Pixel Scroll 10/7 The Sprite Stuff

(1) “The Phantom Fame: ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast,’ Secretly TV’s Most Influential Show”. Shea Serrano explains his theory on Grantland.

Repurposing existing Space Ghost images from the original cartoons, Lazzo created the first animated late-night talk show in 1994. Operated in tandem with Keith Crofford, a fellow Southerner with whom Lazzo shared an office as well as seemingly a brain, the show boasted a premise that was somehow both simple and endlessly, mutably ridiculous. Now retired from the business of fighting intergalactic evil, Space Ghost (real name: Tad Ghostal) and a support staff consisting of his imprisoned enemies Zorak (anthropomorphic mantis/bandleader) and Moltar (gravel-voiced lava man/director) flies face-first into show business, interviewing pop-culture luminaries through a monitor screen lowered into the chair where a guest would normally sit. Interviews with the celebrities involved were filmed separately, in largely improvisational fashion, then combined with the cartoon characters’ dialogue — often producing results diametrically opposed to the context of the original questions.

(2) Christopher Martin says “Everybody’s Invited To My All-Male, All-White Literary Panel” on McSweeneys Internet Tendency.

Dear Writers,

Congratulations on having a short story accepted for publication in the anthology Rusted, Lusted, Busted: Contemporary Southern Fiction, edited by myself and my good buddy Richard Head!

Richard and I, both of us straight cisgender nominally Christian white males, have put a shit-ton of work into this anthology, mostly over beers and hot wings at the local Tilted Kilt while our wives assumed 100% of the burden of watching our kids. Now this baby we’ve labored over is out and it’s time to party!

That’s why we’re hosting an all-male, all-white panel tomorrow at Lily White Books in Mansfield, SC, to celebrate the anthology’s release and your contributions to it. We’d love it if some of you could come be part of the panel!

Given the twelve-hour notice, however, along with our inability to compensate you in any way, and our unwillingness to compensate you even if we could, I completely understand that most of you — including all our woefully underrepresented contributors who do not identify as heterosexual white men — will not be able to participate in this seminal event, except perhaps as late-arriving, paying audience members ($5 at the door).

(3) SF Signal’s latest Mind Meld, curated by Paul Weimer, taps the contributors’ autobiographies.

For each one of us, there is a book, or a series, that hooked us on genre fiction. Maybe it was the first SF book you read, maybe you had to read a couple before you hit the one that hooked you.

Tell me what book got you to become a fan of SFF, and why?

Answering the question are Gail Carriger, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Yoon Ha Lee, Rachel Swirsky, Beth Cato, Tehani Wessely, Alan Baxter, Sarah Hendrix, Olivia Waite, Anthony R. Cardno, Ann VanderMeer, Sarah Williams, Pamela Sargent, Jaye Wells, Mike Glyer, Sabrina Vourvoulias, , Kerry Schafer, Jim Henley, Melanie R. Meadors, M L Brennan, Meghan B., and Jon Courtenay Grimwood.

(4) The author explains it all to you in “The Big Idea: Ann Leckie” on Whatever.

So instead of going over the AJ stuff again–what is a person? Who is anybody anyway?–I instead give you the Ancillary FAQ. These are all questions I’ve actually gotten (or oveheard) at one time or another.

Q: How can you possibly wrap the story up in one more volume? There’s too much going on; I don’t see how you could manage it.

A: The easiest way for me to answer that is to actually do it. Which I have, and you can see the answer for yourself wherever fine books are sold. Or at a library near you. I love libraries. They’re awesome.

Q: Will there be more books after this one?

A: There will be more books, and certainly more books in this universe, but not books about Breq. Nothing against her, I’ve had a lovely time these past three books, but it will be nice to do something different.

(5) Brian Fung’s article for the Washington Post, “’The Martian,’ NASA and the rise of a science-entertainment complex”, looks at the extensive cooperation between NASA and the producers of The Martian, and notes that NASA hopes to get more out of this film than other projects with which it has extensively cooperated (like the Transformers movies).

When Navy flyboy Tom Cruise got too close for missiles and switched to guns in the spring of 1986, what seemed like an entire nation got up to follow him. Military recruitment booths popped up in theaters, eager to attract young Americans who’d just seen Maverick tell Charlie about the inverted dive he’d done at four Gs against a MiG-28.

To say “Top Gun” was a boon for recruitment would be an understatement. That year, the Navy signed up 16,000 more people than it did the entire year before, according to the author Richard Parker, writing for Proceedings, the U.S. Naval Institute’s monthly magazine. Other estimates suggest that among naval aviators alone, this spike in registrations amounted to growth rates of 500 percent….

With “The Martian,” NASA has the same opportunity defense officials had in the 1980s, only now with additional social media superpowers. By highlighting everything from the real-world technologies depicted in “The Martian” to explaining the science behind Martian dust storms to calling on young women to take after the fictional Ares III mission commander, Melissa Lewis, NASA’s hoping to turn moviegoers into the nation’s next generation of scientists, technologists and the other all-around bad-ass eggheads celebrated in the film. In the run-up to the movie’s release, NASA even made a major announcement about the discovery of liquid water on Mars that some believed was simply too conveniently timed to be a coincidence.

(6) The Motherboard’s Jason Koebler eschews any idea of a jolly NASA/media alliance from the very first words in his post “NASA Wants Astronauts to Use Mars’s Natural Resources to Survive”.

Humans have thoroughly wrecked Earth’s environment, now it’s time to move on to using the natural resources of another planet.

Fresh off the discovery of flowing, liquid water on Mars, NASA said Wednesday it wants ideas for how to best exploit the natural resources of the Red Planet for human survival…. NASA plans on giving away modest $10,000 and $2,500 prizes to people who can come up with potentially viable ideas for Mars resource use.

(7) Todd VanDerWerff asked the editors of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 to name “10 of the best science fiction and fantasy short stories ever” for Vox.

Because some of the most exciting American writing is happening in the fields of science fiction and fantasy right now, I hopped on the phone with the book’s two editors, Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams, to hear their picks for the 10 best science fiction and fantasy stories ever written.

They included stories from Malamud, Tiptree, LeGuin, Keyes, Harlan Ellison, Link, Bradbury, Borges, and others.

(8) Today In History –

  • October 7, 1849 – Edgar Allan Poe succumbs to a mysterious condition, days after having been found delirious in the streets of Baltimore. Tragically, only seven people attended his funeral. Quoth the Raven: Nevermore.
  • October 7, 1960 — CBS broadcasts the premiere episode of “Route 66.”  Why do we care? Because Episode #79, “A Gift for a Warrior” was based on a story by Harlan Ellison.

(9) “Superman’s Getting a Brand New Secret Identity” and io9 has the name. Spolier warning!

Spoilers ahead for today’s Action Comics #45!

Now that Superman (and Clark) are taking the heat for Lois’ story leaking his alter-ego, Kal-El has had to go into hiding and lay low. Fired from the Daily Planet when his co-workers discover they’d been in grave danger simply by being in Clark’s vicinity all the time, and facing persecution from the Government, Superman has vanished… and replaced himself with a mild-mannered trucker.

Yes, Clark Kent is now Archie Clayton! It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

(10) The Today show reunited the Rocky Horror cast for an interview, including Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf.

(11) Unlike many other original Ghostbusters cast members, Rick Moranis turned down the offer to appear in the reboot.

When the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot arrives in theaters next summer, nearly all the living actors from the original 1980s films — Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, et al. — will be doing cameos. But not Rick Moranis, who was offered the chance to appear in a walk-on role but turned it down. “I wish them well,” says the 62-year-old comedic legend, who’s so stunned by the outcry over his absence in the film that he decided to grant a rare interview with THR. “I hope it’s terrific. But it just makes no sense to me. Why would I do just one day of shooting on something I did 30 years ago?”

(12) In a follow-up to his “Fisking the New York Times’ Modern Man”, Larry Correia’s “Update! Modern Manhood ACHIEVED!” shares photos of his important new acquisition —

Yes! That is a melon baller! Despite my never buying shoes for her, my wife purchased this for me when she saw it in a store. Because Modern Manhood ACHIEVED!

Now all I need is some Kenneth Cole oxfords and a crying pillow, and I’m set.

(13) Coin World discusses a silver coin commemorating exploration of the space-time continuum.


A four-dimensional concept is now presented in a three-dimensional format.

A 2015 $2 coin in the name of Cook Islands visibly explains the relationship between space and time, as created by scientist Hermann Minkowski. Building on Albert Einstein’s 1905 Special Theory of Relativity, Minkowski suspected the existence of a fourth dimension (time, in addition to height, width and length), in which space and time are connected geometrically, and he created a diagram illustrating the connection.

The Prooflike half-ounce .999 fine silver $2 Space–Time Continuum coin was issued by Coin Invest Trust. It was struck by B. H. Mayer‘s Kunstprägeanstalt Mint in Munich, Germany.

The reverse of the coin depicts the Minkowski diagram, a geometric illustration of the formula of special relativity, which is engraved in one of the diagram’s columns together with the inscription SPACE–TIME CONTINUUM. The center of the high-relief coin is marked with a magnetic sphere, which can be removed.

The obverse, whose shape is a mirror or inversion of the reverse, displays the Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, the issuing nation and the face value.

Einstein incorporated Minkowski’s ideas into his general theory of relativity in 1915, six years after Minkowski died.

(14) A black eye for Myke Cole?

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

Pixel Scroll 9/29 What Color is Your Parvo Shot?

(1) Today’s birthdays —

1547 – Miguel de Cervantes, author of that famous tome about the old windmill tilter

1942 – Madeline Kahn, a signature comedic actress of the 1970s, who appeared in Paper Moon, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety and many more films.

(2) The 30th anniversary of Back To The Future means a new chance to sell a Blu-ray release, and to help market it Christopher Lloyd is back in character as Doc Brown in an exclusive short video. Go to the link to watch a new trailer.

Lloyd has donned his lab coat and white wig once again to play the mad scientist in a brand new original short film ‘Doc Brown Saves The World!’ that’s being exclusively released in the ‘Back To The Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy’ box set on 5 October.

Little is known about the plot of the new short story, but we can see that the famous time-travelling DeLorean DMC-12 will feature heavily. The new box set will also gather the trilogy of time-travel comedies starring Michael J Fox. the entire ‘Back To The Future: The Animated Series’, plus hours of bonus content all together for the first time.

(3) Jamie Todd Rubin has already done the groundwork for one source of 1941 Retro Hugo nominees.

As he explains in “The Retro Hugo Awards for 1941 at MidAmeriCon II”

Next summer at MidAmeriCon II–the 74th World Science Fiction Convention–among the awards given out will be the Retro Hugo awards for 1941. The award will cover stories published in 1940. I have a particular interest in this award because a few years ago, when I was taking my Vacation in the Golden Age, I read, and wrote about, every story that appeared in Astounding Science Fiction from July 1939 – November 1942. That means that I read and commented on every story that appeared in 1940 issue of Astounding.

Rubin lists his favorite stories from the 1940 issues of ASF:

  1. “Final Blackout” by L. Ron Hubbard1 (April, May, June 1940)
  2. “Requiem” by Robert A. Heinlein (January 1940)
  3. “Cold” by Nat Schachner (March 1940)
  4. “The Stars Look Down” by Lester Del Rey (August 1940)
  5. “The Mosaic” by J. B. Ryan (July 1940)
  6. “If This Goes On–” by Robert A. Heinlein (February 1940)
  7. “Butyl and the Breather” by Theodore Sturgeon (October 1940)
  8. “Fog” by Robert Willey2 (December 1940)
  9. “One Was Stubborn” by Rene La Fayette3 (November 1940)

(4) British Eastercon attendees are invited to help decide the con’s future by completing a questionnaire. (For more info about the process, read the FAQ.)

We’re hoping that a wide variety of people will be filling in this questionnaire, so we start by asking what you know about Eastercon, and why people go to Eastercons. Then what you think works or doesn’t work, and whether you have any suggestions for improvement. Then about issues, and some suggestions people have already made to deal with them. Finally, we’ll ask whether you would like us to keep in touch, and because no matter how hard we try we can’t capture everything, you have the opportunity for a final comment.The results will be published on our website, and discussed both at Novacon and at next year’s Eastercon. You do not have to provide any personal details unless you want to, and if you do your participation will be kept strictly confidential.

We hope this will take you no more than about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

To fill it out, visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ndMn5Soj0FHE4Gkj-XjUbVgFM9w8Ma5PvgvND9g8WZE/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

(5) A new Rick Riordan series – my daughter has already announced she is waiting for the minutes to tick past so she can buy the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer. Bibliofiend has an exclusiveread the first five chapter free. [PDF file]

(6) The 2015 MacArthur Genius Awards are out. Better check and see if your name is there.

(7) Europa SF reports the winners of the 16th Swedish Fantastic Short Story Contest. Article (and where needed, translation to English) by Ahrvid Engholm.

The Fantastic Short Story Competion (“Fantastiknovelltävlingen“, in Swedish) has been running yearly since the year 2000, and is dedicated to stories of science fiction, fantasy and horror. It is probably Sweden’s oldest at present; at least one short story contest that used to be older has folded.

This year the contest received 117 entries, and the jury decided to distribute the prize money of 2000 Swedish crowns (just under €200) to the following three winners. Titles given in Swedish with English translations and some comments from the jury are added:

First prize: “Bläcklingar” (“Inklings”) by Fredrik Stennek. “A fine tale in the succession of HC Andersen… A portrait of a society collapsing under censorship and oppression…but humour and longing for freedom is bigger. It raises questions of freedom of the press and freedom of opinion“.

Second prize: “Hon” (“She”) by Eva Ullerud. “A wonderfully creepy story… When the threat is close, really close, it easily becomes invisible, but even creepier.”

Third prize: “Götheborg” (“Gothenburg”) by Dennis Jacobsson. “An alternate history explaining why the ship Götheborg went under in the 1700’s. The atmosphere is as thick as the wool in the woolen clothes of the characters, the danger as tangible as the smell of gunpowder on gundeck, and the curiousity of the reader picks up wind.”

Five stories – By Jonas Bengtsson, Emanuel Blume, Lisa Hågensen, Hanna Kristoffersson and Jens Mattsson – also received honourary mentions by the jury, consisting of the sf/f authors Niklas Krog, Pia Lindestrand and Karolina Bjällerstedt Mickos. All stories were judged without author identification.

(8) Lela E. Buis called a story to the attention of select Twitter readers.

Here’s her description of David Levithan’s Every Day.

Every Day was published in 2013 and received the Lambda Award for Best LBGTQ Children’s/Teen Book. It went on to feature on the New York Times Bestseller List. This means my opinion isn’t unusual, either from the literary community or the fan community. However, this book never made a ripple in the SF&F community because SF&F isn’t something Levithan normally writes.

(9) NASA has some thoughts about how difficult it would be to send humans to Mars.

(10) The agency also helped celebrate National Coffee Day.

(11) Kameron Hurley might be overdue for a few convention Guest of Honor invites.

(12) Hurley also tweeted a link which ultimately takes readers to G. Derek Adams’ guest post on This Blog Is A Ploy about how to sell your books in a way that actually sells books, but doesn’t make you feel like a shyster.

(13) Amanda S. Green agrees that she was quote laundering. Too bad she can’t admit that without first strawmanning a false accusation about something I never said.

First of all, I had someone (and I will let you guys guess where they came from) basically accuse me of not having read Scalzi’s post that I referred to in my Saturday blog. The entire basis for this person — as well as the condemnation from the referring blog — seems to be because I didn’t link to the Scalzi post. Instead, I linked to Teleread. Well, let me set the record straight. I did read the original post. I didn’t link to it because I know the readers here on MGC have the ability to google and find the original source if they want to read it. Teleread had excerpted the parts I wanted and I happened to also agree, for the most part, with what Chris Meadows had to say. So, that is what I linked to.

There are basically two reasons why I don’t link to a post. The first is as I stated above. I know our readers here can go find the original if they want to. The second is when I don’t want to send additional traffic their way.

(14) The X-Files is returning as a six-episode event series in 2016. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will also be back as Mulder and Scully.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

NASA Announces Evidence of Liquid Water on Mars

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times.

These downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water. The new findings of hydrated salts on the slopes point to what that relationship may be to these dark features. The hydrated salts would lower the freezing point of a liquid brine, just as salt on roads here on Earth causes ice and snow to melt more rapidly. Scientists say it’s likely a shallow subsurface flow, with enough water wicking to the surface to explain the darkening.

“We found the hydrated salts only when the seasonal features were widest, which suggests that either the dark streaks themselves or a process that forms them is the source of the hydration. In either case, the detection of hydrated salts on these slopes means that water plays a vital role in the formation of these streaks,” said Lujendra Ojha of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, lead author of a report on these findings published September 28 by Nature Geoscience.

Ojha and his co-authors interpret the spectral signatures as caused by hydrated minerals called perchlorates. The hydrated salts most consistent with the chemical signatures are likely a mixture of magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate and sodium perchlorate. Some perchlorates have been shown to keep liquids from freezing even when conditions are as cold as minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70 Celsius). On Earth, naturally produced perchlorates are concentrated in deserts, and some types of perchlorates can be used as rocket propellant.

For Ojha, the new findings are more proof that the mysterious lines he first saw darkening Martian slopes five years ago are, indeed, present-day water.

“When most people talk about water on Mars, they’re usually talking about ancient water or frozen water,” he said. “Now we know there’s more to the story. This is the first spectral detection that unambiguously supports our liquid water-formation hypotheses for RSL.”

This animation simulates a fly-around look at one of the places on Mars where dark streaks advance down slopes during warm seasons, possibly involving liquid water. This site is within Hale Crater. The streaks are roughly the length of a football field.

[Based on NASA press release. Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 9/27 Puppy Horror Pixel Scroll

(1) George R.R. Martin in “The First Emmys” on Not A Blog.

Andy Samberg’s joke about my attending the first Emmy Awards ceremony made me curious about Emmy history. This year was the 67th Emmy Awards, and I turned 67 last Sunday, but until Andy appeared beside me I hadn’t actually connected the two. Pretty amazing.

For a few hours I entertained the amusing thought that they were perhaps giving out those first Emmys even as I was being born. Alas, that was not actually the case. Emmy and I may both be 67, but I actually came into the world a few months before her. The first Emmy ceremony took place on January 25, 1949, to honor work telecast during 1948.

Interestingly, those first awards were strictly a local matter: a Los Angeles award, for shows broadcast in the LA media market. Not at all national. The first winner — for “Most Popular Television Program” — was a show called PANTOMIME QUIZ. A drama called THE NECKLACE won for “Best Film Made for Television,” and Shirley Dinsdale won as “Most Outstanding Television Personality.” She was a ventriloquist with a dummy named ‘Judy Splinters.’

(2) Brad R. Torgersen, in “A matter of canon” at Mad Genius Club, has a good handle on the importance of canon to fans’ relationships with successful franchises. He questions why Star Trek and Star Wars have sometimes gone astray.

See, respecting the canon isn’t just a matter of preserving timelines or sequences of events; though this is a huge part of it. Respecting the canon also means respecting what it is that fuels the enthusiasm of the people who watch your TV show, go to see your movies, or pick up and read your books.

I remember in the mid-1990s when it was revealed that neither Paramount Pictures, nor Viacom (the parent of Paramount) considered any of the many Pocketbooks Star Trek novels to be canonical, in terms of the movies and TV shows. That was a rather serious blow to me, as a fan. I’d read several dozen of those very same Pocketbooks novels, and considered some of them to be among the finest works of science fiction I’d ever encountered — they were that good. Written by top-notch SF/F authors who were doing terrific storytelling within the Star Trek framework. Then, ruh-roh, the corporate powers behind the franchise revealed that the Pocketbooks novels didn’t count. I was rather upset by this, as a fan. Both because of the time and money I’d invested, and because of the fact some of those Pocketbooks Star Trek novels were every bit as good as, if not better than, the movies and TV episodes of the time. Who were Paramount and Viacom to tell me, the fan, what was legit, or not?

(3) Greg Hullender’s new post on Rocket Stack Rank analyzes which magazines have placed the most stories in the finals of the Hugo and Nebula Awards over the past fifteen years.

(4) Margaret Atwood discusses the enduring controversy over The Handmaid’s Tale in the Guardian.

Some books haunt the reader. Others haunt the writer. The Handmaid’s Tale has done both.

The Handmaid’s Tale has not been out of print since it was first published, back in 1985. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has appeared in a bewildering number of translations and editions. It has become a sort of tag for those writing about shifts towards policies aimed at controlling women, and especially women’s bodies and reproductive functions: “Like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Here comes The Handmaid’s Tale” have become familiar phrases. It has been expelled from high schools, and has inspired odd website blogs discussing its descriptions of the repression of women as if they were recipes. People – not only women – have sent me photographs of their bodies with phrases from The Handmaid’s Tale tattooed on them, “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” and “Are there any questions?” being the most frequent. The book has had several dramatic incarnations, a film (with screenplay by Harold Pinter and direction by Volker Schlöndorff) and an opera (by Poul Ruders) among them. Revellers dress up as Handmaids on Hallowe’en and also for protest marches – these two uses of its costumes mirroring its doubleness. Is it entertainment or dire political prophecy? Can it be both? I did not anticipate any of this when I was writing the book.

(5) NPR reported about the devoted fans who crossed the country to Dodge City for the Gunsmoke reunion – even though all the leading characters are no longer with us.

WILSON: The show was nominated for a dozen Emmys and received critical acclaim for its unprecedented realism. It’s set in Dodge City, the hub of frontier cattle drives, with a reputation as a lawless town. Many of the main characters are no longer alive. Dennis Weaver, who played Chester Goode, passed away in 2006. Amanda Blake, who played the beloved Ms. Kitty, died in 1989 and James Arness, whose towering frame and distinctive voice made the character Marshal Matt Dillon shine, passed away four years ago….

Curiously, two actors now famous in the science fiction genre played characters with rhyming names in bit parts on Gunsmoke (not in the same episodes).

WILSON: Bruce Boxleitner played the character Toby Hogue in 1975.


BRUCE BOXLEITNER: It was totally character-driven, but it was about a character. It wasn’t about the last sunset or the last cattle drive.

And Harrison Ford played “Hobey” in a 1973 episode.

(6) Kim Stanley Robinson answered questions about his new novel Aurora from readers at io9 earlier this week.

Among them was a question about some of the unexpected impact that encountering alien life out amongst the stars could have on a space colony—and how Robinson thought the meeting might play out:

[Robinson:] “I do think it might be possible than an alien life form could co-exist with Terran life and the two just kind of pass each other by. But mainly life tries to live by converting other things to energy, so other things can look like food to it. And Terran immune systems are very powerful. Allergic shock kills many people, and it seemed to me possible that an alien would have that effect on our immune systems, either correctly or incorrectly, in terms of diagnosing a threat.

“If that happened, some people would panic. It would become not just a medical question but a political question. Who do we trust, what do we trust? What’s safest? People aren’t rational in that situation, or, some are and some aren’t, and they can fight.

“I think the scenario in the book is quite plausible. But I admit what you say, in other situations, the alien-Terran interaction need not be so bad.”

(7) NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was scheduled to examine the moon’s surface during the eclipse today.

Sunday’s eclipse is special as it follows three other total lunar eclipses in the past 18 months (usually you don’t get that many in a row) and the moon will be at its closest point in its orbit to Earth, making it slightly bigger in the sky than usual — an event popularly known as a “Supermoon.”

The LRO has been observing Earth’s satellite since 2009, and wasn’t designed to operate during eclipses. The solar-powered spacecraft would switch off almost everything until sunlight returned again. But as controllers became experienced with the drops in power during LRO’s time in shadow, they got comfortable enough to turn on one instrument: the Diviner.

More formally known as the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, the instrument looks at day-night changes in temperature on the moon. And it turns out that during an eclipse, the plunge in temperature is sudden — almost like leaving a hot tub for an icy pool, according to NASA. Click here to watch a NASA animation of what it looks like, from the surface of the moon, during a lunar eclipse.

“Ideally we want to measure the full range of temperature variation during the eclipse,” Noah Petro, the deputy project scientist for LRO, told Discovery News. Petro is based at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

(8) Old Neckbiter is back on the big screen October 25 when Fathom Events delivers a Dracula Double Feature with a twist – the double bill is the 1931 English and Spanish language versions of Dracula. However, the Spanish version was filmed sequentially on the same sets, with a different cast, rather than dubbed, and is claimed by some to be the superior work. Also part of the event is a specially produced introduction from Turner Classic Movies that will give insight into both of these 1931 vampire-horror films.

Here is the trailer for the event.

(9) James Davis Nicoll would hate for you to miss his photo of the dinosaur joke on the Kitchener Library sign, which has now been shared on Facebook over 1100 times.

(10) Star Trek Continues Episode 5 “Divided We Stand” premiered this weekend at Salt Lake Comic Con. It’s now available online.

Kirk and McCoy are trapped in time while an alien infestation threatens the Enterprise.


(11) The Palm Restaurant opened in New York in 1926, near the headquarters of the King Features Syndicate, and the place attracted a lot of cartoonists who drew their own creations on the walls in exchange for their meals. Now the property has changed hands and the art is gone.


New York Eater has “before and after” photos in “Shock/Horror: The Murals Have Been Scrubbed From the Walls of The Palm”.

Jeremiah Moss at Vanishing New York said it for everyone.

What the fuck is wrong with people? This was the original Palm restaurant, 90 years old, gorgeous, storied, beloved, its walls covered in caricatures hand-drawn by some of America’s most celebrated cartoonists. This was a one-of-a-kind treasure, never to be reproduced. You can’t buy this kind of uniqueness, it has to grow organically and mature over time–over a century of time. But we’re living in a fucked up city where fucked up people do fucked up things like destroy art, culture, and history–all in one fell swoop if they can manage it–just to replace it with something banal and miserable from the monoculture of the day.

(12) Jessica Lachenal is not impressed with one dictionary’s effort to update itself: “Some of These New Oxford Dictionary terms Make Me Feel Pretty Out of Touch” at The Mary Sue.

For starters: social justice warrior? Really? I mean, okay, sure, your definition is pretty ironic: (informal, derogatory) a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views. “How dare they,” I can hear you saying. That’s fine. And I guess we can all agree that anyone who uses that term unironically is… well, you know.

Which brings me to the next term: fatbergFatberg?! Really? According to you, it’s a “a very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.” I get the wordplay–iceberg, fatberg–but… was there really a need for this? Do people run into fatbergs on a daily basis, so much so that they need a portmanteau to cover it? What are kids even doing these days? Oh, pro tip: don’t image search that.

What’s that, Collins? Yeah. Yeah, you have a good point. Awesomesauce is pretty old. Kids have been saying that for years now. Same goes for its buddy weak sauce.

[Thanks to Will R., Andrew Porter, JJ, Gerry Williams, Michael J. Walsh, Greg Hullender, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anthony.]

Be a Solar System Ambassador for NASA

Solar Systems Ambassador Program COMPThe NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Solar System Ambassadors Program (SSA) is inviting applicants to become an ambassador to the public for calendar year 2016.

The Solar System Ambassadors Program is a public engagement effort accomplished by space enthusiast volunteers across the nation who communicate NASA’s exciting discoveries and plans for future exploration of the solar system and beyond to general public audiences. Ambassadors become an extended part of each mission’s team and an important interface between the NASA community and the populace at large.

Applications will be accepted through September 30. Selections will be announced in early December, with successful candidates beginning their year of service after completing Orientation and Ethics training.

Solar System Ambassadors are asked to arrange, conduct and report at least four (4) community-based events per year.

Is this for you?

The Ideal Ambassador Candidate —

  • must be 18 years of age or older on January 1, 2016
  • has an active interest in space exploration
  • has a genuine desire to share knowledge about space exploration
  • has demonstrated ability to engage audiences and/or disseminate information
  • has the initiative and ingenuity to involve his/her local community in learning about NASA’s space exploration efforts
  • contributes to the geographic diversity of the group
  • establishes contacts with local institutions
  • builds upon strong ties with his/her community
  • inspires community youth to seek careers in science and technology
  • submits a well-thought-out, complete application
  • participates in online professional development sessions and/or reviews training archives
  • keeps up with Solar System Ambassadors Program email and web postings
  • makes the best responsible use of the materials provided
  • reports on events conducted in a timely manner using an on-line form

NASA has ambassadors in every state and territory, and several dedicated to specialties. Interested parties from the following areas are especially encouraged to apply: Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, District of Columbia and US territories.

They hope to add at least 100 new volunteers to the program in 2016.

[Thanks to James H. Burns for the story.]

Pixel Scroll 9/10 The Camestrulan Neutral Zone

(1) Today’s birthday girl —

Born September 10, 1953 – Pat Cadigan

She had a good day – “My Birthday Wasn’t All About Cancer”

Even though it started with a blood test at the Macmillan Centre, my birthday was all about Chris, and sushi and sake. It was all about my weight-loss making more clothes fit better. It was all about walking all over central London without worrying about having to find a place to sit. Well, until after I drank most of a small(-ish) bottle of sake. My back became a bit less tractable for a while but it had shaped up pretty well after the bus ride home.

(2) Europa SF has a great feature on the Tblisi, Georgia sf club “Fantasti” by Irakli Lomouri.

The first issue of “Fantasti“, The Georgian Science Fiction Magazine , is dedicated to Ray Bradbury.

The first issue of “Fantasti“, The Georgian Science Fiction Magazine , is dedicated to Ray Bradbury.

Our SF and Fantasy Club “Fantasti” was officially registered in Tbilisi (Georgia) on March 18th, 2015, but its history began in August 2014, when I had a holiday – a free month – and lay down on the couch reading SF stories by means of my new tablet via internet. I love SF from my childhood, so I had to recall my favorite stories, and read many new ones – nearly 150.

I got so much pleasure, that I decided to offer it to others.

I wrote in a Facebook: Dear friends,  let’s create a SF and Fantasy Club and publish  a special dedicated magazine.

In Georgia SF is not popular, so I had no hope I could find real supporters of my idea, but fortunately I found them, so we met and started our club.

Since September 2014 we are having our biweekly meetings at my flat or in the House of Georgian Writers. In our club there are people of all ages, most of them write SF and fantasy themselves, so our club plays the role of literary studio, we read aloud our new stories and discuss them.

In our group on FB we have nearly 500 members (but not all are active)…

(3) Here’s something new to remember: the “t” in Voldemort is silent.

(4) National Geographic has a big article about the discovery of a new species of human ancestor in a South African cave.

A trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave represents a new species of human ancestor, scientists announced Thursday in the journal eLife. Homo naledi, as they call it, appears very primitive in some respects—it had a tiny brain, for instance, and apelike shoulders for climbing. But in other ways it looks remarkably like modern humans. When did it live? Where does it fit in the human family tree? And how did its bones get into the deepest hidden chamber of the cave—could such a primitive creature have been disposing of its dead intentionally?…

The same schizoid pattern was popping up at the other tables. A fully modern hand sported wackily curved fingers, fit for a creature climbing trees. The shoulders were apish too, and the widely flaring blades of the pelvis were as primitive as Lucy’s—but the bottom of the same pelvis looked like a modern human’s. The leg bones started out shaped like an australopithecine’s but gathered modernity as they descended toward the ground. The feet were virtually indistinguishable from our own.

“You could almost draw a line through the hips—primitive above, modern below,” said Steve Churchill, a paleontologist from Duke University. “If you’d found the foot by itself, you’d think some Bushman had died.”

But then there was the head. Four partial skulls had been found—two were likely male, two female. In their general morphology they clearly looked advanced enough to be called Homo. But the braincases were tiny—a mere 560 cubic centimeters for the males and 465 for the females, far less than H. erectus’s average of 900 cubic centimeters, and well under half the size of our own. A large brain is the sine qua non of humanness, the hallmark of a species that has evolved to live by its wits. These were not human beings. These were pinheads, with some humanlike body parts.

(5) And at the other end of the timescale, NASA is busy today downloading and interpreting photos of Pluto taken by New Horizons.

New Horizons photo of chaos region on Pluto.

New Horizons photo of chaos region on Pluto.

New close-up images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveal a bewildering variety of surface features that have scientists reeling because of their range and complexity.

“Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we’ve seen in the solar system,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “If an artist had painted this Pluto before our flyby, I probably would have called it over the top — but that’s what is actually there.”

New Horizons began its yearlong download of new images and other data over the Labor Day weekend. Images downlinked in the past few days have more than doubled the amount of Pluto’s surface seen at resolutions as good as 400 meters (440 yards) per pixel. They reveal new features as diverse as possible dunes, nitrogen ice flows that apparently oozed out of mountainous regions onto plains, and even networks of valleys that may have been carved by material flowing over Pluto’s surface. They also show large regions that display chaotically jumbled mountains reminiscent of disrupted terrains on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.     “The surface of Pluto is every bit as complex as that of Mars,” said Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging (GGI) team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “The randomly jumbled mountains might be huge blocks of hard water ice floating within a vast, denser, softer deposit of frozen nitrogen within the region informally named Sputnik Planum.”

In the center of this 300-mile (470-kilometer) wide image of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is a large region of jumbled, broken terrain on the northwestern edge of the vast, icy plain informally called Sputnik Planum, to the right. The smallest visible features are 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) in size. This image was taken as New Horizons flew past Pluto on July 14, 2015, from a distance of 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers).

(6) Huffington Post asked 13 top scientists to name their favorite books and movies.

Jane Goodall

Primatologist, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace

Three books of my childhood probably had the greatest impact on my life. The Story of Doctor Dolittle’ (by Hugh Lofting) and ‘Tarzan of the Apes’ (by Edgar Rice Burroughs) inspired me to understand what animals were trying to tell us and instilled within me an equally strong determination to travel to Africa, live with animals, and write books about them. ‘The Miracle of Life’ was a large book my grandmother got for free by saving up coupons from cereal packets. It was by no means a book intended for children.”

(7) Connie Willis is interviewed by Colorado Public Radio in “Hugos Battle: Both Sides Claim Sci-Fi Is Being Ruined By Politics”. Via Kevin Standlee.

(8) Chuck Wendig has some good news about his new novel.

I kinda didn’t think Star Wars: Aftermath was going to make list. In part because why would I assume that, and also in part because most books come out on Tuesday and this book came out on Friday and it was also a holiday weekend and, and, and.

Apparently, that was wrongo of me.

Because Aftermath debuted on both the New York Times list and the USA Today list at number four. Which is extra funny because it’s a pair of fours which is like Force and because my tweet wanting to be hired to write Star Wars in the first place was on September 4th and because the book then came out exactly one year later on September 4th and also because I actually apparently have the Force. *shoots lightning into the sky*

Of course, if instead of all 4’s it had been all 5’s we could have had a field day on File 770….

(9) And maybe Chuck can sign his next book contract with one of these Star Wars themed pens from Cross.

(10) Science fiction has an advocate in Malaysia.

KUSHAIRI ZURADI discovered late last year that not many publishers were keen to publish Malay science fiction books when he offered his collection of short stories to them.

The 25-year-old author and medical school graduate recalls: “Some ­publishers believe the ­readership for Malay science fiction is too small [for them] to make a decent profit and they do not want to take a chance on these novels.”

Realising this, in August last year, Kushairi ­decided to found his own publishing ­company, Simptomatik Press, to self-publish his first book, ­Biohazard, featuring 14 of his short stories. All 14 ­stories dealt with ­microorganisms.

“In my final year in medical school, I studied microorganisms and I was fascinated by their life-cycles,” says Kushairi, who is currently ­waiting to start his ­housemanship.

“You cannot see them but they are everywhere. We have been taught that 90% of [the cells in the human body are actually] organisms ranging from bacteria to parasites.”

[Thanks to David Doering and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

Pixel Scroll 9/4 The Scrolling Stones

(1) The Verge covers the University of Iowa’s progress digitizing the Hevelin fanzine collection – “10,000 zines and counting: a library’s quest to save the history of fandom”

The University of Iowa’s fanzine collection is going digital before it falls apart

In July, UI digital project librarian Laura Hampton officially began the long process of archiving the Hevelin Collection. The library is partnering with the fan-run Organization for Transformative Works to collect more zines for eventual digital archival, but Hampton is currently focused on material from the 1930s to 1950s, spanning the rise of zines and the Golden Age of science fiction. The vast majority of the images will stay offline, but an accompanying Tumblr has given outsiders a peek into the roughly 10,000 zines that Hevelin donated — and into the communities that helped create science fiction as we know it, from fandom clashes to fan fiction.


The SF Fan, May 1940

The SF Fan, May 1940

(2) Pop quiz at Clickhole “Obama Quote Or Description Of A Ray Bradbury Book Cover?” Unlike quizzes at File 770, not all the answers are Ray Bradbury.

(3) Time is running out to send your name to Mars. The last Day to register is September 8, 2015 (11:59 p.m. ET)

(4) Rachael Acks, on “FAQ: What is SFWA in charge of?***” , lists six things SFWA is in charge of and 35 it is not in charge of. How does she keep track?

(5) George R.R. Martin likes Kevin Standlee’s ideas for redoing some of the Hugo Award categories – “Hugo Reform”

I suspect that the chance of these changes being enacted are remote (every existing Hugo category has an entrenched constituency, so while adding categories is difficult, abolishing one is all but impossible) but nonetheless, I think these are eminently sensible changes and I would whole-heartedly support them. Let me tell you why.

For me, the most problematic Hugo categories are those that honor a person rather than a work. Look at Best Artist, for instant. I was just discussing that with my friend John Picacio this past weekend, as it’s a pet peeve of his. The award has been around for half a century, yet fewer than twenty people have ever won it. The same people win, year after year. Many voters have no idea what art they did the past year, if any; they just know, “oh, I like X’s art,” and they vote for him, again.

The Best Editor categories have shown every signs of working the same way. Originally the category WAS Best Magazine, which was easy to judge. Did ASTOUNDING or GALAXY have a better year? It was changed to Best Editor in the 70s, during the boom in original anthologies, sometimes called “book-a-zines”… and to allow book editors to compete. But few book editors were ever nominated, and none ever won, until the category was split in half. Problem is, and this complaint came up often during Puppygate and after, that most books do not credit their editors… and besides that, the reader has no real way to know what the editor did. Some novels are heavily edited, some much less. What is the criterion? The proof should be in the pudding. Which pudding tastes better. Reward the WORK, not the author or editor or artist. Go back to Best Magazine, and add Anthology/ Collection (both the Locus Awards and the World Fantasy Awards have such a category, and it works well). That more than covers the Short Form Editors.

(6) Daniel Lemire – “Revisiting Vernor Vinge’s ‘predictions’ for 2025”

Let me review some of his predictions:

  • In his novel, many people earn a small income through informal part-time work with affiliate networks, doing random work. Today you can earn a small income through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and there are many Uber-like services whereas individuals can earn small sums by doing various services. So this prediction is almost certainly coming true….

(7) Avedon Carol on The Sideshow – “Never mind the forecast, ’cause the sky has lost control”

Christopher Priest leaps to the defense of Terry Pratchett. I remember years ago reading an article in Time Out from a woman who had been assigned to write about Pratchett and proceeded to state that she had not read any so she just asked her male friends if it was just boy’s stuff and they said that it was, thus proving they hadn’t read it, either. She rattled on for several more paragraphs but… seriously? That’s how a “professional journalist” covers an assignment? So now we have some nitwit over on the Guardian‘s blog pontificating on the lack of quality of Pratchett’s work which he says he hasn’t got time to waste actually reading it. I don’t know where these people come from.

(8) Jaythenerdkid on The Rainbow Hub –  “An Interview with Benjanun Sridaungkaew” (Original link no longer works. Google cache file available for the time being here.)

In a situation like this, leaving often seems like the best option. Certainly, Bee has cut back on her involvement with the SF/F community at large. But she’s determined to keep on doing what she loves and is passionate about.

“I plan to keep writing,” she says. “I don’t think of SF/F as a community any more so much as a subculture that shares an interest or hobby rather than a sense of community.

“A community that awards a trophy to a racist hit piece on me is not a community I’d want to belong to, but I like to think those people are not ‘all’ of the field and fortunately my experiences have lined up with that: there are sub-communities who aren’t part of that at all.”

(9) William Underhill in a comment on Mad Genius Club.

I also think the fact that File770’s posts are moderated and need to be approved, and posts here and on Mr. Torgersen’s blog are not, is thought-provoking.

Yes, it is.

(10) Add K. Tempest Bradford’s name to the list of those who have volunteered to host a short fiction rating site that would be handy for Hugo voters – “io9 Newsstand Has One Last Thing To Say About The Hugo Awards”

I have long felt that there’s a real need for spaces where people can get together and passionately discuss the short fiction they read. That having such a space would make it easier for readers to find more short stories they’ll like. A place where anyone can rate and review stories and also easily find write-ups by pro reviewers.

A Goodreads-type site for short fiction.

And before you ask: no, Goodreads itself wouldn’t be a great space for this. The company isn’t interested in adding individual short stories, and the few that are on there now are either shorts that were issued with ISBN numbers or put there by community librarians. We need a site and service that is committed to creating a database of short fiction, with the ability for signed-in users to rate and/or review that also pulls in links or review text from pro reviewers where they exist.

Having such a site could also make it easier for people to nominate for the Hugo Awards when that time comes around. As everybody knows, you don’t need to have read everything in order to nominate faithfully and well. You only have to nominate the best of what you’ve read. However, if you want to see what other folks have read and loved, you could just go to the list of short fiction published during the year, sort by highest rating, and read the top 10 or 15 or 20.

I would love to spearhead such a project. But: money. Anyone know a venture capitalist?

(11) Hey, I just came across this photo today.

If you open the picture in large format, you can see John Scalzi is wearing the yellow “File 770, That Wretched Hive of Scum & Villainy” button he pinned on his lanyard just before the panel began.

[Thanks to Paul Weimer, Mark, David Doering, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Warner.]

Pixel Scroll 7/30 Gonna Scroll the Bones

A lot of material out there because of the Hugo voting deadline tomorrow but if you want more than the three items I included in today’s Scroll then Google is your friend.

(1) Today in History!

1932: Walt Disney released his first color cartoon, “Flowers and Trees,” made in three-color Technicolor.

1976: NASA released the famous “Face on Mars” photo, taken by Viking 1

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image by its HiRISE camera of the "Face on Mars". Viking Orbiter image inset in bottom right corner.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image by its HiRISE camera of the “Face on Mars”. Viking Orbiter image inset in bottom right corner.

(2) And Today’s Birthday Boy and Girl – what a coincidence!

Born 1965: J. K. Rowling

Born: Harry Potter (main character of Harry Potter series)

(3) “The Tom-cademy Awards: The Only Awards Show Exclusively for Tom Cruise Movies” is part of a weeklong Cruise-themed series on Grantland. The author anoints Emily Blunt as the Best Supporting Actress of any Cruise movie.

The wonderful thing about EoT is that it’s really funny. It achieves that by not pretending the audience has never seen a time-travel movie. Instead, Edge of Tomorrow claps the audience firmly on the shoulder and, smiling, asks (rhetorically), “Hey, wanna see Tom Cruise get iced?” And, as it turns out, watching The Character Named Tom Cruise getting killed in fun and interesting ways, ways that show just enough exposed cranium to make the exercise mean something, is pretty invigorating.

But! Do we not, paradoxically, also want to see The Character Named Tom Cruise succeed? To save the world and get the girl? Yeah, of course we do. This is Tom Cruise we’re talking about. And it’s Blunt, playing it straight the whole time while kicking a Ripley-in-Aliens level of xenomorph butt, who has to downshift from hero-on-a-recruiting-poster to woman-who-we-kind-of-want-to-see-kiss-Tom-Cruise in order to make Cage’s journey from charming coward to soldier/love interest believable. He’s the hero we deserve, that we also need to see die.

Genre films Minority Report (Best Visual Effects) and Interview With The Vampire (Best Costume Design) also take home the hardware.

(4) Janis Ian, who now writes in the sf field, has her own Bill Cosby story from when she was a teenager preparing to sing her hit song on The Smothers Brothers show in 1967.

“No, I was not sexually bothered by Bill Cosby,” said Ian in a Facebook post Tuesday, reacting to a New York magazine report featuring 35 women who accuse Cosby of sexual impropriety.

In her post, Ian accused Cosby of publicly outing her as a lesbian, based on a chance meeting backstage at a television show.

“Cosby was right in one thing. I am gay. Or bi, if you prefer, since I dearly loved the two men I lived with over the years. My tilt is toward women, though, and he was right about that.”

(5) On to tamer subjects – the Worldcon business meeting. Kevin Standlee hopes to discourage complaints while rewarding the reader’s attention with a good discussion of why meetings adopt Roberts Rules or the equivalent:

The reason that parliamentary procedure is complex is that it’s trying to balance a bunch of contradictory rights. If you’re someone who is convinced that your personal, individual right to speak for as long as you want and as many times at you want trumps the rights of the group to be able to finish the discussion and reach a decision in a reasonable time, well, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be happy with any rules that allow for limits on debate. If you’re someone who has no patience with debate and just wants the Strong Man to Make Decisions, you’ll never be pleased with rules that allow for people to debate and reach a group decision through voting….

And he invites your help to improve how WSFS meetings are run.

WSFS rules are complicated because the people who attend the meetings have effectively voted for complexity, but also because some of the complexity is required to protect the rights of members, both individually and in groups, and including the members who aren’t even at the meeting. If you have a better way for deciding how we should run things, the onus is on you to propose something. As long as you just complain that “it’s too complicated,” without proposing something both easier and workable, don’t expect to be taken seriously.

(6 ) Russell Blackford on Metamagician and the Hellfire Club delivers “The Hugo Awards – 2015 – Summation”.

Even if there is a legitimate grain of truth somewhere amongst the complaints of the Sad Puppies group, their actions have led to an exceptionally weak Hugo field this year and to some specific perverse outcomes. If the Sad Puppies campaigners merely thought that there is a “usual suspects” tendency in recent Hugo nomination lists, and that politically conservative authors are often overlooked in recent times, they could have simply argued their case based on evidence. Likewise, they could have taken far wiser, far more moderate – far less destructive – actions to identify some genuinely outstanding works that might otherwise have been missed. What we saw this year, with politicised voting on an unprecedented scale, approached the level of sabotaging the awards. I repeat my hope that the Sad Puppies campaign will not take place next year, at least in anything like the same form. If it does, my attitude will definitely harden. I’ve been rather mild about the Sad Puppies affair compared to many others in SF fandom, and I think I can justify that, but enough is enough.

I really can’t understand how Blackford processes the ethics of the 2015 situation, this being the third go-round for Sad Puppies, that “enough” had not happened already to warrant a stronger expression of his disapproval, but a fourth iteration will.

(7) The shortest “fisking” in history — Larry Correia strikes back at Sad Puppies references in The New Yorker’s Delany interview The boldfaced sentences below are literally 66% of what he had to say.

The ensuing controversy has been described, by Jeet Heer in the New Republic, as “a cultural war over diversity,” since the Sad Puppies, in their pushback against perceived liberals and experimental writers, seem to favor the work of white men.

Diversity my ass. Last years winners were like a dozen white liberals and one Asian liberal and they hailed that as a huge win for diversity. 

Delany said he was dismayed by all this, but not surprised. “The context changes,” he told me, “but the rhetoric remains the same.”

Well, that’s a stupid conclusion. 

Alert the bugler to blow “Taps” over the fallen standards of Correia fisks….

(8) Cheryl Morgan tells fans don’t give up.

Look, there will be some weird stuff in the results this year. There may well be a few No Awards given out, and possibly some really bad works winning awards. It is not as if that hasn’t happened before, though perhaps not in the same quantities. On the other hand, people are talking about the Hugos much more this year than they ever have before, and in many more high profile places. In addition vastly more people have bought supporting memberships, and we are looking at a record number of people participating in the final ballot. All of those people will be eligible to nominate next year. This isn’t the way I would have liked to get that result, but it is a result all the same.

(9) John Scalzi realized he would have a more restful day if instead of discussing the Hugos he spent his time doing computer maintenance.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, David K.M. Klaus and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit to File 770 contributing editor Soon Lee.]

NASA Astronaut Named Sasquan Special Guest

Lindgren is the Jedi on the front left.

Lindgren is the Jedi on the front left.

Sasquan has announced NASA Astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren will participate as a Special Guest of the 2015 Worldcon while aboard the International Space Station serving as a Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 44 and 45.

“My path to space has been paved with books,” says Lindgren, who has a long list of favorite sf and fantasy authors — Orson Scott Card, Tom Clancy, Arthur C. Clarke, Ernest Cline, Joe Haldeman, Robert Heinlein, Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, C. S. Lewis, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Neal Stephenson, Kim Stanley Robinson, J. R. R. Tolkien, Vernor Vinge, Bill Watterson, and Connie Willis.

Lindgren is a board-certified practitioner of emergency medicine and aerospace medicine and holds a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Colorado.

His work on board the International Space Station will include conducting a variety of experiments involving crystal growth, zero-g combustion and robotics.

The full press release follows the jump.

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