Pixel Scroll 10/17/21 The Scroll Of Dr. Pringles And Other Pixels And Other Pixels

(1) THE 8 BILLION BODY PROBLEM. Liu Cixin told the WSJ he’s not as optimistic as he once was. “’Three-Body Problem’ Author No Longer Sure Humankind Would Unite Against Hostile Aliens” reports The Byte.

In his 2008 novel “The Three-Body Problem,” Liu Cixin wrote about nations banding together to deal with a looming alien invasion that would likely result in the end of humanity.

Now he’s not so sure about that unity, Cixin said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. If anything, he said, the coronavirus pandemic shows that we might do the opposite.

“In the past, we used to have an assumption: that if humanity was faced with a collective threat, people would throw away their differences, unite, join forces and overcome the crisis together,” Cixin told the WSJ. “Now I realize that might have been too perfect of a wish. Looking back at the past two years, the pandemic has pushed nations toward more divisions.”…

(2) NEXT FANHISTORY ZOOM SESSION. British fanhistory is highlighted in the next FANAC FanHistory Zoom, set for October 23 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern (7:00 p.m. London).

Keith Freeman and British fan historian Rob Hansen provide a first-hand look at some of the landmark moments of British fandom, from the inside.  Keith has been a science fiction fan since the 50s – he was a member of the Cheltenham Circle, a founder of the Reading Science Fiction Club, and is credited with reviving the Order of St. Fantony. He’s a fanzine fan (still active!), a past officer of the British Science Fiction Society (BSFA), and the 1977 winner of the Doc Weir Award. 

Among his considerable  fannish accomplishments, interviewer Rob Hansen is well known as a historian of British fandom, having published the definitive history Then — Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980Join us for this interview/discussion and find out about Brumcon, St. Fantony, the SF Society of Great Britain, the Eastercon relationship with BSFA, and more, including perhaps what it’s like to watch an H-bomb explode. 

To register, send an e-mail to to fanac@fanac.org .

(3) A PEEK AT THE TERMS. Deadline gives a 30,000-foot overview of the deal in “Hollywood Strike Averted As IATSE & AMPTP Reach Deal On New Film & TV Contract”.

…The deal for the new contract – called the Basic Agreement – is now in the books, but negotiations with the AMPTP will continue for IATSE members who work under the similar Area Standards Agreement in major production hubs such as New Mexico, New York, Illinois, Georgia and Louisiana.

More details are to come, but deal points include “improved wages and working conditions for streaming,” 10-hour turnaround times between shifts, MLK Day is now a holiday, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives,” increased funding of the health and pension plans and a 3% rate increase every year for the duration of the yett-to-be approved contract, among other changes. The AMPTP had wanted to settle the rate increase at around 3% for the first year and then shift it down to 2.5% or even less for the subsequent two years of the contract….

(4) IN DEADLY COLOR. “Why Is Frankenstein’s Monster Green?” asks Mental Floss. He wasn’t always.

In the 203 years since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein helped shape the horror genre as we know it today, there have been dozens of interpretations of Frankenstein’s Monster. For most of us, the version of the character that immediately comes to mind is the one from Universal’s classic 1931 film: Big green guy with a flat head and bolts in his neck who isn’t much of a talker—which is a far cry from the yellow-skinned, chatty creature Shelley imagined. But if our popular idea of the Monster’s appearance was dictated by a black-and-white movie, why is Frankenstein’s Monster so often depicted as being green?

(5) A PUBLIC CONFESSION. “Lauded Spanish female crime writer revealed to be 3 men” reports MSN.com.

Spain‘s literary world has been thrown into chaos after a coveted book prize was awarded to “Carmen Mola” — an acclaimed female thriller writer who turned out to be the pseudonym of three men.

Television scriptwriters Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz and Antonio Mercero shocked guests, who included Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia, at the Planeta awards Friday when they took to the stage to pick up the prize money and reveal the celebrated crime author did not actually exist.

On the website for Mola’s agent, the writer — who has been compared to Italy’s esteemed novelist Elena Ferrante — is described as a “Madrid-born author” writing under a pseudonym in a bid to remain anonymous. The description for Mola on the website also contains a series of photographs of an unknown woman looking away from the camera….

The news stunned many fellow literary figures — and not everyone is thrilled about the news. Beatriz Gimeno, who describes herself as a writer and a feminist — and who was once the director of the Women’s Institute, a key national equality body in Spain — took to Twitter to criticize Martínez, Díaz and Mercero.

In a tweet, Gimeno said: “Beyond using a female pseudonym, these guys have spent years doing interviews. It’s not just the name, it’s the fake profile they’ve used to take in readers and journalists. Scammers.”…

(6) DATA POINTS. In the Washington Post, Donald Lievenson interviews Brent Spiner about his fictionalized memoir Fan Fiction.  Spiner explains why his memoir is fictionalized and how the pandemic had him writing much more than he would if there was no pandemic (where his book would be an “as told to” book.( “Brent Spiner, Data from ‘Star Trek,’ discusses his book”.)

Q: It’s a mixed blessing to be associated with a popular character. Leonard Nimoy famously wrote a book, “I am Not Spock,” then years later wrote another, “I am Spock.” Did writing your book help you in coming to terms with your relationship to Data?

A: It is a double-edged sword. The larger part of that sword has been very positive. It’s been a great job. On the other hand, what I was trained to do was to play as many different things as possible, so it has been limiting sort of in that way. I think there are times maybe I haven’t gotten a job because I am so identified with the character. I, frankly, like to think I’ve been typecast as the reason when I don’t get jobs, because the alternative is that I’m just lousy (laughs). But all that being said with relation to character, if I had to have one character that I had to be typecast as, it would be this character. There is a feeling of trust people have in the character that he’s incapable of hurting them. The confusion has been that I am that as well, and clearly, I’m not. But also, because I also got to play so many different things on the show as him, I got to try on the skin of all kinds of different types of humanity. I got to play his brother, his father, his uncle, his ancestors. It turned out to be a role that I was actually able to stretch a bit.

(7) LOGROLLING DAYS. In Debarkle: Chapter 68, Camestros Felapton reaches 2019 and the 20BooksTo50K Nebula ticket: “History Rhymes — Nebulas 2019”.

The group was unsurprisingly called 20BooksTo50K and by 2017 Anderle and Martelle were running a 20BooksTo50K conference in Las Vegas to help aspiring authors make money from self-publishing….

By 2019 the Facebook group had over 26,000 members and was running conferences internationally[7]….

In November 2018 Jonathan Brazee posted a message to the 20BooksTo50K Facebook group encouraging eligible members to take part in the SFWA’s Nebula Awards. At the end of the post was a long list of titles by 20BooksTo50K members that might be suitable works to add. Brazee was quite clear that this was not intended to be a slate but just a means to encourage participation and maybe improve the number of independently published works on the SFWA reading list.

… The post had stated that it wasn’t a slate but the difference between Brazee’s asterisked list and a slate was minimal. In addition four of the six authors from the slate that had ended up being Nebula finalists had also been published recently by LMBPN including Jonathan Brazee, Richard Fox, A.K. DuBoff, R.R. Virdi and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne. Blogger Aaron Pound looked further into the Brazee’s original list and found that 15 of the authors had listed had appeared either in a LMBPN anthology series called The Expanding Universe or had appeared in a non-LMBPN anthology series called Sci-Fi Bridge

(8) FERGUSON OBIT. BBC producer Michael Ferguson died October 4 at the age of 84. He worked on and directed episodes of Doctor Who, including the first episode to feature the Daleks, shortly after the series began in 1963.

…Working on his first programme as an assistant floor manager – while also holding an actors’ union Equity card – he waved the first Dalek “sucker” arm, resembling a sink plunger, to be seen as it threatened the Time Lord’s companion Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill). The Daleks’ “bodies” were not revealed until the next part of the story.

Then, he became one of the few directors to work with all of the Time Lord’s first three incarnations: William Hartnell, battling a self-thinking computer in The War Machines (1966); Patrick Troughton, taking on the Ice Warriors in The Seeds of Death (1969); and Jon Pertwee, in both The Ambassadors of Death (1970) and The Claws of Axos (1971).

Ferguson gained a reputation for being adventurous and inventive, with angled, “point of view” and silhouetted shots, “jump” ones that ramped up the tension, and characters filmed from below to show them looking down.

Frazer Hines, who played the Doctor’s companion Jamie in the second of Ferguson’s serials, recalled that he would challenge actors in rehearsal to perform a “speed run”, delivering their lines as fast as possible to ensure they knew them thoroughly. “It’s very good for the old brain cells,” added Hines….

(9) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1980 – Forty-one years ago at Noreascon Two, Alien would win the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. It was directed by Ridley Scott from the screenplay by Dan O’Bannon off the story by O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. This would the second Hugo nomination for O’Bannon who was nominated earlier at MidAmeriCon for Dark Star. He’d would win his second Hugo several years later for Aliens at Conspiracy ’87, and be later nominated at Chicon V for Total Recall and Alien 3 at ConFrancisco. A half million audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a horrifyingly great ninety-four percent rating.  

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 17, 1914 Jerry Siegel. His most famous creation was Superman, which he created in collaboration with his friend Joe Shuster. He was inducted (along with the previously deceased Shuster) into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1993. I see he edited a magazine called Science Fiction according to ISFDB for two issues in 1932 which was definitely genre. (Died 1996.)
  • Born October 17, 1917 Marsha Hunt, 104. Performer who appeared in both the original versions of the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits, also appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Too Short a Season” as Anne Jameson, Shadow Chasers and Fear No Evil. She is also the oldest living member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. She was blacklisted by Hollywood in the Fifties during McCarthyism.
  • Born October 17, 1921 Tom Poston. One of his acting first roles was The Alkarian (uncredited at the time ) in “The Mystery of Alkar” episode of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet in 1950. He much later had the recurring role of Mr. Bickley in Mork & Mindy. He also showed up on Get Smart! in the “Shock It to Me! Episode as Doctor Zharko. (Died 2007.)
  • Born October 17, 1926 Julia Adams. Her most famous role no doubt is being in the arms of The Creature from Black Lagoon. She’s also been on Alfred Hitchcock Presents three times, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. The Night GalleryKolchak: The Night StalkerThe Incredible Hulk and Lost all once. Signed photos of her in her swimsuit on location for Creature are highly collectible and rather expensive these days going by high prices on eBay currently. And the movie poster is rare. (Died 2019.)
  • Born October 17, 1934 Alan Garner, 87. His best book? That’d be Boneland which technically is the sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath but really isn’t though I can’t say why as that’d be a massive spoiler. Oh, and The Carnegie Medal-winning The Owl Service is amazingly superb! There’s a video series of the latter but I’ve not seen it. He’s garnered a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
  • Born October 17, 1946 Bruce McAllister, 75. He’s a superb short story writer as you can see in The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories that Golden Gryphon published originally and which Cemetery Dance has now in an ePub edition along with his three novels.  His Dream Baby novel is an interesting if brutal take on the Vietnam War with a definite SF take to it. His Dream Baby novelette was nominated for a Hugo at Nolacon II, and his “Kin” short story was nominated at Nippon 2007. 
  • Born October 17, 1968 Mark Gatiss, 53. English actor, screenwriter, director, producer and novelist. Writer for Doctor Who with Steven Moffat, whom Gatiss also worked with on Jekyll. He also co-created and co-produced Sherlock. As an actor, I’ll note he does Vogon voices in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and is Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock.  And he played Tycho Nestoris in Game of Thrones.
  • Born October 17, 1971 Patrick Ness, 49. Best known for his books for young adults, including the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls. He’s also the creator and writer of the Doctor Who spin-off Class series. And he’s written a Doctor Who story, “Tip of the Tongue”, a Fifth Doctor story. He won The Otherwise Award for The Knife of Never Letting Go, and his Monster Calls novel won both a Carnegie and a Kitschie as well being nominated for a Stoker and a Clarke.

(11) COMICS SECTION.

Tom Gauld in The Guardian.

(12) LEVAR’S NEXT JOB. Kenan Thompson plays new NFL coach LeVar Burton in Saturday Night Live’s cold open. I didn’t think it was that funny (although all the points they were making are true enough). The LeVar Burton characterization comes at the 7-minute mark if you want to jump to it.

(13) FOUNDATION AND MOLASSES. Cora Buhlert reviews the fifth episode: “Foundation realises ‘Upon Awakening’ that the story is still moving at a glacial pace”. Beware spoilers.

…I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand the storytelling choices this show makes. Like I’ve said before, I accept that a literal adaptation of the original stories isn’t possible, because stories of people sitting around and talking would not make for very thrilling TV. However, the shows pads out the lean narrative of the original stories with a lot of stuff that’s at best irrelevant and at worst contradicts the story. The show also deals with the fact that the Foundation series takes place over a long period of time (500 years for the original trilogy with the sequels and prequels spanning an even longer period of time) by inserting yet more unnecessary time jumps….

(14) BUT Y? Variety says this show’s run at Hulu is over: “’Y: The Last Man’ Canceled at FX on Hulu Before Season One Finale”.

Y: The Last Man” has been canceled by FX, weeks before its first season debuts its final episode on FX on Hulu.

The news was shared by “Y: The Last Man” showrunner Eliza Clark through her Twitter on Sunday. In her post, Clark thanks FX and the show’s creative team for their partnership on the project. She also expresses hope that “Y: The Last Man” will be able to continue its run at a different network.

“We have learned that we will not be moving forward with FX on Hulu for Season 2 of ‘Y: The Last Man.’ I have never in my life been more committed to a story, and there is so much more left to tell,” Clark wrote. “‘We had a gender diverse team of brilliant artists, led by women at almost every corner of our production… It is the most collaborative, creatively fulfilling and beautiful thing I have ever been a part of. We don’t want it to end.”

(15) IT’S SHOWTIME. “Russian crew wraps trailblazing movie in space, safely returns to Earth”CNN has the story.

…Peresild and Shipenko traveled to the space station alongside veteran Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov on October 5, encountering a bit of real-life drama — in the form of communications issues — while docking to the space station. Over the course of 12 days, they filmed their movie, “Challenge,” the first feature film shot in space.

The movie will tell the story of a surgeon, played by Peresild, who has to operate on a sick cosmonaut in space, portrayed by Novitskiy, because the cosmonaut’s medical condition prevents him from returning to Earth to be treated. Filming for the movie continued during the crew farewells and hatch closing.

The film is being made under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities Channel One and studio Yellow, Black and White.

(16) WHO INSPIRED. [Item by Ben Bird Person.] Illustrator Elizabeth Fijalkowski did this piece on the Robert Holmes Doctor featured in the 1976 Doctor Who serial “The Brain of Morbius”. Design based on comic artist Paul Hanley!

(17) BAT TRAILER. Warner Bros. dropped a new trailer for The Batman.

Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson in the dual role of Gotham City’s vigilante detective and his alter ego, reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne.

(18) THE MITE HAS A THOUSAND EYES. “Incredible Trilobite Fossil Reveals It Had Hundreds Of Eyes” at IFLScience.

A fossilized trilobite dating back 390 million years has revealed some unnerving secrets about the large marine arthropods – they had eyes unlike any other animal ever discovered. What looked to be two distinct eyes, like scientists would expect, were actually large systems of hundreds of individual lenses that all formed their own mini-eyes. That is to say that these animals had hundreds and hundreds of eyes. 

Behind each lens were a series of facets anchored by photoreceptors and a network of nerve cells, capturing the light from each before sending it down a central optical nerve to the brain, creating what can only be assumed as an entirely unique way of seeing the world. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports. …

(19) BREAKTHROUGH, WE CAN NOW DETECT SMALL EXOPLANETS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Small exoplanet, as well as a possibly habitable super-Earth, detected.  Large planets orbiting other stars outside our Solar system (exoplanets) are easier to detect than smaller exoplanets. Also large planets around small stars are easier to detect than large planets around large stars: large stars are less affected by the gravity of planets than small stars and one way of detecting exoplanets is to look at the way stars wobble as their planets orbit.  But the detection limits have improved and a few years ago we began to detect the first Earth-sized exoplanets.

Now, a collaboration of mainly mainland continental Europeans using the European Southern Observatory, have detected a planet half the mass (about a quarter the size) of Venus orbiting a (small) Red Dwarf (L 98-59) some 34.5 light years away.

If this were not enough, the collaboration has also detected a super-Earth in the system’s habitable zone. More good news, this system lies within the field of view of the forthcoming James Webb telescope and so it is likely we will soon learn more about these exoplanets. (See Demangeon, O. D. S., et al. (2021) https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/pdf/2021/09/aa40728-21.pdf  Warm terrestrial planet with half the mass of Venus transiting a nearby star. Astronomy & Astrophysicsvol. 653, A41.)

(20) PLAY IT AGAIN SAM.  “Supernova Déjà-Vu: Astronomers Spot the Same Stellar Explosion Three Times – And Predict a Fourth Sighting in 16 Years” says SciTechDaily.

An enormous amount of gravity from a cluster of distant galaxies causes space to curve so much that light from them is bent and emanated our way from numerous directions. This “gravitational lensing” effect has allowed University of Copenhagen astronomers to observe the same exploding star in three different places in the heavens. They predict that a fourth image of the same explosion will appear in the sky by 2037. The study, which has recently been published in the journal Nature Astronomy, provides a unique opportunity to explore not just the supernova itself, but the expansion of our universe.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge,Joe Siclari,  Chris Barkley, Ben Bird Person, Daniel Dern, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Janney.]

40 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/17/21 The Scroll Of Dr. Pringles And Other Pixels And Other Pixels

  1. 10) Credit where credit is due: the TV adaptation of The Owl Service was made by independent TV company Granada, not the BBC. (I’ve seen it. It’s very faithful to the book… so much so that it has some weird pacing issues as a TV show, though it’s still watchable enough.)

  2. Steve Wright says Credit where credit is due: the TV adaptation of The Owl Service was made by independent TV company Granada, not the BBC. (I’ve seen it. It’s very faithful to the book… so much so that it has some weird pacing issues as a TV show, though it’s still watchable enough.)

    Good catch, I’ll have Mike correct that in the Birthday note. I see that it was done early on, 1969 to be precise. I thought the BBC had done a radio adaptation of the novel but I’m not seeing any sign it anywhere.

  3. 17) I prefer Marvel movies to DC movies for a number of reasons, and one of the big ones is that in a Marvel movie there is enough light to see what is going on.

  4. Nancy Sauer says I prefer Marvel movies to DC movies for a number of reasons, and one of the big ones is that in a Marvel movie there is enough light to see what is going on.

    I prefer DC animated films to either DC or Marvel live as I think the scripting is generally much better done in them, ie the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham is far better than either of the live action Suicide Squad films were.

  5. @Cat
    I haven’t seen any of the animated films, but I have seen a bunch of the animated Batman series and I thought they were really good.

  6. I live, I breathe, it got dark way too early today, resulting in a depressive effect on my mood–but on Thursday, I’ll be picking up Cider!

    Getting the contract, and talking to Arlene, was a real boost.

  7. Nancy Sauer says I haven’t seen any of the animated films, but I have seen a bunch of the animated Batman series and I thought they were really good.

    They’ve done some really outstanding feature length films that rival their live films. I’m off to bed shortly but I’ll put a list together in the morning of my favorite ones.

  8. @Lis Carey
    That’s wonderful that you finally can take Cider home.

    @Nancy Sauer @Sean Mead
    I thought I was the only one who was severely underwhelmed by that Batman trailer. Pattinson might actually make for a decent Batman, but that trailer was way too dark and also didn’t give us anything that the three Nolan films haven’t already given us.

  9. (9) Seeing that Alien advertising image again reminded me that it’s one of those movies that had a famous poster consisting of a photograph or photographs not seen in the movie itself. (Obviously it’s effective nonetheless.) Offhand, the only other case of this I can think of is Kubrick’s Lolita poster featuring Sue Lyon wearing heart-shaped sunglasses.

  10. Looks like the Memphis 2023 bid is no longer a thing. Got an email in my inbox not that long ago.

  11. (5) The Carmen Mola is nuts. According to the Washington Post article, they picked a woman’s name randomly. Meh? You don’t pick the gender of a pen name randomly.

    Am I the only one who thinks this should be controversial? Some of the comments I’ve seen asked why this was such a big deal. After all, women have used male pen names for years. Of course, the people who said that did not wonder why women had to do so. Or why these three (!) co-authors used a woman’s name as part of their marketing.

    I don’t have an issue with authors using a pen name of a different gender. In some genres, that’s a necessity. For example, men who write genre romance have to use pen names to disguise their gender. (Some readers feel betrayed when they find out, but I don’t. And it’s usually not a secret.)

    There are times when pen names that conceal gender can come across as sneaky. Look at the controversy about the author of The Woman in the Window — A. J. Finn. In that case, the book was marketed as a domestic thriller, which is marketed to women, so that’s why the publisher and author used initials and why the cover copy didn’t mention the author’s gender. In that case, it came off wrong because men publish suspense novels under their real names all the time. And because it turned out the author was lying about parts of his background and experience.

  12. I picked up some cider Saturday, so it took a second look to realize that Cider is the new dog.

  13. @ Anne Marble:

    A pen name is probably outside the scope of what I pick randomly, but when I wrote the novel-shaped object, I used a random-number generator to pick the gender of most characters, primary or not. The ones that didn’t get picked randomly were one of “intentionally unspecified” (the significant other of a major character, to this date, I do not know that SO’s gender) and the SOs of a few other characters (where the gender of said SO was informed by the random assignment of sexual preference to the character to whom they’re SOs). I think there was also one or two characters, where the character’s gender was an upfront design consideration, so no randomisation.

  14. Ingvar: A pen name is probably outside the scope of what I pick randomly, but when I wrote the novel-shaped object, I used a random-number generator to pick the gender of most characters, primary or not.

    The issue here isn’t the selection of characters’ gender. It’s that, not only did the author collaborators deliberately choose a female name, they spent years doing interviews with journalists, pretending to be a woman who didn’t exist, with a whole invented backstory.

    This is only one level below the white comics creator who wrote under a Japanese pseudonym, pretending to be Japanese.

    It’s one thing to use a pseudonym which is a different gender, or is gender-neutral. It’s quite another to put on a lengthy, elaborate deception of being someone you’re not.

  15. Thanks for the title credit!

    Tom Siddell won a Reuben award this weekend for Gunnerkrigg Court. Video of the announcement is here.

  16. JJ wrote

    The issue here isn’t the selection of characters’ gender. It’s that, not only did the author collaborators deliberately choose a female name, they spent years doing interviews with journalists, pretending to be a woman who didn’t exist, with a whole invented backstory.

    Does anyone remember the case of “Naked Came the Stranger”? The novel was written by 24 journalists, all led by a Newsday columnist, Mike McGrady. He wanted to prove that American readers had become “mindlessly vulgar.” So the group set out to write a bad novel full of sex. He claimed that he had to edit some of the submitted chapters because they were too good. He also hired his sister-in-law to pose as the author in publicity photos.

    I don’t think this got the same kind of pushback once they revealed their stunt. For one thing, “Naked Came the Stranger” was far from an award winner. Also, they revealed it right away — on the David Frost Show! I saw a clip of that show. The sight of all 24 journalists walking onto the stage is something else!

    But they weren’t pretending to be Penelope Ashe to win awards (obviously). They were just trying to make a point and write a parody. And the book sold well even after they revealed the truth. Some may have bought it because of the hoax rather than because of the sex.

    How they managed to cram chapters from 24 different authors together; retype it on typewriters; and make it into a semi-cohesive book (even a bad one) is beyond me. The story behind “Naked Came the Stranger” fascinates me rather than repelling me.

  17. Anybody remember “James Tiptree, jr.”? She kept up that hoax for years, even illustrating fanzine articles about herself that concealed her true sex.

  18. I will somewhat shamefacedly admit to thinking at least one author with an unfamiliar ethnic name was female, because his book was centered almost exclusively on female characters. Kinda surprised to see a brawny-looking guy when an interview included an author photo.

  19. Sandra Miesel wrote::

    Anybody remember “James Tiptree, jr.”? She kept up that hoax for years, even illustrating fanzine articles about herself that concealed her true sex.

    And in old Weird Tales letter columns, fans used to write in praise of that Mr. C. L. Moore guy. Never connecting him with the Catherine Moore who often had her letters published in the same column. (But she and Alice Sheldon had good reasons for pen names. Just like Acton Bell and her sisters.)

    I, too, wondered why Lis capitalized Cider. She’s always more careful than that! Then I read more posts and realized this Cider would make me sneeze. Achoo!

  20. Bruce Arthurs says I will somewhat shamefacedly admit to thinking at least one author with an unfamiliar ethnic name was female, because his book was centered almost exclusively on female characters. Kinda surprised to see a brawny-looking guy when an interview included an author photo.

    Unless you go looking for it and often not even then, oft times race, ethnicity and gender get lost when it comes to the true identity of writers. A Robin is, well, just a Robin. And sometimes a Grey is just a Grey.

    So I don’t have a problem with these males constructing a female identity anymore than I do C L Moore masking for very good reasons that she was female. In the end, it’s the fiction that counts, not the individual(s) behind the persona that one or more individuals created.

  21. @ Anne Marble

    Regardless of the gender issue, a CIA analyst would probably have to write under a pseudonym. Remember Cordwainer Smith?

  22. C.L. Moore used her initials to conceal the fact that she had writing income (and maybe also the contents, since the Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith stories were quite risqué by the standards of the mid 1930s) from her rather conservative employer, a bank. She didn’t really conceal her gender and many of her fellow Weird Tales writers knew, though her future husband Henry Kuttner only found out when she gently corrected him in a response to a letter he’d written her that “Mr. Moore” was not the correct address. But the readers made assumptions. Ditto for cover artist Margaret Brundage, who was assumed to be male.

    In general, there is nothing wrong with using a pen name, even a pen name of a different gender, and plenty of good reasons to do so. Where it becomes problematic is when an author deceives readers and journalists, e.g. the male romance author who posed as a woman and asked female readers about their sxual fantasies on Facebook. And it becomes even more problematic, if a writers pretends to be a member of the marginalised group they are not or if they pass off pure fiction as memoir. What’s also problematic is if a male author writing under a female pen name accepts a nomination for a prize specifically for women writers.

  23. @Cora Buhlert

    it becomes even more problematic, if a writers pretends to be a member of the marginalised group

    Looking at the last 15 or so years of winners and finalists shows a mix of women and men authors. It’s difficult to see women as “marginalised” in this context.

    What’s also problematic is if a male author writing under a female pen name accepts a nomination for a prize specifically for women writers.

    The Planeta prize is not specifically for women writers.

    I’m not trying to disagree with these points in general, but it doesn’t really look like they apply to “Carmen Mola”.

  24. “Out of the Scrollent Pixel”
    “Pixellandra”
    “That Fifthdeous Scrollth”

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