Pixel Scroll 6/14/17 Will the Pixel Be Unbroken

As I was about to say yesterday, before I was interrupted…

(1) THE SOUND OF MONEY. Kristine Kathryn Rusch pointed her readers to bestselling writer Michael J. Sullivan’s a post on Reddit titled “Why Del Rey and I Will Be Parting Ways” and gave a complimentary analysis on the way Sullivan handled his audiobook rights.

Here, I want to applaud Michael and his wife Robin for their negotiating skills and for their attitude.

To summarize the highlights of the blog about Del Rey, for those of you who haven’t jumped over to read it, Michael and Robin learned from their first major contract with a traditional publisher to retain audio rights. Michael and Robin didn’t do so on that first big contract, and then the audio rights sold for $400,000, of which Michael and Robin saw only $200,000 (subsidiary rights in a standard publishing contract are split 50/50 with a publisher).

So — and here’s a nice bit of brilliance — Michael and Robin didn’t want to lose audio rights again. When the time to negotiate a new Del Rey contract came around, Michael and Robin had already sold audio rights to those books, taking those rights off the table entirely.

They thought through what they wanted, and rather than argue over the rights, or get the print publisher to bump an advance, or go through all of the little tricks that people on the other side of the table do when negotiating, Michael and Robin were proactive. They made sure they got what they wanted with audio first.

And there’s a lot more good information in Rusch’s post.

(2) THE FLUID PAST. Guy Gavriel Kay tweeted a link to this article, one in which he is cited and discussed. “‘Facts are not truth’: Hilary Mantel goes on the record about historical fiction”.

In Mantel’s view, the past is not something we passively consume, either, but that which we actively “create” in each act of remembrance. That’s not to say, of course, that Mantel is arguing that there are no historical “facts” or that the past didn’t happen. Rather, she reminds us that the evidence we use to give narrative shape to the past is “always partial” , and often “incomplete” . “Facts are not truth” , Mantel argues, but “the record of what’s left on the record.” It is up to the living to interpret, or, indeed, misinterpret, those accounts.

In this respect the writer of historical fiction is not working in direct opposition to the professional historian: both must think creatively about what remains, deploying — especially when faced with gaps and silences in the archive — “selection, elision, artful arrangement” , literary manoeuvres more closely associated with novelist Philippa Gregory than with [John] Guy the historian. However, exceptional examples from both fields should, claims Mantel, be “self-questioning” and always willing to undermine their own claims to authenticity.

(3) WEBCOMICS AT LOC. The Library of Congress now has a webcomics archive, collecting 39 strips including the multi-Hugo winning Girl Genius.

This collection focuses on comics created specifically for the web and supplements the Library of Congress’ extensive holdings in both comic books, graphic novels, and original comic art. Webcomics are an increasingly popular format utilized by contemporary creators in the field and often includes material by artists not available elsewhere. Webcomics selected for this collection include award-winning comics (Eisner Awards, Harvey Awards, Eagle Awards, and Shuster Awards) as well as webcomics that have significance in the field due to longevity, reputation, and subject matter. This collection includes work by artists and subjects not traditionally represented in mainstream comics, including women artists and characters, artists and characters of color, LGBTQ+ artists and characters, as well as subjects such as politics, health and human sexuality, and autobiography. The content of these websites is captured as it was originally produced and may include content that is not suitable for all ages.

(4) EARLY DAYS. Kalimac reminisces about “ Dark Carnival” bookstore.

But I remember Dark Carnival from its earliest days. It was the first sf specialty store in the Bay Area, long before Borderlands or Future Fantasy and even a bit before The Other Change of Hobbit or Fantasy Etc. (Of these, only Borderlands is still with us, and it had a scare not long ago.) I found it down on the south stretch of Telegraph, the first of its three locations, when I returned to UC in the fall of 1976. It was very small then, mostly a large semicircle of paperbacks, but there wasn’t a lot to stock in those days. Jack Rems, owner ever since, was usually there, as was his first clerk, a young woman named Lisa Goldstein, who’d occasionally mention she was working on a novel. It was published several years later and led her on the path to becoming the renowned fantasy author she is today, but then she was a bookstore clerk. D. and I would hang out down there and indulge in a lot of chatter with Jack and Lisa, but we’d also buy books.

(5) LA’S SHINING WEST TRIBUTE. NOTE: WE MISSED THIS ONE. On Thursday Los Angeles city officials will turn on the Bat-SIgnal.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will light the Bat-Signal over Los Angeles in a special ceremony honoring the late Adam West, who starred in the 60s Batman TV series as the Caped Crusader himself.

The ceremony will be conducted on Thursday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. PST at Los Angeles City Hall. Garcetti will be joined by unnamed special guests for the tribute, along with Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck.

Once lit, the Bat-Signal will be projected on Los Angeles City Hall for an undisclosed period of time.

(6) TRACING BATMAN’S BAT BUCKS. In “How Does Batman make All His Money?” on looper.com, Chris Sims looks at the roots of the Wayne fortune, including how Bruce Wayne’s wealth began with Revolutionary War hero “Mad Anthony” Wayne and how Thomas Wayne’s marriage to Martha Kane united a financial empire with one based on chemicals.

All of this still leaves the question of where Batman gets his fortune in the world of Gotham City, but if you’ve read enough comics, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bruce Wayne’s infinite pile of money has an origin story just like everything else. The short version? The Waynes have always been rich.

As it turns out, they’re about as old as Old Money gets in America, with a merchant fortune that came over from Europe in colonial times, growing as Gotham City expanded to form the cornerstone of an industrial empire. In 2011’s Batman: Gates of Gotham, Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, and Trevor McCarthy put the spotlight on Alan Wayne, a turn-of-the-century ancestor for Batman who helped to shape the city itself by funding the design and construction of bridges, tunnels, and key buildings — including Wayne Tower.

(7) ALT REVIEWING. Jon Mollison reviewed Sarah A. Hoyt’s story “Freeman’s Stand” in Rocket’s Red Glare for the Castalia House blog. He has a particular view of immigrants, as reflected in this excerpt —

I didn’t recognize the tonally inconsistent version of America presented. Perhaps the good old USA had fallen so long ago that the Sons of Liberty had cobbled together an approximation through scraps of history and lost lore. If so, this was never presented, and so instead of enjoying the action, I found myself wondering where this weird America came from.

Normally, I’d be loathe to resort to the petty tactic of mentioning the “About The Author” section of a collection, but in this case it provides an important clue towards understanding why Freeman’s Stand feels like such an alien version of America. The very first thing mentioned in Hoyt’s bio is that she was born and raised in Portugal. That’s the lead-off. It’s important that you know Hoyt is Portuguese before all else. And it’s only now, after the story is concluded, that the pieces fall into place. This is a story of “Nation of Immigrants” America written by an author with a very different perspective of America than one held by a reader born and bred within her borders. That is the source of the disconnect, and I found myself wishing that I’d known from the outset that Molly’s story was that an American outsider fighting for an outsider’s vision of America. It would have resolved a number of discordant passages within the tale.

This prompted Greg Hullender to observe, “Although Sarah Hoyt imagines herself to be a fellow-traveler, given her involvement with the Sad Puppies, it’s pretty clear from this post on the Castalia House Blog that, as an immigrant from Portugal, she can never be a “real American.” Not in any sense the alt-right recognizes, anyway.”

(8) WALKING DEAD. Carl Slaughter would like to tell you about it:

The Walking Dead is a tale of sheriff Rick Grimes and his small band of survivors as they’re transformed from coddled complainers into battle tested, zombie murdering badasses. The zombie subgenre has a rich history of social commentary. Whether they be the slow walking, brain craving type or of the fast running, shrieking persuasion, the figure of the zombie has been a metaphor for all sorts of things that keep us up at night. Zombies have represented everything from mindless consumers under Capitalism in Dawn of the Dead, to fears about public health crisis in 28 Days Later, immigration in World War Z, or mega corporations in Resident Evil. And then there’s the fact that zombies originated in Haiti, where many argue it was a metaphor for slavery. Zombies are projections of our own societal fears. The Walking Dead isn’t quite any of these. Instead, The Walking Dead explores a multitude of issues, like politics, psychology, and our relationship to death. Also, the joys of cosplay. The Walking Dead is, above all else, a show about philosophical bounderies. And three in particular: (1) What constitutes life (2) What constitutes living (3) What constitutes being human.

For homework, Carl recommends The Philosophy of The Walking Dead — Wisecrack Edition.

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Stephen Burridge, Tom Galloway, John King Tarpinian, Gregory N. Hullender, and Dann for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]

Foglios Boycott Dragon*Con

Kaja & Phil Foglio posted today on the Girl Genuis Webcomic Facebook page that they will not be going to Dragon*Con this year because of co-founder Ed Kramer’s history as an accused pedophile, and because Kramer’s significant income from his continued financial interest in Dragon*con (though he is no longer an officer) has afforded him the ability to mount a defense which has helped him avoid going to trial on the charges since they were brought 12 years ago.

The Foglios were invited to come to Dragon*Con as guests and say they will be sacrificing $15,000 of income by skipping the con.

They also posted a link to an article about Nancy Collins’ call for a Dragon*Con boycott.

The Foglios’ announcement has already received over 500 “likes” and 400 shares.

Tracking Withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos

A number of past and present Hugo winners, out of a gracious desire to share the wealth, have already announced they will not accept an award nomination in 2012 for a specific category.

Inevitably, these kinds of announcements get distorted in the retelling. Or somebody will post what they wish the person had said, not what they really said. I’ve already seen this happening though Renovation was just last month!

That’s why I thought it would be helpful to run down the correct information about four prior nominees whose real or rumored withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos have made news. Here is their verified status:

Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius (2012 withdrawal)
Best Professional Editor, Long Form: David Hartwell (permanent withdrawal from this category only)
Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld (2012 withdrawal)

Also, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011, says he has yet to make up his mind about 2012 — therefore he has not withdrawn as of this writing.

Girl Genius: Phil Foglio must wonder how he could have made it any more clear, with a public announcement at the 2011 Hugo ceremonies, followed by online comic explaining that the decision to bow out affects next year alone.

David G. Hartwell: The popular editor wants everyone to understand he has pulled out of only one category:

I want this to be very clear. I withdrew from one category only, Best Editor Long Form, permanently. I would very much like to be nominated again in Best Editor Short Form, and for NYRSF (or any other category). But I felt after all these years, and finally three wins in four years, that I should withdraw permanently from Best Editor Long Form, as long as it remains a category. And I am pleased to see the way the category has opened up to younger talent.

Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld Magazine: The outspoken champion of the semiprozine category, whose zine won the Hugo in 2010 and 2011, said he wants to see new titles on the ballot:  

Yes, Clarkesworld is withdrawing itself from consideration in 2012. The category has suffered from a history of serial nominees and winners and after two consecutive wins, I felt this was the right thing to do. In stepping down, I hope to encourage people to put their support behind one of the many semiprozines that have never been nominated. There are a lot of worthy candidates. The ballot has been reflecting more of that recently and it’s a trend I’d like to see continue.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: Patrick withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011 but there’s a reason he has yet to make a decision about 2012:

My only real public statement on the matter was while actually accepting the 2010 Hugo on stage in Melbourne — I said, roughly, that since my colleague David Hartwell and I had now split the four-so-far “Editor Long Form” awards between us, I was going to withdraw from the category in 2011 in order to make sure some other editors got their long-overdue recognition. I meant to write a post on Making Light repeating this, but I never got around to it.

I didn’t commit to withdrawing from the category beyond 2011, and to be honest I haven’t actually made up my mind what I’m going to do next year. I do have one remaining major-SF-award ambition, which is to win a Hugo or something equally whooshy when Teresa is actually in the room. I’ve won a World Fantasy Award and two Hugos, all of them at overseas conventions that Teresa didn’t attend. 

Not that I’m presuming I would automatically make the ballot in future years. As I pointed out to my assistant Liz Gorinsky at the post-Hugos party in Reno, she got the second largest number of nominations, trailing only Lou Anders who actually won. Liz got significantly more nominations than either David or me, and over twice as many as any of the other five runners-up. “That’s crazy,” Liz said. “Hey, numbers don’t lie,” I said. “That’s crazy. That’s crazy. That’s crazy,” was all she would say.

(It is actually a matter of non-trivial pride to me that in 2010, Liz and I were both on the ballot — the first time an editor and his-or-her assistant have been shortlisted for the same Hugo award. In 2010, Liz was also the youngest-ever finalist in any of the editor categories, a record previously set by 31-year-old Jim Baen in 1975.)

[Thanks to Neil Clarke, David G. Hartwell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, for their comments. ]

Genius Move in the Graphic Story Hugo Category

Girl Genius has won 100% of the Hugos ever awarded in its category – all three given for Best Graphic Story since the category was provisionally added.  

When the online comic’s creators Phil & Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright accepted their latest rocket at Renovation, Phil announced they would withdraw Girl Genius from consideration in 2012.

Now they’ve also produced an installment of Girl Genius explaining that the decision to bow out for a year is “for the good of the category,” because “we want people to see it’s a viable award.”  

The Best Graphic Story category must be re-ratified by the 2012 Worldcon business meeting or else it will be automatically eliminated.

Many years ago, while accepting a second consecutive Hugo in the Best Fan Artist category, Phil Foglio also withdrew himself (permanently, in that case). That winning streak started just after Tim Kirk had dominated the category for several years, a history that influenced Phil’s memorable line to the 1978 Worldcon audience — “As hard as it is to win one of these, it’s even harder to stop.”

[Via Glenn Glazer.]