Pixel Scroll 2/16/17 This Scroll Is Spelt Raymond Luxury Pixel, But It’s Pronounced ‘Godstalker Manfile’

(1) TINGLE ON TV. SORT OF. I’m told Chuck Tingle appeared live via remote camera on Comedy Central’s @Midnight last night and that the video is “definitely NSFW.” And that Tingle was disguised (face covered) each time he appeared. I haven’t had a chance to watch the show yet, I’d better mention…

(2) TRAD V. INDIE. Jim C. Hines isn’t trying to referee the debate about which business model works best for writers. However, people selling their work in a variety of ways shared their income data with him and he has compiled it in “2016 Novelist Income Results, Part 2: The Large/Small/Indie Breakdown”.

Indie authors still have the largest median income, which was predicted by only 19% of the folks in our informal Twitter Poll. The large press authors once again take the highest average. (I think this is mostly because of one large press author whose income was significantly higher than any others.)

(3) BEST IN SF ROMANCE. Veronica Scott lists the nominees for the 2017 SFR Galaxy Awards at Amazing Stories.

First a word about the awards themselves – a panel of well-regarded scifi romance book bloggers and reviewers make the selections, with each judge naming five or six novels, graphic novels or anthologies that they found memorable during the preceding year. The formal description of the awards’ intent, as taken from the website: “The theme of the SFR Galaxy Awards is inclusiveness. Instead of giving an award to a single book, this event will recognize the worth of multiple books and/or the standout elements they contain. The basic philosophy behind this approach is to help connect readers with books.”

Although the awards are serious, each judge gives their reasons for selecting the books, as indicated a bit light heartedly in the title of their short essays…

(4) A KIND WORD. James Davis Nicoll sets Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Rule of Names” before the panel at Young People Read Old SFF. And this time butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths….

(5) WHY CLARION. Nancy Jane Moore rhapsodizes about her experience as “A Tricoastal Woman: Clarion West 1997” at Book View Café.

There are lots of reasons to go to Clarion West or Clarion. Yes, you will learn a lot about writing. Yes, you will get to know writers and editors. And yes, the intensity of the workshop will push you to do your best work. I’m glad for all those things.

But what really made me happy was living in a community of writers for six weeks. There is nothing like pacing the hall at two in the morning, trying to figure out how to fix a scene, and finding that someone else is also up struggling with a story.

By the end of the workshop, I wanted to figure out how to live permanently in a community of writers. I’d gladly have spent the rest of my life at Clarion West. Well, OK, with a bit less intensity, because I couldn’t have kept up with the lack of sleep and exercise much longer.

Alas, I have never figured out how to do it, though I still have fantasies about getting together to buy an apartment building with a bunch of other writers. Hell, I’d probably even be willing to live in a dorm room with the bathroom up the hall as I did at Clarion West.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 16, 1923 — In Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born February 16, 1953 – Mike Glyer
  • Born February 16, 1957 LeVar Burton

(8) MOVING ON. There’s a difference between being interested in the Hugos and feeling a sense of stewardship about them. I still feel that we’re seeing through the completion of unfinished business. On the other hand, Abigail Nussbaum, in “The 2017 Hugo Awards: Why Hugo?”, explains why she feels the award doesn’t command the same level of interest for her as last year.

The issue, therefore, is this: it’s not just that the Hugos are trivial, but that the Hugos are solved.  If last year and the year before, we had a strong argument for seeing participation in the Hugos as an important and even progressive act, this year it seems largely meaningless, precisely because the difference between the best-case and worst-case outcomes is so small.  Let’s say the Rabid Puppies come back for a third try this year, and manage to get their trash on a lot of ballots.  So what?  They’ll just get knocked down in the voting phase again, and the only people it’ll really matter to will be the ones who lost out on a nomination–and I say that as someone who did lose out on a Hugo nomination, twice, as a result of the Rabid Puppies’ actions.  Given the current state of the world, lousy Hugo nominations are pretty far down my list of things to get upset over.  And on the other hand, if the Puppies have given up (or, more realistically, moved on to greener pastures, of which there sadly seems to be an abundance), I think we all know by now that the result will not be some progressive, radical-lefty shortlist.  The Hugo will go back to what it has always been, a middle-of-the-road award that tends to reward nostalgia and its own inner circle.  Yes, there has been progress, and especially in the shadow of the Puppies and their interference–2015 best novel winner Cixin Liu was the first POC to win in that category, and 2016 winner N.K. Jemisin was the first African American.  But on the other hand, look at the “first”s in that last sentence, consider that they happened a decade and a half into the 21st century, and then tell me that this is something to crow about.

After having said all this, you’re probably now expecting me to make some huge turnaround, to explain to you why the Hugos still matter, and why it’s still important to talk about them and nominate for them.  But the thing is, I can’t….

(9) GET TO KNOW YOUR GUFFERS. Voting on the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund (GUFF) delegate to Worldcon 75 contiues until April 1.’ The candidates’ platforms and general information about voting is here. The online ballot is here. Voting is open to all interested fans, regardless of nationality.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald is interviewing the candidates online — Donna Maree Hanson, Sam Hawke, Belle McQuattie, and the tandem of Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein. Her first two interviews are up —

You’re currently working on a PhD focused on feminism in romance. How have you found this has impacted on your SFF writing?

The PhD studies so far have benefited my writing. Part of the study involves reading widely–French philosophers, feminist theory, queer theory–and I find that all mind-expanding. I’m not free to write as much as I’d like but I find with a bit of discipline (say an hour a day, at least) I can do both the PhD and write. I take a writing day once a week too. I don’t think you can study romance without touching on feminism and gender, and that is interesting to say the least. As I’m undertaking a creative writing PhD, l will be writing a novel. That novel is going to be an SF novel, post-human, focussing on gender equality and romance too. To write that novel I have to read SF dealing with that topic as well as straight romance, which is part of my research. Lots of reading. I read Left Hand of Darkness aloud to myself so I could experience it at a deeper level. So it’s a journey that I can bend to include both sides of my interests in genre.

What are you most looking forward to about Worldcon 75?

Is it cheating to say everything? I’m really looking forward to talking to fans and learning more about other areas of SFF that I don’t get exposure to normally, especially because I don’t know much about European SFF. I’m really excited to explore Finland and see another part of the world. I’m also a super huge fan of moose, and I’m hoping to see some … from a very safe distance.

(10) FAKE KNEWS. NakedSecurity tells how everyone, including members of Congress, can spot a fake twitter account. Personally, I don’t think the problem is that they are that hard to spot, but that want to believe the messages and don’t stop to ask the question.

When was it created?

As the Washington Post notes, the fake Flynn account was created a day after the authentic @GenFlynn went offline. Suspicious timing, eh? The creation date can be helpful in spotting bogus accounts, particularly when they’re created at the same time as major news breaks about whatever parodied/spoofed person they’re based on.

(11) ZETA OVER BUT NOT OUT. Mothership Zeta announced plans to go on hiatus four months ago, and the new issue of the magazine confirms that it will be the last issue for now. Here’s a quote from Mur Lafferty’s editorial.

The discussion you hear from nearly every short fiction publication is the worry about money. We are an experiment from Escape Artists, the awesome publisher of free audio fiction; we knew we were taking a risk with creating an ezine that you had to pay for.

We’re fiercely dedicated to paying our authors, our nonfic writers, our artists, and our editorial team. We did our best with the budget we had, but once the money ran out, we had to take a hard look at ourselves. So we are taking some time to figure out a new way of delivering this publication.

We have no current plans to shutter the magazine for good. We are going to take the next few months and look at our options. We may come back with a crowdfunding effort through Patreon, Kickstarter, or IndieGogo. We may come up with other solutions. But we all believe in this magazine, and believe that the world needs satisfying, fun science fiction now more than ever. We want to bring that to you.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Mark-kitteh, David K.M.Klaus, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

86 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/16/17 This Scroll Is Spelt Raymond Luxury Pixel, But It’s Pronounced ‘Godstalker Manfile’

  1. What did Ninefox Gambit fans think of Yoon Ha Lee’s novelette “Extracurricular Activities,” published this week by Tor.com? (It’s a prequel.)

    I’ll admit I read two chapters of Ninefox Gambit and put it down, although given all the buzz I’ll probably pick it up again. I didn’t think “Extracurricular Activities” was anything special, but it was much more approachable than Ninefox Gambit, and since it’s a prequel, it may be a better entry point to her “Machineries of Empire” series.

  2. @Greg

    *His.

    I found it an enjoyable story, but that’s as someone who has read 9FG and gets the significance of the character. It may not carry the same weight for someone who hasn’t read the novel.

  3. @Mark

    *His.

    Thanks. Maybe we need to add a gender column to our author table. Of course I’d still have to remember to check it . . . for some reason my mind was sure that “Yoon” was a female name.

    That table could also be useful for an article on whether there’s a measurable difference between stories by men vs. women.

    I found it an enjoyable story, but that’s as someone who has read 9FG and gets the significance of the character. It may not carry the same weight for someone who hasn’t read the novel.

    Any thoughts as to whether it’s an easier intro to the book? I found the first part of the book almost exhausting to read because it introduced so many undefined terms.

  4. 8) Personally, I’m looking forward to the Hugo nominations this year, because it seems likely that the Puppy movement has exhausted itself and it won’t involve reading a bunch of politically motivated drek. Seeing the Correias, Beales, Wrights and Torgersens banished back to their corners of mediocrity where I can ignore them will be a refreshing change.

    I agree with others that Abigail is confusing the energy of the defense of the awards as passion for them. I don’t think anyone is less passionate about the awards. They’re just looking forward to being able to actually enjoy them in the same way they got to for years; go through a list of interesting and well written sci-fi and then argue about the results for six months. I’d far rather be about to quietly enjoy them and discuss as opposed to six months of screeds, fighting and cretinous manipulation of an open process solely to cause chaos.

  5. PhilRM on February 17, 2017 at 9:13 am said:

    I reached the end of Ninefox Gambit and realized I’d only thought I was wearing socks the entire time.

    Socks were, in fact, a calendaric heresy

  6. for some reason my mind was sure that “Yoon” was a female name.

    Lee only came out as trans partway into his career, so you might have got that from earlier intros.

    Also, if I’m reading his name correctly, ‘Yoon’ would be the generational element, which is more or less unisex.

  7. To protect your library, trim one sock by one-third and trim the other sock by two-thirds at 3:30 AM on every other Thursday.

  8. I still argue that Ninefox Gambit is the same category of fantasy novel as Metropolitan and Max Gladstone’s Craft books…

  9. @Greg

    TBH I don’t think the new story really introduces any of the brain melting concepts that 9FG features, so in that sense it’s not a more helpful starter. It does set a bit of the scene though.

  10. @ Greg. The short story doesn’t really help with the book since it doesn’t explain the key concept of the calendarical system. I will say that Ninefox gets a lot easier once you get past chapter 3, the world building is front loaded

    @ simon bisson. Agreed

  11. @Camestros – wearing two socks is a calendaric heresy. Wearing one or three is fine, so long as you adhere to the correct formation 😉

  12. I’m in the same camp as Steve Wright. I got brought in by the controversy, but I really like the process of reading for the awards, and will probably stick around after the nonsense is over. Likewise, I’m looking forwards to reading a lot less dreck. I can see where Nussbaum is coming from, though. The whole battle feels a bit less significant when tens of thousands are being affected by the draconian policies of the new administration.

  13. I am hopeful about my first year as a Hugo voter. I’ve been struggling with my nomination ballot but trying not to overthink it or suck the fun out of it for myself. I hope this year will not be as noxious and will consist of people talking about things they love and why. I would like to read books that people passionately love, even if I don’t passionately love them.

    The Hugos mean a lot to me, even though I didn’t consider voting before. I’ve discovered authors that I might never have found, and read some absolutely mind-blowing books. Oh, the socks I have lost through my shortlist reading!

    I want to give back in my own way. Even if I disagree with every other Hugo voter out there, I want to contribute and help the awards grow.

  14. My nomination ballot this year is likely to be … spotty — I think I’ve only read one [non-Star Wars] novel published in 2016 so far. But I’ll submit what I have, and look forward to voting the final ballot.

    (And I’m hoping to get in at least another novel or two before the deadline; I’m currently about half way through Ninefox Gambit, which I’m really enjoying.)

  15. The days of scrolls and pixels bark and run away like a puppy at play

    So anyone still hanging in with Powerless? It’s getting better, but I don’t think it’s quite there yet. They did just do a show where they’re convinced their new co-worker is a superhero. I’m still worried that there isn’t really enough super content to keep this from just being a live action version of Dilbert*.

    * without Dogbert

  16. Happy belated birthday, Mike.

    My 2016 TBR pile has remained mostly untouched for a few months, and it is not because I’m uninterested in new fiction. I spent most of the year either bouncing off things or being underwhelmed by books others really loved. So far, the only novel on my Hugo nomination ballot is Ninefox Gambit, which I loved from start to finish.

    I can realistically read 10 more novels between now and close of nomination, if I stop rereading now. One of them will be Obelisk Gate, but I’m spoiled for choice for the other nine.

  17. @Simon Bisson: I still argue that Ninefox Gambit is the same category of fantasy novel as Metropolitan and Max Gladstone’s Craft books…
    I tend to think of it as either far-future or alternate-universe SF with physics in which the ‘instrumentalist’ interpretation of quantum mechanics (in which physics and human consciousness are intrinsically intertwined) has been raised to the Nth power, but a Metropolitan-style fantasy interpretation is just as valid. (Someone described the novel as weaponized feng shui, a description I really like.) I don’t think the presence of FTL interstellar travel in the book argues against a fantasy interpretation. 😉

  18. @Paul King

    The Battle of Candle Arc may be a better introduction, especially as it is referenced directly in Ninefkx Gambit.

    Thanks! I just now read it, and it’s excellent. If I’d had the pleasure of reviewing it when it first came out, I think I’d have given it 5 stars. And, you’re right, it’s a vastly better introduction to Ninefox Gambit.

    Thanks again.

  19. I don’t necessarily disagree that Ninefox is fantasy (from a certain point of view), but then again I felt the same way about Revenger (the only novel currently on my nomination ballot).

  20. Personally, I consider any story with FTL travel to be a fantasy, so one might as well put magic in it- touch clicking it a spiffy sci-fi name is traditional. The only difference between day, Psionics and FTL is the latter hasn’t fallen out of fashion.

  21. I will freely admit to being mildly panicked over how little reading and watching I’ve done for this year’s nominations, what with 2016 being a miniature personal hellscape in a few minor ways that added up to me being basically useless for most of the year (and still struggling through the cold months for now), but that doesn’t mean I care any less about the Hugo’s and at the very least I’ll plug on through the shortlist once it’s out (hopefully filled with shiny things this time). I didn’t realise how much I cared about the Hugo’s until the Puppy campaigns filled it with drek (with a couple of exceptions), but now that I do know I fully intend to do my best to contribute to making them the best they can be, from now on. Even if my best isn’t very good at the moment.

  22. I’ve read far less eligible stuff this year and that is excellent! That means that I can read what I feel like and nominate when I stumble onto something by accident. Which is exactly how I want it. I put a bit more effort into reading eligible comics, but I won’t nominate the full five slots there either.

  23. I would certainly feel happier about my nominations if I felt like I’d had much of a choice in the matter! 🙂

  24. I also got interested in the Hugos because of the Puppy mess, but now I want to stick around for the long haul. I found I really enjoy reading different stories, different venues, and hunting for good stuff to share with others and nominate and vote on. I’ve taken chances on books and stories I might otherwise have ignored, and while of course there’s dross, I’ve found plenty of real gems. All that excites the heck out of me.

    And speaking of gems, I just finished the first really good book of 2017: Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion.

    It’s a space opera, but it’s unlike any space opera I’ve read before. The titular Legion consists of hundreds of organic worldships orbiting an artificial sun, with humans living in the ships’ guts like bacteria, or parasites. Needless to say, these “humans” have evolved into something far different than what we would call human beings today. This symbiosis is rigorously worked out, even down to some (very) unpleasant parts; sections of this book are not for the squeamish. It’s one of the most audacious and complex feats of worldbuilding I’ve seen in quite a while, and I loved it.

    This is an epic story, as the worlds of the Legion are dying, rotting from the inside out, and the focus is on two women who are trying to save them, and what they will sacrifice to do so. The characterizations are marvelous. To me it feels like what I thought when I first read The Fifth Season; Hurley’s writing has taken a quantum leap forward with this book. It is a bit like Ninefox Gambit in that you are thrown into this alien world with no explanation. The first of the two POV characters has amnesia, which sounds hokey but is based on sound plot-related reasons (and it also helps to acclimate the reader to the strangeness found inside this book’s covers). At about chapter 7, everything started clicking for me, and I thought, “Holy shit, this is good.”

    Do give this one a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

  25. I’ve been having a hard time this year finding novels that really blow me away in a Hugo kind of way. Ninefox Gambit did, very much so. I think I need to read Revenger after reading a couple very strong recommendations.

    @Airboy – Is the Appendix N book similar to the blog entries? I was confused at all the excitement over the initial material I read in that series, as it basically seemed like the fantasy version of “Young People Read Science Fiction” except the reader was my age (early 40s), the genre was Fantasy, and he kept making awkward political points that seemed based on the assumption that, because he’d never read a host of Fantasy classics, neither had any of his other contemporaries, and that’s why SJWs and their message fictions are so awful. Or something. I found the series very strange in tone, and too wide-eyed newbie in a kind of free alt-weekly way, while still throwing shade at straw figures, to be more than of passing interest.

  26. @kathodus
    My reaction to the blog version of the Appendix N series was similar to yours. It’s a potentially interesting project, though I’ve never been a gamer, therefore the RPG links aren’t that interesting to me. However, the tone and the political asides weren’t really my thing. Also, most of the books and authors listed in Appendix N are not really obscure and forgotten or suppressed, the author simply hasn’t encountered them before. I read many of those books as a teen, even though I lived in a non-English speaking country where access to English language books was spotty at best. Of course, it’s great if someone encounters something new to them they enjoy and luckily, a lot of older SFF has become easier to get hold of in recent years.

  27. @Cora

    Ditto, although as a rpg player I noticed the gaps in his rpg experience as well. Nothing wrong with “wow, this is new to me”, in fact it’s potentially a really interesting journey to watch, but pretending it must be new to everyone got old quickly.

  28. Now Reading Arkwright by Allen Steele.
    Spoke to him about it briefly at Boskone yesterday and as a result am very excited to reach the end.
    It’s a breath of fresh air to see the founders of the genre being handled in an interesting and respectful way and, despite my not having finished it yet, it will most surely be on my nominating ballot.

  29. @Cora and @Mark – I agree it is an interesting concept. Just to clarify, I don’t think there’s anything wrong if someone hasn’t read all/most of those books. I do get that Jeffro spent a whole lot of time gaming and a little of it reading, while I did the opposite, and I don’t think either is better than the other, aside from personal preference. But yeah, the snarky attitude got to me, particularly since a lot of his condescension seemed aimed at “my” type of people, who he assumes are even less well-read than he is. I kept wanting to say “but… but… I read that book 25 years ago!” Made for a frustrating read.

    A last comment on the subject – anyone who thinks themselves well-read within SFF can easily disabuse themselves of that notion by hanging out here and reading and commenting for a few months. It’s a humbling experience.

  30. kathodus: A last comment on the subject – anyone who thinks themselves well-read within SFF can easily disabuse themselves of that notion by hanging out here and reading and commenting for a few months. It’s a humbling experience.

    I agree. Though for me it’s also a kind of nostalgic experience, because when I was a young fan the local library had the sf magazines and many of the latest books and I had the time to read them all.

    Of course, it’s rather awesome to consider that “everything in the field” in the 1970s constituted only about one-quarter of what is available nowadays.

  31. Yes, Jeffro seems like a perfectly well-meaning individual, but his assumption that his experience was an accurate measure of most everyone else’s experience did become somewhat tedious. I also didn’t find the analysis either particularly deep or an entertaining and informative 101 style.* Certainly one of the better Puppy nominees, but while there’s nothing wrong with competent (it was certainly a refreshing change from some of the other nominees), I don’t want to give an award to it.

    I prefer the range of experience, interesting analysis/discussion and reviews on File770 and in wider Worldcon and Transformative Works fandoms, myself. There’s more for me to get my teeth into.

    *I prefer deep (not even very deep! I’ll accept mildly deep!) but I can appreciate the merits of a decent introduction type series for people who are newbies. I spend a fair amount of time rereading things like the Hugo faq to work on improving my own newbieness. 🙂

    @kathodus

    Yes! I think I’m decently well-read compared to some people out there, but compared to a lot of Filers I may as well have just picked up a Heinlein once or twice. I’ve got a lot to catch up on, and I love it. 🙂

  32. @Mike Glyer: Happy Belated Birthday! If I hit the right scroll, does it still count as belated, or is there some time loop that makes my wishes timely? 😉

  33. @Bonnie

    I also got interested in the Hugos because of the Puppy mess, but now I want to stick around for the long haul. I found I really enjoy reading different stories, different venues, and hunting for good stuff to share with others and nominate and vote on. I’ve taken chances on books and stories I might otherwise have ignored, and while of course there’s dross, I’ve found plenty of real gems. All that excites the heck out of me.

    If it isn’t too late….me too!

    Sorry about the delay. I flagged your response but never got around to the rest of it.

    Other issues aside, I enjoy receiving recommendations for other good books. I appreciate the efforts to provide context and perspective about those books.

    And I hope that I can supply the same thing in return from time to time.

    Regards,
    Dann

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *