imagine, doing that publicly, as if he wanted people to get all upset.

  5. I’m sorry for your loss, Hampus. I know how it feels. Sending you healing floof vibes (purrs) from my SJW credentials.

  6. Bruce Diamond: I don’t know if anyone should be alarmed and start consulting lawyers, but VD is already sending feelers out to the Dread Ick asking if anyone practices in New Hampshire and/or Australia.

    Ah, seeking to engage an Aristotelian fear and panic response, I gather. Beale’s ideal outcome is, I judge, that Amazing Stories and Foz retract and beg forgiveness at this news.

  7. Cassy B: The speaker hears a clatter on the lawn, gets out of bed to see what it is, looks down from the window, and sees the sleigh and reindeer. And there is no indication that St Nicholas is a full-grown man; he’s described as ‘a right jolly old elf’, at a time when ‘elf’ generally implied smallness.

  8. Mike: Well, I said ‘I’m guessing’. Using ‘we’ to indicate an organisation of which you are a part is perfectly normal, so I don’t see that my reading is an improbable one.

  9. Greg Hullender said: “As I read Flint’s article, he isn’t saying that writers aren’t competitive. He’s saying that writing isn’t a competitive sport, and there’s an important difference: in sports, there can only be one victor; everyone else loses. But in writing, you can write an excellent story without causing anyone else to “lose.””

    If that’s the case, then maybe including the statement, “No writer ever sat down to write a story in order to beat another story, or another writer. It’s enough to state the idea to realize how ludicrous it is,” was something of a mistake? Because it seems to be very clearly setting down the idea that no writer has ever been competitive in the sense that you describe, and we can all think of our own personal counter-examples there.

    (The blog “Comics Should Be Good” used to actually collect examples of stories clearly written as a middle finger to a previous writer’s take on a character or event, like Peter David dropping Doctor Octopus into the middle of a Hulk story for two pages just so that he could explain why Erik Larsen’s Hulk vs Doctor Octopus fight was incredibly stupid, or Jim Starlin retconning Mark Waid’s appearance by Thanos in ‘Ka-Zar’ as the work of a developmentally-disabled clone Thanos made.)

    There are tons of famous feuds that percolated into the literary worlds of their creators, or works written as conscious rebuttals to the ideas of others intended to shame and humiliate those creators. Probably more than we even notice, if we don’t have specific knowledge of the works and characters involved. (I think you’d have to be a pretty deep Tolkien scholar to understand just how much of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Unseen Academicals’ was a hearty “fuck you” to Tolkien’s racial politics.) If Flint was just trying to say that writers weren’t cutthroat in their competitive spirit…

    Well, he’d still be wrong, probably. Some of those feuds got pretty intense. 🙂 But he’d at least be on a righter track.

  10. Bruce Diamond: I don’t know if anyone should be alarmed and start consulting lawyers, but VD is already sending feelers out to the Dread Ick asking if anyone practices in New Hampshire and/or Australia.

    Pretty transparent intimidation tactic.

    I can guarantee that he has no intention of actually taking this to the courts.

  11. the first description of the airborne reindeer and sleigh is of how they appeared from a distance;

    Interesting, and depicting Saint Nicholas as tiny does seem an odd idea (since that name ties him closer to the historical figure). On the other hand, there are more ambiguous references to smallness later in the poem — “little hoof”, “little mouth”, “little round belly” and “jolly old elf”.

  12. I wondered about the “eight tiny reindeer” line when I was a kid. I also figured it was probably due to Santa being an elf, like the elves I was familiar with before I discovered Tolkien

  13. I had a little accident. Apologies to our gracious host.

    Twas the night before Worldcon, when all through the blog
    Not a godstalk was stirring, not even a fan
    The pixels were scrolled by the chimney with care,
    In hopes that Mike Glyer soon would be there.

    The commenters were nestled all snug in their beds,
    While visions of Hugo Awards danced in their heads.
    And mamma in her lettercol, and I in my Chrome,
    Had just settled our laptops for a long winter’s nap.

    When out on the web there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from the keyboard to see what was the matter.
    Away to the Windows went Adobe Flash,
    Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
    Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
    When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    But a miniature pixel and eight tiny scrolls.

    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be our Mike
    More rapid than eagles his bloggers they came,
    And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

    “Now, Kyra! now, Camestros! now, Kurt and Paul!
    On, Meredith On, Hampus! on, Red and Wombat!
    To the top of the page! to the top of the Google!
    Now scroll away! Scroll away! Scroll away all!”

    As dry scrolls that before the wild pixels fly,
    When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
    So up to the house-top the bloggers they flew,
    With the sleigh full of books and Mike Glyer too.

    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
    The scrolling and pixeling of each little post
    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
    Down the chimney Mike Glyer came with a bound.

    He was dressed all in badges from his head to his foot,
    And his pixels were all tarnished with ashes and scroll.
    A bundle of Hugos he had flung on his back,
    And he looked like a faned, just opening his pack.

    His eyes-how they pixeled, his dimples how scrolled!
    His cheeks were like gravatars, his nose like an emojii!
    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a scroll,
    And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

    The stump of a pixel he held tight in his teeth,
    And the scroll it encircled his head like a wreath.
    He had a broad face and a little round belly,
    That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
    And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
    A wink of his pixel and a twist of his scroll,
    Soon gave me to know I had a huge to-be-read.

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    And filled all the scrollings, then turned with a jerk.
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
    And giving a nod, up the pixel he rose!

    He sprang to his posts, to his scrolls gave a whistle,
    And away they all flew like the down of a pixel,
    But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
    “Happy Worldcon to all, and to all a good-fan!”

  14. (In good news I have a new weekly column, and am now covering Enterprise Microsoft for Infoworld. Yay for post-Brexit dollar/sterling exchange rates.)

  15. @ Kip: Funny you should mention Tom Lehrer. I’ve been having earworms of “Who’s Next?” (about Trump and China) and “MLF Lullaby” (about Trump and Russia).

  16. @ rob_matic: It’s an Internet aphorism that someone who threatens lawsuits publicly isn’t serious. If they’re serious, they don’t telegraph their moves like that.

  17. @OGH: what pay? I’m retired. (And I wouldn’t touch clickbait with an eleven-foot Hungarian; I may work for debatable people, but I have \some/ standards….)

    @Andrew M: and one would expect Vixen to be either female or something the Hays Office wouldn’t want in a children’s story.

    @Hampus: my sympathies; an early loss is hard even when you know they’re hurting.

  18. @Hampus: all my condolences too. The death of any cat diminishes me, for I am a cat lady. I’m sorry his kitty diabetes couldn’t be controlled.

    (5) My reactions to this are summed up nicely by other Filers, and also include snort, LOL, ORLY? and “who you calling ‘we’, white man?”

    @Simon Bisson: huzzah!

  19. So, regarding the Dragons, what are we to suppose actually happened?

    If Flint was involved in planning it, that disposes of the theory that it was a Puppyish plot, and was actually meant to have a poor turnout. There is no reason why Flint, and whoever his collaborators are, would not want their awards to be successful. So should we suppose that the apparent incompetence in the way it was run (changing eligibility dates, failure to advertise it through DragonCon itself, etc.) was indeed simply massive incompetence?

    It’s true that the promoters seem to have been working with a model of fandom in which one is a fan, primarily, of a particular author, series, etc., and will of course turn out to vote for the thing one is a fan of, and so were relying on authors to get out the vote. But then they should at least have done some promotion of it among authors, which as far as we know they did not do, except by bumping into them at conventions.

    And what should we suppose the aim actually was? It seems to me the two parts of Flint’s statement can come apart here; one can be dissatisfied or disgruntled with existing awards and yet not aim to replace them, only complement them. Flint was clearly disgruntled with the Hugos, witness his own open statements at the time, but should we conclude he wanted to displace them?

  20. @Andrew M

    At the awards ceremony (footage courtesy of Declan Finn’s cameraphone, this account of it courtesy of my fallible memory) at least two senior members of DC staff were mentioned as the main organisers, neither of whom were puppy-adjacent.
    Flint’s involvement was announced as being going forward, not that he’d already been involved.
    That’s not to say that the existence of puppies saying “hey, dragoncon should have awards” didn’t influence things, but there’s no solid evidence for anything beyond that.
    Personally I think the shenanigans can be explained by ambition and optimism collapsing under the weight of reality, not by anything more sinister.

  21. OK, so that confirms my initial impression that when Flint said ‘we’ he meant the organisation, rather than claiming that he personally was involved.

    Regarding the aim, some of the things the promoters said seemed very clearly to reflect common criticisms of the Hugos. But there’s a difference between ‘The Hugos are a bad thing and should be replaced’, on the one hand, and ‘The Hugos aren’t doing their job of representing the millions of people who read science fiction, and we need something to fill the gap’, on the other.

  22. Hampus Eckerman on December 13, 2016 at 1:08 am said:

    Only half a SJW today as one of my credentials was put to sleep this morning. He was only nine years old, but he had a bad mouth infection and diabetes. Can’t stop crying, he was so sweet to the end.

    I am so sorry Hampus. We don’t deserve them, most of the time.

  23. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 1/9/17 Old King Cole Had A Merry Old Scroll | File 770

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