Pixel Scroll 1/12/16 Have Starship Trooper Power Suit, Will Travel

(1) NOT MY CUPPA. The Traveler at Galactic Journey found the January 1961 issue of Galaxy filled with well-done short stories that didn’t personally appeal to him. Of course, he was younger in those days.

(2) MISS FIT. Liwella at Astounding Yarns was enjoying the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum right up to the moment she discovered their souvenir t-shirts weren’t available in a women’s fit.

I loved the exhibition so much that I wanted to take home some souvenirs.  Particularly one of the range of awesome tshirts that were for sale, given that I love wearing geeky tshirts.  I wear them round the house with jeans.  I wear them with skirts and funky tights when I’m out and about.  Perhaps I should buy one featuring the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova.  Or one inspired by those glorious Russian propaganda posters, with their instantly recognisable design aesthetic.  But it turns out that the Science Museum only offered one tshirt in a woman’s fit – a rather dull design based on a spacewalk motif.  When I asked the assistant on duty if there were any woman’s fit tshirts available he seemed surprised I’d even asked.

(3) KEEP YOUR MONEY HANDY. “Hasbro, Disney Launching new Rey ‘Star Wars’ Toys” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“One of the biggest surprises that filmmakers wanted to keep under wraps was that the Force awakens in Rey and she carries a lightsaber,” said Paul Southern, head of licensing for Lucasfilm. “We always planned a second wave of product after the movie’s release that would include secrets revealed in the movie.”

Hasbro’s new Rey toys will be based more on her action scenes later in the film, including a climactic one in which she wields a lightsaber.

There have been products including toys, T-shirts and costumes featuring Rey available for months, but to date virtually all have featured her only as she appears in the movie’s earliest scenes.

Nonetheless, some fans were upset about three toys in which the Rey character was notably absent, including the Monopoly game and a set of action figures, sold exclusively at Target, that excluded her entirely.

The movie’s director, J.J. Abrams, has supported those fans.

“It seems preposterous and wrong that the main character of the movie is not well represented in what is clearly a huge piece of the ‘Star Wars’ world in terms of merchandising,” he said that the Television Critics Association’s press tour Saturday, according to Entertainment Weekly.

(4) BALMORAL-ICAN GRAFITTI. J. K. Rowling celebrated the ninth anniversary of finishing Deathly Hallows with a tweet, says Mashable.

Rowling placed the finishing touches on the seventh Harry Potter book at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, the city where she lives. After finally completing her manuscript, she indulged in a little friendly vandalism to commemorate the occasion, a photo of which she tweeted Monday.

 

(5) AXANAR UPDATE. Now Alec Peters has written his own FAQ – “Captain’s Log – Jan. 7th, 2016”.

Q:  How can you be non-profit and pay salaries?

A:  Non-profit does not mean “volunteer”.  Just like the CEO of The Red Cross gets $400K a year in salary, non-profits can pay salaries.  Payroll is an expense.

Q:  Why did Alec Peters get paid $ 38,000 as noted in the annual report?

A: Because Alec (as well as Diana) worked full time at Axanar, certainly 60 hours a week not including conventions on the weekends.  That means Alec and Diana probably got paid minimum wage.  And Diana deferred all her salary.  Now go compare that to any Hollywood studio exec putting out medicore content, and tell us Alec and Diana were paid too much!  That doesn’t even cover their expenses.  We don’t expect full time employees to work for free.

Q:  Is Ares Studios a for-profit studio?

A:  Ares Studio is the term we use to describe the warehouse we have built our sound stage to make Axanar.  There is no profit being made, and in fact Alec personally guaranteed the 3 year lease, so the last two years are a $ 250,000 liability he is responsible for.  Axanar Productions has been paying for the building while we build sets and prepare the make the movie.  Would we like to make movies after Axanar?  Sure would, but that is all speculative.  We don’t have any revenue from the studio and so such talk is nonsense.

(6) MAJOR TOM. Bowie lyrics on the marquee of the closed Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena.

Rialto marquee

(7) DANGEROUS. Forbes writer Ron Salkowitz analyzes “David Bowie’s Dangerous Visions: Sci-Fi Touchpoints For The Thin White Duke”.

Much of Bowie’s work throughout his career is a dialogue with New Wave SF, refracting it through his own sensibility and bringing the concepts to a mass audience via the medium of rock and roll. As I’ve been listening to the Bowie catalog for the past day, I’m reminded of a few specific connections and patterns of inspiration.

The Jerry Cornelius Novels (Michael Moorcock). Moorcock, the quintessential New Wave author, is better known for his sword and sorcery character Elric, but in 1968, he unleashed the sexually ambiguous secret agent Jerry Cornelius on an unsuspecting public in a novel called The Final Programme. An acid-drenched mashup of James Bond and Doctor Who, the dapper Cornelius hopscotches around space and time foiling plots against reality, assuming new identities and dazzling people with his avant gard aesthetics as he goes. Three further novels followed, each stranger than the next. Jerry Cornelius is less a specific inspiration for Bowie’s work than a template for his entire persona.

(8) GREETINGS GATES. The passing of David Bowie prompted Mental Floss to remind fans that “Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) Choreographed ‘Labyrinth’”. A photo and video clips there, too.

Most geeks like me know Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. But before her Trek role, McFadden was Director of Choreography and Puppet Movement on a bunch of Jim Henson films, including The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and even The Muppets Take Manhattan. As a choreographer, she’s typically credited as Cheryl McFadden — Cheryl is her first name, Gates is her middle name.

(9) DRAWN THAT WAY. The Slipper says farewell to David Bowie the comics reader and reproduces many images that characterized him or were influenced by his appearance.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

In 1695, aged 67, he wrote Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals, a series of moral tales designed to prompt the reader to reflect on the dilemmas presented to the protagonist, which were well-known from folklore even then.

The volume contained the story now known as Mother Goose, alongside perrenially recognised titles such as Puss in Boots, Blue Beard and Cinderella, and less famous stories Ricky of the Tuft and Little Thumb

(12) MEESA QUITS. You won’t have Jar-Jar Binks to kick around anymore. Try not to let it get to you.

Issa bad news from Naboo… Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar Jar Binks will never return to the ‘Star Wars’ movies, even if he was asked, adding ‘I’ve done my damage’.

Binks, perhaps the most reviled character in all of ‘Star Wars’ history, was the Gungan soldier know initially for his cack-handed clumsiness, and then, appropriately, his latter career as a politician in George Lucas’s prequel movies.

But in a rare interview, Best said that he has no intention of ever reprising the character.

(13) HUGO CAMPAIGNER. Robin Wayne Bailey would hate for you to miss a chance to vote his story a Hugo. On Facebook, he’ll tell you how to get a free copy.

Last month, November, saw the release of the very excellent science fiction anthology, MISSION: TOMORROW, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. The anthology is chock-full of great stories, and my own “Tombaugh Station,” I’m honored to say, leads it all off.

I believe strongly that “Tombaugh Station” is one of the best science fiction stories I’ve ever written, strongly enough that I’d love to see it make the 2016 Hugo Awards ballot next August right here in my own hometown.

However, that November release, late in the year and only a month before the ballot was released (a week ago) is the very definition of what’s known in this business as an “end of the year handicap,” that is, few voters will have had the chance to see the story before voting begins. Now, I don’t particularly want to quietly fall victim to that handicap.

So I’ve just asked and received permission from Baen Books to give my story away. That’s right — I’m actively campaigning for a place on the 2016 Hugo ballot. I used to frown on such shenanigans, but that stigma obviously has melted away.

LOL! Sure, it’s understandable why a Baen Books author might think that…

(14) AFROFUTURISM & OTHER TOPICS. “The State of Black Science Fiction Convention” will be held June 11-12 in Atlanta, GA.

(15) SHERRY’S LONGLIST. Joe Sherry has posted “My 2016 Hugo Awards Longlist Recommendations” at Adventures In Reading, which is both interesting in its own right, and as an index of where recused creators and works might belong.

With all of the shenanigans regarding groups putting together slates to directly influence what gets on the final ballot, what I’m going to do instead is post a growing long list of stuff I thought was awesome in 2015. This list will likely grow and change as I continue to discover stuff published in 2015 that I likewise think is awesome. I’m listing everything alphabetically either by title or author, so don’t view anything listed at the top of a category as being my ranked order. It’s not.

(16) INSIDE BASEBALL. Lesley Conner’s guest post at Far Beyond Reality tells how several stories got selected for Best of Apex Magazine: Volume 1.

From Slush Pile to Magazine to Anthology: The Making of Best of Apex Magazine: Volume 1

I came on board as the managing editor of Apex Magazine in October, 2014. I’d been involved with Apex for a while before that, but it wasn’t until then that I was let into the shadowed world of the slush pile and started sifting through to find stories to bring into the light. Because of this, and the fact that Best of Apex Magazine: Volume 1 covers the first six years of Apex Magazine, I missed that magical moment of discovery for many of the stories that ended up in the anthology. But not all of them.

Today I’d like to give you a peek behind the publishing curtain and share the journey that some of the stories in Best of Apex Magazine took from the slush pile to the anthology.

(17) IT’S A MYSTERY. Vox Day says the count is now up to four of people following his author page who have been banned from Goodreads. What the rest of their Goodreads activity consisted of he doesn’t say.

(18) BB-8. Here are two videos starring science fiction cinema’s latest Small Cute Robot.

Unlike some, BB-8 is too shy to come out of its shell…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Will R., and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

241 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/12/16 Have Starship Trooper Power Suit, Will Travel

  1. @The Phantom: are you idiots actually sniggering and pointing at a FREE story?
    Not the story. A closer read of the first page of comments might be in order.

    @RedWombat: Squee! Charon is my favorite now. 🙂

  2. Today’s book arrivals: Babylon Steel by Gale Sebold, and Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour.

    I really liked both of those! Not, uh. Not similar to each other (in one corner, a mercenary who is also a priest who is also a prostitute. In the other, a young woman who works on sets in Hollywood), but both very good (well, LaCour’s is better).

  3. Cally: The Nexus 7 2013 isn’t made any more, but in the UK at least it’s still available for around a hundred quid. It’s also still getting mainstream OS updates rather than being tied to the Amazon fork of the code.

  4. #13: doesn’t Scalzi usually have a ‘suggestion’ of which story of his to vote for? Is this any different? And are you idiots actually sniggering and pointing at a FREE story? Y’all must be richer than me.

    I don’t think anyone was sniggering at a free story. There was a degree of eye rolling at the way the dude had announced it.

    Anyone read it yet? Is it any good?

  5. Also, there’s this gem here: Calibre E-Book Management. calibre-ebook.com Using this freeware, you can turn any ebook file into any other type of file. Also go from text to ebook, MS Word to ebook etc.

    Apart (if things haven’t changed in the meanwhile) from the iBook format, which is why I don’t use iBook. Smart move there, Apple.

  6. NickPheas: I don’t think anyone was sniggering at a free story. There was a degree of eye rolling at the way the dude had announced it. Anyone read it yet? Is it any good?

    I think it’s a bit dodgy that he’s wanting people to reveal their identities to get a copy of the story, when all he had to do was post the direct link to where it is online, at the Baen Free Library. He did mention it was online, but provided only a link to the Baen site — I guess hoping that people would contact him rather than go digging for it themselves.

    As someone else mentioned upthread, there are some basic science errors which could have been avoided with some cursory research. It’s an okay story… but the plot seems a bit trite.

    I read the other stories available there, and I actually liked “A Walkabout Amongst the Stars” by Lezli Robyn much better.

  7. The Phantom on January 13, 2016 at 7:44 pm said:

    Sorry girlie, supply chain reality trumps imaginary patriarchy every time.

    A reasonable point about the supply chain. The whiplash dissonance between the language used and the assertion of the nonexistence of male privilege in such a brief space is notable.

    #13: doesn’t Scalzi usually have a ‘suggestion’ of which story of his to vote for? Is this any different? And are you idiots actually sniggering and pointing at a FREE story? Y’all must be richer than me.

    No, Scalzi does not.

    I believe the eyebrows were raised not at the freeness of the story (everyone loves a good online free story) but at the bald award-grubbing and the blithe assertion that there is no longer any “stigma” to such, which in light of the last few years events shows a stunning lack of awareness.

  8. @JJ, thanks for that. Facebook blocked at work so hadn’t been able to follow the link/forgot to look at home.

  9. I’ve become quite tired of buying tshirts a gigs to find they don’t fit (merch stands are often too busy to try them on) I’ve got wide shoulders and a barrel chest so there’s a fair chance that any straight fit shirt will either be too tight in the chest or too big in the waist/arms. In some cases all three. If I lose weight it gets worse too. There’s also a 2″ jump in size between L (42-44) and XL (46-48) that I seem to fall into from many manufacturers. There is often little consistency between shirts of supposedly the same size by the same manufacturer too.

    Female friends at the same gigs often buy mens XL and get a much better fit. Well up until they wash them.

    TL:DR

    T shirts are a crapshoot…

  10. JJ said:

    My reaction would have been similar if I’d been told that scientists had determined that ROYGBIV was actually just ROYGBV,

    That is an excellent analogy, but for reasons opposite of supporting your position. Just like choosing a dividing line between what is the smallest classical planet and the largest dwarf planet, the choice to say that there are 7 colors in the rainbow is entirely arbitrary. There are a practical infinity of colors in the rainbow with no rigid transition between them. The reason we say there are 7 colors to the rainbow is because Isaac Newton wanted the number to match the number of notes on a musical scale. (I got that from wikipedia, I had assumed it had something to do with the numeristic obsession with 7 being a perfect number.)

    Of course, obligatory in any mention of color perception:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_term#Cultural_differences

  11. Petréa Mitchell on January 13, 2016 at 8:59 pm said:

    At the Worldcon Masquerade a couple years later, there was an entry based on that. It began with a recreation of Interplanet Janet, which was interrupted by goons from the International Astronomical Union informing them that they could no longer call Pluto a planet. I forget exactly what the counterargument was, but it involved Ben Yalow (a well-known SMOF) running out and gesticulating at a copy the Worldcon Business Meeting minutes while explaining a resolution that the meeting had passed.

    I did not know that! (I haven’t attended a Worldcon Masquerade since 2005.) And I’m the sucker person who presided over the debate that eventually adopted WSFS resolution BM-2006-02. (Don’t let the relative tidyness of the resolution fool you. It was one of the least favorite episodes of my time presiding over WSFS meetings, and a prime example of the (paraphrased) Kissenger quotation about the bitterness of the politics being inversely proportional to the stakes involved.)

    Peace Is My Middle Name on January 14, 2016 at 3:59 am said:

    I believe the eyebrows were raised not at the freeness of the story (everyone loves a good online free story) but at the bald award-grubbing and the blithe assertion that there is no longer any “stigma” to such, which in light of the last few years events shows a stunning lack of awareness.

    The most generous interpretation I can give to this is that the people doing such bald-faced award-grubbing honestly don’t see any difference between “Here’s what I published last year; if you liked it, nominate it” and what they’re doing. I see it, you see it, but they don’t. They’re not being disingenuous; they simply can’t see the two things as being different. Consider it as analogous to color blindness.

  12. re: Hugo nominations

    Have others received this MAC II mailing? I haven’t yet (as of postal delivery on Jan 13).

    I haven’t received any email updates either, maybe I didn’t click the right boxes when I paid for my membership? I have my membership receipt, guess I better inquire at MidAmericonII.

  13. @The Phantom: “Also, there’s this gem here: Calibre E-Book Management. calibre-ebook.com Using this freeware, you can turn any ebook file into any other type of file.”

    You appear to have missed this line in her original note:

    the way I do ebooks is to buy them with my computer, archive them there (using Calibre if necessary to get rid of drm), and sideload them onto my tablet,

    Emphasis mine. Way to go, telling her about a tool she already uses

  14. Junego: Did you see this post from Tammy Coxen? It might have been in first-post moderation when you read that page. http://file770.com/?p=27037&cpage=3#comment-389408
    She’s specifically addressing email updates there, not paper, but we should be getting our Hugo PINs and a link to the Progress Report in the next week. I trust that you’ll get yours then, too; if not, talking to MACII is certainly in order!

  15. @ Greg Hullender
    For example, there was a lubricant called “synthetic mercury” which worked down to fifty degrees below absolute zero.

    Did it actually say 50 degrees “below absolute zero”?!?!?

  16. I really think some of the hurt feelings over Pluto could have been muted if the IAU had also adopted the proposed definition for a double planet. Then it would have had a way to be part of something truly unique even if it didn’t count as a full planet anymore. (Although the Earth-Moon system is sometimes called a “double planet” due to the relative closeness in size compared to most planets and their satellites, it would not qualify, as the definition requires the overall center of gravity for the double planet to be outside of either of its components.)

    Then again, this would have opened a new can of worms as everyone argued over the definitive syntax for naming it. “Pluto-Charon”? “Pluto and Charon”?

  17. @Darren Garrison, thanks for the link. The development pattern of color terms was very interesting (and could be a neat world-building detail).

  18. @Cally
    Thanks for the link. I didn’t read all the posts before I asked, my usual bad. :-]
    So we all wait for our PINs until next week, I guess.

  19. @Petrea Pluto-Charon
    Or Charon-Pluto depending on how you want it to sort.
    Or there is always the Rule 34 approach:
    Pluto/Charon?
    Charon/Pluto?

  20. @Kevin Standlee:

    a prime example of the (paraphrased) Kissenger quotation about the bitterness of the politics being inversely proportional to the stakes involved.

    I remember independently deriving that back in University after finding out about the two different Star Trek clubs in Toronto because of disagreements at the time. I since found out it’s usually referred to as Sayre’s Law, after a professor of political science who phrased it as “The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low”.

  21. I have seen people specifically saying that they want Pluto to be one of the nine planets, which wouldn’t be possible on any coherent definition.

    My feeling is that we should just keep the nine planets in the way we kept the four elements; they haven’t been part of a scientific theory for several centuries, but that doesn’t stop us talking about them.

  22. @Rev. Bob: It said “minus five hundred degrees”, and the other measurements in the story were U.S. As absolute zero is –459.67°F, it’s only 40 degrees, not 50, but hey. Close enough to show the physics is just stupid. The story also has terrible dialogue, other bad science, and way! too many exclamation points. It’s also top-heavy and the ending is so rushed I almost missed it. It would be a great Hugo nominee in 1960.

  23. Ceres is the one I really feel sorry for. It was a planet long before Pluto ever became one, and was one for nearly as long, and its status was taken away completely unfairly. Though I suspect most of you whippersnappers are too young to remember that. (Given that you’re alive and all.) 🙂

    The one good thing about Pluto’s demotion is that it was accompanied by a partial re-promotion for Ceres!

    Of course, the recent Pluto fly-by showed that Pluto is more interesting than I expected it to be. (Which, in hindsight, I should have expected.) Nevertheless, Ceres remains my favorite dwarf planet. It’s just so tiny and cute and perfect.

    Do keep in mind, though that the IAU’s definition of planet is a definition—not necessarily the definition. Science fiction writers continue to use another definition when they refer to planets around another star—under the IAU definition, those aren’t planets either. Planets orbit Sol!

    So, in my definition (which is fairly close to the dictionary’s definition), Ceres and Pluto and Mr. Spock’s home of Vulcan are all planets.

    But if you try to promote a definition that includes Pluto, but excludes Ceres (perhaps because you want to preserve the accuracy of some old song or something), you are wrong and should be shunned. 😉

  24. Rev. Bob: Of course Pluto can’t be one of the nine planets. What about Mondas?

    Rainy days and Mondas always get me down…

  25. @lurkertype: “@Rev. Bob: It said “minus five hundred degrees”, and the other measurements in the story were U.S.”

    Um, junego? Message for you… 😉

  26. @Paul Weimer: I was a bit disgruntled, and never knew who discovered any of the planets. I don’t believe that’s* it. I think it’s more “oh lordy I have to relearn something we’ve ‘known’ for ages?!” Most people don’t like change. Me included.

    * ETA: I mean, I don’t believe American sentiment or what-not is the reason

    @Red Wombat: LOL, you got me chuckling and grinning with that last line.

    @Xtifr: I’ve never understood this supposed gotcha of Ceres. It’s not tough to write a definition to exclude freaking asteroid belts from being eligible for planet status. So I count 9 planets. And four elements. ;-P Obviously, I’m no scientist! 😉

  27. My feeling is that we should just keep the nine planets in the way we kept the four elements; they haven’t been part of a scientific theory for several centuries, but that doesn’t stop us talking about them.

    Okay, who–other than pseudo-scientific flakes, historians, and fans of Avatar–talk about the four elements? That is as dead a concept as the four humors in medicine and play absolutely no role in professional or amateur discussions of modern science.

    (BTW, for those who may not have seen it, an old post of mine.)

  28. It’s not tough to write a definition to exclude freaking asteroid belts from being eligible for planet status

    Let’s have one, then. That doesn’t resort to special pleading to explain why an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter doesn’t count but an asteroid belt beyond Neptune does.

  29. @Darren Garrison: I did mention I’m not a scientist, right? Okay then, maybe I spoke too soon (having now skimmed some more info). 😉 I was unaware the Kuiper Belt was considered another asteroid belt – still, there are other Pluto-like things out there which would cause problems, even if Ceres weren’t.

    Hmm, would Pluto’s ecliptic orbit help to argue it should be considered distinct from other Kuiper/asteroid belt objects? No? Then I got nothing! It sounds like actual astronomers and scientists don’t all agree on these things, but I haven’t read all their arguments to know whether someone has a better definition or just fallacies.

    (bowing)

  30. I should’ve /god-stalk!’d last night.

    (Hmm, why is the “notify me of new posts by email” checking by default for me sometimes; this makes two or three times now.)

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