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. Since we’re talking of things that are Kipled:

    We’re poor pixel scrolls who’ve lost our books,
    Baa! Baa! Baa!
    We’re little morlocks who’ve got no Nooks,
    Baa–aa–aa!
    Gentlefolk-filers out on the spree,
    Damned from here to the Library,
    God ha’ mercy on such as we,
    Fifth! Godstalk!

    Morlocks doesn’t really work there, but it seemed important at the time.

  2. from all recent accounts … beans might make good bait for the Wombat. On a related note I can highly recommend the excellent short story The Dark Birds in the latest edition of Apex.

  3. These days here in Ireland, we would be Euro-ed in the butt, which goes to show that the choice of the single currency name was a bad one. Even Marked or Franked in the butt would have been better. Schillinged is at least euphonious, while Escudoed sounds quite naughty. Drachma-ed would be dramatic, but my favourite is the Estonian Kroon.

    Krooned in the butt in Tallinn!

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

    Tor.com has been producing annual e-book collections of its free online work since 2011. They’ve all been free — but I see now that sometime after November 2013, they’ve changed the prices on the past editions to be $2.99 (except for the 2014 volume, which for some bizarre reason is $4.99). But if you grab them when they first come out, they’re free.

  5. @JJ: The stories are collected from the site (which is free), right? Just checking that I’m not totally confused here; the collected ebook is basically a convenience .

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

    Yes, Sir! Yes, sir. Yesss…..sir…….

  7. @Mark: Dusk or Dark or Denver or Day was just 1,57€ on ebook, so I just took it (Have to finish my current book first though…)

  8. Sorry to read about her health issues.

    I find myself wondering why, given her stated health issues and book deadlines, she is spending so much time on trying to game awards which she and her fellow Pups have told us time and again are irrelevant.

    I also have to wonder how “going berserk” is supposed to help when one is confronted by men armed with firearms, as she asserts.

  9. Books read:

    The Harp of Imach Thyssel – Patricia Wrede. This was an okay fantasy. The characters were mildly interesting, the plot was okay, the worldbuilding had some engaging elements. In short, I didn’t like it as much as her later Cecelia and Sorcery books.

    Infinite Dreams – a collection of short stories by Joe Hadleman
    Good collection, I am was impressed at the range of the stories, the different styles and themes used. “26 days on Earth” was my favorite.

    Steal Across the Sky – Nancy Kress
    Kress’s aliens do the weirdest things, this was no different. I enjoyed the protagonist Cam a lot – in most books someone with her personality would be presented as a villain. In this case, she was not exactly likeable but still sympathetic.

    The Man Who Sold the Moon – Heinlein
    In reading older books, its fun to compare with reality. In this case, there is a fascinating approach to buying the moon. The Outer Space Treaty makes it outdated, but I wonder how it would have fared in a courtroom in the 1940s? Most of the financing ideas would work unchanged, you would sell the badges and posters through kickstarter instead of cereal boxes, but basically the same idea. On the engineering side, the guy designs something and then builds it without any testing and it works. I’m sure I’ve read a hundred stories in which engineering works like this, but this time I noticed how unrealistic it was due to knowing how much testing went into the real space program. I’m going to be looking at everything I read a little differently from now on.

  10. Aaron: You need to read more Louis L’Amour and Lee Child novels.

    Well, there are nonfiction accounts too…

    The point is, there’s a lot of psychology in the space between owning a gun and being willing to shoot someone with it.

  11. @ Aaron:

    I

    find myself wondering why, given her stated health issues and book deadlines, she is spending so much time on trying to game awards which she and her fellow Pups have told us time and again are irrelevant.

    I suppose that if, as a number of Puppy leaders’ posts and comments on the subject have suggested–starting with SP3 (before that, it was mostly just “Larry wants a Hugo! Larry also wants Hugos for his friends!” etc., etc.)–they really believe (or, alternately: if while spicing up their rhetoric for effect, they have eventually managed to convince themselves that) their Puppy activity is a matter of survival, that people want to ship them off to a gulag, and/or take away their rights, and/or prevent them from publishing, and/or prevent books they like from being published, and/or punish anyone who holds or voices the views that they hold or voice, and/or deny recognition and awards to any writer who is a religious Christian, etc., etc., etc….

    I suppose if Puppies believe their own rhetoric about such things, then Puppying seems genuinely important to them and worth making sacrifices for–such as running the thing, or campaigning or blogging or quarreling in the Puppy cause, even when one is very ill, or has deadlines, or isn’t getting any writing done, or would rather be spending time with family and friends, or would prefer to binge-watch a favorite series, or would much rather be painting patio furniture for a patio that hasn’t been built (my own puzzling time-usage decision this week while having a bunch of writing projects due).

    To me, to you, and to many people, Puppy rhetoric is so ludicrous, it’s easy to forget (I forget it all the time) that they might not be saying it just for effect–they might actually believe it. And if they actually believe it, then for them, that would make engaging in Puppy activities worth time, effort, focus–and even worth sacrifices.

    Even though I, for one, think that if they devoted their time to repeatedly poking each other in the eye, even that would be a better decision than spending their time Puppying.

  12. 1) Tangentially related: If you live in one of the states which have not yet adopted Real ID, be aware that starting in January of 2018 your driver’s license will not be adequate to let you board a plane even for domestic travel. You’ll need a passport or other form of chipped ID. I have just gone thru the process of obtaining a passport, for the first time in my life, because I cynically suspect that said process will be made a great deal more difficult sometime during this coming year. As if it wasn’t difficult enough already, at least for me — probably less so for someone who isn’t adopted.

    Re Every Heart a Doorway, if you enjoyed it and you have no objection to reading fanfic, go check out this fic. Wonderful novella-length story with a high-stakes mystery plot.

  13. On an unrelated note, Alliance Space by C.J. Cherryh (omnibus of 40,000 in Gehenna & Merchanter’s Luck) just went up on Kindle.

    This makes me really happy because last year(?) I bought a Kindle edition of Alliance Space that turned out to be bootleg. Now I can have an official, royalty-producing copy.

  14. @Joe H

    Thanks for the tip, it’s good to see those coming out. Cherryh is incredibly badly served in ebook terms in the UK, and I understand it’s not much better in the US.

  15. I thought it might be a time warp and we had a chance to change the results of the 2016 Presidential election. Not that anything good can come from meddling with time, but you know, what the heck. Worth a shot.

  16. @Mark — Agreed. It’s getting better, at least — most of her DAW catalog is available now (exceptions include Brothers of Earth, Hunter of Worlds, Serpent’s Reach and Angel with a Sword, plus a number I’m forgetting), but little if any of the Warner/Questar/Aspect stuff (Cyteen, Rimrunners, Tripoint, Finity’s End) is available. I know that she does sell at least some catalog titles directly from her website, and I think she’s in the process of prepping Finity’s End for the same treatment.

    And I am really, really, really looking forward to the new Alliance/Union book she’s working on.

  17. @Niall McAuley

    Krooned in the butt in Tallinn!

    That sounds like an exciting side adventure during Worldcon 75. Take the ferry and get krooned in the butt in Tallinn.

  18. Am struggling reluctantly with a strong sense of identification with Sarah Hoyt in two regards. I haven’t tended to read many of the Puppy posts that Mike links to — the excerpts are usually enough (I have the same strategy on Manboobz/We Hunted the Mammoth). The few times I did click through, I regretted it. But for some reason this time, I clicked through and read. I don’t remember if I’d looked at Hoyt’s posts before. Besides agreeing with those who note sympathy for her health problems, I found myself caught up in definitely unwilling identification in two ways. The first is the stream of consciousness free-flowing style (I tend that way myself!). Second, the berserker (though I don’t use that metaphor myself, it’s a good one for how I tend to blow up at times). So, um, yeah.

    It took me a lot of years to learn effective revision (in creative and academic works) (I used to have eight or nine drafts before I could get peer response–now I can do it in three or four). Editorial commentary helped a great deal (one editor pointed out I had three essays crammed into the one submission, identified the topics, and said if I could pull one out–he preferred X over Y and Q–he’d publish it, and he did). But also teaching because, dang, it’s so much easier to “see” problems in somebody else’s writing than in my own (it all makes perfect sense to me!). Teaching the technical writing class which I now do regularly was of great help in that regard.

    I still have that free-write, free-style, associative waterfall “voice” that goes off in my head quite often (and does show up in blog comments–often via parentheses, heh–one friend described my style in LJ commenting and blogging as “tidal wave.”). I’ve just learned to rein it in and cut cut cut cut cut and restructure.

  19. Totally tangential to this scroll but I just saw Arrival and felt that, while it isn’t bad, it did not hold up well at all compared to the story. Surface details were cool, but the movie takes the element of the story that made the greatest emotional impact and ruins it. The more I think about it, the more it bothers me.

  20. Thanks, @Rev. Bob!

    @bookworm1398: Yay, book mini-reviews! Thanks for posting those. I should check out Haldeman’s short fiction. Oh, and I liked Kress’s book a lot – agreed re. Cam (if that’s the one I’m thinking of).

    @Chuck Tingle: Don’t ever change. I can only imagine what would happen if Trump rage-Tweeted you. Mmmmmmm. 🙂

    ETA: I mean to say: Thanks to @robinareid for the Tingle pointer. Um. Let me rephrase that. . . .

  21. i have decided i will write. my pen is the sword and my sword is the weiner and my heart is my butt and i will put my pen in my hearts butt

    please give this man the nobel in literature!

  22. Brain just can’t let it go.
    Hamscroll, Pixel Of Denmark, or, Bound’d In A Nut By His Own Antic Disposition.

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