Pixel Scroll 1/31/17 Is It A Scroll? Is It A File? No, Its Super-Pixel!

(1) GENRE L.A. At last weekend’s 2017 Genre-LA Creative Writers Conference, dozens of professionals were on hand to share their experience and insight, among them Howard Hendrix, Gregory Benford and Robert J. Sawyer. Thanks to Greg for the photo —

HENDRICKS, GB, SAWYER

(2) LIFE GOALS. Steve Barnes also spoke at the conference, and posted afterwards about his mission as a writer.

Last weekend I spoke at the GENRE L.A. science fiction/fantasy writer’s workshop, and boy oh boy, do I wish you could have been there!   I did two panels, but more importantly connected with friends and students from across the country.  One panel was on “Editing secrets of the Pros.”

On this one, I was with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, my buddies and partners, and once again was overwhelmed with how blessed I’ve been to have these giants in my life.   The wisdom I’ve gleaned from them over the decades has made ALL the difference in my capacity to thrive in my chosen field…and I HAVE to thrive here, because it is about 50% of my planned outreach to change the world.

Grasp the importance of that: I don’t just write to make money. Or to express myself.   Or to have fun…although all those things are important.  I write to create ONE MILLION AWAKE, AWARE, ADULT HUMAN BEINGS on the planet.  That dream powers me through all obstacles.

(3) CUTTING IT CLOSE. You’ve got a little time left to submit your 31st Annual Asimov’s Readers’ Award Ballot. The online form must be completed by February 1,

From short stories and novellas to novelettes and poems – and even best covers! – let us know your Asimov’s favorites this year.  Winners join the pantheon of Asimov’s authors who represent the Who’s Who of science fiction writers over the past thirty years.

(4) MYSTERIOUS FIEND. Mac Childs argues the advantages of playing “Peekaboo with the Devil: Strategies for Hiding and Revealing Your Antagonist” on the Horror Writers Association blog.

Just like any relationship, the special bond between a horror protagonist and her antagonist benefits from a little bit of mystery. In this case, the hero is a proxy for your readers, and the mystery comes from your story’s scariest villain, be it a human serial killer or a demonic creature or the mad scientist who, when left unattended for a few minutes, will inevitably create a horrific zombie plague.

There are a host of reasons why keeping your baddie cards close to your chest can help your story’s tension and overall terror levels. Obviously, if your plot line is even remotely similar to a mystery, you don’t want to give away the killer in the first act. You can stoke the tension by keeping your villain shrouded.

(5) WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. George R.R. Martin wants to make sure people understand that Gardner Dozois is sole editor of a new anthology, however, they have plans to edit more books together in the future.

My friend Gardner Dozois, long-time anthologist and winner (many many times) of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor, has a big new fantasy anthology coming out this fall. It’s called THE BOOK OF SWORDS, and it’s about… well… swords. Y’know. “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”

I have a story in the book. “The Sons of the Dragon” is the title.…

However, there is a lot that’s wrong out there as well. THE BOOK OF SWORDS is not my book. I didn’t write but a small part of it, and I didn’t edit it, nor even co-edit it. Gardner is one of my oldest friends and he and I have co-edited a number of anthologies together. We did OLD MARS and OLD VENUS together. We did SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH and DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS together. We did the huge award-winning cross-genre anthologies WARRIORS, DANGEROUS WOMEN, and ROGUES together. But we did not do THE BOOK OF SWORDS together….

Truth be told, I loved editing those anthologies with Gardner, and we want to do more together. We’re talked about MORE ROGUES and EVEN MORE DANGEROUS WOMEN, since those two books were hugely successful, and we have definite plans for OLD LUNA and, who knows, maybe eventually OLD MERCURY and OLD PLUTO and OLD URANUS. But we’re not doing any of that NOW. The anthologies, much as I loved them, were taking too much of my time, so I stepped back from them… until I finish THE WINDS OF WINTER, at least. Once that’s done, maybe I can sneak another one in…

(6) RECOMMENDATIONS. Editor Rich Horton shares his “Hugo Nomination Thoughts: Short Fiction: Short Story”.

Lots of stories listed there, and they are all good stuff. Noticeable is, of course, Rich Larson, who really had an excellent year. I think there’s a nice mix, too, af fantasy and SF, some funny stories, some quite dark, hard SF, far future SF, action, philosophy. I’m leaning towards the top five listed stories (though, really, as with the other categories, all these stories are worthy) for my nomination ballot.

(7) FUNDRAISER. I remember searching used bookstores to complete a run of these — Analog Science Fiction & Fact; The 25 Bedsheet Issues”. A Canadian collector is selling his for $300 to support a local convention. They are still up for grabs at this writing.

All proceeds from the sale of this complete set will go directly to benefit Keycon, Manitoba’s premier SF/Fantasy convention.

All 25 issues are in good+ and VG condition. No loose covers, torn, loose, or missing pages. Some minor shelf wear from long time storage, but less wear than may be expected for magazines of this age.. Each issue bagged. All proceeds from the sale of this complete set will go directly to benefit Keycon, Manitoba’s premier SF/Fantasy convention.

Analog bedsheet

(8) SUPER STARS. ScienceFiction.com says the actress we knew as Lois Lane will become a super-villain: “Teri Hatcher Returns To The Super-Verse With A Mystery Role On ‘Supergirl’”.

Teri Hatcher gained fame playing iconic comic book character Lois Lane on ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’, a romantic comedy spin on the comics that aired for four seasons on ABC television from 1993-97.  Now she is returning to the world of DC Comics with a recurring role in the back end of ‘Supergirl’ Season Two.  The role is a mystery, but is known to be the major villain and will span multiple episodes.

Hatcher played Lois opposite Dean Cain’s Clark Kent/Superman.  Cain, of course, has a recurring role on ‘Supergirl’ as Supergirl/Kara’s adopted father Jeremiah Danvers.  Fans can only cross their fingers in hopes that the two will have a ‘Lois & Clark’ reunion on ‘Supergirl’.

Hatcher previously made another guest appearance on a Super show, ‘Smallville’ on which she played Ella Lane, the mother of Erica Durance’s Lois.

(9) TRIVIAL FACT OF THE DAY. The shoes Neil Armstrong wore when he first walked on the moon — size 9-1/2 medium and worth $30,000 a pair — are still on the moon. They along with other material had to be jettisoned to compensate for the weight of the moon rocks the astronauts collected.

Even a pair of Air Jordans doesn’t cost that much!

(10) NOT DEAD, ONLY RESTING. The Spaceworks company wants to have a real-world stasis chamber ready by 2018.

A process traditionally used to treat cardiac arrest or traumatic brain injury is now showing promise as a possible method to enable long-term space travel through hibernation. Behind this effort is John A. Bradford, president of Spaceworks, and making this a reality is much closer than you might think.

Doctors refer to this strategy as something called “therapeutic hypothermia.” Essentially, the body is cooled slowly to a temperature between 32 and 34 degrees Celsius (normal body temperature is 37C). This will slow down both heart rate and blood pressure, giving doctors additional time to work on serious health issues.

The patient stays in stasis for about 2-4 days, although the technique has worked for as long as two weeks without any measurable harm. There’s evidence that even longer periods of stasis may be possible: a Japanese man once survived 24 days in a hypothermic state after a fall off a mountain ledge in Japan.

Bradford hopes through additional work to extend the safe period for stasis out to months, and says this technology and the equipment necessary can be automated easily and made space-ready.

Now, don’t assume that these stasis chambers will be like those you see in science fiction movies. While single person pods do work well, having enough of these would add a lot of additional weight to a spacecraft. Instead, Spaceworks is working on an open chamber capable of holding multiple crew members.

(11) CALL FOR PAPERS. The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) has invited papers for its affiliate session about “Popular Print Culture” at the 2017 South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Convention, November 3-5, 2017, in Atlanta. Abstracts due by June 1. Contact details are at the link.

Potential topics include print culture, history of the book, authorship, publishing history, ephemera, illustration, publishers’ archives, production, circulation, and reception. Papers addressing this year’s convention theme, “High Art/Low Art Borders and Boundaries in Popular Culture,” are especially welcome. What connections can be made between print culture/book history and the diverse world of popular culture? How has print culture reflected popular taste from the early modern world to the present?

Possible topics include:

Genre fiction
Sensation fiction
Science fiction
Gothic Ghost stories
Historical fiction/fantasy
Pulp fiction
Detective fiction/thrillers
Adventure fiction
Westerns Popular magazines
Newspapers Romance novels (Mills & Boon, etc.)
Reprint libraries
Dime novels
Penny dreadfuls
Ephemera (postcards, pamphlets, broadsides, advertising, etc.)
The evolving study of middlebrow writing
The borderlands of popular print culture (historical, geographical, etc.)

…Proposers need not be members of SHARP to submit, but panelists must be members of both SAMLA and SHARP in order to present.

(12) BY HIS BOOTSTRAPS. Applications are being taken for the “Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture” at Northern Illinois University through May 31.

The University Libraries, Northern Illinois University, invite applications for the Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture. Funding is available to scholars who will be using materials from the Libraries’ major holdings in American popular culture. These holdings include the Albert Johannsen and Edward T. LeBlanc Collections of more than 50,000 dime novels, and the nation’s preeminent collections related to Horatio Alger, Jr., and Edward Stratemeyer. Eligible collections also include our comic book, science fiction and fantasy literature, and American Popular Literature Collections. Topics which could draw on the collections’ strengths might include the plight of urban children, image of the American West in popular literature, widespread use of pseudonyms, and stereotypical portrayals. Preference will be given to applicants who signify an interest in conducting research related to Horatio Alger, Jr.

The 2017 Fellowship award consists of a $2000 stipend.

The deadline for applications is May 31, 2017, with research taking place between July 1 and December 31, 2017.

(13) SCIENCE FICTION STUDIES. Four R.D. Mullen Fellowships are up for grabs. Applications are due April 3. Download a PDF with full details here.

Named for the founder of our journal, Richard “Dale” Mullen (1915-1998), the Mullen fellowships are awarded by Science Fiction Studies to support for archival research in science fiction. Starting with the 2017 competition, we have four categories of awards:

  1. Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $3000

  1. PhD Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $1500 Number: 2 awards are available each year

  1. MA Thesis Research Fellowship

Amount: Up to $1000 Number: 2 awards are available each year

  1. Collaborative Undergraduate Research Award

Amount: Up to $250 Number: 2 awards are available each year

Application Process All projects must centrally investigate science fiction, of any nation, culture, medium or era. Applications may propose research in—but need not limit themselves to—specialized sf archives such as the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside, the Maison d’Ailleurs in Switzerland, the Judith Merril Collection in Toronto, or the SF Foundation Collection in Liverpool. Proposals for work in general archives with relevant sf holdings—authors’ papers, for example—are also welcome. For possible research locations, applicants may wish to consult the partial list of sf archives compiled in SFS 37.2 (July 2010): 161-90. This list is also available online.

(14) WIELDING A BRUSH. Larry Correia tells readers how to get started in one of his favorite hobbies, painting miniature figures, in a tutorial at Monster Hunter Nation.

Since I usually post my Work In Progress minis on Facebook I’ve been having a lot of people asking me questions. So this is going to be the big tutorial post for everything you need to know to get started with basic mini painting. And if you search, there are a lot of other tutorials out there, from painters way better than me, and then there are higher level tutorials that go into great depth just about particular techniques. Every little thing I talk about, somebody else has a big article about just that step.

SUPPLIES

Miniatures. This is easy. If you don’t have a cool Local Game Store (always support your LGS!) go to www.frpgames.com or www.miniaturesmarket.com and pick whatever you think looks fun. Warning. This is addictive and these little buggers can get expensive. Always check the clearance bin. Especially when you are learning, it is cheaper to learn on something that you snagged for 75% off. If you want something really cheap to learn and practice on, look up Reaper’s Bones. They are a soft plastic, but they paint up just fine.  (also Bones are made out of a material that doesn’t require priming, so when you are starting out you can skip that step and just get to base coating)…

(15) BLADE RUNNER HOMAGE. A team of filmmakers has been working for three years on their self-funded homage to Blade Runner and other Eighties sci-fi movies called “Slice of Life”. They’ve created enough material by now to produce a trailer.

“Slice Of Life” is an original short Science Fiction film set in the Blade Runner universe. The whole film is made the old school way like the legendary SciFi movies of the 80’s (Star Wars, Alien and already mentioned Blade Runner). Think miniatures, matte paintings, rear projections – You won’t find any CGI here!!! Slice Of Life is a love letter to the Science Fiction genre of the 80’s. The production is on for the last three years and it is completely self funded.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

105 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/31/17 Is It A Scroll? Is It A File? No, Its Super-Pixel!

  1. The first act of the Witch was to make the boy drink a potion which quickly sent him into a deep and dreamless sleep. Then the Tin Woodman and the Woggle-Bug bore him gently to the couch, placed him upon the soft cushions, and drew the gossamer hangings to shut him from all earthly view.

    The Witch squatted upon the ground and kindled a tiny fire of dried herbs, which she drew from her bosom. When the blaze shot up and burned clearly old Mombi scattered a handful of magical powder over the fire, which straightway gave off a rich violet vapor, filling all the tent with its fragrance and forcing the Saw-Horse to sneeze — although he had been warned to keep quiet.

    Then, while the others watched her curiously, the hag chanted a rhythmical verse in words which no one understood, and bent her lean body seven times back and forth over the fire. And now the incantation seemed complete, for the Witch stood upright and cried the one word “Yeowa!” in a loud voice.

    The vapor floated away; the atmosphere became, clear again; a whiff of fresh air filled the tent, and the pink curtains of the couch trembled slightly, as if stirred from within.

    Glinda walked to the canopy and parted the silken hangings. Then she bent over the cushions, reached out her hand, and from the couch arose the form of a young girl, fresh and beautiful as a May morning. Her eyes sparkled as two diamonds, and her lips were tinted like a tourmaline. All adown her back floated tresses of ruddy gold, with a slender jeweled circlet confining them at the brow. Her robes of silken gauze floated around her like a cloud, and dainty satin slippers shod her feet.

    At this exquisite vision Tip’s old comrades stared in wonder for the space of a full minute, and then every head bent low in honest admiration of the lovely Princess Ozma. The girl herself cast one look into Glinda’s bright face, which glowed with pleasure and satisfaction, and then turned upon the others. Speaking the words with sweet diffidence, she said:

    “I hope none of you will care less for me than you did before. I’m just the same Tip, you know; only — only — ”

    “Only you’re different!” said the Pumpkinhead; and everyone thought it was the wisest speech he had ever made.

  2. Oh, on the subject of swordswomen novels, I completely forgot about the The Dhulyn and Parno Novels of Violette Malan.

  3. @Chip:

    You have apparently failed to notice that:

    1. I explicitly stated that I have no problems with Baum not addressing an issue that he probably had no idea even existed.

    2. Emerald City is a modern reimagining/reinterpretation of Oz, and furthermore is a television show, not a book. I am very happy that it is addressing an issue that we do know exists, and doing so in a way I find extremely reasonable and (to the extent we can apply the word when magic is involved) realistic.

    3. My complaints about “because magic” are generic rather than Oz-related, and even in the Oz case I gave Baum a pass; see #1. My experience has been that modern readers generally prefer their magic to make sense in some fashion, to follow rules, and I definitely fall into that camp.

    4. My criticism of Oz fiction not addressing Ozma’s dysphoria is less “these people were WRONG for not addressing this” and more “now that I’ve seen it done right on Emerald City, it looks so obvious! I wonder why I haven’t seen it in any other modern reinterpretations of Oz. Is EC really the first Oz reinvention to tackle this, or have I been missing out on other trans-friendly Oz narratives?”

    As Kurt has so kindly quoted, Baum’s Tip and Ozma were one personality with two physical forms… and note that the transformation there was deliberately done, with careful preparation rather than as a rude accident, which undoubtedly makes it less traumatic. It (now) strikes me as exceedingly odd that a modern reader wouldn’t look at that magical sex change and wonder about Ozma’s gender identity, even for an instant. Is she* perhaps “cisgenderfluid,” identifying her gender with whatever her physical sex is at the moment? How about her orientation, if she grows up and starts dating? If Mombi’s magic can smooth the transformation so completely that the subject doesn’t even suffer a hint of dysphoria, is there some amount of mind control involved? (And if so, that’s quite a powerful spell! What else could it be used for, in the wrong hands?) There’s all kinds of potential for conflict in there, and stories rely on conflictr. Why should a modern reimagining voluntarily leave such a rich vein untapped?

    In sum, I’m praising EC for getting it right and encouraging other tillers of the same soil to follow their lead. Sure, it’s possible to bury that story-fodder motherlode by saying that the magic neatly erases all those complications… but why do so? Why deprive yourself of those potential plot hooks?

    *I call Tip/Ozma “she” here in recognition of the Baum-canon being that Ozma is the true form and Tip is a magical alteration. I’m not inserting my own opinions on the matter, just following that convention. Having Ozma identify as a trans boy would be fine with me!

  4. @Rev. Bob: I haven’t failed to notice anything; you have failed to own up to your own “it’s one of those elements that was Right There in the original”, which was nonsense. EC chooses to change the circumstances enough that dysphoria is expectable; more-canonical work doesn’t need to do this.

  5. @Chip:

    Tip/Ozma’s magical gender-flipping transformation most definitely IS an “element that was Right There in the original.”

    If Baum were a current-day author writing the series now instead of over 110 years ago, I would expect him to be aware that gender dysphoria exists and to address it in some way. However, he did not have the benefit of that knowledge, living as he did in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, so his books get a pass… as I’ve said repeatedly.

    OTOH, modern-day authors who decide to play in/with his world do not get to plausibly claim ignorance as an excuse, no more than they could write a story about a lost/kidnapped person without addressing the near-certainty that they’re carrying a cell phone and can simply call someone for help. In 2017, someone reimagining Oz who includes the Tip/Ozma switch as an actual physical transformation should either show some dysphoria (or an adjustment period) or explain why there is none. Like the cell phone example, ignoring the issue becomes a hole in reality, a flaw in the work. If the author doesn’t want to incorporate the subject, explaining it away needn’t take a lot of words*, but neglecting it entirely is just sloppy and lazy.

    * One easy way: Make Tip/Ozma androgynous in build or prepubescent, so the physical differences are minimal. Another: Address it with a chat between Ozma and another character. (“Isn’t it weird being a girl after being a boy?” “Well, since you bring it up…”) A third: Give Mombi a couple of lines about how this or that step in the complicated ritual is important because it “reacquaints the mind with the body” or some such. This is neither an unreasonable expectation nor a difficult one to meet. If I can come up with three options off the top of my head for a comment, why should I forgive an author for not even giving the issue that much thought while writing a whole book?

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