Pixel Scroll 11/7/2016 Ugly Giant Bags of Mostly Pixels

(1) SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME. Last spring the EMP Museum opened public voting on the 2016 finalists for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

In honor of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame’s 20th anniversary, we invited the public to submit their favorite Creators and Creations. After tallying up your nominations (nearly 2,000 submissions!), a committee of industry experts narrowed down the list to the final twenty nominees.

After waiting some months for further news, I contacted the EMP Museum and received this answer:

Announcement of the new inductees is tentatively planned for Spring 2017, with a more exact date to be announced later this month.

(2) THIS WEEK IN WORDS. Wonder what book she’s busy reviewing here?

(3) CELEBRITIES SAVING THE WORLD ON THEIR DAY OFF. Pretty damn funny. “Rachel Bloom, Elizabeth Banks Sing Their Support for Hillary in Profanity-Filled Funny or Die Video”.

“Holy f—ing shit, you’ve got to vote.”

Elizabeth Banks, Jane Lynch, Adam Scott, Mayim Bialik, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Rachel Bloom were among the celebrities who gathered together with the help of Funny or Die to plead with voters to choose Hillary Clinton as the next president.

In an anti-Trump music video posted Friday, veteran Broadway star Patti LuPone and musician Moby are also seen belting out lyrics (with more than a handful of curse words) urging people to hit the polls.

(4) TWICE FIVE. On the eve of the election, Emily Temple offers 10 literary apocalypses from books published in the last five years.

Lucy Corin, One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses

The apocalypses in this book—most just a few lines long, because sometimes that’s all it takes for the apocalypse, some a paragraph or more—are not necessarily global. They can be the end of a relationship, or a moment, or an idea, because any of these can feel like cosmic destruction. None of these apocalypses are likely to caused by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, but they do serve as a reminder of what havoc we can wreak on ourselves.

(5) RAISING KIDS’ INTEREST IN ASTROPHYSICS. Hungarian illustrator Róbert Farkas wants to publish a trilogy that will attract kids to astrophysics. He’s raising money on Indiegogo to foot the bill.

farkas-about-the-universee

Clever Fox’s Tales about the Universe

Overview

’Daddy, what are those million shiny spots up in the black sky?’ This is the question I want to be able to answer by the time my daughter will ask it. I invite you to help me answer this same question for hundreds, hopefully thousands of other kids all around the world.

About me

My name is Róbert Farkas, I am a freelance illustrator and animator. I live in Europe in Hungary with my family. Aside from drawing I like to read books about astrophysics in my free time, which influenced me in creating this trilogy.

About the trilogy

The first book is about the Big bang and particle physics, no joking! The second part takes us to the middle of the solar system, explains about core fusion, vacuum and what lies in the middle of a black hole. The third is a leap into quantum physics, with a taste of the speed of light, gravitational lens effect and dark matter.

To date $1,563 of the $6,900 goal has been pledged, with 25 days to go.

(6) NEW TERM BEGINS. Camestros Felapton takes in the opening stanzas of the latest Doctor Who spinoff in “Review: Class (episodes 1 & 2)”.

Class knows that it is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer clone and it knows that you know that it is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer clone. Coal Hill Academy is a school that sits at the site of damage caused to the space-time continuum by the Doctor’s meddling, a plot device that so neatly matches the hell-mouth of Buffy’s Sunnyvale that characters have to comment on it. And why not? Buffy was fun, so why not have a Buffy spin-off but set it in Britain and have a “bung-hole of the universe” instead of a Hell Mouth?

To this end (do a Buffy revival because the late 90’s/early 2000’s are due for a revival) the show just really needs permission to be strange and for viewers to suspend disbelief. Hence the Doctor Who connection – it is British and it is weird and hence it needs a blessing from the Pontiff of British weirdness.

(7) WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? James Davis Nicoll has an “Idea for a movie”.

Unable to surmount a career-ending injury, a Taoist sorcerer moves from Hong Kong to Boston, where he masters engineering in six weeks.

(8) BIRTH OF AN INDIE. Nick Cole, Dragon Award winner for CTRL Alt Revolt!, says “Never mind the Bullydom of Writing”.

Here’s what happened: Last year I wrote a novel called CTRL Alt Revolt! Fun little gamer novel, what some call LitRPG (Kinda like Ready Player One) My publisher (Harper Collins) was so offended by the fact that I showed an Artificial Intelligence being horrified by the callous act of murder we as a society call Abortion (It’s just a minor plot point in the book I used to give the Antagonist, a new born A.I. a good reason to fear for its life before it nuked the world) that they fired me. So I pub’d it as an Indie.

I’m recalcitrant that way.

I awaited the storm of self-righteous indignation from my peers within the community at large. I considered a career change.

Nothing.

Well, some scorn from the usual scolds but they’re boring and tired. Ask anyone.

Instead I sold a ton of copies. Won a major Science Fiction Award and significantly increased my reader base, as a whole community of angry fans and readers who are just plain tired and bored with agenda-driven message fiction swarmed Amazon and bought my book in droves. And here’s a stunner: They don’t even believe in what I believe. Some disagreed with me openly. Even super hardcore leftist socialists bought it, read it, and had a good time despite disagreeing with a few points. See, they’re smart people who can read something and think for themselves instead of needing a sermon via Slate, Salon, Wired, or whatever other entertainment the Radical Left is propping up these days, and still continue holding on to their beliefs. While having a good time. These are people who aren’t worried about being triggered by an image of a guy in a superhero costume. Or that Ghostbusters might give them PTSD. These are people who hate that “the right people” are playing games with what people get to write. These are the real free thinkers! They hate that PC ideas are taking the place of story and good old fashioned fun. They hate the scolds.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • November 7, 1963 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was the first film ever shown at Hollywood’s famous Cinerama Dome.

(John King Tarpinian reminds everyone, “The palm trees at the end inspired the logo for In-N-Out Burger.”)

(10) A VISIT FROM THE SUCK FAIRY. In the Washington Post, Stephanie Merry talks about Quantum Leap and how she enjoyed the show a great deal as a teenager but finds it boring and dated now on rewatching — “Is it better to leave our favorite childhood shows and movies in the past?”

Sam, played by Scott Bakula, was an earnest everyman, not to mention a brilliant physicist, and he was trapped in a time-travel loop. Each episode, he teleported to a different era and inhabited a stranger’s body to alter history for the better. All the while, he kept hoping the next leap would bring him home.

I wasn’t a science fiction fan, but the show won me over anyway. Every adventure was so singular, and the series was remarkably progressive. Sam became a leggy blonde in the 1960s dealing with sexual harassment and a black man fighting discrimination in 1955, but also an unenthusiastic Ku Klux Klan member from Alabama. At one point he landed in the body of Lee Harvey Oswald.

(11) SUBMISSIONS OPENING AND CLOSING. The SFWA Markert Report for November is online, compiled by David Steffen.

(12) COUNTING THE HOUSE. France’s rapidly-growing Utopiales con drew 82,000 says Europa SF, about 17,000 more than reported a year ago.

(13) LATE BLOOMER. Genevieve Valentine wrote an appreciation of Sheri Tepper for NPR “Remembering Sheri S. Tepper, Eco-Feminist Sci-Fi Firebrand”.

She began publishing later in life (her first novel at age 54), and wrote more than forty under several pseudonyms. But she used her own name for the works that made her a fixture in science fiction and fantasy. Her most influential works straddle lines between her forebears and her peers; she sits among Margaret Atwood and Marge Piercy’s second-wave-feminist parables, and somewhere alongside the all-out otherworlds of Frank Herbert and Jack Vance.

Perhaps her most infamous book is 1988’s The Gate to Women’s Country, in which enclaves of women run society, relegating men to hyper-masculine garrisons, sending them off to war to thin the numbers, and trying eugenics to solve the problem of men. 1991’s Beauty is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty myth — a stew of fairy tales Tepper chews up and spits out, with a little time travel in case you wondered what’s in store for the natural world. (Nothing good.) And 1989’s Grass — the first in a trilogy, and perhaps her most famous work — circled questions of faith, ecology, class, and the ways nature gets classified as monstrous when people are the invaders.

(14) IN THE BAY AREA Remember when people banded together to save Borderlands Books? It really looks worth it when you see a list of forthcoming author events like these:

* Chris Roberson, FIREWALK (Night Shade Books, Hardcover, $24.99) on Saturday, November 12th at 2:00pm.

* Megan E. O’Keefe, BREAK THE CHAINS (Angry Robot, Mass Market, $7.99) on Sunday, November 13th at 1:00pm.

* Mary Robinette Kowal, GHOST TALKERS (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) on Sunday, November 13th at 3:00pm.

* SF in SF with authors Nick Mamatas and Rick Wilber (at American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina, San Francisco) on Sunday, November 13th at 6:30pm – Suggested donation $10. Doors and bar at 5:30 pm, event begins at 6:30 pm. Each author will read a selection from their work, followed by Q&A moderated by Terry Bisson. Authors will schmooze & sign books after. Seating is limited; first come, first seated. Bar proceeds benefit the American Bookbinders Museum.  Phone (night of event) 415-572-1015, or <sfinsfevents@gmail.com>.

* CYBER WORLD (Hex Publishers, Trade Paperback, $14.99) event with Richard Kadrey, Aaron Lovett, Josh Viola, Isabel Yap, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro on Saturday, November 19th at 2:00pm.

* Dan Wells, EXTREME MAKEOVER: APOCALYPSE EDITION (Tor Books, Hardcover, $27.99 and Trade Paperback $17.99) on Saturday, November 19th at 5:00pm.

* Richard Lupoff, WHERE MEMORY HIDES: A WRITER’S LIFE (Bold Venture Press, Trade Paperback (B&W Edition, $22.95), Trade Paperback (Collector’s Color Edition, $49.95) on Sunday, November 20th at 3:00pm. Local legend Richard Lupoff will show off his autobiography. From the book: “In half a century of publishing books and short fiction under his own name and at least six pen names, Richard A. Lupoff has spun some of the strangest fables, written a respected biography of Edgar Rice Burroughs, won a Hugo and has been nominated for multiple Nebula Awards.”  Dick Lupoff is a treasure trove of stories, both fictional and not.

(15) THE MONEY KEEPS ON ROLLING IN. At Kickstarter. The Harlan Ellison Books Preservation Project, “to create definitive versions of all Harlan Ellison’s writings, fiction and non-fiction, to preserve in print for posterity,” is almost 40% funded with 23 days to go.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Cora, Bence Pinter, and Rob Thornton for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JJ.]

88 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/7/2016 Ugly Giant Bags of Mostly Pixels

  1. 7) I assume he will learn engineering by taking apart machines and observing? Not by going anywhere near a classroom, right?

  2. (10) A VISIT FROM THE SUCK FAIRY.

    Oh, boy.

    For a couple seasons at least, I was an avid Quantum Leap fan. (Also dug the Cop ‘n’ Lawyer Show that followed it, starring Marlee Marlin and Mark Harmon.) When our SF TV station picked it up several years later, I was So. Excited.

    I watched it and found it corny as hell.

    *sadface*

  3. (8) Man, that entire Nick Cole rant is off the rails.

    If I ever had any desire to try one of his books, that post pretty much killed it dead.

  4. (7) Now I’m going to spend all night wondering what kind of injury could end a Taoist sorcerer’s career. Now, if it was a Taoist philosopher, he or she would just shrug and get on with life. Sorcerers? No idea.

  5. (8) BIRTH OF AN INDIE.

    The weird thing is, there’s just not that much SFF message fiction. There’s some–I usually given them one or two stars–but they’re rare. That’s assuming we’re talking about stories where the message trumps the story. Lots of stories do contain “throw-away” messages, by which I mean things that aren’t essential to the plot, but which the author tossed in. Those are annoying (even when you agree with them), but (in my view) a minor sin.

    I know that at least some folks from puppyland are offended by any story that presumes climate change is real. I suppose if you called those message fiction, then I’d have to admit there’s a lot of it. I’m more inclined to say that it just shows that people who really don’t believe in science probably shouldn’t be reading science fiction.

    By the way, can I assume no one believes his story? I can’t imagine a publisher “firing” an author just because his/her story had an AI which deduced that if we allowed abortions, we wouldn’t scruple to turn off AIs. But perhaps the whole election campaign has made me much less likely to believe anything from that quarter. (It’s as though thanks to the puppys, all of SFF fandom got exposed to Trumpism two years before the rest of the world. Way to get to the future first!)

  6. (8) Major SF award? Hugo, Nebula, Clarke, any of the Campbells or Heinleins? No? Canada, Australia, France, Germany? No? Okay, lying right there.
    Protip: when the people who give out the award can’t be arsed to put out a press release or mention it on their website, it’s not a major award. Buh-bye, Puppy.

    (13) Tepper was so adamant about population control, one wonders why she advocated for a “cure” for gayness.

    (14) Hoo, I may have to get to some of those. Dick Lupoff is a treasure in both SF and mystery, a nice guy who tells great stories.

    @Dawn Incognito: Someone else who remembers the Harmon/Matlin show! I liked it too. I guess it’s good that both TV and society have progressed so much in 20 years that “Quantum Leap” looks dated now.

    Mostly water. Made of meat. With gelatinous orbs.

  7. (8) The only scolds I keep coming across are the ones bitching about leftist/gatekeeper/message-fiction/fill-in-the-blank.
    If Harper/Collins dropped him, it probably was because they got tired of his bitching. Does he really think anyone buys his excuse?

  8. @lurkertype–But it won a Dragon! Doesn’t that count as a major award? They keep flogging it as one.

  9. Harold Osler: But it won a Dragon! Doesn’t that count as a major award? They keep flogging it as one.

    I personally find it absolutely hilarious that File770 has a historical post about the Finalists for the 2016 Dragon Awards, when that information is nowhere to be found on the DragonCon website.

    Yeah, sure, “major award”. 🙄

  10. @Camestros

    I read ctrl-alt-revolt. It could have been worse, but it would have been vastly better if somebody had edited it.

    But but… CENSORSHIP!!!

  11. snowcrash on November 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm said:
    @Camestros
    I read ctrl-alt-revolt. It could have been worse, but it would have been vastly better if somebody had edited it.
    But but… CENSORSHIP!!!

    Microsoft Word’s spell check is censoring me – also autocorrect is biased

  12. Dawn Incognito: Butbut it must be a major award! All the winners keep telling us so!

    I feel bad for him. When I went to look him up I found he’s not even listed on the Science Fiction Awards Database, despite being the winner of a major award.

  13. Re. The major award.

    Did we ever find out the voter numbers? I thought that they were going to be released in October.

  14. Mike Glyer: I feel bad for him. When I went to look him up I found he’s not even listed on the Science Fiction Awards Database, despite being the winner of a major award.

    Well, he is in the ISFDB. I love those ISFDBers — they are pretty diligent, despite the high bar they set for the quality and accuracy of the data they enter.

    The SFADB, in my personal experience, is not noted for its accuracy.

  15. rob_matic: Did we ever find out the voter numbers? I thought that they were going to be released in October.

    Oh, you sweet summer child.

  16. The Goodreads Awards have hit the semifinal stage, and Ninefox Gambit has surged into the SF category as a write-in, and I also spot A Closed and Common Orbit and Crosstalk making it in.
    In Fantasy I can see successful write ins for City of Blades and Every Heart a Doorway.
    (There will be more write-ins, but their way of displaying the list makes comparing really tricky!)
    Their write-in option does seem to do their shortlist quite a lot of good – those are all worthy additons.

  17. Oh, and in Non-Fiction these are either write-ins or I totally missed them the first time: Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley and View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman.

  18. The Goodreads Awards have hit the semifinal stage, and Ninefox Gambit has surged into the SF category as a write-in

    Ah, so my vote did help in something good after all.

  19. So…he stuck a political message into his book even though it wasn’t crucial to the story, and ihis publishers rejected it, so he self-published and it’s being embraced by people who hate message fiction?

    I bet those message-fiction-haters are glad his drive-by message wasn’t removed like those message-loving big publishers wanted, so they could enjoy hating it in the proper context of —

    What? It’s only message fiction if it has messages he doesn’t like?

    Okay, never mind.

  20. 5) I appreciate the idea, but it doesn’t inspire confidence that the very first sentence of the description contains a factual error.

    ’Daddy, what are those million shiny spots up in the black sky?’

    There are fewer than 10,000 naked-eye stars in the entire sky. If you are going to write science, make sure that you know what the hell you are talking about. (I’ll withdraw that comment if the adult fox explained that the kit’s estimate was off by two orders of magnitude.)

    Quantum Leap: one of the biggest downer endings in TV history. A text epilogue explaining that Bacula never got home. (It reminds me of the episode of In the Heat of the Night where the guy that briefly replaced Carol O’Conner while he had health problems was killed off with a text epilogue saying basically “the guy who replace Carol O’Conner got killed and BTW, he was a government spy.”

  21. 9)
    I have a oversized love of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and can quote it unceasingly.

    Re: Cole: We probably won’t ever know the full story, but this does point to the need for authors and editors to learn to work together and trust each other.

    The logical leap that legalized abortion means that an intelligent AI could be turned off just doesn’t make sense unless you are making the a priori that a fetus is a sentient being, which IS a political and not a biological statement. But we did hash all this months ago, as linked above.

  22. Camestros Felapton on November 7, 2016 at 9:43 pm said:
    I read ctrl-alt-revolt. It could have been worse, but it would have been vastly better if somebody had edited it.

    Fingers crossed for his next book then, “edited” by Hugo-nominated editor extraordinaire, li’l Teddy Beale!

  23. Meredith Moment:

    Just bought The Peripheral by William Gibson off of Amazon UK for a whole £1.99

  24. @7: Cute snark, but if such magic were true I’d wonder how much of the teaching is pettifoggery rather than practical; cf George Harrison becoming competent on the sitar in a fraction of the time claimed necessary, or “Cyril Judd” ‘s Gunner Cade, in which the title character realizes when the revolution that his years of training can be reduced to “point that end and pull this”. (Yes, there’s the counter that if magic were that easy anyone could do it. Reasons why not (aptitude, secrecy), and what the world might be like when Strange is old (and any secret has gotten out) are left for people who followed the comics.)

    @lurkertype: I’m not sure where NPR finds the removal of a “gay gene” in The Gate to Women’s Country; they were breeding out the macho-shithead gene, and saw a fair number of Eloi — who they kept public so the macho shitheads wouldn’t realize there were effective men in the cities. Is anybody willing to reread that downer in detail and provide a locater to back up NPR’s claim? Tepper was GoH at Wiscon a decade after tGoWC came out; if NPR is correct, I wonder whether anyone raised the question there.

    @Darren: notice who is speaking before you put your nose up; a child that doesn’t even know what stars are is unlikely to have counted them accurately.

    Give it up for science!. NPR tells how to do chemistry at home with Halloween candy, instead of eating it all.

  25. JDC
    There should be an award called the Major Award. You’ve already stated what it would look like.

    I’m sure I already told how Gordon Garb made a Hugo knock-off for Bob Vardeman, back in the 70s. It was a nice-looking silver rocket on a base. “And when you flip the microswitch,” he explained, “It goes into Warp Drive!” Truly. The whole ship vibrated with a medium buzz, and that’s when I realized spray-painted and glued fins onto a… well, a plastic novelty, let’s say.

    And this is still the greatest damn Halloween costume ever.

  26. Darren: notice who is speaking before you put your nose up; a child that doesn’t even know what stars are is unlikely to have counted them accurately.

    Unless the child is corrected on the number, it is still not good.

  27. @ Kurt: It’s only message fiction if it doesn’t align with your own worldview; if it does, it’s just reality. This is pretty much a universal — although I can also notice liberal messaging if it’s strong enough. Leckie gets quite pointy about certain things in the Ancillary books, and there’s a reason I sometimes talk about “the Mercedes Lackey school of heavy-handed social commentary”.

  28. @Darren Garrison

    5) I appreciate the idea, but it doesn’t inspire confidence that the very first sentence of the description contains a factual error.

    ’Daddy, what are those million shiny spots up in the black sky?’

    There are fewer than 10,000 naked-eye stars in the entire sky. If you are going to write science, make sure that you know what the hell you are talking about.

    Depends on how you count the Milky Way. 🙂 (Although in that case, it’ll be several orders of magnitude off in the other direction.)

    When I was in the third grade (and Lyndon Johnson was still president), our teacher told us that when people say “a million” they really just mean “more than I can count.” She claimed that in the Bible (yeah, they still taught that in the public schools back then) they used 40 for the same purpose. (Even then I wondered if anyone would really say “it rained for a million days and nights.”)

    Finally, The Eagles seem to have had a similar problem, except they thought there were “a billion stars all around.” Maybe they were looking at the Milky Way.

  29. Re: a million stars, I’ve never looked at the English semantics, but in most East Asian languages, ‘100’ is a stand in for ‘a really big number’ and ‘10,000’ is a stand in for ‘infinity’. (Numbers are typically grouped by 1e4 rather than 1e3 as in English). So, 10,000 years is intended as forever. Encyclopedias are roughly, ‘book of 100 things’. Fun fact.

Comments are closed.