Pixel Scroll 12/6/17 Pixels Came Naturally From Paris, For Scrolls She Couldn’t Care Less

(1) MANIFESTO. Charles Payseur’s thought-provoking tweets about reviewing begin here —

Some of the points he makes include —

(2) THIS IS HORROR AWARDS. Public nominations are now open for the seventh annual This Is Horror Awards.  Click on the link for eligibility and other information: “This Is Horror Awards 2017: Public Nominations Are Open”. Here are the categories:

  • Novel of the Year
  • Novella of the Year
  • Short Story Collection of the Year
  • Anthology of the Year
  • Fiction Magazine of the Year
  • Publisher of the Year
  • Fiction Podcast of the Year
  • Nonfiction Podcast of the Year

Public nominations close at 12:01 a.m. PST on 22 December 2017. 

(3) DUFF. Yesterday’s announcement that they’re looking for Down Under Fan Fund candidates included a statement that the delegate will go to the Worldcon “or another major convention in North America in 2018.” I asked Paul Weimer, is that a change? Paul replied —

The intention for this is two fold–one to provide, in future years for situations in years where Worldcon is not in North America (if the 2020 NZ bid wins, for example, this will be an issue), and also to provide for the possibility that the winning delegate wants to focus on, say, Cancon, or another major SF con in the United States.

We expect that its almost certain that any winning delegate will want to go to Worldcon, but this provides flexibility in that regard.

(4) GREAT FANZINE. Australian faned Bruce Gillespie has released a new 90,000-word issue of SF Commentary. Download from eFanzines:

Cover by Ditmar (Dick Jenssen).

Major articles by John Litchen (the second part of ‘Fascinating Mars’) and Colin Steele (his usual book round up ‘The Field’), as well as articles by Tim Train and Yvonne Rousseau.

Major tribute to 2017 Chandler Award-winning Bill Wright by LynC and Dick Jenssen, and memories of Brian Aldiss, David J. Lake, Jack Wodhams, Randy Byers, Joyce Katz, among others.

Lots of lively conversations featuring such SFC correspondents as Michael Bishop, Leigh Edmonds, Robert Day, Patrick McGuire, Matthew Davis, Doug Barbour, Ray Wood, Larry Bigman, and many others.

(5) REZONING. The Twilight Zone is coming back. At The Verge, Andrew Liptak reports “Jordan Peele will resurrect The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access”.

The granddaddy of surreal, science fiction television anthologies is returning. CBS announced today that it has issued a series order for a revival of The Twilight Zone from Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Simon Kinberg’s Genre Films for its All Access streaming service.

Peele and Kinberg, along with Marco Ramirez (Marvel’s The Defenders), will serve as executive producers on the show and will “collaborate on the premiere episode.” CBS has yet to announce a release date, casting, or any other writers attached to the project. Like Star Trek: Discovery, however, the show is destined as exclusive content for the network’s paid streaming service, CBS All Access.

(6) ON BOARD. How appropriate that The Traveler at Galactic Journey has found a way to kill time! “[December 6, 1962] How to Kill Friends and Influence People (The game, Diplomacy)”.

Ah, but here’s the tricky bit.  Turns are divided into two segments.  The latter is the one just described, where players write their marching orders.  The former is a 15-minute diplomacy segment.  This is the period in which players discuss their plans, try to hatch alliances, attempt to deceive about intentions.  It is virtually impossible to win the game without help on the way up; it is completely impossible to win without eventually turning on your allies.  Backstabbery is common, even necessary.  Honesty is a vice.

Diplomacy is, thus, not a nice game.  In fact, I suspect this game will strike rifts between even the best chums.  So why play at all?  Why suffer 4-12 hours of agony, especially when you might well be eliminated within the first few turns, left to watch the rest of your companions pick over your bones?

Well, it’s kind of fun.

(7) TREACHERY IN THE PRESENT. Meanwhile, here in 2017, holiday gift shoppers might want to pick up the “CLUE®: Game of Thrones™ Exclusive Expansion”.

Add more treachery and betrayal and create an all-new game play experience while solving the mysteries in Game of Thrones Clue with this  special exclusive expansion that includes two additional character suspects and power cards as well as beautifully gold-finished weapons.

Really, though, for a genuine Game of Thrones experience it would have to be possible for all the suspects to be murdered in the same game.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 6, 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture premiered.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY COUNTRY

  • Born December 6, 1917 — Finland

(10) COMICS SECTION. Brian Kesinger, a veteran visual artist for Disney and Marvel, has created Watterson-style mashups that merge The Force Awakens characters with Calvin and Hobbes. “Disney Illustrator Combines Star Wars And Calvin & Hobbes, And The Result Is Adorable” at Bored Panda.

(11) HAIR TODAY. Interesting how movie marketing works now. A trailer for the new Jurassic World sequel will be out Thursday, heralded by a 16-second teaser, and this behind-the-scenes featurette. SciFiNow.uk claims, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom featurette has loads of new footage and freaking out”.

Ahead of the trailer release tomorrow, a new featurette has arrived for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which features lots of new footage and plenty of the cast and crew freaking out about how awesome the film is going to be. And Jeff Goldblum’s got a beard.

 

(12) GARY FISHER IN LAST JEDI, TOO. The cat is out of the bag, and so is the dog: “Carrie Fisher’s Beloved Dog, Gary, Will Appear in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi'”.

During the press tour for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Carrie Fisher’s therapy dog, Gary, became an internet sensation as the late actress took him everywhere for interviews and red carpets. Now, an eagle-eyed fan discovered that Gary will be making an Easter egg cameo in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which director Rian Johnson has confirmed.

Twitter user Clair Henry found a promotion still for the movie in which Finn (John Boyega) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) face off at a galactic casino. On the left side of the screen, you can see a strange brown creature looking directly at the camera. That’s Gary, touched up with CGI to look like an alien pet.

(13) HELLO . A special wine collection is back in time for the season: “‘Hello Kitty’ Wine Returns In Time For The Holidays”.  The five-bottle collection goes for around $150, but you can also buy individual bottles.

The Hello Kitty wines by Torti “L’Eleganza del Vino” returns to the U.S. with new supercute designs and two new blends. Now including an award-winning Pinot Noir, a “Sweet Pink” blend, Sparkling Rosé, Pinot Nero Vinified in White, as well as a special edition Sparkling Rosé with limited edition packaging.

 

(14) CAN’T FACE IT. Forget Sad Puppies: “Sad poop emoji gets flushed after row”.

Plans to introduce a “frowning pile of poo” emoji have been flushed from the latest proposals by the group in charge of creating the symbols.

The symbol was floated as one of many to be introduced in 2018, but it angered typographers who said it was “embarrassing” to the group.

The Unicode Consortium pushes out a central list of emoji so that they show up properly on different devices.

It said changes to the “pile of poo” emoji had not been totally dumped.

Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment: “IME, the Unicode Consortium can be very random; around the time I started working with character storage, their principles sniffily declared that they were encoding only live characters, and would therefore not do Glagolitic (the alphabet that Cyril’s students developed into Cyrillic) — but they already had Tolkien’s Elvish alphabet(s?). They later relented, don’t ask me why.”

(15) ALL THEY’RE CRACKED UP TO BE. The BBC answers the question, “Why clowns paint their faces on eggs”. Pratchett fans may remember this was a plot point in at least one of his books.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Faint’s collection, though, are the eggs. Each one is different, and represents the unique face design of its subject. Eggs like these are kept in only a handful of collections around the world, representing a kind of informal copyright – and much more.

(16) TREE SLEEPER. Older human: “Little Foot skeleton unveiled in South Africa”. 500,000 years older than Lucy — same species, different genus.

One of the oldest and most complete skeletons of humankind’s ancestors has been unveiled in South Africa.

A team spent more than 20 years excavating, cleaning and putting together the skeleton of Little Foot.

Its exact age is debated, but South African scientists say the remains are 3.67 million years old.

(17) BLACK MIRROR. Netflix has released a full trailer for Black Mirror Season 4. The release date is December 29.

(18) LE GUIN. At Electric Literature, “Ursula K. Le Guin Explains How to Build a New Kind of Utopia”:

…Good citizens of utopia consider the wilderness dangerous, hostile, unlivable; to an adventurous or rebellious dystopian it represents change and freedom. In this I see examples of the intermutability of the yang and yin: the dark mysterious wilderness surrounding a bright, safe place, the Bad Places?—?which then become the Good Place, the bright, open future surrounding a
dark, closed prison . . . Or vice versa.

In the last half century this pattern has been repeated perhaps to exhaustion, variations on the theme becoming more and more predictable, or merely arbitrary.

(19) SPACE COMMAND. Four days left in the Space Command: Redemption Kickstarter. Congratulations to Marc Zicree — they made their goal, and two stretch goals. To celebrate —

A scene from Space Command: Redemption in which Yusef (Robert Picardo) repairs a broken synthetic named For (Doug Jones). For more information about this new sci-fi series, follow this link:

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, Cat Eldridge, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

32 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/6/17 Pixels Came Naturally From Paris, For Scrolls She Couldn’t Care Less

  1. First! Second First!

    Also, Patreon is restructuring their fee structure; the upshot for patrons is that a $1 pledge will now cost $1.40 (if I’m understanding it right). (Previously, the recipients paid the credit card charges.) Essentially, there’s a fixed 2.9% fee plus $.35 per donation. Which makes it a regressive charge. It’s cheaper to send one $10 pledge than ten $1 pledges.

    Patreon beneficiaries (artists, poets, writers) that I’ve seen on Twitter are furious. They depend on many small donors, not one big one.

  2. 16
    same species, different genus
    That must be wrong – genus is bigger than species; you can share a genus without being the same species, but you can’t share a species without being in the same genus.

  3. @P J Evans,

    Science always gets in the way of a good turn of phrase.

    (The linked article says “Both Little Foot and Lucy belong to the same genus – Australopithecus – but they are different species.” Was it not that before?)

  4. I just posted A collection of enjoyable books at Obsidian Wings, in which I review: A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark (with props to the Filers who talked about it); Provenance; Melissa Scott’s Astreiant series; The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

    All but Provenance seem to be hitting some aspect of my desire for a new Pratchett novel, it turns out: one of the benefits to writing up reviews, I wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise.

  5. Pixel, it’s scrolled outside.

    Not sure if that’s a title suggestion or the beginning of a holy war on the need for an apostrophe somewhere,nowhere, maybe in the phrase.

  6. @Cassy B

    Yeah, that Patreon thing is really concerning. According to their FAQ on it that 35c flat charge is going to be per every individual donation to a creator. I’m actually hoping that it’s just bad wording and that’s per total charge to me or something, because it’s far far above what their real processing charges are.
    e.g. personally I give $10 to 9 campaigns. Apparently Paypal take 55c of that (figures per Patreon’s help page) and Patreon 5%, so everyone gets roughly 90c on my $1, and Patreon get 50c for their trouble.
    Per their new plan, I would be paying $13.44 for creators to receive $9.50 between them (fair enough, that’s a small rise for them), Paypal snaffle 72c……and Patreon keep $3.22?!?
    I don’t object to the idea of me paying the fee rather than the creator, because once it gets changed into pounds and VAT added it’s not like it’s a nice round number anyway, but unless the wording is wrong they’re sneaking a massive hike in their commission into it.
    It’s not totally unexpected for a company to see that they’ve got a strong position and up their profit margin, but this is so blatant that they’re going to lose customers…and sadly so will creators.

    (caveat: it’s early here and the above math may be wrong in all sorts of fun ways!)

  7. Yep, in other words, for every Creator to whom you’ve pledged $1, you’ll pay $1.40, and they’ll get 95c. In other words, they only get 68% of what you pay.

    I was supporting a bunch of creators, all at $1 or $2 each. It had already crept up more than I should have let it, to the point where it was $36 a month ($432/year); the change would make it $50+ a month ($605/year). I had to discontinue half of the people I support. It was really tough; I ended up discontinuing the ones that had the biggest total amount of monthly pledges, and keeping the ones who are not getting very much. I’m down to $18 pledges per month now, which means that I will be getting charged $25 month.

    This is going to hurt a lot of creators. 🙁

  8. @cassy Yeah, my twitter feed is full of the Patreon issue, and of course now I am getting lots of Patreon messages from creators. I DO spread my money around widely, so this could be in effect a 40% increase in my patronage costs, which is going to make me rethink who I want to support.

  9. I’ve not had anything from Patreon yet regarding this change, which is due at the middle of the month. I’m willing to bet they thought that the individual creators being “incentivised” by the minor uptick in their income would persuade everyone who’s supporting them to stick with their increased payments.

  10. Honestly, at this point I’m seriously considering asking the people I support for paypal numbers and sending my pledges directly to them each month with no middleman. I was willing to pay a middleman for convenience, but I’m not willing to set up a middleman in the lap of luxury while the people I want to support get a very small raise.

  11. Cassy: I agree with pretty much all you said. I’m terrible at getting around to optional payments like this, so I really preferred the automated withdrawal, but I think I need to simply stop patronizing several worthy people through Patreon, and if I want to keep supporting artistic types, I will need to find another way.

  12. I’ve reviewed my Patreon donations and have removed one $1 item that was leftover from using Patreon to make a large one-time donation. (The recipient and I had negotiated that as the least awkward way to make the donation, but then I felt weird about simply cancelling, so I left it as a minimum ongoing item.) The numeric bulk of my donations are a few larger ones which I’d like to keep going (and would happily shift to a different system if the recipient wants). The rest is a handful of $2-5 items, mostly to podcasts and magazines where it’s more of a subscription than a gift, in my mind. So I’m not going to cancel them because I’m still enjoying the content, but I’d happily switch to a different system.

    I don’t tend to go hunting around on Patreon for people to support (as opposed to people I follow mentioning they have a Patreon and me adding them). But the aggregation is an immense convenience (and also helps me monitor how much I’m spending in that category). But I’m so sick and tired of online companies thinking that they have a captive audience. (Yes, I’m looking at you, facebook.)

  13. @6: the claim that Diplomacy can’t be won without backstabbery is debatable; sometimes a partner in a peace pact will be eaten by a third party, which you can attack with impunity. People who have played a lot of Diplomacy tell me that it’s a game of long-term reputation, in which a backstabber may find no willing allies in later games. (cf the review note about ganging up on a frequent winner.) I’m reminded it may be time to reread Ford’s The Scholars of Night; it’s about as genre as The Hunt for Red October but definitely Ford’s style, and includes Diplomacy as a framing/teaching device.

    @10: I’m not sure I’d call that “adorable” — but I never considered Calvin adorable either, just fun (as these are).

    @18: The opening quote reflects an incomplete view of utopias; they don’t always view the wilderness negatively. The most obvious example is Callenbach’s Ecotopia, which takes in both the city and the forest (almost a necessity, since the new country covers Washington, Oregon, and the northern ~2/3 of California); OTOH, this might be an example of the yin utopias the essay asks for, inter alia because most of the top management is female. (The young men have highly ritualized warrish “games” — I don’t know whether Callenbach wasn’t paying attention (e.g., women were doing SCA combat when this book came out) or outright failed his equal-opportunity roll, or was edited away from contemporary reality.) It’s also possible to consider Anderson’s Maurai a utopia that gets along with the wilderness (in this case sea instead of forest), but in his later view (Orion Shall Rise) they are an undesirable brake on progress. (This from distant memory and Wikipedia prompting; if you’ve read this recently, feel free to comment.) Can anyone else point to examples other than Le Guin’s work itself?

    @P J Evans: the species/genus error is my fault, not @OGH’s; guess I’d been staring at the screen too long (or I can blame it on a nasty cold for which I haven’t been doing enough drugs…) when I typed the summary before sending it in. Can you tell the only reason I took biology was in case I lost my mind and wanted to apply to medical school?

  14. I’m sure Beale will say that this is prima facie evidence that Netflix is dying, and that he is going to launch a streaming service that will blow everyone’s minds…

  15. Chip – I didn’t know where the error came in, and I don’t think that matters to me, but my two years of HS biology (and the biology and botany for non-majors in college) wrote it into my memory.

  16. Little Foot is an Australopithicine, genus Australopithicus, same as Lucy, who is species afarensis, but Little Foot is not afarensis. Its discoverer groups it with A. prometheus, known from only a few, extremely fragmentary finds, related to A. africanus, both of which are believed not to be in the line of direct ancestry to genus Homo, but ancestral to the “robust” line of Australopithicines, now classified as genus Paranthropus

  17. So apparently Disney is buying 21st Century Fox, and my biggest hope is that they’ll go back and retroactively attach the fanfare to the front of the new Star Wars movies.

  18. Yes, please. The 20th Century Fox fanfare is an integral part of the Star Wars experience for me.

    Finally, here’s something I think Mike will enjoy. It’s a brief clip from a German cultural TV program presenting a new illustrated German edition of Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. http://www.3sat.de/mediathek/?mode=play&obj=70461

  19. If it will make Chip Hitchcock feel better, he should know that Tengwar is not yet part of Unicode–even though various proposals to include it have been floating around for nearly two decades! It is included in the unofficial Conscript Unicode Registry, which is…progress.

    You can get fonts which support the not-yet-standard proposal, and, in fact, I had one installed many years ago, but at the time, it was a bit like being the only person with a video-phone–nobody to communicate with…

  20. I’m catching up on Scrolls after returning from another business trip; the trips at least have allowed me to catch up on some Hugo reading that I never quite got to this year (The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe) and some that I needed to do for next year (All Systems Red). Enjoyed both of them very much.

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