Pixel Scroll 12/30/17 Happy Scrollidays To All Who Pixelate

(1) NEW BLACK SFF INITIATIVE. The Chicago Tribune reports — “Chicago collective puts black characters in fantasy, horror and sci-fi films”.

When Chris Adams was a teen growing up in the Far South Side’s Roseland area, he would often imagine himself living in space and existing alongside alien creatures such as those in “Star Wars.”

Or he would picture an alternate reality, where black people were served by robots and lived in houses filled with futuristic devices or battled enormous, prehistoric monsters.

“I’ve (long) been a big fan of fantasy films and horror and sci-fi,” he said. “But black people are underrepresented in those genres. When we are there, we’re the first to die.”

Hoping to bring fresh voices and perspectives to film, Adams recently launched a project with a collective of Chicago filmmakers that concentrates on producing short movies.

Rather than giving voice to the typical stories of violence, grief or family drama, these filmmakers want to showcase fantasy, horror and science fiction films with black characters as the focus.

Their effort comes at a time when there is an increasing appetite for films and television shows that present black lives from nuanced and nonstereotypical perspectives.

Still, Adams and his Paradigm Grey project are unusual because the independent films center on black characters but have very little to do with the realities African-Americans experience. All five of the filmmakers and production crews involved in the group hail from the Chicago region and shoot their projects here, yet they avoid narratives centered on poverty, joblessness, drug abuse, corruption or other topics often central to storylines involving black characters.

With their combined reputations, they hope to take their films from underground to a wider audience, Adams said.

“Nearly everyone who joined on to this project were frustrated with the current state of filming,” he said. “The actors were sick of playing drug dealers, prostitutes, gangbangers and the typical roles you see us in. We all wanted a chance to do something completely imaginative. So this project was like a breath of fresh air.”

(2) PULPFEST PROGRAM POSTED. PulpFest has announced its planned program for the convention to be held July 26 – 29, 2018 in Pittsburgh. Joe Lansdale will be PulpFest Guest of Honor. They’ll be honoring the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I. They’ll also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Science Fiction Grand Master Philip José Farmer.

(3) NOMINATE FOR MUNSEY AWARD. Nominations for PulpFest’s 2018 Munsey Award are being accepted through May 1, 2018. Full details here.

All members of the pulp community are welcome to nominate someone for this year’s award. If you have someone in mind that you feel worthy to receive this prestigious award, please let us know.

All members of the pulp community — excepting past winners of the MunseyRusty, or Lamont Awards  — are eligible. Your nomination can be sent to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. You can also reach Mike at 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542. You will need to provide the person’s name and an explanation describing why that person should be honored.

The award recipient will be chosen by a vote of all living Lamont, Munsey, and Rusty Award winners. The 2018 Munsey Award will be presented on Saturday evening, July 28,

(4) DECEMBER’S CHILDREN. (And Everybody’s): Jason lists the big hits of this month’s short web fiction in the “Summation of Online Fiction: December 2017” from Featured Futures.

Thinking about this month’s noted stories, I’m reminded of the rational Isaac Asimov’s comments on how numerology “works” because you can find patterns in anything. In this 12th month (1+2=3), threes and twos (and thus ones) are a recurring motif. This month, I recommend three SF stories (two of which come from Compelling – though the one from Nature really can’t be missed) and three fantasy stories (two of which come from Grievous Angel) and honorably mention three fantasy stories (two of which come from Uncanny). Which is, again, three sets: two of recommendations and just one of honorable mentions. Meaningless, but I’ll admit it is a weird coincidence. These nine tales were chosen, not from 32 stories of 123K words, but from forty December webzine stories of 162K words.

(5) GRAFTON OBIT. Sue Grafton, famed for her alphabet-titled mystery series about private eye Kinsey Millhone, died December 28 at the age of 77.

The first, A is for Alibi, was published in 1982 and the last, Y is for Yesterday, was published in August.

“As far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y,” her daughter said in a statement posted to Facebook.

(6) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian saw the ghost of a mashup yet to come in Ziggy.

(7) APEX SUBMISSION WINDOW OPENS. Apex Book Company will be holding open novel and novella submissions from January 1st to January 31st, 2018. Guidelines and information here.

We will consider novellas in length of 30,000 to 40,000 words and novels in length up to 120,000 words, and are particularly looking for novels that fit within the dark sci-fi category. Dark fantasy and horror submissions are also welcome.

A literary agent is not required for submission. We may take up to three months or more to review your manuscript. Simultaneous submissions are okay. We will only accept one submission per author.

(8) LIKE LEGO AND EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE. Io9’s Andrew Liszewski says “You Can Beam Whatever You Want From My Wallet for These Custom Star Trek: TNG Minifigures”.

The eight-figure set isn’t officially produced by Lego, but each of the minifigures—including Wesley Crusher, Lt. Commander Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Cmdr. William Riker, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, Counselor Deanna Troi, Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge, and Lieutenant Worf—are 100 percent compatible with your existing plastic brick collections.

(9) SOME BOOKSTORES DOOMED. A New York Times article about bookstore chains that have been forced to the brink or given up — “Bookstore Chains, Long in Decline, Are Undergoing a Final Shakeout”.

Here is one way to measure the upheaval in bookselling: Replacing Book World as the fourth-largest chain, Publishers Weekly says, will be a company that had no physical presence a few years ago. That would be Amazon, which having conquered the virtual world has opened or announced 15 bookshops, including at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

In a famous passage in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” a novel that Book World used to sell, a character is asked how he went bust. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

That more or less mirrors what happened to Book World and other bookstore chains.

(10) TWO HEARTS AND THIRTEEN LIONS. That’s fun – Camestros Felapton, in “Today’s Infographic: Doctor Where”, plots out the birthplaces of Doctor Who actors.

(11) IT’S ABOUT TIME. Fabrice Mathieu shared “STAR WARS 4.7: Skywalker vs Starkiller,”his new Star Wars Mashup, successor to “Darth by Darthwest” and “Raiders of the Lost Darth”.

Young Jedi Luke Skywalker and his trusty companion R2-D2 pilot their battle worn X-wing fighter into a massive black hole, propelling them 30 years into the future.  They find themselves engaged in the mighty rebel attack against the New Order’s fierce machine known as the Starkiller Base.

[Thanks to Standback, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Jason, Francis Hamit, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Jason Sizemore, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Giant Panda.]

39 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/30/17 Happy Scrollidays To All Who Pixelate

  1. 8) Riker has his season 3+ beard, but Troi is wearing the skant she only wore in the pilot episode…. Yes, as it happens, I am a Trekkie. Does it show?

  2. (8) LIKE LEGO AND EVEN MORE EXPENSIVE.

    What a great, fun collection. Too bad they had to ruin it with such a dickish move. 😐

  3. 8) They can always sell a premium sticker to change that

    Here’s to Mike and the Filers, hoping that the New Year brings you all what you need, at least some of what you want, and a big Thank You to you all for having been here through 2017.

  4. I got comics for Christmas!

    Spidermen and Spiderman: Generations #1 were very solid stories. I really like seeing Peter and Miles palling around. The Batman Special #2 of “Date Nights” and “Last Rites” was also good. I do like a serious Batman–especially with a sweet callback to that great Elmer Fudd crossover.

    (There’s a sentence I never imagined saying.)

    The two that really blew me away, though, were Batman #36 and #37. I recently discovered four boxes of comics that hadn’t been stolen and dove back in. I’d forgotten the joys of the light touch of so many DC Superman/Batman stories. These two stories brought it right back. That was an excellent idea, gb vfbyngr gur gjb fhcre-pbhcyrf (gryy zr orvat gung tbbq n ercbegre vfa’g n fhcrecbjre) gnyxvat nobhg gur bgure in #36, then to cnve bss gur thlf obaqvat naq gur tnyf funevat n synfx in #37. It also made me believe Batman just might be able to do something impossible. And though I love Steve Ditko’s art, he had that coming.

    (The Kirby Kamandis I found were way better than I’d remembered. I think my love for the Fourth World comics kept me from fully appreciating them at the time.)

    My friend who gave me these also had a stack of things he’d bought for himself. One was “Creatures of the Night”, the first issue of Kurt’s limited Batman series. Kurt was starting into comics just as I was not reading them so much, and I think I’d managed to miss reading anything of his. I’m curious about the work of the folks I ‘meet’, so I made time to read it. I was impressed by both the writing and the art. (The art caught my eye first, thumbing it; then I noticed Kurt’s name on the cover.) It wasn’t to my current tastes, but that’s my problem. I still found it a compelling story. I’ve bought exactly two new comics this millennium, so I probably won’t be getting this, but that’s me, not the work.

    I was especially pleased to see one of my personal bugbears look like it will become a plot point: Gur qvfgvapgvba orgjrra “gebhcre” naq “gebbcre” vf n snibevgr bs zvar. This is the sort of thing comics can do other forms can’t! Fvapr jr frr gur xvyyre’f jbeq onyyba fnl “gebbcre” naq lbhat Oehpr’f gubhtugf fnl “gebhcre” bapr ur urnef gur fhfcrpg vf na npgbe, vs gung qvssrerapr qbrfa’g trg sverq ol gur raq bs gur fgbel, V’yy or qvfnccbvagrq. But I’m pretty sure it will.

  5. 5) I have no words 🙁

    Meredith Moment:

    Provenance by Ann Leckie is on sale for $2.99 at Amazon US.

  6. 5) A local author, Joan Hess, got picked to finish off Elizabeth Peters’ series. (And then died herself, not long after.) If there’s a good writer who was close to Grafton (as Hess was to Peters), and if the manuscript was far enough along, it wouldn’t be a sin to at least consider putting out the last volume. It’s a hell of a thing to have that left hanging.

  7. John A Arkansawyer on December 31, 2017 at 7:33 am said:
    The family said she didn’t leave anything for a next book, not even notes. (I saw it referenced as “Z is for Zero”.)

    Humphrey said Grafton had been struggling to find an idea for “Z” while undergoing treatment and losing weight.

    “Nothing’s been written,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “There is no Z.”

    [Humphrey is her husband.]

  8. John A Arkansawyer on December 31, 2017 at 7:33 am said:

    5) A local author, Joan Hess, got picked to finish off Elizabeth Peters’ series. (And then died herself, not long after.)

    I missed hearing that she passed away. I always liked her Maggody series.

    As far as someone writing a “Z” book to finish out the series; according to her family, in the article I read, she wanted nothing to do with ‘ghost writers’ or guest writers, so we won’t be seeing the final book to finish off the series.

  9. Maybe Z could simply be a tribute (but not a pastiche or continuation) and/or a collection of orts and ends that don’t fit anywhere else.

  10. There was a collection of short stories and other pieces called Kinsey & Me fairly recently.

  11. I think it’s worth leaving it as it is. The novel in my head would be far better than any imitation.

    As it is, the Kinsey Malone series is a tribute to a tough, no-nonsense and independent detective, who a lot of people have said was their first taste of feminism. That’s a good legacy.

  12. Happy new year! Thank you all for making 2017 more tolerable!

    A scroll by any other name would pixelate just as adequate

  13. By Klono’s scintillating scrolls and prismatic pixels!

    After all, Klono’s got so many things to swear by…

  14. “Now Poul was a world-building novelist, who wrote of the Wingmen’s strife,
    and he’s talking with Purvis, who’s getting quite nervous,
    (the White Hart’s where he hides from his wife”

  15. Scroll out wild pixels, to the sci fi
    The empty space, the magic dreams
    The year is dying from laser beams
    Scroll out, wild pixels, and let him die

    Happy new year, everyone!

  16. John A. Arkansawyer: From your comment I gather you don’t hate superhero comics, and that you have not read Astro City. I am here to tell you that you are missing out big time.

    In fact, I’m going to go as far as this: if you buy yourself a copy of Life in the Big City and find that you don’t like it, I will personally reimburse you for the money you spent.

  17. John A:

    One was “Creatures of the Night”, the first issue of Kurt’s limited Batman series. Kurt was starting into comics just as I was not reading them so much, and I think I’d managed to miss reading anything of his. I’m curious about the work of the folks I ‘meet’, so I made time to read it. I was impressed by both the writing and the art. (The art caught my eye first, thumbing it; then I noticed Kurt’s name on the cover.) It wasn’t to my current tastes, but that’s my problem. I still found it a compelling story. I’ve bought exactly two new comics this millennium, so I probably won’t be getting this, but that’s me, not the work.

    Hey, glad you didn’t hate it! And yeah, John Paul Leon is doing beautiful work on the series.

    jayn:

    Looking up from Peter S. Beagle’s latest, Overneath, to tell everyone He’s Still Got It.

    He sure does.

  18. It’s time, and past time, to bring this dumpster fire of a year (at least to those of us in the US) to an end.

    Goodbye, 2017, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

    Happy New Year to all!

  19. Yeah, Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone books were great. I didn’t read all of them, but I started with “A is for Alibi” and shot through a lot of them. Shocked that she’s gone, but I can totally respect her and her family’s wishes to let the alphabet end with Y.

    Happy New Year to all scrollers. See you on the other side.

  20. Bonnie McDaniel: Goodbye, 2017, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

    Yeah, what you said. 😐

  21. Re: Grafton’s passing — I heard something on the radio yesterday that even if the family had wanted a ghostwriter to finish “Z is for…” (which they emphatically don’t) — the family says that there are no notes. No outlines. No scribbles. Not even a title. She hadn’t come up with what the Z book would be about when she died.

    So there’s nothing whatsoever to work with.

  22. @Kurt Busiek: I hope I wasn’t misunderstood! I more than “didn’t hate it”–I liked it quite a bit. I just don’t know that it’s the story I want to read right now. And despite that, I do wonder where you’re going with it, and I do care what happens to the people in it, especially the kid. I’m likely to read it someday, especially if it falls within my grasp.

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