Pixel Scroll 10/18/18 Last Week I Went To Pixeldelphia But It Was Scrolled

(1) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman, in Episode 79 of Eating the Fantastic, invites podcast listeners to join him for lunch with Rebecca Roanhorse at Zona Rosa Mexican restaurant.

Rebecca Roanhorse

Roanhorse’s short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience (TM),” which appeared in Apex magazine, won the Nebula Award earlier this year, and was also nominated for this year’s Hugo Award, an amazing feat for a writer’s first published short story. Plus she was also nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. And the following night after she and I dined, she was the winner in both of those categories. (By the way, she was the first writer since 1980 to win the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Campbell Award for Best New Writer the same year. It’s only been done once before, by Barry B. Longyear with his novella “Enemy Mine.”)

Roanhorse’s debut novel, Trail of Lightning, was published this summer by Saga Press, about which the New York Times had this to say: “Someone please cancel Supernatural already and give us at least five seasons of this badass indigenous monster-hunter and her silver-tongued sidekick.” It’s the first book is The Sixth World series, and will be followed next year by Storm of Locusts.

We discussed the spark without which her award-winning short story would never have been written, the differing reactions her tale garnered from inside and outside of the Native American community, the compelling reason she chose to write it in the second person, what she learned as a lawyer that helped in writing her first novel, how she upped her game when she decided to be a writer for real, why she fell out of the reading habit and how a Laurel K. Hamilton novel drew her back in, what it was like to hear Levar Burton read her award-winning story, and much more.

(2) ARTHUR FOR PURISTS. James Davis Nicoll tells Tor.com readers these are “The Best Arthurian Novels for Fans of Actual History”

I suspect a lot of people’s minds ran in the same direction mine did at the news that a girl named Saga had pulled a fifteen hundred-year-old sword from a lake. Not all swords are Excalibur, of course, and the lake in question was in Sweden, but Britain could do worse than seeing if Saga has any interest in becoming Prime Minister.

All of which reminded me of Arthuriana, and my first and favorite Arthur novel, Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers (1959)….

(3) NEUKOM TAKING ENTRIES. Tor.com reports “Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award Opens Submissions for Second Year Honoring Speculative Fiction”.

The three award categories are —

1 • The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative Fiction

2 • The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction (for a first book)

3 • The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting

…The submission window recently opened for the second year of the Neukom Institute award. Asked how they are approaching the second season, Rockmore responded, “We are not just award judges, we are readers. We can’t wait to read the next crop of speculative fiction that is being submitted for the second Neukom season. We are hoping that we can build on the success of the inaugural year of the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards to gather an even stronger and broader collection of submissions for this year. We continue to welcome speculative fiction in all of its many forms and look forward to continuing to bring greater attention to this important genre.”

Eligible books include any works published no earlier than June 1, 2016 or under contract to be published no later than December 31, 2018; the submission deadline for all three awards is December 31. More detailed submission guidelines here. The awards will be announced in spring 2019.

(4) MORE ABOUT EREWHON. The press release from Liz Gorinsky’s new Erewhon Books fills in more details:

Erewhon’s founder, President, and Publisher Liz Gorinsky came to Erewhon after nearly fifteen years at SF&F publisher Tor Books, where she edited a list that included acclaimed and award-winning speculative fiction authors Liu Cixin, Annalee Newitz, Cherie Priest, Nisi Shawl, Catherynne M. Valente, and Jeff VanderMeer. She was part of the team that founded Tor..com and has won multiple prestigious awards for editing, including the Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long Form. Gorinsky remarked, “I started to learn about science fiction and fantasy at Tor Books as an intern, but I’ve loved those genres ever since I started reading. I’ve been honored to publish many beautiful SF&F books that have been bestselling, award-nominated, critically acclaimed (or all three!), and I’m thrilled to carry on my work with the many great authors in this genre and build the special attention and individual approach that a boutique independent publisher can provide.”

The rest of the Erewhon team includes Editorial Assistant Jillian Feinberg and business advisor Peter Burri, who is the co-founder of the successful independent press The Experiment and has twenty-five years of experience in publishing operations and financing. Erewhon also has substantial financial backers who come from families with over fifty years of publishing experience and are committed to the long-term growth of the company.

Erewhon is pleased to have signed on as a distribution client of independent publisher Workman Publishing, which has fine imprints including Algonquin Books and Artisan Books and a select distribution group that includes The Experiment and duopress. Previously, Workman has had very little presence in the speculative fiction world and is excited to be expanding its offerings in that direction. Workman’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel P. Reynolds commented, “It’s exciting to be part of the talented team starting up Erewhon Books. Many years ago, Workman had a bestseller with Good Omens – our first and only SF&F title, so it’s about time we got back into this category. We can’t wait to help Erewhon develop their own list of bestsellers.”

Erewhon opened its New York City office in June 2018 and is starting to build its list with the aim of debuting its first season of new titles in 2020.

(5) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. Mallory O’Meara, in “10 Great Horror Books for Wimps”  on Vulture, selects books for people who think Halloween is a good time to read a horror novel, but would want to read “books that won’t keep you up at night.” Her good taste is evident because one of the books she picks is Something Wicked This Way Comes, and she mentions Bradbury in connection with another choice —

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Kelly Link is the literary heir to Ray Bradbury’s short fiction throne, and her latest collection is filled with fantastic, genre-melding tales. These stories incorporate various horror elements, like vampire boyfriends and creepy faeries, but they fascinate instead of scare, making it the perfect book to test the spooky waters with. Also notable: Get in Trouble was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

(6) USING SFF TO TEACH COMPUTER ETHICS, Teachers at the University of Kentucky and the University of Chicago have been using science fiction to offer students a way to cultivate their capacity for moral imagination. In the recent edition of the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, they write: ” Teaching ethics to computer science students is a pressing responsibility for computer science faculty but also a challenge. Using fiction as the basis for an ethics course offers several advantages beyond its immediate appeal.” — “How to Teach Computer Ethics through Science Fiction” at Communications of the ACM.


  • Born October 18, 1924 – Vol Molesworth, Mathematician, Editor, Publisher, and Fan from Australia who led a revival of the Sydney Futurians in 1947, becoming one of the leading Australian fans in the 50s. He played a major role in the three Australian Natcons held in Sydney during the 50s, and founded and operated the Futurian Press. His works include An Outline History of Australian Fandom and A History of Australian Science Fiction Fandom 1935-1963, and the fanzines  Luna, Cosmos, and Telefan.
  • Born October 18, 1944 – Katherine Kurtz, 74, Writer who has published sixteen novels in the Deryni series, which is notable for being one of the first historical fantasy series (as opposed to Tolkien-type high fantasy), has garnered her several Mythopoeic and BFA nominations, and has been a perennial favorite in the Locus Reader’s Choice polls. With Deborah Turner Harris, she has co-written the alternate history Templar Knights series and the Adept urban fantasy series. She has written several standalone novels, of which I strongly recommend both Lammas Night and St. Patrick’s Gargoyle. She also contributed a number of recipes to Serve It Forth: Cooking with Anne McCaffrey which was co-edited by McCaffrey and John Gregory Betancourt (I’m curious – have any Filers seen that work?). She has been Guest of Honor at more than two dozen conventions, including a World Fantasy Convention.
  • Born October 18, 1946 – Howard Shore, 72, Oscar-winning Composer from Canada who has created the scores for nearly 80 films, many of them genre, including Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (all of which won Hugo Awards), the Hobbit movies, eXistenZ, Scanners, Videodrome, Dogma, and the Hugo finalists Big and Hugo (which was based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret, about science fiction film pioneer George Méliès and his automata).
  • Born October 18, 1947 – Joe Morton, 71, Tony- and Emmy-nominated Actor of Stage and Screen, who had a lead role on Eureka and a recurring role on Smallville, as well as guest parts on Mission: Impossible, The X-Files, and Warehouse 13. He starred in the film The Brother from Another Planet and had roles in the Hugo-winning Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Paycheck, The Astronaut’s Wife, What Lies Beneath, Dragonfly, Stealth, The Clairvoyant, Batman vs Superman, and Justice League.
  • Born October 18, 1950 – Tony Roberts, 68, Artist from England who, from the 60s to the 90s, produced more than 100 SFF book covers as well as numerous interior illustrations, many of them for the first editions of books by well-known authors, including Heinlein, Le Guin, Leiber, Dick, and van Vogt; they were distinctive for their spaceships and futuristic architecture, and many of them are still instantly recognizable to long-time SFF readers. His work yielded a nomination for the British Fantasy Award Best Artist; however, in the mid-90s, he mostly left the field to pursue fine art painting. In 2000, he made international news for suing artist Glenn Brown, who had plagiarized  reinterpreted his 1974 cover for Heinlein’s Double Star in a painting which became a finalist for the £20,000 Turner Prize.
  • Born October 18, 1964 – Charles Stross, 54, Computer Programmer, Writer, and Fan from England who has transplanted himself to Scotland. His longest-running series is The Laundry Files, a sort of Bondian occult pastiche that can only truly be appreciated if read from the beginning. His Halting State and Rule 34 series novels might, I think, be his best work, but The Merchant Princes series got much better when they were released by Tor in their second incarnation. His Heinlein-homage Saturn’s Children novels are a quick, fun read. His works have racked up an impressive array of more than 50 Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Sturgeon, Tiptree, Sidewise, Prometheus, Skylark, and Kurd Laßwitz Award nominations including 7 wins (his novel Accelerando alone being responsible for 7 of those nominations). He has been Guest of Honor at more than 20 conventions, including a Eurocon.
  • Born October 18, 1987 – Nicola Posener, 31, Actor from England with an amazingly prolific resume of genre films of which I don’t recognise a one: Lab Rats, House Of Anubis, Dawn Of The Dragonslayer, The Crown And The Dragon, Survivor, Mythica: A Quest For Heroes , Mythica: The Darkspore, Mythica: The Necromancer, Mythica: The Iron Crown, Mythica: The Godslayer and Magellan  – which, trust me, is not a complete list.
  • Born October 18 – Filer NickPheas (who is welcome to provide his own capsule bio if he is so inclined; photos of credentials are also welcome).


  • A super inept job interview at Bizarro.

(9) IF YOU’RE NOT CHEATING YOU’RE NOT TRYING. Some cheating video gamers have been hauled into court —

A YouTube gamer who posted videos of himself cheating at Fortnite is being sued by its developer Epic Games.

Brandon Lucas has attracted 1.7 million subscribers to his Golden Modz channel, where he plays modified or hacked versions of Fortnite and other games.

He also runs a website where he sells cheats, such as automatic aiming, for more than $200 (£150).

“Defendants are cheaters. Nobody likes a cheater,” Epic Games said in its legal filing.

“Defendant Lucas not only cheats, he also promotes, advertises, and sells software that enables those who use it to cheat,” the document states.

The publisher of video game Grand Theft Auto V has been granted the right to search the homes of five people accused of making cheat software.

The court order allowed Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, to search two properties in Melbourne, Australia, for evidence related to a cheat known as Infamous.

The Australian federal court has also frozen the assets of the five, who have not yet filed a defence.

The cheat went offline six months ago.

(10) ABOUT ALT COMICS. A transcript of last month’s Reveal “Never meet your (super) heroes” interview with Vox Day and Chuck Dixon is available online.

Al letson: So how does this book become a bestseller?

Amanda Rob: Well it’s possible that a lot of people are really reading it, and it’s possible that Vox is taking advantage of something that Amazon does which is called micro-categorizing. So right now, one of the issues of Alt-Hero is the number one new release in Superhero Graphic Novels. That’s a pretty small category, but it is number one in that category.

Al letson: Is there a way to game the system?

Amanda Rob: Sure. There’s a way to game the system. You have your fans and followers click on the book. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free.


Chuck Dixon: See, that’s the problem. That’s where the agenda, putting the agenda … I’m not saying you have an agenda. There’s nothing wrong with you wanting to see a character that you can relate to more closely, but, when you put the agenda before the story, that’s where the problem lies because then you come up with uninteresting characters for the sake of diversity.

Al letson: Then, I asked the question that brought me all the way down to Florida. Why work with Vox Day?

Chuck Dixon: Well, there’s … He approached me. I didn’t know much about him, I still don’t know a whole lot about him, but this is the first time in my experience that I’ve gone to work on a job and everybody’s concerned with who is publishing it and their background, their beliefs, and everything else because this guy is … Man, is this guy a lightning rod. I don’t agree with a whole lot of what he says but he was offering me an opportunity to create our own work. He had a funding thing and he had a distribution deal set up. He admitted that he didn’t know what he didn’t know, so he wasn’t telling me what to do, he was asking me what I should do or what would be best for me and all the rest of it.

Offering me an opportunity and didn’t tell me what to write, and still has not told me what to write, so, to me, it was just an opportunity to be free of the kind of constraints that are put on you at the major companies, the political correctness constraints. I wasn’t interested in doing a book that was political. I wasn’t interested in doing a message book.

Al letson: So he’s not asking you to write anything political, but you understand how just working with him is political?

Chuck Dixon: I’ve read the “Alt-Hero” thing and I’ve rejected parts of it I didn’t want to do, that I don’t agree with. I don’t write for that.

(11) SPIDEY SINGS, KINDA. At The Verge, Patricia Hernandez gives a strong, if reluctant recommendation for a new music video set in the universe of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (“To see this gorgeous new Into the Spider-Verse footage, you must endure Post Malone”).

I’m sorry to direct Verge readers to a Post Malone song, but the grubby musician has made his latest music video hard to pass up: “Sunflower” is a collaboration with Swae Lee that the pair wrote and recorded to accompany Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the gorgeous upcoming animated film that follows Miles Morales (and basically every other Spidey that ever existed).

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in theaters on December 14th.

(12) WE GOT US A CONVOY. Vice brings the news “The Army is preparing to send driverless vehicles into combat’—as transportation, not as fighting vehicles.

The Army is getting ready to drive into war — in driverless trucks.

Next fall, its “Leader-Follower” technology will enable convoys of autonomous vehicles to follow behind one driven by a human. It’s a direct response to the improvised explosive devices that caused nearly half the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The military has been trying to bring robots into wars since the 1950s, a long line of technological innovations that began with a bulky roving platform and carried into bomb-defusing robots.

The same basic idea is always at play: “remoting the lethality,” essentially creating a bigger, safer distance between American soldiers and the enemy they are trying to kill.

(13) CHENGDU MIRRORSAT FOLLOW-UP. The Asia Times has a followup on the plan announced by Chengdu to orbit a mirrorsat (“Chinese city to launch man-made moon to light up skies”), with a few additional details.

The satellite would be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers, while the precise illumination range can be controlled within a few dozen meters, according to the People’s Daily, which quoted a developer with the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute as saying.

…The man-made moon has a highly reflective coating to reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings whose angles can be adjusted to realize “precise lighting.” The 14,300-square-meter city of Chengdu would be the primal focus of the light from the man-made moon, and astronomers throughout China and overseas should be able to spot the glowing star at night.

…The idea of an “artificial moon” came from a French artist, who imagined hanging a necklace made of mirrors above the earth, which could reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris all year round.

(14) FICTION FEAST. Charles Payseur dishes up a first serving of short fiction reviews from Beneath Ceaseless Skies — “Quick Sips – Beneath Ceaseless Skies #262 [part 1/2]”.

The anniversary offerings continue with a second special double issue from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Again, for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to break this out into two parts. The first features a novelette and short story that for me deal very much with narratives and with learning. They both have the feel of engaging with fable, with magic, and with characters learning lessons that they weren’t really expecting to. Whether that lesson is about the nature of growing up or of becoming a better person, in both there’s a focus on people seeking something that will give them power and answers and then, ultimately, wondering if that’s what they really want. Both carry a sense of strangeness and wonder, as well, and are warm and cozy at the same time. Before I give too much away, though, let’s get to the reviews!

(15) SECOND OPINION. According to NPR, “Geologists Question ‘Evidence Of Ancient Life’ In 3.7 Billion-Year-Old Rocks”.

That’s according to a new analysis, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by a different team of experts.

This second group examined structures within the rock that were thought in 2016 to have been produced by communities of single-celled microbes that grew up from the bottom of a shallow, salty sea. A three-dimensional look at these structures shows that instead of having a telltale upside-down ice-cream cone shape — the kind produced by microorganisms — they are shaped like a Toblerone candy bar.

“They’re stretched-out ridges that extend deeply into the rock,” said Joel Hurowitz, a geochemist at Stony Brook University in New York and an author of Wednesday’s paper. “That shape is hard to explain as a biological structure and much easier to explain as something that resulted from rocks being squeezed and deformed under tectonic pressures.”

(16) WHAT’S IN THE GIN? Theoretically, this could be yummy — “Not Just For Cows Anymore: New Cottonseed Is Safe For People To Eat”.

You probably don’t think of cotton as food.

There’s a good reason for that. Farmers grow it mostly for the fluffy white fibers that turn into T-shirts or sheets. Cotton plants do produce seeds, but those seeds are poisonous, at least to humans.

This week, though,the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a new kind of cotton — one that’s been genetically engineered so that the seeds are safe to eat.

The invention promises to open new markets for cottonseed, and it could give cotton farming a big boost. Because cotton plants are prodigious seed producers: Every pound of cotton fiber, or lint, comes with 1.6 pounds of seed.

“You’re getting more cottonseed than you are lint,” says Greg Holt, who leads research on cotton production and processing at a USDA research station in Lubbock, Texas.

Each seed is the size of a small peanut. In principle, it could be highly nutritious. It contains lots of oil and protein.

(17) PARENTAL CAUTION. Watchers of Ellen found out “Keira Knightley bans daughter from watching some Disney films”.

Keira Knightley says she has banned her three-year-old daughter from watching Disney films whose portrayal of women she disagrees with.

Edie Knightley Righton is not allowed to watch Cinderella or Little Mermaid.

Knightley told Ellen DeGeneres that 1950’s Cinderella “waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t! Rescue yourself. Obviously!”

She said of Little Mermaid: “I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello!”

Presumably on the OK list is the Disney film Knightley is promoting, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, in which she plays the Sugar Plum Fairy.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Hedgehog on Vimeo is a short animated film from France about a little boy obsessed by hedgehogs.

[Thanks to Olav Rokne, John King Tarpinian Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

60 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/18/18 Last Week I Went To Pixeldelphia But It Was Scrolled

  1. @12: so what happens when the Taliban etc. figure out to blow up the lead vehicle instead of a later one? The whole convoy gets stuck?

    Edit: First!

  2. (2) I also love The Lantern Bearers. I just recently reread earlier related “Roman Britain” novels The Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch (never liked the latter that much. The Eagle of the Ninth is actually better than I remembered; nice cross-country adventure.). The Lantern Bearers to my mind was the best of them and it’s up next. I liked Sutcliff as a kid; also remember Warrior Scarlet, The Mark of the Horse Lord and Knight’s Fee with pleasure. On rereading I’m a little put off by a certain militarism, perhaps more natural in mid-20th century declining imperial Britain than it seems today.

  3. 16
    Back in 1980-81, during the Great Peanut Butter Crunch (the peanut crop failed), Trader Joe’s had “American Nut Butter”, made from glandless cotton seeds. It was pretty tasty: slightly more floral, I’d say, than real pb, but entirely acceptable on its own.

    Actual Fifth!

  4. 18)Very sweet film — but very odd to have the mix of British and American accents, especially given that hedgehogs don’t exist in the wild in the US.

  5. And no English subtitles. I turned on the French ones, but my French was never very good, and I studied it over 40 years ago, so it didn’t help much. Still a sweet film.

  6. (13) 14,300-square-meters? What is this? A city for ants? It has to be at least 3 times bigger.

  7. @Lenore — Ha, I just noticed the film was made in France. You know they were thinking to themselves “Eh, it’s all English, right? What difference does it make where they came from?”

    A US filmmaker would probably do the same thing with French speakers! ;-D

  8. @Contrarius–I might be confused. It seems all too likely lately. But is hedgehogs not existing in the wild in the US a problem for French kids’ film?

    Expanding on the point: I might be very confused, and still a bit lightheaded from events of the last couple of days.

    And now I see you answered while I was asking, even if not directly or intentionally.

  9. Happy birthday Nick!

    8) What laws have the cheaters broken? I don’t get it.

    @ Chip. Or they hack the system and take over the convoy?

    I told a friend about the moon mirror and got the question “what if it’s cloudy?”

  10. 2) “Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. ”

    16) “You probably don’t think of cotton as food.” Unless you read The Moon Is Hell where the chemist transformed cotton clothing into synthetic food.

  11. 17) I’ve always had a problem with the plot of Cinderella. You meet someone and fall in love with them enough to want to marry them but can’t remember what they look like? You have to rely on shoe size instead? What’s wrong with this prince?

  12. @Contrarius, I just figured out you were answering your own point about accents, not mine about the lack of English subtitles. You may very well be right. (I didn’t actually hear the varying accents because I’m partially deaf, so they didn’t bother me.)

    I actually understand the perspective which omits subtitles for the language being spoken. Those folks think of subtitles as only for translation, rather than for people who don’t hear well or at all, or have trouble with accents other than their own, or don’t cope well with noisy soundtracks, or don’t wish to play the video with sound, or want to practice reading and listening to a foreign language, or are learning to read. Since I fall into the category of people who don’t hear well, I resent this attitude, but I do understand it.

  13. @Cora–No, no hedgehogs in the Americas now, though there’s an extinct species that used to exist in North America.

    We do have the not closely related, related, but superficially similar porcupine. Europe does have porcupines, too. Old World and New World porcupines are two separate families within the order Rodentia.

    Australia has the echidna, an egg-laying mammal that has also evolved the spiny protective coat, only very distantly related. Well, related in the sense that we’re all mammals th together, even the monotremes.

  14. Never would have thought that the US doesn’t have wild hedgehogs, because hedgehogs are ubiquitous over here and nursing a hedgehog through the winter is something of a childhood rite of passage.

    Coincidentally, one of my foundational SF texts was Mecki on the Moon, a beautifully illustrated picture book about Mecki, the heroic hedgehog, taking a trip to the moon.

  15. @bookworm1398: clearly the prince has prosopagnosia.

    @9: tinkerers have found hints that EVE Online may be working on a system to punish cheaters by forcing them to spend time doing a boring and unproductive task before they can rejoin the game at large – in essence, working on a chain gang.

    Arrived in Denver for MileHiCon, after a day of driving the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed (or have to enjoy interstate traffic), and already had some good fannish conversation in the hotel restaurant.

  16. 15) …to my geological eye it looked not unlike some of the ripple effects reasonably common in the sedimentary rocks. Since slate is no more than a metamorphic formation into which a sedimentary stratum is pressed, and since the pressure itself produces odd distorting effects on any markings which may exist, I saw no reason for extreme wonder”

    We know how this ends.

  17. 7) I recall the Roberts cover kerfuffle…. A second-hand bookshop in Oxford, at the time, filled one window with old SF paperbacks and put up a notice: “Inspiration for Young Artists”.

  18. Steve Wright: A second-hand bookshop in Oxford, at the time, filled one window with old SF paperbacks and put up a notice: “Inspiration for Young Artists”.


  19. No one Pixels there any more, it’s too Scrolled.

    7) Ack, forgot to wish Charlie a happy birthday yesterday.

    13) This sounds like it would have all sorts of bad ecological effects (I am reminded of the end of 2010 and discussion in the book of what it’s going to mean for Earth’s skies and nocturnal wildlife now that Jupiter is a star)

  20. StephenfromOttowa,

    Are you also planning to re-read Dawn Wind? It’s a good followup to the Lantern Bearers.

  21. 13) Depending on the apparent angular size of the satellite in the sky, this could also be a serious vision hazard. If the satellite is large enough to resolve by eye. but still apparently much smaller than the sun, and has a surface brightness similar to the sun (such as if it were using reasonably efficient mirrors), you will get the same effect as in high partial solar eclipses, where the total brightness is low enough to encourage pupal dilation, but the surface brightness is enough to burn retinas.

  22. Nickp. I actually never read Dawn Wind, as far as I remember. Will seek it out, thanks.

  23. Thanks for birthday wishes.

    (2) My favourite pseudo-historical Arthur stories are the Bernard Cornwall Warlord Chronicles, at least in part because of the massive fakeout he manages to get away with.
    Gur fgehpgher bs na Neguhevna Gevybtl vf trarenyyl snveyl pyrne: Obbx bar, gurer’f n fjbeq, dhvgr cbffvoyl va n fgbar, naljnl, Neguhe pbzrf gb cbjre. Va obbx gjb gurer’f n tenvydhrfg bs fbzr xvaq. Va obbx guerr jr trg Pnzyna, gur pbyyncfr bs gur Ebhaq Gnoyr naq rirelguvat tbrf gb uryy.
    Pbeajnyy sbyybjf guvf cnggrea. Be ng yrnfg frrzf gb. Va obbx guerr jr unir genvgbef nyyvrq jvgu n znffvir Fnkba nezl punfvat qbja gur erzanagf bs Neguhe’f nezl, jub ner sbeprq gb znxr n ynfg fgnaq. Vg gnxrf nobhg unys gb obbx gb pbzr gb n urnq ba n uvyy pnyyrq Onqba. Naq nsgre gung gur Fnkbaf ner fhoqhrq sbe n trarengvba, gurer vf n tbyqra ntr bs crnpr naq yvoregl naq riraghnyyl vg qbrf nyy snyy ncneg va gur pybfvat puncgref, fher, ohg abg gur jnl vg nccrnerq va gur svefg unys bs gur obbx.

  24. @Lis —

    I might be confused. It seems all too likely lately. But is hedgehogs not existing in the wild in the US a problem for French kids’ film?

    I was distracted throughout because I kept trying to decide whether it was supposed to be a British kid who had immigrated to the US, or if it was supposed to take place in the UK with some immigrant American characters. But then even the British kid’s parents seemed to sound American, though their speech was too vague to tell for sure. But then there were the wild hedgehogs, so it couldn’t be the US after all. Pet hedgehogs (African dwarf hedgehogs) are pretty common in the US, so until the wild hedgies showed up it could have been either US or UK. But then why were both the teacher and the classmate American, and perhaps even the parents, if it was supposed to be in the UK?

    You see the tangles my mind gets into. 😉

    And I never even noticed til later that it was originally a French production, which helps to explain why the filmmakers didn’t care about the muddling of the English-speaking accents!

  25. @16 — There was a bit in Catch-22 where someone who’s dealing in the black market buys up too much Egyptian cotton and tries to get people to eat it. (I think — I read this a long time ago and could be wrong on some of the details.) The guy’s name might have been Milo Minderbinder, or maybe I just loved that name and it stuck with me all these years.

  26. @Lisa Goldstein: yes, he tried to pass it off as realcotton candy (dipped in sugar IIRC)

    @Kip W
    My hoverscroll is full of pixels

  27. @Xtifr —

    That pixel is not dead, it’s just pining for the scrolls.

    It IS dead! It has gone to meet its Filer, may it scroll in peace! That is an ex-pixel!

  28. bookworm1398 on October 18, 2018 at 8:19 pm said:

    17) You meet someone and fall in love with them enough to want to marry them but can’t remember what they look like? You have to rely on shoe size instead?

    It’s analog biometrics. Or maybe, “whosoever fittest this shoe, they will be the rightful ruler-spouse!” (from “THE SHOE IN THE STONE”)

    Or maybe simply, “If the shoe don’t fit, you don’t get hitched.”

  29. @bookworm —

    You meet someone and fall in love with them enough to want to marry them but can’t remember what they look like? You have to rely on shoe size instead? What’s wrong with this prince?

    Well, she **was** under a magic spell at the time, so she likely looked a bit different.

    Also — true story:

    Years ago, I had a dog named Maggie. I owned her since she was a pup. When she was 9, she developed a thyroid tumor. The treatment of choice was radioactive iodine, which meant that she had to be in strict isolation at the vet hospital (a veterinary teaching hospital) for two weeks while she eliminated the radioactive compound.

    Now, I was working at that hospital at the time. I wasn’t allowed to see her during those two weeks, but when the time came to take her home I was the one who went back to the runs to get her.

    And — I — got — the — wrong — dog.

    It didn’t take me long to figure out it was the wrong dog, but still.

    I’ve always been bad with remembering both names and faces, but that was ridiculous.

  30. @bookworm1398: My favourite version of this is the one about mistranslating the French: the theory goes that it’s not “glass” slipper but “fur” slipper.
    And, of course, Prince Charming had to go around the kingdom trying out the, ahem, “fur slipper” of all the eligible maidens…

  31. As a person with moderate face-blindness, it never struck me as strange that Prince Charming would need a prop to know the right person that he’d only met a few times. It takes me quite a long time to actually get someone’s face properly in my head. (My person-recognition software keys on transitory things like clothes and hair, not what most people’s person-recognition software keys on, which I gather is nose and eyes and suchlike.)

  32. @Lisa Goldstein: I don’t remember much of the plot of Catch-22, just some of the grabbing images. (The last time I read it was before the movie with Paul Simon came out.) But I definitely remember the operator’s name being Milo Minderbinder. (IIRC, that’s also the book containing Major Major Major Major, one of the clearest justifications for parricide I’ve ever heard of.)

  33. I’m faceblind to the point where I fail to recognize relatives and favorite celebrities outside of context, so the idea of forensic identification via footwear makes sense. Especially since nobody at a royal ball looks the same way they do in everyday life. I usually have to wait until they start talking before my brain gives a positive ID.

    Also wanted to congratulate my super-talented book cover artist, Brian Allen, for designing the Pixeldelphia Flyers’ new mascot, Gritty. A mascot that is easily recognizable to the faceblind. /woot /fistpump

  34. And — I — got — the — wrong — dog.

    And then there was the time I went to the vet on a friend’s behalf for cat pickup, of their three-legged cat, as I noted in the pickup chat… and was initially offered the wrong three-legged cat. (Sorted out before I left, happily.)

    IIRC, the late Oliver “The Man Who Mistake His Wife For A Hat” Sacks wrote about an extreme case of prosopagnosia, where it wasn’t just the face, but the angle, so if the person in view turned enough, the viewer didn’t recognize them as the same person.

  35. @Daniel —

    Oh, vet clinics hand owners the wrong animals all the time. What was surprising was that I picked out the wrong dog myself — and I had lived with her for 9 years!


    I am about to watch the Guy Richie movie of King Arthur. Something tells me it won’t be eligible for this list.

  37. David Shallcross on October 19, 2018 at 6:22 am said:

    13) Depending on the apparent angular size of the satellite in the sky, this could also be a serious vision hazard. If the satellite is large enough to resolve by eye. but still apparently much smaller than the sun, and has a surface brightness similar to the sun (such as if it were using reasonably efficient mirrors), you will get the same effect as in high partial solar eclipses, where the total brightness is low enough to encourage pupal dilation, but the surface brightness is enough to burn retinas.

    From here:

    The brightest possible Full Moon under ideal conditions has an illuminance of about 0.3 lux, but it’s often just 0.15-0.2 lux. The mirror moons would have 1.6 lux.

    Full daylight is 10752 lux.

    So around 6,700 times dimmer than the sun.

  38. Closed captioning is not a real substitute for subtitling. I was watching a recent SNL clip of Pete Davidson talking about his engagement (not schadenfreude on my part but nursing a mild sadness about a sad world). He mentioned the possibility that in ten years he’d hear the song “Pete Davidson” while working at a K-Mart.

    He said this before the Sears bankruptcy story hit, which I guess isn’t so odd, but I do think it’s worth noting the closed caption said Walmart.

  39. @Darren Garrison: 5 – 10 times the brightness of the full moon is pretty darn bright for a night-time light source. When I was in grad school we used to go for moonlight bike rides through Saguaro National Monument East in Tucson: no lights, just the moonlight.

  40. Contrarius on October 19, 2018 at 8:19 am said:

    I was distracted throughout because I kept trying to decide whether it was supposed to be a British kid who had immigrated to the US, or if it was supposed to take place in the UK with some immigrant American characters. But then even the British kid’s parents seemed to sound American, though their speech was too vague to tell for sure. But then there were the wild hedgehogs, so it couldn’t be the US after all. Pet hedgehogs (African dwarf hedgehogs) are pretty common in the US, so until the wild hedgies showed up it could have been either US or UK. But then why were both the teacher and the classmate American, and perhaps even the parents, if it was supposed to be in the UK

    I was wondering about that too. Also, the kid with the British accent says “fall” and setting sort of looks more American than British I guess. Also, the other kids aren’t familiar with hedgehogs. It’s an interesting ambiguity they added to it.

  41. Time for Oasis I think:

    Curl up in the ball of your mind
    Don’t you know you might find
    A better hedge to hide?
    You said that they ate a snake
    But with all the things we’ve at stake
    They slowly roll away

    So they start a revolution from their nest
    ‘Cause you said the brains they had were not the best
    Step outside, autumn time’s in fall
    Stand up beside the garden wall
    Take your eyes from off the ball
    You ain’t ever gonna beat that hedgehog

    And so, hedgehogs can’t wait
    They know it’s soo late as we’re walking on by
    Their soul slides away
    But don’t look back at hedgehogs
    I heard you say

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