Pixel Scroll 1/11/17 Ask Not What Your Pixel Can Scroll For You; Ask What You Can Scroll For Your Pixel

(1) 21ST CENTURY AIRPORT SECURITY. The Atlantic gives you an overview of the preparations, including a pair of anti-terrorism officials on-staff, at an airport with twice the police force of Pasadena — “Inside LAX’s New Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Unit”.

Today’s threats, whether terrorist or merely criminal, are increasingly networked and dispersed; it only makes sense that an institution’s response to them must take a similar form. It might sound like science fiction, but, in 20 years’ time, it could very well be that LAX has a stronger international-intelligence game than many U.S. allies. LAX field agents could be embedded overseas, cultivating informants, sussing out impending threats. It will be an era of infrastructural intelligence, when airfields, bridges, ports, and tunnels have, in effect, their own internal versions of the CIA—and LAX will be there first.

…[Stacey] Peel currently works in central London, where she is head of the “strategic aviation security” team at engineering super-firm Arup. She explained that every airport can be thought of as a miniature version of the city that hosts it. An airport thus concentrates, in one vulnerable place, many of the very things a terrorist is most likely to target. “The economic impact, the media imagery, the public anxiety, the mass casualties, the cultural symbolism,” Peel pointed out. “The aviation industry ticks all of those boxes.” Attack LAX and you symbolically attack the entirety of L.A., not to mention the nerve center of Western entertainment. It’s an infrastructural voodoo doll…

(2) OVER THE AIR. Bill Campbell of Rosarium Publishing was a guest today of Georgia Public Radio program On Second Thought, speaking about “The Women Who Pioneered Sci-Fi”. You can listen to the segment at the link.

A problem with some fantasy fiction narratives is the misogynistic treatment of female characters. The sci-fi world may still be very much dominated by men behind the scenes, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been female trailblazers. A new book explores some of those unsung heroines. It’s called “Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction.” We talked with the author, Georgia Tech professor Lisa Yaszek. We also spoke with Bill Campbell of Rosarium Publishing, which focuses on bringing more diversity to science fiction.

(3) TINY DANCER. Two-time Nebula winner Catherine Asaro is profiled in the Washingtonian: “She’s a Harvard PhD and Author of 26 Novels. She’ll Also Get Your Kids to Like Math”.

Washington’s suburbs are rich with overachieving kids and anxious parents, ambitious college goals and lengthy extracurricular commitments—and of course, supplementary-education programs and afterschool tutors. You can sign your kid up for soccer instruction by a women’s Premier League coach or for Lego robotics taught by engineering grad students. But even in this hothouse environment, Catherine Asaro stands out.

If math were a sport, she’d be its Morgan Wootten. For more than a decade, the brightest STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) prodigies in the area have taken classes from her in cinder-block-lined community rooms or cluttered spaces in her home. Her students have qualified for the USA Mathematical Olympiad and, in 2014, placed first and second at the University of Maryland High School Math Contest. In 2015, her team was named top program in the country by the Perennial Math Tournament. An entire wall in her living room is filled with trophies from MathCounts competitions. Asaro’s students have earned scholarships to the University of Maryland and attend places such as Stanford and MIT….

Asaro looks more like my image of a science-fiction writer than a math tutor—lots of rhinestones on her jeans and long-sleeved T-shirt; flowy dark hair; and a purring, confident voice that recalls another of her gigs: singing with a jazz band. On a living-room wall hangs a photo of her father, Frank Asaro, a Berkeley nuclear chemist who discovered the iridium anomaly that led to the asteroid theory of dinosaur extinction. Naturally, he also played classical piano. Asaro says that, like her dad, she started out more interested in music than in science, deciding to become a ballet dancer after seeing Swan Lake.

(4) PANELISTS FOR HELSINKI. The Worldcon 75 online signup for people wanting to be on the program is working again. The form will close on March 30th and Worldcon 75 will get back to everybody during March/April.

(5) WESTON SCHOLARSHIP. Steve Cooper announced there is a new Pete Weston Memorial Scholarship available to help fund someone attending Conrunner in the UK.

We were all saddened to hear of the death of Pete Weston last week. In his memory an anonymous donor is offering a scholarship to Conrunner to celebrate Pete’s contribution to convention running.

The scholarship will cover two nights accommodation and membership of Conrunner. It is open to anyone to apply – but if this is your first Conrunner – you will be given priority in the selection.

Please message me if you are interested or email me at con-runner@virginmedia.com

(6) ERIC FLINT UPDATE. The doctor had an encouraging word for Eric Flint.

I have some further news. My cancer has been further diagnosed as large diffuse B-Cell lymphona. That’s the most common type of cancer among adults, mostly hits older folks around 70 (my age) — my doctor calls it “the old fart’s disease” — and is about as white bread as lymphonas come. It responds very well to chemo, too.

So, it looks as if my luck is still holding out (allowing for “I’ve got cancer” values of luck.)

(7) BEWARE! Camestros Felapton understandably set his blog on autopilot and left town just before the unveiling of his new serial:

In the interim, starting Thursday morning Australian time will be the TWENTY-TWO PART serialisation of the annotated version of the early example of British genre fiction BEWARE THE CAT!

Each post has an introductory chatty bit which contains my mangled understanding of Tudor history, reformation theology and cat psychology, followed by a hefty chunk of my edited-for-readability-and-spelling version of Beware the Cat.

To cram it all in there will actually be several posts per day – so the blog will actually be busier than when I’m actually running it.

beware the annotated cat

Indeed and verily, the first installment is now online.

I have written for your mastership’s pleasure one of the stories which Mr. Streamer told last Christmas – which you so would have heard reported by Mr Ferrers himself. Although I am unable to tell it as pleasantly as he could, I have nearly used both the order and words of him that spoke them. I doubt not that he and Mr. Willet shall in the reading think they hear Mr Streamer speak, and he himself shall doubt whether he speaks.

(8) REMEMBERING METROPOLIS. Den of Geek! writer Jim Knipfel discusses “Metropolis at 90: The Enduring Legacy of a Pop Modernist Dystopia”.

In an interview with Peter Bogdanovich shortly before his death in 1976, Fritz Lang said of Metropolis, “You cannot make a social-conscious picture in which you say that the intermediary between the hand and the brain is the heart. I mean, that’s a fairy tale – definitely. But I was very interested in machines. Anyway, I didn’t like the picture – thought it was silly and stupid – then, when I saw the astronauts: what else are they but part of a machine? It’s very hard to talk about pictures—should I say now that I like Metropolis because something I have seen in my imagination comes true, when I detested it after it was finished?”

(9) MAKING A POINT. Sarah A. Hoyt, in “Sad Puppies, Gate Keeping, And We DID Build this”,  says what happened yesterday was not gate keeping, it was brand protecting. Which it was. But there’s a lot of haystack to go through before you get to the needle.

Even before I got to that post, and later in the other post that made me almost berserk again (I don’t think I’ve done this twice in one day since my teens) a friend had commented on how he gave the wrong impression and he should stop it already.  Later on there were also posts on a bizarre theme, one of which (the comments) is what caused the second berserk attack.

The theme was like this: Sad Puppies said they were against gate keepers, but now they’re trying to be gatekeepers.

There are so many missteps in that statement it’s hard to unpack.  First of all, no, Sad Puppies wasn’t against gatekeepers.  Sad Puppies was against the secret maneuvering that went on behind the awards.  (BTW it was never really a secret. When I was coming in, my mentors told me it was all log rolling and I had to roll the logs.)  And which people denied until they stopped denying it, in favor of shrieking at us to get off their lawns, and making up horrible lies about us.  (Unless, of course, you believe I’m a Mormon male.)

Second, in what way were we trying to be gatekeepers when we told an unauthorized person to stop pretending he was leading SP 5?

We were as much gatekeepers as, say, Baen would be when it told you you couldn’t call your indie publisher Baen Books For Real.  It might or might not violate a trademark (fairly sure it would) but more than that it’s false advertising and it violates the right of people to what they have built.

(10) TIL WE HAVE FACEBOOK. Author S.M. Stirling is not a Twitter user.

With every passing day, I become more convinced I did the right thing by not opening a Twitter account. It’s the Promised Land of aggressive stupidity, and makes otherwise smart and civilized people aggressively stupid. The world would be a better place if it didn’t exist.

(11) THIS JUST IN. Ansible Links reports —

Ansible Editions offers a free Then sample download in a naked attempt to influence BSFA shortlist voting and Hugo nominations

Looks like an obvious attempt to influence the Best Related Works category. Or blatant. Possibly both.

(12) DID ANYONE READ THE DRAGON AWARD WINNER? Doris V. Sutherland, in “Brian Niemeier: The Man Who Would Be (Stephen) King”, disputed that Niemeier’s Souldancer was among the most popular horror novels of 2016, but agreed he’s been successful at branding his work.

The rise of Kindle direct publishing has opened doors for an array of new writers, but it has also confronted them with a big question: how, in lieu of backing from a professional publisher, does you promote a novel?

…Search the space opera category in Amazon’s Kindle department, and I suspect that you will find numerous other indie books that are of equal or superior quality to Niemeier’s novels. Many of those have vanished into obscurity; and this would likely have been the fate of Souldancer, had its author kept his opinions to himself. Instead, by latching onto the Puppy/Superversive movement, he has picked up a loyal following; not a large following, as we have established, but one that has still managed to build him a sturdy echo chamber.

I would rather not write any further posts about Niemeier, as I do not want this to turn into the Doris vs. Brian blog, but I do find all of this an interesting case study in regards to indie publishing. The Puppies have evolved from a campaign centred around bagging an award for a specific author (that is, Larry Correia) into a brand that has granted new authors a platform – Niemeier and Finn being amongst them.

(13) CHUCK. Try and think of any other person people might try to vote a Hugo simply because they promised to show up at the award ceremony.

(14) EVERY DAY IS HALLOWEEN. That’s the name of Lisa Morton’s newsletter – you can subscribe through her blog. Morton, HWA President, recently told her newsletter readers —

Ellen Datlow and I have now finished up the editing on Hallows’ Eve, the next official HWA anthology. I’m ridiculously happy with the range and quality of the stories we’ve assembled. Here’s hoping we’ll have a cover reveal soon!

The HWA blog has released a list of the contributors:

The sixteen authors included are: Kelley Armstrong, Pat Cadigan, Elise Forier Edie, Brian Evenson, Jeffrey Ford, Eric J. Guignard, Stephen Graham Jones, Kate Jonez, Paul Kane, John Langan, John R. Little, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, S. P. Miskowski, Garth Nix, and Joanna Parypinski.

(15) TIME TO REFUEL. Here is Fan-O-Rama: A Futurama Fan Film.

[Thanks to David K.M. Klaus, Steven H Silver, edd, JJ, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kendall.]

90 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/11/17 Ask Not What Your Pixel Can Scroll For You; Ask What You Can Scroll For Your Pixel

  1. (9) MAKING A POINT. Sarah A. Hoyt, in “Sad Puppies, Gate Keeping, And We DID Build this”, says what happened yesterday was not gate keeping, it was brand protecting. Which it was.

    A little late for brand protection ….what with the Rabid Puppies using a very similar name and the same artist for a very similar logo as the Sad Puppies … well, the Sad Puppies became the modern version of aspirin, linoleum, and the like.

  2. If a dog keeps pushing you with its head at the shelter, then you’ve been

    Pixels at morning,
    Scrollers take warning.
    Pixels at night,
    Scrollers’ delight.

  3. Fifth and a half!
    11 – I have a really hard time seeing how offering the first 48 pages of that book for the nominatoter’s/voter’s consideration is in any way different from the function that the Hugo voter’s packet performs.

  4. Sean Kirk: I have a really hard time seeing how offering the first 48 pages of that book for the nominatoter’s/voter’s consideration is in any way different from the function that the Hugo voter’s packet performs.

    The difference is that the Hugo voters’ packet only contains the finalists. He’s releasing the sample now in hopes of getting enough support for the book that it will actually make the final ballot.

    There is a lot of competition in the Related Work Category.

  5. As far as (9) goes, sure, I’ll buy that it’s brand protection. But why don’t they see that the damage has already been done (by Larry, Brad and Ted) and that someone who couldn’t even win a Dragon trying to hijack their brand is the least of their worries as far as brand perception goes?

  6. Another contributing editor credit?! My lucky day is just beginning! I will celebrate with a little reading, followed by sleep.

    (15) TIME TO REFUEL. Wow, that’s really well done! A little slow (plus I’m tired), but the visuals are amazing.

  7. (3) Really enjoyed the article on Asaro! Thanks for posting that.

    (6) Have been following Eric’s updates on Facebook. All cancer is serious/scary, but I’m glad his is deemed treatable.

    (9) What I mostly note in Sarah Hoyt’s post are the health issues she mentions in passing. She was, she writes in that post, supposed to run SP3, but was too ill and needed surgery. She also mentions she collapsed a month ago. And she says they’re going to test her spinal fluid. That all sounds pretty serious. The Puppy stuff she goes on about just seems like traffic noise by comparison.

  8. Ah now I get it! “I took his money. After a while he stopped denying that it was mine in favour of calling the police. He stopped denying, hence it was my money all along!”

  9. (11) THIS JUST IN

    The obvious blatant attempt has failed, but only because I’d already bought it 🙂
    Seriously, it’s a very impressive work and worth checking out the sample at least.

  10. Kendall: the first is called as All Systems Red and the series is “The Murderbot Diaries” (!)

    The name “Murderbot” makes me say I’m not interested — but the excerpt left me wanting more, so there you go. 😉

  11. (11) THIS JUST IN.

    And Tor gives away an ebook with the years best short stories. It is Hugo season.

  12. First novella of 2017 (which really ought to mean spring is coming or something): Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire. This is not the sequel to Every Heart A Doorway, but a separate standalone in a new continuity. Any description of the plot spoils a well-played reveal early in the story so I’m going to keep quiet, but it’s just as readable as you’d expect from McGuire. What I particularly liked was that it had some of the older Urban Fantasy feel of being about people and places and the connections between the two.
    There’s an element that deserves a content note (rot13 although it’s also obvious from the blurb: Gur znva punenpgre jbexf ng n fhvpvqr ubgyvar naq ure fvfgre pbzzvggrq fhvpvqr) but I believe it’s handled sensitively.

  13. Oh noes, you mean that when people invest time and effort in something and someone comes along to try and hijack it then they’re entitled to feel aggrieved? Who knew?

  14. @Kendall. Yeah, saw that, and shared it on twitter to all and sundry. Exciting stuff coming this year from Wells–another Raksura book AND this.

  15. “And which people denied until they stopped denying it”
    They did?

    I think people worked out that they were talking to an echo chamber and gave up explaining things. There’s a huge difference between “stopped denying” and “admitted”.

  16. The most staggering thing is that Hoyt would think that “Sad Puppies” is a brand name worth defending. They might as well be fighting to keep the brand name “Ayds”

  17. Midnight at the scroll-asis/Send your pixel to bed
    Shadows scrolling our faces/traces of freelance in our heads

  18. She was, she writes in that post, supposed to run SP3, but was too ill and needed surgery. She also mentions she collapsed a month ago. And she says they’re going to test her spinal fluid. That all sounds pretty serious. The Puppy stuff she goes on about just seems like traffic noise by comparison

    Having undergone the same test and symptoms, I must agree that is serious. While I find many of her opinions odious, I wish Sara the best outcome on this front.

  19. @1: just what we need — \more/ independent groups in the US trying to do international intelligence….

    @3 I find it … fascinating … that one of the richest counties in the U.S. can’t afford to do proper math enrichment programs in its own schools. (Some of this may be caused by school funding being by municipality rather than county-wide, which is another issue.)

    @8: the reviewer concludes that the cut version of Metropolis may be the better picture; having seen the restored version last summer, I think he overvalues the original — is confused hyperemotionality better if there’s less of it? The restored scenes do add texture; OTOH, I saw it with a live band (Alloy Orchestra) that specializes in (loudly) accompanying this film, which may have affected my impression.

  20. @Mark:

    “Thanks” for reminding me that came out this week. I have this sinking feeling that I’ll be spending a bit of credit sometime in the next couple of days, for that and a couple of other currently- and usually-cheap ebooks. I’m trying to hold off until I finish the Apocalypse Triptych (currently at 58%, about to enter deer camp), but since some of the books are on sale…

  21. Yes, Sarah Hoyt’s health issues sound serious. I hope they find a cause that’s easily treatable.

    In unrelated news, it appears I may be at Arisia, stalking the wild RedWombat, after all. Awaiting further developments.

  22. Just don’t ask about soil. I hear the RedWombat can talk a human ear clean off regarding soil.

  23. Mark: Would you recommend Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day before Every heart a doorway? Or should you know doorway?

  24. Peer: Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is completely unrelated to Every Heart a Doorway. Both are excellent.

    The prequel novella to Every Heart a Doorway is titled Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and publishes in June.

  25. For German speakers: An interview with William Gibson in Zeit Magazin

    @Joe: Thanks! The premise of Dusk or Pixel or File or Scroll is more appealing for me, for reason, only known to my gut.

  26. All due caution will be observed in stalking the RedWombat. And I expect to have bait, unless of course it’s something the RedWombat flees from, instead.

  27. [15] The Fan-O-Rama film has its moments. My favorite is probably the audio subtitle “WHATEVER SOUND A MINIATURE GIRAFFE MAKES.”

    When the man files, certainly boys, what else? The pixel scrolls him!

  28. Do you like Kipling?

    For it’s filer this and filer this and filer is a troll,
    But it’s Hugo for the filer when the pixels start to scroll.

  29. Rob, I suspect that seed catalogs can be efficacious for luring RedWombats…

    Or tequila.

  30. Ah, my favorite classic joke!

    He: Do you like Kipling?
    She: I don’t know. I’ve never read any!

    It just never gets old.

  31. “The most staggering thing is that Hoyt would think that “Sad Puppies” is a brand name worth defending.”

    Once one understands that the SPs believe they are on the side of Truth, Justice, and the American Way (as they believe it to be ) then her defense should not be a surprise to anyone.

    Sorry to read about her health issues. While medical science can do wonders, it is also exhausting, tiring, and Ghu knows what else as they work on fixing you. Hope things work out for her.

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