Pixel Scroll 8/11 Award not for whom the puppies troll

These are the times that try men’s Scrolls.

(1) Dilbert is still not at work on his sci-fi novel.

(2) Blogger and Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik is opening a new venue for her writing:

I am founding this space for all of us: It’s called GrokNation.

Do you know what it means to grok something? Grok is an old-school sci-fi term from the 1961 book “Stranger in a Strange Land.” It means to fully grasp something in the deepest way possible.

I want to be able to reach all kinds of people with my thinking and writing, and while I will still continue to write for Kveller about Jewish parenting, GrokNation will be the place where I share my thoughts about being an actress on “The Big Bang Theory,” being a scientist and a vegan mom, being an unusual woman because I am an actress and a scientist and a vegan mom, and everything in between. Eventually, I want GrokNation to become a place for voices other than mine, but we are just starting out so it may take some time!

(3) Rachel Bloom, known to fans for her Hugo-nominated music video “F*** Me, Ray Bradbury”, has been busy charming TV critics in advance of the October 12 premiere of her sitcom Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

When it organically was revealed that literally every single present “Crazy Ex” actor can professionally tap dance, Bloom’s co-star and four-time tap champ Donna Lynne Champlin challenged the journalists in attendance to ask all the other casts we come across this tour that same question, and see if any other show comes close….

Showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna and Bloom also masterfully handled — or at least deflected — sincere topics, such as the use of the potentially pejorative “Crazy” in the title, which could have been bait for a less comfortable group.

(4) In World War II, dozens of radio operators in Scituate, Rhode Island dialed into enemy conversations worldwide:

The Chopmist Hill listening post soon became the largest and most successful of a nationwide network of 13 similar installations. Its ability to eavesdrop on German radio transmissions in North Africa, for instance, was so precise that technicians could actually listen in on tank-to-tank communications within Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s infamous Afrika Korps.

The Germans’ battlefield strategy was then relayed to the British, who under Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery eventually defeated Rommel at El Alamein.

(5) With the Worldcon coming to town next week, the Spokane Spokesman-Review brings locals up to speed about the Sad Puppies:

It also arrives amid controversy.

Fans at Worldcon vote for the winners of the annual Hugo Awards. Regarded as some of the most prestigious honors in sci-fi and fantasy writing, the Hugos have been bestowed upon such names as Kurt Vonnegut and Portland novelist Ursula K. Le Guin. The Hugos have been awarded every year since 1955.

This year’s Hugos are mired in a present-day argument instead of a futuristic struggle.

A group of authors who call themselves the “Sad Puppies” is accused of strong-arming Hugo organizers to insert three authors on the shortlist of nominees. The group’s leaders contend the Hugos are too often awarded to what they call the “literati elite” and predisposed to affirmative action rather than less pretentious and more deserving writing.

Critics call the “Sad Puppies” a right-wing group supportive of the writings of white men and averse to the growing diversity of the genre. Martin has chimed in with a long series of blog posts, saying the controversy has “broken” the awards and “plunged all fandom into war.”

The controversy “has resulted in more people interested in Worldcon than would have been interested before,” said Tom Whitmore, a Seattle massage therapist and Worldcon volunteer who’s helping promote and organize the not-for-profit event. “We’ve followed our own rules, and we’re going ahead with our own rules, and that’s that.”

(6) Even those who have been following the Puppies from day one need a map. Aaron Pound, who Lou Antonelli tried to get fired from his job as a government attorney, summarizes all the Antonelli news from then til yesterday on Dreaming About Other Worlds.

Despite my tweeting on my personal twitter account, Antonelli took it upon himself to track down my work e-mail and phone number, first e-mailing a poorly thought out threat to come down to my workplace and do something or other, and then telephoning my office to confirm I was employed there.

(7) Natalie Luhrs’ chronicle of Antonelli’s offenses, “Pattern Matching: Lou Antonelli and the Sad Puppies”, characterizes them as she feels they deserve.

I think it bears emphasizing that by making a false report to police about David Gerrold, Lou Antonelli placed every single attending member of Worldcon in danger. This is reprehensible. The fact that David Gerrold forgave Antonelli for this is between the two of them; Gerrold does not get to accept Antonelli’s apology on behalf of the rest of the convention membership and to its staff and volunteers….

His modus operandi seems to be to incite an incident or seek one out, become abusive in some manner, and then only apologize if the target is high profile enough or if enough high profile people notice that he’s being abusive. His apology will contain a lot of language that deflects responsibility for his actions off him and onto other people or communities. Lather, rinse, repeat.  If he goes after you and you don’t make noise about it or if someone doesn’t make noise on your behalf, or if you’re not particularly high profile, you’re not going to get even an attempt at an apology….

(8) In a separate post, “Some Members are More Equal than Others”, Luhrs makes her case against Sasquan’s decision not to ban Antonelli from attending.

One of Gerrold’s quoted reasons is that Antonelli “deserves” to be able to attend the Hugo Awards because he’s a nominee.

The message I’m getting from Sasquan is that if you apologize enough, if you can convince the person you’ve harassed into accepting your apology, and if you’ve been nominated for an award, Codes of Conduct don’t apply to you. Especially if you’ve promised to be on your very best behavior and not do it again.

(9) But Antonelli has not been left to face the music completely alone. Amanda S. Green on According To Hoyt argues the way he’s being treated is out of proportion, and compares his critics to the storybook folk who claimed “The sky is falling!”

At least that is the way it might seem if you were paying much attention to those very vocal few who have made it their life’s mission to denigrate anyone who might even remotely be associated with Sad Puppies 3. Oh how they have rallied these last few days to not only vilify Lou Antonelli but, even in the face of the one man who could reasonably be seen as having an issue with him accepting his apology, they continue to attack and demonize him. This has resulted in at least one contract being cancelled for Mr. Antonelli and even that is not enough to satisfy those who have taken to social media to attack him.

And, like with so much of what the Anti-Puppy crowd has done these last few months, they have taken Antonelli’s actions and blown them out of proportion. Specifically, Antonelli sent a letter to the Spokane Police Department expressing concerns not so much about what David Gerrold might personally do but what some of those who follow him on social media might do. Was it a wise move on Antonelli’s part? No. But, to be honest, with some of the vitriol I have seen from both sides of the fence the last few months, I can understand why he might have felt concerned.

(10) There will be no comic relief at the end today! Because Stephen King knows how to take a horror and make it verse.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

Disguising the World Fantasy Award

Meredith may have just been teasing about having Stephen King replace HPL on the World Fantasy Award but that gave me an idea.

I read someone speculate they are sticking with HPL because they have an inventory of statuettes already made and paid for.

So I wondered if you put a set of designer eyeglasses on HPL, would he look enough like Stephen King that they could claim to have changed the name and still use the Gahan Wilson statuette?

Stephen King Authors Dome Premiere

Stephen King at the typewriter, with Mike Vogel and Colin Ford.

Stephen King at the typewriter, with Mike Vogel and Colin Ford.

“I knew that George R.R. Martin had written a few episodes of ‘Game of Thrones,’ and I was very jealous,” Stephen King told the LA Times. Now King has written the Season 2 premiere of Under the Dome, the CBS TV series based on his 2009 novel.

The episode — with its rather Thrones-like title “Heads Will Roll” — airs June 30. King also makes a cameo appearance.

He outlined some topics the show will explore in Season 2:

“For me, the most interesting idea is this Malthusian concept that there’s too many people and too little space, there’s starting to be this talk about euthanasia and thinning of the herd, and that’s a scary idea,” said King… “In a fantasy series, you have a chance to tackle some of these hot-button issues, and people will accept it, because it’s only make-believe.”

The notoriously prolific author also has two books coming out this year, Mr. Mercedes and Revival.

Science Fiction on Sunday Morning

Three new clips of interest to fans have been posted on CBS’ Sunday Morning website.

The first minute of Passages pays tribute to the late Richard Matheson.

And there are two segments of Anthony Mason’s interview of Stephen King. In one, the horror writer and executive producer of Under the Dome takes Mason on a tour of the set.  In the other, King answers questions about his writing and career, and explains why he pulled his novel Rage out of circulation.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

World Book Night U.S. Includes SF & F

World Book Night annually celebrates reading and books and next April 23 thousands of people in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland will go through their communities giving out free World Book Night paperbacks.

The 30 books chosen for this giveaway include well-known works of sf and fantasy – Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Stephen King’s The Stand.

World Book Night began last year in the U.K. and will be expanded to additional countries in years to come.

The date, April 23, coincides with UNESCO’s World Book Day, selected due to the anniversary of Cervantes’ death, as well as Shakespeare’s birth and death.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Avast, Digital Mateys!

Ursula Le Guin, Stephen King, Harlan Ellison and Cory Doctorow all had something to say to the New York Times about digital piracy.

“The question is, how much time and energy do I want to spend chasing these guys,” Stephen King wrote in an e-mail message. “And to what end? My sense is that most of them live in basements floored with carpeting remnants, living on Funions and discount beer.”

And we know Cory Doctorow doesn’t follow Harlan Ellison’s policy of eternal vigilance and legal retribution, for this very simple reason:

“I really feel like my problem isn’t piracy,” Mr. Doctorow said. “It’s obscurity.”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Gary Farber for the link.]

Snapshots 19

Nine developments of interest to fans:

(1) The UK has academic fanzine collections, too. A BBC story “Fanzines enter pages of history” says “The National Library of Scotland is to embark on the laborious task of tracking down and cataloguing the countless thousands of fanzines published in the UK over the past 70 years.” That includes sf and fantasy zines. And the Beeb interviews Professor Chris Atton, whose fascination with music fanzines goes back decades.

(2) YouTube videos about Ray Bradbury’s play Falling Upward are linked here and here.

(3) Canadians, would you rather have Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, TV cop T.J. Hooker or Boston Legal lawyer Denny Crane running your country? Well this is your lucky day – you get all three if you accept William Shatner’s offer:

“The 77-year-old star said: ‘My intention is to be Prime Minister of Canada, not Governor General, which is mainly a ceremonial position.'”

(4) The Marvel Comics version of Stephen King’s The Stand is being sold only through comics stores, not bookstores. Publishers Weekly reports:

Faced with restrictions on the distribution of its much-anticipated comics adaptation of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic bestseller, The Stand, Marvel Comics is working to turn them into a plus. After releasing the series in periodical form in the fall of last year, Marvel announced plans to release the hardcover graphic novel, The Stand: Captain Trips, on March 10 exclusively through the comics shop market.

(5) Jennifer Schuessler’s New York Times article asks:

These days, America is menaced by zombie banks and zombie computers. What’s next, a zombie Jane Austen?

In fact, yes. Minor pandemonium ensued in the blogosphere this month after Quirk Books announced the publication of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an edition of Austen’s classic juiced up with “all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem” by a Los Angeles television writer named Seth Grahame-Smith. (First line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”)

(6) Cheryl Morgan draws an irresistible parallel between the “social grooming” of monkeys and bloggers:

People who study primate behavior apparently recognize a lot of what happens in social networks as “grooming”. And you know, that makes a lot of sense. Link love is essentially a grooming activity. Us low-status monkeys indulge in mutual grooming with people we think of as allies, and we groom high-status monkeys whom we admire and whose troop we wish to belong to. High status monkeys don’t need to groom others, but may do so to reward their followers.

Thanks for pointing that out. A bunch of bananas is on the way…

(7) Your one-stop shop for history and images of Ace Books.

(8) Dave Barnett has written an enoyable and insightful article for the Guardian on the reissue of John Crowley’s Little, Big

Little, Big spans several generations of the Drinkwater family and their relationship with the world of faerie. The concept is rescued from tweeness by author Crowley’s dazzling feats of aerobatics with the English language, which at first – especially in my tightly-typeset Methuen edition – take a bit of getting used to but, ultimately, draw you in and trap you with their beauty, not unlike the fabled world of faery itself.

(9) Artist Joy Alyssa Day, a friend of Diana’s and mine, is hard at work on a solid wood rocket ship:

The fins are finished! They were cut from solid cherry boards with my radial arm saw and trimmed up with my bandsaw. The blade on that could use some replacing…. Cherry is so hard that mostly the bandsaw blade just burns it while it’s trying to cut. Funny, burned cherry wood smells exactly like popcorn. Now I’m hungry!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster and David Klaus for the links they contributed to this article.]