Pixel Scroll 6/2/17 A Scroll May Not Injure or Insult a Filer Or, Through Inaction, Allow A Filer To Yawn

(1) DIAGNOSIS. David E. Pascoe’s post for Mad Genius Club, ‘“You Don’t Look So Good”, wonders if declining BEA attendance is symptomatic of the failing condition of traditional publishing. Wonders, or (perhaps) hopes, one or the other.

Look, nearly two decades ago, BEA had right at 30k attendees, all told, including industry professionals. By 2015, that had slipped to just a bit over 17k. I don’t care who you are, you can’t claim that your industry is healthy when the pre-eminent business gathering — the one where publishers make announcements about upcoming books, and where vendors make purchasing decisions for the year ahead, and where your special events include people of international profile (this year would be an Evening With Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’m crushed that my schedule wouldn’t allow) — has slipped in attendance by that much over not-quite a decade.

If these numbers are legitimate — and I’m taking them right off the pdf of the official BEA fliers they circulate — then tradpub is looking more than a little green around the gills. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the attendance at the major convention is a fair barometer for the general health of an industry. Sit down, tradpub. You aren’t looking so good.

(2) CLASSIC COVERS. Mark Terry’s Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC reproduces original book covers and offers them for sale. Click the link to search the “SciFi/Fantasy/Supernatural” category.

Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC had its beginnings in 1995 when I started making a few facsimiles solely for my own use. I had already been collecting books for some time, and found it discouraging that I would never be able to acquire many of the books I wanted in jacket. While building my own library, I had met many fellow collectors and was amazed at the remarkable jacket art I saw on their books. Because I had access to their collections, the idea of making my own jackets was conceived. Putting my computer and printing skills to use, I slowly began building a small assortment of jackets. Eventually, the results of my labor became popular enough to begin offering these facsimiles to others.

… As of September 2016, I have scanned over 50,000 different titles. If variants and duplicates are included, there are well over 70,000 jackets.

….Offering facsimiles dust jackets is how I support the Dust Jacket Archives project and is a way that everyone can have access to these great jackets. People order jackets for a variety of reasons. They’ve been used as props in plays or movies and for bibliographic resources. Occasionally, family members of the authors or artists have purchased them as well as publishers who wish to produce or reissue a book. I have had magazines order them to use in the stories they are running. However, these jackets are most commonly purchased by collectors who wish to protect their books with a quality facsimile, allowing them to enjoy the artwork they might otherwise have never see.

As far as I can tell, he never addresses the copyright issue, if there is one.

(3) TRULY ALIEN. Jeff VanderMeer tells interviewer Bence Pintèr why ‘“A giant flying elephant shrew would’ve been ridiculous” at Mandiner.Sci-fi.

One review highlighted the fact that your aliens are not familiar ones: they are as different from humans as possible. In your opinion which tells more about people? An alien which resembles them, or a monster which is totally different?

I think that was the New York Times Book Review. Yes, I was quite flattered and vindicated by that review because this is exactly my approach. To not make aliens or animals reflections of human beings, or not only that. If we’re supposed to be imaginative in our approach as fiction writers then we need to also imagine things that have nothing to do with human beings.

(4) FROM THE TREASURE VAULTS OF TIME. Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 89 (June 26-28) will put under the hammer some truly impressive pieces of entertainment history from Casablanca, The Twilight Zone, and Star Wars.

The Writers Guild of America rates Casablanca as the number one greatest screenplay of all time. We offer the most complete and historically significant working script and studio production material for Casablanca in existence. Offered alongside are the iconic original front entrance doors and hardware to Rick’s Café Américain, along with Moroccan decorative wooden screen, floor lamp and chairs that decorated the fabled set.

Of monumental importance, we offer the collection of original hand-typed and annotated stories and scripts from 17 episodes of The Twilight Zone — from the collection of legendary and highly influential genre writer Richard Matheson, including such memorable episodes as Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Nick of Time, and The Invaders.

And in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re offering some of the most important pieces ever offered, including an unprecedented complete film used ‘“R2-D2” unit — one of the most beloved characters in pop culture. To complement R2, we offer Mark Hamill’s hero ‘“Luke Skywalker” lightsaber from Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back from the collection of producer Gary Kurtz. Included are original conceptual artworks by Tom Jung used to create the posters for the original Star Wars trilogy.

(6) LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES. Thoraiya Dyer tells why she writes sff:

I find the heady power of writing speculative fiction incredibly addictive.

A non-fiction writer is allowed to say, ‘Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.’

A fiction writer is allowed to say, ‘Wellington felt the futility of man’s worldly struggles as he surveyed the battlefield at Waterloo.’

But a speculative fiction writer is allowed to say, ‘Wellington ordered his magician to bring the dead soldiers back to life,’ (Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell).

Or, ‘Time travel to Victorian England is OK, but you can’t go to the Battle of Waterloo because it’s a crisis point,’ (Connie Willis, To Say Nothing Of The Dog).

You can even say, with perfect aplomb, ‘Dragons were used with deadly force in the Napoleonic wars,’ (Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon).

How much more fun is that?

(7) STRETCH OUT, ME HEARTIES. The 2017 Fantastic Fiction at KGB Fundraiser hit its initial target. Now the hosts ask —

Can You Help Us Reach Our Stretch Goals? Thanks to the amazing support from the community, we’ve reached $4500, our minimal funding goal. However, we set this intentionally low, because Kickstarter does not pay the fundraising party unless the minimum goal is met. Our true goal is $9,000, which will let us run for six more years. Can you help us reach it?

For those who aren’t familiar with the event —

Fantastic Fiction at KGB is a monthly reading series hosted by Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel. It is held on the third Wednesday of every month at the famous KGB Bar in Manhattan. The reading series features luminaries and up-and-comers in speculative fiction. Admission is always free. The series brings together the greater New York community of writers, editors publishers, agents and fans into one location each month. We also publish a monthly podcast audio of the readings so people who cannot attend the physical event can still enjoy the readings. Additionally, we sell the authors’ books at the events (currently through Word Bookstore). Fantastic Fiction is a great place to hear and meet talented new and veteran authors, as well as make valuable connections and meet new friends.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 2, 2010 — Actor Patrick Stewart was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

(9) COMIC SECTION. John King Tarpinian recommends today’s Lio for its sci-fi movie reference.

(10) WORKING FOR PEANUTS. Atlas Obscura explains NASA’s Silver Snoopy awards:

Yes, NASA really does give out a prestigious award called the Silver Snoopy. But it isn’t given to astronauts.

Instead, astronauts give them to members of their various research and support staffs, in recognition of their contributions to the safety of the space program. Why Snoopy? Because in the 1960s, there was no one hotter.

In that decade, the popularity of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts characters were at an all-time high. The first animated special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, hit the airwaves at the end of 1965. Earlier that same year, the characters were featured on the cover of Time. In the Peanuts gang, and specifically in breakout star Snoopy, NASA saw a way to bring a beloved, smiling face to the space program at a time when it desperately needed one.

(11) GRRM & KSR. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for the Human Imagination has a new installment of its podcast, Into the Impossble, ‘“Episode 8: Fantastica, with George R.R. Martin and Kim Stanley Robinson”.

Science fiction and fantasy have gone from the sidelines to the mainstream. We bring you a live conversation between two of the field’s living legends, George R.R. Martin (‘“A Song of Ice and Fire,” adapted for television as Game of Thrones, the Wild Card series) and Kim Stanley Robinson (New York 2140, the Mars trilogy), discussing their careers, the history of fantastic literature, and how it shapes our imagination. They came to the Clarke Center in support of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop (clarion.ucsd.edu), the premiere training and proving ground for emerging writers, which the Clarke Center organizes each summer with the Clarion Foundation.

(12) ROWELL’S RUNAWAYS. Rainbow Rowell is one of my daughter’s favorite writers — I’ll have to see if she’s interested in this new Marvel comic, scheduled to be in shops this September.

They were just a normal group of teenagers, linked only by their wealthy parents’ annual business meeting…until a chance discovery revealed the shocking truth: their parents were secretly Super Villains! This discovery led these kids to run away and put them at odds with the people who raised them! Their parents are gone and the team is scattered across the Marvel Universe. This September, get ready to run again with Marvel’s favorite teen Super Heroes, Nico, Chase, Karolina, and Molly for an all-new comic book series, RUNAWAYS by award-winning author, Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) and Kris Anka (All-New X-Men, Star-Lord).

‘“The Runaways are down on their luck at the beginning of this story,€ said series writer Rainbow Rowell. ‘“I mean, a fair number of them are missing or dead… And the ones who are still standing feel lost. After their parents died in the original series, all they had was each other. What do they have now? Who are they on their own? This story brings the gang back together, but — in true RUNAWAYS fashion — probably not the way you’d expect.”

This new series kicks off when one original member does something drastic. ‘“Chase makes a huge mistake — and then immediately drags Nico into his mess,” continued Rowell. ‘“This whole arc explores what it actually means to be a Runaway. Are they a team? Are they a family? Do they have any reason to get back together?”

(13) THE TRALFAMADORIAN CREATOR. The Spring 2017 issue of UCI contains Gregory Benford’s close encounter — “Escorting Vonnegut”.

For decades, starting in the 1970s, I was UCI’s default escort for visitors and speakers a bit out of the ordinary. This usually meant science fiction writers with a large audience, though not always. I was an sf writer too, but with real-world credentials as a professor of physics, which some thought qualified me to mediate between the real and the imaginary.

The most striking writer I hosted, in the early 1990s, was Kurt Vonnegut.

The university leaders asked me to walk him around campus, have dinner with him and host his public talk in our largest center, where he drew well over 1,000 people. With his curly hair askew, deep red pouches under his eyes and rumpled clothes, he looked like a part-time philosophy professor, typically chain-smoking, coughs and wheezes dotting his speech.

To my surprise, he knew who I was. ‘“Sure, I’ve read – “ and he rattled off six of my titles, starting with Timescape and through my Galactic Center series, then incomplete. He was affable, interested in the campus, and wanted to talk about sf. ‘“I live in Manhattan and go to the literary parties, but I don’t read their books. I read just enough reviews to know what to say, then look enigmatic.” …

(14) HOW ALARMING. There’s now an official Welcome To Twin Peaks sign

The City of Snoqualmie has installed a permanent Welcome to Twin Peaks town sign at approximately 41471 SE Reinig Rd in Snoqualmie, WA, which is the backroad where David Lynch planted a similar fictional sign back in February 1989 to shoot Dale Cooper’s entrance into the town. Little did the original sign painter know his work would become an iconic piece of television history, and the inspiration for a permanent tribute 28 years later.

Unless they were in town around the same time as the Twin Peaks Festival, when Richard and Barbara Koefod usually and temporarily put up their own recreation of the sign, Twin Peaks fans visiting Snoqualmie had to imagine it, bring a print-out or their own portable version.

(15) HOLD THE APPERTAINMENT! Umm, I’m not seeing it. Or else that explains the notorious level of copyediting you see here at File 770 every day —

He’s arguing that the dollar sign counts as a word. But now we’re into the question of ‘“what do you say in your own head” when you see the symbol? I apprehend the dollar sign but I don’t mentally enunciate ‘“dollars” when I see it.

[Thanks to Bill, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Gregory Benford, Matthew Kressel, Bence Pintér, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern (slightly amended by OGH).]

80 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/2/17 A Scroll May Not Injure or Insult a Filer Or, Through Inaction, Allow A Filer To Yawn

  1. @Cora: Though I am a bit surprised that Book Expo America is so small compared to Frankfurt and Leipzig, since it always struck me as the biggest US book fair. Frankfurt and Leipzig are certainly closer to the center of population [mass] than NYC. I understand airfares are higher in Europe, but I suspect the average travel costs are a lot lower to get to either of these conventions. Add to this that NYC is horribly expensive (especially if you’re looking for accommodations near a convention site) and there are lots of reasons not to go to BEA. I also wonder whether the meetings you cite are more interesting to the general public than BEA (which I know almost nothing about but which sounds like it’s oriented more toward professionals — didn’t it used to be the American Booksellers Assn.?).

    @supergee: back when I was skydiving, I was amused when Parachutist reported winners in the spot-landing contest having cumulative scores of .05 centimeters….

  2. Gary McGath wrote a clever filk (ttto: Scarborough Fair) about Torpenhow Hill, based on the then-common wisdom that the name translated to Hill Hill Hill Hill. Alas, facts and reality shifted, leaving the work stranded in limbo (sort of like the Asimov mystery whose solution depended on Mercury keeping the same side toward the sun all the time: in reissuing it, he noted the circumstance but declined to play along with the scientists and their little caprices).

  3. I’ve just watched a Falcon 9 lift off from the “Historic” (There’s a suspicion that the contract SpaceX signed for the pad makes use of that word compulsory) LC39A, the first stage touch down a bit along the coast at ZL-1 about 9 minutes later over the internet, then nipped out into my back garden and watched the Dragon capsule, second stage, and covers from the solar arrays fly over Cambridge in formation. Still no flying cars or fusion, but some things are becoming real.

    And “River Avon”.

  4. Pendle Hill is only slightly less redundant than Torpenhow Hill, though Wikipedia claims that the latter quadruple tautology is a fiction (the addition of “hill” is spurious), so the two are actually equivalent.

  5. First of all, IANAL, and especially, not a lawyer specializing in copyright. Having said that, I suspect scanning and giving away dust jackets for free would probably fall under fair use. He’s not doing that, it’s a commercial venture, so it’s not clear to me whether he’s violating an artist’s copyright, or a publisher’s copyright, depending on how the publisher purchased the rights to any cover art (i.e., is it a work for hire, in which case the artist has no further copyright claims). Furthermore, if a book is published in 1950, and the author renewed it in 1978, the author is renewing the copyright on the text, not the accompanying dust jacket, which is the publisher’s material. So, if it’s from before 1964, it’s probably public domain because the publisher wouldn’t bother to renew a copyright on a dust jacket if they don’t have rights to publish the book, but I don’t know how to verify it. Post 1964, it’s probably in copyright until publication date + 95 years. I still maintain that while he’s violating copyright for post 1963 dust jackets, and might be violating artist copyrights for pre 1964 dust jackets, he’s gambling that publishers are not going to bother to sue him for violating their copyright if they no longer have the rights to print the book, and that is probably a pretty safe bet.

    As to Paul Linebarger/Cordwainer Smith, I made a mistake. The Stanford Library copyright renewal database is only for renewals through 1977, which means that it’s only good for checking works published prior to 1950, for works published between 1950 and 1963, the copyright offfice’s database is used, and I forgot to check it. Sorry for the inaccurate post I haven’t looked up copyright renewals for Project Gutenberg requests in a few years, and I forgot about it.

  6. “Milliard,” or some variation, is still in use for 10^9 in most continental European languages. OTOH, I’m not aware of any place where 10^15 is called a “billiard.”

    Both milliard (well, “Milliarde”) and billiard are German usage, though billiard is comparatively rare, since few people have to deal with numbers that big.

    The progression is million –> milliard –> billiion –> billiard –> trillion –> trilliard

    @ChipHitchcock
    The Frankfurt Book Fair is also the biggest publishing industry event in the world. More than 100000 of all visitors are industry visitors and indeed the fair is industry visitors only on all but two days. However, there are signings, reading, etc… and it is absolutely packed during the two public days. You can even book bus trips to go to Book Fair during the public days. And while Frankfurt literally has an airport next door, accomodation is pricey, particularly at Book Fair time. Though the redlight district complains about lower than usual business during Book Fair, because apparently Book Fair attendants are less likely than attendants of other trade fair to visit prostitutes.

    The Leipzig Book Fair is more geared towards general visitors and offers a lot of readings all through the city and in neighbouring towns plus the manga con, but it is also an industry event. Leipzig also has an airport next door (at least until the Avengers trashed it in Captain America: Civil War), though accomodation is cheaper there.

    Both fairs date back to the 17th century (and they were always book fairs and always rivals) and both are huge events with a lot of media coverage, special Book Fair reports and author interviews on TV, etc… I have never been to Frankfurt Book Fair, but I have been to Leipzig’s, because I have family there, and it’s huge. Heaven for readers.

    BTW: During the Communist era, Leipzig Book Fair was one of the few opportunities for East Germans to get their hands on western books that were banned in East Germany. Theft was apparently rampant and one author even went as far as to complain that the West German exhibitors didn’t have the books he wanted to steal, just “some crap about forests dying”. this would have been in the 1980s.

  7. Joe H: I use Kindle Unlimited a lot. I turn over my ten slots regularly, and end up purchasing a third to a half of what I read via KU.

  8. Be aware that there’s some questions about those runs of Omni. While the nonfiction seems to have been often work for hire, I don’t believe that’s true of the fiction, and I also don’t think they’re paying the writers of that fiction. At least, they have not replied to repeated and increasingly pointed queries on my part about it. I’ve asked affected fiction writers to mail me if they know their work has been stolen by these folk.

  9. In the brave new world of the future the big publishers have collapsed taking down bookstores large and small with them. With no place left to turn all authors become indie authors and create elaborate bookmobiles with which to carve out territory and fight off other authors in their bookmobiles. Can the authors survive fighting off the Patterson Ghost Writer army who slave away for Immortan Jim? Or escape the clutches of the library late fee Collectors? Will they make it in time to deliver their works to the hallowed halls of Amazon Top Reviewers? Man the word cannons, hoist the page sails and stay tuned.

    I’d read that.

  10. As for dust jackets, it’s clearly not fair use.

    But while the artists may have, in some cases, regained (or retained) copyright to their artwork as a separate element, I would bet that the copyright in the designed jacket, with the trade dress in place and those particular fonts and ya de de da, belongs to the publisher.

    And I’d bet the publishers don’t care, because it’s no skin off their nose. If they got into the business of supplying new dust jackets for old books, they’d object, but since they’re not, they probably think it’s a nice service to readers and collectors.

    It’s almost certainly a “Don’t come into the office and wave them in the faces of our legal department, and we won’t have to do anything about it” sort of infringement.

  11. @kurt: I think the real future is AI authors on our phones that produce what we like when we want it. We will automate authors out of careers

  12. From what I recall, if a story from a magazine was published in a book while the story was still under copyright, and that book had its copyright renewed, then the story is renewed as well, even if the original author didn’t renew the copyright on the individual story. “Scanners Live in Vain” was heavily anthologized, including being in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, which had its copyright renewed.

  13. @Cora: Though the redlight district complains about lower than usual business during Book Fair, because apparently Book Fair attendants are less likely than attendants of other trade fair to visit prostitutes. Sounds like the 1976 Worldcon, which followed the Republicans and the Knights of Columbus in downtown Kansas City. (A raffish area at the time; I recall a onehanded-book store next to the gyros place that fed me cheaply that weekend.) The first locals I saw on the way in appeared to be arguing over whose street corner they were standing on.

    A question on the discussion of copyright on covers: how often did artists of the time separate the rights, instead of selling everything to the publisher (for those artists who weren’t doing outright work-for-hire)?

  14. (11) I don’t really listen to podcasts, but that was fun, and “Into the Impossible” in general looks very interesting.

  15. @Rev. Bob: I have used the Marvel opportunity to buy a shitload of the recent Spider-based comics 😀

  16. @von Dimpleheimer: From what I recall of a case or two with Project Gutenberg, if a shorter work is incorporated into a longer work like a novel, and the novel is copyrighted and renewed, then the story is renewed. PG pulled a few stories where the story was in a magazine, not renewed, and then was incorporated into a novel which was renewed. I don’t know if that rule applies to a single author collection, but I’m pretty sure that the copyright on a multi-author anthology that is not a work for hire only applies to editorial content, works for hire, and the choice of work in the collection, not the individual stories. See this article for discussion.

  17. 15) IMO the dollar sign needs to go away. Either $1,000,000 or 1 million dollars, and for an advertising billboard you want the version with it spelled out.

    On a song I’m familiar with, I’ll back myself to beat SHAZAM at 70% or better. And I say that even though I love SHAZAM and it was the very first app I installed the day I got my first smartphone.

    @ Rev. Bob: As long as we’re being nitpicky about stuff, it’s “supersede”. You’d think it would be “supercede” by analogy to “precede”, but sadly not so. Don’t feel bad, though — I only learned that a few years ago myself, by way of one of the spelling threads on Making Light.

    @ Andrew: And a mere 50 years later, there are now over 7 thousand million. Which is the cause of many of our problems.

  18. @ Kurt: On a totally unrelated topic, who should we contact at DC or Marvel if we should happen to run into the sleazeball we saw at Space City Con again? He was running one of those “enter our sweepstakes for $BIG_PRIZE!” scams that are really only collecting contact info to be sold to other scammers, but the “prize” in this particular instance was a “Batman 4-wheeler” that was nothing but a stock model with a few Batman logo stickers on it, and if it was licensed I’ll eat my hat. We’d have happily dropped a dime on him, but we don’t know how to reach DC Legal on a weekend. It suddenly occurred to me that you’d be a good person to ask.

  19. @Oneiros: (recent Spider-trades)

    Watch out for one scheduling goof. For some inexplicable reason, the two Spider-Gwen issues that precede her part of the Miles/Gwen crossover trade are in Spider-Gwen V3: Long Distance, which won’t be released until July. Amazon’s description of the SG paperback’s contents say it contains issues 14-18, but my info says 14-15 (with 16-18 in the crossover book) plus the Spider-Gwen and New Wolverine annuals. So hold off on reading the crossover until you get V3.

    No, I have no idea why the New Wolverine annual is part of that collection. Hopefully Gwen’s in it. 🙂

    I picked up the first Old Man Logan trade from the new series – in which he appears in the post-Secret Wars Marvel universe and thinks he’s been sent back in time. Not bad for a buck eighty, and adding the old Giant-Size issue for context is a nice touch, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series.

    OTOH, The Unbelievable Gwenpool reminds me in good ways of John Byrne’s run on Sensational She-Hulk, but with less fourth-wall breaking and much more lighthearted killing. I mean, she does know she’s a character in a comic book, but she doesn’t talk to the writer or anything like that. It’s more of a big dose of Genre Savvy that gets entertaining when people try to figure out how on Earth she knows their secrets. (She read the comics, of course!) It’ll be interesting to see what happens to her in a couple of years or so, after the next world-shattering event makes her “inside knowledge” stale.

    In other news, my copy of Logan finally arrived, so I’ll probably watch that and the new episodes of Doctor Who and Class tomorrow. (I don’t watch ’em as they air because my provider doesn’t carry BBC America in HD… but once they hit On Demand, I can watch the HD versions there. Very weird.)

    ETA, @Lee: I have had far too little sleep to be concerned with “super(s/c)ede” at the moment, but I’ll try to remember to remind myself to look into that.

  20. @Rev. Bob: it’s gonna take me a while to get to it anyway but I’ll try to remember not to read the crossover before vol 3 of Spider-Gwen 🙂

  21. @ Rev. Bob

    Thanks a ton for mentioning the Marvel Meredith Moment. While I am primarily a DC person, I did scoop up all the Doctor Strange Masterworks for around $4 each. And then earned a credit for a *free* digital graphic novel from Marvel, which I spent on Marvels (the Alec Ross book).

  22. @Rob Thornton: Surely Kurt Busiek deserves at least as much credit as Alex ross?

    @Rev. Bob: It literally means “sit above”: Latin “super sedere”.

  23. @David Goldfarb

    Indeed. That was a definite oversight on my part. My apologies to Kurt.

  24. @Lee: Did you try searching their web page for some sort of contact email? I think even if you had a phone number, Legal doesn’t work weekends. I ratted out some scammer that way to Marvel a while back.

  25. Yeah, I did about the same thing, and made the same choice of freebie. As fate (and Amazon’s mysterious workings) would have it, Marvels is the only one I’ve been able to download to my computer. The rest want to be sent to Kindles that haven’t even been turned on in the past two years. I just want to put them on my drive. Fk ‘clouds.’

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