Pixel Scroll 4/9/17 Ruler of the Pixelgram

(1) SUCCESSFUL CHARITY EVENT. Tom Edwards, one of the best cover designers in science fiction, teamed up with Parkinson’s UK and Keystroke Medium to raise money for Parkinson’s research. Three premade covers by Edwards, as well, as an editing package by Ellen Campbell, went to auction on April 8 and brought in almost 4000 pounds / $5000 US.

Sample cover

(2) FAKE NEWS PIONEER. His role was created to encourage U.S. support for Britain prior to America’s entry into WWII — “Louis deWohl: The Astrologer Who Helped Foil Hitler”.

Then, in June 1941, one of de Wohl’s more detailed predictions seemed to come true. “A strong collaborator of Hitler who is neither German nor a Nazi will go violently insane,” he foretold. “He will be in South or Central America, probably near the Caribbean Sea.” Three days later, U.S. newswires proclaimed that the Vichy High Commissioner of the French West Indies, Admiral Georges Robert, had gone insane and had to be restrained by staff. The New York Post reported that newspaper editors across America “besieged de Wohl with requests for exclusive stories.” The astrologer possessed a mysterious ability to know the unknowable, and millions of Americans wanted to know more.

The way it worked behind the facade was masterful. The British spy agency first fed information to de Wohl, which he would write up in his column. In turn, MI5 would then feed the bogus information to the U.S. press. Unable to fact-check details with the Third Reich, the American press would report the news as real, which it was not. For example, the Vichy High Commissioner of the French West Indies never went insane.

(3) TINGLE TIME AGAIN. Almost a year ago, UrsulaV wrote a series of tweets in the style of Dr. Seuss after Chuck Tingle played Vox Day, who had slated him onto the Hugo ballot. File 770’s unofficial motto is “It’s always news to somebody” – usually me – and besides, this news is practically fresh again, with Tingle renominated and pranking the porn author who replaced him on Vox’s slate.

(4) NESFA STORY CONTEST. The New England Science Fiction Association is looking for entries in its annual story contest.

Do you like to write science fiction or fantasy stories? Are you an aspiring writer, but not sure if you’re ready for the big time? Then you’re just the kind of writer we’re looking for! The New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA for short) is running a writing contest. Prizes include free books, and a grand prize of a free membership to Boskone. More important though is that we offer free critiques of your work. Our goal is to help young & aspiring writers to improve their writing, so you can become our new favorite writer! Check out our website for details:

http://www.nesfa.org/awards/storycon.html

We welcome submissions from everyone, in every country in the world (as long as it’s written in English, please!). Women, people of color, LGBTQ writers, and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to enter the contest.

(5) AH ROMANCE. The shortlist for the Romance Writers of America’s 2017 RITA and Golden Heart Awards was announced March 21. Here are the finalists of genre interest.

The RITA Award – “the highest award of distinction in romance fiction” — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas.

Paranormal Romance

  • Bayou Shadow Hunter by Debbie Herbert Harlequin, Nocturne Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor
  • The Beast by J R Ward New American Library Kara Welsh, editor
  • The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant Self-published Mary Moran, editor
  • Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood Harlequin, Nocturne Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor
  • Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella Montlake Publishing Alison Dasho, editor
  • The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre Self-published Sasha Knight, editor
  • The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy Kensington Publishing Corp. Peter Senftleben, editor
  • Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper Pocket Books Abby Zidle, editor

The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts.

Paranormal Romance

  • “Beryl Blue, Time Cop” by Janet Halpin
  • “Bless Your Heart and Other Southern Curses” by Heather Leonard
  • “Constant Craving” by Kari W. Cole
  • “Fire’s Rising” by Grace Adams
  • “The Mer Chronicles: Love’s Diplomatic Act” by Kate Ramirez
  • “Soul Affinity” by A. Y. Chao

Award winners will be announced on July 27 at the 2017 RWA Conference in Orlando, Florida.

(6) MESSAGE FICTION. Bleeding Cool reports “Marvel Artist Ardian Syaf Hid Anti-Christian And Jewish Messages In This Week’s X-Men Comic”. The political background to the references is:

In Indonesia, 212 is the number used to denote a specific mass protest from 2nd December last year. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims marched against the Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok,, over allegations of blasphemy regarding his use of the Qu’ran in campaigning against opponents. The march was organised, in part, with the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa. It was pretty hardline conservative and the protest demanded the government prosecute and jail Ahok based on the council’s fatwa, declaring him to be a blasphemer. This year, a 212 2.0 march with similar aims was held on the 21st of February.

(You can see the artwork at the link.)

The information comes from sources including this public Facebook post by an Indonesian comics reader:

Dear Marvel Comics My name is Haykal, I am from Jakarta, Indonesia And I would like to inform you something about your recent comics, X-Men Gold.

…I found out that on X-Men Gold comic, there’s a subliminal message of hatred towards minorities It was done by this person, a Muslim penciller from Indonesia https://www.facebook.com/ArdianSyafComicArt/

And he’s using your comics to spread hatred against non muslim minorities in Indonesia.

The “QS 5:51” on Colossus shirt refers to the Quran verse used by Muslim extremists to discriminate against the current governor which is also one of the governor candidates in the current election in Jakarta, Indonesia. https://quran.com/5/51

Bleeding Cool has since reported that Ardian Syaf was unwilling to discuss the issue with them.

Meanwhile, Marvel has made a statetment via Comicbook.com.

“The mentioned artwork in X-Men Gold #1 was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings. These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation. This artwork will be removed from subsequent printings, digital versions, and trade paperbacks and disciplinary action is being taken.”

Comicbook.com notes –

No further details were provided concerning how exactly Marvel will discipline Syaf. Preview art suggests that Syaf has already completed work on X-Men Gold #2, which releases on April 19. Syaf is also one of three announced rotating artists on X-Men Gold, along with RB Silva and Ken Lashley, so it may be some time before fans know for certain if he will returning to X-Men Gold.

And if you want to take a deep dive into this, Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson has a post up — Here is What Quran 5:51 Actually Says.

(7) TODAY’S DAY

Unicorn Day

What mythological creature has been more beloved over the centuries than the unicorn? Symbols of purity and enchantment, unicorns are loved by both children and adults alike and are integral parts of many fairy tales and legends. For all the roles they’ve played in literature, cinematography, and art as a whole, unicorns more than deserve their own day!

Unicorns were mentioned as far back as antiquity—ancient Greek writers believed they lived in the faraway and exotic country of India, which was then largely unknown to Europeans. However, the unicorn was then thought to be a powerful, fierce animal that was not to be meddled with. In the Middle Ages, the unicorn’s image was based greatly on Bible passages that were thought to speak of these animals, and unicorns slowly came to be seen as a symbol of strength, the purest kind of love, and the pets of virgin women. In fact, there is even a sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding a unicorn on her lap and patting it in Warsaw’s National Museum. Thus, unicorns have been appearing in works of literature for thousands of years. The most prominent more modern examples include Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and The Last Battle by S.C. Lewis. The whole immensely popular My Little Pony franchise is also based on unicorns.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 9, 1959 — NASA introduced the first seven astronauts to the press.

(9) BIG FINISH. The Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan interviews director Nacho Vigilando, whose film Colossal is a fusion of kaihu eige and romantic comedy that will be released this Friday.

Q: In that film [7:35 in the Morning], you critique the cliches of the movie musical by staging a song-and-dance number in a diner with seemingly ordinary people. “Extraterrestrial” plays with the tropes of the alien invasion movie. In “Colossal,” you do something similar with the genre of the monster movie. What’s so fascinating about genre cinema?

A: The moment in “Colossal” that sums up what you’re talking about is when Gloria calls her ex-boyfriend, because she wants to talk about this monster that is invading South Korea. And he responds by asking, “Why are you calling so late? That happened early this morning.” He thinks that means she has spent the whole day just sleeping. I’m really attracted to the idea of playing inside these sandboxes, in which everybody in the audience knows the rules. Our expectations of these films become part of the show somehow. I admire Superman, but am I a kind person all the time, the way Superman is? How can I relate to a character who has an “S” on his chest, since there are moments in my life when I behave like an a—— to other people?

(10) COUNTING THE PUPPIES. Greg Hullender has written up his analysis of the 2017 Puppy vote at Rocket Stack Rank“Slating Analysis: 2017”. He says, “I get a slightly higher number than you did: 88-118. I make up for that with some cool graphs.”

Now that the 2017 Hugo Awards Finalists lists have come out, we can estimate how many slate voters there were. By our calculations, there were between 88 and 118 of them. This is just slightly higher than Mike Glyer’s estimate of  “80 to 90”. When the detailed statistics are available in August, we’ll make a more precise estimate, using the methods we used in our article Slate Voting Analysis Using EPH Data: 2014-2016

(11) A THREE BLACK HOLE RATING. The Guardian shares Jay Rayner’s brutal review of Le Cinq, Paris, a Michelin 3-star restaurant.

Other things are the stuff of therapy. The canapé we are instructed to eat first is a transparent ball on a spoon. It looks like a Barbie-sized silicone breast implant, and is a “spherification”, a gel globe using a technique perfected by Ferran Adrià at El Bulli about 20 years ago. This one pops in our mouth to release stale air with a tinge of ginger. My companion winces. “It’s like eating a condom that’s been left lying about in a dusty greengrocer’s,” she says. Spherifications of various kinds – bursting, popping, deflating, always ill-advised – turn up on many dishes. It’s their trick, their shtick, their big idea. It’s all they have. Another canapé, tuile enclosing scallop mush, introduces us to the kitchen’s love of acidity. Not bright, light aromatic acidity of the sort provided by, say, yuzu. This is blunt acidity of the sort that polishes up dulled brass coins.

Do you think we could get a Kickstarter funded if he turned his jaded eye in the direction of the Puppies Forbidden Thoughts anthology?

(12) CRETACEOUS TASTINESS. When you hear a bell, think of tacos — TriceraTACOs, that is.

(13) THE PLANE TRUTH. John Scalzi does not get enough credit for his restraint.

(14) IN MEDEA RACE. “The Ballad of Maui Hair” is practically a companion piece to “The Anthem Sprinters.” These tweets just begin to set the scene:

(15) SONG AND DANCE MAN. In 1993, Christopher Walken appeared on Saturday Zoo with Jonathan Ross (who later got uninvited as toastmaster of the 2014 Worldcon in historic record time.) Walken gave an inimitable reading of “The Three Little Pigs.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, and Rev. Bob for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]

224 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/9/17 Ruler of the Pixelgram

  1. Legos as a plural of Lego seems to me to be an Americanism.

    The Supreme Eurocratic Bureaucracy tried to tell us that Euro the currency also does not pluralise as Euros, but we mostly ignored them in Ireland. Although people do call them yo-yos a lot, which may be a reaction.

    Back when they announced the name, I was disappointed, I was hoping for a more scientifictional currency: 3 Stars for a beer? Only 90 Planetesimals back on Pallas!

  2. @Mark
    I’ve always heard legos. “You said you cleaned up, but I found two legos under the bed.”

    I’m sure the lego company would prefer the word be used solely as an adjective, though, as in “lego brick,” just to protect their trademark. In that case, it has no plural in English.

    If lego really were a mass noun, you’d be able to say “there’s lego all over the floor!” and not be referring to melted ones.

  3. @Heather Rose Jones:

    I think we can all agree that neutronium is a massive noun, but would a Catholic congregation be a Mass noun?

  4. I’ve always heard legos. “You said you cleaned up, but I found two legos under the bed.”

    That’s weird. My mother used to tell us, “When I come back to this room, you better have picked up all your LEGO brand toy building blocks U.S. registered trademark 1018875.”

  5. @JJ: “Interestingly, the earliest reference to “Saint Kurzweil” I have been able to find online is in the novella “Jury Duty and Appeals Court” by those dirty pinko commies Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, published in Argosy Magazine in May-June 2004.”

    I think these novellas were fixed up (with a third section) to make Stross and Doctorow’s novel “The Rapture of the Nerds.”

  6. So all day long the noise of pixels scroll’d
    Among the mountains by the winter sea;
    Until Mike Glyers’s readers, one by one,
    Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord

  7. Greg, “There’s Lego all over the floor!” is exactly what I say every Sunday morning.

    “There are Legos all over the floor!” suggests that there is a form of Lego on the floor, the normal form, but also other kinds: indescribable transdimensional non-euclidian blocks, whose eldritch geometry confuses and injures anyone who gazes too long upon them.

    Also usually true on Sunday mornings, in fairness.

  8. Andrew: I think these novellas were fixed up (with a third section) to make Stross and Doctorow’s novel “The Rapture of the Nerds.”

    They were indeed (I’ve read and enjoyed it). But the publication of the first two sections was prior to that of the novel.

  9. They were indeed (I’ve read and enjoyed it). But the publication of the first two sections was prior to that of the novel.

    Understood (just adding the information about the later book because it’s probably easier to find than the original novellas).

    By the way, I thought I remembered an earlier reference to a Saint Kurzweil, but I was thinking of the fresco with Drexler and Feynman in “The Diamond Age.”

    “A Scroll for Ecclesiastes”

  10. Rev. Bob on April 11, 2017 at 2:09 pm said:

    @Matt Y:

    As I recall, what kicked this whole thing off was someone expressing surprise that there wasn’t “a Marvel movie” on the Hugo ballot this year. Someone opined that they didn’t think any of the three MCU movies merited it, someone else mentioned Deadpool, and suddenly we were off to the No True Mutant races over whether a movie about a Marvel character counts as “a Marvel movie” if it was made by 20th Century Fox rather than Marvel Studios.

    As far as I’m concerned, Marvel character means Marvel movie, regardless of studio. The Marvel Studios/MCU subset tends to be better, in my opinion, but I thought Deadpool was a blast. I loved that puppy right from the opening credits

    Makes sense and lol at the ‘Not A True Mutant’. Maybe I’m a sucker for the marketing but mentally for me it’s been Marvel movies (MCU) and properties I hope revert back (even though yes they’re all Marvel characters). Then again Iron Fist and Age of Ultron are MCU and were meh and Logan/Deadpool weren’t and were great so I just should let that go.

  11. @Heather Rose Jones:

    I simply suppress the urge to ask, “And is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?”

    “Tomatoes are my favorite, my favorite tomatoes,”–that is all
    Ye grow in Earth, and all ye need to grow.

  12. @kathodus

    I doubt it holds up throughout the US, but in the SF Bay Area, and particularly in Oakland, there is now a growing SJW problem. This is something that was inconceivable pre-Trump, but post-11/9 some folk who used to be perfectly reasonable have gone total Stalinist*/SJW.

    Color me unsurprised.

    Just as those of us the conservative and libertarian corners of the pool need to be aware of (and reject) the pockets of latent racism that exist in our rhetorical vicinity, folks on the left need to be aware of (and reject) the violent leftism exists in their rhetorical neighborhood. Stalinism has, IMHO, been a significant if unacknowledged cornerstone for leftist agitprop for most of my lifetime.

    Regards,
    Dann

    (Sorry…busy couple of days.)

  13. @Dann

    Do you seriously think that “leftists” aren’t aware of what lies further to the left of them?

    Also, are you using “Stalinism” as a specific term deliberately here, or just as an catch-all label?

  14. @Dann – The people I’m talking about (and they vary from Stalinists to Leninists to Anarchists, and I’m not entirely sure what any of those terms imply, technically – I’m just seeing how they self-identify) are a tiny minority, and they are causing no end of controversy on the left. The left is infamous for arguing amongst itself about all sorts of things, and violence at protests (as an example) is a heated argument right now. I mean, the Blac Bloc is not very popular in Berkeley, a city used as a caricature of the far left by conservatives.

    On the other hand, I don’t see these far left groups traveling out to conservative enclaves and provoking violence – something that outside white supremacist groups have done twice now in Berkeley and are about to do again this weekend. The past election and the subsequent rise of white supremacist groups and hate crimes (some of those hate crimes – the Muslim ban – perpetrated by our President) has done a lot to radicalize people. Everyone is asking themselves exactly how it feels to be in a faltering democracy right before it descends into fascism, and wondering if maybe going along quietly and trusting that the law will prevail is a sucker’s gambit. So I have some sympathy for them, despite abhorring their behavior. I’m not sure how late-teens/early-20s me would have reacted to the current political environment.

  15. Hi Mark,

    Sorry this took so long. Cleaning up some loose ends here.

    I think that leftists have not been compelled to confront the demonstrable nightmare that exists “left of left”. That nightmare has a demonstrable history of causing death, poverty, and general human misery that far outpaces anything that is adjacent to mainstream conservatism. From Walter Duranty in the 30s up through the modern lionizing of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, the left embraces rather than rejects the predictable result of the ideology that is adjacent to their own. Those predictable results are anything but “bad luck“.

    Regards,
    Dann

  16. Dann;

    I’m a bit confused here. What poverty was caused under Chavez? I guess you mean the poverty created after Chavez? Chavez died 2013. At that time, the extreme poverty was half of that at the time he was elected.

  17. And with regards to Cuba, of course it wasn’t bad luck. It was american sanctions. Still performed better than Haiti under its US supported dictators.

  18. @Dann

    I left my reply for an arbitrary amount of time for no reason. Sorry about that.

    Anyway, you are obviously wrong. Hope that clears things up.

  19. @ Mark

    I compliment you on having a life so unencumbered that you might be so arbitrary in your delay. I look forward to joining your cadre in that regard.

    Cheers,
    Dann

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