Pixel Scroll 5/28/17 No File For You Till You Scroll All Your Pixels

(1) THANKED AND EXCUSED. Mattie Brahan, in a non-public post, said her husband, Darrell Schweitzer, was told he won’t be needed as a Readercon 28 program participant –a piece of news Barry Longyear exaggerated in his public post as “banning”.

Readercon has been banning (“disinviting”) former guests from being guests, Darrell Schweitzer being the most recent about whom I’ve heard. I originally thought it was for political reasons (I was part of the Northern Maine Rebellion), but apparently the reason was age, experience, having been around for too long. It’s sort of like having an AA meeting and forbidding the attendance of anyone who has more than one year of sobriety….

Is it really because Schweitzer is too old? There are any number of men and women listed as part of the forthcoming Readercon program who are not young.

(2) THE FOREVER QUEUE. Io9 reports yesterday at Disneyland “Lines Snaked Through Entire Park for Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Ride Debut”.

Looks like the hype was real. Disney’s ride for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! opened at Disney’s California Adventure on Saturday… and the effects could literally be felt everywhere in the park.

The Pandora section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom also opened in Florida over the weekend. It took fans about two hours just to get into the Pandora park, and ride lines were averaging about three to four hours for rides. Hell, some people reporting three-hour lines to get into the damn gift shops. Insane amount of standing and slowly walking aside, fans seemed happy with both Mission: Breakout! and Pandora.

(3) OPEN CASTING. Yes, this needs to happen. Emily Asher-Perrin and Leah Schnelbach team up to answer “Who Could Play This Merry Fellow? Dreamcasting Tom Bombadil” at Tor.com.

Emily pointed out that there should have been a DVD extra of Bombadil material, and then, naturally, that led to a dreamcasting of Bombadil. We gave ourselves a few restrictions–these had to be people who would have fit the role in 1999-ish, when they would have been hired for The Fellowship of the Ring, and all of the actors have been cast on the assumption that supermodel Claudia Schiffer is playing Goldberry…

(4) NEGATORY, GOOD BUDDY. As for my own attempt to cast the next Doctor Who — “Would Hayley Atwell Take The Role Of Doctor Who? Here’s What She Says”.

Hayley Atwell is frequent on fan’s most wanted lists, and while Atwell would likely kill it in the role, what does she actually think of all this? She wants that particular role to go to someone else.

I don’t want to play it. No. It’s just not my thing, but I really respect it. I’m a big fan of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, though. She plays the lead in Fleabag. There were talks of her being the next Doctor, and she’s so funny and eccentric and unique; she’d be great. I can’t really see anyone other than her playing it.

Appearing at Heroes and Villains Fanfest in London (via Geekfeed), Hayley Atwell made it quite clear that she doesn’t want to be the next Doctor.

(5) WHAT YOU MISSED. Chaz Boston Baden reports on his party at this weekend’s BayCon:

“A Bear’s Picnic” closed at 3:30 am, when the last four people left. As far as I know, no noise complaints were received about out party, even when Diane Osborne started singing about her rooster being dead….

Curious as to what song that might be I Googled “lyrics dead rooster” –you’d be surprised how many songs feature them.

(6) BODY WORK. Camestros Felapton went to the movies. He has posted the autopsy —“Review: Alien Covenant”.

…Covenant and its predecessor Prometheus are both variations on the theme of the original Alien. The same elements have to appear (some of which are shared with Aliens films), the horseshoe ship and the undiscovered planet and the body horror. The tone is serious and visuals are striking.

Covenant’s cast is sufficiently good and the dialogue strong enough that while the characterisation is not deep there is at least a sense of these people having some depth of character –it’s just that we don’t get to see it before they variously die horribly. Looking back at the original film, I suppose the same could have been said of it –even Ripley….

(7) FAN FILM. The Verge says “This Harry Potter prequel fan film looks even better than Fantastic Beasts” –and they’re right, it’s pretty slick.

The story follows a witch named Grisha Mac Laggen (heir to Griffindor and original character to this film), who suspects trouble when Hepzibah Smith, a descendant of the Hufflepuff family, was found murdered. The case goes cold, but Laggen suspects that there’s some sort of dark magic at play, and she believes that former Hogwarts student and future dark wizard Tom Marvolo Riddle is involved somehow. Visually, the teaser looks stunning, with visual effects and production design that feel like they fit alongside that of the official Harry Potter films.

 

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

(9) A BIT OF FAME. Contributor Francis Hamit’s letter to the editors of TIME Magazine got a mention:

May 25, 2017

HACKING U.S. DEMOCRACY

Massimo Calabresi’s May 29 story about Russia’s use of social media to influence Americans was a reminder to be “wary of the source of that liked/upvoted social post,” wrote Sanjeev Verma of Sunnyvale, Calif. However, as Francis Hamit of Sherman Oaks, Calif., pointed out, foreign attempts to sway American politics aren’t necessarily new. “It’s just that we are finally paying attention,” he noted.

Hamit adds, “What TIME used was the tag line of a longer letter about Soviet €˜active measures’ during the Vietnam War.”

(10) SHAZAM. Adweek tells about a recent public service campaign: “Shazam Suddenly Started Forgetting Song Titles to Highlight a Little-Known Fact About Alzheimer’s”.

We’re naturally inclined to attribute human characteristics to the apps that continuously follow us around, which is part of why Siri is so amusing and Alexa so charmingly useful. But for Alzheimer’s Research U.K., agency Innocean Worldwide U.K. brought a horribly human attribute to Shazam–the ability to forget…

 

The purpose of the campaign was to tell young people that Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just concern seniors; it can affect people as young as 40 years old. Over 40,000 people under 65 are living with dementia in the U.K. alone.

The effort ran through the month of April in the U.K. In mere hours, the agency says, “The Day Shazam Forgot” yielded 2,018,206 impressions, with 5,096 visitors visiting the Alzheimer’s Research U.K. donation page. (Hopefully they remembered their credit card information.)

(11) HUGO SHORTS. Camestros Felapton continues sharing his ballot, and the reasons therefore: “Hugo 2017: Short Story”.

  1. “Seasons of Glass and Iron” Amal El-Mohtar It had a tough job against strong competition but I do think this one stood out. The story takes two elements from lesser-known fairy tales: a woman who has to live on top of a glass mountain and a woman who has to walk the earth in iron shoes until their soles are worn away. El-Mohtar captures the atmosphere of the stories but also turns them to her own purposes.

(12) HUGO LONGS. Ethan Anderton’s Twitter robots made me look, but it was later pointed out to me that the material had been thieved from Mark Kaedrin, so here’s the direct link to Mark — “Hugo Awards: The Dark Forest and Death’s End”.

Those ideas that evoke the fabled SF goal of Sense of Wonder are what make these books work. The more sociological and philosophical aspects of the story are a little less focused and successful, leading to some inconsistency in terms of characters and pacing that perhaps make the series too long and pull the books down a peg or two. I suspect some things are lost in translation here, but this is not meant as a slight on Ken Liu (who translated the first and third books in the series), just an acknowledgement that translations naturally produce, for example, awkward dialog and pacing. I’ll put this on me too, as reading a book from another culture always presents challenges that I’ll readily admit I’m not always equal to. However, most of my complaints are far outweighed by what this series gets right, and this will rank high on my Hugo ballot, though I don’t know that it will unseat my current frontrunner (which remains Ninefox Gambit).

(13) THE DAMN DOGS DON’T LIKE IT. WIRED ponders “Why Are Colleges So Hostile to Fantasy Writers?”

For decades aspiring fantasy writers have been subjected to dismissive behavior from college professors who disparage genre literature, even though such professors often admit they’ve never actually read any fantasy or science fiction. This sort of hostility is unfortunately alive and well today, as college freshman Alina Sichevaya can attest.

“I’d heard everyone else’s horror stories, because occasionally this comes up on Twitter, and people will talk about their college experience,” Sichevaya says in Episode 257 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “But I definitely wasn’t expecting such a strong response from my professor about genre fiction.”

Sichevaya says she attempted to defend fantasy, and to recommend high-quality examples to her professor, but she’s not optimistic it’ll do much good.

(14) HOW TO LOSE THE SALE. Stay away from these if you want to sell to Dave — “Dave Farland’s 10 Points to Avoid in Writing Short Fiction” at Writers of the Future.

…Seriously, though, I sometimes wish that I could explain to a young writer why I’m passing on a story. So I’m going to talk about it here.

Here are ten reasons why I reject stories quickly–usually within the first page:

  1. The story is unintelligible.Very often I’ll get submissions that just don’t make sense. Often, these seem to be non-English speakers who are way off in both the meaning of words, their context, or in their syntax, but more often it’s just clumsiness. I’ve seen college presidents who couldn’t write. But this lack of care is on a gradient scale, from “I can’t figure out what this is about” to “I don’t want to bother trying to figure this out” to “there are minor problems in this story.” For example, yesterday a promising story called a dungeon the “tombs.” Was it a mistake, or a metaphor? I don’t think it was a metaphor. The author had made too many other errors where the “almost correct” word was used.
  2. The story is unbelievable. “Johnny Verve was the smartest kid on earth, and he was only six. He was strongest one, and the most handsome, too. But the coolest part was when he found out he had magical powers!” At that point, I’m gone, and not just because there were four uses of “was” in three sentences…

(15) TROLLING. Squawks over women-only screenings of Wonder Woman in Texas.

Now unimpressed men are lambasting the idea on Facebook, claiming they are being discriminated against.

“Great, let us know when you have guys-only screenings of Thor, Spider-Man, Star Wars, etc. Let’s see you walk the walk now that you set this precedence [sic],” one man wrote.

“Very sorry if you feel excluded,” came the reply on the [Alamo DraftHouse] cinema’s official account.

(16) ALL WOUND UP. Picture of cyclones on Jupiter’s south pole: “Juno Spacecraft Reveals Spectacular Cyclones At Jupiter’s Poles”.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has spotted giant cyclones swirling at Jupiter’s north and south poles.

That’s just one of the unexpected and puzzling findings being reported by the Juno science team.

Juno arrived at Jupiter last summer. It’s the first spacecraft to get a close-up look at the planet’s poles. It’s in an orbit that takes it skimming close to the cloud tops of the gas giant once every 53 days.

(17) HOW TO TALK TO FILM CRITICS AT MOVIES. The BBC trashes the movie of Gaiman’s “How to Talk to Girls at Parties”: “This is one of the worst films ever made”.

It may seem harsh to say that How to Talk to Girls at Parties is one of the worst films ever made, given that it isn’t a cynical studio blockbuster, but an indie passion project with a budget that wouldn’t pay for the Botox on most Hollywood productions. But this shambolic punks-meet-aliens rom-com is directed by John Cameron Mitchell, the acclaimed auteur behind Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It’s also adapted from a short story by Neil Gaiman, it has costumes by the triple-Oscar-winning Sandy Powell, and it features Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. If nothing else, then, it should seem vaguely professional. Instead, it’s like a shoddy school play put on by a drama teacher who thinks he’s cool for liking the Sex Pistols.

(18) MONSTROUS HIT. Carl Slaughter notes: “The Munsters wasn’t just a horror sitcom. It was a cultural phenomenon. After only 2 seasons and 70 episodes, it was buried by another cultural phenomenon: Batman.”

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, Mark Kaedrin, Chip Hitchcock, Francis Hamit, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

Pixel Scroll 4/7/17 The Pixel Out of Scrolls (by M.G. Filecraft)

(1) LOOK OUT BELOW. To avoid the chance that the Cassini probe might crash into and contaminate a moon of Saturn, NASA plans to crash it into the planet.

“Cassini’s own discoveries were its demise,” said Earl Maize, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who manages the Cassini mission.

Maize was referring to a warm, saltwater ocean that Cassini found hiding beneath the icy crust of Enceladus, a large moon of Saturn that spews water into space. NASA’s probe flew through these curtain-like jets of vapor and ice in October 2015, “tasted” the material, and indirectly discovered the subsurface ocean’s composition — and it’s one that may support alien life.

“We cannot risk an inadvertent contact with that pristine body,” Maize said. “Cassini has got to be put safely away. And since we wanted to stay at Saturn, the only choice was to destroy it in some controlled fashion.”

(2) ON THE AIR. Hear Hugo nominees Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone on Ottawa radio program All in a Day.

(3) MUSICAL HUGOS. Pitchfork makes its case for “Why clipping.’s Hugo Nomination Matters for Music in Science Fiction”.

Earlier this week, Splendor & Misery—the sophomore album by experimental L.A. rap group clipping.—was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. The Hugo is the highest prize in science fiction/fantasy, granted annually to the genres’ best literature, cinema, television, comics, and visual art. But the awards have never been particularly receptive to music. The last time a musical album was recognized by the Hugos was 1971, when Paul Kantner’s Blows Against the Empire was nominated. The Jefferson Airplane guitarist’s solo debut grandly envisioned a countercultural exodus to outer space, helping set the stage for many more sci-fi concept albums to come, starting with prog-rock’s explosion.

The storyline that winds through Splendor & Misery is just as political as Kantner’s. Set in a dystopian future, the LP revolves around a mutineer among a starship’s slave population, who falls in love with the ship’s computer. This Afrofuturist narrative, as rapped by Daveed Diggs, is matched by a dissonant yet sympathetic soundscape from producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes—one that evokes the isolation and complicated passion of the premise. Visually, this arc is represented in Hutson’s cover art: a spaceman with his pressure suit in tatters, revealing bare feet. “It’s a reference to how runaway slaves have been depicted in the U.S. in newspaper announcements and paintings like Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series,” Hutson says.

Diggs is no stranger to awards, having snagged both a Grammy and a Tony for his role in Hamilton, but clipping.’s Hugo nomination is just as profound….

(4) THE ROAD TO HELSINKI. Camestros Felapton begins his review of the nominees with “Hugo 2017: Fanwriter”.

Chunk one: established fan writers: Mike Glyer, Natalie Luhrs, Foz Meadows and Abigail Nussbaum. Chunk two: Jeffro Johnson, the Rabid nominee but one with a track record of informed fan writing on genre issues. Chunk three: the inimitable Dr Tingle. The discussion below is in no particular order.

(5) SF INFILTRATES LIT AWARD. China Miéville’s This Census-Taker is one of eight finalists for the Rathbones Folio Prize, given “to celebrate the best literature of our time, regardless of form.” All books considered for the prize are nominated by the Folio Academy, an international group of esteemed writers and critics. The three judges for the 2017 prize are Ahdaf Soueif (chair), Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Rachel Holmes. The winner will be announced on May 24 at a ceremony at the British Library.

(6) CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD. Filer and board game designer Peer Sylvester has been interviewed by Multiverse.

Q:  THE LOST EXPEDITION comes out this year. What can you tell our readers about this board game (without giving too much away?)

PS: Percy Fawcett was arguably the most famous adventurer of his time. In 1925 he set into the Brazilian rainforest with his son and a friend to find El Dorado (which he called “Z”), never to return again. Speculations of his fate were printed in newspapers for years with a movie coming out this year as well.

The players follow his footsteps into the jungle. It’s a cooperative game (you can play two-players head-to-head as well) where you have to manage all the dangers of the jungle and hopefully come back alive. It has a quite unique mechanism that prevents “quarterbacking”, i.e. players dominating everyone else. The game features beautiful art by Garen Ewing.  It will be, without doubt, my prettiest game so far. It has a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Book vibe. But, unlike those books, different dangers come out at different times, so every decision is unique.

(7) GET YOUR KITSCH ON. Submissions for The Kitschies awards have opened and will continue until November 1. File 770 wrote a summary piece about the awards last month.

(8) CHUCK TINGLE’S NEW SITE. Time to troll the pups again!

Like last year, the DEVILS were so excited about being DEVILS that they forgot to register important website names of their scoundrel ways. This year they are playing scoundrel pranks again, but now instead of learning about common devilman topics like having a lonesome way or crying about ethics in basement dwelling, this site can be used to PROVE LOVE by helping all with identification of a REVERSE TWIN! …

THE POWER IS YOURS

Never forget, the most powerful way to stop devils and scoundrels in this timeline is to PROVE LOVE EVERY DAY. Use this as a reminder and prove love in some small way in your daily life. Pick up the phone and call your family or friends just to tell them you care about them and that they mean so much to you. Help pick up some trash around your neighborhood. Let someone go ahead of you in line. As REVERSE TWINS pour in from other timelines, we can do our part to make this timeline FULL OF LOVE FOR ALL, and the power to do that is in your hands with every choice that you make! YOU ARE SO POWERFUL AND IMPORTANT, AND YOU ARE THE BEST IN THE WHOLE WORLD AT BEING YOU! USE THIS POWER TO MAKE LOVE REAL!

(9) THIS YEAR’S PUPPY PORN NOMINEE. Meanwhile, io9 discovered Stix Hiscox is a woman: “Meet the Hugo-Nominated Author of Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex”.

So, who is Stix Hiscock? Is he some Chuck Tingle copycat riding on the coattails of scifi porn parody? Some right-wing heterosexual man’s answer to Tingle’s gay erotica, making science fiction great again (with boobs)? Or, better yet, is he Chuck Tingle himself? Turns out, none of the above.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 7, 1989:  Dystopian brawler Cyborg opens in theaters.
  • April 7, 1933: The Eighth Wonder of the World appears to audiences nationwide

(11) CELEBRITY VISITS JIMMY OLSEN. Don Rickles,who passed away yesterday, and his doppelganger once appeared in comics with Superman’s Pal.

(12) CRAM SESSION. There are always 15 things we don’t know. ScreenRant works hard to fill those gaps, as in the case of  “15 Things You Didn’t Know About Captain Picard”.

  1. Captain Picard Loved To Swear

Patrick Stewart is a great actor, but foreign accents are not his strong suit. Captain Picard hails from La Barre, France, yet Patrick Stewart chose to use an English accent for his portrayal of the character. He also used an English accent for Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies (who is American) and Seti in The Prince of Egypt (who is Egyptian). You cannot argue with results, however, and the Star Trek expanded universe has offered a few handwave solutions to why Picard speaks with an English accent. These range from everyone in France adopting the accent when English became a universal language, to him actually speaking in a French accent the whole time, but we hear it as English due to his universal translator.

There were a few instances of Picard’s Frenchness that Patrick Stewart snuck into the dialogue. Captain Picard would occasionally say “merde” when facing a nasty situation. This is the French equivalent to saying “shit” when it is being said in exasperation.

(13) ELEMENTARY. The names of four new elements have been officially approved.

The periodic table just got some new members, as the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has officially accepted new names for four elements. Element numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 will no longer be known by their placeholder names, and instead have all-new monikers decided upon by their discoverers.

The discoveries were first recognized about a year ago, and the proposed names for them were decided upon this past June. Now, chemistry’s highest group has decided they are valid and will move forward with the all-new labels.

  • Nihonium (Nh), is element 113, and is named for the Japanese word for Japan, which is Nihon.
  • Moscovium (Mc), element 115, is named for Moscow.
  • Tennessine (Tn), element 117, is named for Tennessee.
  • Oganesson (Og), element 118, is named after Yuri Oganessian, honoring the 83-year-old physicist whose team is credited with being the top element hunters in the field.

(14) NOT TED COBBLER. Pratchett fans will remember Jason Ogg, who once shod an ant just to prove he could in fact shoe anything (for which the price was he would shoe anything, including Death’s horse). A Russian artisan actually made a life-size flea with shoes.

In a supersized world, Prague’s Museum of Miniatures thinks small. Very small. In millimetres, in fact.

A short walk from Prague Castle, this odd museum houses wonders invisible to the naked eye. After entering the room filled with microscopes, I found a desert scene of camels and palms inside the eye of a needle, an animal menagerie perched on a mosquito leg and the Lord’s Prayer written on a hair.

(15) DON’T FORGET. Contrary to widely-held theories used in various SF stories, short-term and long-term memories are formed separately.

The US and Japanese team found that the brain “doubles up” by simultaneously making two memories of events.

One is for the here-and-now and the other for a lifetime, they found.

It had been thought that all memories start as a short-term memory and are then slowly converted into a long-term one.

Experts said the findings were surprising, but also beautiful and convincing….

(16) NOTHING BUT HOT AIR. Atmosphere is confirmed on an exoplanet.

Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet for the first time.

They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.

Their observations suggest that the “super-Earth” is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.

The study is published in the Astronomical Journal.

Discovering an atmosphere, and characterising it, is an important step forward in the hunt for life beyond our Solar System.

But it is highly unlikely that this world is habitable: it has a surface temperature of 370C.

(17) QUANTUM BLEEP. If you’re going to be taking part in one of history’s iconic moments, you’d better prepare a speech.

(18) ANIME PRAISED. NPR likes Your Name — not a Studio Ghibli production, but animation direction is by a longtime Ghibli artist: “’Your Name’ Goes There”.

In the charming and soulful Japanese anime Your Name, two teenagers who have never met wake up rattled to discover that they have switched bodies in their sleep, or more precisely their dreams. And it’s not just their anatomies they’ve exchanged, or even the identities-in-progress each has managed to cobble together at such a tender age. Mitsuha, a spirited but restless small-town girl of Miyazaki-type vintage, and Taki, a Tokyo high school boy, have also swapped the country for the city, with all the psychic and cultural adjustments that will entail.

(19) CARTOON OF THE DAY. “Are You Lost in the World Like Me?” is a Max-Fleischer-style cartoon on Vimeo, with music by Moby, which explains what happens to the few people who AREN’T staring at their smartphones all day.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Stephen Burridge, Peer Sylvester, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

Pixel Scroll 12/10/16 The Scroll’s My Destination

(1) WIRE TOWN. The UK’s Daily Mail ran a photo gallery, “A city balancing on The Wire: Eerie pictures capture the lonely beauty of Baltimore’s Street corners at night revealing another side to its crime-ravaged neighborhoods”, and contrary to what you might expect from a collection with that title, the first picture is of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society clubhouse.

(2) MY LUNGS REMEMBER SASQUAN. The Darwin Award candidates responsible for the wildfires during Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, have been sentenced. “Vancouver men who started wildfire ordered to pay state $2.3 million” reports The Oregonian.

Three Vancouver men responsible for setting fire to 110 acres of forest in southwestern Washington have been ordered to pay the state more than $2.3 million in firefighting costs.

The Daily News reports Nathan Taylor was sentenced Monday and all three defendants were ordered to pay damages the state Department of Natural Resources.

Court documents say the fire started July 19, 2015 after Taylor, his brother Adrian Taylor and Michael Estrada Cardenas used propane tanks and soda cans for target practice near Woodland.

(3) ESCAPE FROM SAN QUENTIN. The Public Domain Review has “Astral Travels With Jack London”, a lengthy discussion of Jack London’s great 1914 sf novel The Star Rover. Jack London died in November 1916.

London’s sole foray into the realm of science fiction and fantasy is simultaneously a hard-bitten, minimalist monologue about life in solitary confinement and an exuberant tour of the universe. The book’s narrator, Darrell Standing, moves disarmingly from the agony of his confinement in a strait-jacket to his travel amidst the stars equipped with a glass wand that allows him to access an infinity of past lives, including a fourth-century hermit, a shipwrecked seal-hunter, a medieval swordsman, and a confidant of Pontius Pilate. It is a novel about sensory deprivation in a shared reality, and sensory overload in a private one.

This is a deeply eclectic book. It borrows liberally from the forebears of the fantasy genre: fairy stories, Norse legend, Greek myths. But it also manages to include feuding UC Berkeley scientists, “dope fiends,” Neolithic hunter-gatherers, kimchi, and a journalistic exposé of the modern prison system. The bizarre multiplicity is precisely the point. London’s narrative does many things, but it always seems to circle back to the question of how the worlds encompassed within a single consciousness can interfere with the shared reality of modern society. As we hurtle towards a near future of immersive virtual reality and unceasing digital connectedness, The Star Rover has much to tell us.

(4) NEIL GAIMAN IS THE PRIZE. A reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” by Neil Gaiman is a Worldbuilders Fundraising Reward.

The Worldbuilders charity passed its stretch goal of a million dollars, so I lit a whole bunch of candles, put on a coat once worn by a dead brother in the Stardust movie, and I read Edgar Allan Poe’s poem THE RAVEN by candlelight. You can donate to Worldbuilders at worldbuilders.org. And you should.

 

(5) NUMBER FIVE. The Traveler at Galactic Journey marvels at the recent development of radio astronomy in “[Dec. 10, 1961] By Jove! (Jupiter, the Fifth Planet)”.

In the last ten years or so, a brand new way of looking at Jupiter has been developed.  Light comes in a wide range of wavelengths, only a very small spectrum of which can be detected by the human eye.  Radio waves are actually a form of light, just with wavelengths much longer than we can see.  Not only can radio be used to communicate over long distances, but sensitive receivers can tell a lot about the universe.  It turns out all sorts of celestial objects emit radio waves.

Jupiter is one of those sources.  After this discovery, in 1955, astronomers began tracking the planet’s sporadic clicks and hisses.  It is a hard target because of all of the local interference, from the sun, our ionosphere, and man-made radio sources.  Still, scientists have managed to learn that Jupiter has an ionosphere, too, as well as a strong magnetic field with broad “Van Allen Belts.”  It also appears to be the only planet that broadcasts on the radio band.

Using radio, we will be able to learn much about King Jove long before the first spacecraft probes it (perhaps by 1970 or so).  It’s always good to remember that Space Age research can be done from home as well as in the black beyond.  While I am as guilty as the next fellow of focusing on satellite spectaculars, the bulk of astronomy is done with sounding rockets and ground-based telescopes – not to mention the inglorious drudgery of calculations and report-writing, universal to every science.

(6) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #14. The fourteenth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for an autographed coy of Impulse by Steven Gould.

Today’s auction comes from award-winning author and former SFWA president Steven Gould, who’s offering an autographed first edition hardcover copy of his novel IMPULSE, which is currently being developed for a pilot on YouTube Red.

About the Book:

Steven Gould returns to the world of his classic novel Jumper in Impulse.

Cent has a secret. She lives in isolation, with her parents, hiding from the people who took her father captive and tortured him to gain control over his ability to teleport, and from the government agencies who want to use his talent. Cent has seen the world, but only from the safety of her parents’ arms. She’s teleported more than anyone on Earth, except for her mother and father, but she’s never been able to do it herself. Her life has never been in danger.

Until the day when she went snowboarding without permission and triggered an avalanche. When the snow and ice thundered down on her, she suddenly found herself in her own bedroom. That was the first time.

(7) TOBLER’S PICKS. The Book Smugglers continue their year-end theme: “Smugglivus 2016: Books That Surprised Me (In a Good Way) by E. Catherine Tobler”. They published Tobler’s short story “The Indigo Mantis” earlier this year.

Bloodline, Claudia Gray

I did not expect to read another Star Wars novel in my lifetime; the expanded universe of books was never wholly my thing. I liked the Han Solo novels (A.C. Crispin) well enough, but could not get into the Thrawn books, or anything tackling Leia. And then, Bloodline showed up. Bloodline spends some time with Leia after Jedi and before The Force Awakens and let me say, I never realized how much I missed not seeing Leia be allowed to grieve over the loss of Alderran. Gray gives us that and much more, unpacking and exploring Leia’s marriage with Han Solo, and yes, her relationship to Darth Vader. Such a satisfying read.

(8) DEBRIS WHACKER. Finally somebody’s cleaning up space. From NPR, “Japan Sends Long Electric Whip Into Orbit, To Tame Space Junk”

A cable that’s as long as six football fields has been launched into orbit — and when it’s deployed, it’ll test an idea to knock out orbital debris. Japan’s space agency sent the electrodynamic tether into space along with supplies for the International Space Station.

Reels aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori 6 craft will deploy the 700-meter (2,296 feet) tether, essentially unspooling a clothesline in space that could help clean up the roughly 20,000 pieces of potentially hazardous space debris that are tracked by systems on Earth.

Those pieces of junk are dangerous enough on their own — but they can also generate thousands more smaller pieces of debris if they collide, creating even more risk to the space station and satellites orbiting the Earth.

With the official acronym of EDT (for electrodynamic tether), the Kounotori’s cable “is a promising candidate to deorbit the debris objects at low cost,” JAXA says.

(9) ONE THOUSAND AND ONE IRAQI DAYS. At NPR, Amal El-Mohtar reviews the Iraqi SF anthology: “’Iraq + 100’ Is Painful, But Don’t Look Away”.

Though a few of the stories — Alhaboby’s “Baghdad Syndrome,” Hassan’s “The Here and Now Prison,” and Ibrahim al-Marashi’s “Najufa” — are warm and hopeful, focused on love, family, and friendship, overall the collection hurts. Underlying these pieces are exhaustion, disgust, contempt, disillusionment, all of which Western readers of speculative fiction will no doubt find alienating; built into our narrative of fiction’s usefulness is a sense of healing, catharsis, nourishment that this collection resists. Thoughts of the future are rooted in the recent past and present, leeching poison from its earth, and what grows can’t be separated from that soil, as when Alhaboby writes “I knew that soon my vision would start to go the way the lights once did over Baghdad all those years ago … You see, if you’re a sufferer of Baghdad Syndrome, you know that nothing has ever driven us, or our ancestors, quite as much as the syndrome of loving Baghdad.”

(10) THE LONG WATCH. Former LASFS President, now thriving commercial actor, Ed Green appears in this spot beginning at :14 —

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 10, 2009 Avatar makes its world premiere.

(12) ALDRIN LEAVES NEW ZEALAND. He’s recovered from what ailed him at the South Pole — “Astronaut Buzz Aldrin heads home after stay in Christchurch hospital”.

Mr Aldrin’s manager, Christina Korp, tweeted a photo of him on the flight home, saying they hoped to return again.

“But next time for vacation and not evacuation,” she wrote.

Mr Aldrin began showing signs of altitude sickness, including low oxygen levels and congestion in his lungs, after reaching the South Pole.

“Once I was at sea level I began to feel much better,” he said last Sunday.

(13) ENGLISH EVOLVING BEFORE YOUR EYES. Thanks to everyone at work in the File 770 comment laboratory….

(14) HIGHEST BIDDER. Black Gate says the sale happened Friday on eBay — “Original Woodgrain Edition Dungeons and Dragons Box Set Sells For $22,100”.

(15) CHRISTMAS HORROR AND SHATNER – TOGETHER! Hampus Eckerman, inspired by a link in the last Pixel Scroll, decided to check online for more Christmas Horror movies. And he found the most horrific of al – one starring William Shatner(!)

In A Christmas Horror Story, Shatner is the DJ who sets the scene —

Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

christmas-horror-story

(16) STAR TREK CHRISTMAS. Here’s how the franchise paid tribute to the Christmas season.

  • Captain Sisko & the DS9 Ensemble sing “Wonderful Deep Space Nine”

In the grand tradition of Star Trek captains singing holiday standards, for your consideration: “Wonderful Deep Space Nine” sung by Captain Sisko, Major Kira, Constable Odo, Lieutenant Commander Worf, Chief O’Brien, Congenial Barkeep Quark, Plain Simple Garak, and the rest of the Star Trek: DS9 ensemble. Special appearances by Morn, Martok, Moogie, and Vorta Iggy Pop.

 

  • Star Trek Voyager – Christmas 2008

The Voyager crew give their take on the 12 days of Christmas.

 

(17) ANIMAL MAGNETISM. The Jimmy Kimmel Show ran videos in which “Pets React to Star Wars Rogue One Trailer.”

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Eva Whitley, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

Pixel Scroll 6/1/16 This Scroll Will Self-Pixelate In Five Seconds

(1) HOAX OF THRONES. From Entertainment Weekly, Game of Thrones producers reveal 4 of their epic cast pranks”.

  1. John Bradley’s Ridiculous New Costume.

During the making of season 6, Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Hannah Murray (Gilly) asked the producers to help them play a wicked trick on their costar and friend, John Bradley (Samwell Tarley). Explains Weiss: “Hannah has long had the sh–tiest costumes on Game of Thrones; she’s been in a burlap sack for five years. She was so happy that she finally gets into a real piece of clothing this year. So Kit and Hannah thought it would be funny to play a joke on John and let him think he’s going to get a new costume too.”

The producers wrangled the show’s costume department to stage a mock fitting for Bradley in a fake costume before shooting began. “We thought it would be great to make the costume ludicrous, but just believable enough to not know it was a gag – so he’d think he would be wearing this on screen,” Weiss says. The result, as you can see in the exclusive photo above, “was all rental stuff, very Henry the VIII, with Tudor bloomers and a massive codpiece that wasn’t even the same color as the rest of the costume.”

(2) CAST PHOTOS. At Pottermore, “A first look at Ron, Hermione and Rose Granger-Weasley as they will appear in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two. Noma Dumezweni ‘gets Hermione inside out,’ according to J.K. Rowling”.

Yesterday, we got a sneak peek at Harry, Ginny and Albus Potter in full Cursed Child costume and make-up. Now, let’s meet the Granger-Weasleys.

Here we see Harry’s two best friends Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley) and Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni) in full costume with their daughter Rose Granger-Weasley, who will be played by actress Cherrelle Skeete.

‘It’s 19 years later when the play begins,’ Paul explained. ‘Ron is married to Hermione Granger and they’re now the Granger-Weasleys. Our magnificent daughter Rose Granger-Weasley is about to start at Hogwarts, which is obviously a big day for everyone.’

 

(3) EARLY GRRM. It’s not a hoax, but it may be a hallucination. Dangerous Minds, an underground music and culture site, discusses “’The Armageddon Rag,’ George R.R. Martin’s Rock-and-Roll Occult Fantasy Novel”,

In 1983 Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin published a standalone novel drenched in classic rock that featured the following: a sorceress marshaling a menacing army of loyal warriors, a faithful direwolf cut down in the act of protecting its master, and a scary henchman of well-nigh mountain-ous stature.

The book is called The Armageddon Rag, and a perusal of the synopses of his other pre-Song of Ice and Fire output leads me to the conclusion that the book is Martin’s most realistic novel and surely represents his most sustained homage to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien—unless, of course, the still-uncompleted Westeros/Essos series qualifies.

It also doesn’t really work.

According to the author, The Armageddon Rag nearly sank Martin’s career—and also (HBO subscribers, rejoice) prompted the writer to investigate the possibilities of writing for television….

(4) CELEBRATING WOMEN SF/F ARTISTS. The Society of Illustrators exhibit “Points of Vision – Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction” runs June 8-August 20 in New York.

When people think of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre they often think of it as a male-dominated field, both in authorship and art. However, women have always been a critical part of the genre, and have often brought a slightly different point of view to the way that they create around the themes of myth, heroism, science, and futurism. Mary Shelley wrote one of the first, if not the first science fiction books in Frankenstein. For every Tolkien there was an Ursula K. Le Guin. For every Frank Herbert an Octavia Butler. When we think of Science Fiction and Fantasy Art, it is often the names like Frazetta and Hildebrandt that come first to mind. However, all along through the art history of the genre you have women such as Kinuko Craft, Mary Blair, Julie Bell, and many more who have been creating their own visual worlds and illustrating the worlds of authors, filmmakers, and game designers. For the first time, the work of women in this genre will be exhibited together in Point of Vision: Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction at the Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators.

We have chosen to exhibit these women artists together to propose that although both men and women have always created art in the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy, women inherently have a slightly different point of view, a unique way of internalizing the themes and stories and then creating visuals imbued with their perspective. However it would be a mistake to say that art created by women is automatically “feminine” — in this exhibit the viewer will see that there are as many different definitions of “woman artist” as there are women creating art.

This exhibit is curated by Irene Gallo and Lauren Panepinto.

(5) PROPHECY REDEEMED. “It’s 2016 — where’s my reusable spacecraft?” demands Chip Hitchcock, setting up the BBC’s reply in “One thing spacecraft have never achieved – until now”.

So a short explanation for why reusable rockets haven’t arrived earlier is simply the technical difficulty. However, the idea of reusable spaceplanes dates back to before World War Two.

Before the Apollo programme, spaceplanes were thought to be the future of reusable spacecraft, says Roger Launius at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. “The idea has been out there since the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon science fiction comic strips in the 1920s and 1930s. Every single one of the spacecraft in those strips was a reusable spaceplane. So since before World War Two we always thought spaceflight would be like airplane activity.”

After 1945, captured German rocket scientists revealed they had planned – but never built – a suborbital spaceplane, the Silverbird, with which the Nazis had hoped to bomb the US. A novel design feature was that it was shaped like a wing, so its shape helped add aerodynamic lift. This ‘lifting body’ idea was harnessed by the US Air Force in 1958 when it started work on a reusable winged spaceplane, the X-20 Dyna-Soar – but the Moon program saw that canned in 1963.

(6) SIXTIES BATMAN ACTORS COLLABORATING. CinemaBlend says when they’re not busy collecting Medicare, “Batman’s Adam West And Burt Ward Are Working On A New Project”. (Okay, I made up the Medicare part.)

Although Adam West’s information was sparse, we may already have a clue about what this thing is. Last year, he and Burt Ward mentioned that they would be voicing their versions of Batman and Robin in a 90-minute animated project. It seems unlikely that this would be a movie released in theaters. Instead, it seems like a much better fit as a direct-to-DVD movie, something streamed on an online platform or even as a TV special. However, there’s been no official announcements concerning that particular project, and it’s unclear whether what West is currently talking about is the same project or something entirely different. Either way, having the old guard together again is intriguing.

(7) DEVIL IN A BLUE RAY. The other day Guillermo del Toro praised director John Carpenter in a long series of tweets that included this story:

(8) BIRTHDAY DEITY

  • Born June 1, 1936 – Morgan Freeman, who in addition to playing God in two movies, has performed as a leader of all three branches of the US government, the President, the Chief Justice, and the Speaker. (And you can throw in the Director of Central Intelligence for good measure.)

(9) BIRTHDAY MUPPET

  • Born June 1, 2000 — Oscar the Grouch. [Updated. Oscar has been on Sesame Street since 1969. But the birthday is official.]

(10) STRETCH GOALS. Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch audiobook Kickstarter not only funded, but hit three stretch goals.

And for unlocking the last goal, backers will soon learn if illustrator James A. Owen can really draw a bandersnatch blindfolded.

(11) THE DOORS OF HIS MOUTH. David Brin will speak in Washington DC to Caltech alumni on June 14. Tickets are $10.

Knocking on Doors

What Caltech Taught Me about Self-Education

Join us for a special conversation with Hugo award winning and New York Times bestselling science fiction author David Brin (BS ’73). Brin will speak about how his experience at Caltech prepared him for a three decade career at the intersection of science and imagination.

(12) ONLINE PAYMENT OPENS. MACII opened Site Selection voting the other day, however, today they made it possible to pay the Advance Supporting Membership fee online.

All Adult Attending, Young Adult Attending, and Supporting members of MidAmeriCon II are eligible to take part in the site selection process. Ballots may be submitted by postal mail or in person at the convention, up to the close of voting at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2016. All ballots must be accompanied by an Advance Supporting Membership fee, which will automatically be converted to a Supporting Membership of the respective convention, regardless of which convention the member voted for. This fee has been set at $40 for the 2018 Worldcon selection and $35 for the 2017 NASFiC.

Full information on the site selection process, including a printable ballot form, can be found on the MidAmeriCon II website at www.midamericon2.org/home/hugo-awards-and-wsfs/wsfs/site-selection/. A copy of the ballot form will also be included in MidAmeriCon II’s Progress Report 3, which will be mailed to convention members in the coming weeks.

In accordance with the requirements of the World Science Fiction Society, each bidder has submitted an official bid filing package. This documentation can also be found on the MidAmeriCon II website at www.midamericon2.org/home/hugo-awards-and-wsfs/wsfs/site-selection/.

(13) 2017 WISCON. The WisCon 41 guests of honor have been named.

  • Amal El-Mohtar – Nebula-nominated Canadian poet and writer of speculative fiction
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick – American comic book writer and editor and English-language adapter of manga

(14) ONE THUMB UP FOR GHOSTBUSTERS. Executive producer Dan Aykroyd praised the new Ghostbusters. Is he an objective critic? You decide!

Dan Aykroyd, who played Ray Stantz in the original Ghostbusters film, has praised the upcoming reboot.

Aykroyd is listed as an executive producer on the movie, which features a female-led cast including Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.

He commended the “brilliant, genuine performances from the cast both female and male”.

The actor made the comments after seeing a test screening of Paul Feig’s new film.

“It has more laughs and more scares than the first two films, plus Bill Murray is in it!” Aykroyd wrote on Facebook.

(15) FLEXIBLE FLYERS. This picture of posable dragons comes from Patricia Briggs fans FB page.

posable dragons

(16) TIME AND AGAIN. Details about the 2017 season of Doctor Who continue to leak: “Doctor Who Season 10 Is Bringing A Major Character Back”.

Actress Michelle Gomez actually dropped the news herself at this weekend’s MegaCon in Orlando, confirming that she would definitely be bringing Missy back into the Doctor’s life for Season 10, according to Doctor Who News. And it doesn’t appear that she was in character while making the admission, so we don’t have to worry about this being a trick of some kind that she’s playing on humanity. Or do we?

The latest incarnation of the Doctor’s arch nemesis The Master, Missy first appeared in “Deep Breath,” after already being introduced by name in a previous episode. She is more of a trickster than earlier Masters when it comes to playing mind games with the Doctor, and has appeared in a handful of episodes since her introduction. She was last seen in Season 9’s “The Witch’s Familiar,” where she was left on Skaro amidst a huge group of Daleks, remarking on a clever idea she’d just had. Was that idea to show up in Season 10? It fits.

(17) FORGED PROPERTY. Suvudu knows how few can resist a headline like “King Tut’s Dagger Has an Extraterrestrial Origin”.

Conspiracy theorists are fond of pointing to things like the pyramids as proof that the Egyptians were in communication with an extraterrestrial civilization. While that’s very, very, very unlikely, a recent scientific discovery has revealed a surprising connection between Egyptian royalty and outer space. According to the Guardian, Italian and Egyptian scientists have concluded that a dagger found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen was forged from iron extracted from a meteorite.

(18) JUST SAY NO. Steven Harper Piziks shares his social media strategy at Book View Café.

Links I don’t click on:

–Anything that uses the phrase “mind blown”…

–Or “90% of readers won’t share this” (Now we just need to work on the other 10%.)

–Or “This major event in space is happening any second! Click here to learn more about how fake it is!”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Rob Thornton, Andrew Porter, and Craig Miller for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day katster.]

Uncanny Magazine Launches Kickstarter To Fund Year Two

Uncanny Magazine is raising funds through Kickstarter to cover some of its operation and production costs for the second year. Half of the initial goal of $18,700 was raised the first day but more is needed before the appeal ends September 10.

At the magazine’s helm are three-time Hugo Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas (Apex Magazine, Chicks Dig Time Lords, Glitter & Mayhem) and three-time Hugo Award nominee Michael Damian Thomas (Apex Magazine, Queers Dig Time Lords, Glitter & Mayhem).

“We publish intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and vision from writers from every conceivable background,” says Lynne. “The Uncanny team believes there is room in the genre for stories that inspire the imagination, challenge beliefs, and make readers feel. With the hard work of the best staff and contributors in the world, Uncanny Magazine delivered everything as promised with the Year One Kickstarter. Uncanny has received outstanding reviews and community support. Some pieces from our first issue in 2014 even garnered award nominations and a Year’s Best anthology inclusion.”

Uncanny has developed several additional funding streams to make the magazine sustainable, but still needs to raise support.

For Year Two, Uncanny has solicited original short fiction from Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Award winning and nominated authors including: Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Ursula Vernon (Digger), Aliette de Bodard (The House of Shattered Wings), Elizabeth Bear (Karen Memory), Amal El-Mohtar (“The Truth about Owls”), Alyssa Wong (“The Fisher Queen”), Carmen Maria Machado (“The Husband Stitch”), Maria Dahvana Headley (Magonia), Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories series), Scott Lynch (Gentlemen Bastards series), Rachel Swirsky (“If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love”), Catherynne M. Valente (Deathless), and Max Gladstone (The Craft Sequence). There will also be numerous slots for unsolicited submissions.

Uncanny Magazine year two plans to showcase original poetry by Sofia Samatar, M Sereno, Isabel Yap, and Sonya Taaffe, and essays by Chris Kluwe, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Jim C. Hines, Sarah Kuhn, and Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Uncanny Magazine Year Two will also feature cover art by Julie Dillon, Galen Dara, and Katy Shuttleworth.

The funding goal will pay for all six issues of Uncanny Year Two, including:

  • 17,000 words of new fiction per issue (3-5 stories, depending on length)
  • A reprint story
  • Reprint cover art
  • 3 new poems
  • 2 new nonfiction essays
  • 2 new interviews

Uncanny pays $.08 per word for original fiction, $30 per poem, $50 per essay, and $100 per reprinted artwork.

The Year Two budget includes paying the staff, podcast production and hosting costs, website hosting and maintenance costs, backer rewards, and Kickstarter fees and taxes.

The Staff

Michi Trota is Uncanny’s Managing Editor. She is a writer, editor, speaker, communications manager, and community organizer in Chicago, IL. Michi writes about geek culture and fandom, focusing primarily on issues of diversity and representation, on her blog, Geek Melange. She was a featured essayist in Invisible: An Anthology of Representation in SF/F (edited by Jim C. Hines) and is a professional editor with fifteen years of experience in publishing and communications.

Deborah Stanish conducts Uncanny’s author interviews. She co-edited the Hugo-nominated Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who with L.M. Myles and Whedonistas with Lynne M. Thomas, and is a founding member and the moderator of the Doctor Who: Verity! podcast.

Uncanny’s podcast is edited and produced by Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky. Erika is a founding member and producer of the Doctor Who: Verity! podcast. She also co-hosts The Audio Guide to Babylon 5 and is a frequent panelist on The Incomparable. Steven is one of the three hosts of the popular Doctor Who podcast Radio Free Skaro, as well as a co-host of another Doctor Who podcast called The Memory Cheats.

Amal El-Mohtar is the Uncanny Magazine podcast narrator.  Amal is the Nebula-nominated author of The Honey Month, a collection of poetry and prose written to the taste of twenty-eight different kinds of honey. Her poems have won the Rhysling award thrice and the Richard Jefferies Prize once. Her story “The Truth about Owls” from Kaleidoscope is the winner of the 2015 Locus Award for Best Short Story

Every Puppy Has Its Day 4/16

What European writers call the Hugo Awards “hack” is getting international coverage. Today’s roundup features quotes from Polish and German articles… or as close as Google Translate can get.

There are geniuses who are mad, writers who are mad, and fans who are mad. No wonder there’s also a psychologist trying to analyze the Sad Puppies phenomenon. And if that doesn’t work, someone else has done a statistical analysis.

One writer thinks so many are alarmed by the controversy she needs to volunteer as a bodyguard —

Vonda McIntyre on Book View Cafe

“I will walk with you” – April 15

I’m distressed to see that some folks who were planning to come to Sasquan are thinking of skipping Worldcon this year.

Because they’re frightened.

I understand why people are frightened, given the racist, misogynistic, and dishonest screeds they’ve been subjected to. It isn’t — alas — unusual for verbal abuse to escalate into physical abuse; and anyway verbal abuse is no fun to begin with.

But I was thinking about what might help counterbalance the situation….

I will walk with you at Worldcon.

I’m not very fond of confrontation. I’m a courtesy 5’1? and my 67th birthday (how did that happen?!) is just after the convention and I’m walking with a hiking pole while recovering from a hiking fall, an injury that’s taking way longer to heal than when I was a pup.

On the other hand I’m a shodan in Aikido.

On the third hand, which I can have because I’m an SF writer, shodan — first degree black belt — is when you realize how much you still have to learn.

But I’m thinking that maybe it would make folks who feel threatened feel a little safer to have someone at their side, maybe even someone with a bunch o’ fancy ribbons fluttering from her name badge, even if that person is shorter, smaller, and older than they are, white-haired and not physically prepossessing. It’s another person’s presence.

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

Two more scalps – April 16

Yesterday two people who previously didn’t mind having their names on the list and who are Hugo nominated decided withdraw the names. They are both young and probably afraid theircareers will be hurt. Quite frankly, I think it’s a futile gesture. Their flirtation with deviancy will never be forgiven by the SF establishment.

 

Jason V Brock on Facebook  – April 15

I feel sympathy for those trapped in the scenario who did nothing wrong, yet are suffering the consequences, when they should be able to enjoy themselves.

Additionally, people who take a side against someone should reconsider from the perspective of the folks that have been honored justly, and who do good work. In other words, there are people who have toiled for years building a reputation and then have the misfortune of an angry person/group trying to exact revenge, or tarnish everything (out of jealousy, I’d say, and a warped sense of reality). It’s not fair to block or unfriend people that genuinely did nothing but stand up and say “But I didn’t do anything bad.” These are the actions of cowards. People need to have cooler heads and try to understand things better.

 

Alastair Reynolds on Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon

“On the present Hugo mess and while I still want one” – April 15

The odd thing is – or perhaps it isn’t odd at all – is that the ongoing trouble with the Puppies only makes me feel more warmly disposed to the Hugos. I certainly should have voted. It would have taken a lot more of us to outweigh the block voting effect of the slate ballot, but that’s no argument not to have tried. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been striving to read a lot more short fiction this year, and I already feel a lot better informed about the state of the field in 2015 than in recent years. And yes, while the Hugo award has been damaged – it’s hard to see a way around that, irrespective of what happens later in the summer – I would still like to win one eventually. I hope the award can weather this storm, and continue on as it should be – a prized part of SF’s collective heritage.

 

Marcin Zwierzchowski on Geek Blog (Polish)

“Nagrody fantastyczne jest problem”  – April 8

[Google Translate from Polish to English] The latter is the nail in the coffin of awards plebiscite. This year, it hit a huge force in Hugo, where most nominations seized authors connected with the movement Sad Puppies. The initiators of action rightly pointed out that in recent years, this prestigious award has become a mouthpiece through which the environment was manifest on the strength of its tolerance and diversity.  Instead, the text of the loudest discussed whether the nominees and the winners are more women or men, whether it is enough ethnic minorities, whether they are homosexual, etc., Etc.

 

Der Standard

“Was George R.R. Martin zum rechten ‘Hack’ der Hugo Awards sagt” – April 16

[Google Translate from German to English] In the past, it managed to get individual groups to influence the nomination lists on their behalf: Be it the followers of Scientology -Gründers and (often forgotten) SF-author L. Ron Hubbard. Be it the well-organized fandom of “Doctor Who”, which manages year after year in the short film category, to give the impression that there is nothing price worthier throughout the film, television and web video world as the British endless series. But such initiatives were always based on individual works – there has never been such a comprehensive campaign, moreover, an ideological background.

 

George R. R. Martin on Not A Blog

“On the Darkling Plain” – April 15

My friend Janice Gelb, long time worldcon volunteer and SMOF, has suggested that the only thing we can do at this point is abolish the Hugo Awards altogether. When I first heard that notion, I dismissed it out of hand. Some good will, some civility, a mutual exchange of ideas, and surely we could find a way to salvage the situation.

I am no longer convinced of that. The Sad Puppies are digging in and doubling down, and so is worldcon fandom. Meanwhile, off in the cesspools, the Rabid Puppies grow ever more rabid. Nuclear options are being seriously considered, and Vox Day has apparently threatened that if NO AWARD wins in any category, he will see to it that no award is ever given in that category again.

My first inclination was to dismiss that threat as so much toxic wind. But I am not so sure. According to FILE 770 http://file770.com/?p=21877 there have been 1352 new Supporting Memberships purchased this month, an unprecedented number. Very few of these purchases, I fear, were motivated by a sincere desire to support WorldCon. No, all these new supporting members are plonking down their money for a vote on the Hugos.

Ah, but which side do they represent? Are these members of traditional fandom, signing up to take back their awards? Are these Sad Puppy supporters, anxious to vote their slate to victory? Are these all NO AWARDers? Or maybe these are the Vox Day fans. Beale seems to have much more control over his followers than Correia and Torgensen do over theirs… the ballot actually has more Rabid Puppies than Sad ones. Could it be that Vox Day has successfully roused the GamerGate bogeyman that he was been threatening us with? No one knows. Unless…

I think it is All of the Above.

And as for me… I don’t know right now. On odd numbered days, I lean toward opting out of SasQuan entirely. Stay home, work on the book, I don’t need this grief. On even numbered days, I am determined to go… and to go BIG. Take the Hugo Losers Party back. I started it, after all. And this year, so far as the Hugos are concerned, we are all going to be losers.

 

George R. R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Joining Sasquan” – April 16

I have been going to Worldcons for a long time. My icon is a picture of me at Torcon II, the 1973 Worldcon in Toronto, where I lost the very first John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Wasn’t I cute? It was my second Worldcon, following on Noreascon I in Boston in 1971. (I missed LA in 1972).

 

Brandon Morse on EveryJoe

“Exclusive Interview With Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgersen”  – April 16

EJ: In a blog post, Doctor Who critical historian Philip Sandifer recently said that “the moral duty of progressive voices to form a blocking majority, and to loudly admit that fandom as it stands is broken, and that any work proclaimed to be the best of the year by a fandom this broken is demeaned by the association.” Do you think the outrage against Sad Puppies is ultimately because you broke the “blocking majority” that Progressives feel is their moral duty to maintain?

Torgersen: I feel like this is very much about totems. I wrote a long article today, talking about tribalism, and how Worldcon Fandom has reacted to having outside tribe(s) coming to “take away” the totem that is the Hugo Award. We’re committing near-sacrilege when we do that. But the chief problem is that the Hugos self-label as being the award for everybody while Worldcon wants to keep the total deciding process internal to itself; no out-tribe people allowed. An award for all, decided by the few. That’s the core of the problem. So, if the progressives feel a duty to keep out-tribe people from participating, I feel a duty to put a hand to their faces and say, “No, you don’t get to decide who is and is not a fan, or who is and is not worthy.”

 

Maureen O’Danu on Am I The Only One Dancing

“The Psychology of Hugo Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies” – April 16

Larry Correia’s public attitude makes it pretty clear that he felt that he deserved to win and that the Hugo he was nominated for was stolen from him, rather than simply won by another contender. (Larry denies this verbally, but one of the first rules of psychology is that when there is a conflict between words and actions, believe the actions.) The subjective nature of literary awards makes this a not uncommon problem. In any award where winning is at least partially a matter of opinion instead of mathematics, the language of robbery holds sway. “He was robbed” “She stole that award” “How on earth did he take that away from her.” From ice dancing to dressage to debate to writing, any ranked creative competition is going to generate these sorts of claims.

Correia took this further, speculating on the basis of negative comments he had received from either fans or writers (he has never specified) that he was specifically denied his award because of his political views. He has said that he believes has been specifically denied because he owns a gun store, is Mormon, is conservative, or all or some combination of the above.

It is common for people who feel entitled to look for unjust reasons for exclusion from something they feel they are owed. Afraid to look within, they will search for any confirmations they can find that someone, somewhere has unjust views of them, and then work long and hard to build a case that these views somehow formed the basis of discrimination. The logical leaps and sifting for scant evidence that make up this process are the roots of paranoid beliefs and are pretty common among lots of people, not just people who have diagnoses.

 

Nathaniel Givens on Difficult Run

“Some Sad Puppy Data Analysis” – April 14

If the last chart depicted clearly the reasons why social justice warriors are so opposed to SP / RP, this chart depicts clearly the reasons why SP came into being in the first place. What it shows is the average Goodreads review for the Hugo best novel winners (in red) and nominees (in blue) for every year going back to the first Hugo awards awarded in 1953.8 The most interesting aspect of the chart, from the standpoint of understanding where SP is coming from, is the fairly extreme gap between the scores of the nominees and the winners in the last few years, with the nominees showing much higher scores than the winners. Here it is again, with the data points in question circled:

Let me be clear about what I think this shows. It does not show that the last few Hugo awards are flawed or that recent Hugo winners have been undeserving. There is no law written anywhere that says that average Goodreads score is the objective measure of quality. That is not my point. All those data points show is that there has been a significant difference of opinion between the Hugo voters who picked the winners and the popular opinion. What’s more, they shows that this gap is a relatively recent phenomenon. Go back 10 or 20 years and the winners tend to cluster near the top of the nominees, showing that the Hugo voting process and the Goodreads audience were more or less in tune. But starting a few years ago, a chasm suddenly opens up….

Closing Thoughts

I still think that Sad Puppies have a legitimate point. Their goal was to get a few new faces out there who otherwise wouldn’t have been considered. I think that’s an admirable goal, and I think that there are some folks on the ballot today who (1) deserve to be there and (2) wouldn’t ever have gotten there without Sad Puppies. And I know that even some of the critics of SP3 agree with that assessment (because they told me so).

 

 

Eric Flint

“Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards” – April 16

[A very long and multifaceted post – this is just the first paragraph.]

I’ve been doing my best to stay away from the current ruckus over the Hugo Awards, but it’s now spread widely enough that it’s spilled onto my Facebook page, and it’s bound to splatter on me elsewhere as well. It’s also been brought to my attention that Breitbart’s very well-trafficked web site—never famous for the accuracy of its so-called “reporting”—has me listed as one of the supposedly downtrodden conservative and/or libertarian authors oppressed by the SF establishment. Given my lifelong advocacy of socialism—and I was no armchair Marxist either, but committed twenty-five years of my life to being an activist in the industrial trade unions—I find that quite amusing.

 

Ian Randal Strock

“Foolishly jumping into the Hugo mishegas” – April 16

So, to bring this back to the Hugo Awards: we have something which a significant number of people value. And it’s something that has a set of operating instructions, which can be followed and gamed. Now, after sixty years of giving out Hugo Awards, some of the voters have realized that acting in concert gives them power within the system, and the Puppies Party has been born and instantly proven its viability.

Many people who are not part of the Puppies Party are decrying their actions, rending their garb, declaiming their love for the Hugos, and announcing their hatred for those people who would dare to “hijack” the award with concerted effort. The Puppies Party appears to have issued an ultimatum that they will keep doing what they’ve done in the future; I don’t doubt they can (I do doubt the value of doing it, but not the ability to do it).

So, to those opposed to the Puppies Party, I can only say: welcome to party politics. If you don’t like what they’ve done, you have a few choices:

1. You can do away with the Hugo Awards, simply retire them as a concept.

2. You can change the rules to make party politics impossible (though off the top of my head, I can’t see an easy way to do so).

3. You can embrace the not-so-modern paradigm and form your own political party.

You can hate the concept of politics within the “purity” of the Hugo Awards, but now that a party has been formed and started operation, complaining about its existence will be a futile exercise. The Puppies Party has the power of unity that those who oppose it don’t yet have. So, who among you is going to step up and start the conversation to form your party?

And for our European viewers, none of this thinking is to deny the validity of the parliamentary system. Perhaps the Hugo Awards may evolve into a multi-party system. Although the awards, as winner-take-all prizes, do tend to lend themselves more to a two-party system.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“I’m not Vox Day” – April 16

I cannot disown what I do not own.

I neither condone nor defend any of his public statements. I did not make them.

Of course I do not like some of the things he has said.

Do you think the existence of Rabid Puppies has somehow made my life easier?

I’m not going to burn anyone in effigy. Stop asking.

I’m not going to condemn anyone by association. Stop asking.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Sad Puppies: We are not Rabid Puppies” – April 16

I’ll state it again for emphasis: we are not Rabid. None of us wants to burn the Hugos down. We want the Hugos to live up their reputation as the preeminent award in the combined field of Science Fiction & Fantasy. We want Worldcon to be an actually diverse thing with authors and fans participating from across the spectrum, without having to worry about litmus tests or being in the correct groups. We don’t want people to have to be chameleons who hide who they are — or what they like or what they create — because it’s not what the “cool kids” agree with.

The objectives of Sad Puppies 3 have been simple and consistent:

  • Use the democratic selection system of the Hugo awards.
  • No “quiet” logrolling. Make it transparent.
  • Boost authors, editors, and works — regardless of political persuasion.
  • Bring recognition to people who’ve been long overlooked.
  • Get some good promotion for new folks coming up in the field.
  • Have fun!

 

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“There Hugo Again” – April 6

Claiming that being nominated because people who agree with Vox Day or Larry Correia or Brad Torgerson, or any other person you care to mention voted for their works is some kind of horrible taint is beyond the pale. The more of that kind of totalitarian secret police tactic that’s used, the more I want to stand up and shout, “I am Vox Day.” Or “I am Larry Correia.” Or… you get the point.

Because we are all Vox Day. Or Larry Correia. Or Brad Torgerson. Or anyone else who dares to disagree with the opinions of the would-be power-brokers. If we are not, then Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, Freedom is Slavery, and two plus two equals five.

 

Sanford Begley on Otherwhere Gazette

“I’m sick and tired of the Hugos”

I’m a 57 year old politically disgusted heterosexual male. I can more or less claim white. Family stories say there are a few other things in there, but none particularly show so, who cares? Now that you know I have privilege you can dismiss me and move on to a more diverse writer. Or stay if you aren’t a bigot. I’m good either way.

 

 

Miguel on Gun Free Zone

“The Hugo Awards, Social Justice Warriors and Sad Puppies” – April 16

Oh dear gods of the pantheon! You would have thought the Barbarians broke into the Vestal Temple and proceeded to rape the curtains and burn the Virgins. First came the accusations of ballot stuffing which went down in flames when it was pointed out that the rules for nominations were followed to a fault. Then it came the generalized accusations of “gaming the rules” to introduce a “Conservative, all-male heterosexual, redneck, icky” slate which died under quick examination of the slate as it was actually more varied in every concept than previous Hugo nominations. Then it came to be that the works were not true SciFi/Fantasy or did not conform to what SciFi should be, but somebody just pointed out that previously nominated works like If You Were A Dinosaur My Love and the whole cookie went down in crumbs.

But something was puzzling the SJW clique: After all the attacks, the Sad Puppies not only were not cowed, they had the balls of actually laugh at them! How dare they! So they went even stupider attacking individual authors. Larry Correia is an official White Anglo-Saxon Supremacist (I reckon that you will find the Portuguese last name in the Mayflower list), death threats were issued which is funny as hell when Larry is the size of a shoggoth, knocked down cows for fun a-lo-Mongo in his youth and is a firearms instructor with possibly more guns and ammo in his basement than many police forces in rural America…and some urban areas too.

 

Alan Davis on LewRockwell.com

“Science Fiction – The Culture War’s Line in the Sand”  – April 16

Why is science fiction–as a book genre–dying, while simultaneously conquering Hollywood, television, and video games?

Over the last twenty or thirty years, the science fiction publishing industry has changed.  Now, all of the major publishers, save one, take the political viewpoints of writers into account before publishing their works.  And if that writer happens to be libertarian, or conservative, or holds any views that don’t mesh neatly with the left-wing attitudes of the editors and publishers, then the only publisher willing to read their material is Baen.  Political correctness has become the key to science fiction, so excellent writers who don’t fit the mold are almost completely excluded from publishing and awards.

 

Ty Burr on Boston Globe

“Trouble brews in the world of sci-fi writing” – April 16

What’s at the bottom of the Sad Puppy complaint? Exclusion, it turns out. Responding to Martin’s comments, Correia blogged of his own memories of being a youthful sci-fi outcast at the Worldcon party: “The cool kids told their cool stories to the other cool kids, and lorded it over those who weren’t part of the In Joke. Honestly, it reminded me of high school, and I was the poor fat kid who had inadvertently pissed off the mean girls.” To which Martin responded, “Surely you have been around fandom long enough to realize that there are no cool kids. We’re all the fat kids, the nerds, the computer geeks, the guys who always had their nose in a book, who loved comics and played chess and couldn’t get a date for a prom.”

This isn’t really about right versus left, in other words, but feeling like you belong. And while there’s a productive conversation to be had when the volume is kept low, the voices on the sidelines, anonymous and otherwise, just pour gasoline on the flames.

More and more, I’m convinced that the Internet is toxic.

The only thing to do, I think — and I’m talking about more than just the Sad Puppies and Gamergate — is to marginalize the crazies on both sides. Which means, in practice, marginalizing the crazies on your side. We have to start making a stand for a big, sane middle and allowing everyone on the spectrum of that middle to express emotions without going on the attack. Anyone who calls names, responds from anger, hate, or fear — block them. Ignore them. Do not feed the trolls.

 

Jason Sanford

On screaming “We’re not VD!” while ignoring your relationship with VD – April 16

I don’t need Larry and Brad or anyone else to say they’re not Vox Day. I know that. Everyone knows VD is responsible for his own actions and statements.

But what many people suspect is that Larry and Brad worked with VD on all this. And based on the evidence, it’s difficult to draw any other conclusion.

For example, Brad ran this year’s Sad Puppies campaign and posted their voting slate on February 1. I can’t tell you the exact time he posted the slate, but the first comment on the post appeared at 8:40 pm, followed quickly by many more.

Vox Day posted his Rabid Puppies ballot on February 2nd. Again, I don’t know the exact time but the comments began coming in a little after 1 am. Depending on the time zone settings of these two sites, that means as little as a few hours separated the posting of the Sad and Rabid Puppies slates.

But hey, let’s be generous and say an entire day separated the launch of their “separate” campaigns. If there was no coordination between the two campaigns that means in less than a day VD read all the stories on the Sad Puppies slate, decided which to discard and which to add to his own slate, and launched his campaign.

Oh, and he also found time to contact the artist who created the Sad Puppies logo and have that artist create a similar but different logo for the Rabid Puppies. (The artist is Lee Madison, who uses the name Artracoon on his art. He even set up a site to sell shirts with both Sad and Rabid Puppies logos.)

If it’s possible to do all that in such a short time frame without coordinating the two campaigns, I’d love to hear how it was done.

 

 

Jim C. Hines on Facebook

Another Hugo Proposal:

Three Hugos for the Mil-SF and their space marines,

Seven for the grimdark-lords in their halls of blood,

Nine for Mortal Fans doomed to blog,…

One for Neil Gaiman on his dark throne

In the Land of Worldcon where the Shadows lie.

 

 

Unpaid ad from Fandom Prime:

Kitten+in+Mail

Hugo Justice Warriors If some Puppy has been calling you an SJW lately, maybe you’d rather identify yourself as a Hugo Justice Warrior. Click through to see our noble shield on a variety of products.

Proudly stand up to the enemies of fair play and quality SF&F by flaunting our shield. The Latin motto means “I will fear no puppies.” either sad or rabid.  I’m sure Heinlein, a man of principle, would have approved.

Considering the merchandise is being marketed to fans, one of the funniest parts is that T-shirts only go up to 3X….

 

2014 Rhysling Awards

The winners of the 2014 Rhysling Awards have been announced by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. The recipients were selected by a vote of 57 SFPA members.

Short Poem Category

First Place

“Turning the Leaves” by Amal El-Mohtar (Apex Magazine, December 2013)

Second Place

“Rivers” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s Science Fiction,  June 2013)

Third Place

“Music of the Stars” by Bruce Boston (2013 Balticon Program Book)

Long Poem Category

First Place

“Interregnum” by Mary Soon Lee (Star*Line 36.4)

Second Place

“Hungry Constellations” by Mike Allen (Goblin Fruit Fall 2013)

Third Place

“I will show you a single treasure from the treasures of Shah Niyaz” by Rose Lemberg (Goblin Fruit, Summer 2013)

Amal El-Mohtar is the first woman to win the Rhysling Award three times. Her winning poem “Turning the Leaves” can be read online here. El-Mohtar says she wrote it for Lynne M. Thomas on the eve of her leaving Apex Magazine.

Mary Soon Lee’s “Interregnum” can be read online here, together with other poems from the cycle of which it is part.  Or you can listen to her recite it in this video:

Behind the Kerfuffle Kurve

And sometimes we publish yesterday’s news, because it’s always news to somebody…

Vox Day sounds just like one of those overly talky, self-congratulatory villains from a 1940s serial, and his flock of followers could profit from a dose of what Manly Wade Wellman used to write about.

He was called out, not by name, in N.K Jemisin’s guest of honor speech at Continuum delivered in Melbourne, Australia on June 8.

She devoted the beginning of the speech to a comparison and contrast of racism in Australia and the US in which the US came off second.

So: admitting that the land we live on was stolen from hundreds of other nations and peoples? Acknowledging that the prosperity the United States enjoys was bought with blood? That’s a pipe dream.

For all America’s other shortcomings, the purchase with blood is confessed in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, one of the country’s most widely-studied pieces of political writing —

Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

But as for those other shortcomings, Jemisin targeted several in her discussion of the sexism in the SFWA Bulletin controversy, and remarks about the last SFWA presidential election where Theodore Beale (Vox Day) was a candidate and received several dozen votes.

Beale’s idea of a terrific comeback helped make Jemisin’s point and inspired another round of indignation, including Amal El-Mohtar’s call for the expulsion of Theodore Beale from SFWA.

Many who commented stated they had deliberately omitted a link to Beale’s post.

For a blogger with 30,000 readers, providing a link effectively turns over a greater platform to a pathological attention-seeker. For those of us with followings only about 1% that size, I find Carrie Cuinn’s reasoning  persuasive:

All courtesy of Theodore Beale, writing as Vox Day. For those who don’t know, Beale is an active member of SFWA, and even ran for President this year. Though he repeatedly says things like women are ruining SF, except for those few who write like men, or women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, or women should be ignored entirely if they’re not attractive, not to mention his views on people of color (as evidenced above, and elsewhere in his public site), he still managed to get roughly 10% of the vote.

That’s the genre community for you, right there. But we ignore trolls like him, right? That’s what I’ve been seeing all day. Ignore him. Ignore his post. Don’t read the comments. Stay off the Internet for an hour until the unpleasantness passes.

You know what? Fuck that. Go read his post (it’s linked above).

In the meantime, SFWA has announced a Four Step Plan for Moving Ahead with the Bulletin. Chris Gerwel makes sense of both controversies in his post about Personal, Professional, Official? Standards of Professionalism in SFWA.

And it should not take much effort to find dozens of other posts

[Thanks to DB, David Klaus and Ansible Links for the story.]