Pixel Scroll 9/15 Scroll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean — scroll!

(1) On this day in history —

September 15, 1949: The Lone Ranger TV series debuted with American Clayton Moore and Canadian Jay Silverheels.

(2) It’s a small world. How small? Ann Leckie, while plugging David Steffen’s Long List Anthology Kickstarter, show how small in this startling admission:

If you’re a longtime reader, David Steffen’s name might sound familiar. He runs the Submission Grinder, an online sub tracker for writers, and he is also the current champion of Ferrett Steinmetz’s Rejection Challenge. He received a rejection to a story some five minutes after he submitted it. The submission was to Podcastle, and was very short, and was timed exactly perfectly for the slush reader to respond to it almost immediately. I know this because I was the slush reader in question. High five, David! I’m exceedingly glad you’re doing this antho.

(3) The first film Alfred Hitchcock worked on, once believed lost, will be shown publicly this week.

A “lost” Hitchcock film that has not been shown publicly for nearly 100 years is being screened this week at the British Silent Film Festival. Three Live Ghosts (1922) was one of the first films that the young Alfred Hitchcock worked on and had been thought lost forever.

It has just been discovered in a Russian archive and is being publicly shown thanks to Laraine Porter|, of De Montfort University Leicester’s renowned Cinema and Television History (CATH) research team. It is one of dozens of screen gems being shown as part of the festival – the UK’s largest event dedicated to silent films, supported by the British Film Institute. Laraine, who has organised the three-day film festival at Leicester’s Phoenix Cinema, said: “No-one has seen this since 1922 and many Hitchcock scholars thought it was no longer extant. He was credited as a title designer, but it is likely that he would have been involved much more than that. “When you read his interviews he is talking about helping out and advising, and in those days it would have been a much more communal atmosphere on set. ?“What is also interesting is the role that his wife, Alma, played because she was an editor and collaborator yet received little attention.”

(4) A wonderful video about Penguin Random House midnight launch of Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown.

(5) Gizmag says it’s time to sell you the Star Wars Devon Dark Side Watch.

Companies the world over are clamoring to release licensed merchandise ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The recent Force Friday saw numerous products launched on an expectant public, but while most are priced between a few dollars and a few hundred dollars, rarer items come with a heftier price tag. One example of the latter is the limited-edition Star Wars watch from Devon, which will set Star Wars fans with very deep pockets back US$28,500….

Star Wars by Devon is actually based on the Devon Thread 1 model, but with plenty of Star Wars details added to ensure it will delight fans. Owners will be able to spot Darth Vader’s helmet, the wings of a TIE Fighter, and the Imperial Crest embossed on the crown.

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(6) Where’s the Official WSFS Ears-Are-Burning Fire Extinguisher? Kevin Standlee sure could use it about now.

I’ve been getting e-mails now talking about unspecified “rumors” about what happened at the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting. Well, the minutes aren’t finished yet…., but there’s no secret about what happened at the Business Meetings this year…..

(7) Jim C. Hines has a take about the Maynard/Valente exchange in “Cool Kids”

I get that a lot of us struggled growing up. We felt excluded, and we envied those who were more popular, more successful, more comfortable with themselves and their friends. Most of us continue to struggle. It’s part of being human. But this whole “Nerds vs. Cool Kids” thing is bullshit. It’s the same artificial and simplistic us vs. them, left vs. right, puppy vs. anti-puppy, Hero vs. Villain garbage that’s been poisoning people for ages.

There will always be small-minded people trying to divide the world into Us and Them. Some of these folks have found that dispensing poison earns them attention and followers.

That doesn’t mean the rest of us have to drink it.

(8) Disney is working towards a new Mary Poppins movie (not a remake or a reboot) says The Hollywood Reporter.

The new story will be set around 20 years after the tale of the classic 1964 movie that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It will also take its cues from the book series that P.L. Travers wrote. (The original, published in 1934 is based largely on the first book. The last book in the series was released in 1988.)

Rob Marshall, who directed “Into the Woods” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” for the studio, will helm the new feature, which will also be a musical.

Songwriting team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who worked on “Hairspray” and “Smash,” will compose new original songs as well a new score.

David Magee (“Life of Pi”) is board to write the screenplay.

As detailed in Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” Travers’ had testy relationship with Walt Disney over the adaptation of the original. But the studio is working with her estate on the new movie.

(9) Not everyone appreciates astronaut and baseball fan Terry Virts as much as he deserves. Virts arranged to present a space-worn Orioles jersey to team manager Buck Showalter. But what was Buck’s response? He wanted to know —

“Do you have rubber gloves when you take it? It’s not like it’s been on the moon or something, right? … You don’t know what bacteria from Mars is up there or something. Next day you wake up and your arms are ate off or something.”

(10) Alexis Gilliland’s Rosinante series lives again in this review by James Davis Nicoll.

But I would credit his Campbell win to the fact that those two novels, The Revolution from Rosinante and Long Shot For Rosinante , really are fun little books, books I was certain I would not regret revisiting after a gap of twenty-two years 3.

(I do understand that’s like saying “Don’t worry, I know what I am doing” while playing with burning plastic.)

(And I hope including the parenthetical sentence spares you from unrealistic expectations of reading a nostalgic puff piece….)

(10) Lorraine Devon Wilke’s “Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year” at the Huffington Post has elicited much scoffing from some indie published sf writers – and now Baen novelist Larry Correia has deconstructed it in “Fisking the HuffPo because writers need to GET PAID”.

The thing is “good” is a relatively meaningless measurement. Ringo’s fans think they’re good enough to give him mid six figure royalty checks twice a year. Kevin [J. Anderson] lives in a castle. I’m pretty sure the average HuffPo writer considers me a hack, but then again, I get paid, and HuffPo writers don’t (no, really, I was shocked to learn that HuffPo only pays in “exposure”).  

That’s a knockout line as long as you don’t remember Correia is delivering this fisking free of charge on a blog.

[Thanks to both Marks, Will R., Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

My Failed Attempt To Influence The Hugos

By 1981, File 770 had accumulated two nominations for Best Fanzine and I’d been shortlisted twice for Best Fanwriter. I felt I should use that power for good.

Having enjoyed the book tremendously, I tried to get everyone cranked up about nominating Alexis Gilliland’s 1981 novel The Revolution from Rosinante for the Hugo.

I wrote a glowing two-page review for my December 1981 issue with all the buzzwords at my command. For example —

Gilliland weaves a dynamic plot from plausible economic, technological and bureaucratic rivalries. Mundito Rosinante is an asteroid adapted to an industrial space colony. Its economc purpose vaporizes in a series of financial manipulations on Earth, leaving minor investors, workers and some unexpected refugees to fend for survival.

Gilliland’s space colony, complete with schematics and material specs, becomes as dramatic an artifact as a Ringworld, Gaea or Rama. But uncommon to such a story, Gilliland moves things constantly forward with concise prose, and without expository lumps in which the universe stops to explain itself. Strong characterizaton and reliance on dialog express action and motivation so well that the novel’s background assumptions are implicitly explained.

And so on.

It’s been said the way to find out if you’re a leader is to look around and see if anybody is following you. Well, when the 1982 Hugo ballot came out I found nobody was.

But if Worldcon members passed over his novel, they did nominate Gilliland for another Best Fan Artist Hugo, and made him a finalist for the 1982 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (not a Hugo! as we always say), things no one needed my help figuring out.

In fact, Gilliland went on to win the Campbell, outpolling David Brin, Robert Stallman, Michael Swanwick and Paul O. Williams. If that comes as a surprise, just remember the choice was based on what they had published in the first two years of their careers. Brin’s stellar “The Postman” (1982) and Startide Rising (1983) appeared after his Campbell eligibility expired, while Swanwick had several Nebula nominations early but his awards dominance came later on.

Snapshots XX

Ten developments of interest to fans:

(1) Hear, hear! SFFaudio asks an excellent question: Where are are the Charles Stross audiobooks?

Seriously, the guy is super talented. There have only been three commercially released Charlie Stross audiobooks (all from Infinivox). The were terrific, but they’re not enough.

If Saturn’s Children and Halting State were available as audiobooks they’d shoot up to the top of my listening stack.

(2) The Los Angeles Times says a new Mark Twain collection is on the way, with no love for Jane Austen:

“Who Is Mark Twain?” is due to hit shelves next month. It’s the first collection of Mark Twain’s unpublished short works and will include both fiction and nonfiction. In one essay, he wonders if Jane Austen’s intent is to “make the reader detest her people up to the middle of the book and like them in the rest of the chapters?”

(3) Coming soon: a new Card trilogy:

Simon Pulse senior editor Anica Rissi has acquired world English rights to the first three books in a new fantasy series by Orson Scott Card written specifically for a YA audience; Barbara Bova of the Barbara Bova Literary Agency made the sale.

(4) Do you study Google Analytics’ map of the hits on your blog? The other day File 770 got a hit from Gabarone, Botswana, the locale of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. Spammers beware! Precious Ramotswe reads my blog.

(5) The Virginia legislature has declared June 27, 2009 to be Will F. Jenkins Day. Steven H. Silver is soliciting reminiscences about Murray Leinster/Will F. Jenkins, or pieces talking about how he/his writing has influenced writers and fans, for a memory book that will be presented to Jenkins’ family. Written pieces or photos of Jenkins/Leinster for inclusion should be sent to Steven at murrayleinsterday@gmail.com no later than May 31.

(6) Alexis Gilliland’s website is up and running. Lee Gilliland announces, “We are slowly adding cartoons (we have an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 total to post) and we also now have a forum.” It’s quite nicely designed.

(7) The fastest growing category in the iTunes App Store is: books. O’Reilly Radar explains:

Granted releasing an e-book for the iPhone is a lot easier than writing a gaming application using the iPhone SDK. Roughly 6 out 10 of the Books on the app store sell for 99 cents or less, and 1 in 20 are free.

(8) Laurraine Tutihasi’s Feline Mewsings #35 can now be downloaded at http://homepage.mac.com/laurraine/Felinemewsings/index.html.

(9) Have you already heard about the Dalek found in an English pond?

I got the shock of my life when a Dalek head bobbed up right in front of me. It must have been down there for some time because it was covered in mould and water weed, and had quite a bit of damage. One of the dome lights was smashed, but the eye-stalk was intact and the head and neck stayed in one piece as I carefully lifted it out.

(10) Guy Gavriel Kay’s piece for the Toronto Globe and Mail tries to make sense of readers’ intrusive demands on writers who blog:

These days, writers invite personal involvement and intensity from their readers. In direct proportion to the way in which they share their personalities (or for- consumption personalities), their everyday lives, their football teams and word counts, their partners and children and cats, it encourages in readers a sense of personal connection and access, and thus an entitlement to comment, complain, recommend cat food, feel betrayed, shriek invective, issue demands: ‘George, lose weight, dammit!'”

[Thanks to Francis Hamit, Andrew Porter, Steven Silver, David Klaus and John Mansfield for the links included in this story.]

New Issue of File 770, the Fanzine

Cover of File 770 #153 by Taral Wayne

The new issue of File 770 is posted at eFanzines as a PDF file. (Paper copies were mailed on June 30.)

James Bacon and I do some last minute fanzine Hugo handicapping. My tribute to Worldcon toastmasters “Silverberg and Resnick – That’s Entertainment!” is in the issue. John Hertz reports several valuable news stories. Mystery writers Mary Reed and Eric Mayer answer my questions about writing historical fiction. I write up my Corflu Silver experiences. James Bacon tells about a day of his honeymoon visit to South Africa. There’s a great cover by Taral Wayne, and new illos by Alan White, Brad Foster and Alexis Gilliland.