Pixel Scroll 1/9/18 Scrolled Pixel’s Book Of Practical SJW Credentials

(1) CLASSIC KETTLE. True Rat: The Beast of Leroy Kettle collects and preserves the humorous writing of British fan Leroy Kettle. Edited by Rob Hansen, it’s available as a free download in the usual ebook formats plus PDF from Ansible Editions. Over 105,000 words.

Every issue of True Rat is included, plus much more comic autobiography and articles, speeches and scurrilous gossip columns published elsewhere. Only a very few passages that seemed almost funny in the 1970s are here omitted to protect the guilty (Leroy Kettle).

One included item is the transcript of a live interview with our hero by Simone Walsh – with audience participation – at Skycon, the 1978 UK Eastercon. Rob Hansen strongly recommends the audio version, available as an MP3 download from this linked page on his site.

(2)  BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Wil Wheaton remembers his friend Stepto in a touching tribute, “who lives who dies who tells your story”. The excerpt comes from his remarks at the memorial. He follows them with a powerful and poetic vision.

“I want to tell you about the time Stepto and I had cigars in the Caribbean,” I say, “I want to tell you about how he saved my Xbox for me, about how he made me laugh and how much I miss him in my life.” I think, but don’t say, that I want to talk about how sad and angry I am that Stepto successfully kept his alcoholism a secret from me, and from everyone who was closest to him, for the more than ten years we were friends. I want to talk about how angry I am that he got a second chance, when he survived a coma last year. I want to say a lot of swears, because he convinced himself and me that it wasn’t alcohol that put him into a coma, but some kind of genetic thing and a virus and something else that was a bunch of bullshit. But I am coming up on two years of an alcohol-free life, myself, and even though I’m not an alcoholic, and even though I don’t do any recovery programs, I do know that addiction is powerful and all consuming. I know that it’s incredibly easy to convince yourself that you’ve got it under control, and that the rationalizations and justifications come as easily as opening another bottle after adding an empty one to the lie. Huh. I was going to write “line”, but my fingers made the first typo I think I’ve ever made that was more apt than what I intended. I want to be angry, but I can’t be. Stepto was sick, and he couldn’t get well, so he died. But while he was here, he was a good friend, and a magnificent human being. The world is better because he was in it, and the sun is not as warm or as bright as it was, now that he is gone.

(3) BOMBCON. Fanhistorian Rob Hansen has added the story of “Bombcon” (1941) to his THEN website. It happened in London during WWII. He’s assembled the text of two conreports plus supporting photos.

England’s biggest fan reunion for the last year was held over the weekend, September 20/21, when in spite of the manifold difficulties attending such a proposition – far in excess of anything the US fans encounter – a muster of some 14 was managed. At Saturday lunch time a party gathered to welcome Maurice Hanson, ex-editor of “Novae Terrae” who had wangled leave from Somerset. After some bookhunting in Charing X Road, the party saw the film “Fantasia”.

On Sunday, a crowd assembled in Liverpool St. stn. waiting room, and proceeded to convert it, in the approved manner of fan meetings, into a magazine mart. We rolled on to Holborn to meet author John Beynon Harris, nearly got arrested for taking photos of the gang, had tea, & held London’s first open air meeting of fans, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields….

(4) MEANING OF DECLINING NUMBERS OF STARS. John Scalzi’s “Four Views of the Same Short Story” uses reviews of his newly-published short story as the basis for an essay about how different readers perceive the same story differently and what authors should do about that.

…The text of the story is the same regardless of who reads it, but the experience of reading it is unique to the person reading.

This is a very important thing for writers (especially newer writers) to learn and build into their worldview: That everyone’s experience of your work, and any reviews they might then write, are inherently subjective, dependent on the person writing them, and there is nothing in the world you can do about that. That’s just the nature of putting work out into the world. Your job is to write the story as well as you can, and not worry overly much how it will be received. Because, as you can see above, it will be received well, and poorly, and everywhere inbetween.

And yes, learning to be okay with the fact everyone won’t love what you wrote is hard, because everyone has an ego, and everyone likes the validation of people enjoying their work…

(5) JOHN CARTER IS ALIVE! ALIVE! I09, in “John Carter Of Mars Is Getting an Action-Packed Romance RPG”, says –

Disney might have soured a few people on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic scifi saga, but John Carter and the world of Barsoom, Mars have been reborn with a new roleplaying game….

Modiphius Entertainment has announced its latest tabletop game, John Carter of Mars: Adventures on the Dying World of Barsoom. Working in cooperation with Burroughs’ estate, the pulp-action RPG lets players take on iconic roles like John Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkas (or a made-up character) “as they travel, battle, and romance their way across the wondrous and dangerous world known to its natives as Barsoom.” John Carter of Mars launched today on Kickstarter, and it’s already nearly tripled its fundraising goal.

The John Carter of Mars game rules are available on the Kickstarter page.


  • John King Tarpinian liked Bizarro’s take on the Bard of Avon.
  • Tarpinian also recommends The Argyle Sweater, where they serve up some Transformer humor.
  • And I’m personally a fan of this cat joke at Bizarro.

(7) TRANSFORMATIVE WORK. The Washington Post’s John Kelly looks at the cheesy 1973 horror film Werewolf of Washington which he thinks has resonances with contemporary politics — “What a howl: Here’s the background story to ‘The Werewolf of Washington’”.

A few years later, one of that film’s producers asked Ginsberg whether he had anything else up his sleeve. As scandal was starting to engulf the Nixon White House — but before Watergate had exploded — Ginsberg went to New York’s Fire Island and in 10 days wrote “The Werewolf of Washington.”

Said Ginsberg: “I came back and the [producer] said, ‘Are you out of your mind? This is an attack on the president. The script is yours. Don’t ever show up here again.’?”

Another producer and some of Ginsberg’s friends stepped in to fund the movie, shot on a shoestring budget of $100,000. Somehow, they were able to get veteran actor [Dean] Stockwell to star. His career, Ginsberg said, “had fallen into eclipse at that time. He loved the script.”

(8) GAME CHANGER. NPR discusses “Fighting Bias With Board Games” — like Buffalo.

This is where Buffalo — a card game designed by Dartmouth College’s Tiltfactor Lab — comes in. The rules are simple. You start with two decks of cards. One deck contains adjectives like Chinese, tall or enigmatic; the other contains nouns like wizard or dancer.

Draw one card from each deck, and place them face up. And then all the players race to shout out a real person or fictional character who fits the description….

It’s the sort of game you’d pull out at dinner parties when the conversation lulls. But the game’s creators says it’s good for something else — reducing prejudice. By forcing players to think of people that buck stereotypes, Buffalo subliminally challenges those stereotypes.

“So it starts to work on a conscious level of reminding us that we don’t really know a lot of things we might want to know about the world around us,” explains Mary Flanagan, who leads Dartmouth College’s Tiltfactor Lab, which makes games designed for social change and studies their effects.

Buffalo might nudge us to get better acquainted with the work of female physicists, “but it also unconsciously starts to open up stereotypical patterns in the way we think,” Flanagan says.

In one of many tests she conducted, Flanagan rounded up about 200 college students and assigned half to play Buffalo. After one game, the Buffalo players were slightly more likely than their peers to strongly agree with statements like, “There is potential for good and evil in all of us,” and, “I can see myself fitting into many groups.”

(9) ALL GOOD THINGS. “End signalled for European Ariane 5 rocket” says the BBC — 82 straight successes, but Ariane 6 will be cheaper.

A final order for a batch of 10 Ariane 5 rockets has been raised.

The vehicle, which has been the mainstay of European launcher activity for the past 20 years, will be phased out once its successor is in place.

ArianeGroup, the French-led industrial consortium, expects its new Ariane 6 to be flying no later than mid-2020, and in full operational service in 2023.

At that point, Ariane 5 can be retired. The last order ensures sufficient rockets are available for the handover.

(10) BIGGER. How do you take away a crashed helicopter? With a bigger helicopter: “US Marines rescue their helicopter… with a bigger one” (video)

US Marines have rescued one of their helicopters after it made an emergency landing on a beach in Okinawa, Japan. The aircraft was airlifted back to base using an even bigger helicopter.

The US presence on Okinawa in southern Japan is a key part of the security alliance between the two countries. The base houses about 26,000 US troops.

(11) WITH FACTS UNCHECKED. It’s fascinating to see JDA start his post “I’m in Good Company” with the rhetorical fillip “I was wrong,”  then grandiosely “correct” himself by citing more misinformation.

It turns out I was wrong in saying WorldCon  made an unprecedented  move in banning someone over politics. It has happened — one time before. Today on the blog we’re going to take you all the way back to 1939, where WorldCon was, like in this year, all too proud of blackballing someone over their dangerous visionary ideas for science fiction. A reader wrote to me:

The Futurians were kicked out of the first Worldcon because organizers feared that they would distribute communist propaganda. The group included a number of luminaries including Asimov and Pohl.

Because  of their fear of not Asimov hurting anyone  (no one fears me hurting anyone by the evidence of how I’ve conducted myself at dozens of conventions in the past) — but spreading political ideas that they found too dangerous for the times  — WorldCon banned Isaac Asimov.

The implication is clear. The elites in science fiction believe I have the potential to be the next Asimov…

Asimov wasn’t kicked out of the first Worldcon. There are a lot of places you can learn who was (like this  Fancyclopedia entry.) Asimov wasn’t one of them — a fact he himself referenced when speaking at “Science Fiction’s 50th Anniversary Family Reunion” in 1989 (Noreascon 3), where he sounded less embarrassed than proud that he had not been turned back at the door with the six other Futurians.

(12) WHAT’S A MAP? Meanwhile, blogger The Phantom, determined to force a connection between the Worldcon and James Damore’s lawsuit against Google, performs this geographic sleight-of-hand:

What does this have to do with WorldCon? Well, this year’s WorldCon and Hugo award ceremony will be held in San Francisco. That’s where Google’s headquarters is, and where all the computer nerds who work at Google live.

Of course, Google’s headquarters is in Mountain View, and the Worldcon is in San Jose. Neither is in San Francisco.

(13) KING KONG. Steve Vertlieb’s 2014 Rondo-nominated article ”A Triple Life: King Kong’s Trinity of Reincarnation on Film” is “A published celebration of the enduring legacy, and profound cultural significance of Merian C. Cooper’s immortal 1933 motion picture masterpiece, King Kong, as well as its numerous cinematic incarnations, influences, and tributes throughout the past eighty five years.”

KING KONG related the remarkable tale of a giant beast, an impossible ape-ike creature whose imposing, horrifying shadow would follow the intrepid explorers whose heroic exploits had led them to its discovery.  Released by RKO Studios during the winter of 1933, the picture reunited Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong with Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack for yet another thrilling adventure in the lurid jungles of a primordial world.  They were joined by Bruce Cabot in, perhaps, the pivotal performance of his career.

(14) ADVERTISING ART. Andrew Liptak at The Verge recommended a documentary about a very rare collection:

The Collection is a short documentary (via Kottke) by Adam Roffman that chronicles a unique piece of Hollywood history: tens of thousands of plates and blocks used to create the newspaper advertisements used for nearly every film that hit theaters before the 1980s.

…The collection includes blocks used for films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Planet Of The Apes, and many others.


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

76 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/9/18 Scrolled Pixel’s Book Of Practical SJW Credentials

  1. I don’t know JDA’s age, and I’m not going to start counting Asimov’s publications by year, but I’m pretty sure that his was a few hundred books ahead of JDA’s bibliography at the same age.

  2. Pleasanton, which is closer to San Francisco than San Jose
    Not really – I grew up in the next town over, and it’s farther to SF from there (45 miles) than to San Jose (35 miles). P-town is only about 7 miles closer to SF, and maybe the same amount closer to SJ.

  3. He says he was in high school about 20 years ago in his open letter to Robinson, so he’d be somewhere between 35 and 40. If you’re going just by full-length books, Asimov apparently had written *ahem* only *ahem* 16 books by age 35, but 40 by age 40.

    Short story-wise, 97 by age 35; 142 by age 40. I suspect he’s got a lot of catching-up to do. But, you know, it’s all about the quality, not the quantity…

    source (books):

    source (short stories):

  4. @PJ Evans – I didn’t grow up here, but I’ve been to Pleasanton several times and to San Jose many, and am familiar with the area. I checked with google maps before posting, and while the distance is similar (I would say they are roughly the same distance apart), Pleasanton is a bit closer, according to the google maps directions. I should probably have said “roughly the same distance.” My point is that you (Phantom) can’t claim San Jose and San Francisco are part of some PC/SJW mono-culture just because they are within the SF Bay Area.

    Phantom’s assertion that Worldcon and Google are both in San Francisco, and therefore can be expected to have similar social dynamics is absurd. I mean, it’d be absurd even if they were both actually in San Francisco, but he’s attempting to use ignorant stereotypes about San Francisco to paint Google and Worldcon with the same broad strokes. Despite the drastic changes that have devastated San Francisco in the past decade the South Bay is still a very different place than San Francisco. But I can’t speak to the similarities between San Jose and Mountain View (in that I am as ignorant as Phantom, I acknowledge – Campbell, San Jose, Mountain View… all seems like the same place to me when I’m there).

  5. @Kip W

    It’s spelt 7-7-0,

    That made me think of Hawaii 7-7-0, possibly to be followed by Scroll’em Danno, but then I remembered that Mike ran that one this time last year.

  6. San Jose is a metropolitan area, with a city core and various types of light and medium industry. It has an excellent library and university downtown, and a large amount of working class and poor people, from Latinex, Asian, Indian and other cultures. San Jose is built large, like it was made to support a large and diverse population.

    Mountain View is basically a suburb built around the main street of El Camino Real, with attached high tech campuses that resemble colleges crossed with resorts. The campuses have a major emphasis on young male workers who don’t need much support facilities outside of restaurants, and Mountain View is largely a bedroom community For the middle to upper class, white and asian. It does have Castro street, a formerly eclectic street that is now a touristy restaurant strip popular with the wealthy.

    I think the biggest take away for the region is that when high-tech companies move in things get boring. The interesting parts of communities are sanded away and what’s left is the trendy monoculture. Everyone eats and dresses and plays the same way.

  7. the similarities between San Jose and Mountain View
    It’s been a long time since I lived in that area, but they were pretty similar in a lot of ways then. It’s much different in the region now, but I suspect they’re still quite similar.

  8. Pixx MacScroll
    770 files on a dead pixel’s scroll
    Scrolling pix to Boskone
    Scroll that pix/Give the past a kick

  9. (11) I was under the impression that 1939 was not the only time an upfront ban was used. I’m pretty sure Walter Breen was banned from Pacificon II in the 1960s. To be fair, I can understand why JDA doesn’t want to brag about being in the same club as Walter Breen.

  10. The Gävle Yulegoat survived this year. It feels so wrong. 🙁

    I shall have to buy my own little goat and burn it.

  11. 14) This documentary is fascinating. I remember perusing those movie ads in newspapers as a kid. In Germany, they lasted into the mid to late 1980s at least, based on some yellowed clippings I found among old stuff. But I had no idea how these ads were printed, though knowing what I know about vintage printing technology, blocks and plates make sense.

  12. I thought THE COLLECTION was a neat little bit of film history. Thanks for the link.

  13. (12) I live in the Bay Area.

    San Jose and Mountain View are basically suburbs, but they are not in the City of San Francisco. They are technically in the San Francisco Bay Area, but technically neither of them are San Francisco.

    (11) He wants to be the next Asimov? That is one hell of a Hyperbole even in jest, but even if he did, I seriously doubt he would want to be Asimov given his social supporters and views. The prestige, yes, but not what comes with it.

    Asimov if folks remember was the most Stereotypical New Yorker on the planet, an actual Scientist who wrote Hard Sci-Fi for fun in between times he was doing actual important research, a staunch atheist, and was a New Deal Democrat.

  14. I’m impressed with Wil’s post, I didn’t realize he could write that well. I went and read the whole thing, and you choose the perfect part to excerpt, Mike. Thank you.

    Amusingly, the two paragraphs excerpted from JdA show that he isn’t as good a writer and is *much* worse at logic. “Their fear of not Asimov”, forsooth!

  15. Re birds: whether it’s a murder of crows or a parliament of rooks, something dark is going down. I mean, unless the rooks are socialists and they’re actually trying to instate universal healthcare and free education to all rooks. But then if rooks have access to free education… oh crap. The time of humanity is at an end.

  16. @Oneiros: Stay tuned for a sequel to Hitchcock’s “The Birds”!

    @kathodus: I was going to make a similar comment about San Francisco. It’s still a sort of dog whistle on the right wing for evil godless gay liberay scum etc. Le sigh.

    @Dann: “Godstalk” works better than “c4.” 😛 J/K!

    @Anyone: Has this been done? Google sez no, so here I go:

    I owe my soul to the company Scroll

  17. San Jose is actually the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area (and the third largest in California after Los Angeles and San Diego). Also the Bay Area is substantially larger in area than I think many people who have not traveled or lived in the area realize. (I don’t mean people who fly to the Bay Area and go to a single place there, then return; you rarely get a feel for the size of an area that way.)

  18. IanP – I will admit I had an edge in knowing the UH-1 variants were still being made: a while back I was a civilian contractor at a US military installation and on base Open House and Family Appreciation Days various forms of current hardware would be trotted out for display and limited climbability

    On the other hoof, the current fleet of B-52 bombers have airframes that are older than most of their crew members.

  19. @Craig —

    That reminds me of a favorite bumper sticker I used to have on my old van:

    “That’s MS. tree-hugging vegetarian liberal hippie freak to you, buddy!”

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