Pixel Scroll 3/17/17 Nomination Street

(1) PATEL SURFACES, THEN SUBMERGES. A new Sunil Patel story that went online two days ago has been taken down. In its place, David Steffen, editor of Diabolical Plots (and the Long List Anthology) has posted “An Apology, Regarding Sunil Patel’s Story”.

On March 15th, I sent a story to Diabolical Plots publishing newsletter subscribers written by Sunil Patel. The story had been purchased and contracted in August 2016, before stories about Sunil’s abusive behavior surfaced (in October). I neglected to remove the story from the schedule and it went to the inbox of 182 subscribers of the newsletter.

This was not the right choice for me to make. Diabolical Plots is here to serve the SF publishing community, and I am sorry for my lapse in judgment. I can’t unsend an email, but the story will be removed from the publishing lineup scheduled on the Diabolical Plots site (and replaced with a different story if I can work it out). If anyone wishes to provide further feedback, please feel free to email me at editor@diabolicalplots.com.

The incident prompted Sarah Hollowell to tweet –

(2) SLICING UP THE PIE. New from Author Earnings, “February 2017 Big, Bad, Wide & International Report: covering Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo ebook sales in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand”.

Greg Hullender says “This report just came out, and it’s fascinating. Although it doesn’t have the breakdown by genre (so probably not useful for File770 yet) it shows big-five publishers continuing to lose ground in e-book sales—mostly to small/medium publishers, not to independents.”

Today, with the click of a button, any author can start selling any title they wish simultaneously in 12 country-specific Amazon stores, 36 country-specific Kobo ebook stores, and over 40 country-specific Apple ebook stores.

As of yet, most of these non-English-language ebook markets are still fairly early-stage. But that’s not true of the four other major English-language markets outside the US. In those markets, too, as we’ll see, a substantial share of all new-book purchases has already gone digital. And, as we’ll also see, untracked, non-traditional suppliers make up a high percentage of ebook sales in those countries as well. Which means that these other digital markets have also been consistently underestimated and under-reported by traditional publishing-industry statistics.

(3)  IN MEMORY YET GREEN. A St.Patrick’s Day coincidence? Cat Rambo has a new entry in her Lester Dent retrospective — “Reading Doc Savage: The Sargasso Ogre”.

Our cover is mainly green, depicting Doc poling a log in what have to be anti-gravity boots because there is no way he would maintain his balance otherwise, towards an abandoned ship. As always, his shirt is artfully torn and his footwear worthy of a J. Peterman catalog.

In this read, book eighteen of the series, we finally get to see another of Doc’s men, electrical engineer Long Tom. I do want to begin with a caveat that this book starts in Alexandria and initially features an Islamic villain, Pasha Bey; while I will call out some specific instances, this is the first of these where the racism is oozing all over the page and betrays so many things about the American popular conception of the Middle East. I just want to get that out of the way up front, because it is a big ol’ problem in the beginning of this text….

(4) DRIVING THE TRAINS OUT OF IRELAND. On the other hand, our favorite train driver James Bacon says explicitly that the new Journey Planet is “Just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day.”

This is our second issue looking at comic connections, in one way or another, to Ireland. I thought you would be interested, and hope you are.

Co-edited with ‘Pádraig Ó Méalóid and Michael Carrolll, this issue features an interview with Steve Dillon when he was living in Dublin, and an interview with Neil Bailey who co-edited The comic fanzine Sci Fi Adventures where Steve’s comic work began. We have an interview with Steve Moore about Ka-Pow the first British comic Fanzine and the first British Comic Con. We have and extended looks at the fan art of Paul Neary and fan and professional art of Steve Dillon and we reprint a piece about Steve Dillon that I wrote for Forbidden Planet.

This fanzine is all about histories, stories and in many respects is an oral history.  We have a lovely cover by co–editor Michael Carroll.

I’ve loved reading and writing about the comic connections, interesting, yet I feel historically significant happenings. The Fanzine connection, the Irish Connection, the comics connection. It is all connected and it is fascinating fun to find out about them. I am exceptionally graceful to Neil Bailey, Alan Moore, Paul Neary, Dez Skinn, Michael Carroll, Paul Sheridan, and of course to my co-editors Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Michael Carroll and Christopher J Garcia who have grafted very hard on this one. My thoughts are with those who mourn Steve Dillon and Steve Moore and I hope we remember them well here.

(5) FLEET OF FOOT. A scientific study from the University of Felapton Towers, “What Are Pixel Scrolls About?”, shows I haven’t been running nearly as much Bradbury material as I thought. So maybe I don’t really need the excuse of St. Patrick’s Day to plug in this adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Irish story “The Anthem Sprinters.”

(6) AURORA AWARDS CALENDAR. The Aurora Awards calendar is up.

Nominations for the 2017 awards will open on March 31, 2017….

Online nominations must be submitted by 11:59:59 PM EDT on May 20th, 2017.

Voting will begin on July 15, 2017. Online votes must be submitted by 11:59:59 EDT on September 2nd.

The Aurora awards will be presented during at Hal-Con / Canvention 37 on the weekend of September 22-24, 2017 in Halifax.

(7) NEW MANDEL STORY. Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, in collaboration with Slate’s Future Tense channel, just published “Mr. Thursday,” a new short story by Emily St. John Mandel (author of Station Eleven) about time travel, determinism, and unrequited longing. Read it (free) here, along with a response essay, “Can We Really Travel Back in Time to Change History?” by Paul Davies, a theoretical physics professor at Arizona State University and author of the book How to Build a Time Machine.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 17, 1755 – The Transylvania Land Company bought what became the state of Kentucky for $50,000, from a Cherokee Indian chief.

(9) A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS. Matt Wallace’s award suggestion rapidly morphed into a vision for a deadly cage match competition.

(10) PEWPEW. In Myke Cole’s interview by Patrick St.Denis the author does not hold back.

Given the choice, would you take a New York Times bestseller, or a World Fantasy/Hugo Award? Why, exactly?

Hands down an NYT bestseller. Nobody, apart from a tiny cabal of insiders and SMOFs, cares about the Hugos or the WFA. Winning them does help expand your audience and sell more books, but if you hit the list that means you already ARE selling more books. I come out of fandom, and consider myself a dyed-in-the-wool nerd, but I want to write for the largest audience possible, and you can only hit the list if you’re selling *outside* the traditional and limited genre audience. Added to this, both sets of awards, but moreso the Hugos, have been so mired in petty controversy that I’m not sure I want to be associated with them anymore.

You are now part of the reality TV show Hunted on CBS. Tell us a bit more about the show and how you became part of the hunters’ team.

Hunted is the most elaborate game of hide-n-seek ever made. It pits 9 teams of ordinary Americans against 34 professional investigators, all of us drawn from the intelligence, military and law enforcement communities, each of us with an average of 20+ years experience. We have state of the art equipment and full powers of law enforcement. Any one of the teams that can evade us in 100,000 square miles of the southeastern US for 28 days wins $250,000.

Most folks know that I worked in intelligence for many years, but most don’t know that my specific discipline was as an SSO-T (Special Skills Officer – Targeter) in the Counterterrorism field. Counterterrorism Targeting is just a fancy way of saying “manhunting” and I guess I built a reputation, because when CBS started making inquiries, my name came up as a go-to guy, and I got a random call out of the blue asking me if I wanted to be on TV.

It was (and is, because the show is running now) and amazing experience. I’m most pleased that it’s a window into who we are and how we work for the general public. Police relations with the public always benefit from visibility, and I think this show is a great move in that direction.

(11) DIY CORNER. Charon Dunn knows a good interview helps publicize a book. But who, oh who, could she get to do the interview?

Sieging Manganela is a short novel (just under 65k words) which takes place in the Sonny Knight universe, concerning a young soldier named Turo who, while laying siege to a city, makes a connection with a girl who lives inside.

IMAGINARY INTERVIEWER THAT I MADE UP (BECAUSE I AM AN ASOCIAL FRIEND-LACKING HERMIT) TO ASK ME QUESTIONS THAT I CRIBBED FROM REAL INTERVIEWS WITH SUCCESSFUL WRITERS: So tell me about your protagonist.

CD: Arturo “Turo” Berengar has lots of references to bears in his name, because he’s a strong stoic bear most of the time. His friends used to call him Turo, but they all died, and he has a massive case of stress and grief and survivor’s guilt and depression as a result. He’s trying to hold it together until the war ends, to keep his blind mother receiving benefits. He’s a bundle of stress but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at him. He conceals it well. He is seventeen years old….

II: Hard military science fiction, then?

CD: You could call it that, but the notion of me writing in that genre blows my mind and I’ll probably never do it again. Sieging Manganela came from me doing NaNoWriMo in the middle of being blocked on the Sonny Knight trilogy, which I’d classify as YA science fiction adventure. Sieging Manganela is darker and closer to horror, which is a genre I adore yet can’t seem to write – until I tried coming at it from a military science fiction angle. And yes, in fact it is military science fiction in a salute to Heinlein kind of way.

And, since most of the point of view characters are teens, I guess it counts as YA. So, military horror YA bioengineering dystopian science fiction adventure, hold the starships.

I will note that the research for it involved some grueling reading about soldiers, and specifically child soldiers, because I wanted to treat my soldier characters honorably. I love soldiers, especially when they’re happy and healthy and still have all their parts attached and are goofing off drawing pictures and drinking beer and telling each other about the awesome lives they’re going to have after they’re done being soldiers. There are some villains in this tale, and they are not soldiers.

That said, yeah, there’s kind of an anti-war theme running through it, but no preachy granola hogwash and no disrespecting of warriors. In the same spirit of trigger-disclosure, there’s minimal sex, some extreme violence and no animal cruelty. There’s at least one nonstr8 character but since it’s not relevant to the plot it’s undisclosed, and you’ll have to guess who.

The jacket copy is here. And Cora Buhlert ran the cover together with an excerpt from the book at Speculative Ficton Showcase. There’s even a photo of Charon with, as she calls it, “my humongous SJW credential.”

(12) THE CREATOR. With the impetus of the American Gods series, Neil Gaiman is becoming a television maven.

The comic book legend will develop projects from his library as well as original ideas.

Neil Gaiman is pushing deeper into television.

The creator and exec producer of Starz’s upcoming American Gods has signed a first-look TV deal with FremantleMedia.

Under the multiple-year deal, Gaiman will be able to adapt any of his projects — from novels and short stories — as well as adapt other projects and original ideas.

“Working with my friends at FremantleMedia on shepherding American Gods to the screen has been exciting and a delightful way to spend the last three years,” Gaiman said in a statement announcing the news Tuesday. “I’ve learned to trust them, and to harness their talents and enthusiasm, as they’ve learned to harness mine. They don’t mind that I love creating a ridiculously wide variety of things, and I am glad that even the strangest projects of mine will have a home with them. American Gods is TV nobody has seen before and I can’t wait to announce the specifics behind what we have coming up next.”

(13) ALL ABOARD! The Digital Antiquarian tells how Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley cooked up Railroad Tycoon.

The problem of reconciling the two halves of Railroad Tycoon might have seemed intractable to many a design team. Consider the question of time. The operational game would seemingly need to run on a scale of days and hours, as trains chug around the tracks picking up and delivering constant streams of cargo. Yet the high-level economic game needs to run on a scale of months and years. A full game of Railroad Tycoon lasts a full century, over the course of which Big Changes happen on a scale about a million miles removed from the progress of individual trains down the tracks: the economy booms and crashes and booms again; coal and oil deposits are discovered and exploited and exhausted; cities grow; new industries develop; the Age of Steam gives ways to the Age of Diesel; competitors rise and fall and rise again. “You can’t have a game that lasts a hundred years and be running individual trains,” thought Meier and Shelley initially. If they tried to run the whole thing at the natural scale of the operational game, they’d wind up with a game that took a year or two of real-world time to play and left the player so lost in the weeds of day-to-day railroad operations that the bigger economic picture would get lost entirely.

Meier’s audacious solution was to do the opposite, to run the game as a whole at the macro scale of the economic game. This means that, at the beginning of the game when locomotives are weak and slow, it might take six months for a train to go from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. What ought to be one day of train traffic takes two years in the game’s reckoning of time. As a simulation, it’s ridiculous, but if we’re willing to see each train driving on the map as an abstraction representing many individual trains — or, for that matter, if we’re willing to not think about it at all too closely — it works perfectly well. Meier understood that a game doesn’t need to be a literal simulation of its subject to evoke the spirit of its subject — that experiential gaming encompasses more than simulations. Railroad Tycoon is, to use the words of game designer Michael Bate, an “aesthetic simulation” of railroad history.

(14) CAT MAN DUE. Zoe Saldana enlists the help of Stephen Hawking to solve a quantum riddle in order to get Simon Pegg’s cat back in Quantum is Calling. Released by a CalTech production group in December 2016.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, James Bacon, Cat Rambo, Joey Eschrich, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/17/17 Nomination Street

  1. @Kyra: Okay, based on that I’m going to definitely say that this book is not for you (nothing is for everybody) and you should, without guilt, give up on it and go read something else.

  2. @lurkertype

    There was an Italian/US movie of that Sheckley story in 1965 called “The Tenth Victim” that did give him credit. Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress chased and flirted around Rome. No TV show following contestants.

    This “Hunted” show is way more “Running Man”, though. Right down to much of the terminology, and oh yeah, Arnold’s a reality show star himself now. Minus death, but still. Yeah. Creeeeepy.

    1984 was not supposed to be an instruction manual!

    *(choose one according to your level of paranoia and alternative facts)

    I have seen The Tenth Victim, but that was 25 years ago, so I don’t remember a whole lot about it. The German adaptation The Million Game is excellent, simply because it looks like actual German game and variety shows of the 1970s, down to casting Dieter Thomas Heck, host of a popular music program, as the host of the fictional game show.

    As for why they did not credit Sheckley, the way the story goes, the TV studio licensed the story from the publisher of the German translation, apparently unaware that the German publisher did not own the rights. When Sheckley found out, he threatened to sue, which is why The Million Game is hardly ever seen these days. Personally, I think they should have simply paid Sheckley.

    Besides, Wolfgang Menge, the screenwriter of The Million Game had something of a history of borrowing/stealing without credit. He also produced and wrote the German version of All In the Family/Till Death Do Us Part and never credited the UK original and the US version, both of which predate the German version, either, though I guess they paid for the license, since that show is always on TV somewhere, even though I never liked it in any incarnation.

    I have seen an interview with the writer/producer, where he expounded at length about his amazing ideas and his works of televisional genius, while totally failing to mention that those amazing ideas weren’t his. In short, the guy was a jerk with a massive ego, who also happened to be an excellent screenwriter.

    Regarding Running Man, the first time I saw the movie, I thought, “Okay, so this is The Million Game, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  3. @Lee
    Yep. His shelter name was Ben. I kept the “Big” part but I thought he seemed more like a laid back surfer dude.

    @Lurkertype
    I’ve got a good mind to bring him to Worldcon in San Jose next year. Maybe I could sprinkle him with lime Jello and have him cosplay as Jabba the Hutt.

  4. Horribly off-topic but I’m 80% really super duper excited about it so: I might, finally, really, get my wheelchair. Just not with everything I wanted. But the thing they don’t want me to have (Spinergy wheels, which are a flex wheel and reduce some of the bumpiness inherent to wheeling, something that apparently matters a lot more to me than it does to my local NHS Trust) is also a thing that could, theoretically, be bought separately and added on, although only very stealthily since I’m not really supposed to do that with NHS wheelchairs.

    Nonetheless. Seems likely that it will happen, now, a year and halfish after referral, and I will have a wheelchair that I can properly use, and unlike what they were originally saying it won’t cost me – or, more realistically, my parents – two thousand pounds on top of the funding. (There were many fuck ups. None of them were mine. Private companies doing NHS services is the absolute worst, and I’m extremely bitter. I was supposed to have it by August last year.) 8-10 weeks, tops, assuming I don’t have to harass them some more (god, I hope not), and then I can be whizzing about in a wheelchair that is comfortable and moves beautifully and can be tipped to get up curbs and fits and isn’t a fugly piece of overly medical-looking crap.

    (It would be 100% excited except for the wheels, because I really wanted those wheels, dammit. My joints are very sensitive to being jolted out of place.)

    Anyway! All the energy I have been expending on harassing the wheelchair service into functioning as a service that provides wheelchairs can now hopefully be put into other, more fun things, like being a proper Filer again. And reading books. Pretty much anything which doesn’t involve hold music and being fobbed off.

  5. Hunted was an interesting show, that I mostly watched because Myke was on it, but while it purported to show what Law Enforcement was capable of in the modern world (i.e., You Are Safe With Us/You Cannot Escape), there were so many elements that were clearly things that could only be done because it was a reality show and not actual law enforcement. I’m glad to see those fact-checking posts that tear it down, because there were a LOT of things I wanted to call shenanigans on.

  6. @Kyra: our mileages vary, I guess. I was (as I said) unfond of much of the English Lit I was exposed to (although a really good teacher one year mitigated that), and was a supporter of the Committee to Overdamp the New Wave(*). But I found Janet’s enthusiasm infectious rather than pretentious, and her quirks plausible as much as irritating. If you go through it expecting a quick payoff, you will be disappointed; if you read with the understanding that a lot of the story will make sense to you in retrospect — that you are seeing only the little bits of the universe that a college student can see — I think you will find it rewarding. If you’ve reached the point where the characters are too irritating, possibly you should just put it away for five or ten years (bearing in mind that the author has said there’s a lot of autobiography in the book, but she wrote it when she was almost twice the age she was writing about), and then think about whether to give it another try.

    (*) AFAIK this committee existed only on the MITSFS TO….

  7. Meredith: Horribly off-topic but I’m 80% really super duper excited about it so: I might, finally, really, get my wheelchair.

    Congratulations! That’s a major development and I hope it will be highly helpful for you!

  8. @Meredith– Excellent! I hope Good Things, whether approved or not, happen with the wheels on your wheelchair. Regardless, though, congrats on the coming wheelchair.

  9. Meredith on March 18, 2017 at 6:23 pm said:

    Horribly off-topic but I’m 80% really super duper excited about it so: I might, finally, really, get my wheelchair.

    Congratulations!

  10. @Mike Glyer, Lis Carey, Paul Weimer, and Camestros ETA: and Hampus

    Based on the chance I got last year to trial some with similar builds, it should make all the difference in the world! (Even without the wheels.) It was more like walking used to be, back when I was any good at walking: Easy and natural, with a really tidy little footprint and a turning circle that’s practically on the spot. I think I probably have a bunch of stamina and strength to claw back after the awfulness of 2016 and surgery healing and winter, but even with that in mind it should be so, so much better.

    I’ll probably brain myself a few times before I get the knack of tipping the front up without tipping the whole thing over backwards, but eh, I wasn’t using those braincells anyway. 🙂

    I think I might send a follow-up email (my reassessment appointment was earlier today, since given the long gap they weren’t willing to just go ahead with the original assessment) to double-check whether there’s a flex wheel that they would be willing to approve, even if they won’t go for the Spinergy ones.

  11. @Meredith: Congrats, I’m 100% happy for you (I was going to type 80%, but that just sounded weird). 😀 But please don’t brain yourself! ::cringe:: 😉

  12. Meredith, I am so glad to hear that things may finally be improving for you. And I am selfishly hoping that it means I will get to see more of you here at File770. 🙂

  13. What a relief it is to finally see a cessation of the endless solicitation of Hugo nominations on Twitter — especially by people promoting themselves as Fan Writer who clearly have no understanding of what constitutes Fan Writing. (Convention policies? No.   Editor’s notes in Semiprozines? No.)

    Though I will miss laughing my ass off every time I saw Declan Finn fruitlessly pushing one of his fiction books for Best Related Work (a category which excludes fiction works).

  14. @Meredith– I feel I confidently state, without fear of contradiction, that we do not approve any such actions obtaining yourself. We need you!

  15. If anyone is interested, I finished Tam Lin (against sound advice offered here) and found it picked up considerably in the back half. It’s never going to be a favorite book, and I’ll even go so far as to say some of it made me want to throw it against the wall, but in the end I didn’t hate it.

  16. Meredith, so, the NHS doesn’t approve of swapping out wheels. How do they feel about adding, oh, say, DRAGONS…..?

    (Congratulations! And it’s so nice to see your pixels again!

  17. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 3-19-2017 - Amazing Stories

  18. Glad to have you back, Meredith, and congrats on the new wheelchair. I hope you get the wheels replaced, too.

  19. @Meredith:

    I can’t help being reminded of Dr. Scott in RHPS. “My wheels! I can’t move my wheels!”

  20. @Everyone

    Thank you! I’m mostly very excited!

    @Kendall & Lis Carey

    I plan to practice the tippy thing in front of a soft landing pad many, many times before trying it around the cold, unfeeling tarmac. And maybe get someone to stand behind me ready to catch the first few times on the cold, unfeeling tarmac. I completely spooned it when trialling wheelchairs and have no particular wish to repeat that head injury!

    @JJ & Anne Sheller

    I’m hoping so too! I’m much happier when I’m a full-time Filer instead of an occasional-drop-in Filer.

    @Cassy B.

    … I can’t believe I didn’t think of asking for dragons. Clearly my absence from File770 has affected my brain. However! You have solved a dilemma for me. I have vague plans to construct a wheelchair backpack (they’re like ordinary backpacks, only, you know, designed for the back of a wheelchair instead of a person, and nice ones seem to be exclusively USA based and very very expensive) and hadn’t settled on whether I wanted to do something fancy. Now I know: I want a dragon on it. Possibly many dragons. Also feeling very smug about my decision to opt for a green wheelchair. Green is a nice, dragony colour that goes with many other nice, dragony colours.

    @Rev. Bob

    😀

  21. @Meredith: “Also feeling very smug about my decision to opt for a green wheelchair. Green is a nice, dragony colour that goes with many other nice, dragony colours.”

    Funny, I’d’ve thought you’d feel very Smaug about that decision. 😀

  22. Rev. Bob: Funny, I’d’ve thought you’d feel very Smaug about that decision.

    Dammit, who’s the guy who didn’t install a “Like” button on this blog!

    (Just pretend the button was hit about 10 times.)

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