Pixel Scroll 10/11/17 A Scrolling, OverCommenting, Tin-Pixeled Fifth-tator With Delusions Of Godstalkhood

(1) WHAT DID HE SAY? Scott Edelman hopes you will eavesdrop on his breakfast with the award-winning Chen Qiufan in Episode 49 of Eating the Fantastic.

Chen Qiufan

Chen Qiufan has published more thirty stories in venues such as Science Fiction World, Esquire, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Interzone, and F&SF. His 2013 debut novel, The Waste Tide, was praised by Liu Cixin as “the pinnacle of near-future SF writing.” He’s the most widely translated young writer of science fiction in China. He has won Taiwan’s Dragon Fantasy Award, China’s Galaxy and Nebula Awards, and a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award with Ken Liu.

We discussed why his favorite character from all of science fiction is Mr. Spock, what kept him going during the seven years between the sales of his first and second stories, the reasons H. G. Wells is a genius, why he believes science fiction is the greatest realism, the differences in reading protocols between Chinese and non-Chinese readers, why he hopes his own upcoming science fiction movie will defy his prediction there’ll be many bad SF movies to come in Chinese cinema, and more.

(2) SPACE AGING. Every TV viewer has heard about the problems of overweight – it turns out being weightless isn’t good for your health, either. The Brisbane Times has the story: “Astronaut Scott Kelly on the devastating effects of a year in space”.

I make it to my bedroom without incident and close the door behind me. Every part of my body hurts. All my joints and all of my muscles are protesting the crushing pressure of gravity. I’m also nauseated, though I haven’t thrown up. I strip off my clothes and get into bed, relishing the feeling of sheets, the light pressure of the blanket over me, the fluff of the pillow under my head.

All these are things I’ve missed dearly for the past year. I can hear the happy chatter of my family behind the door, voices I haven’t heard for a long time without the distortion of phones bouncing signals off satellites. I drift off to sleep to the comforting sound of their talking and laughing.

A crack of light wakes me: Is it morning? No, it’s just Amiko coming to bed. I’ve only been asleep for a couple of hours but I feel delirious. It’s a struggle to come to consciousness enough to move, to tell her how awful I feel. I’m seriously nauseated now, feverish, and my pain has gotten worse. This isn’t like how I felt after my last mission. This is much, much worse.

Kelly’s article ends with a comment about prospects for an interplanetary mission.

…I also know that if we want to go to Mars, it will be very, very difficult, it will cost a great deal of money and it may likely cost human lives. But I know now that if we decide to do it, we can.

(3) INDIES ADMITTED. SFWA President Cat Rambo, in “SFWA and Independent Writers, Part Three: Launches and Lurches”, continues her four-part series about the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s decision to admit independently published writers.

Some statistics for the number-minded:

  • We admitted twelve new members in that first wave, and there’s been a steady influx since. At the same time, existing members that had independent published experience felt more empowered to step forward and share their knowledge.
  • According to the recent membership survey, 14.10% of the current membership identifies as indie, with another 37.57% considering themselves hybrid.
  • Only a small percentage (less than 5%) derives more than 50% of their income from crowdfunding.

All My Expectations of Indie SFWA Members Confirmed As I and others had argued repeatedly, the change did not result in an influx of unqualified, affluent hobbyists trying to buy their way into SFWA, and we could, finally, put that particular straw man to rest and play taps while other straw folk were being assembled in the background.

As you can see by the numbers, it wasn’t a massive surge, but a solid number. For some people it was part of a lifelong dream. For others, it was a cautious exploration of just what SFWA had to offer them. More than anything else, these were pragmatic, working writers. In a thread on the discussion boards, people began to share their sales number in a revelatory and instructive way that emphasized what a smart move for SFWA this had been. I still insist one of the smartest moves that happened during my time with the board.

The balance of the post discusses specific ways that indie members benefit from SFWA membership. It ends with hints about a forthcoming awards-oriented project….

Next time, in Part Four (the final one) — what does the future hold in store? Includes talking about data from the recent SFWA member survey as well as revelation of at least one cool project designed to help people reading novels for all yearly awards, including the Nebulas, Hugos, Dragon, World Fantasy, among others. *cue mysterious music and exit*

(4) LIBRARIES ENJOY COPYRIGHT EXCEPTION. The Internet Archive reports “Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated!”

The Internet Archive is now leveraging a little known, and perhaps never used, provision of US copyright law, Section 108h, which allows libraries to scan and make available materials published 1923 to 1941 if they are not being actively sold….

If the Founding Fathers had their way, almost all works from the 20th century would be public domain by now (14-year copyright term, renewable once if you took extra actions).

Some corporations saw adding works to the public domain to be a problem, and when Sonny Bono got elected to the House of Representatives, representing part of Los Angeles, he helped push through a law extending copyright’s duration another 20 years to keep things locked-up back to 1923.  This has been called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act due to one of the motivators behind the law, but it was also a result of Europe extending copyright terms an additional twenty years first. If not for this law, works from 1923 and beyond would have been in the public domain decades ago….

But there is an exemption from this extension of copyright, but only for libraries and only for works that are not actively for sale — we can scan them and make them available. Professor Townsend Gard had two legal interns work with the Internet Archive last summer to find how we can automate finding appropriate scanned books that could be liberated, and hand-vetted the first books for the collection. Professor Townsend Gard has just released an in-depth paper giving libraries guidance as to how to implement Section 108(h) based on her work with the Archive and other libraries. Together, we have called them “Last Twenty” Collections, as libraries and archives can copy and distribute to the general public qualified works in the last twenty years of their copyright….

(5) FROM PAGE TO SCREEN. Paste Magazine listed “The 25 Best Comic Book TV Shows of All Time (Live-Action)” – how do their picks line up with yours?

The trend shows no signs of slowing—we count at least 20 shows from DC and Marvel alone, including such ambitious projects as a Damon Lindelof-helmed Watchmen on HBO, the long-awaited Y: The Last Man series on FX, The Punisher spinoff on Netflix and Hulu’s Runaways, whose pilot screening hooked me enough to at least keep watching. This list may look a lot different in a few years.

Number six is the Adam West/Burt Ward Batman series of the Sixties.

(6) LACE OBIT. The SFWA Blog reports the organization’s former secretary (2002-2003) ElizaBeth A. Gilligan (Lace) died October 9 after a battle with cancer.

Gilligan published her first short story, Evolution,” in 1990 and began writing as a columnist for Midnight Zoo in 1991.

Subsequent short stories appeared in Witch FantasticSword and SorceressBlack Gate, and other anthologies.  Her story “Iron Joan” made the Nebula preliminary ballot in 2002.  Gilligan’s Silken Magic trilogy was published by DAW Books, with the first volume, Magic’s Silken Snare, appearing in 2003 and the second volume The Silken Shroud showing up the next year.

The final volume, Sovereign Silk, was delayed until earlier this year due to chronic illness.  She edited the anthology Alterna-Teas in 2016….

SFWA President Cat Rambo said, “I had the pleasure with working with Beth as a volunteer the past couple of years and got a chance to interact with her in person at the Spokane Worldcon. This year has had a lot of losses; this one hits particularly hard.”

Locus Online says she is survived by her husband Douglas (married 1982), their two children, and two grandchildren.

Tom Whitmore, one of the fans who forwarded the story, added “She was a remarkably nice person, and a really good panelist at the cons I saw her at.”

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • October 11, 1984 — Space Shuttle astronaut, Kathy Sullivan, became the first American woman to walk in space.

(8) COMICS SECTION.

John King Tarpinian selected this one for Filers who are not fans of Twilight The Argyle Sweater.

(9) ICONOCLASTIC INFUNDIBULUM. It’s said: “You can pick your friends. You can pick your nose. But you can’t pick your friends’ noses.” John Scalzi disagrees —

(10) A COMING ATTRACTION. Disney theme parks will be offering a pioneer VR adventure, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire – ILMxLAB and The VOID – Immersive Entertainment Experience

A galaxy far, far away needs your help. In teams of four, be transported with family and friends in a brand new hyper-reality experience from Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID. Under the orders of the budding rebellion, your team will travel to the molten planet of Mustafar. Your mission is to recover Imperial intelligence vital to the rebellion’s survival. Alongside the pragmatic droid K-2S0, your team must navigate through an enemy facility walking into danger at every turn. Disguised as stormtroopers, grab your blaster, solve puzzles, and fight giant lava monsters in an effort to fulfill your team’s orders. Pushing the boundaries of location-based virtual reality, The VOID and ILMxLAB bring the Star Wars universe to life through a multi-sensory, untethered story. See Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire only on location at Disney Springs in Orlando, FL, and Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA – coming this winter.

 

(11) OPEN AND CLOSED. David Steffen’s SFWA Market Report for October tells the changing status of many sff magazines and publishing projects.

(12) WHAT’S THE MATTER? New Scientist says “Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found”.

The missing links between galaxies have finally been found. This is the first detection of the roughly half of the normal matter in our universe – protons, neutrons and electrons – unaccounted for by previous observations of stars, galaxies and other bright objects in space.

You have probably heard about the hunt for dark matter, a mysterious substance thought to permeate the universe, the effects of which we can see through its gravitational pull. But our models of the universe also say there should be about twice as much ordinary matter out there, compared with what we have observed so far.

Two separate teams found the missing matter – made of particles called baryons rather than dark matter – linking galaxies together through filaments of hot, diffuse gas.

(13) MONEY ROLLS IN FOR ALTHERO. “AltHero raises $100k to fight social justice in comics,” says the subject line of an emailed press release, which sounds about right.

Vox Day’s crowdsourced appeal on the Freestartr platform to fund his new comics line has raised $102,156.00 from 1,133 backers, more than 4 times its original $25,000 goal. The appeal runs for another 18 days.

After reaching its initial funding goal in only four hours, a new right-wing comic series, Alt*Hero, exceeded the rare $100,000 mark in just 12 days, with more than 1,000 backers signing on to help the alternative comic wage cultural war on the social justice-converged comic duopoly of Marvel and DC Comics. It is being written by prolific Marvel and DC Comics veteran writer Chuck Dixon and six-time Hugo Award Finalist Vox Day.

The press release makes a point of quoting derogatory remarks about the appeal to motivate donations from culture warriors on the right.

…The reaction to the announcement of Alt*Hero was decidedly mixed. While support has been strong on the right side of the ideological spectrum, left-wing comics fans denounced the new comic on Twitter and other social media platforms. “As awful as you’d expect,” reported LGBTQ Nation. “Vox Day is literally to the right of Genghis Khan, with two feet planted firmly in the Reichstag… the type of punk-ass feeb whose jaw Batman was born to break,” declared Jason Yungbluth, a cartoonist for MAD Magazine.

(14) MEANWHILE, BACK IN SJW LAND. No money in it, but some good laughs for those of you who enjoy stories of mistaken SJW credential identity.

(15) MILEHICON. The 49th annual MileHiCon takes place at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center from October 27-29. More than 100 science fiction/fantasy/horror authors, artists and other speakers will participate. MileHiCon’s guests of honor include authors Eric Flint, Jane Lindskold, and artist Carrie Ann Baade. Local author Jason Heller will preside as toastmaster.

  • The largest SF/fantasy art show and auction in Colorado
  • Round-the-clock gaming
  • Vendors room full of science fiction, fantasy and horror-related items
  • CosPlay (costume) contest
  • Critter Crunch (robotic sumo wrestling)
  • Mass author autograph session with over 60 authors participating (no extra fees)
  • Literacy Auction with hundreds of donated items. All proceeds donated to a Denver based charity literacy program.
  • During the weekend over 200 different programs will be offered on subjects ranging from Writing * Publishing * Artist demonstrations * Hands-on Workshops * Science presentations * Autograph sessions * Kids’ programming * Costuming * Gaming * and much more!

A three-day membership will be $48 at the door. Full weekend memberships can also be purchased in advance at https://milehicon49.planningpod.com/.

(16) TAG TEAM ROBOTS. Pacific Rim Uprising trailer. In theaters March 23.

(17) MOUNT TBR CALLING. Broaden your horizons: “The great writers forgotten by history” at the BBC is a discussion of The Book of Forgotten Authors, by sometime-genre author Christopher Fowler.

What do Agatha Christie’s favourite mystery novelist, the winner of the 1973 Booker Prize, and a writer who reputedly bashed out 100 million words, creating an archetypal schoolboy antihero along the way, have in common?

The answer will cause even the most successful author’s ego to wilt a little. Despite enjoying ample sales and plentiful esteem in their lifetimes, the names of this formerly starry trio – Elizabeth Daly, JG Farrell, and Billy-Bunter-creator Charles Hamilton (pen name Frank Richards) – are today largely unknown, their works under-read or out of print altogether. Now, they’re among the figures filling a thought-provoking new guide, The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler.

(18) BEFORE ALAN TURING. The BBC celebrated Ada Lovelace Day (October 10) with a look at “The female code-breakers who were left out of history books”.

According to some of the researchers and writers who have revealed these stories, along with setting the record straight, there is an opportunity to encourage the technically gifted women of today.

Fagone points to the controversial discussions of whether women can equal men in certain fields, such as mathematics or computer programming.

“There are all these debates – is there a biological difference?” he says.

“We don’t need to have that debate because we have the history – when you go to the history, women have been there, they’ve been doing this work all along.”

(19) TEST YOUR BUDS. Identify the flavor and you have a chance to win big money.

OREO has launched a brand new cookie with an exciting twist that will put its fans taste buds to the ultimate test.

Cookie lovers across the U.S. who correctly guess the flavor of the new Mystery OREO Cookies can enter for a chance to win $50,000.

John King Tarpinian’s guess is, “Broccoli!”

(20) ELECTRIC DREAMS TRAILER. Amazon Video is bringing out a 10-episode series, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.

[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman, Dave Doering, Carl Slaughter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Alan Baumler, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Rambo, Tom Whitmore, Joel Zakem, Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

66 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/11/17 A Scrolling, OverCommenting, Tin-Pixeled Fifth-tator With Delusions Of Godstalkhood

  1. Rife? If you know of any pirated works there, let them know. They are a registered non-profit, licensed as a proper library, affiliated with the Smithsonian, with professional curators. They take such claims seriously.

    I was a book scanner with the Internet Archive for five years (you can see my statue in one of the background shots of this documentary), and never once did my project scan anything that wasn’t either a) public domain (we had staff whose entire job was to check that stuff) or b) at the request of the copyright holder. That being said, there was more than one book scanning project on the go, and the logistics of sorting out copyright were left to *extremely* low paid employees, so who knows what sort of oversight happened at other centres or in other projects? I had heard that there was one project where the Archive was buying and storing physical copies of all the books it was scanning because of some sort of digital lending legal precedent that required them to own copies of the physical books, but that wasn’t my project and I have no idea what or who was involved in it. It was also more than five years ago. Things may have changed.

    Our scanning centre in Toronto, with a staff of close to 70, did more than half the total work for our project, despite it involving five scanning centres on three continents, and our boss was an intense micromanager who also believed whole-heartedly in the project of creating a free online library of public domain books. He would not have allowed anything to go through that shouldn’t have gone through. That being said, despite having a daily quota of about 3,000 pages, those of us in Canada had it better than at other centres because our labour laws are much more worker-protection-oriented than California, China, and other places that had scanning centres. We got paid better and we had a single-payer health care system, etc. Employees who feel they aren’t being taken care of will often not do the best job, ya know?

  2. Rife? If you know of any pirated works there, let them know. They are a registered non-profit, licensed as a proper library, affiliated with the Smithsonian, with professional curators. They take such claims seriously

    Here is a large number of them. (While manga publishers don’t seem to go at scanslaters aggressively enough to get sites taken down, it still counts as pirated material.) And related to recent kerfuffling, I doubt that NBC has given permission to post Amazing Stories.

    “Rife” probably isn’t an inappropriate description.

  3. The fact that a lot of illegal manga sites exist does not mean the Archive’s collection is illegal manga. Though if you’re truly concerned, the curator for that section is Jason Scott, who I believe can be reached at jason_scott at archive.org. But the very fact that they have an entire manga section strongly suggests that they have permission to distribute at least some of that. They are, as mentioned before, an actual library, in every relevant legal sense. And they have a huge collection of works which have to be checked out, temporarily, just like your local library. Including manga, like this issue of Neon Genesis Evagelion (which is currently checked out, as I type, so I can’t read it).

    As for Amazing Stories, copyright and trademark are unrelated topics. And again, actual library, affiliated with the Smithsonian. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to learn they have permission for these. It’s the name that NBC is concerned with, not these ancient episodes.

    I can think of dozens of reasons why NBC might have given them to host those episodes. (Most obviously would be in the hopes of creating interest in the new version they’re planning.) I don’t know for sure if or why, but given the way the Archive operates, and what it is, I find those possibilities far more likely than the idea that the Archive just blindly decided to post them without permission. It’s not impossible. It just seems extremely unlikely, given their normal care wrt copyright.

  4. The fact that a lot of illegal manga sites exist does not mean the Archive’s collection is illegal manga.

    No, the fact that these are illegal manga means that the Archive’s collection is illegal manga. These are scanslations, nothing ambiguous about that.

    Though if you’re truly concerned, the curator for that section is Jason Scott

    I’m not concerned–I’m just not willfully ignorant.

  5. The fact that 99.99…% of all fan-made scanlations are illegal does not mean the ones on the Archive are. 99.99…% of all music taped off the radio is illegal to redistribute, but the Archive has this fan-made off-the-air recording of Warren Zevon from 1976 which is perfectly legal because Zevon’s estate gave them permission to host it.

    If you don’t know the background, though, that would certainly look like an illegal bootleg.

    I’m not saying I know that their manga section is 100% legal. It might not be. But I would find it odd, since they’re normally so careful that they don’t even include Phish in their live concert recording sections, because, even though Phish openly allows fans to record shows, they haven’t explicitly given the Archive permission to host recordings.

  6. The fact that 99.99…% of all fan-made scanlations are illegal does not mean the ones on the Archive are.

    You are really, really, really grasping at straws. Browse the manga library. You will find a large percentage of them are scanslations from a smorgasbord of scanslation groups. Archive.org. Is. Hosting. Pirated. Content.

  7. No, the fact that most manga sites are illegal does not mean that the manga maintained by an actual library, a 501(c)(3) literary foundation supported by a variety of well-funded and well-respected foundations and organizations linked to here and including the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Federal Communications Commission Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) is likely to be illegal.

    But then, there are people who still think the high school page who shelves the books in their public library is a “librarian,” and are utterly ignorant of the fact that we are a profession with strong professional and ethical standards.

    Unlike, you know, some other professions and occupations.

    If you have some evidence for your accusations against the Internet Archive, please, feel free to offer it.

    Or contact them and ask your questions.

    And no, your comments so far are not evidence, much less actual proof, that they do not have the permission of the copyright holders.

  8. If you have some evidence for your accusations against the Internet Archive, please, feel free to offer it.

    I’m a massive manga pirate. I’ve got tons and tons and tons of it that I’ve downloaded from various sites. I’m not getting high and mighty about it. Just point out facts. For instance, how about this example scanslation, with the cover saying:

    “This chapter is only to be read online at Batoto. Please do not host it on any other manga aggregator websites, such as Mangafox, Mangahere, Mangareader, and many more sites who do not respect scanlators policy/wishes! Well, idiots will never read and abide this though ‘sigh'”

    Xtifr is wrong on this and you are wrong on this.

  9. Here is another good example (out of many–I’m just browsing through a small percentage of the thousands of files in the archive.) And note the rant on this one. These aren’t official releases, these are manga from a variety of publishers scanslated by a variety of fans that have been uploaded to the Internet Archive without modification, not even removing the notices, recruitment ads, and rants from the various scanslation groups. These were simply lifted from some manga reader site or another (with no “borrowing” and no limitations–you can download any of these.)

  10. Yeah, okay, I’m totally going to take the word of an admitted pirate over people who are not just members of my profession, but also have to justify themselves to a variety of widely respected and widely watched foundations, as well as the fucking FCC in order to fund their activities. Totally.

    Or, you know, maybe not.

  11. Darren, I think the problem is that you are conflating two things that are in fact separate: where the material came from, and whether or not the Archive has permission.

    You’re looking at where the material came from, and operating from the unexamined assumption that the Archive didn’t bother to take the material uploaded to them, approach the copyright holders, and ask for permission to use it.

    It hasn’t even occurred to you that the copyright holders might see their interests differently than you do.

  12. It hasn’t even occurred to you that the copyright holders might see their interests differently than you do.

    But what about instances (as with scanslations) where fans have taken the original material and modified it substantially? What these manga are are chapters that have been taken from weekly/monthly manga magazines or collected volumes, scanned into digital files, fan translated from Japanese into English, and all of the Japanese text erased and replaced it with English text (very often having to do substantial redrawing of the images in instances where the text is outside speech bubbles.) The scanslation teams then may add pages of translation notes, advertisements for their teams, requests for new members, and randomish rants. THESE are the versions that are found on archive.org a chapter at a time, NOT the original version in the original language (though some complete volumes I see posted are from offical American translation publishers, such as Tokyopop.) Do you think that the original copyright holders are endorsing those fan translations? Jason Scott has made 386,688 uploads to Archive.org. Do you think that he has vetted all of them?

  13. Jason Scott is not the entirety of the Internet Archive, or even the Manga section. He’s just where you should start if you really cared about these questions, rather than being engaged in self-justification. They have staff whose jobs are trying to ensure that they don’t violate copyright. I’m not going to guarantee that they have overlooked nothing and that they’ve made no mistakes at all. I am, however, very confident that they’ve made few mistakes and have engaged in zero intentional piracy. Also that if they have made mistakes, they’d like to know about them so they can correct them.

  14. Furthermore, “edited by fans” is not an issue if they have blanket permission. For example, they have blanket permission for any unreleased Warren Zevon live recordings. But they don’t have access to the Zevon Family vaults. Which is why they have a recording some fan made off the radio back in the seventies, and which the fan then edited before uploading. (To remove the interviews, and just keep the music.) Likewise, they have recordings made with crappy portable tape decks that fans snuck into concert venues. Illegal at the time the recording was made, but perfectly legal now because of the Archive’s blanket permissions.

  15. I am, however, very confident that they’ve made few mistakes and have engaged in zero intentional piracy. Also that if they have made mistakes, they’d like to know about them so they can correct them.

    Okay, here’s one. Note the small handful of Tokyopop titles officially available at archive.org. Each of them have the “check out” button. This is the only volume of Aria available, volume 1. It says that I can download it for 14 days, and that I have 0 out of 5 books on loan. It is offered in encrypted, DRMed forms.

    Here is every volume of Aria in the big archive I’ve been talking about. Here is the same volume 1, but with no “borrowing” needed, no DRM, and more formats offered including torrents.

    Here is–I suppose–where you are going to tell me that Tokyopop gave Archive.org permission to have both a limited “check out” version of volume 1 and completely free, completely unlimited availability of every volume in a different folder. Or maybe it is where you tell me that Archive.org doesn’t know about all the terrible piracy, and would of course have done something about it if they knew. (Captain Archive: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that piracy is going on in here!”)

  16. Jesus–at this rate I’m ready to email Jason Scott just to put an end to it.
    Darren, I don’t know if this was your intent but you’re now that guy– the guy who argues just to hear your head roar. Why don’t you just post “You’re wrong; you’re wrong; you’re wrong”. Since you don’t really have a problem with pirated works.
    Also, I’ve uploaded stuff there and so has a friend of mine. Mostly programs and early gay mags from the 70s (not porn–programs like the Gay Olympics or a Village People tour and magazines like a 1976 issue of Magnus–a journal of collective faggotry) because we’re getting older and we wanted to make sure that they were preserved somewhere.

    You, yourself, could upload all your pirated manga. Would that make Archive.org responsible?

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