Pixel Scroll 2/28/17 There Are No Pixels Like Scroll Pixels

(1) SF AND THE PARTY. In New Scientist Lavie Tidhar explains why “In China, this is science fiction’s golden age”.

In the 1980s, science fiction once again fell foul of the ruling party, as a new “Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign” emerged as a backlash to Deng Xiaoping’s modernisation and liberalisation policies. Deng’s opponents in the party railed against Western “bourgeois imports” of all kinds, and with sci-fi seeming to fall firmly in that category, it was all but wiped out for a time.

The genre’s recovery was partly led by the emergence of Science Fiction World magazine in Chengdu, and its energetic editor, Yang Xiao, herself the daughter of a prominent party member. Having such influential backing allowed Science Fiction World to bring together many young writers for an “appropriate” reason.

By the end of the century, Chinese sci-fi entered its own golden age. Although the authorities still raised the issue of literary “appropriateness”, the old restrictions had gone. One prominent contemporary sci-fi author is Han Song, a journalist at the state news agency Xinhua. Many of his works are only published outside the mainland due to their political themes, but Han is still widely recognised at home. His fiction can be dark and melancholy, envisioning, for instance, a spacefarer building tombstones to fellow astronauts, or the Beijing subway system being turned into a graveyard in which future explorers, arriving back on Earth, find themselves trapped on a fast-moving train. Along with Liu Cixin and Wang Jinkang, he is considered one of the “Three Generals” of Chinese sci-fi.

(2) SHARING THE MUSIC. The LA experimental hip-hop group Clipping, reported here the other day as seeking a Hugo nomination for their sci-fi oriented album Splendor & Misery, has raised the ante. Now they are giving away free copies to Hugo voters.

Their goal is to be nominated in the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) category.

They are distributing free download codes via Twitter, but voters are allowed to share.

I figure it wouldn’t be fair to post it online – Clipping could have done that themselves – but i you’re a Hugo voter who’s not on Twitter and want to get the DL code, email me a mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com and I will send it to you.

(3) IMADJINN TIME. Nominations are open for the 2nd annual Imadjinn Awards given to small press and independently published authors. Authors nominate their own titles (a form Is provided at the site).  A professional jury determines the finalists and the winners. The awards will be announced Saturday, October 7 at the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. (See last year’s winners here.)

(4) GUNN THEME. A book about 2013 Worldcon guest of honor, Saving the World Through Science Fiction: James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar by Michael R. Page, has just been published by Macfarland.

One of the major figures in science fiction for more than sixty years, James Gunn has been instrumental in making the genre one of the most vibrant and engaging areas of literary scholarship. His genre history Alternate Worlds and his The Road to Science Fiction anthologies introduced countless readers to science fiction. He founded the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction in 1982. But Gunn has also been one of the genre’s leading writers. His classic novels Star Bridge (with Jack Williamson), The Joy Makers, The Immortals and The Listeners helped shape the field. Now in his nineties, he remains a prominent voice. His forthcoming novel is Transformation. Drawing on materials from Gunn’s archives and personal interviews with him, this study is the first to examine the life, career and writing of this science fiction grandmaster.

(5) CHUCK TINGLE, VOID WHERE EXHIBITED. I tell you, they can’t give this man a Nobel Prize too soon. The only delay will be thinking up a category for it.

Hugo nominated author Dr. Chuck Tingle is well known for his thoughts on love and romance, but there is another side to this revered modern philosopher that is needed now more than ever. Dispensed within this non-fiction volume is everything that you need to know about The Void, a terrifying place outside reality that is constantly overflowing with cosmic horror. Will you know what to do when The Void starts leaking into your timeline? Within Dr. Chuck Tingle’s Guide To The Void you will find multiple strategies for battling The Void, as well as survival techniques that could save your life, should you ever find yourself lost within The Void’s infinite grasp of existential dread. Most creatures of The Void are covered in detail, including Void Crabs, worms, Ted Cobbler, and The Man With No Eyes And Wieners For Hair. Also included within this guidebook is important information on Void related subjects like reverse twins, Truckman, the lake, and the call of the lonesome train. For anyone interested in the darker planes that lie just outside of The Tingleverse, this book is for you. Warning: This book includes mind-bending depictions of existential cosmic horror. Read responsibly, and stop immediately if you begin to suffer any symptoms of Void Madness.

(6) MEMORIES. Connie Willis added two new posts to her blog this month.

But certainly not to us. My family and I have known him for over forty years. He had dinner with us countless times (and especially one memorably snowed-in Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house), taught my daughter Cordelia to hang spoons from her nose, and loved talking to my husband about science, especially on the trip to the total eclipse we took to Montana in 1979. (I feel so bad he won’t be here for this summer’s eclipse. It’ll be right in his hometown, Wheatland, Wyoming.)

He was one of my best friends, and I’d rather have talked to him than anybody. He was smart, witty, and full of fascinating stories about horror movies and urban legends and weird news articles. At our last dinner a mere two weeks ago at Cosine, an SF convention in Colorado Springs, he had all sorts of wry and insightful comments about Saturday Night Live, the movie Hidden Figures, and Donald Trump.

But he was not just a friend. He was also a mentor to me before that term even became popular. He taught me how to write, how to critique, how to find my way around the complex maze of the science fiction world without getting in trouble. He encouraged me to go to conventions, introduced me to everyone he knew (and he knew everybody from Jack Williamson to Harlan Ellison to George R.R. Martin) and got me onto panels. He even got me my first Hugo nomination by relentlessly talking me up to everybody.

  1. A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith.

This book about a girl growing up in New York City in the early 1900s was loaned to me when I was ten or so, by somebody who thought I’d like it, and I adored it, even though I was probably too young to really understand it. But I totally identified with Francie, who loved to read and spent all her time in the public library. At one point, she decided to read her way alphabetically through the library, so I decided to do that, too, and discovered all sorts of books I’d never have read otherwise: Bess Streeter Aldrich’s A Lantern in Her Hand, Margery Allingham’s A Tiger in the Smoke, Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place (about which more later), and Peter DeVries’s Washed in the Blood of the Lamb, which had the memorable line, “The recognition of how long, how long is the mourner’s bench upon which we sit, arms linked in undeluded friendship, all of us, brief links, ourselves, in the eternal pity.”

Unfortunately, I’d only made it through part of the D’s when I discovered science fiction and I abandoned Francie’s plan to read everything with a spaceship-and-atom symbol on the sign.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 28, 1965 Dr.  Terror’s House of Horrors premieres in North America.

(8) REFERENCE BOOKS. People are still buzzing about Sunday night’s Oscar mixup, especially those hoping to leverage social media attention by mentioning it. But librarians?

(9) ARMAGEDDON ACTOR. Heritage Auctions is auctioning celebrities’ collections in Dallas on March 18. One of the items of genre interest was owned by Bruce Willis.

Among his top offerings is a French Movie Poster from Forbidden Planet (est. $3,000). This large-format poster in French “grande” size (47 by 63 inches), from the 1956 Metro-Goldwyn film, features one of the most iconic images from the science fiction genre: Robbie the Robot carrying an unconscious beauty. All text, including the film’s title, is written in French. The poster includes a letter of authenticity signed by Willis.

 

(10) NEVER SEEN. The following week at the Vintage Movie Posters Signature Auction a rare Invisible Man poster will bring top dollar.

Perhaps one of the most impressive of all of the great Universal Studios horror posters, a terrifying, 1933 one sheet teaser poster for The Invisible Man could sell for as much as $80,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Posters Auction March 25-26 in Dallas. “Even the most advanced collectors have never seen this poster in person,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Posters at Heritage Auctions. “(Artist) Karoly Grosz does a hauntingly wonderful job capturing the insanity that slowly takes hold of the film’s mad scientist. In only a few instances did, the studio produce a teaser for their horror greats but when they did they were often outstanding.”

(11) WOMEN OF LEGO The proposed “Women of NASA” LEGO set covered in last July in the Pixel Scroll has been approved for production the toy company announced today.

Design, pricing, and availability

We’re still working out the final product design, pricing and availably for the Women of NASA set, so check back on LEGO Ideas in late 2017 or early 2018 for more details.

(12) PROMO. Kameron Hurley sent supporters custom dust jackets forThe Stars Are Legion, released earlier this month.

She also has done a blog tour to promote the book. The posts are listed here.

(13) MAINTAINING HIS IMAGE. French campaigner uses tech to be in two places at once: “Holograms, mistrust and ‘fake news’ in France’s election” from the BBC.

The communications coup of the French presidential election so far goes to far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon who, with a flick of his fingers, appeared at two simultaneous rallies 350 miles apart and created more internet buzz than he could have imagined.

The technology required was nothing new – he does not have the money – but the performance was done with panache. Walking on stage in Lyon, Mr Melenchon materialised at exactly the same moment in hologram form before supporters in Paris. He then made a speech to both audiences for 90 minutes. He likes to talk.

Afterwards Mr Melenchon claimed 60,000 live followers of the event on Facebook and YouTube. Millions more in France and around the world read about the exploit afterwards and clicked online for a taster. In publicity terms it was magisterial.

(14) SHELF SPACE RACE. History of an object important to many fans.

The Billy bookcase is perhaps the archetypal Ikea product.

It was dreamed up in 1978 by an Ikea designer called Gillis Lundgren who sketched it on the back of a napkin, worried that he would forget it.

Now there are 60-odd million in the world, nearly one for every 100 people – not bad for a humble bookcase.

(15) THE ADULTS IN THE ROOM. Were Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi channeling their inner McCalmont and Glyer when they had this Twitter exchange?

(16) TERRIBLE PUN. Wish I had thought of it first….

(17) A SPACE TAIL. Spark, a teenage monkey and his friends, Chunk and Vix, are on a mission to regain Planet Bana – a kingdom overtaken by the evil overlord Zhong. Voices by Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, and Patrick Stewart. In theatres April 17.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Eric Franklin, JJ, Cat Eldridge, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Karl-Johan Norén.]

85 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/28/17 There Are No Pixels Like Scroll Pixels

  1. Andrew M: I agree with Camestros that Fan Writer would be the best category for Tingle, though he himself was suggesting Related Work, I think, and there was earlier a movement for him (not a work of his, him) to be nominated in Dramatic Presentation.

    I think it would be hard to qualify him as a “Dramatic Presentation” when his work consists of humorous erotica, Tweets, and websites trolling the Puppies.

    And while I appreciate his work as much as anyone, when there are so many excellent works of lasting genre importance which were released in 2016, I really hate to see his work nominated for Related Work, when 10 years from now no one will know why. I would No Award him in that category, because of that.

    On the other hand, Fan Writer certainly seems like an appropriate category for those who would like to recognize the very welcome comic relief and slating pushback which he brought to the whole sordid Puppy mess.

  2. I agree that if you want to nominate Tingle or his work, Fan Writer is probably the best fit overall (although hard on the other fan writers). Personally I will be fully enjoying the extended joke that is the Tingle persona but not actually nominating him for anything, because he’ll have just as much fun either way.

  3. Well, fan writers, unlike related works and dramatic presentations, can have more than one go, so I don’t think there is quite the same worry about crowding deserving candidates out.

    I don’t think many people are considering him for Fan Writer, though. How does one start a movement?

  4. Why you, I oughta…

    [Wouldn’t the trigger warning itself be a trigger, though? It’s a tough one.]

    [As the fans on Darmok used to say, “Moe, his first two fingers in a V.”]

  5. Kip W: As the fans on Darmok used to say, “Moe, his first two fingers in a V.”

    Man, I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything at the moment I read that. 🙂 Of course, speaking again of resonances, the article in Bruce’s link references Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid which automatically makes me start laughing and had me primed.

    Back on Gunn, do you recall what he said at your con? Or what he was like in general? (I ask because I haven’t actually read any Gunn aside from perhaps a story or two and things like the Analog editorial but I suddenly have a bunch of his books – it all started with his Asimov book – so I’m curious.)

  6. Jason, I actually do not recall it, because I was involved in a fun but probably inane comedy-drama involving a very small-time local pro who thought he was running the convention. Tim Kyger was Fan GoH. Maybe he remembers more of what happened on the stage. Cathy Doyle was also there, and since I’m married to her, I nipped down and asked her if she remembered Mr. Gunn, and she said he was nice, but had no distinct recall of what he said at the convention.

    Once I’d gone to my first con, my modus operandi was to avoid most programming. An exception to this was events where Ed Bryant was the Master of Ceremonies. Who would want to miss Ed? Twenty years later, I started attending some program items (apart from the ones I was on, of course), but that doesn’t help much now. Sorry.

    That reminds me of the Minicon we flew up to, in large part because it was to be one of Terry Pratchett’s last (maybe THE last) U.S. conventions. I had a great time, saw him walk by with a small crowd in the halls once, and as we were flying home, I smacked myself in the head at the realization that I had not attended any of his events. Not a one. There’s a good reason they didn’t give me the nuclear launch codes.

  7. Jason: Back on Gunn, do you recall what he said at your con? Or what he was like in general? (I ask because I haven’t actually read any Gunn aside from perhaps a story or two and things like the Analog editorial but I suddenly have a bunch of his books – it all started with his Asimov book – so I’m curious.)

    I saw him read at MidAmeriCon II. His voice was pretty strong for a 93-year-old, but he’s very definitely 93. He read a segment from Transgalactic, which I reviewed here:

    Meditations on James Gunn’s Transcendental and Transgalactic

    (The third book, Transformation, comes out from Tor Books in June.)

    Because I enjoyed those so much and hadn’t read any Gunn before, I got used copies of a number of his older works from Amazon (I’d send them to you, but I gave them away on the “Take a Book or Leave a Book” table in the File770 Park at MACII). I posted mini-reviews of Starbridge and The Magicians here, and of The Listeners, The Joy-Makers, and The Joy Machine here.

    His greatest contribution to the SF genre, however, has been his scholarly nonfiction works and his founding of The Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU in Lawrence, Kansas.

  8. Apropos of nothing, except the James Gunn stories, I’m reminded of a small con held at Oakland University, where I went to college in the late 1970s. A one-day con, but somehow we got Harlan Ellison Ellison as GOH. He read a story, signed autographs, judged the masquerade, and flirted heavily with at least one cute friend of mine. The story he read was something about a writer reading his will to a video camera after his death in a horrific car accident. Don’t remember the name, but I’ll always remember the day I met him.

  9. Ten Billy shelves, I think. It would be more, but I acquired other shelves from ex-housemates when a “slan shack” in which I lived for a year in San Jose dissolved. (Not on bad terms; just people moved on, and I bought a lot of the furniture.) Also two Ikea chests of drawers, two nightstands, and a queen bed.

  10. Kevin Standlee: Ten Billy shelves, I think. It would be more, but I acquired other shelves from ex-housemates when a “slan shack” in which I lived for a year

    I now feel incredibly sad and deprived that I have never gotten to live in a slan shack.

    Although I guess I’d consider this place to be one.

    File 770: Virtual-Reality Slan Shack.

  11. How times change. Watching the “Annie Get Your Gun” clip, the thing that kept jumping out at me was how three fairly large men kept manhandling a much smaller woman, passing her from one to another while keeping a tight grip on her as though they were afraid she’d get away. It was jarring. Also, to me the definitive Annie Oakley will always be Ethel Merman; I’m sure that actress did a good job, but her voice just didn’t sound right.

    14) We don’t have any Billy bookcases. It wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I could have acquired any, and by then I already had a LOT of bookshelves. I prefer looking for them in furniture thrift stores, where the odds of finding something made of wood rather than particleboard are much higher. OTOH, if you really need modular uniformity, IKEA is definitely the way to go.

    (And a minor grump: the Billy bookcase appears to be one of the few items which is consistently available at IKEA over time. Everything else I’ve ever bought from them that was being sold as “modular, buy just the parts you need” was gone by the time I needed to buy more of it. Rather defeats the purpose IMO.)

    @ Darren: It looked like a hologram (a 3D projection not using a screen) to me. Is your argument that the definition I’m using is incorrect, or something else?

    @ Clif: I don’t know if you’d call it “Lovecraftian”, but the soundtrack of Moon is eerie enough that I’ve put several tracks into my Halloween playlist.

    Whoever it was that clued me to the existence of Bob Shaw’s Other Days, Other Eyes, thank you again. I am pleased to report that the book has aged reasonably well; there are a few dated stereotypes, but nothing that I would describe as a real visit from the Suck Fairy. The 3 short stories are presented as “interludes”, and the framing story does a good job of integrating information from them. The plot of the framing story is still strikingly relevant in concept if not in detail; it’s about new technology leading to government surveillance and general loss of privacy. (Social media, anyone?) That was money well spent.

  12. Lee: How times change.

    Yes, I noticed the same thing.

    Yet times could change, even in the Fifties. Two years after Betty Hutton made Annie Get Your Gun she was in The Greatest Show on Earth — and by the end of the movie she was running the circus. Temporarily, of course, but she saved the day, telling everybody what to do.

  13. Lee: Watching the “Annie Get Your Gun” clip, the thing that kept jumping out at me was how three fairly large men kept manhandling a much smaller woman, passing her from one to another while keeping a tight grip on her as though they were afraid she’d get away.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that clip (or if I have, I was very young and unaware at the time).

    I could barely watch it now. I kept cringing for her, and wanting to plant myself between her and them. They way that they continually yank her around is horrifying. 😯

  14. All you guys talking about your Ikea Billy bookcases don’t know how lucky you are. The nearest Ikea to me is over 1300 miles away, across a large body of water. (It’s 1340 miles between Auckland & Sydney.)

    I haz Ikea envy.

  15. To be fair, having IKEA envy is sort of the furniture equivalent of having Big Mac envy. IKEA produces rather nice mass-produced cheap furniture, but it’s still mass-produced cheap furniture.

  16. I have IKEA shelves on pretty much every otherwise-unoccupied wall, but I went with the Ivor (the modular ones where you buy the shelves & uprights separately) rather than the Billy. Made it easier to close-pack the paperback shelves.

  17. I acquired most of my bookshelves when a (badly run) used bookstore in my area went out of business. I bought pretty much every bookcase they had available. I got some others from the woman who lives across the street from my parents – she had run an in-home preschool and was closing it down and needed to get rid of some really nice big bookcases she had. All I had to do was haul them away. All my other bookcases I have gotten second hand either from the Hospice store of the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.

  18. We have cheap flatpack furniture available, but generally poorly made. Ikea in comparison, though also mass produced, is better designed & of better quality.

  19. I’ve had those Ivor shelves for 10 years now, and I’m not seeing any sign of warping despite all my efforts to the contrary. When I used to buy cheap Sauder bookcases from K-Mart, I’d have to periodically take all of the books off of a shelf and flip it over in an effort to un-warp it.

  20. I think it would be great if Hugo voters started picking albums. Makeup & Vanity Set is one artist who does serious, SF-inspired albums. Check out “Wilderness,” which is an amazing album.

  21. @Nerds of a Feather

    It was only the other day that I was trying to remember who’d suggested Makeup & Vanity Set, so I guess it was you, and thank you! I’ve had Wilderness on heavy rotation for a few months now, and I’m also quite partial to 88:88.

  22. “And a minor grump: the Billy bookcase appears to be one of the few items which is consistently available at IKEA over time. Everything else I’ve ever bought from them that was being sold as “modular, buy just the parts you need” was gone by the time I needed to buy more of it.”

    Same problem with Billy though. Billy changes colour now and then and the ones I like best are gone now. Same with accessories like glass doors and so on.

    With regards to Big Mac-envy, I used to work with a guy from Gotland. He told me that when he was younger, they had no McDonalds on Gotland and his former boss loved McDonalds. So everytime anyone took the ferry over to the main land, they had to remember to buy him a Big Mac.

  23. JJ: thanks for the comments. I’ll bookmark that comment and check out the links after I’ve read some stuff. (I like reviews before I’ve gotten stuff and after I’ve read it but I shy away from reviews in between.) The Gunn I have is, as I say, Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction and also The Road to SF #3 (because it had a Clement story I didn’t have – about the only thing it has that I didn’t) and then I picked up Gunn’s own The Listeners, The End of the Dreams, and Transcendental. I knew he was no longer young but had forgotten he was that not young. Good that he’s still feeling like tackling major trilogies. 🙂

  24. @Hampus: ah, the prerogatives of being the boss. A sister-in-law’s ~1990 teaching job was near the south end of the Delmarva Peninsula; she used to speak of the USD 18 Big Mac, because that was what a round-trip on the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel-bridge-tunnel-bridge cost. (I’m sure there were Scottish Places in Ocean City (major resort) and in Salisbury, but those were a couple of hours away in Maryland.)

  25. @ Hampus: Changing colors isn’t the same thing as disappearing altogether, which is what I’ve encountered. I’d be perfectly happy to get more of the storage cubes I bought in another color, but IKEA doesn’t have them at all now.

  26. I had to build from scratch a set of DVD shelves, because Ikea’s perfectly sized, 5-shelf unit (name something like Flort; that’s not it but that’s what I think of it as) is no longer made. (Bookshelves are too deep and too high. And they’re filled with books, anyway…) NOBODY has perfectly sized DVD shelves anymore…

  27. @Cassy B:

    I’ve got a wall of DVD shelving. Three six-foot-tall units, each a little more than three feet wide and divided into 24 “cubbyholes” (8×3) that each hold 22 standard DVD cases, for about eighty linear feet of shelving. (I still see these once in a while, for about $120 each.) To get the most out of that space, I’ve repacked a lot of my collection into multi-disc cases – for instance, my Dexter collection fits neatly into four six-disc Blu-ray cases, one for every two seasons.

    The wall is full. Completely stuffed.

    Also full is the six-drawer cabinet under my TV, which holds (awkwardly) about 300 standard cases, with a little space in the middle of each shelf for oddball cases. Then there’s the double-stacked bookshelf next to it, which I think holds 45 cases in each row, and the half-dozen or so “complete series” TV box sets stacked nearby…

    If I’d had the wherewithal, I would’ve gone with a custom cabinet under the TV. I’d even sketched out a design at one point – a square thing with three double-sided shelves that could be pulled out and swiveled around for easy access to all of the contents. However, as I’m slightly better at carpentry than I am at unassisted spaceflight, nothing came of it. I still think it’d be a good product, though – use as much of the space as possible for storage, but without sacrificing accessibility to any of the contents.

    All the same, as bad as the family house was in most ways, I still long for the bedroom I had there. It used to be my grandfather’s library, and he’d lined the walls with vertical rails. Need a shelf? Grab a plank and a few brackets, and you’re all set. ‘Twas wondrous. The only problem was reaching the top shelf and some of the corners.

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