Pixel Scroll 1/6/18 First You Get The Files, Then You Get The Pixels, Then You Get The Scrolls

(1) ZILLIONS OF YEARS AGO. College Humor shows that “If Jurassic Park Were In Different Geological Eras,” we’d be staying away from the box office in droves….

(2) FINDER. Silvia Moreno-Garcia will be hosting a list of Latino SFF in English published or to be published this current year (2018). You’ll find it at “LATIN AMERICANS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE SPECULATIVE LITERATURE LIST 2018”.

(3) DRINK UP. A piece by Nancy Di Gennaro called “Murfreesboro’s Green Dragon Launches On-Site Brewery” in a newspaper called the Daily News Journal says that the Green Dragon Pub and Brewery is a “Hobbit-themed” pub that has become a brewery in October.

Green Dragon opened 3 1/2 years ago, fulfilling a lifelong dream of Joe Minter, a big fan of “The Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien. Two of Tolkien’s main characters, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, both embarked on adventures at age 50. So Minter took their lead and did the same, leaving his career with Home Depot for the unknown.

The tiny eatery nestled in the basement of an old creamery is reminiscent of Tolkien’s imagined shire pub, with staff members that dress the part and rustic furnishings.

(4) STABBY AWARDS. Voting continues on Reddit for the 2017 r/Fantasy Stabby Awards until January 13. There are two sets of award categories, external and those focused on r/Fantasy redditors.

  • External awards:

BEST NOVEL OF 2017
BEST SELF-PUBLISHED / INDEPENDENT NOVEL OF 2017
BEST DEBUT NOVEL OF 2017
BEST SHORT FICTION OF 2017
BEST SERIALIZED FICTION OF 2017
BEST ANTHOLOGY / COLLECTION / PERIODICAL OF 2017
BEST ARTWORK RELEASED IN 2017
BEST FANTASY SITE FOR 2017
BEST GAME (ANY FORMAT) OF 2017
BEST TV SERIES / MOVIE OF 2017
BEST RELATED WORK OF 2017

  • redditor awards – guaranteed reddit gold as an award:

BEST ACTIVE r/FANTASY AUTHOR (‘best overall redditor- author edition’)
r/FANTASY BEST COMMUNITY MEMBER (‘best overall redditor- non-author edition’)
BEST POST / COMMENT IN 2017
BEST r/FANTASY ORIGINAL REVIEW

(5) MAIL IS COMING. It seems like a long time since Sean Bean was in Game of Thrones, but his character is part of the forthcoming Royal Mail stamp set — “Game of Thrones: New stamp set to feature Jon Snow and Arya Stark”.

An additional five-stamp sheet features the Night King and his undead White Walkers as well as giants, direwolves, dragons and the Iron Throne.

Fans can buy the stamps at Post Office branches across the UK from 23 January or by calling Royal Mail’s customer service line.

They can also be pre-ordered on the Royal Mail website.

(6) SUBMISSION WINDOW OPEN. Alpennia reports that The Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast will be open for submissions during January 2018 for short stories in the lesbian historic fiction genre, to be produced in audio format for the podcast, as well as published in text on the website. See complete guidelines here — “Call for Submissions: Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast Fiction Special”.

(7) RAMBO READS. The Seattle Review of Books asked “Whatcha Reading, Cat Rambo?” She told them, beginning with —

What are you reading now?

Right now I am reading Louisa Morgan’s A Secret History of Witches. Morgan’s the pen name for local author Louise Marley, whose work I enjoy under any name.

(8) WHERE THE IDEAS ARE. Cat Rambo also livetweeted highlights from Rachel Swirsky’s Ideas Are Everywhere class today. Jump aboard here —

(9) BLACK MERMAIDS. Nalo Hopkinson does a reading and gives an interview in a podcast on the Boston Review website, “Waving at Trains”. She talks about dystopias and how they affect her writing.

“We are not supposed to own imagination . . . so, damn it, I am making black mermaids.” In this podcast, the award-winning writer Nalo Hopkinson reads her story, “Waving at Trains,” featured in Boston Review‘s 2017 literary issue, Global Dystopias. She also talks to Avni Sejpal about the politics of dystopia, writing from the Global South, and the enduring importance of black mermaids….

AS: So when you are writing something, are you also thinking about how it will sound out loud?

NH: Yes. If I am thinking in words at the time that I am writing. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I think in moving images and then I have to translate it into words. But, yes, I am always aware that at some point I might want to read the thing. And I am very aware of how characters speak, because speech does not only carry the accent, it carries the economic level of the characters, which tells you something. So whenever I have stories translated into other languages, generally they go for the standard form of the language. I find that that actually makes the translation a little bit pallid and it removes some of the nuances, so my characters end up sometimes sounding like middle class people being petulant . . . and sometimes they are middle class people, like the girl in this story, who are having a very hard time.

(10) YOUNG OBIT. NASA astronaut John Young has died at the age of 87.

John Young, NASA’s longest-serving astronaut, who walked on the moon and flew on the first Gemini and space shuttle missions, has died.

The first person to fly six times into space — seven, if you count his launch off of the moon in 1972 — and the only astronaut to command four different types of spacecraft, Young died on Friday (Jan. 5) following complications from pneumonia. He was 87.

“NASA and the world have lost a pioneer,” said NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot in a statement on Saturday. “John Young’s storied career spanned three generations of spaceflight; we will stand on his shoulders as we look toward the next human frontier.”

(11) JERRY VAN DYKE. The Hollywood Reporter says Jerry Van Dyke, brother of Dick, died January 5. He was 86. He had one main genre credit —

Van Dyke famously passed up the opportunity to star on Gilligan’s Island in favor of toplining the short-lived My Mother the Car, considered one of the worst shows in TV history.

As the Wikipedia explains the show —

…Attorney David Crabtree (played by Jerry Van Dyke), …while shopping at a used car lot for a station wagon to serve as a second family car, instead purchases a dilapidated 1928 Porter touring car. Crabtree hears the car call his name in a woman’s voice. The car turns out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother, Gladys (voiced by Ann Sothern)….

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) THE LOVE LIFEBOAT. I’d pay to see this.

(14) CENTURIES OF COVERS. BookPorn assembled a big collection of Frankenstein book covers to celebrate the anniversary.

January 1st, 1818Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is published

(15) ALIENS BITE THE DUST AGAIN. The Washington Post’s Ben Guarino says a Kickstarter-funded campaign has discovered that the flickering light in the yellow-white dwarf star KIC 8462852 was not caused by aliens who “had constructed a titanic array of solar panels around the star” but to dust — “The strangest star in the sky finally has an explanation for its flicker”.

Fourteen hundred light-years separate Earth from the strangest star in the sky. The light from this star flickers, like a giant neon sign drifting through the constellation Cygnus. After the star’s dim intervals, which last for days or weeks, it brightens again.

No other star acted this way. No observation could explain its behavior.

That is, until now. A 200-strong team of scientists says it has arrived at an answer, thanks to an astronomy project crowdfunded on Kickstarter. The culprits are not aliens, as some people have speculated, but probably a cloud of dust, each particle less than a micrometer across. Combined, these dust particles coalesced into one of the biggest question marks in recent astronomical memory.

In 2015, astrophysicist Tabetha Boyajian published a paper describing the starlight dips. The brightness diminished by 20 percent, according to observations from the Kepler space telescope. Planets block starlight when they pass across stars, like a hand waved in front of a flashlight. But even an object as huge as Jupiter can reduce a star’s brightness by just 1 percent.

(16) 1949 WORLDCON. Available on eBay, “30 photos Worldcon 1949 w negatives Doc E.E. Smith Jack Williamson Robert Bloch”, from the estate of Franklyn M. Dietz.

30 photos Worlds Science Fiction Convention 1949 in Cincinnati  w negatives Doc E.E. Smith jack Williamson, Robert Bloch L.A. Eschbach Fletcher Pratt.

Nice fan photos – 30 photos plus a greeting card from the Cincinnati fan group and 17 negatives.  Lots of behind the scenes photos of the worldcon with fans, models and speakers/authors.

Others speaking are probably Theodore Sturgeon, Judy Merrill George O Smith Arthur banks and some fans

(17) BARDIC CIRCLE. Moira Greyland Peat looked for a humorous side of JDA being banned from Worldcon 76 and wrote new lyrics to the filk standard “Banned from Argo.”

“Banned from Hugo.”

When we pulled into Worldcon in need of R&R
The puppies, Sad and Rabid camped in every joint and bar
We had Trufan expectations of their hospitality
But found too late it wasn’t geared for Puppies such as we

And we’re Banned from Hugo, everyone
Banned from Hugo just for having that Wrongfun
We spent a jolly Worldcon there for just three days or four
But Hugo doesn’t want us anymore…

Our Captain’s tastes were simple and his stories were complex
We found he’d sold five manuscripts and pocketed large checks
The Thought Police were on the way—he had no second chance
His heroine was fair and blonde, and had a straight romance! …

Our Engineer would yield to none at writing Rabid tales
He wrote them for Castalia House and made a ton of sales
His favorite story didn’t win, but it got the votes of all
And now he’s got his No Award on the mantle of his hall! …

(18) THE UNINVITED. John Scalzi obliquely commented on the current uproar in “Obnoxious Twits and Conventions”.

And if a convention decided I was not welcome at their event, how would I take it? I mean, I would hope they’d tell me before I made flight arrangements and my hotel rooms were non-refundable, but otherwise, meh, it’d be fine. Generally I prefer not be in places I’m not wanted, and if the convention committee was telling me to go away, that’s a pretty good, non-subtle hint. Which means my weekend is now free! Which is excellent, I usually have things to do on a weekend, even if those things are “watch six hours of How It’s Made in a row and then take a nap.” Which these days is a pretty great weekend, I have to tell you.

I was looking for something more substantive, so asked this question in comments:

Bearing in mind how instrumental you were, personally, in the drive to get sff conventions to adopt Codes of Conduct, I’d be much more interested in your views about this application of a CoC. Do you think it was appropriate? Why? What do you think we should take away from it?

He responded:

As for whether in this case the convention’s decision to yank attending status was merited, it seems so to me based on what I know (and what I know of the obnoxious twit in question), although as noted I haven’t spoken to anyone involved about the decision and am not privy to the full data set they used to make their decision. But even if I disagreed with it, they’re the concom and it’s their decision to make. The decision might have consequences, although in this case, the consequences (other obnoxious twits deciding not to attend in solidarity) seem like an upside to me.

(19) OPEN THE CELL BAY DOOR PAL. Whitney Avalon sings “Funny Rey Song – Second To Last Jedi – Star Wars Musical.”

(20) THE OTHER JJ. And either funny or sad – maybe both! ScreenRant gives us “Everything Wrong With ‘The Last Jedi’ – Pitch Meeting.” Plenty of spoilers in case that still matters.

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

The 2015 Hugo Awards – Perspectives

By Chris M. Barkley

HATE: it has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.

–Maya Angelou

In the waning hours of July 31, my partner Juli Marr and I submitted our ballots for this year’s Hugo Awards. The next morning, I attended the funeral mass of Margaret Kiefer, a longtime member of Cincinnati Fantasy Group. As I sat and filled out my ballot, I could not help but think of the life she led, my life in fandom and the events leading up to Puppygate.

Margaret Ford Keifer worked as the principal’s secretary for Loveland City Schools for over 30 years. She was also a volunteered her help for the Loveland Historical Society Museum, the Cincinnati Pops, and a longtime member of the Loveland Women’s Club. In addition, she was a member of St. Columban Church for 58 years. Margaret was a founding member of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group and attended 66 consecutive Midwestcons, the last of which she attended this past June, just weeks before her death. She was also the last surviving member of Cincinnati’s only Worldcon, Cinvention, which was held in 1949.

At Margaret’s service, I heard several testimonials to her strength, fortitude and devotion to her community. Warren McCullough, one of her former school principals lauded her as the woman who saved his educational career. Several previous principals had left recently and he was the third hired in three years for a troubled elementary school that no one wanted to send their children. He described that first meeting where he was introduced as being very tense and after what he called a “rousing call to arms” to save the school, his speech was met with dead silence. At that point, Margaret Keifer, who was seated in the front row of the assembly, stood up and faced them down and loudly declared, “I will follow this man…and I will take the first bullet for him, too!” McCullough stated that his career as an educator took off after that incident and was incredibly grateful for her support.

Her parish priest, Father Lawrence Tensi, adamantly refused to call her a mere volunteer, but as true disciple in the purest sense of the word, as one of the few people in the community who could be counted on time after time to organize, work and deliver whatever was needed.

Contrast this with Mr. Beale, who, on the surface seems to have some moderate amount of talent as a writer, editor and publisher, who has gone out of his way to trumpet and advance notions of homophobia, sexism, racism with provocative slander, libelous insults and threats, wildly delivered with what I can only describe as a pseudo- intellectual flair. However, those talents, which could have been used for the betterment of literature and culture, are instead being used to soil and defame it. Beale’s latest attempt at seeking attention, a worldwide call for a boycott of all TOR authors and books, is as pathetic as it is futile.

All of the activities of the Sad and Rabid Puppies might have been easily laughed off, had they not made good on their threats and effectively gamed the Hugo Award nominations this year.

Millions of words have been spilled, pounded, spit out, spit upon, leveraged and expounded upon this subject by thousands of commentators, bloggers, pundits and literary critics since the nominations were announced.

I tell friends and acquaintances that are not familiar with sf fandom that this is not the first fannish feud to spill out into the consciousness of the public, nor will it be the last. With internet connectivity, hair trigger tempers and the willingness of people to stay up WAY PAST their bedtimes to correct stuff on the internet, it is certainly the most public display of asshattery in fandom that general public has ever seen.

I consider what Brad Torgenson, Larry Corriea and Theodore Beale have collectively done, is a direct attack on what fans, writers, editors, publishers and literature itself. And I consider this attack on fandom and the Hugos is a personal attack against me.

My involvement with the Hugo Awards began back during my high school days, when my good neighbor Michaele loaned me her copy of the SF Book Club omnibus edition of The Hugo Winners Volumes 1 and 2 edited by and with introductions by Isaac Asimov, which covered nearly all of the short fiction winners from 1955 to 1970.

(A side note: I wish all of the Hugo winning stories were still readily available, if not in book form, at least as inexpensive ebooks or linked online, so that everyone can appreciate the wide spectrum of authors, stories and styles that have won over the decades.)

These stories blew away my teenaged mind. What I completely ignored at the time were Asimov’s references to the conventions themselves. They referred to these World Science Fiction Conventions, were held in different cities in the US and overseas but not where future conventions were going to be or how to attend them.

Eventually, in 1976, my best friend Micheale and I found our way to the 27th Midwestcon and found out firsthand what conventions were all about. I missed the 1976 Worldcon, MidAmericon in Kansas City, but I attended the first of my 26 Worldcons the next year in Miami Beach.

Over the years, I have volunteered my time to help or head up various Worldcon Press Offices and other duties on 17 occasions, charged with trying to explain fandom and the Hugo Award to the mainstream press of the host city and accommodate fan writers as well.

However, I feel as though my important contributions to the Hugo Awards have come in the last sixteen years. I, along with a number of fellow fans and activists in fandom have been at the forefront of some of the fundamental changes in the Hugo award categories.

We fought for these changes, to the Best Dramatic Presentation, Best Editor categories and the creation of the Graphic Story and co-sponsoring the Fancast category were necessary to keep the Hugos diverse, fairer, engaging and most importantly, relevant in the 21st century.

I must admit, I was in a somewhat of a state of shock when the nominations were formally announced back in April. Almost immediately, some factions inside fandom wanted the Hugo Awards suspended immediately or stopped altogether. Others have organized to either shun or vote No Award in all the categories where Sad/Rabid Puppies nominees are dominate.

Then, as the story spread, news outlets, pundits and commentators outside fandom started to weigh in; Salon.com, Slate, National Public Radio and even the National Review went out of their way to get a grip on what most of them characterized as the ‘geek culture war’.

I do not believe in destroying the Hugo Awards in order to save it.

I repudiate the No Award movement and those that support it. I believe that a No Award given in any category damages the prestige and reputation of the awards. I will vote No award above a nominee in a category ONLY if I can determine if it is warranted by my personal standards and taste, NOT because it was part of a knee jerk reaction to what has happened or for any other political concern. Those who do so blindly, without any consideration of the work itself, are, in my opinion, NOT ethical votes. (And I can report that I cast at least one vote for a nominee in all of the fiction categories.)

Secondly, when an institution is under attack, you fight back. Not with irrational hate speech, subversion of the voting rules and threats but with reasonable speech, more impassioned defenses and more democracy.

I am heartened that from what I have observed, our communities of fans, authors, editors and artists have collectively risen above this controversy. The Puppy movement and their supporters wanted to prove a point; that a small number of voters can impose their will on an unsuspecting public. They have wholeheartedly made their point.

However, in doing so, the Sad-Rabid Puppies have lost the war. Despite their fervent claims, I think the tide of public opinion has turned decidedly against them. Fandom does not have to obsess about the Puppies and their overall effect because whatever influence they had has waned as the controversy has played out.

Their seemingly endless displays of ignorance, buffoonery, arrogance has not gained them any more traction or supporters for changing or eliminating the Hugos. Since the beginning of this crisis, Supporting Memberships for Sasquan were sold in unprecedented numbers. It is my fervent hope they were bought for the sole purpose of voting for the Hugos this year. I also hope that on the night of the Hugo Ceremony, those of us who have opposed this farce will be vindicated.

Science fiction, fantasy or literature as a whole, is not about the future or the past. It is all about the time it is written. It is about the consequences of change, for good or for ill. There will never be any definitive, wholesale agreement from anyone on what it means, what it should contain or what stands for; that’s a debate for historians, literary critics, fanzines and bloggers.

Personally speaking, I don’t believe in applying any sort artificial means of affirmative action to either the voting process or the awards, as the Sad Puppy contingent has asserted with their actions. And, if you think these sort of controversies all come from the conservative wing of fandom, I offer this, an amendment that was briefly considered by the 2009 Worldcon Business Meeting:

4.3.3 Short Title: Female Hugo Award Nominees

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution by inserting the following

into the end of Section 3.8: 3.8.nIf in the written fiction categories, no selected nominee has a female author or co-author, the highest nominee with a female author or co-author shall also be listed, provided that the nominee would appear on the list required by Section 3.11.4

This amendment, proposed by a feminist blogger named Yonmei, who was not in attendance at the convention and Hugo Award winning fan writer/editor Cheryl Morgan (who was). Yonmei conceived it as a way to spark a debate at the Business Meeting about the lack of women on the ballot and described on her blog this way:

…it occurred to me cheerfully that as a WSFS member, I could propose an amendment to the Hugo rules. A sort of Joanna Russ amendment. An “up yours!” amendment to all the fans so smugly certain that the only reason there are so many all-male shortlists in the Hugos is because men are just more excellent writers of SF/F than women are: if women were as good as men, this reasoning goes, there just naturally would be equal numbers on average from year to year.

As I recall (and anyone can verify by going to www.thehugoawards.org), the 2007 and 2008 ballots were particularly top heavy with male nominees. In retrospect, it would have been an interesting debate but a majority of those attending voted down the opportunity to debate the issue. I can only tell you that I voted against it because I did not believe that imposing a rather extreme measure at that point in time was unnecessary. I believed those nominations were aberrations and not the result of systemic sexism on the part of the fans voting.

Had she done any research at all about the history of the Hugo Awards, Yonmei would have known that these fans that she deemed as clueless, had also given the award on multiple occasions to the likes of Anne McCaffrey, Alice Sheldon (writing as James Triptree, Jr.), Ursula K. LeGuin, Vonda McIntyre, Susan Wood, Kate Wilhelm, Joan Vinge, C.J. Cherryh, Connie Willis, Lois McMaster Bujold and a host of others.

We can only speculate what Ms. Russ, a writer I admire and respect, would have thought about such an amendment. (For the record, I am of the opinion that there would have been a gratuitous amount of eye rolling on her part.)

You can read more about this kerfluffle and draw our own conclusions from this link from Mike Glyer’s File 770: http://file770.com/?p=1304

Take particular note of the exchange of messages between Yonmei and Jo Walton. It is typical exchange between someone who feels that her dogmatic approach and theory is superior to the experiences of the person who is actually in the situation. Dogma and opinions do not win arguments, logic, reason and facts do.

(You will also note, with some measure of irony, that Jo Walton went on the win the Hugo and Nebula Awards for her 2011 novel, Among Others.)

I never talked Margaret Keifer about Puppygate. I don’t even know if she was aware of the situation. I am fairly certain, knowing her, that she would have thoroughly disapproved of the actions of the Puppies. Her life‘s story stands in stark contrast to everyone involved, especially Theodore Beale’s.

I do not obsess about it but I have been wondering whether he really understands that a life is a legacy for those who follow him.

There is room in fandom for rational discussion, debate and even dissent. There is no room however, for empty rhetoric and false conjecture, death threats, bullying, hateful and blatant racism, sexism and gay baiting, which is what the Sad Puppies now stand for, forever tarred with the same brush as and the Rabid Puppy crew, whether they like or not.

Moreover, this means that while we may have to listen to the inane and idiotic diatribes of Theodore Beale/Vox Day, we do not have to endorse or accept them.

Margaret Keifer’s life is an exemplary example of what every fan’s, every person’s life should be.

What Theodore Beale and his followers have forcefully shown, is that they are incapable of empathy, kindness or human decency.

They have my pity, and little else.

Stanley C. Skirvin (1927-2014)

Bea Mahaffey, Hannes Bok, Deedee and Roy Lavender, and Stan Skirvin on a New York rooftop

Bea Mahaffey, Hannes Bok, Deedee and Roy Lavender, and Stan Skirvin on a New York rooftop. From the Fanac.org site.

By Bill Higgins: Stanley C. Skirvin, one-time Cincinnati fan, passed away March 28 in Scottsdale, Arizona at the age of 86.

Returning from Navy service in World War II, he found Cincy fandom. He claimed responsibility for persuading hometown fans to name themselves the Cincinnati Fantasy Group (CFG). Skirvin edited the 56-page program book for the Cinvention, the 1949 Worldcon (online here), and edited a Memory Book afterward. His account of the Worldcon, “Wha’ Happened?” is online here. He also attended Philcon in 1953 and Detention in 1959.

As an engineer for General Electric in the 1960s, Skirvin helped develop nuclear-powered aircraft engines, writing software that calculated airflow though hot reactors. Moving to Schenectady, NY, and finally settling in Scottsdale, he apparently gafiated, but CFG and other fans report some 21st-century e-mail contacts.

He was an avid fossil hunter and mountain climber.  “A Tribute to Stanley C. Skrivin,” by his mountaineering buddy Don McIver, is available in the Arizona Sierra Club’s Summer 2014 issue of Canyon Echo [PDF file].

While a member of the Arizona Mountaineering Club Skirvin participated in a number of rescues. He was also a member of the Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society with his own cactus collection.

Skirvin is survived by his wife for more than 61 years, Joan, and his three children.