Pixel Scroll 11/15/16 The Manhunt Extended Across More Than One Hundred Pixels And Eight Box Tick Scrolls

(1) NAMING CALLS. Katie Rask announced that the YA Award Survey has had over 1,200 entries so far.

(2) THE SHIRT OFF YOUR BACK. The gift-giving season approaches, so it’s time to pay another visit to the Litographs store, where you can pick up something from The Princess Bride movie, or Daniel Jose Older’s Shadowshaper, or quite a few other genre authors from Diana Gabaldon and Ellen Kushner to Kurt Vonnegut and H. P. Lovecraft.


(3) LINGUISTICS IN SF. Rowan Hooper’s piece for New Scientist looks at the use of linguistics in Arrival to give a survey of how sf films have treated linguistics, with references to Contact and Interstellar — “The science behind the twisting alien linguistics of Arrival.

Science fiction thrillers usually send in gun-toting heroes like Will Smith or Tom Cruise to kick invading alien butt. Arrival is completely, wonderfully different: it sends in a linguist, played by Amy Adams.

“Language,” one character says, “is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.” The big question to ask the aliens: what is their purpose on Earth?

In Contact, the aliens used prime numbers as a Rosetta stone that could be used to decrypt their communication; in Close Encounters of the Third Kind they helpfully used five musical tones in a major scale, presumably because vibrating strings have the same harmonics in other parts of our galaxy.

(4) MR. SCI-FI NEEDS SPACE. Storage space, that is — anybody want to store a spaceship?

Writer-Director-Producer Marc Zicree needs your help! Part of the hero set of Space Command (half the floor) needs a free home! (The rest is in storage). He’s been working to get overhead down on costs such as rent, while he’s busy at work completing the two-hour pilot of Space Command and selling the show. Have some of your garage or yard free to give us some space for our spaceship floor? You can help!


(5) INTO THE WEST ONCE MORE. HBO has renewed Westworld reports the New York Times.

“Westworld,” an expensive sci-fi drama, had been sidetracked by development problems and its October debut was later than expected. Before it had its premiere, HBO executives were privately saying they were unsure if it would land with its audience. But landed it has. “Westworld” has regularly been the No.-3-highest-rated scripted TV show in cable, drawing nearly three million viewers each week. HBO said on Monday that after adding up additional metrics like DVR, HBO Go and HBO Now views, the show is averaging 11.7 million viewers per episode, a figure they said is higher than “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective” at similar points in their freshman seasons. And like the first season of “True Detective,” it has ignited a lot of commentary online.

(6) SERIES BASED ON ATWOOD NOVEL. Hulu is planning a 10-episode adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Taking a cue from Netflix, Hulu isn’t slowing down with its original programming. Today, the streaming service announced that it’s ordered a full series adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s seminal sci-fi novel. It centers on a totalitarian society where the birth rate is falling, and fertile women are placed in sexual slavery as “handmaids” to help humanity repopulate. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, Top of the Lake) will star as Offred, a handmaid working in the home of a government official named The Commander. Her main goal? To find her daughter, all the while trying to deal with her low place in society.

(7) OUTRÉ LIMITS. Sheila Williams explains why the current issue of Asimov’s consists of all fantasy stories.

Welcome to our annual slightly spooky issue. The fall double issue is always long in the making. Throughout the year, we see stories that land a little outside Asimov’s, admittedly rather soft, parameters. While we do publish one or two stories in each issue that could be called fantasy, surreal fiction, or slipstream, our focus is primarily on science fiction. Of course I get a lot of traditional science fiction story submissions, but I see a lot of uncanny submissions, too. The average issue of Asimov’s rarely features ghosts, witches, or werewolves, so during the year I tend to set aside many of my favorite outré tales while I wait to lay out the October/November issue.

(8) I KNOW. The actress kept this news on ice for 40 years — “Carrie Fisher Reveals She Had an Affair With Harrison Ford on ‘Star Wars’: ‘It Was So Intense’”.

Carrie Fisher is finally going public with a secret she has guarded closely for 40 years: When she was 19, she and Harrison Ford, then a 33-year-old married father of two, had a whirlwind three-month affair while filming the original Star Wars in 1976.

“It was so intense,” the actress-author, 60, tells PEOPLE exclusively of the real-life romance die-hard fans of the franchise have wished for since Han Solo and Princess Leia captured hearts on-screen.

(9) POP CULTURE QUEST. The actor who convinced California to pass a law about authenticating collectibles now has turned his interest into a TV show — “Mark Hamill on Turning Professional Toy and Collectibles Explorer”.

Hamill has launched a new series, Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest, on the recently-launched Comic-Con HQ subscription service – you can watch the first episode right now via DC Comics’ YouTube channel.

On the series, Hamill — an avid toy and memorabilia collector himself — travels to see different notable collections, from classic Godzilla and other Japanese-created toys kept in a fan’s home to the iconic Batman comics and items on display at DC Comics’ headquarters. I spoke to Hamill about how the series came to be, what it’s like for him to interview the subjects, and more, including his own personal history as a collector….

IGN: As we’re doing an interview right now, I’m curious, doing this show, do you enjoy getting to be the interviewer, having been on the other side of it so many times?

Hamill: Oh yes, absolutely. That’s part of the fun. I thought, “Boy, I could really get used to this.” You’re right. It’s role reversal. One thing that I discovered… Because you look at the schedule and it’s like, “We’re going to do a show about a guy who collects shoes!?” That doesn’t really grab me, but then you meet the person and it’s really the shared trait that all collectors have that you relate to and then you hear the personal stories of how they got started on whatever collection they have and that’s the connective tissue. So that’s part of the fun. I don’t personally collect some of these things, but I love seeing other people who do.

(10) NAME CHANGE. Seattle’s EMP is now Museum of Pop Culture—MoPOP.

As of Saturday, November 19, EMP will officially be named Museum of Pop Culture—MoPOP. As you know, our museum encompasses so much more than music, and as we look toward the future, MoPOP reflects the entirety of the museum and where we are headed.

Spanning science fiction, fantasy, horror, fashion, sports, and video games, MoPOP reflects our vision for curating, exploring, and supporting the creative works that shape and inspire our lives. While the name of the museum is evolving, our mission remains the same: to bring genuine human experience and perspective to pop culture through our exhibits, programs, and events that invite exploration and inspire creativity.

We are so excited to showcase the breadth of the museum and celebrate pop culture in all its diversity with our Pop Culture Party, an all-day fest that is free to the public this Saturday. Admission includes entry to all MoPOP galleries—including Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds—and will feature live music, architectural tours, pop culture games, and more fun for guests of all ages.

(11) SUBSTANDARD DANCE. Cemetery Dance has been delisted by SFWA.

Please note that, as of November 1, 2016, Cemetery Dance is no longer a SFWA-qualifying market. In 2014, SFWA increased the standard of payment from 5¢/word to 6¢/word, and this publication has not increased its pay rate to keep pace. In addition, payment for stories is capped at $250, regardless of length. Cemetery Dance was alerted in September about the issue and their upcoming de-listing and has declined to raise its rates or change the story cap. Should the magazine change its policy to meet SFWA standards, it will be reinstated to our qualifying list.

(12) THE EXPLANATION. Charles Stross thinks there are no coincidences and all the disparate parts should fit together, rather like a Tim Powers novel played out in real life.

What happened last week is not just about America. It was one move—a very significant one, bishop-takes-queen maybe—in a long-drawn-out geopolitical chess game. It’s being fought around the world: Brexit was one move, the election and massacres of Dutarte in the Philippines were another, the post-coup crackdown in Turkey is a third. The possible election of Marine Le Pen (a no-shit out-of-the-closet fascist) as President of France next year is more of this stuff. The eldritch knot of connections between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Da’esh in the wreckage of Syria is icing on top. It’s happening all over and I no longer think this is a coincidence.

Part of it is about the geopolitics of climate change (and mass migration and water wars). Part of it is about the jarring transition from an oil-based economy (opposed by the factions who sell oil and sponsor denial climate change, from Exxon-Mobil to the Kremlin) to a carbon-neutral one.

Part of it is the hellbrew of racism and resentment stirred up by loss of relative advantage, by the stagnation of wages in the west and the perception that other people somewhere else are stealing all the money—Chinese factories, Wall Street bankers, the faceless Other. (17M people in the UK have less than £100 in savings; by a weird coincidence, the number of people who voted for Brexit was around 17M. People who are impoverished become desperate and angry and have little investment in the status quo—a fancy way of saying they’ve got nothing to lose.)

But another big part of the picture I’m trying to draw is Russia’s long-drawn out revenge for the wild ride of misrule the neoconservatives inflicted on the former USSR in the 1990s.

(13) GRIM FAIRY TALE. Easier to understand is M.A.M.O.N. (Monitor Against Mexicans Over Nationwide), “a satirical fantasy sci-fi shortfilm that explores with black humor and lots of VFX the outrageous consequences of Donald Trump´s plan of banning immigration and building an enormous wall on the Mexico – US border.”

(14) FIRST ROBOTS. Jim Meadows writes:

A college radio station in my town is airing a student production adapted from the play “R.U.R.” by Karel Capek, credited for coining the word ‘robot’.

The play, “Airing Robots” is being broadcast today and tomorrow (Tuesday & Wednesday) on WPCD, 88.7 FM in Champaign, Illinois. The station streams at its website, http://wpcd.parkland.edu/index.html

The play aired today at 10 AM Central Time, and will repeat today at 6 PM and Wednesday at 12 PM and 8 PM.

The production is the culmination of two different Communications classes at Parkland College, a public community college in Champaign.

Here’s a link to an article in Parkland’s student newspaper, the Prospectus, which actually does a fair job of summarizing key elements of the play

One aspect of “Airing Robots” and its source material Geiken finds interesting is the type of robots featured: androids as opposed to cog-and-gear machines.

“[T]he robots of R.U.R are not your typical mechanical robots that you might imagine for this sort of early sci-fi story, but more akin to cyborgs or androids made from organic matter. The robots of R.U.R. are more like the ‘Cylons’ of the 2004 version of ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ or the cyborgs of the ‘Terminator’ movie series,” he said.

?apek, who was a highly-political writer, wrote “R.U.R.” in 1920, when Europe was feeling the effects of the Russian civil war and the end of World War I. According to Czech writer and biographer Ivan Kilma, ?apek wrote the play in response to many of the societal and technocratic utopian ideas that were spreading around Central Europe at that time.

R.U.R. was first performed in 1921, Kilma states.

(15) ROSEWATER. Rosewater by Tade Thompson is a new release from Apex Publications. Thompson lives and works in the south of England. His first novel Making Wolf won the 2016 Kitschies Golden Tentacle award for best debut novel.


Between meeting a boy who bursts into flames, alien floaters that want to devour him, and a butterfly woman who he has sex with when he enters the xenosphere, Kaaro’s life is far from the simple one he wants. But he left simple behind a long time ago when he was caught stealing and nearly killed by an angry mob. Now he works for a government agency called Section 45, and they want him to find a women known as Bicycle Girl. And that’s just the beginning.

An alien entity lives beneath the ground, forming a biodome around which the city of Rosewater thrives. The cities of Rosewater are enamored by the dome, hoping for a chance to meet the beings within or possibly be invited to come in themselves. But Kaaro isn’t so enamored. He was in the biodome at one point and decided to leave it behind. When something begins killing off other sensitives like himself, Kaaro defies Section 45 to search for an answer, facing his past and comes to a realization about a horrifying future.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

59 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/15/16 The Manhunt Extended Across More Than One Hundred Pixels And Eight Box Tick Scrolls

  1. 6) Title in link is “The Handmaiden’s Tale”; it should be “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

    (Sacrificial fourth)

  2. You know what they say: wherever three or four of us are gathered together, you’re bound to find a fifth.

  3. Cassy B: Thanks! Got that fixed now. Follow Rob to the overflowing font of appertainment…

  4. Lis Carey on November 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm said:
    I’d feel better if that description was a lot closer to the actual book.

  5. Mike, in (2), the first link is borked. It’s going to a file (on your D:, looks like), not to Litographs. The second one is fine.

  6. P J Evans:

    I’d feel better if that description was a lot closer to the actual book.

    They may have changed it to make it resemble a little less the current political climate. More fantasy like Hunger Games, and less documentary.

  7. P J Evans: That was strange — glad you pointed out the problem. Let the appertainment roll!

  8. (15) “to find a woman”, though that might be in the original copy. Ditto the city/cities not matching. I’ll appertain anyway; someone’s got singular/plural problems.

    (8) This is my lack of surprise. Because who wouldn’t have hit that back then?

  9. (8)

    the real-life romance die-hard fans of the franchise have wished for since Han Solo and Princess Leia captured hearts on-screen.

    Die-hard fans have been wishing for two actors to have had an affair?



    @Cassy B.: Wait, there are sundaes?! I’d’ve corrected @Mike Glyer more if I’d but known! 😉

    @Charon D.: LOL at your font comment!

  11. (7) OUTRÉ LIMITS

    That’s actually their last issue’s editorial. The new issue has a really good guest editorial from Sarah Pinsker that I was going to point out once they’d actually updated their website.


    I know it sounds a bit tinfoil-hat-ish, but he’s not actually suggesting a conscious conspiracy of these elements, rather that similar causes are producing similar effects in a lot of places.
    The extent to which he’s proposing a Tim Powers novel is left as an exercise for the reader.

  12. @P J Evans, @Rose Embolism: Could you explain what you think is significantly different in that description from Atwood’s novel? I don’t see how any “fantasy” elements have been added at all. The reference to falling birth rates is straight out of the book (although I believe it was specifically the ruling class that was having the most trouble with infertility).

  13. So, there’s a new Bruce Sterling novel (or possibly novella) out, called Pirate Utopia. I eagerly downloaded the Amazon sample, only to find that it only included an introduction by Warren Ellis and the cast list, ending neatly just before any actual story!
    So, anyone actually got it and able to advise?

  14. 15) I have a review in the works for Rosewater. When it comes out, I’ll let you all know. I did like it, although its devilishly hard to review without spoiling the crap out of it, and this is a case where I do think that spoilers would diminish the reading experience.

  15. eli, in the book it’s not the world, it’s the “Republic of Gilead”, which is [part of] the former US. (The framing story is a place in Canada.)

  16. Books read:
    Book 3 and 4 of the Jani Killian chronicles by Kristine Smith – I’m really enjoying this series. The characters are fascinating and it helps that the author rotates them out, a couple of the main people from book one are only mentioned in the background here while some new ones are added. The pacing of the plot is great with mystery and tension and each book ends with some kind of closure provided.

    Infomocracy by Malka Older – I loved this one also. I’ve also liked the idea of micro-democracy and this book does a good job of addressing how it could be made to work. And some of the less obvious problems that could be involved. The characters are interesting, the plot is fascinating. The ending seems to tie things up a little too neatly.

  17. P J Evans: The summary says the story “centers on a totalitarian society”, and does not claim this society is world-spanning.

    I sort of disagree that Offred’s “main goal” is to find her daugther – Offred thinks about her daughter a lot, but my memory is that she has mostly given up on actually finding her. Her main goal is simply to stay alive. I don’t think that’s a big error with the summary, though.

    The most glaring “error” in the article is IMO not anything in the summary of the novel, but the total silence on the connections to current politics. Instead, it argues that “With all the worries around the Zika virus today, and what that means for the future of human reproduction, The Handmaid’s Tale seems more fitting than ever. ” I suppose I can see a parallell between the Zika virus and the fertility problems in Gilead if I squint hard – but it’s definately not my top choice for why the novel is relevant today.

  18. Delayed book report: before the election, Mr Dr Science read Peter S. Beagle’s “Summerlong”. His report: “The first new book I’ve read in a year or more with NO spelling, word choice, punctuation, or grammar errors. Beautifully written (of course), but the ending is sad. And I can never completely believe in mystically-powerful sex.” I couldn’t cope with anything with a sad ending before the election and I certainly can’t do so NOW, so it went back to the library.

  19. “Infomacracy” sounds fascinating, but not NEARLY escapist enough for me to read right now.

    On Twitter, Ultragotha said:

    Amazon is asking me if I’m interested in the Handmaid’s Tale. Nope. I don’t read contemporary non-fiction.

  20. From Locus:

    SF magazines Analog and Asimov’s are switching to a bimonthly schedule beginning in January 2017. Both currently publish ten issues per year, with eight regular issues and two “double” issues.

    Asimov’s editor Sheila Williams explains in a forthcoming editorial that the magazines will now publish “six 208-page double issues” per year, a 16-page increase over current double issues. She expects the change will allow her to publish more novellas and a higher percentage of original cover art. Despite the change in publication schedule, she says readers “will receive the same number of pages of fiction as in the past,” and subscribers will “receive the same number of issue months” they purchased. Publishing bimonthly will allow them “to hold the current subscription prices a bit longer.” Both periodicals are published by Dell Magazines.

    I have to say, I already have a preference for straight monthly over their slightly strange double-issue pattern, and this doesn’t sound like much of an improvement.
    That said, it sounds like it’s motivated by finances and I’d rather them in business than not, so I guess they should do what they need to do.

  21. If I had cared to scroll, I would have pixeled.

    (I suspect that one is too obscure for even this crowd–its a reworking of the first line of SILVERLOCK)

  22. Argh — I also muffed the quote. Should have been:

    The scroll in black fled across the desert, and the pixel followed.

    (Edited to add: And hooray for Silverlock!)

  23. I have to say, I already have a preference for straight monthly over their slightly strange double-issue pattern, and this doesn’t sound like much of an improvement.

    The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction switched to this format several years ago.

  24. Doctor Science –

    “Infomacracy” sounds fascinating, but not NEARLY escapist enough for me to read right now.

    Likely wouldn’t be escapist enough if you were looking to get away from talk about polls and elections. There are some real world parallels as well with one group using xenophobia and nationalism to further its political reach.

    I liked it, but if you’re burned out on political stuff then that’s not a great book to escape into at the moment.

  25. I couldn’t cope with anything with a sad ending before the election and I certainly can’t do so NOW, so it went back to the library.

    I would say the ending is bittersweet, rather than sad. But I’m not arguing that you should check it out again right away. It’ll still be there later.


    The man in black scrolled across the pixels, and the gunslinger followed?

  26. At this point, the most substantial change in the novel would probably be casting Samira Wiley as Moira. The Gilead of the novel was explicitly white supremacist, and expelled its African American population.

  27. @Acoustic Rob

    You know what they say: wherever three or four of us are gathered together, you’re bound to find a fifth.

    Would that constitute a “Quinyan”?

  28. I promised folks (and most especially Meredith) some Alpennia price breaks for the release of Mother of Souls. I can now divulge the details: there’s an e-book bundle of the series so far with approximately a $6 savings over buying the books individually. (Still not bargain-basement, but there you are.) And, of course, the new book itself is officially out. I promise I won’t presume on my community membership here to be tiresome about self-promotion, so this is the only direct post I’ll make about it here.

  29. Lis Carey,

    I own the Alpenna books already. May I buy them and email them to you as a gift? (I’m assuming that they are DRM-free.) Email me at pnffl@obbxjlezr.pbz

    It’s been a rough week and I’d like to do something nice for someone, so, really, please let me do this.


  30. @Lis – I believe you need to rot-13 the email

    ETA: Unless, of course that doesn’t work

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