Pixel Scroll 4/7/17 The Pixel Out of Scrolls (by M.G. Filecraft)

(1) LOOK OUT BELOW. To avoid the chance that the Cassini probe might crash into and contaminate a moon of Saturn, NASA plans to crash it into the planet.

“Cassini’s own discoveries were its demise,” said Earl Maize, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who manages the Cassini mission.

Maize was referring to a warm, saltwater ocean that Cassini found hiding beneath the icy crust of Enceladus, a large moon of Saturn that spews water into space. NASA’s probe flew through these curtain-like jets of vapor and ice in October 2015, “tasted” the material, and indirectly discovered the subsurface ocean’s composition — and it’s one that may support alien life.

“We cannot risk an inadvertent contact with that pristine body,” Maize said. “Cassini has got to be put safely away. And since we wanted to stay at Saturn, the only choice was to destroy it in some controlled fashion.”

(2) ON THE AIR. Hear Hugo nominees Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone on Ottawa radio program All in a Day.

(3) MUSICAL HUGOS. Pitchfork makes its case for “Why clipping.’s Hugo Nomination Matters for Music in Science Fiction”.

Earlier this week, Splendor & Misery—the sophomore album by experimental L.A. rap group clipping.—was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. The Hugo is the highest prize in science fiction/fantasy, granted annually to the genres’ best literature, cinema, television, comics, and visual art. But the awards have never been particularly receptive to music. The last time a musical album was recognized by the Hugos was 1971, when Paul Kantner’s Blows Against the Empire was nominated. The Jefferson Airplane guitarist’s solo debut grandly envisioned a countercultural exodus to outer space, helping set the stage for many more sci-fi concept albums to come, starting with prog-rock’s explosion.

The storyline that winds through Splendor & Misery is just as political as Kantner’s. Set in a dystopian future, the LP revolves around a mutineer among a starship’s slave population, who falls in love with the ship’s computer. This Afrofuturist narrative, as rapped by Daveed Diggs, is matched by a dissonant yet sympathetic soundscape from producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes—one that evokes the isolation and complicated passion of the premise. Visually, this arc is represented in Hutson’s cover art: a spaceman with his pressure suit in tatters, revealing bare feet. “It’s a reference to how runaway slaves have been depicted in the U.S. in newspaper announcements and paintings like Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series,” Hutson says.

Diggs is no stranger to awards, having snagged both a Grammy and a Tony for his role in Hamilton, but clipping.’s Hugo nomination is just as profound….

(4) THE ROAD TO HELSINKI. Camestros Felapton begins his review of the nominees with “Hugo 2017: Fanwriter”.

Chunk one: established fan writers: Mike Glyer, Natalie Luhrs, Foz Meadows and Abigail Nussbaum. Chunk two: Jeffro Johnson, the Rabid nominee but one with a track record of informed fan writing on genre issues. Chunk three: the inimitable Dr Tingle. The discussion below is in no particular order.

(5) SF INFILTRATES LIT AWARD. China Miéville’s This Census-Taker is one of eight finalists for the Rathbones Folio Prize, given “to celebrate the best literature of our time, regardless of form.” All books considered for the prize are nominated by the Folio Academy, an international group of esteemed writers and critics. The three judges for the 2017 prize are Ahdaf Soueif (chair), Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Rachel Holmes. The winner will be announced on May 24 at a ceremony at the British Library.

(6) CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD. Filer and board game designer Peer Sylvester has been interviewed by Multiverse.

Q:  THE LOST EXPEDITION comes out this year. What can you tell our readers about this board game (without giving too much away?)

PS: Percy Fawcett was arguably the most famous adventurer of his time. In 1925 he set into the Brazilian rainforest with his son and a friend to find El Dorado (which he called “Z”), never to return again. Speculations of his fate were printed in newspapers for years with a movie coming out this year as well.

The players follow his footsteps into the jungle. It’s a cooperative game (you can play two-players head-to-head as well) where you have to manage all the dangers of the jungle and hopefully come back alive. It has a quite unique mechanism that prevents “quarterbacking”, i.e. players dominating everyone else. The game features beautiful art by Garen Ewing.  It will be, without doubt, my prettiest game so far. It has a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Book vibe. But, unlike those books, different dangers come out at different times, so every decision is unique.

(7) GET YOUR KITSCH ON. Submissions for The Kitschies awards have opened and will continue until November 1. File 770 wrote a summary piece about the awards last month.

(8) CHUCK TINGLE’S NEW SITE. Time to troll the pups again!

Like last year, the DEVILS were so excited about being DEVILS that they forgot to register important website names of their scoundrel ways. This year they are playing scoundrel pranks again, but now instead of learning about common devilman topics like having a lonesome way or crying about ethics in basement dwelling, this site can be used to PROVE LOVE by helping all with identification of a REVERSE TWIN! …

THE POWER IS YOURS

Never forget, the most powerful way to stop devils and scoundrels in this timeline is to PROVE LOVE EVERY DAY. Use this as a reminder and prove love in some small way in your daily life. Pick up the phone and call your family or friends just to tell them you care about them and that they mean so much to you. Help pick up some trash around your neighborhood. Let someone go ahead of you in line. As REVERSE TWINS pour in from other timelines, we can do our part to make this timeline FULL OF LOVE FOR ALL, and the power to do that is in your hands with every choice that you make! YOU ARE SO POWERFUL AND IMPORTANT, AND YOU ARE THE BEST IN THE WHOLE WORLD AT BEING YOU! USE THIS POWER TO MAKE LOVE REAL!

(9) THIS YEAR’S PUPPY PORN NOMINEE. Meanwhile, io9 discovered Stix Hiscox is a woman: “Meet the Hugo-Nominated Author of Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex”.

So, who is Stix Hiscock? Is he some Chuck Tingle copycat riding on the coattails of scifi porn parody? Some right-wing heterosexual man’s answer to Tingle’s gay erotica, making science fiction great again (with boobs)? Or, better yet, is he Chuck Tingle himself? Turns out, none of the above.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 7, 1989:  Dystopian brawler Cyborg opens in theaters.
  • April 7, 1933: The Eighth Wonder of the World appears to audiences nationwide

(11) CELEBRITY VISITS JIMMY OLSEN. Don Rickles,who passed away yesterday, and his doppelganger once appeared in comics with Superman’s Pal.

(12) CRAM SESSION. There are always 15 things we don’t know. ScreenRant works hard to fill those gaps, as in the case of  “15 Things You Didn’t Know About Captain Picard”.

  1. Captain Picard Loved To Swear

Patrick Stewart is a great actor, but foreign accents are not his strong suit. Captain Picard hails from La Barre, France, yet Patrick Stewart chose to use an English accent for his portrayal of the character. He also used an English accent for Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies (who is American) and Seti in The Prince of Egypt (who is Egyptian). You cannot argue with results, however, and the Star Trek expanded universe has offered a few handwave solutions to why Picard speaks with an English accent. These range from everyone in France adopting the accent when English became a universal language, to him actually speaking in a French accent the whole time, but we hear it as English due to his universal translator.

There were a few instances of Picard’s Frenchness that Patrick Stewart snuck into the dialogue. Captain Picard would occasionally say “merde” when facing a nasty situation. This is the French equivalent to saying “shit” when it is being said in exasperation.

(13) ELEMENTARY. The names of four new elements have been officially approved.

The periodic table just got some new members, as the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has officially accepted new names for four elements. Element numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 will no longer be known by their placeholder names, and instead have all-new monikers decided upon by their discoverers.

The discoveries were first recognized about a year ago, and the proposed names for them were decided upon this past June. Now, chemistry’s highest group has decided they are valid and will move forward with the all-new labels.

  • Nihonium (Nh), is element 113, and is named for the Japanese word for Japan, which is Nihon.
  • Moscovium (Mc), element 115, is named for Moscow.
  • Tennessine (Tn), element 117, is named for Tennessee.
  • Oganesson (Og), element 118, is named after Yuri Oganessian, honoring the 83-year-old physicist whose team is credited with being the top element hunters in the field.

(14) NOT TED COBBLER. Pratchett fans will remember Jason Ogg, who once shod an ant just to prove he could in fact shoe anything (for which the price was he would shoe anything, including Death’s horse). A Russian artisan actually made a life-size flea with shoes.

In a supersized world, Prague’s Museum of Miniatures thinks small. Very small. In millimetres, in fact.

A short walk from Prague Castle, this odd museum houses wonders invisible to the naked eye. After entering the room filled with microscopes, I found a desert scene of camels and palms inside the eye of a needle, an animal menagerie perched on a mosquito leg and the Lord’s Prayer written on a hair.

(15) DON’T FORGET. Contrary to widely-held theories used in various SF stories, short-term and long-term memories are formed separately.

The US and Japanese team found that the brain “doubles up” by simultaneously making two memories of events.

One is for the here-and-now and the other for a lifetime, they found.

It had been thought that all memories start as a short-term memory and are then slowly converted into a long-term one.

Experts said the findings were surprising, but also beautiful and convincing….

(16) NOTHING BUT HOT AIR. Atmosphere is confirmed on an exoplanet.

Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time.

They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.

Their observations suggest that the “super-Earth” is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.

The study is published in the Astronomical Journal.

Discovering an atmosphere, and characterising it, is an important step forward in the hunt for life beyond our Solar System.

But it is highly unlikely that this world is habitable: it has a surface temperature of 370C.

(17) QUANTUM BLEEP. If you’re going to be taking part in one of history’s iconic moments, you’d better prepare a speech.

(18) ANIME PRAISED. NPR likes Your Name — not a Studio Ghibli production, but animation direction is by a longtime Ghibli artist: “’Your Name’ Goes There”.

In the charming and soulful Japanese anime Your Name, two teenagers who have never met wake up rattled to discover that they have switched bodies in their sleep, or more precisely their dreams. And it’s not just their anatomies they’ve exchanged, or even the identities-in-progress each has managed to cobble together at such a tender age. Mitsuha, a spirited but restless small-town girl of Miyazaki-type vintage, and Taki, a Tokyo high school boy, have also swapped the country for the city, with all the psychic and cultural adjustments that will entail.

(19) CARTOON OF THE DAY. “Are You Lost in the World Like Me?” is a Max-Fleischer-style cartoon on Vimeo, with music by Moby, which explains what happens to the few people who AREN’T staring at their smartphones all day.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Stephen Burridge, Peer Sylvester, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

89 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/7/17 The Pixel Out of Scrolls (by M.G. Filecraft)

  1. (3) Apart from missing that Seanan McGuire’s “Wicked Girls” was nominated in 2012 (though in a different category), I liked the article. It’s clear that at least Hutson is well-read in science fiction and the genre, even if he probably isn’t well-connected with the fannish movements.

    I think there are lots of reasons why music isn’t well-represented in the Hugos (or in fandom). The red-headed stepchild nature of filk might be one factor (e.g. regular UK fandom makes a hard distinction between filk and music; in some ways I think the relationship between regular fandom and filk fandom is analogous to the one between Mundania and regular fandom). Another is that the Hugos are geared towards narrative works, rationality, and prose; music has a greater tendency to be non-narrative, based on emotions, and be lyrical.

    And once the idea that Hugos are for literature, movies, and sometimes plays have taken hold, it’s a narrative that’s very hard to change.

    There is also the issue that there are very few fans making music compared to the number of fans writing, fiction or non-fiction. In this case, the Hugos reflect ourselves and our community.

  2. I’ve run out to the garage to look at what’s stored there. Even though we haven’t had any leaks lately. Luckily most of our books are inside, and all that’s out there are some bagged and boarded comics, which are in nice intact dry boxes. It beats goats.

  3. @Kip W

    Inside of a goat, it’s too dark to read.

    But do they only smell bad… on the outside?

  4. Missed the edit window:

    @Chip Hitchcock

    There’s no such thing as a typical British/English accent. Received Pronunciation that most people associate with BBC announcers is pretty artificial, no one really talks like that in real life. Pretty sure Stewart’s speech pattern has more to do with his time on the stage, a more muted Brain BLESSED, who he’s been friends with for a very long time.

  5. Paul Weimer: A preliminary ballot of Ditmar nominees is up.

    I’ve only read one of the fiction finalists: Vigil, by Angela Slatter. I got it from the library because I absolutely adored her novella Of Sorrow and Such last year. Vigil would be classified as urban fantasy, a genre I’m not terribly into, but I really, really, enjoyed this book — a murder mystery with a half-human/half-weyrd protagonist as detective, with some absolutely fantastic worldbuilding — and I’ll definitely be reading a sequel if there is one.

    (I’ve got mini-reviews, only about half of which have been completed due to other projects on my plate right now, pending for a dozen 2016 novels — but I’ll try to get those posted soon.)

  6. @IanP: I’m quite aware there’s no “typical” English accent; that’s why I identified Picard’s as a thin stratum — although not nearly as plummy as I remember from a some-but-not-all 1960’s exchange students.

  7. @rcade: Thanks for pointing that out! Silverberg is probably my all time favourite SF author. I’ve been looking at that on NZ’s Kobobooks, but they want NZ$10.99, so I’ve been holding fire. Amazon works out way cheaper.

  8. My thanks to whoever recommended Hwarhath Stories a few weeks ago. I dumped it into my last Amazon order, am reading it now, and it is bowling me over. Something about the style, which manages to be detached and immersive at the same time, is really resonating with me.

    @ Camestros: That sucks. When the tree came thru our roof during Hurricane Ike, my partner lost a small pile of books that had been on the bookcase under the window. Unfortunately, that small pile included about half of his autographed Terry Pratchetts. The books can be replaced, but not the autographs.

    @ Cassy: Yes, it was, under Best Related Work. I voted for it, but it didn’t win. I was 1-for-2 on the things I really wanted to see win that year — the other one was Digger.

    @ Karl-Johan: There are also fannish subcultures in the US where “filk” and “music” are considered distinct; Minneapolis fandom is one of them IIRC. And a lot of the new “nerd rock” people are absolutely adamant that they are NOT filkers, TYVM. “We’ll be performing on the stage,” one of them sniffed at me at Archon. Well, so did The Great Lukeski. and he didn’t think he was too good to come down to the open filk later! It’s also common to hear an offended “WE do ORIGINAL material,” to which my response is that they don’t know much about filk then, do they? (Yeah, still kinda pissed off.)

  9. @Kip W, please have another complimentary internet or two.

    (1) This is pretty neat, actually. I look forward to the photos all the way down. Between Saturn and the rings!

    (8) No, I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.

    (9) Will she decline the nomination now that she knows the awful truth? Or is the person who spoke with io9 merely a Dead Elk sockpuppet? If the nomination is declined, what peachy-keen good story will take its place?

  10. @ Lee

    In my experience, the categories “music fan into science fiction” and “science fiction/fantasy fan into music” are usually distinct from each other, though I see occasional overlap when it comes to prog rock, metal, EDM, folk music, Philip K. Dick, and William Gibson.

    BTW, here is my favorite not-filk song:

    “Great Bird Of The Galaxy” by Viva Satellite!

    https://youtu.be/XEALzx895r8

  11. Thanks for pointing that out! Silverberg is probably my all time favourite SF author.

    The Majipoor stories are among my all-time favorites. I bought this Silverberg interview book tonight and have finished one-fourth of it already. It’s fantastic.

  12. (3) I’m somewhat surprised that no one except this music blogger has pointed out that the Clipping album is named after Delany’s planned-but-never-written novel The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities. I wasn’t sure whether that was the case (they could both be referencing the Duez painting) but the lyrics quoted there make it clear.

  13. Camestros, the shrieking violins that I imagined when you discovered the fungus are still reverberating in my head. Heartfelt condolences.

    rcade, thanks very much for the tip, book is acquired and so far it’s my favorite Related Work by a long shot.

  14. @Lee: I seem to have read that the Great Lukeski did have trouble grokking the filk circle at first, but learned better about its purpose and values.

    I think filk and regular fandom faces the same culture gap with other nerdy interests, but it is maybe felt more acute there. To me, the key to fandom is its participatory nature, be it in music, writing, or how to do cons. Eg wizard rock has very much the idea that “you can stand on the stage and sing”. But it still very much has the stage, of the split between the artist and the audience. Filk says there is no need for a scene at all, and we are all participants. The same pattern can be found in lots of old (and some new) fannish traditions, perhaps primarily expressed in the fanzines.

    (It doesn’t help that filkers tend to use the word “filk” in a similar way that smurfs use “smurf”. No problem inside the community, but it can cause issues when outsiders try to adopt or use the word.)

    @Rob: I’m not really sure what you’re describing there, but I’d like to hear you elaborate a bit.

  15. Charon D. on April 8, 2017 at 9:21 pm said:

    Camestros, the shrieking violins that I imagined when you discovered the fungus are still reverberating in my head. Heartfelt condolences.

    I spent today cleaning things and entertaining other members of the household with my Shirley Bassey impression:

    Molddddd fingers,
    He’s the man, the man with the mouldy touch!
    It rained too much
    (so now he has)
    Molddddd fingers
    Beckons you, with his dusty clawsssss
    They’re full of spores!!!!!!

  16. @ Karl-Johan

    To understand where I am coming from, maybe it would help to understand my background. Before college, I was a self-taught SF/F fan and band geek that had no contact with fandom. Then, after an encounter with ’60s R&B and Husker Du, I became a full-on music fanatic and electric bassist (with an indie rock zine and a band to boot). At the advent of the millenium, I started to move back towards SF/F and finally found fandom.

    At that point, I found myself wanting to bridge the two cultures. I started a short-lived website that tried to achieve that goal but I closed it down due to a lack of feedback. Only now, in File 770, have I found folks who seem to know something about both worlds. Previously, I had believed that music fans were usually associated with a particular set of SF/F authors (generally PKD and William Gibson, with sides of Delaney and Herbert) and I had thought that fandom was usually associated with specific genres of non-filk music (prog, metal, electronic dance music, and folk music).

    However, my expexctations (on both sides) have been upended lately and I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on now, so please consider what I say as a tentative hypothesis rather than anything that is even close to fact. 🙂

  17. Shrieking violins: I’ve lost a few books to water heater leakage, and the sleeves of a few DVDs have suffered similar fates, but nothing irreplaceable.

    Not much else to say here, aside from a belated woot-woot over scoring the title. I’ve been dealing with a toothache all day, which I don’t think had anything to do with the numerous proofreading mistakes in the book I finished reading earlier. I do, however, think the tooth and my neck are conspiring in my torment.

    Meanwhile, as it’s still on my clipboard, have a link to The Ballad of Maui Hair. Read and enjoy.

    https://storify.com/lilithsaintcrow/the-ballad-of-maui-hair

  18. @ Rev. Bob: Oh. My. Ghod. That really is the sort of thing you could never put in a story because nobody would believe it. I didn’t completely lose it until the barista said, “You should wait outside because sometimes they leave if they don’t see you.” And of course Maui Hair would use Uber.

  19. So in just over two weeks I’m going to brave the border controls and go visit my son & daughter-in-law in the UK. Flying into Gatwick on April 24, coming home May 19. They live in Loughborough & work very hard. Anybody want to meet for lunch or something-it sounds like I can get into Leicester easily? (also may be able to arrange other trips)

  20. @Rob: Yeah, then I understand your comment a bit better. From my experience with filkers, they tend to come from all sorts of fannish backgrounds: RPGs, Star Trek, old-school sf fandom, SCA, et c et c.

    Anyway, I can recommend to get in touch with some local filk fandom. Interfilk.org has a nice list of all the “pure” filk cons, which can be a good start.

  21. @Camestros Felaption: “Molddddd fingers” – ::runs from evil villain in terror::

    @Rev. Bob.: WHEEEEEE!!! OMG that was f’ing hilarious. I LOL’d, and did one big handclap near the end. So funny and kinda sad, thanks. Mostly just toooooo funny. 😉

  22. Are we not Scrolls?
    We are Pixels.

    (Seriously, I thought I checked the box, but I’m impatient enough to try again.)

    ETA: Second Goldstalk! success confirmed; first must’ve been an illusion.

  23. @IanP: that’s … strange; the slurs and vocabulary sound like what I’ve heard presented as Yorkshire dialect, but the vowels (or perhaps the tones?) don’t. Not that I’m an expert….

  24. @Rev Bob: the only thing needed to complete that would be “Rolling Down to Old Maui” — the Stan Rogers version by preference but YMMV. Teach the Hair what actual work sounds like….

  25. Meanwhile, as it’s still on my clipboard, have a link to The Ballad of Maui Hair.

    I read that aloud to my wife, and both of us pictured it happening in LA. And then I checked, and unless Saint Crow was traveling, it happened within 20 miles of me.

    Which makes it all the funnier, at least to me.

  26. Camestros et al: my water-damage experience was from a leaking pump in my home heating system. I came home one evening after a long working day to find my downstairs carpet squelchy and sodden. The books on shelves were OK, but the bottom layer of books in cardboard boxes on the floor was wet. Fortunately I’d bought a sheet of plywood for a project not long before that, and hadn’t gotten around yet to cutting it up. I put it up on sawhorses in the garage to make a large table, and stood the wet books on that with pages fanned. Most of them dried out in readable condition.

    I really don’t recommend forced hot water house heating systems. Mine has been a continuing source of problems. When it works it’s good, but it breaks down far too often.

  27. The water damage stories make me ill–we lost not only a large part of our library but also most of my husband’s artwork because we were idiots and stored them on a dirt floor. Not only moisture but also silverfish did them in.

  28. My father was fixing the steam-heating system in the house we moved into when I was in high school – this was in the Bay Area, where heating needs are minimal outside of winter, and steam heating is definitely not the usual – and discovered when he moved some of his boxes of magazines (professional, not SF) that termites had gotten into them. They’d come in through the wall next to the boxes, and were in three studs under the windows; he found that whoever built the house (we referred to them as “drunken contractor”) hadn’t put in a mud sill (a raised edge) on that side of the concrete slab floor.

  29. …and now after a wet winter silverfish have invaded my bedroom which has books and papers and craft things in it and I’m freaking out.

  30. Lee on April 9, 2017 at 11:34 am said:

    Oh. My. Ghod. That really is the sort of thing you could never put in a story because nobody would believe it.

    I like to say, “Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.”

    (Except then a friend of mine once replied, “That’s not true and you know it. You’ve read Gravity’s Rainbow.” I had to admit he had me there….)

  31. @Lucy Kemnitzer: His artwork?! Gaaaaaah! 🙁 This makes me sad; we own a lot of artwork (not art we created, but still!). BTW I really hate silverfish – sorry you’re having to deal with an invasion!

    This thread really is like a collection of mini-horror-stories, isn’t it.

  32. It is! I don’t know which is worse, being turned into a cockroach or living with wet damage.

  33. One day, Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, wakes up to find himself a victim of water damage. Also, he’s a giant cockroach.

Leave a Reply

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